How often do you visit Home?

Photo: Psycholocrazy

Friends always ask me this question and they don’t know how annoying it can be. Most of them can’t believe that I would spend more than a year without seeing my mum. And I’m here thinking, how can I go home at least every three years? Yea 3 whole years, because it takes a lot of time and money.

A flight ticket is about 500€ to and fro if you book early enough. Yea you think it’s not expensive? Guess what, congratulations you are rich. For me that’s a lot of money. It represents a monthly student salary. I struggle to pay my rent already. However, when I find the money to buy a flight ticket, I must have enough money to pay for my rent and my health insurance during the time I plan to be away and the month after. Best believe I just give up, because why should I stress up like that?

Some of my friends don’t know all it takes to actually plan a trip like this one, because they either live one train or a bus away from home. Many don’t have to pay for their flight tickets and others just have the guts to use their savings. The only category I could fall in is the savings one, because as much as my mum and siblings miss me, they won’t buy me any ticket. I have to figure that out on my own, plus they casually expect me to bring them gifts whenever I come back. The audacity! Haha!

Most Cameroonians think we make money quite easily here. A savage cliche, that pushes them to believe that we can go back to Cameroon when we want. Which implies that we don’t want to? Seriously? Let me make it clear, I would travel every year if I could, because Germany is a stressful country. Our best way to break the studies or work routine is to escape, literally. To go somewhere else and have fun. Another option is to sleep, to eat and drink, to watch movies all day and avoid the letterbox for maybe 2 weeks. A really cheap break.

I had been choosing the last option for 5 years straight, before finally travelling to Cameroon last December during lectures. I bought my ticket after working for 2 months during lectures the semester before. I had just had a crazy semester and I needed to go far away for some time. And like I mentioned before, I had to buy gifts for all my family.

Believe me you don’t want to know how many we are, because eventhough not everyone is in Cameroon, I had 2 baggage full of gifts. It was my first time since I arrived Germany 5 years ago to go back home. Yea! They were all waiting for their made in Germany everything. Thank God for sales. Eventhough I still was very broke after buying all those stuffs.

Another issue is saving money for Cameroon . The truth is you can’t go to Cameroon without pocket money, because no one is waiting there to take care of your expenses. You need enough money to go to cool restaurants, make a trip to the beach, hang around town and buy a lot of things. But if you just want to stay at home once you’re there, well you might not need money at all.

For these reasons I can’t go home as much as I want. Last year was an emergency trip, in order to finally see my family. Some of you keep saying, “how about you really miss your family and all?”. Guys I miss them a lot, but honestly I’m not spending money that I don’t have to have fun. I’m thankful I could see them again. But there’s quite never a perfect timing and I don’t know when next I’ll see my mum and siblings. We just hold on to texts and video calls. Maybe another five years? Who knows?

A story like many others (Toxic Relationship)

Photo credits: http://www.36ng.ng

After my last post, a friend of mine asked me if I could write her story. She says she’s fine today and wants people to know that, they can escape and live a better life.

The story is about 2 foreign students in Germany. What they went through, how one managed to quit their poisonous relationship and where they are today.

Nuru is a 26 years old Kenyan who started studying in Kaiserslautern and then Berlin, where she finished her bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering 2 years ago. A brave woman who left her country with a stipend to pursue her dreams of becoming one of the best engineers there. She always dreamt of bringing electricity in her small village in Thika and nothing else was more important. Her family was supportive and proud of her. The day she got her scholarship, they threw up a party and invited all the village. Her parents were not rich, so it was more about dancing and giving her all the blessings and protection for her upcoming life.

After passing her German language exam, she was eligible to start her studies. This was the first big achievement in Germany. She was such a sweet person and got along with so many people from different countries. However she always hanged out with her fellow Kenyans who could understand her struggle best. She became friends with a guy called Feye, which means the beginning. And this is where the story really starts.

He was a tall good looking man who also happened to come from Thika. They fell in love quite rapidly and started dating during their 1st semester. A passionate romance which quickly turned into a nightmare. Feye began to skip lectures and hide from Nuru. She was really worried, because she knew him as a serious person who had great plans for a his future. How could he not attend lectures, what for? Maybe learning at home ? They talked everyday on the phone but didn’t see each other. He didn’t want videocalls. She never asked him what he was doing, because she expected him to say something. He was so distant and it really hurt her. He always asked her to lend him some money, which she did without hesitating. He said he really needed it and she loved him so much she gave him part of her scholarship every month.

