Roasted

The answers took forever and she was already a mess by the time they told her she didn’t have to take care of some of that money. Even if she had to pay something she didn’t even know existed, it was less and with the help she was going to get from the job center, she could afford it. So now the only thing left was the last appointment and to figure out what was the meaning of that letter that seemed to be taking back all said before.

That Friday morning she took the bus that headed to the office again. Nervous, a bit sick and still shaking she waited for her stop to arrive. S+U Wittenau, U Rathaus Reinickendorf and finally, Miraustraße. She got off the bus, walked half the block and stood in front of the building. Taking a deep breath and letting it go she walked in and looked for the one girl that speaks English over there (or at least she tries to).

-This letter always confuses everyone. Don’t worry, you will get the help we said last week. Now, about the flat.. are you going to keep living with your ex as your new roommate?

She swallowed her inmediat tears and explained she would love to keep the flat and find a new roommate. Even if that meant having to see him again (this time taking the furniture) and living on the floor until she got her own things. To be honest, she was exited and lighted up with this tiny new hope of really moving on. Only thing she needed was the job center’s approval and after that… free.

-We will review it and let you know during the week. But at least for now you have half of the rent provided. Remember, only for a few months so you need to get a job as soon as possible.

The last appointment was done and in a few days she was going to be sure how to keep going. But for now, sunshine, picnic and some girls love was waiting for her at Mauerpark.

So that’s my queue. A long, warm and beautiful day was ahead of us and there’s no better cure for a heartbroken and the craziness that life can give us than friends, nature and long, long talks… even if it means you’ll end up not tan, but roasted.

Money Monster

Day after day, the sad songs started to become just songs and not a living memory of everything she had lost. She was healing very, very slowly… but she was. Nights weren’t nightmares anymore and now she was able to actually rest. To turn off the lights and not cry of loneliness. To go to bed and not try to find him there.

Either way, she new nothing was truly done yet. All the furniture in the flat wasn’t hers, she had no clue when, or if he was going to come back and he even had a pair of keys to get inside that apartment anytime. For now, she was just waiting for the final appointment with the job center. There was some kind of contract to sign for her to receive the money and also, she was going to ask if she could move out or keep the flat for herself. Knowing she was still roommates with the guy that broke her wasn’t exactly a good thing for her well-being right now.

She woke up minutes after the came out like every morning, showered, then prepared her mint tea, grab some cookies and sat in front of the notebook to continue her routine of trying to find a job. Indeed, Zalando, Berlin Startup Jobs, The Local, Craigslist (you will definitely find some weird proposals there too) and even Betreut were the regular tools. And so far things were looking fine, already six interviews lined up and every candle she could light for luck.

Her new friends were taking her out every time they could and that was keeping her mind away from all the sadness she couldn’t completely shake off. She had already two big groups of relatively close friends and some girls climbing up to the actual title. Things were fine… or so she thought.

Waiting for her at the mailbox were three letters, one from the job center and the other two referring the flat. The first one was a really complicated to understand explanation about how the flat was too expensive for the job center to pay, and the other two combined were a 600 EURO debt. She felt how the pieces she had put back together in her heart fell apart all over again and in seconds strong palpitations took over her. How on earth was she going to pay that? And most important, how did THAT happen?

The following hours were stressful to the point of tears. Her mind had completely betrayed her and put her in places she didn’t even want to be. More lies? Could it be? She had learned he wasn’t who he said he was, but to leave her, kind of move out and then not reply any of her “what the heck is this?” texts? No way… he just, couldn’t be that bad. But her experience coming from a country of thieves and liars, kept generating all kind of thoughts and adding more and more anxiety to her body.

Burning bridges

That first night truly alone was more painful than expected. Everything was seriously real now. He was gone and despite everyone agreed it was for the best, she still loved him (or at least she loved the lie she was living in). The last threads of hope she was holding on to were dead with no ashes to fire them up again. It was true… all painfully real.

She stared at the desk were some of the things he left behind layed peacefully, and that feeling of survival you get after days of drowning in tears bursted out. If she was planning on being happy again she needed to stop that and the best way of doing it when she was alone in that flat was to put away all the things that reminded her of him. Time and effort was going to heal her and one day, those things would only be things but for now, they were poison. 

