“It’s a Tough Way to Learn” or “When Crap Happens You Write a Blog Post”

Moving to Madrid is one of the most exciting and freeing things I have ever done. I know that I have grown here in ways I hadn’t in the US. The only trouble is that you often achieve this type of growth after facing some pretty tough situations.

Besides the obvious difficulty of balancing living expenses and entertainment with the salary of a Language Assistant, I’ve learned some things about safety and personal property.

While we were having the time of our lives in Morocco, someone was cleaning our apartment of electronics. My room didn’t lock from the outside with a key. There were two rings which I latched my luggage lock through. In theory, this may have worked if they didn’t have wire cutters for the rings. My laptop, Ipad, and external hard drive were gone when we returned along with thousands of dollars worth from three other roommates. Now I live in a room which locks with a key. We still don’t know who robbed us, but it’s possible that someone saw our posts on Facebook about being away for the puente. Also, the police told me that even if they found my things they couldn’t give them back to me since I didn’t have a copy of any of the IMEI numbers. After that, I’ve sent an email to myself with the IMEI for all my electronic devices.

Not long after that, I was sitting in a McDonald’s with some friends when two young boys came over to our table. The boys didn’t say anything, but they held out sheets of paper which made it look like they were asking for signatures. As soon as I saw them approach I placed my hand over my phone, which was on the table. One of the boys was standing next to my roommates when a friend of ours ran over to the other side of the table, grabbed the boys hand, and slapped my roommates phone out of it. They used the piece of paper to distract and cover the phone while the other hand grabbed the phone.

Now for my most recent experience. This past Friday my Samsung Infuse was stolen while I was in a bar in Sol. Sol is a notorious place for pickpockets since there are so many tourists. When you are there I would suggest to always keep your purse in front of you and closed. I believe I became too comfortable in the bar (and probably had too much to drink) and didn’t close my purse all the way. Within a span of about 30 minutes since the last time I had checked my phone, it was gone. On Saturday I went to the Yoigo stand and asked if it was possible to keep my old number. The woman there said it wasn’t. However, I talked with an agent at Yoigo today after I saw their website who said I should have told her I needed a copy made of my SIM card and then I could have kept my old number and saldo (amount of money I have left to use). Right now I have two numbers with saldo floating around because the agent told me it was not possible to transfer the saldo from my old number to my new number.

Now, I don’t really want to focus on the negatives so much as that I want to share some things worth noting for future or current teachers here. Be aware of your surroundings. Take precautions. We all know it’s common sense, but sometimes we may let our guard down….and others could take notice.

A way of coping with all of this has been to try to see these experiences as lessons. Okay, I definitely wish that there was an easier way to learn than this, but if you let it consume you it’s possible to end up paranoid or sick. Maybe you would even pack your bags and head back to wherever you used to call “home.” After our apartment was robbed I was so devastated I became ill for several days. I found the main emotion I felt wasn’t even sadness, but anger. I wanted nothing more than to find whoever was responsible and pummel them with the blunt end of SOMEthing in a “How dare you come into my home, where I sleep, and take my things!” kind of way. When it comes down to it I just have to think, “I’m tough and I can handle this. Now let’s make sure it never happens again.”

12 Replies to ““It’s a Tough Way to Learn” or “When Crap Happens You Write a Blog Post””

  1. Thomas Nuffan

    one of the reasons why I typically do not use services such as foursquare anymore and make sure, no matter if it means eating ramen for two weeks straight, to have renter’s insurance.

    Keep your head up cuz and don’t let the negitives out weight the positives.

  2. Betty Londergan

    Wow — what a lot of reality in such a short period of time! The electronics are so irresistible and easy to steal, it’s not too hard to see why they’re the focus of theft. You have a great attitude and will definitely rise above these petty setbacks. It’s only things … and you will have the experience AND wisdom to prevail!

  3. Jessica of HolaYessica

    Wow, I can’t believe your apartment got robbed while you were away. That really sucks. 🙁 Out of curiosity, what’s an IMEI number?

    I got a phone pickpocketed a little while in Barcelona too. At least it wasn’t a nice one…I hope yours wasn’t either, and also that your luck turns around soon!

    • eludingennui

      Thanks, Jessica!
      I had to look up what IMEI stands for and apparently it means “International Mobile Station Equipment Identity.” Basically, it’s just a string of numbers/letters that’s specific to your device. For example, if you look at the bottom of a laptop you might find one there.
      The phone that was stolen was a nice phone, but outdated and starting to act pretty whack. It would turn itself off or restart for no reason. So actually it’s almost been a good thing since it forced me to get a working phone. Haha.
      Sorry to hear about what happened with your phone. Stuff like that is so frustrating.

  4. The Savvy Senorita

    Hey, yes Madrid has its share of crimes (theft) and pickpockets. Their scams are quite notorious. I have watched documentaries about it (which shocked me), I have seen these thieves try to commit their crimes, and also spoken to friends about it. It is an element of life that I ignored initially when I first moved here, but lately I have become quite paranoid about it all! Many thieves are actually gypsies. Madrid does have an issue with child thieves as under 14’s cannot be held responsible for their actions by the laws that be! Hoping you have recovered from your awful experiences?
    Bex 🙂


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