This handicapped her so much, because she couldn’t pay all her bills and help her parents like She usually did. She could not focus anymore, meanwhile her exams were approaching. She asked some of their friends if they knew where he was and what he was doing, but they always said, <<Don’t worry, he’s fine.>>. Therefore, she decided to go to his place after lectures one day.

It was a mildly cold Thursday in spring. Birds were singing and the sky was blue. She waited for someone to enter the building in order to follow them inside. She walked to his room and knocked at the door gently. Nobody answered so she knocked at the door of the nearest room. His Tunisian flatmate opened the door and she asked him if he had seen Feye around. << Yea, he came back lastnight and hasn’t left his room today. I heard him talk on the phone 2h ago.>>, he said smiling.

Was he sure about that? Because she had been knocking for minutes. Then she tried to call him and he answered the phone. She asked him where he was and he said he was doing his groceries, but she was hearing his voice. He was in his room and didn’t know she was in front of his door. It broke her and she left crying. Why was he lying to her? What was he hiding? So many questions that became her main focus. She had an exam due in 2 weeks, but wasn’t ready at all. All she was thinking about was to find out what was happening to him. Thus, she went back to his place on a saturday afternoon and waited all day to see him come in or out of the building. He left his room about an hour later and she followed him cautiously as he walked for almost half a mile. He arrived at a bar and stayed there till midnight after which he left drunk. She was watching him from afar extremely shocked by what she was seeing. Feye drinking all his life out like someone who has nothing to loose. He couldn’t walk alone, so she ran to help him. She didn’t care that he would know she had been following him. He was drunk anyways. She tried to hold him and put his arm over her shoulder, but he pushed her away. She fell on the sidewalks and he continued walking.

I can’t find the words to explain how she felt. It was heart breaking and she didn’t want to talk to him anymore. Her exams came up and she wrote none. Somehow, her relationship with Feye had become the most important thing to her at that point of her life. She went through a series of mental breakdowns and stopped caring about any thing. She didn’t call home anymore, she cut contact with the other Kenyans and fell into a very deep depression.

Her mum called the university to find out what was happening to her. They told her she didn’t write any exam that semester. She begged them to try to find her. Therefore they investigated by questioning the other Kenyans who told them Feye had also been missing lectures and that they could probably be together. The university then sent both of them letters threatening to send them back to Kenya if they didn’t focus on their degree.

A friend of both Nuru and Feye went to visit her. She was not leaving her building anymore and had a flatmate do her groceries from time to time. He saw her and could not believe his eyes. She looked horrific and he decided it was enough. He told her what was going on with Feye. He said Feye owed someone a lot of money because he had started betting on football games with his stipend. He got addicted and burrowed money from this guy which he all lost. And that the guy was threatening to hurt him if he didn’t find the money.

She collapsed in his arms and he took her to the hospital where she was interned. He called her parents who urged the university to let her come back home. They talked with her and she agreed it was a good idea. She was ready to quit and give up on all her dreams. Parallely, they found Feye and he started seeing a psychologist weekly.

Two months passed and Nuru was happy to be with her family. But she could not spend a day without thinking about her studies and the goals she once had. Her mum who saw her pain asked her if she wanted to go back. She hesitated but finally told her mum she still wishes to be an engineer. Sadly she had ruined her only opportunity to study in Germany with financial support from her country. So, her father called a cousin who had a cousin that worked at the ministry of education in Kenya. And after a long fight they gladly renewed her scholarship for another university in another town. There she finished her bachelor’s degree and later found a job back home. She was appointed by a German company who wanted to build electricity plants in Kenya.

Feye finally graduated 1 year after her and reached out to apologise. She had blocked him everywhere, so he sent her an email. She responded and told him she didn’t hate him anymore and that she was happy for him. However she decided it was better to not talk to each other ever again.

Nuru hasn’t found love since then, but considers herself the love of her life. She lives a very successful life and she is surrounded by people she loves. She’s so thankful to every person that helped her during those hard times. She believes she was really lucky and wishes many people in her case also receive support to become more emotionally stable.

