It’s been some time since I’ve checked in, and much has happened in the meantime. I’ve finished the second semester of my Masters program, Mason turned one, I’ve made trips to Newcastle and Canberra for Rotary, friends have visited from the U.S. and New Zealand, and yesterday Deanna had her thirty-fifth birthday, just to name a few. Crowding all of that our of our minds at the moment, though, is our upcoming adventure in India. We leave tomorrow, and I have much to say about that, but first, a bit of silliness that we need to cover in order to move on (in order to avoid quite a few “huh?!?!” comments later).
After over twenty years with long hair (my entire adult life) I took radical steps last weekend: I shaved my head.
I had been chewing on the idea for at least a couple of years. Partly because I was losing the battle anyway and comb-overs just never did it for me. I like the idea of embracing change when it comes (though I do better with it at some times than others), so it seemed like the right course of action.
The particular timing, though, was due to the fact that I am leaving for India tomorrow to spend some time working with a Gandhian aid organization there, and though it is winter in India, the forecast low for tonight in the town we’ll be living in is 79 degrees.
More compellingly, we learned some interesting things about our lodging in recent email correspondences. We had been told that we will have a private room to share between myself, Deanna and Mason, and that we will have a private bathroom. Thinking about bathing our one-year-old, Deanna asked in a follow-up email whether the bathroom has a bath or a shower, and we learned that actually it has neither. It has a bucket and a mug. That is the normal way of bathing in India, apparently, and bathtubs are generally only seen in hotels. That’s fine with us, but it did provide a good reason to finally take the proverbial plunge.
My friend David Stuart makes documentaries, and he brought his camera and gear to my other friend Dave’s house where we did the deed. He shot this brief documentary (thanks David!).
Dave James, whose house we were at, is a semi-pro photographer, so things were well documented in stills as well (thanks Dave!).
We invited everyone at the party to have a go with the clippers, including 4-year-old Hani (with some spotting from Aunt Maree).
Several friends who heard I was going to do this expressed concern for how our one-year-old Mason would react, so we made sure that he saw what was going on and felt OK. The sound of the clippers seemed to scare him at first, but I stopped to hold him and laugh with him and let him know everything was OK throughout the process and he did just fine. He especially enjoyed patting my head when it was over. The next morning when he saw me he didn’t even look surprised. He reacted more or less like I had changed my shirt.
And on the whole, Mason’s reaction seems indicative of most of our friends’ and family’s, and my own for that matter: I look a lot more like me than I expected to. In short, it hasn’t been nearly as drastic as I thought it would be.
The whole thing happened rather spontaneously, so I didn’t have much time to organize a big fundraiser, but we did put the word out on Facebook that people could bid for my hair on Facebook. The money went to the non-profit that Deanna and I founded to support school and library projects in Guatemala, PEG Partners, and the hair went to an organization called “Wigs for Kids,” which provides free wigs to children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy or other illness. We raised about $900, which in Guatemala pays for about three-quarters of an annual school teacher’s salary. Not bad for a few hours’ fun on line.
I’ve been really enjoying the new style, not to mention the very short showers. In the end, I guess the change is really representative of so many other good changes in my life lately. Much to celebrate.
As I write these words we have 21.5 hours to go until we leave, turning the page to another chapter which promises to be exciting, challenging and powerful. Being finished with my second semester of the masters program, I’m in the groove for writing, so I look forward to keeping this spot up to date as things unfold in India. Thanks for staying in touch.
Thank you for sharing that moment with the world, and well done.
I hope your journey in India continues to inspire
God be with you all three, will be thinking of you guys.
i fully expected you to radically changed, but i think you’re right. You only look a “hair” different 😉
Glad to hear you’re doing well and we’ll be praying for you as you are India-bound. i am newly called to a church in Denver, CO and i’ll be taking my new youth group to Guatemala this June, all 50 or 60 of these kids. We’ll be working with Habitat for Humanity for part of the trip and with an organization that provides clean drinking water solutions, wells, etc. We’re very excited. Safe Journeys and blessings. Shalom.
Mark Baker-Wright says
Glad to hear that the fundraiser was so successful (I knew it was happening, but don’t think I saw that final number). Always good to keep PEG Partners in the public awareness.
And, yes, hair or no hair, you still look like you. The new look works well!
Cat W. says
I have to say that the post-ponytail shots look a lot like James Taylor…
Best wishes for your travels.