Fancy Footwear

Nurdjana De Rijcke (+Video)


The purple high heels had been perfect for Nurdjana De Rijke’s life as a busy journalist in Holland. But when love brings her to Canmore, she discovers that gravel, steep hills, and ice are no match for her favorite footwear. She revels in the challenges of motherhood, but will she ever be able to wear her beloved heels again?


When I lie in my bed, I can see them collecting dust on the top shelf of my wardrobe. They’re a little too high up for me, so I have to stand on a milk crate to reach them. My partner made that top shelf so I could store them.  Throwing them out is not an option. 

Since moving to Canmore four years ago, I have tried to wear high heels only once. It turned out to be a near-death experience. I blame it on the combination of gravel, ice patches and steep hills.

Wearing fancy footwear is way easier in Holland.  Holland is flat. It hardly ever snows there. Most of the roads are paved, and there is public transport everywhere. You never have to walk very far to your location. In Canmore, I miss wearing my high heels.  But mostly I miss the occasions when I would wear them. That was when I was working as a TV reporter.

I said it was easy wearing high heels in Holland, but it was not easy when I went to the House of Representatives one time. Right in front of the building, one of my beige-purple heels got stuck between the cobblestones. I walked right out of my shoe. When I retrieved it, I hoped no one could see me. I went on to interview a politician about his use of social media.

I learned a lot about his strategies but mostly that he had no strategy at all. I remember the former Minister of Defense telling me he hardly knew how to turn on his computer, let alone start a Facebook page or tweet with his followers. I loved being a journalist and getting to know all these different worlds, researching all these random subjects, meeting new people, and asking them everything I wanted to know—for deadlines. 

My love life, on the other hand, was less exciting. I kept getting stuck in relationships with partners who didn’t want to commit. After another breakup with an irresponsible boy, I met this ‘real man.’ He was Canadian. We hung out for a couple of days. He visited me in Holland, and half a year later, I decided to find out if he was as perfect as he seemed. Management had cut the budget of the TV program I was working on, so it seemed like the perfect time to go. 

I moved to Canada on a Working Holiday Visa and hoped to find a similar job in Canmore. I’m not sure what I was thinking because this is an outdoor, active, tiny community with no television station. I learned a lot about yoga and healthy food but stopped reading newspapers. 

Then I had a little girl, and now I’m taking care of her. She is the most incredible thing that ever happened to me. But being a mom is more than a full-time job. It never stops. And at the end of the day, no groupies are standing in front of your door cheering you on because you managed to do the laundry and hold your baby at the same time. Parenting is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, yet there is not much recognition. 

Sometimes at the end of an exhausting day, I look at myself in the mirror–big bags under my eyes, clothes covered in puke and a teething cookie in my hair. Those are the times I wonder: I have two loves in my life, but what has become of me? Will I ever resume my journalism career? Will I ever wear those fancy shoes again? 

NURDJANA DE RIJCKE moved to Canada from the Netherlands to live with her Canadian partner, after they met on a climbing trip in Spain. After a successful career as a journalist in the Netherlands, she settled into a slower pace of life in the Canadian Rockies. She has a daughter and is expecting another baby.

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