Nuru or Feye could be you. Will you do something about it?

Are you in a Toxic Relationship?

A dysfunctional relationship that leads to suicide
Photo credit: http://www.meaww.com

Before we even start discussing why you are still holding on to that person, it’s necessary to refresh our minds on what a toxic relationship is. You might at the end realise you are just going through a difficult time, because no relationship is perfect. Therefore do not jump to conclusions too fast.

A toxic relationship is basically one that constantly drains you. http://www.psychologytoday.com says it is one that is unfavourable to you or to others. This means, at least one person is unhappy because of how they’re treated. I talked with some friends and family members who had a lot to say about toxic relationships. This is what I gathered:

  1. I can’t be myself around him
  2. She’s not supportive of my dreams
  3. He always makes me feel like I am worth a cent and no one will take me if he left me
  4. When I need her she’s never around, meanwhile I am always there for her
  5. They never show concern about what is happening to me, all they care about is themselves
  6. He wants to shape me into an imaginary perfect person
  7. She wants me to live her dreams, damn I just want to do my thing
  8. We keep on fighting about everything
  9. She doesn’t trust me
  10. I am never enough no matter what I do
  11. We don’t communicate
  12. I am always trying to please him
  13. She has hurt me multiple times and keep promising she’ll change
  14. He disrespects me anytime he can
  15. There is no good news, non stop issues and I can’t do this anymore
  16. I decided to jeopardise my life to help him
  17. I give everytime and get nothing in return
  18. She threatens to hurt herself when we have a problem
  19. I purposely make him jealous to get a reaction
  20. I stopped talking to my friends and family for him
  21. He can’t stand my success
  22. I don’t feel comfortable with him, sometimes I have to lie because I can’t tell him exactly how I feel
  23. She’s always blaming me
  24. He buys me gifts to ask for forgiveness and I always fall for it
  25. They’re ashamed of who I am and what I do

So much about toxic relationships and even more. You don’t have to keep on hurting. If it’s not working, talk about it. You both or all deserve to be happy, even if it means putting an end to the relationship. Some people are just not meant to stay together. “Toxic partners, friends and family members.” They are here for a time, to make us mature for example. Life is too short to hold on to a person that will cause your downfall. Let go!

If they are willing but don’t know how to love you, are you teaching them how to ? Do they get it ? Is the love you want to receive detrimental to them in any kind of way ? Could you be part of the problem ? Let them go!

Sometimes we stay because we lack self-love.

Vanick Kam
This is a genius description of; you love others fully when you love yourself fully.
Image by: files.brightside.me

Once you escape from a toxic relationship you might still be traumatised for a long time. You might not let anybody else love you, because you don’t trust anymore or you don’t think you deserve to be loved. Learn how to love yourself. It is the second step to healing. Speaking from personal experience.

Nonetheless, like I said, do not give up on someone with whom you’re just going through a rough time. It doesn’t happen everyday. If you walk hand in hand and do not constantly live the same issues that were solved before, then you’re not in a toxic relationship.

Wanna prevent Travel Theft? Read this!

My trip to Jaisalmer (North India)
With my travel guide and her boyfriend

My credit card was stolen 2 years ago in India. I was there for an internship at the university of Manipal. A really beautiful town with a lot of kind-hearted people. I was in an international dorm where I met students from everwhere around the world. Some of these from China, Nigeria, USA, South Africa, Serbia, Germany and many others. So I had a great time getting to know people, their culture and ways of thinking. I became very close to the South African community there. Very lovely and intelligent people. Unfortunately I started hanging out with one of them and she became my robber.

We did nearly everything together, visiting some places around town and in different towns, trying all the restaurants in Manipal, playing pool with the others and planning trips. I was new and she had been in India for at least 2 years. Therefore she knew many places and hacks. Also she was the only one I trusted. A very sweet person, ready to help everytime. One day I had to withdraw some money from a bank and I asked her to help me. First of all I didn’t know which bank to go to and what the rates were. She gladly took me to a bank where I withdrew a lot of money. I remember she was shook that I would have so much money. Whereas it was just a credit card full of money that did not belong to me.

