Extreme Moscow makeovers are a rite of passage for any new arrival

Getting a haircut in the center of Moscow is not hard. Hairdressers are on every street corner, but the problem is price and the time it takes.

Getting a haircut in the center of Moscow is not hard. Hairdressers are on every street corner, but the problem is price and the time it takes.

Iva Pracevic
Personal and home transformations are unforgettable experiences.

Source: Iva PracevicSource: Iva Pracevic

We’ve had a few transformations and renovations since moving to Moscow. The first is rather pleasant when the conditions are right – it’s 'renovating' your hair, or more commonly known as getting a haircut. The second concerns apartments, but I will return to that later.

Getting a haircut in the center of Moscow is not hard. Hairdressers are on every street corner, but the problem is price and the time it takes. Prices for a woman’s haircut go as high as 260 euros, and sometimes even more. The trick is finding excellent service at the right price, and since I’m new in town I still don’t know anyone who can recommend the right ratio between price and quality.

Source: Iva PracevicSource: Iva Pracevic

Even worse is trying to cut my little boys’ hair. Russian hairdressers don't believe in quick trims. They do everything with scissors, and fancy themselves an artist, so the whole process can last an hour.

I got a wake up call when my poor boy fell asleep during his hair cut, and they needed two people. One held his head, while the other cut; not to mention that they always cut his hair to about one-inch in length. So, I decided to take YouTube classes  to be a 'professional' hairdresser for my boy. My husband, however, still doesn't trust me enough. 

Getting my hair cut was a different story. I had no doubt in the quality of the high-end hairdressers but the price was over the top. During my first year I tried to get by, saying that long hair and color is in fashion. Fortunately, my friend was my savior and found someone to come to my home. Affordable, practical and amazing with colors. You drink coffee, practice Russian and get your hair done in the comfort of your home. 

Let’s move on now to the other type of renovation; one that does not have an ending as pleasant as the one with hair. Just bear with me and try to picture the following…

It was a Monday at 10 in the morning, and I was just about to have coffee after sending the kids to school when suddenly..... BANG, BUMP, WIZZZZZZZZZZ. The floor shook, and at first I thought it’s just a metro train passing by, even though I had never before felt one near my house.

Source: Iva PracevicSource: Iva Pracevic

After a few minutes the situation became clearer, and instead of listening to music for the next five hours, I `enjoyed’ the sounds of drilling. The neighbors above were renovating, and the sound was so loud that every day I began to leave the house early and tried not to come home until late. 

Little did I know that renovations in Russia are completely different from other home renovations that I’ve previously encountered. First of all, they ambush you. During your three-year stay you have to consider that every building in Moscow, whether old or new, has at least two to three apartments that are waiting to be renovated. There is no way to avoid the renovations monster, and it jumps at you out of the blue, just at the moment when you start to feel comfortable in your new apartment! 

These renovations go on for as long as six months, and the noise is incessant from early morning until evening. Count yourself lucky if they don’t continue into late evening or even until midnight.

Source: Iva PracevicSource: Iva Pracevic

Recently, I visited my friend living in a really nice area and we saw a house under renovation that must be setting a world record. Workers have been there every day for two years, and as far as I know, it’s not a home for wealthy politicians who need golden toilets installed

Since we moved into our apartment we’ve had no more than a total of one-month peace and quiet. All my friends have similar experiences.

I still have not spoken to the workers to gain insight into this matter. Why all the noise, and why do repairs drag on for months? Are they such thorough workers, or do they take long breaks? I promise to try to get to the bottom of this the next time I see a worker. Maybe I'll even join them in order to fully understand the problem!

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