Money Monster

Day after day, the sad songs started to become just songs and not a living memory of everything I had lost. I was healing very, very slowly, but I was. Nights weren’t nightmares anymore and now I 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, I knew nothing was truly done yet. All the furniture in the flat wasn’t mine, I 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 at any time. For now, I was just waiting for the final appointment with the jobcentre because there was some kind of contract to sign for me to receive the money and also, I was going to ask if I could move out or keep the flat for myself. Knowing I was still roommates with the guy that broke my trust (and heart) wasn’t exactly a good thing for my well-being at that moment.

I woke up minutes after the sun came out (like every morning), showered, prepared my mint tea, grab some cookies and sat in front of the notebook to continue my 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 I could light for luck.

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

Waiting for me at the mailbox were three letters, one from the Job Center and the other two referring the flat. The first one was 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. I felt how the pieces I had put back together in my heart fell apart all over again and in seconds strong palpitations took over me. How on earth was I going to pay that? And most important, how did THAT happen?

The following hours were stressful to the point of tears. My mind had completely betrayed me and put me in places I didn’t even want to be. More lies? Could it be? I had learned he wasn’t who he said he was, but to leave me, 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 my experience coming from a country of thieves and liars kept generating all kind of thoughts and adding more and more anxiety to my 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, I still loved him (or at least I loved the lie I was living in and the person I thought he was). The last threads of hope I was holding on to died with no ashes to fire them up again. It was true, all painfully real. He was a liar, and I was alone, in Berlin.

I found myself staring at things again, this time, the desk were some of the things he left behind laid peacefully and then it stroke me. That feeling of survival you get after days of drowning in tears, burst out. If I was planning on being happy again I needed to stop that immediately. Only time and effort were going to heal me completely and one day, those things would only be things but for now, they were poison and no, I was not going to let that break me.

So I grabbed some boxes, turned the music on as loud as the neighbors 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, I needed that. As soon as it was finished I continued with cleaning every corner, purifying every surface and redecorating all I could. Good aroma and not a single molecule of dust were also giving me the feeling of starting over. More than a few songs later I stood up in the living room contemplating Theo and Spike (yes, I name my 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 this. Come on! You owe it to yourself!

I smiled, 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

I knew I was getting better. My family and all my new and old friends were helping me step by step, talking for hours with Skype or WhatsApp, making me meet new people, taking me to picnics, joining me on strolls around the city, keeping my mind out of everything, and with a lot of strength, it was working. I had been smiling for days now. Doing my very best at looking for a job and I even got some interviews for possible positions. But, as crazy as it sounds, to be able to heal, I was using the situation of having to see my ex every day as a motor to move forward. I know, it might be difficult to understand but, looking at the person that he was now, started opening my eyes to the fact that, perhaps, we truly weren’t meant to be and that all the tiny little fights may have had a bigger background. But now that he was leaving, the fear of walking back those positive steps were worrying me a lot.

So I found myself looking at him while he packed his bags to leave, possibly, forever and the feeling that swam in my 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 I say then? I didn’t know if I was going to miss him or miss what I thought he was, or if I was going to be relieved or sad. 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.

– Don’t worry about the flat and all my furniture. You can have it for a time and 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 try to keep that smile he now had.

I stared at that door for a moment, then slowly came back to the room that we once shared and exploded in tears full of memories of everything we shared. Every piece of that flat was full of moments and treasurable times. I felt weak and fragile, all that pain I had been working so had to heal, it was all coming back.

Good Day Sunshine

The day had come and I needed to head back to the Job Center to present all the papers I had been told to. This time my companion was going to be my ex-boyfriend and I couldn’t be more uncomfortable about it.

You know, apparently, it is convenient to lose your job and your partner the same day, 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 I could’ve imagined. Last time we were together on a bus (and this was a little more than a week ago) we were smiling at each other and holding hands. Now, I had to pretend to be okay with not even talking.

I tried not to look at him because the disappointment was too strong. Not long ago, to see how the sun made his blonde hair brighter or how his eyes were greener than ever in the mornings was something that made me happy and grateful, but now, now I couldn’t even see that good side of him. Someone I thought was perfect in so many ways, was now so different, so, not who I fell for. And having that making pressure in my chest made me hurt even more.

We arrived at the appointment a few minutes early and like on the bus, we tried not to talk to each other. And after another awkward moment, my name echoed in the room and my 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 until October and we will do our best, to ease your way to another job -said the lady behind the desk with a wide smile.

You should’ve seen my face at that moment, I couldn’t believe it. All the anger was gone, all the pain had vanished and my entire body was dancing inside. That meant I wasn’t trapped at the mercy of that guy I needed to forget. I felt free, calm, new.

Now I only needed to put some boundaries between my new flatmate and me. After that, I could start over. Let go (for real) of all the pain and move on. Focus only on me and myself.

– 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? I felt I was going to explode with excitement. Finally, after a bit more than a week of tears and picking up pieces of my broken heart, things were getting better.

Taking a walk down memory lane

Finally, some food I could keep in my system, a mint tea to ease my soul, a long Skype talk with my beloved family and everything seemed fine.

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

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

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

-Morning -I replied faking enthusiasm.