In order to have the amount I wanted, I was obliged to make multiple withdrawals. Each time 10,000 Rupees (in 2000 Rupees bank notes) with 200 on taxes. This is how she saw my PIN. I was very naive and wasn’t hiding my transactions enough from her. Honestly, I was so stupid to not be cautious. I also unconsciously checked my phone to make sure my PIN was right. I had registered it as a number. Dumb Academy. I know! Then I let her hold the money while I was entering my PIN. When she gave it all to me, 2000 Rupees had disappeared. I counted and recounted but no clue. Whatever had happened, I ignored it. It’s just not me to accuse someone like that.

I was always telling her about how the money in the card was not my money and that I would have to pay it back in Germany. But it didn’t stop her from orchestrating her robbery. I don’t know when she took my card, because we met many times. And the fact that I had cash, I didn’t really care to check on my credit card.

On a peaceful day, she texted me to find out if everything was okay. That’s what she said. She wanted to come over to my room and say hi. My dumbass didn’t think it was weird, so I let her come over. She told a story about her day and other stuffs, then had me look for something to give her. A shampoo bottle I remember. While I was getting her that, she went through my phone. Opened my contacts and checked the recently used ones. Bingo! She had found my PIN.

One week passed and I still had no clue my credit card wasn’t in my wallet. Then I received and E-Mail from the bank, with all my transactions. To my surprise, someone had withdrawn money twice form my card. I checked my wallet, because I thought it was a mistake. Nope, it was nowhere to be found. I turned my room upside down and found nothing. I signaled the bank and I stayed calm. I knew where it was. Suddenly I could see all the fishiness in her manners, love for money and expensive stuffs. She had told me she had issues with her stipend not being transfered on time.

I called her and told her I wasn’t finding it and she said, she was coming over to talk about it, but finally didn’t. I guess she wanted to put the card back in the room somewhere and figured out it was a bad idea. I would have found it and still know without a doubt she had stolen it in the first place. The next day she offered me food at the refectory. I didn’t refuse and we had a small talk during which I saw her new phone. A really nice red one. I even have a picture with it near the India Gate.

Caption this: Me taking a picture with the phone that was bought after stealing my credit card 🙂

I also talked to her bestfriend some other time at the refectory, letting her know somebody had stolen my credit card. Just to see her reaction, because I truely believe birds of the blablabla. You know what I mean! She seemed to be shook and saddened for me though. Anyway I propagated the news and told some who I thought had robbed me. They didn’t seem much surprised. Hahha. However no one actually said they think she could do that. Well I went to the police station to report I was stolen. Can you believe they had someone write down on a paper all I said and later sign it and hand it to me? Such a mess. They said they can’t do anything. The uselessness of it all. I was annoyed but I couldn’t do anything about it. She got away with it.

The story is even longer and crazier, because guess what ? I pretended nothing happened. Because we had planned our trip around India, paid plane and train tickets, booked rooms. And there was no way I was going to let her steal my money and then destroy my experience in India. NAH !!! I let her be my travel guide for all that money she stole.

When I came back to Germany, I got my new card. I was later told that she had a theft history. I was like damn it! You can’t be serious! You let me hang out with her knowing that she was possibly going to rob me? How does that even sound like? Nonetheless, I forgave her last year. Eventhough we hadn’t spoken since I exposed her on instagram. It was a moment of hatred and pettiness that took over me. I even apologised for that. Her friends must have forwarded my posts, because girl was blocked.

So if you have to travel, expecially if you’ll be alone, do not take any advice from me. You will get robbed. I have a pure way of trusting people that gets me into trouble a lot of times. Thanks for reading :).

3ter Versuch (3rd Attempt)

Have you ever written an exam more than once ? You’re not alone. It’s sad and exhausting. It makes one feel like they’re not good enough, like they weren’t meant to study at all. Because it doesn’t only break you, but it also wastes your time.

The stress of it all!
By: Psychological Society

I wasn’t born a genius, it’s just a fact. And many of you are far from that, but believe your IQ is high. I don’t know who told you lies hahaha. Anyway I am that student who struggles really hard with exams. No matter how much I study I fail most of my exams on the first attempt. You might want to be sorry for me, but I’m not done yet. Not only have I failed many exams once, I have also failed some twice. Thus setting myself up for the third trial, which is either a written or an oral exam. Well, that’s surely worth lamenting, because I study in German. And although I’ve been in Germany for more than 5 years, I still don’t feel 100% confident when I have to express myself in German.

