It’s not what you expect to say when the towel comes off for the initial unveiling.
Nor does one anticipate your 7 year old son answering in the affirmative when you question whether his friend just referred to you as the ‘lady with blue hair’. If memory serves correctly, my friend and colleague, Betsy living in Croatia came to terms with her color by referencing it as ‘midnight blue’.
Midnight blue. Fuchsia. Okay, electric blue. Yes, even vibrant purple. Shocking orange. All, valid and popular color choices for Eastern European hair.
It started with the Bulgarian babas (grannies) as all good trends do. Back in ’98, they sported shades of electric blue to grape-infused purple in droves. I was once told that during communism, hair dye was basically obsolete but ingenuity always finds a way; the ink from pens became a useful medium. Legend or truth? Do we really want to know?
In truth, from Central Europe to the belly of the Balkans, the hair color palette for all ages is an open canvas of creativity.
A good portion of my Saturday was spent wrestling with and then applying said palette to the crowning glory of our two teenage daughters. One laid her head on the pillow as a fiery red-head and the other a platinum-highlighted blonde. Two delighted peas in their respective pods.
As I stood in the doorway of our bathroom turned salon observing our 12 year old lead the beautification process for her older sisters, the rich scenario kept me transfixed.
‘They really don’t have manuals for this stuff.’ Much like the hair dye directions, which are all in Hungarian, mothering teenagers in a different country is a walk on the wild-side.
How fuchsia is too fuchsia?
How old is old enough?
And this from my 17-year old, ‘Mom, do you think God cares if we dye our hair?’
One of the richest ramifications of living in our part of the world are the beautiful lessons we have learned from the women of the culture. Eastern Europeans wear strength and femininity as a beautiful ensemble. Histories have been written by the pens of women, girls, mothers, and babas who have prayed generations into the kingdom, led people to faith, tarried under back-breaking extremes and came home to fix healthy meals from scratch.
All with burnt-orange locks.
With a nod to the babas who have, pen in hand, written legacies of love in trying times and to the ladies of Eastern Europe who today show our girls how to live lives of grace filled with active compassionate ministry and faith in a beautiful array of shades. Our lives are richer for your presence.
Across these great lands of Central Europe, the following are just some of the ways that European women from the northern countries of Scandinavia to the southeastern countries of the Balkans are making a difference:
coffee shops. English. Roma ministry. handicapped ministry. anti-trafficking through prevention and rehabilitation. pastoring. church planting. education. social development projects. advocating for the voiceless of society. theology. small business as ministry. mothering and missioning.
All in Central Europe in various shades of color.