This past six weeks I have been going a million miles per hour in hopes of squeezing out all I can from this beautiful country. Walking a million miles begins to take a toll on the tootsies!
I use the word ‘run’ loosely as I describe my half marathon race in Port Douglas. It was a success, but just barely. I lost all ability to walk after crossing the finish line. In fact, there is a picture of me with my friends at the finish and I am leaning on a post because I cannot longer even stand. Don’t get me wrong, I rocked that selfie like the “America’s Next Top Model”, but my full tilt lean wasn’t for the sex appeal in the photo, it was due to my in ability to have functional feet. I was able to waddle my way to the taxi with a steady pace; then, like a god from Olympus, the hotel doorman was able to drive us to our room with the fancy golf cart. Even standing in the pool was a struggle that day. Probably should have trained for that.
Three days after my 22km race, I found myself doing an 18km hike up the side of the Grampian Mountain range with 50 teenagers. Yikes! Turns out, kids are fast hikers! It was all I could do to keep up and keep on a ‘teacher smile’ to hide the bones crumbling in my feet. I had to be ‘peppy’ or the students would leave me for dead in a forest full of drop bears! Luckily tears look like sweat. I was sweating a lot.
Again, three days after I put on some serious kilometers, I found myself walking a short 2kms in the beautiful city of Adelaide to see the Christmas Pageant. I was a good girl and wore cute little shoes of soft leather and foam to match my cute little white and blue dress I picked out for the day. What I didn’t count on was the downpour of rain. My shoes quickly became saturated sacks of sandpaper that tore my feet to shreds. I looked like I had entered a wet t-shirt contest and….lost. I ended up walking all the way back barefoot just to spare my feet, then was rewarded with blisters on the bottoms of my feet as well. I am a mess. The first you just smile and shake your head at.
I have worn flip flop thongs to school this week. I have received a few funny looks for it as well. But they are the only shoes I can fit on my swollen, blistered, and battered feet. I even tried to paint the toenail pink in hopes of hiding the horror. No luck. My poor feet look like they got in a fight with a food processor and lost.
So why punish myself like this? Because I am getting to spend time with people I call friends and adopted family. You see, each kilometer is spent with someone I care about. I am not just grinding up a mountain, I am spending time with my beloved students. I am not just racing, but laughing with my dear friends. I am not just waddling in the rain, but I am creating memories with my new global family.
What have we learned boys and girls? Pain is temporary and memories are forever.
My soles will heal and will always be funny part of the beautiful stories I will share with so many beautiful souls. I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more just to be the one who walks a thousand miles to spend a moment with those I love.