Maybe I should start with a disclaimer (otherwise whoever reads this might not understand why I’m so invested in shoe issues): At 5’10”, it’s nearly impossible to find shoes my size in
…Oh, maybe back in October, the Velcro strap on my black dress shoe lost its battle against the dusty debris of the village roads. It was a petty annoyance, but I quickly grow tired of bending down every few yards to put it back in place. The next time I was in the neighboring city, I came along a shoe repair shop and decided to poke my head in. The guy offered to fix it for 50 com (under 2 dollars), so I took a seat on the bench opposite him and handed it over. Had I thought it through ahead of time, I might have worn a separate pair so I could run my errands while he was working; but as it happened, I was bound to sit and wait. Nonetheless, through our small talk, we ended up finding a common connection through a newly married male teacher at my school. In the end, he waived the fee because he now considered it nothing more than a favor for a friend – what a guy. I remember thinking to myself that day about how humorous I found the entire situation. There’s no way, only a few months back, I would have imagined that managing to get Velcro replaced would make me feel so accomplished.
Well, wouldn’t you know, two weeks pass and then the other shoe lands me in the same predicament. Cherishing my little expeditions, I was actually kind of happy to be paying another visit to my shoe guy. This time, though, I just dropped it off and arranged to pick it up later on. At first, he told me he wouldn’t accept any payment…but a guy has got to make a living and after some insistence, he charged me 30 com. When I went back, his shop was closed for lunch, so I figured I would just wait until I came back the following week.
That week, my host mother mentioned that someone had asked her about my shoe. Figuring that I just wasn’t comprehending everything, because I found it hard to believe that anyone would be talking about my shoe, I let the comment slide. However, when I made my way back to the shoe shop, I was met with such a distressed expression. Apparently, he had sent my shoe with a taxi driver from my village, hoping to save me a trip. Again, I was astounded by his generosity/consideration and humored by the situation. He came out, looking for the taxi driver, but I assured him that this wasn’t the end of the world. Things here generally have their own way of working out and there’s no use in getting stressed-out.
Back in my village, I inquired about the comment my host mother had made a few days earlier and discovered that my shoe was now under the watch of one of my students (the taxi driver’s daughter). I had to cringe at the thought of that poor girl carrying around my not-so-dainty shoe in her backpack. Needless to say, she never found me at school, and the prolonged reunion continued. Eventually, the departure date for my trip to