“I don’t know anyone who breaks as many shoes as you do,” says my boyfriend, after I tell him that I broke my fourth pair of shoes this semester.
Which, may or may not be a valid observation. Studying abroad, aka traveling more than you most likely will travel in your entire life ever again within a three month timespan, takes a lot out of you, and a lot of out your… stuff. For example: I often find myself silently praying not that I have a safe flight or that the bus is on time, but instead that Please, PLEASE let my backpack make it, just one more week. That’s it. I promise I will stop drinking so much beer.
And it doesn’t stop there with my backpack. Mostly, this applies for shoes, since those (and, come to think of it, basically everything I own) cost less than $20 and has the quality to reflect that. Not only do I just happen to break many things, but I also walk a lot and get lost a lot and lose my stuff a lot. SORRY OKAY!
Anyway, the great thing about studying abroad is even though you started accidentally dressing like a gypsy, you’re basically a nomad anyway so it’s kind of acceptable. (“This ten-year-old backpack is so handy.” “This shoes with these ginormous holes in them are so comfortable and it’s easier to tell when it’s raining.” “I love this big ugly jacket that some idiot must have accidentally left in the dumpster.”)
Now that I only have two pairs of shoes left when I came here with literally like ten, everyone keeps telling me that I have a great excuse to buy some nice Italian leather to take home. But what I’m really thinking is I could get myself a really nice steak with that money instead, and I’m gonna need the space in my suitcase that those shoes would have taken up since I plan on taking home a hell of a lot of four euro wine.
Also, this thought process makes you see that things are just that- things. Italian leather boots are still just a pile of leather you’ll be sick of in a few months, and a beautiful patterned jacket is just something you’ll need when it rains. Instead, the only thing fashion matters for when you have no money and no space in your suitcase is if your Facebook pictures will still look okay so all your friends can be jealous of all the fun you’re having.
So now, when my shoes break at the airport during the security check I’ll actually be glad, because this means I can take out my spare pair and that’s one less thing I’ll have to carry on my back. Will I still look like a crazy bag lady when I get back home and have my wonderful closet back? Probably not. But for now, it’s kind of nice to jump in the mud puddles, get soaked in the rain, and leave clothes in the hostel that you’ve been wearing for a week straight.