The thing about the third attempt in most universities around Germany, is that you either pass and continue your studies, or you fail and have to be exmatriculated if the module is compulsory . Which implies that you can’t study that same degree at that university anymore and also can’t study for that same degree at another university if the module you failed thrice is part of and compulsory in their program.

You feel like your whole life could be destroyed in few minutes. Having to change universities, probably change degree program, look for a new place to stay, search for a new job, try to rebuild your social life, which by the way was the hardest to do when you arrived. You stop being a student and start receiving letters from the whole country. Your health insurance warning you about changing yor status, death insurance, your workplace, the tax office ready to cut about one-third of your wage and all those other services you had as a student.

You also think about the immigration office nagging you like, “what you gonna do next, huh? Plus you better be quick.”. To be honest I feel like they’re so happy sending you back home. Because you came with a visa to study and you are not registered at any university. And by the time you figure out what to do, you probably would be drained, hopeless and full of crazy ideas. Nevertheless, if you anticipate the fall, you will still fall but it will be less painful haha. Seriously, what I wanted to say is, if you plan things well before going for that third attempt, you might be able to spare yourself much trouble.

This includes studying extremely hard or looking for another university and applying for the same program, exmatriculate yourself and register in the university you found. You could also apply at another university for another program as a back up if you fail. Or find any solution to keep your visa, ANY! Once you feel like you have to do whatever it takes to stay in Germany for example, the things you’re ready to do are not what you’ve ever thought of doing. The same way you’ld have never thought of failing an exam and being exmatriculated.

It seems really disgusting, doesn’t it? Chill, the German system of education allows you to plead for a second and also a third chance to remain elligible to pursue your studies. You literally have to submit an application to beg for the university’s mercy. They could reject it if they think it’s not worth it, because you can’t make it anyway. Or agree because you’ve given them sufficient reasons to believe in you. Yea, I still think it’s disgusting!

I’m not telling you all to expect failing, but to be ready when failure happens. Whatever place you find yourself in life. It might be in your family, in your relationships or at work. You never know where it can collapse and the truth is, anything can fall apart. Even the things you think are endgame. Therefore, you have to be prepared. At least mentally.

To understand better what a third attempt in Germany is, how to go about it and what to do when you fail, read this https://www.studienscheiss.de/drittversuch-nicht-bestanden/. I hope you won’t have to apply these tipps, but just read. You never know.

Is it the same system at your university? Let me know in the comment section.

Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.

C.S. Lewis

How to ask for Help without sounding Desperate

We all go through difficult times in our life. Sometimes there’s no money for groceries, at times we don’t have enough money to pay for the rent and we find ourselves covered in debts. However it’s not always about money. Some of us have social problems, depression, are homesick, are in toxic or abusive relationships, are scared of exams and have bad time management. So how do you go about it?

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
How we support eachother on campus
Student life

The obvious thing to do is to ask for help. Don’t wait till your back is against the wall to talk to someone. Avoid deep diving in your anxieties before taking action, because it gets harder and harder to escape from that prison. If you know me in real life, you are probably a person that has helped me already in one way or the other. It must have been emotionally, financially, socially and spiritually. Regardless of the fact that I suck at seeking help. The thing is, I make sure I communicate my issues how I know best. By writing! In what way do you feel more comfortable to request support? Find that means and I promise you, no matter what it is, as long as it makes you express your hurt, someone will understand.

Another important thing you should do is to not isolate yourself. There’s nothing worst than hurting and no one sees, because you’re hiding away from those who might reach out. Don’t get me wrong, you could take some time to retrospect but you should not isolate yourself, because the next thing is you feel lonely. And once you feel that way, you can’t even notice someone is trying to help you. I have isolated myself in the past many times and it seemed to be the best option to run away from my struggles. When I felt misunderstood, judged unfairly or wrongly. Till today, when I have financial issues and can’t focus on my studies and when I am sick, I have a tendency of wanting to be alone. Yet, I have learned to let people I trust surround me.

