Sunday, March 03, 2013

A letter to the thief of Sesimbra.

Dear Mr Thief,

You might not get to read this, but even if you don´t, I´m sure the universe will convey to you my message.
If you do by chance end up on this blog, it´s because you´ve been sifting through my life and it brought you here. You may think you know a lot about me, but i´m writing to tell you the things that you don´t.

So far, all that I know about you is that you hijacked our car, took our weekend bag, my handbag and a black paper bag with more of our belongings. You then took my debit and credit card, figured out my pin and preceded to make four withdrawels of €200 each - the limit allowed for each card. Then you went shopping with my cards and bought a computer and a tablet. You really won the lottery with this theft didn´t you? Because in addition to your purchases you found my brand new tablet and two cellphone´s in my bag. You also found my husband´s flash and a jewellery box filled with precious things that i´m sure you´ve already sold or gave away to some foolish whore who knows you for the scoundrel that you are.
You must be pretty proud of yourself aren´t you? You outsmarted me and got away with it... or at least that´s what you must think.

This much you know... let me fill in the blanks about what you don´t know...

To you it may be irrevelant to why we went to the castle of Sesimbra, but to Luis and I it was supposed to be one of the landmarks that would stay in our memory of our third year anniversary.
That´s why you found my jewellery box in our weekend bag... I took it so that I could use the stones Luis bought me on our honeymoon to Mexico. That silver lace ring that you found was my engagement ring, the one he presented me with when he truly surprised me by asking me to be his wife.
The silver bracelet was given to me by my grandmother when we left for South Africa and the circle earings and matching necklace was given to me when my daughter was born.

Aren´t you lucky to have found two cellphones, one with the plastic still on it. You see, i´d just received the Samsung Galaxy SII LTE the previous day after waiting for over two weeks for it to arrive. I even went to work on purpose just to be able to take it with me, I hadn´t even chosen a ringtone to put on it yet. But my biggest lost was in fact the old Nokia N70 you found; I´m sure the worn cover must´ve upset you as it will bring down the price you will ask for it. You must´ve formatted it by now, so let me remind you what was on it: four years worth of photos i´ll never get back, one with my aunt Marlene that is no longer with us. That bubbly sound you heard as it receives a message is the sound of my daughter laughing at five months. The electronic device that I will mostly miss is my tablet, did you find the photo of my husband and daughter behind it? I´m sure you did, you won´t dare sell it with the purple cover I had. My daughter loved my tablet as much I did, that´s where she saw all her music video´s - her favourite is "I´m a gummy bear". Did you take a look at the home videos I had on it? The one´s of Lara laughing and playing. There´s one where she wishes her grandmother a happy birthday, and another where she strokes Kalash. My favourite is the one that she calls me "mama" for the very first time.

I immediately went into shock when I realised all these things were gone. For the three hours that we waited at the GNR in Sesimbra to do something, I cried non-stop. I kept waiting to wake up from what to me seemed the worst nightmare possible. I would´ve rather lived in a real life "walking dead" movie than face the reality that you stole those things from me.  I took the pills to calm me down but I kept reliving the nightmare in my head. Taking my handbag was like stealing my identity, I kept seeing your grimey fingers going through my things, seeing pictures of my loved ones and feeling completely impotent and unable to do anything about it. What did you think about when you opened my purse and saw the photo and Luis and I when we got married? The photo of my brother or my niece´s first pre-school photo? That´s when the hatred began. I hated you so much. All I could focus on is you being caught, I wanted your identity more than anything and if destiny should put you in my path I would cut one of your fingers, or a whole hand... make no mistake that I would´ve made you suffer a very physical and and painfull consequence to what you did to me. Because what you did broke me... into more pieces that I can put back together and I will forever have that image imprinted on the new identity card and driver´s licence that I had to request the next day.

Before I reveal to you the reason of my writing to you, let me fill in just a few more blanks... that sexy nightwear that you found - I wore that on my wedding night, unfortunetely for you, the details of that evening are more than you deserve. Those boots that were in the paper bag, I wore them on one of the most amazing Christmas party´s I ever had. The perfume bottle you found, was given to me by one of my very best friends (Thanks Quich) and the trip you found is for my uncle´s wedding in June.

For the last couple of days i´ve hated you more than anyone i´ve ever hated in my life. I kept hoping the phone would ring to tell us they´ve caught you and that you will never be able to put anyone else through what you put us through. Each new thing I remember that is now in your possession makes me wish a thunderbolt would strike you down as you leave the house and that it leaves you in hours of pain before you do the world a favour and just die.
Don´t you feel loved?

The reason i´m writing to you, is to tell you that i´m no longer angry.
You see, to continue to be angry with you would mean that you would still hold importance to me and you certainly don´t deserve as much.
You may have destroyed our savings but all you have taken is money. I still have my husband, I still have my daughter and I still have today, tomorrow and a whole future to make more wonderful memories.
I´m going to work to recover all that I lost and each morning when I get up i´ll look in the mirror with pride, because I know I earned every cent that I have.
Can you do that? Does it make feel superior that you survive on other people´s misery?
You´re nothing but scum.
You can´t steal my memories, you can´t steal my future and you can´t steal my hope.
My locks have been changed, and slowly i´ll piece my life together... this is where our story ends.

