If you’ve read any of my (slightly rambling) post about my work on an archaeology site in Spain (here), you know I had the most amazing summer! I got really sunburned and dirty, I learned about a culture I knew nothing about, and I met people who I will always adore and never forget.
So what better time to get a tattoo, right?
I made the decision to get a tattoo of Pintia’s emblem– an archaic drawing of a wolf eating a piece of bread. (I swear that’s what it is. Although, sometimes if I don’t feel like explaining the history, I just tell people it’s a lizard playing tennis!) A few of us decided together to go into a nearby city to get them around a week before we were leaving.
In anticipation of getting a tattoo, I withdrew money from a local ATM (KEY POINT, here!). Yes, for those of you brilliant minds who already figured this out, I did that so my parents wouldn’t know what I was spending money on. (I always give them access to my accounts when I’m abroad, in case some crazy Taken scenario happens.)
Anyway, things went pretty smoothly: We all climbed in the van and drove to a nearby city, where we found a clean tattoo parlor. Our translators came with us and we had printed the images of the symbol, so everything was pretty clear.
The process was really not bad at all. On my hip (which is where I figured I could easily hide the tattoo), the needle just tickled and, in under and hour, I had an ink replica of the Pinta symbol permanently on my body. Needless to say, we were all pretty pumped! This amazing experience is now a part of us forever and, we bonded even more through the shared experience.
Now, you can probably guess this is not quite the end of the story!
A few days later, I called my mom back home in the US. This was only the second time I spoke with her during my stay, since we didn’t have much access to internet or phone service (and honestly, who would have wanted it!?). The only reason I was calling was to clarify my travel plans, since she and the rest of my family would not be in town when I was planning to fly back. Anyway, as you can imagine, the conversation did not go as I had planned. Instead, it went something like this:
“Hi honey! It’s so good to hear from you! How are you?”
“I’m so great! I can’t believe this is almost over.”
“I can’t wait to hear all about it!” [brief pause] “Hey, I noticed you took more money out of your account.”
“Yeah, we went into another city over the weekend.”
“And what do you have to show for this money?”
“Uh…” [Awkward silence in which I am trying to figure out what small fib I wouldn’t feel bad about saying.]
“Like a tattoo, maybe?”
“WHAT?! Mom! Why is that your first guess?”
“Well, did you get one?”
“Well… Yes… BUT HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT?!”
“Ha! I knew it! I was talking to my friend the other day and all of a sudden it hit me that you had just gotten one. I could feel it!”
Uhm… excuse me, what? She could feel it? I’m halfway across the world in a country she has never been in, with people she’s never met, and she feels it? I had no financial record of it happening, no internet to post any pictures or talk to anyone else… That’s some creepy-mystical-mom-senses there! It’s actually pretty impressive.
Anyway, no need to worry: There was a happy ending! No one disowned me. Nothing got infected. And I have never for a moment felt any buyer’s remorse, as people warned me I might. In fact, the only downside is that now I am obsessed with the idea of getting another one (another thing people warned me about). Looks like I need to go on another life-changing trip…