How Getting My Stuff Stolen Lead Me to My Goal

Julie Alderman
October 24, 2013

Like many people, I came abroad to develop my independence. At school, I found that many of my thoughts, ideas and actions were influenced to much by my friends and other people. I wasn’t happy with this and thought going abroad would help me become the independent person I desired to be. Little did I know it would happen this way.

I was in Paris with three of my friends. We arrived home after a day of fun and a night on the town around 1 am and immediately passed out in our hostel beds. We awoke around 8 am. I noticed that my phone had not gone off after I set the alarm for 8 am last night. My computer that I used to listen to music before going to sleep was out of sight. My friends echoed my worries. Their wallets, cameras and other electronics were gone, as well. The window was open. Suddenly, we realized that people had broken into our hostel room through the window and stolen our stuff in the middle of the night.

I ran upstairs and asked for the phone number for the local police station. The officer I spoke to only spoke French, only adding to the difficulty of our morning. I explained to her the situation and she told me that we needed to go to the police station and fill out reports. I got directions and led us there without getting lost. Once we got there, I explain our situation to yet another officer in French and got us all reports to fill out. After that, we went back to the hostel, where I argued with the manager until he graciously gave us a full refund. After that, I went back to Amsterdam early to deal with the mess in front of me.

Looking back, I was able to speak to many Parisian officials in a foreign language, navigate a foreign country, wiggle my way into a cash refund at the hostel and find my way home. And that was all before noon. While this may not have been the best day of my life, I realized that two months in Europe has helped me develop into the independent person I am now. I can navigate, I dabble in foreign languages, I have tried more new things than ever before and I am enjoying the new person I have become. It may sound ridiculous, but getting my stuff stolen helped me become an even stronger, more independent person than ever before.

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Julie Alderman

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I&rsquo;m Julie Alderman, a junior at the George Washington University studying political communication, and I&rsquo;m ready for the adventure of a lifetime in Amsterdam. I love strong coffee, good writing and all types of music (from opera to country). I hail from Manlius, New York, a small town outside of Syracuse and I am ready to live it up in Amsterdam and travel all around Europe!</span></p>

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