As both a child and a teenager I traveled a lot with the dance company I trained and performed with. Most of that performing was what I would deem local, as in traveling within the state where we were based. Occasionally, that traveling took us to world wide venues, you know, like all the way to Canada. When I was sixteen the horizons expanded to this side of the pond as the company ventured forth to a Dance and the Child conference in Stockholm, Sweden. It was my first trip to the cultured and refined continent of Europe and I was smitten in every sense of the word. To me, it felt like every day I was waking and walking in storybook land, and I was utterly, helplessly in love with every moment of the experience.
We stayed (as only a company of 75 dancers under age 18 and their chaperones can likely afford) in youth hostels and the like throughout our trip. In Stockholm, the hostel was a decent distance from the Balletschool where we were in class and rehearsals each day which required a lengthy walk to and from the location morning and evening.
In between rehearsals and workshops and performances there was sightseeing for the group as a whole. In between the sightseeing there was sometimes some down time for all of us to explore or rest or play gin rummy and roll each other's hair in curlers. Whatever.
One particular afternoon with some down time on my hands I went for a walk. It was a lovely day and I was particularly longing to spend some time exploring by myself. I donned my shoes and began my adventure. I hadn't wandered very far from the hostel, when I encountered two (or was it three?) harmless looking young guys hanging out behind the hostel.
"Hallo." They said to me.
"Uh, hi." I said.
"You want to buy some shoes?"
"Huh? Some what? Did you say shoes?"
"Yes. You know... some shuuuus." One boy pantomimed inhaling a cigarette, you know of the funny kind, and then added:
"Make you feel good."
So, picture me, attempting to take this in, and while picturing thusly remember who I am, where I am from, and under which strict religiously conservative culture I was raised, and then try to stop laughing as you imagine me very ungraciously declaring that "NO! I DON'T WANT ANY SHOES! NO SHOES! NEVER!! NOOOOO SHUUUUUUUSSSS!"
With my shoes on.
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