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i’m going to start off by saying that my feet hurt.

i have a history of finding it rather difficult to buy clothing that is practical. even the word is just so boring. once when i was fifteen or sixteen, my family went skiing in vermont and i refused to wear or buy a proper coat. “they’re all ugly”, i declared. which, being that i was a teenager, probably sounded more like: “mom, ugh, i won’t be caught dead in this. god, get a clue”. or something equally as annoying and fraught with angst. so, i literally wore jeans and sweaters and i think i may have had a jacket of some type, but something you might wear of a cool evening in san diego, not something apropos to vermont.

this was over christmas and it was -40º (fahrenheit) with the wind chill factor. and i’m not even making that up because it was so long ago and i can. that’s really how cold it was. the first day we were there, they had even closed the ski lifts because it was too cold for anyone, even people wearing the proper attire, which i, as would soon be made clear to me, was not.

i made it outside and to the ski lift and as i got higher and higher, teeth chattering and lips blue, i had a realization of sorts. basically, i got to the top of the mountain, sat down and started crying. i seriously would have rather just sat there and died because there was absolutely no way that i felt i could make it down that mountain. it was just too cold. my mom somehow, god bless her, got me down the mountain and into the ski lodge, where i remained for the rest of the trip.

now, knowing that i’m from southern california, you might excuse this, thinking that i just didn’t know what “cold” meant, and you might have a point. i really, really didn’t have any idea what “cold” was like until that moment. however, unfortunately, that is just one story in a million (that i’m sure my mother would be happy to share).

in my “old age”, after countless moments like that one atop the mountain, i’ve  realized that i have to tell myself on the outset that i am searching for something practical, otherwise i will come home with a faux fur hooded coat down to my knees à la cruella de vil, like i did the first time i tried to buy a coat. what i should have bought was a colored peacoat – practical and cute. and this is what i’m slowly learning. that line between practical and cute. and i’ve gotten better, i really have.

that said, last week i went shopping for a pair of black boots that i could wear in the rain, but that weren’t rain boots. something nice looking and leather, but that i could walk around in as well. (this is all sounding quite practical, right? you can tell how much i’ve grown, right?) what i was looking for was what i called a “thirties heel”, ie a heel that a person of thirty-something would wear: not so short you could barely call it a heel (a “fourties heel”) nor high enough where my feet would hurt after an hour or two (a “twenties heel”).

i failed. completely and utterly. but the boots i bought are just gorgeous. and at least they are black, so, you know, at least i got something that i was looking for. they are also suede (that’s good for the rain, right?) and they most definitely have a twenties heel. but they are simply beautiful. there’s something about slouchy suede that i just can’t turn away from in a boot.

so, today i had two job interviews. not only were they my first job interviews in some time, they were my first ever in germany. i had no idea what to expect. but of course, i had new boots to wear! i planned my outfit last night, because i haven’t woken up at 6:30 in the morning in a long time (as in, ever, possibly) and i wasn’t sure if i was going to be able to function or not (and also just because i’m a geek like that). i even made my husband spray the suede protector on my boots, which completely stunk up the house and gave him a little bit of a headache. oops.

of course i had nothing to worry about. i have almost five years teaching experience now, which is a lot in the tefl world, and, frankly, i think i’m a pretty good teacher. but beyond all that, once you get an interview, you’re basically in. while my interviews were in english, a step up from most schools in barcelona, which were often conducted in spanish, they just looked at my cv and told me what classes they could offer and how much they’d pay. but i was still nervous.

and now i’m even more nervous because i have to start work on monday. teaching an actual class to actual people. i was always horrible at first classes, but now this is the first class in a new school, the first class in germany and the first class in over a year. i’m going to be totally shaking the first ten minutes. after that, i should be fine. but the first ten minutes i will be dying.

luckily today, during the interviews, i had other things on my mind. like my feet. and how much they were hurting.