Yes, that’s right, I said, “Shoes”. I know, you thought you were reading a blog about expatriating to Panama…but I happen to think my adaptation to very different shoes is relevant to my subject matter…really! So, this morning I was walking up to our little casita, prepared to do some work with Scott. As I was walking up the hill… and, when I say,”up the hill”, I mean up, up, up the hill… we are in the mountains, remember? Ahem… Like I was saying…As I was walking up the hill I looked down at my hiking boots and I thought to myself ,”my how my wardrobe has changed”. My hiking boots used to be something I would put on my feet only once in a great while. Back when we were living in the Silicon Valley, working our butts off to afford to live there, we had very little time for a hiking. Once in awhile we’d carve out a Sunday afternoon hike at Castle Rock State park or we might take a long weekend and go to Yosemite and do a little hiking. But those boots, which I’ve had for several years, are finally beginning to look well worn, and let me tell you, before we moved, those poor hiking boots hadn’t really gotten much use at all. I can remember wiping the accumulated dust from them a few times when I dug them out for a hike. And they never really felt especially comfy, but, nowadays, my hiking boots are a daily wardrobe choice for me . Just this morning I was marveling to myself, (cuz’ I do a lot of “marveling” these days!)… I was marveling to myself, about just how comfy my boots are now that they are an everyday footwear choice for me. Very different style choice from what I used to wear to the salon everyday for nearly 30 years.
Let’s be real, I’m not in Los Altos anymore…my daily walk to the salon , through my neighborhood was about as flat as could be, I really never even broke a sweat walking to work. My walk to work here is just about as different as it could be. I walk up a very steep hill and then through lots of mud this time of year, given that it’s the rainy season, and through a very jungly, lush area to our property. There are no sidewalks or paved roads to my future home. So my cute little strappy sandels or my leopard patten-leather clogs just don’t do it! No, I have about three or four different types of footwear that I seem to gravitate towards now that I’m living in the highlands of Panama, in Boquete. Depending upon what my plan for the day is I either choose my flip flops, my crocks, my hiking boots, or my Keens.
If I’m cruising around town, running errands I usually go for my Keens. They are comfy and safe. I learned my lesson last November….I NEVER wear flip flops outside of the house or the beach! Nope! Remember my little ankle injury? Oh, I do! And I had those damn flip flops on when I fell! Yep! Bad idea to wear such unstable shoes in a place where you just never can be sure what the terrain will be like in any given area. Walking through downtown Boquete one must be very conscience of one’s feet at all times. The sidewalks are riddled with pot holes and all sorts of unexpected debris or big uneven spots so you just have to be ever so careful as your walking around. And having on good, safe, comfy shoes is a must around here. I really only ever wear my flip flops around the house or at the beach.
When I’m up at our property walking around I’ve made the mistake many times of wearing the wrong shoes (insert eye roll here!). For some reason, I don’t know why it is, but it never fails, when I have on open sandals and not my hiking boots I somehow end up looking down at my poor little exposed feet only to find that I’ve been standing on a huge ant hill!! F!@k!!! Yep! Yes, you heard me! And my feet are covered, I mean COVERED, in these mean little hormigas (ants) that bite like hell!! I don’t know why I’ve managed to make this mistake on more than one occasion , I guess It takes me a while sometimes to really learn my lesson (Mariah, I don’t know where you get it from!) HUMPH! So, hiking boots or rubber rain type boots are the appropriate footwear when your tromping around in an undeveloped area here in Panama. You just need to be very careful not to step on or near critters that could cause you to say the F-word! I mean, sheesh! Its just not very ladylike! Hah!
I used to love shoes! Seriously, I owned way more shoes than I ever really needed to own. But, in my defense, (as though I need a defense ! Pffft!), I was on my feet all day long! For 8 to 12 hours I was up, walking , standing, and never spending too much time sitting down. And, there was, of course, the necessity to attempt to be an example of the latest trends in fashion, given my chosen profession as a stylist! So, shoes are an essential element when attempting to look the part of a fashonista. A girls gotta have cute shoes with her stylish outfit…righ? I mean, it’s the finishing touch that really pulls it all together after all! Uhhuh! I know of what I speak! Heaven forbid I would have been seen in public in a pair of those hideous Crocks when I lived in Los Altos! Nope! My phone would have been ringing off the hook with cancellations! Who wants to go to a hairdresser who wears shoe’s like that? Pfffffft! But now…because I’m a ‘retired’ gal, (oh boy, that still sounds so strange…”retired”!) and don’t give a crap about my footwear being stylish, I love those darn Crocks! I know…they’re ugly…but who cares what you think! I”m living in Paradise, don’t have to go to work everyday… and who’s looking at my shoes these days? Hah!
Well….truth be told…I’m pretty sure all my stylish friends in the salon and many of my former clients are very likely horrified by this confession. Don’t worry too much, I’m not completely letting myself go! It’s true, I have not gotten my hair done by a hairdresser since moving to Panama. I can keep my hair mostly trimmed up myself, and looking like it always looks, curly! And, here’s a lovely truth… did you know that I haven’t put on one stitch of make up since moving here? I know!! It’s true! Hah! Shocking, I know! But how liberating it is for me to just be me. No pretense, no concern over how I’m ‘supposed’ to look, just being me! So, one thing I’ve kept up is… I’m still keeping that gray hair covered up, thanks to Natalie, who keeps we well supplied with hair color. So, you see, I do still have a touch of vanity hanging in there!
I don’t mean to sound as though I haven’t a care in the world about my appearance, thats not true. I just have a much different perspective about what’s important to me nowadays. I never really bother with any worry at all about what’s trending and what I ‘should’ be wearing. I don’t pay any attention at all to what’s in style! I don’t even care what’s in style for the first time in my adult life! I just wear what’s comfy and my shoe choices depend upon the walking terrain of the day. I do love to wear cute clothes, don’t get me wrong, and it matters to me how I look, but the change that I’ve personally experienced is that my outward appearance is no longer so dependent upon what others think, but about what makes me feel good. If primping in front of the mirror, making my hair just so and putting on makeup, every single morning before I left the house made me feel good, I would still be doing it. If buying new clothes all the time , like I did in my old life, was something that was fulfilling to me, I’d be doing that too.
There was a time in my life when those were things that were a big part of who I was and It made me feel good to do them. But I’m on to something different nowadays. Not to say any of those things are things I look down on or see as unnecesary, I’d never say such a thing. I’m simply in a very different place in my life at the moment and realizing that I’ve been living in my hiking boots and that they’re suddenly very comfy made me ponder that fact today. That and the fact that I was stunned to realize It would soon be time for me to go buy a new pair of hiking boots! I think this pair are only the second pair I’ve ever had in my life! Hiking boots are something in my footwear collection that don’t normally wear out too fast! Not anymore! I may even buy two pairs! A light brown and a dark brown, that way I can mix up my shoes to go with the different shades of denim I decide to wear on any given day! Hah! I hear its all the rage! Haven’t you seen the magazines lately? I mean….sheesh, a girls gotta have just the right shade of Brown hiking footwear! Come on!