THIS ONE TIME… WHEN WE LEFT OUR KEYS INSIDE THE HOUSE

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Living in so many different environments gives us the possibility of having a lot of experiences and consequently many stories to tell. Some are good and funny, others not so enjoyable, but all are worth telling.

This one time when we left our only set of keys inside the house is one of those bad, terrible, sad experiences… Well, it was not the end of the world and nobody got hurt and in the end everything was okay, so now, two years later, it’s only a memory and a good story to tell to our friends.

Once Upon a Time…

While almost ending my daily German class, I get a phone call from my stressed out husband saying that he could not get into the house. What? Wait, how come?
We had coffee that day at the very nice Atopia Café at the corner of our street, we kissed goodbye, I went to the German class and my husband went back home. When he was about to unlock the apartment’s door, he saw this strange cover that would slide up and down the lock. He thought this was some kind of protective cover for the cold but when he slid it up, he couldn’t slide it back again… There was some kind of button in the cover but it wouldn’t work…

Realizing his mistake, he went to a key maker’s shop and asked about it. It turned out that the cover was an extra security lock and needed a special magnetic key that would allow the button to be pushed and the cover to be slid down. When he asked for help to unlock it, the shop owner asked him for his rent contract (it was inside the house of course), then he kept saying that my husband couldn’t prove it was his house… My husband asked then what he should do, contact the police or…? And the guy just kept saying “I don’t know, that is not my problem!”…
At some point he got the landlord on the phone and she explained that she had forgotten to give us that special key and she was in Munich, so we had to wait until the next day and spend the night in a hotel.

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So… no keys, no spare keys, no possibility of a forced entry, no nothing until the next day!

My husband was at a friend’s place waiting for me. He gave me instructions to go from German school directly to the hotel he had booked for that night. The hotel was not far from our house, nor from our friend’s. Actually, the hotel was just in front of my beloved Mauerpark! And I usually know how to get to Mauerpark. However… have I told you that I’m really bad with directions? No? Well, I’m really bad with directions. I get lost all the time. seriously, not kidding. And I got lost this time too! I don’t know why or how I get lost so frequently but I do. My sense of orientation is almost null! Except in underground parking lots! There I always know where I left the car!

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So, after my German class ended, I left and started ridding my bike towards the hotel. But you see, I took several days memorizing my way from home to school and from there back home. For me that was no easy task! Meaning that a tiny small detour is enough to get me lost. Even just the idea of having to do a different route is sufficient to make me lose my orientation. That being said, I rode my bicycle knowing that I was already lost but not wanting to admit it, when, out of a sudden, a thunderstorm was formed and it started to rain heavily! Oh my… and the wind… The wind was so powerful that afternoon that I had to take my bike by hand to avoid falling down. As you can imagine, I got a “bit” frustrated. I was completely soaked, cold, hungry and lost! Yes, I started to cry. Then I called my husband. Only then I could admit that I was lost again.

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Our conversation on the phone

My husband in a very calm tone, almost guessing what had happened: “Where are you? I’m waiting for you at Chris’s place.”

Me: “I don’t know… I got lost and I really don’t know where I am!”

My husband, still calm and wanting to help: “But did you follow my instructions?”

Me, wanting to hang up on him: “I don’t know… [I got lost almost immediately after leaving the languages school and when I returned I had forgotten his instructions] I just kept riding and now [after one hour] I’m completely soaked!”

Yet calmly trying to help me: “Tell me where you are. Can’t you identify a building or something?”

Me, getting frustrated: “Listen, I told you I have no idea where I am! I’m really tired! Please help me!”

My husband, still cool: “Can you go back to school?”

At this point I think I hanged up on him and waited for his call: “NO! I’ve been ridding my bicycle for an hour! Do you really expect me to know how to get back???”

My husband: “Okay, okay, calm down. Describe me the place where you are.”

Me, not so cool: “So… in front of me there’s the Universal’s building and on my left there’s a bridge.”

My husband and our friend talking behind the phone: “Hummm… can you give me more details? Chris can’t figure it out where you are just by that.”

At this point I was already trying not to cry again and, as usual, blaming my poor, calm husband for everything.

Me cursing in Portuguese: “Look! There’s this building and then the bridge and a tram line. I’m in vertical and the bridge is in horizontal!” [okay, that was not what I wanted to say. To be honest I really don’t know what my point was, but anyway, I was really tired and hungry! My brain was malfunctioning at that stage.]

My husband, trying really hard not to laugh: “What are you saying? Of course you are in vertical position and the bridge is horizontal!”

I can’t remember precisely but you can assume I hang up on my husband several times. This was one of those times.

Another attempt of my sweet husband: “Please Lena, go to the tram line and tell me which trams go from there.”

Me, trying very hard to calm myself down: “Okay, I will. Wait, wait. Oh! There’s the Wall! [yes, I was pretty far away from my destiny] And this is a final stop. There’s this tram and this other one.”

My husband in a happy tone: Nice! Oh, that’s very helpful! Let’s see. Chris says that in order to get to the hotel…”

Me, screaming and losing my cool again: “Stop stop stop! Stop right there! I’m not going to the hotel! I’m going home and from there we are going to the hotel together! I don’t want to get lost again!”

My husband, keeping his calm state: “Okay, okay, calm down. So, to get home you have to get this tram and leave at this stop and then you’ll recognize the place and come home by yourself.”

And so I did. And so I got home. All wet. Super tired and hungry and let’s say not in my best mood. And then I realized how easy it would have been to get to the hotel in the first place. And I felt really dumb and bad for my poor husband.

At the hotel

I was mentally and physically exhausted! I took my clothes off and got into the shower hoping the hot water would warm me up and calm me down a little bit. I washed my underwear and when I got out of the shower my dear husband had a hair dryer and some food for me! I ate and then I spent more than one hour drying my clothes.

That same night we went to a small party where we met some friends and had some snacks. All I wanted to do was getting into bed so we didn’t go for drinks or anything.

The next day

Our landlord returned from Munich the next day! Yay! But only in the evening… So we had a complete day to fill. We called our friends and proposed to visit Potsdam. That was a great idea, at least that was what we thought… Because, following Murphy’s Law, everything that can go wrong will go wrong! And one bad thing never comes alone… But that’s a story for another day! Stay tuned!

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How is your inner compass? Do you have a good sense of orientation or you get frequently lost like me? Do you also get mad to other people when you get lost? I would love to ear some funny episodes of yours!

 


The illustration above is from my dearest friend Sunkyong Kim. She is a freelance illustrator and graphic artist. You can check out her work here.

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