New Shoes, New Life

Hannah Chen


With the help of a new Canadian friend, Hannah and her son begin to feel at home in their new environment. Gradually, they expand their social circle and their world becomes more colourful. Hannah’s high heels play a key role as a connection. This pair of high heels witness the development of a new friendship and a new life. This narrative responds to the question, “Why didn’t I bring my high-heeled shoes to start my new life?”


Autumn in Canada was so colourful and the sun was shining outside. I put on my pair of gray heels and went for a date with my best friend Josee. Those pointy, leather high heels were the first shoes that I bought after my arrival in Canada. They started my Canadian exploration tour and witnessed the process of my adaptation to my new life.

The global epidemic was serious when I decided to leave China and come to Canada. But I insisted on bringing my six-year old son with me. After all, it was a rare opportunity for him to increase his knowledge and expand his horizons. To accommodate my son’s things, I had to reduce my own belongings as much as possible. As for whether to bring a pair of high-heeled shoes, I was torn over and over again. High heels were a necessity in my work and life in China, whether it was a meeting, a presentation, or a party. But I finally gave up my heels as I thought I could buy new ones here.

When we arrived in Canada, we had no relatives, no friends, no social gatherings. We spent most of our time at school and in parks. Due to the pandemic, most of my classes and meetings were held online. No occasion to put on high heels. I didn’t rush to buy new heels until one day when I received a birthday party invitation from Josee, my first Canadian friend.

I got Josee’s invitation three weeks before her birthday. I was so happy to receive it. I thought going to a party would help me integrate into Canadian culture more quickly. But I was also a little nervous because it was the first time I was invited to a party with foreign friends. Apart from language barriers, there were also cultural differences. I didn’t know what to wear for this kind of party. Formal or casual?

I took out a dress that I had never worn since I brought it from China. I tried it on, but it seemed that there was something missing. Yes, high heels, which I used to wear to parties. 

Because I was not familiar with Windsor’s shopping malls, I had to turn to Josee for help. She agreed without hesitation and drove me to a mall. We searched store after store until we came across a pair of gray heels that fit me perfectly. Although the shoes are pointed, they are very comfortable on the ball of the foot. The height is moderate, and my feet don’t feel tired at all. I thought black might be more versatile, but they were out of stock. Josee thought gray would be more elegant. So, I bought this pair of shoes.

On Josee’s birthday, I made myself up delicately, put on a dark orange dress with a bow at the collar and paired it with these high heels. Josee was stunned. She said, “Hannah, I’ve never seen you wear high-heeled shoes. You’re so beautiful and totally different from usual. You look like a brand new you.” I really enjoyed that relaxing party. When I got home, I looked at my well-dressed self in the mirror. I seemed to be my old self, but it was like a new self. It was a confident self who had started a new life. 

Since then, I’ve made more and more local friends. My life is no longer boring. It has become increasingly rich. Josee drove me around to get familiar with Windsor shopping places, took me to taste local food, and invited me to her family parties. On weekends, we get together, discussing Eastern and Western cultures and share food from different countries. I have gradually integrated into the life here. I now feel the warmth and security of home. 

Hannah Chen is from China. To increase knowledge and broaden horizons, she and her son came to Canada at the height of the pandemic. It has been almost a year since their arrival. They like Canada very much, not only because of its beautiful scenery but also the friendly people.

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