If you are going through hell with your friends, family, lover, work, health or studies, turn to someone you trust. It could be a specialist, a friend, a family member, your professor, your partner or a stranger. Nonetheless, do not forget that these people are human and can’t carry all your burdens for you. Though they also have issues, they find time to help you. Avoid telling them lies. Just be honest about the situation, because they can’t really help you if you don’t tell them the truth. Their role is to bring you assistance in such a way that you can bounce back. That’s why I turn to God. I believe that when my spirit is healthy, my whole body is as well.

Now, find something healthy that works for you; sports, meditation, travelling, cooking, reading or painting. It could be anything, but it shouldn’t harm you instead. And remember that all these activities will only help you to free your mind, to make you feel good for a moment. Meanwhile talking to someone will make you feel better in the long run.

Not knowing what to do or where to turn to is not a synonym of despair. To despair is to quit, to surrender, to abandon, to lose complete hope, to be discouraged, to resign. If you have already lost all hope, then you’ll not only sound desperate, but you’ll also sound helpless. The key is to keep believing that your situation can be solved no matter how bad it looks like. Turn to someone, hoping that they can help you, because if you don’t believe in yourself, at least believe in them. Especially if you really trust them with your life. A good person or a person that loves you will always try to help you.

Last term I was in a really bad financial situation and I created a fundraising campaign. I had never thought I would do something like that. Ask help from strangers by exposing my problems to the entire world. It was not easy for me to make myself vulnerable to seek help, because many people thought I was just being lazy. Some thought I was trying to finesse people. And not even once, did I regret pouring out my heart like that. It was a bold move that many don’t have the guts to make. Fortunately for me, many generous people reached out and it really helped me. So never feel ashamed of who you are and what you’re going through.

Also, the duty of a specialist is to assist you. Therefore you could find a psychologist with whom you are comfortable. However, talk and listen to them. They have had hundreds of patients over the years with similar problems like yours. Hence they will try to apply what has worked for others on you. However keeping in mind that you are a unique being, with different feelings and ways of dealing with issues. So they might give you a treatment that doesn’t work, but you should not just give up. It takes time to find a special solution for a special person. Nevertheless, if you feel like they don’t listen to you and as a result you still don’t feel understood, it is your right to find another specialist. Still, don’t forget that they are just like you and can make mistakes.

Talking about seeing a specialist, I have been searching for a gynaecologist since I arrived Germany. I have dysmenorrhea or what you call period pains and experience severe cramps pre- and during menstruation nearly every month. This has been going on since I was 12 and I have gone through depression multiple times because of that. To be honest, I have seen a lot of gynaecologists, but none of them took their time to help me. They all decided after 5 mins of diagnosis and assessment of my condition, that I needed to take hormonal birth control pills. Hear me out, I understand that they know what they’re doing, but why would they just try to get rid of you by giving you the obvious treatment or the next obvious one: pain killers? If a specialist does not want to take their time to really understand you, do like me, close that door and never turn back. It takes a lot to turn to someone and the least they can do is to really take their time.

I just want you to know that, I haven’t lost hope. Eventhough I have/ have had financial issues, health issues, family issues, issues with my studies, I can not give up. And even when I question my existence, I never stop holding on. I talk to people about how I feel and they’re here for me. One day I will find a doctor that will believe in me and I will forget how many didn’t care. That’s how optimistic I am. No disease or heartbreak or financial issue or problem is worthy of your life. You deserve better.

Sleeping in the train

First of all, sleeping is underrated. I consider it as one of my biggest hobbies ever. If I get invited somewhere to have fun, drink and eat I will always think twice, because as much as I like food, I am also introvert. Somehow or maybe I just like my room more than hanging out with people. I rather sleep or netflix and eat on my own.

Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com

If your life is slightly organised like mine, then you definitely know how effective a 5min sleep can be. That’s why I am a train sleeper. In Germany we travel long distances everyday, for studies, work and other activities. When I was in Worms living with my friend, I would spend 2 hours on the way to university between buses and trains. Also if I needed to attend an early lecture I would have to leave very early. You can imagine how little I would get sleep nearly every night.

Nevertheless it was not the only reason why I would not sleep enough. I also had sleeping disorders and couldn’t go to bed early. A vicious cycle of living like a robot and drinking coffee to compensate. Thus I would actually organise my sleeping hours considering my train naps. Which means if I slept 4h every night, I would have at least 1h more in the train. Isn’t that ingenious ? After all I am an engineer in the making, so I learn to find solutions to everything.