She put music on as loud as the neighbours would allow and started hiding away the toothbrush, some clothes, the childhood teddy bear, perfumes, hair products, papers… everything that belonged to him except for the furniture of course, as awkward as it was, she needed that. As soon as it was finished she continued with cleaning every corner and ‘purifying’ every surface. Good arome and not a single molecule of dust was also giving her the feeling of ‘starting over’. More than a few songs later she stood up in the living room contemplating ‘Theo’ and ‘Spike’ (yes, she names her plants).

-I’ll be alright. I can do this. We just weren’t meant to be… and despite you have no clue why he left you’ll get over it. You have to get over him. Come on! You owe it to yourself!

She smiled to herself, knowing that Spike and Theo (if they could talk) would have agreed. It was time to burn the bridges that lead to him and his fake love.

It’s all coming back

She knew she was getting better. Her family and all her new and old friends were helping her step by step. Talking for hours with Skype or WhatsApp. Making her meet new people. Taking her to picnics. Keeping her mind out of everything. And with a lot of strength, it was working. She had been smiling for days now. Doing her best at looking for a job and even getting some interviews for possible positions. But, to be able to heal, she used the situation of having to see her ex everyday as a motor to move forward. She started opening her eyes and seeing that perhaps they truly weren’t meant to be and that all the tiny little fights may have had a bigger background. So now that she new he was leaving… the fear of walking back those positive steps was worrying her a lot.

And so there she was… looking at him while he packed his bags to leave, possibly, forever. The feeling that swam in her bloodstream was weird. A mix of happiness, pain, fear, melancholy. Not knowing what to do or how to react seemed to be something normal those days. But what could she say?

He looked happy and ready to be gone for good. Ready to give up on that life he once said was all he wanted. So sure about everything. So… not broken. On one had she was happy he finally showed a genuine smile on his face after all that time with depressive behaviors, but on the other hand… that smile was thanks to not having her anymore.

What did she do so wrong? He even told her she’s perfect and she’ll always be, but then why was he giving up on her.

-Don’t worry for the flat and all my furniture. You can have it for a time. I’ll let you know if something changes.

And the door closed behind him. He was gone. On his way to his parents and to trying to keep that smile he now had.

She exploded in tears and memories of everything they shared. Every piece of that flat was full with memories and treasureable moments. She started feeling weak and fragile, all that pain she had been working so had to heal… it was all coming back.

Good Day Sunshine

The day had come and she needed to head back to the job center to present all the papers she had been told. This time her companion was going to be her ex boyfriend and she couldn’t be more uncomfortable about it. 

You know, apparently is convenient to loose your job and the love of your life the same day and so you need a proof that those things actually happened. A proof of how broken and trying to put yourself back up you are… and what better proof than the one person who caused the heartbreak. 

The situation was, for sure, more awkward than she could imagine. Last time they were together on a bus (and this was a little more than a week ago) they were smiling at each other and holding hands. Now, she had to pretend to be okay and hold on. Hold on to the promise of getting over him. To the hope of moving on. 

She tried not to look at him. Not to see how the sun made his blonde hair brighter or how his eyes were greener than ever. Evidently she wasn’t doing a good job. He was so beautiful to her eyes she just couldn’t help it.

But how disappointing it was to see someone you thought was perfect in many ways… be so different. So… not who she fell in love with.

They arrived to the appointment a few minutes early and like on the bus, they tried not to talk to each other. Easy job for him I have to admit.

Finally her name echoed in the room and her heart started to jump with hope and fear and excitement and anxiety. This ‘about to happen’ conversation was going to define her next moves.

-…this means we will help you financially and also to get a job until October -said the lady behind the desk with a wide smile.

She couldn’t believe it. That meant she wasn’t trapped under the mercy of that guy she was trying to forget. She felt free, calmer… even, even happy!

Now she only needed to put some boundaries between her ‘flatmate’ and her. After that, she could start over. Let go of all the pain and move on. Focus on her and her goals. On her heart and health. 

-I’m leaving for a while -he interrupted.

-What?

-You’ll have the flat for yourself. I don’t know when I’m coming back.

More good news in one day? She felt she was going to explode of excitement. Finally, after a bit more than a week of tears and picking up pieces of her broken heart, things were getting better.

