Sole Sister:SUSIE
More than just a Pair of Shoes
A Blogger living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
 Susie's of Arabia


“Take a Walk in My Shoes”

I wore them so I would be comfortable. I had lots of walking through airports to do ahead of me and I wanted a pair of shoes that was easy to put on and slip off through security checkpoints or while on the plane. And even if my feet did swell while I was flying - as sometimes happens - this pair of shoes had an adjustable strap in the back. I had bought them at a local mall in Florida while I was out shopping with my friend Linda. They are a very neutral sandy beige color, quite plain, nothing flashy - like me!!! The best thing, of course, besides being one of the most comfortable pair of shoes I have ever owned, was that they were on sale - a bargain at about $30 US. At the time I bought them, I had no idea of where these shoes would take me - halfway around the world to a strange new land, a new life, a new chapter in my life.

I wore them for five days straight this time. First from Seattle to Fort Lauderdale. The next day, from there to Washington DC. The third day on to New York City, and then the day after that on the long flight to Saudi Arabia. Lucky for me, the flight was not full and there was an empty seat between me at the window and the man who was seated on the aisle.

It was a flight of firsts for me. It was my first time hearing a prayer called in Arabic over the intercom right before our flight took off. I was amused by the images on my individual entertainment center - how women's skin was blurred out on the American sit-com I watched. Another first was seeing a large open area in the rear center of the plane with plush red carpet on the floor and curtained off, providing a place for people to pray. A disconcerting experience happened on a trip back to the restroom while wearing only socks on my feet - several rows before I reached the restroom, the floor was soaking wet, as well as inside the restroom. There was water everywhere - splashed carelessly by people who washed themselves before praying. My socks were disgustingly soaking wet when I returned to my seat, and the flight attendant kindly brought me a new pair. By the time we landed, the transformation of the people inside the plane was amazing to me. From a colorful, normal looking group of passengers, they had morphed into men dressed in white sheets and women veiled in black from head to toe. I'm sure my eyes were as wide as saucers the whole flight - I was so excited I couldn't sleep at all on the 12 hour long flight.

The first step I took was, like many travelers, on the airport tarmac where we landed the next day. We boarded a bus to the terminal, where I went through Immigration and Customs without any incident. I collected my two suitcases - all that I had brought with me on my move halfway around the world - and walked around the corner, searching the faces of those waiting for some familiar ones. And there they were! My handsome husband and son. They had arrived a month earlier since my paperwork wasn't ready. Outside the terminal, the heat of that early October day felt like I had stuck my head inside an oven. My feet were in great shape when I arrived after that long trip... but not so for my ears. All those take-offs and landings of the previous several days had taken its toll. And one of the first things we did after my arrival was to go to a clinic because I had tremendous pain in my ears.

These shoes took me from my comfortable life as I always knew it, to a new life of the unknown - to a fascinating world I am trying to adapt to, learn about, and embrace. It hasn't been easy, but then I didn't expect that it would be. I still wear these shoes when we are going to be walking a lot, like down along the Red Sea, or at the mall, or down in Old Jeddah exploring the sights. I think they will always represent a lot more to me than "just a pair of shoes."

~ 5 Beautiful footprints: ~

single4now says:
at: Thursday, April 08, 2010 said...

MashaAllah. Beautiful story. Lovely shoes indeed! But now I'm also curious about how the plane looked with the curtains at the back. :D

angie nader says:
at: Saturday, April 10, 2010 said...

those shoes look so very comfertable!

Salma says:
at: Sunday, April 11, 2010 said...

Susie you have truly preserved those shoes all these years. I think I am way too hard on my shoes because they look nothing like that after a few months of wear, much less years later.

Thanks for sharing.

Susie of Arabia says:
at: Sunday, April 11, 2010 said...

To Salma - I just love the way you have set this all up with the Shoe Categories and the Names that you can click on! It looks really great, is SO interesting to see what everyone sent in, and I am so happy to be included as a part of this fantastic project. And by the way, some of the stitching on those shoes is coming loose, so I have semi-retired them until I have them fixed - they are worth saving!

To Single4Now - On the bigger planes, there are 2 aisles in the coach section, with seats on both sides, and then several seats in the middle of the plane between the aisles. In the very back before the lavatories, the last few rows (maybe 5-6 rows) in the middle section have no seats, and instead is just a large open space with plush carpeting. There are large Bedouin style curtains around this whole carpeted area, with an opening on either side for people to enter. Hope you can imagine what it looks like now.

To Angie - They ARE!!!

Aidarous says:
at: Thursday, April 15, 2010 said...

Masha allah Tabarakallah Beatiful shoes needs Beatiful foots


Copyright 2010 The Sole Sisters Collective Blog & its contributors. We work very hard on the many stories told here and all photos belong to the contributors, unless otherwise stated.

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