One day I woke up tired as usual, but I had to go to work. I had a normal shift and was supposed to start at around 9 a.m. . Unfortunately the workplace was in Karlsruhe and it would take me 2h to arrive there, plus I had never been to that particular place before. So I took a bus to the main station, where I took a train for Karlsruhe. That train was the usual one, nothing weird with it. I had been in Worms for so long and knew how to get to any town around it. Usually I just put on my earphones and listen to music till I fall asleep and it’s what I did. Also I didn’t put an alarm, because the end station was Karlsruhe. That’s what the panel said.

Therefore I slept peacefully and woke up only hours later 2 stations away from the Darmstadt main station. I don’t remember how many hours I had slept, but what I knew was that the train was on its way back to Worms where I left earlier that morning. Fortunately for me, I was not controlled in the train. I had no ticket to go that far and I would have been fined 60€ which I definitely didn’t have. That’s despite the fact that I was just casually and innocently sleeping, because it’s not an excuse. Germany makes a lot of profit off transport and the best way is to catch people who travel without tickets.

The how and why my train was in an opposite direction were unknown. I had to find out, eventhough it would not solve my problem which was, arriving late at work. There are a lot of ways to get a bad reputation in Germany and this is one of them. It was impossible for me to ask anybody about the train, because I would get caught. I waited till we arrived Mannheim only to find out that, the train was split that morning and it was announced that every passenger going in the direction of Karlsruhe should go to the back-wagon. Of course I hadn’t heard that, I must have been busy falling asleep with my earphones on.

Path: Worms-Mannheim-Darmstadt-Karlsruhe-Worms

Although I knew I couldn’t arrive work on time, I did everything to at least show up. My reputation was at stake and I could either go home like a looser or get there and explain how dumb I had been. I finally arrived there and saw everybody working. I asked to talk to the chef and she said there wasn’t any job left for me to do and that she didn’t even know someone else was scheduled. Plus I was way too late and I should just go home.

I followed her instructions and went straight home to my bed. That misfortune was not going to stop me from exercising my hobby.

Taking a flight for the first time

This should have been the first thing to talk about, but I wanted to give a strong introduction to hustle life in Germany as a stranger.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In Cameroon you have few options after finishing highschool. The first thing most people do is to participate in government examinations to enter the best state universities and institutes. Unfortunately some parents bribe their children’s way through these universities. Thus many names just magically appear on the results´ list, people who were not even in Cameroon when the examinations took place. It´s really hopeless to write those exams, however many of us still do. I did write one of those, not because I thought I had a chance, but because I wanted to please my family. The truth is I had other options and I really didn´t care trying. The second option is finding a means to travel abroad. It doesn’t matter where you go as long as you leave Cameroon. Either you find a stipend, which is really rare or you find money for the visa procedure. This could come from your rich family or your struggling family who has to burrow it all or partly, because hey, once you arrive that country you can work and refund the money. Well that’s what they tell you. Your purpose suddenly becomes paying back the loans, but you don’t know that yet. The excitement is beyond reasoning. Lastly, you could enter a normal university or a private one, being well aware that your chances to find a job with that kind of education are little if you don’t have a relative who works for the government.

My best option was coming to Germany to study mechanical engineering. Not because my family was rich, but because some of my brothers were living here already and could easily sponsor my studies. Also in Germany most importantly, you can work legally as a student and be independent financially. So Germany sounded pretty obvious for me. I have many friends who planned to study in Germany as well. Some were granted a visa after their first, second or third application and others weren’t. I’m thankful it took me just one application to have my visa. Joy and excitement are understatements. Everybody was as happy as when a new baby is born, especially my mum. She would have one kid less to worry about, because once you leave you can already take care of yourself, theoretically.

Nevertheless it was going to be my first flight ever with a transit at Brussels airport. Nobody gave me instructions on how to proceed to catch the other flight and I didn’t ask either. The only thing I was worried about, was all the food I would have to travel with. Foodstuffs I wouldn’t be able to find or cook in Germany. Also it was really kind of scary to arrive in winter. Was the cold going to kill me ? Leaving 28° C of sunlight for snow in a glimpse. What did -10° C feel like ? Anyways I was going to discover in real life what I had already seen and heard of.

