A Shoe In

Sister and I went to Busan a few weeks ago. Mother tried loaning me a pair of her shoes, but when she saw how wide my feet are, she gave me a pair of Father’s sports sandals for the trip. The sandals I brought, which I thought were well broken-in, were giving me wicked blisters.


I brought one pair of sneakers and a pair of lightweight day hiking shoes I thought were comfortable. However, I realized that the very painful plantar faciitis I’ve been battling for months is either caused or greatly exacerbated by those shoes. Wish I’d realized this two months ago, when my problems started.


When Mother came to Good Man’s graduation last year, we went to the outlet mall together and Mother discovered Naturalizer shoes. Naturalizer shoes are twice as much here as they are in the States, so Mother made two orders one week apart for a total of four pairs of shoes. When I return to the States, I’ll send them to her.

A week after the second order, I was checking my email and realized she ordered one pair twice.

“Mother, you ordered two pairs of the same shoe.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Yes,” I said, showing her the emails, “Look.”

“Oh, that’s because I asked if you ordered and you said no.”

“You asked if I ordered shoes for me,” I said.

“No, that’s not what I meant.”

I started laughing, “Korean!” Of course this was an issue of Korean being a high-context language. “It’s OK, I can return it to the store.”

Mother switched to English, “I am terribly sorry.”


Today Sister and I attempted a trip to Nami Island. When we got out to Chuncheon, however, it was pouring buckets. We ended up coming home, eating, and napping. We spent approximately four hours of our day getting nowhere.

Although it was clear in Seoul, when we got home, our feet were sill soaking wet.

Hours later, my shoes were still wet and we wanted to go bowling. Mother pulled Father’s sneakers out of the closet. “Mother, those are too small,” I said.

“No, they’re not.”

I held the sole of Father’s shoe against the sole of my shoe. Sister laughed because it was obvious my shoe was far wider than Father’s. Mother said, “Oh my goodness, your feet are so big,” and took a pair of Good Man’s sneakers out of the closet. “He had these in the military.”

I put on Good Man’s shoes and we all laughed. Instead of having one finger-width of toe wiggle space, I had three. I was glad these weren’t his true width, too (he’s a EEE width). “It’s OK,” I said, “it will work.”

Sister and I tromped off to the bowling alley, my feet sliding forward in Good Man’s shoes the while time. “[Sister], [Good Man] has big feet.”


“But he is Korean. Where did he buy shoes here?”

“Ahhh, when he was younger, Mother had to take him to Itaewon to buy shoes. When he got older, he could sometimes find them in department stores. But normally we had to go to the places for foreigners.”

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