I needed to go. Right there, right that second. Looking at him so happy despite all the lies and pain he caused, so okay with being without me, was torturing. Knowing that I meant nothing to those bright eyes that once looked at me and marvelled. How could he? How could I?

And so I 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 I was face to face with one of my biggest fears. The lovely letter of ” we are letting you go” had arrived and with it, the responsibility of listing myself as unemployed (and kinda heartbroken) at the Job Center.

Wasn’t the fact that I had nowhere to go enough? Wasn’t the fact that I had to keep living with my ex, enough? Now I had to go with my head down and officially say “I am broken, help me”. I know that for some people this is absolutely not a problem, but I am way too proud to be comfortable doing that.

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

After asking around we finally figured that we had to go to the 5th floor and wait there for our number to be called. Knowing it could take a while since we didn’t have an appointment, we sat there (on the floor) giggling and making that boring moment, fun. Half an hour later we were inside an office explaining to the person who types the information down, my unfortunate situation.

Half an hour later we were inside an office explaining to the person who types the information down, my 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, I managed to get a few answers and by the end of the interview I had already a lot of 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 last one seemed longer, but I knew it wasn’t. The fact that no one was assuring me that I was going to get the help I desperately needed, was making me lose my mind. I was already trying really hard not to cry every second of the day. Struggling with keeping the tiniest piece of food in my stomach and fighting my urges of staying locked up at home feeling sorry for myself. 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. However, I was there then, panicking.

Suddenly, my name echoed in the hallway. It was time for the second interview and the French girl stood up fast and got inside the room (you should meet her, she’s so full of good energy. Contagious even when joy seems distant, close to an impossible thing). This time, questions were welcomed and answered slowly and calmly so translations could take place. I was asked for my work experience, my health, my money situation (or lack of it) and of course, the reason I was there that day. They explained the process of job selection and asked me to sign a contract agreeing to very logical terms. Terms like: actively look for a new job and apply for the suggested ones or let them know in case of sickness, and things like that. By the end of the interview, I had another big pile of forms to fill up, an amazing amount of information dancing in my mind, a new appointment for the next week and still no certainty of getting financial help. Great!

Overwhelmed and right at the edge of losing the battle with my tears, I said goodbye to my new friend and waited for the bus that was going to take me to that flat that was intended to be the happiest place I had but, never got the chance.

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

Girl Gone International

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

And so I realized, my sister would’ve found shelter with her friends and family. She would’ve used that love to remain strong and to stand up once again.

But she was miles away from all that. And an ocean apart and virtual communications weren’t enough this time. I needed that physical support and comfort only a hug can give you. That encouragement a friendly shake can provide, and so, without thinking it twice, I asked for help in the girl’s group I had to join on Facebook. A community of girls that also left home and took a leap of faith. And those girls, those girls jump to the opportunity of helping a sister. Girls that love and support unconditionally even if they don’t know each other. Girls that, like me, were living in Berlin.

And so I moved from sitting on the couch crying like a baby, to laughing at the cinema. From feeling sorry for myself in a room that once held two lovers and now felt like a nightmare, to an inspiring tea time in Westberlin bar&shop that led to a nice dinner in Potsdamer Platz. From being lost and unemployed to having an amazing girl backing me with all the Job Center’s paperwork.

Soon I was less alone, less incomplete, less broken. Girl Gone International had saved me from myself and now I was ready to start 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. So, 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. That girl is, of course, me. I was positive I was being mocked for that funny thing known as “good luck”. We were, for sure, not good in good terms.

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

But one day, out of the blue, I met a guy from across the ocean… and let’s cut to the chase, we kinda 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) we decided that our “love” was too unique, too strong, too beautiful to let the sea be in the middle, and against all odds I left everything behind and took a plane towards giving that new feeling a chance.

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 in this case, we just wanted us.

Somewhat blindly, I followed my heart and started living on the other side of the world with this specimen of human being I was “so madly in love” with. And I 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, the cleaning (or lack of it), the guilty pleasures that might not match, the blue days. 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, I would be lying. Perhaps it was the distance or the fact that we didn’t know each other that well, but as soon as we started sharing a roof, things started to go down like a meteorite. I realized he was an excellent liar and him, that I was an insecure scary cat. I showed to be hard on my grown-up opinions and him, too young to even consider them. I started trying way too hard to be loved and him, well… he couldn’t.

Losing him was a nuclear bomb to my heart, to be honest. I felt like I was losing half of my soul, my strength, my will, my “everything”. A thousand questions like why, or how, started dancing in my mind making an incredible amount of tears come out and out. I loved him, I loved him so much it hurt, or at least, I loved the idea of him. And now he was gone, and my memories of him were stained with lies, and fights and those words that, when it comes to a relationship, you hope you will never, ever hear. Words that most likely cause an unaccountable pain and sometimes, tear you apart.

“I don’t love you” after so many moments shared, so many promises made, so many kisses and cuddles, so many shitty arguments that were supposed to make us stronger, and well, after a year together, he had broken the bubble and with it, my stability. That fragile but beautiful layer of happiness that surrounds every lovebird and makes everything so perfect.

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

Broken, scared and lonely I had to figure out what to do. I had nothing back home but the unconditional love of my 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 I did not speak and a culture I did not understand and now, with an ex.

I’m sure you now understand the title of the post, right?