Well today John and I went shopping for real for the first time. Mostly the first time. Alrighty… I better explain this.
I needed a new tote bag (aka purse) after about a month of living here. After a semi-intensive multi-week search, I located the perfect bag and proceeded to drag John to the store where we made our first non-food related purchase in China. However, I don’t really count this experience because we managed to avoid having to interact with the sales associates other than during the actual purchase.
Today, however, we went shopping and actually had to interact with the sales associates and ask them questions. It was an intimidating experience. And vaguely frustrating, but only because my small American feet are humongous here in China… as is the rest of me, at least in regards to height. But in the end, we were rewarded for our attempts to communicate. We were shopping for new shoes (for me) and new jeans (for John) and possibly a few other random items. On a side note, the rain has wrecked and ruined my moccasins (they are now slimy) and my tennis shoes (literally pulling apart). Well, the rain and the amount of walking I do. Anyway, we went looking for shoes. I am kinda, sorta really picky about shoes. I like a sleek shoe – no clunky sole. And I wanted comfortable, durable walking shoes that were also cute. Think Pumas. We started with the Puma store here in Changsha. To no avail. My gigantic feet were too large for the women’s shoes that they stocked (but only by 1 size!). And then we tried a few other stores. Also to no avail. Discouraged, we decided to just go find some milk tea and chill for a while. On our way down the street, we passed the free-standing Puma store and wandered in hoping that they might just carry extended sizes. And they did! Kind of… the shoes that I originally wanted, they stopped carrying at size 39. I wear a 40. But, they did have my second choice (red Puma speedsters) in a 40! Only because the men’s and women’s versions are identical, but still! Despite the fact that I now wear men’s shoes, I am excited! They are super sweet and will hopefully stand up to Chinese life a little better than my moccasins.
On to John’s jeans… these were actually much easier to find, and just as necessary as new shoes for me because he has tightened his belt 3 notches since we moved here (compared to only 2 notches for me :(). After having to do some quick mathematical calculations (darn inches into centimeters… stupid decimal places) in our heads, we found jeans in his size (he is also a giant here, although less so than I am in comparison) at Meters/bonwe. The sales staff was helpful (but not too helpful – they love to hover here) and understood our clumsy Chinese. After trying on a few pair, we made our purchase and began the trek home, stopping along the way for street food (which I promise I will post on soon!).
All in all… a somewhat trying, definitely scary, and totally worthwhile experience! And it now makes China feel just the smallest bit more like home… I think because I am doing more normalized activity, if that makes any sense at all. Ok, this is long enough. I’ll post pictures as soon as my internet connection is not so finicky!