28 Mar

“Payless shoes ain’t go no grip, make you fall and bust your lip.”

This childhood chant certainly didn’t lift my confidence as my yellow Payless tennis’ slipped and slid along the mud-caked mountainside. After trekking through a section of the Great Wall of China, my classmates and I were offered a challenge: All who dared could hike up the side of a nearby mini-mountain to watch the sun rise. I tossed and turned on the large rock-hard bed that I shared with my three bunkmates in the Chinese village. Why not I figured, finally allowing the fear of missing out of on a once in a lifetime opportunity outweigh my unease about taking a virginal stab at hiking.

At 4 a.m., beneath a moonless sky, the brave and idiotic followed a villager scampering up the mountainside. I have yet to determine in which category I belong. I quickly fell to the rear of the group and gasped as I realized that a single misstep could leave me tumbling into the depths. That certainly wasn’t in the description. It wasn’t pretty. Eventually, I realized my best bet for reaching the top was to get down on my hands and knees. But watching the sun rise on the outskirts of Beijing made it all worthwhile. On the way down, we literally slid with a stick in the mud like a makeshift dogsled, weaving between the trees and rocks until finally reaching the ground.

I still have my trusty Payless shoes. Today, their zingy yellow is tinged with gray and the left shoe is punctured with a small hole. But whenever I lace up the worn shoes to exercise or run a quick errand, I am reminded of my time at the top of a mountain in rural China. And remember that things are never quite what they seem: Never judge a shoe by its maker or a woman’s strength by her appearance. Strength lives in the heart.


4 Responses to “Payless”

  1. Dienna March 28, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

    I love Payless shoes. Granted, they wear out more easily than a more quality brand, but I love them regardless.

    Watching the sun rise in Beijing sounds like a wonderful experience.


    • lcooksmarketer1 March 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

      I love them, too. Especially since the new designers. Watching the sun rise in Beijing was absolutely magic. Made every step worth it.


  2. Mao's Army April 3, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    Anytime you write anything about China, you know you got my full support.


    • lcooksmarketer1 April 4, 2012 at 5:32 am #

      YESSSS! Trying to get all of the awesome memories down before they start to fade.


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