When You Just Want to Get Your Eyebrows Waxed but Spanish is Hard

Sydney Foster
Spanish and Sales and Business Marketing Majors
Buenos Aires, Argentina

The no-talking-allowed simulation they make you play in orientation is no joke. I went to get my eyebrows waxed for the first time in Argentina, so I could stop looking like Chewbacca and more like myself, and there were massive communication boundaries. In the end, everything turned out amazing, but the process was ugly. The day before I had to get my eyebrows waxed I went in to make an appointment and when they asked me how to spell my name (which nobody in this country knows how to say or spell) and I completely blanked on how to say the letter “y” (igriega is the pronunciation for anybody else struggling) in Spanish. Of course, the woman I was making the appointment just blankly stared at me when I said “y” in English hoping she would understand. I then continued to panic and frantically started speaking very quickly in English saying I can right it down, she still continued to stare blankly, but smiled at the end, trying to be polite. The next day, I expected that there would be more traffic than there was and I showed up 20 minutes early to my appointment, which is almost un-heard-of here. The woman that I was trusting to put hot wax to my face could only speak very little English, which at this point, is how I was feeling about my Spanish. She tried to explain to me that she would wax and tweeze and we mostly communicated that through me saying “no entiendo” and “lentamente por favor” and pointing as well. Once the run through was done, which took about 5 minutes longer than it should have, it was time for the wax. The woman proceeded to tell me to sit at the edge of my seat and lean back so I was looking up at the ceiling, but I didn’t understand. I spent the next two minutes trying to figure out where she wanted me by moving the chair itself, pulling my hair back and actually standing up so she could show me where she wanted me to sit. After all was said and done, she ended up doing a really amazing job on my eyebrows, and I thought I was in the clear with the communication issues. I kept repeatedly thinking of what the proper way to say goodbye was, and of course, instead of saying, “have a good day” I said, “I have a good day”. Lessons of the day: verb conjugations are the worst, and don’t sweat not being able to speak what I call salon Spanish, it’s a learning experience! Now if I could only remember how to say tweezers…

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