Take a good look at my family... those smiling faces that look back at you, are mine.
They´ll never be yours... that happiness and joy you find in my things - you will never have.
I know this, because the universe only gives to us what we give to it - you will never be happy regardless of how much money and things you steal from other people, you will continue to be a miserable wreck all of your life with no one to love you and everyone hating you for the scoundrel that you are.
Make no mistake, I will do whatever is in my power in aiding the authorities so that you are caught but from this night on I won´t give you a second thought... you are worthless and I will no longer let you polute my mind.
Thank-you for reminding me of how loved I am and how lucky I am to be employed, to have a home and a life filled with people that love and care about me.
I may have become a little wiser and more careful in the future but I will not give up the hope and love in my heart because of what you did.
I wish nothing more for you, than for you to receive everything you deserve.

Love Always,
Your ex-victim

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Something to say...

It´s been a while... a long while... it´s almost strange to return to a place i´ve been away from for so long. At the same time... it´s like coming home!

Lara is sleeping.
I have the baby monitor at my side and sneaking a peak I can honestly say she´s the most amazing and perfect little being...
That´s what I´ve been doing all this time...
Being a mother, a wife, a professional, a friend... all these thing take  up so much time that there´s none left to write about them.
Until today... I guess you could call it my day off.
It´s not that I don´t have things to do...
It´s just that i´m giving myself a little time to think... to reflect... to write...
I miss writing, I wouldn´t trade in any of my moments for it but I do miss it.
Not for anyone else... just for me.

There´s so much to write about... so much that I can hardly pick a theme...
Perhaps the most worthy is what left me speechless this week.


Currently, my position entails solving the complaints that have been through various departments and hasn´t been solved...
I came across a simple case of a cancelation of services that hadn´t been processed due to lack of documentation. Although there had been many attempts by the client to rectify his request, there was always something missing.
It had been a long morning and I needed a simple case, I called the cliente intending on asking her to send me the documentation that was missing so I could conclude her request.
What I didn´t expect was the waterworks...
In the current crisis that our country faces, many are the commerce that closes their doors. Everyday I hear a new story of another foreclosure, insolvence, unemployment...
Before I called my client I´d already  noticed that they were three months in arrears but before I could even mention it, my client let me know that she was aware of my debt and between sobs told me that her priority was paying her employee´s salaries.
No one can listen and be indifferent to that kind of desperation.

After receiving the documentation that was missing, I concluded the cancelation request.
Had the request been satisfied on it´s first arrival, a month´s debit would not have been processed.
Had the request been made upon the contract´s terminus - two month´s debits would not have been processed.
But to proceed with any kind of credit, I needed my manager´s authorization.
"I need you to respond with humanity on this case"
The raising of his brow told me that he wasn´t too impressed that my request implied that he was less than human on other cases but it had the effect I needed - he was intrigued.
After explaining my client´s situation, my manager responded as I´d hoped.
We managed to credit two month´s debits leaving only one of the three bills to pay.
I believe my manager would´ve authorized that last bill only the total credit would imply higher authorization that would not head to our justifications...
After all, it was the client´s own fault that her request hadn´t yet been processed.
My manager´s condition: before creditting the two bills, the client would have to pay one of them.

I knew she didn´t have the funds to pay that bill at that moment... so I smiled sweetly to my manager, creditted the two bills and asked the client to pay the third bill as soon as she could warning her that it could be handed to a lawyer if she took too long.
She thanked me over and over and wished good fortune on me and my family, I knew I´d bent the rules - but I felt good about it.

Two weeks later - that third bill had not been paid.
I was grateful that my manager didn´t check up on it but slightly disappointed that my client hadn´t honored our arrangement.

Two days ago my client gave me a call and it was what she had to say that left me speechless.
She let me know that she had arranged a payment plan to pay off that last bill and that she´d already paid her first installment. Then she proceeded to tell me that on the week that I´d solved her problem she´d acquired a big client that permitted her to keep her doors open for a while longer - a company that she´d seen grow for over twenty years. I was truly happy for her, to hear of her success was to feel it as if it were my own. But what brought me to tears was what she said after she once again thanked me for having done more than was expected of me. She told me that many other service providers had slammed the door in her face that week that I called her. Each time she´d asked for comprehension or an extension she´d been met with irritation or arrogance. She told me that the way I´d dealt with her made her believe in the "goodness of humanity" and had inspired her to keep fighting and keep her doors open a little longer. Had she given up then, her client wouldn´t have appeared.

As I listened, tears ran down my face.
Everyday I get yelled at by frustrated clients, few of them know what I do for them in the background - few of them thank me.
But to know, that I caused such an impact one someone - that my efforts helped someone keep their job and a company from closing... that´s more than I aspired.
I hope I have many more oportunities to lend a hand to a stranger...
Because a friend is easy to help, it´s the strangers we avoid,
and God knows that i´ve been "saved" more than once in my life by a stranger