Summer slippers

2 Jun
Our new summer footwear

Our new summer footwear

One of the changes that I have noticed in myself since I moved to China is in regards to my footwear.  Growing up, I was never a slipper person – I ran around barefoot in the summer and in socks during the winter.

When I moved to China over five years ago, that all started to change.  Not having central heat meant that in the winter the floors were icy and there is no carpeting to warm your feet in the morning.  Plus, when anyone comes into your apartment, they start to ask if they need to take off your shoes.  All of the apartments I have lived in here have had a special shoe rack, drawer or cupboard right by the door which facilitates the practice as well.  Hotels (even the economy ones) give you a free pair of slippers to change into in the room.  It’s not a bad practice.

So, I’ve started to adapt.  I have purchased winter slippers and summer slippers.  I know that summer slippers should be open toed and have a bamboo or plastic interior, while winter slippers are more for warmth and ankle coverage is the ideal.  When I had my big Thanksgiving party last year, I counted to make sure that I had enough slippers for all guests.  I like the fact that my shoes are by the door – it’s convenient and keeps the house cleaner, especially during Shanghai’s rainy season.

My cleaning lady is convinced that not wearing slippers can cause illness – if I have guests who do not wear slippers she asks me if they are feeling ok.  It’s one of those strange differences between foreigners and Chinese people in her mind.

Expat Lingo (a blog that I follow regularly), recently did a post on just this fact – what is normal can change easily between cultures.  I had been thinking about writing about my slipper habit and that post pushed me over the edge.  To see her comic representation of “eastern” vs. “western” please click here.

What type of family are you?  Shoes on or shoes off?  Shoes off are you barefoot or slippers?  From my own experience, I find it is possible to change from one to the other – have you experienced such a shift?  What do you think of our new summer footwear at the beginning of this post?

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11 Responses to “Summer slippers”

  1. Every Day Adventures in Asia June 2, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Love your summer slippers! I remember how winters in Delhi required warm furry indoor footwear – brrr! But here in Bombay, while outdoor shoes go off at the door, I happily wander around home barefoot. And while we never suggest guests take off their shoes, during parties there invariably ends up being a rather massive collection of footwear to trip over at the door!

    • gkm2011 June 2, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

      Barefoot was always my mom’s preference growing up – but for some reason now it seems like there is always a layer of grit in the house – more of China’s pollution!

  2. ladyofthecakes June 2, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Aw, slippers! One of the blogs I follow wrote about this recently… and it seems that the Russias and the Chinese are in total agreement on the slipper issue 😉
    http://pollyheath.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/concepts-i-cant-grasp/

    • gkm2011 June 2, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

      Great post – you normally don’t hear about Russians and Chinese being in agreement, this is hilarious!

      • ladyofthecakes June 2, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

        Did you leave Polly a comment with a link to your post? She’d be most interested,I’m sure 😉

      • gkm2011 June 2, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

        I’ve been trying to – but each time I hit reply it takes me on a loop. Maybe the third time will be the charm?

      • ladyofthecakes June 2, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

        Blasted technology! There’s got to be a slipper in the works somewhere 😉

  3. expatlingo June 2, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    I’ve been going barefoot so far this summer, but I really need a pair like you just bought! Thanks for the mention 🙂

    • gkm2011 June 2, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

      Thanks for crystallizing my idea! The pink plaid got me though – I mean, talk about a fashion statement!

  4. Naomi Baltuck June 5, 2013 at 12:23 am #

    Very fun post. We are a shoes off, socks on kind of family.

    • gkm2011 June 5, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

      So you must go through a lot of socks! It is a small thing, but neat to see all the different definitions of normal.

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