Taking a walk down memory lane

Finally some food she could keep in her sistem, a mint tea to ease her soul, a long talk with her beloved family and everything seemed fine. 

She scaped from the pain for a while and went back to those memories that made her happy. Those summer mornings she and her sister would get up as early as possible to get inside the tiny little pool they had. The Saturday visits from their grandparents she missed so much. The Sunday meals with the family. The afternoon beers in the garden. Her sister laughter, her mother’s hugs, her dad’s jokes… she needed them so badly. And she couldn’t go back. Life was even harder back there.

Reality stroke back with the sound of the bedroom door opening. He was awake, smiling at her like nothing had happened, acting like they were always friends and no kiss got in the middle. Like he never said “I love you” or cuddle her to sleep. 

-Morning -he said as he walked to the kitchen.

-Morning -she replied faking enthusiasm.

She needed to go. Right there, right that second. Looking at him so happy without her was torturing. Knowing she ment nothing to those bright eyes once looked at her and marveled. How could he? How could he stop loving her in such short time?

And so she left again. To spend a beautiful day away from all that. To enjoy nature and the company of some “GGI” girls. Peace, for at least a few hours.

A trip to the Job Center

So there she was, face to face to one of her biggest fears… the letter of “friendly letting you go from the office” had arrive and with it, the responsibility of listing herself as unemployed (and heartbroken) in the Job Center.

Wasn’t the fact that she had no where to go enough? Wasn’t the fact that she had to keep living with the one person she thought was the love of her life and now he didn’t love her, enough? Now she had to go somewhere with her head down and officially say “I am broken”. 

And so there she was, standing at the entrance of a building that would define her next moves. With a bag full with papers and documents she was told to bring (the letter, the Anmeldung, the contract of the flat she once adored, her passport, the insurance card and her bank details). Walking side by side with a French girl who was kind enough to offer her help with the translations.

After a asking around they figured they had to go to the 5th floor and wait there for their number to be called. Both knowing it could take a while since they didn’t have an appointment. But half-hour later they were inside an office explaining to the person who types the information down her unfortunate situation.

During this process, to ask questions will make the person in front of the desk anxious and upset. They definitely don’t like questions. But either way she got a few answers and by the end of the interview she had already a lot papers and forms to fill out and the indications to go to another floor to wait for the second interview, this one, with the person responsible for helping find another job.

The waiting time for this one seemed longer but she knew it wasn’t. No one was assuring her she was going to get the help she desperately needed and that was making her loose her mind. She was already trying really hard not to cry every second of the day. Struggling with keeping the tiniest piece of food in her stomach and fighting her urges of staying locked up at home feeling sorry for herself. Getting up was a challenge and a hard one to be honest. You know how it is when you are sad, how your body feels weak and fragile, how the simplest things can turn out to be unbearable… like smiling or believing your life will go on. But moments like this are the ones that define you. How you react is the reflection of how strong you are. Because that’s what they are… moments. Moments in a life that is not over yet.

Suddenly, her name eccoed in the hallway. It was time for the second interview. The French girl stood up fast, you should meet her, she’s so full with good energy. Contagious even when joy seems a distant, close to impossible thing. 

This time questions were welcomed and answered slow and calm so translations could take place. She was asked for her work experience, her health, her money situation and of course, the reason she was there that day. They explained the process of job selection and asked her to sign a contract agreeing with very logical terms like actively look for a new job and apply for the suggested ones or let them know in case of sickness. And by the end of the interview she had another big pile of forms to fill up, an amazing amount of information dancing in her mind, a new appointment for the next week and still no certainty of getting financial help.

Overwhelmed and right at the edge of loosing the battle with her tears, she said goodbye to her new friend and waited for the bus that was going to take her to that flat that used to be the happiest place she had. 

Minute by minute, sadness started taking control and suddenly there she was… standing at the entrance, tears falling, battle lost.

Girl Gone International

Less tears and more thinking. Hours of talking with the two most amazing parents had calm her a little, but not enough. Her life was still a mess and she needed a clear head. But how, how to stay calm with all the strong emotions she had the night before. If only her best friend (and only sister) was there with her. She would’ve known what to do.

And so she realized, her sister would’ve found shelter in her friends and family. She would’ve use that love to remain strong and to stand up once again.

