Whilst debating what to pack last year in Portland, my friend Mike Whitcomb came by, who was visiting from Southern California. He and I have done a bit of hiking together, and he has lived abroad before. He was a wealth of ideas and support. Mike wanted to know what shoes I was thinking of bringing over, because I would need an array to support all kinds of activities. I pulled out the pairs I was considering, and he mulled them over, sharing both good and bad points about each.
Shoes=weight, so I was very particular on the pairs that I initially packed. I know I could buy shoes and clothes over here, but I wanted to save money for traveling, so I brought over what I planned on sticking with for a year. And I did! Yes I have purchased some souvenir clothing (t-shirts, etc…), but all the clothes I initially packed up I am still wearing. I do plan on leaving many bits of clothing behind because I am kind of sick of wearing most them! They have served their purpose at this point. My shoes, on the other hand, are still being debated on their worth.
These are my Australian Redback black boots. I use these almost exclusively for school, as they are comfortable to wear all day, as well as completely waterproof. I have taken them out for weekend excursions,but I do not want to scuff them up. They are most definitely going home with me as I love these boots.
These are my Clarks, which I also wear almost exclusively for school. I have taken them out on day trips as well. They are comfortable but I feel that they are expendable. They may not come home with me. On the other hand, they are the perfect work shoe. They may be a game time decision when it comes to packing for home. They do look very European, helping my feet fit in.
I bought these funky Merrill slip-on shoes for Europe. Mike did not think these were a good shoe to bring. Turns out, they are the workhorse for my feet! I have worn them in the pouring rain and the driving snow. They are completely waterproof and keep my feet very warm. They work well for rambles as well as for teaching. Of all my shoes they definitely have the most miles put on them, and I am glad I brought them. You can see some wax drops still on one shoe, left over from our torch carrying parade in Edinburgh. I want to take them home with me as they have many miles left on them, but they could be left behind if luggage space is an issue.
I had to bring some sandals, so I brought my Tevas. Turns out I have hardly worn them. The weather here just does not really bode well for wearing these a lot. If it is wet out, it is too cold for them. I did bring them to Spain, which was a good idea. They will come home with me as I wear them a lot in Oregon. I only have flip-flops left back in Portland, so I kind of need these shoes. I cannot wear these to work over here.
I bought these Adidas trainers a month or two before we came abroad. They make a good walking shoe for sure. BUT they are not waterproof. I wore them in the rain and my feet both got wet and cold. A great dry weather shoe for walking, but a nuisance if it is wet out. I keep them for weekend getaways, but if the weather looks dodgy they stay in my closet. I cannot wear these to work.
My Adidas running shoes. Worn exclusively for running. Alas, I wear these the least as never wear them casually. They will come home with me as they were not cheap (plus they are really lightweight).
Again, shoes=weight, so I have to think about which ones come home with me. I also have a pair of rubber boots (wellies) that I do want to bring home, but they are a bit bulky. I hardly wear them, but they are kind of cool and obviously work well in wet weather. I know for sure that some of my trousers, shirts, socks, and underwear will be left behind to clear some luggage room., but the jury is still out when it comes to my footwear.
Beginning the first week in July the whole family will begin to downsize what we have over here. Some toys will be given to friends. Books will be given away. Clothes will be sorted into “keep” and “donate” piles. The beginning of the end is in sight. It will be hard to leave, but we are going home to a lot of positive things that we miss.
The latest dinner discussion is what level of reverse culture shock we may experience.