Friday, December 11, 2009

The End of an Era

I came to China over 3 months ago, but until today I felt like I had still been living with one foot planted firmly in America. Two feet, sometimes. I didn't want to cut ties with the things I left behind, but sometimes you outgrow things that you love, and you have to abandon them because they're holding you back. I hated to do it, but I made the decision to move on. One step at a time.

I bought new shoes.

Let's take a moment to remember my old shoes, which I purchased in Mexico almost a year ago and have worn faithfully ever since.


My old shoes, Hootie (l.) and The Blowfish

Hootie and TB replaced Gene and Grace Kelly, another pair of black and white vans that I had owned for approximately a year before that. Those replaced a pair of black vans (DuBois and Booker T.) which I bought Freshman year. Before that, in what would prove to be a brief flirtation with nonconformity, my vans were brown.

I've been looking to replace the ol' Fairweather Johnsons for the past few weeks, but finding shoes that I liked seemed pretty much impossible. I spent a couple of hours going around to malls in the area, and all I was able to find were bright white sneakers and sk8er shoes made for and/or by the blind. Last week, though, Gus saw an ad in the paper for a new shoe store opening up in Guangzhou, and so last weekend we tried to go and see what they had. As it turns out, we accidently went to the wrong address and ended up at their corporate headquarters rather than at a store.

(The people there were very nice and printed out directions to the actual store location, which was in a totally different part of town. The only strange part of that experience (other than walking into an office building and attempting to buy shoes) was when one employee walked by and asked if we could speak Chinese. We said, yes, we could, a little, and then she laughed and walked away. Interaction managed!)

Today we finally got around to going to the actual shoe store, located on Guangzhou's historic Beijing Rd. It was a fairly good shoe store, actually, and it had a Vans section. I headed straight over there and asked to try on a pair of (black and white) vans, and the man asked me what size I wanted, and I told him and then he said that the biggest size they had was an 8 1/2. An 8 1/2 is way, way too small for me. Basically the only way I could fit into an 8 1/2 would be to have the bones in my feet systematically, rituatlistically broken over the course of several years before my sexual maturation.

So I couldn't get Vans, but I really needed new shoes, so I bought vastly inferior Converses, though I am glad that they are like my old shoes in certain ways: black and white, low-cut, and completely lacking in arch support. Some things should never change. Love will find a way.