But she was miles away from all that. An ocean apart and virtual communications weren’t enough this time. She needed that physical support and comfort only a hug can give you. That encouragement a friendly shake can provide.

Without thinking it twice, she asked for help in the girls group she had join on Facebook. A community of girls that also left home and took a leap of faith. Girls that jump to the opportunity of helping a sister. Girls that love and support unconditionally even if they don’t know each other. Girl that, like her, were living in Berlin.

And she went from sitting in the couch crying like a baby, to laughing at the cinema. From feeling sorry for herself in a room that once held two lovers and now felt like a nightmare, to an inspiring tea time in Westberlin bar&shop that landed in a nice dinner. From being lost and unemployed, to having an amazing girl backing her at the Job Center.

Soon she was less alone, less incomplete, less broken. Girl Gone International had save her from herself and now she was ready to take the many, many steps of moving on.

A Series Of Unfortunate Events

You are probably wondering why my first post has such a positive, lucky charm name. Perhaps Lemony Snicket comes to mind. Or maybe you just don’t care. But either way I will go on with the first chapter of this story and I am quite sure you will understand at the end.

Once upon a time, there was a dreamy little girl, (with a few extra years in her ID) who thought her life was going to be no more than that, dreams. She was positive she was being mocked by that funny thing known as “good luck”.

Year after year her big, huge, enormous efforts were crashed or rewarded with small accomplishments that didn’t cease the hunger for more. This girl wanted success, a career, to know places, to be loved, to have tons of friends, she wanted all (stingy much?).

But one day, out of the blue, she met a guy from across the ocean… and let’s cut to the chase, they fell in love (woohoo). A happy relationship started right there on the spot. So, after a few months of texting and calling (and let’s be honest, a few weird pics in the middle too) they decided their love was too unique, too strong, too beautiful to let the sea be in the middle, and against all odds she left everything behind and run to his arms.

What a romantic story right? Here’s where the movie ends with the “and they lived happily ever after”, but let’s come down from our cloud and be real for a moment, because that’s not the kind of story I want to tell you. Life isn’t as easy as we want it to be, everyone knows that. It has changes, challenges, obstacles, and so many, many things that can make you angry or sad, desperate or devastated. But life is also about those little things that make us happy, is about taking chances and risks, getting somewhere, fighting for what you want… and this two, this two did just that.

Blindly, she followed her heart and started living in the other side of the world with this specimen of human being she was so madly in love with. And she was happy… for a while.

Living with someone is a really complex thing. Everything about the other person can click with you or drop water to your already fried wires. Just think about it, the noises, the way each person decorates, the music, the different work hours, the snoring. So many things to understand (more like, tolerate) about each other, so many things that can generate discussions or resentment. Basically, so many reasons for a young relationship moving too fast to be destroyed.

If I said that the first weeks of living together were nice ones for this lovebirds, I would be lying. Perhaps it was the distance, or the fact that they didn’t know each other that well, but as soon as they started sharing a roof, things started to go down like a meteorite. She realized he was an excellent liar and he that she was an insecure scary cat. She showed to be hard on her grown up opinions and he too young to even consider them. She started trying way to hard to be loved and he, well… he couldn’t.

Loosing him was a nuclear bomb to her heart. She felt like she was loosing half of her soul, her strength, her will, her “everything”. A thousand questions like why, or how started dancing in her mind making the incredible amount of tears come out and out. She loved him, she loved him so much it hurt, and now he was gone, stained with the words that opened the wound on her heart. Words that, when you love, you hope you will never, ever hear. Words that can cause an unaccountable pain and tear you apart. “I don’t love you” after so many moments shared, so many promises made, so many kisses and cuddles. He had broken the bubble, the shell that covers two people that love each other. That fragile but beautiful layer of happiness that surrounds them and makes everything so perfect.

And then, exactly when she thought it couldn’t get worse she got the call of “we are cutting down personal and sadly we have to let you go”.

Broken, scared and lonely she had to figure out what to do. She had nothing back home but the unconditional love of her family that yes, is wonderful, but you can’t eat love. No job, no house, no money. Living in a strange country, with a language she did not speak and a culture she did not understand.

I’m sure you now understand the title of the post.