At the airport in YaoundĂ©, it felt like dropping one of my relatives for their take off. Those who had been travelling over the years and were used to planes. I didn’t realise I was leaving until they called all the attendants to another room from where you couldn’t see your family anymore. Literally everybody burst in cries and I couldn’t hold it in either. It was like a big choir at a burial. I hugged them goodbye, because I didn’t know when I would come back. Some of my sisters had visited 5 to 10 years later and I instinctively didn’t expect to come back earlier.

As soon as I entered the plane it smelt different. A little bit like a clean and well furnished office with A.C. . A very polite staff and comfortable seats, but all I could think about was the fact that I was actually leaving Cameroon. I cried a lot in the plane and I was extremely dizzy. I knew I was car-sick and just found out I was also plane-sick. Even the snacks I couldn’t eat. It was the worst journey ever and it was only starting.

We finally landed in Brussels and I didn’t have a clue which way to go. I thought at first it would be better to follow the mass, unfortunately we were not all going to the same place. Dumb as I was, I stopped at the baggage claim to search for my 2 bags for maybe 20mins and couldn´t find any of them. Nobody had explained to me that I would get my stuffs by the time I would arrive Germany. The only thing I was told was that I had a 1h transit and that it would be enough. As I figured I couldn´t get my stuffs, I started walking around randomly. Eventhough I am fluent in French, I was too shy to ask for help. However when I got tired I finally decided to talk to someone. I saw two officers and I thought they would definitely help me. Unexpectedly, one of them waved me away when I started speaking. This broke me so badly I shed a tear. I had heard how racist people were in Europe, therefore I asumed these officers didn’t just like black people. And realising that I had just experienced my first racist encounter, made me shed more tears.

After that, I kept walking and saw some signs that showed directions. I felt so stupid for initially thinking that the airport would let everyone just search for a terminal without signs. I must have been really overwhelmed, to walk around all this time without seeing the arrows. Finally, I got to my terminal 30mins after the flight had taken off. This was really too much for me. I sat in the attendance room and cried all the water out of my body. I didn’t know where to start and was afraid I might have to buy another ticket. Foolishly I didn’t think of calling someone and even if I did, I wouldn’t have left where I was to find a phone box. Also, it was clear to me that I wouldn’t ask anyone for help anymore. I didn’t want to risk being rejected again.

Fortunately for me, an old black man was waiting for his flight. He saw me crying and decided to ask me what was happening. I explained how I had missed my transit and had no idea what to do next. He was so kind and spoke in a way that stopped me from crying. He told me there was no reason to cry, that I should talk to the Brussels airlines staff about my missed flight. So I went to them immediately. To my surprise they said it was not a problem and that I would take the next flight 2h later. My heart slowed down and I started breathing normally again. I told the old man the good news and thanked him for helping me.

That flight was much better with the small plane. I wasn’t feeling dizzy and my appetite came back. When I arrived Frankfurt I went to look for my bags again, but this time somehow certain of finding them. All I could think of was my freshly smoked chicken in one of them, because it would get bad with the storage facilities at the airport. After searching unsuccessfully, I decided to just look for a comfortable place to sit down and meditate on all my problems.

As ssoon as I sat somewhere I suddenly remembered one of my brothers was scheduled to pick me up at the airport. He must have been waiting for me for hours and probably thought something bad had happened to me. Anyway, there was nothing I could have done differently. Okay sure, I could have asked for more help in order to catch my second flight. And without knowing which way to go, I went searching for him. The dumbness was at its highest, but I probably just had faith that I would find him. And fortunately, it’s exactly what happened. After walking for minutes and going in and out of the terminal, I saw a black person waving at me. With my short-sightedness, I could honestly not tell who that was. The only thing I was sure about, was that somebody had recognised me and that whoever that was, they could help me.

It was my elder brother and he was with my nephew. He was happy to see me, but also mentioned the costly parking ticket we would have to pay for, because he had arrived way too early to pick me up. You can imagine how sad he was, when the staff responsible for the baggage told us we would receive my bags a few days later. All that food was definitely going to spoil before the baggage delivery.

I entered Germany in a problematic way and it is only normal that crazier stuffs have kept happening to me after that episode.

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