I open at the close.

I’ve always had this very strong feeling that things weren’t properly closed when I left London. Two months ago, I decided I wasn’t going to carry that feeling onto the next year. I decided that it had been two years already and that I needed to sort that out and that the best way to do that was to go back.

First thing was to contact the chefs I’ve worked with before and arrange a dinner. Obviously just some of them could come but that would do. Second was to look pretty. Not to impress them but because I wanted them to see it is ok to move, to change careers, to end up a relationship and to still feel strong and confident.

With that done I also wanted to treat myself, so even though I didn’t have company I made reservations at the best cocktail bars in town and a couple of restaurants I’ve been wanting to go for so long but while I lived London I ended up postponing all the time.

Everything was good so far, everything was organized and ready to go. Arriving in London all I could think about was that I was weirdly feeling as if I was back home. I felt I owned the city.

So, the night of the dinner with my former colleagues arrived. I was a bit drunk because I had spent all afternoon drinking craft beers at a pub. Putting that aside, it was wonderful to see them all, but it was also a challenge to deal with all the memories we all had from that place.

I went to the kitchen to say hi to my former Sous Chef. I couldn’t stop smiling, I really missed him.

He called me Chef Sophia and all my memories came straight back. All the hard days, all of the amazing days, the day I got promoted and the day I made such a bad mistake that I almost got fired (and that was the same day). I couldn’t stop dreaming awake thinking of all that had happened inside that kitchen with those wonderful people and how everything was gone.

I gave the Sous Chef a very strong hug.

Back at the dinner table we were being very spoiled by the restaurant. They gave us prosecco, they gave us discounts, they talked to us as if we were celebrities. It felt good. It felt very good.

Finally all the gossip started, and we were at the nostalgic moment of the night talking about the long-gone days of bsk. We were young, we were fearless, we were a team.

I heard that after I was gone some people still talked about me. When I left people said they were bad-mouthing me. Two years after they managed to tell me how it was the opposite. They told me how Papa John (he deserves his own story) couldn’t believe I’ve left without saying goodbye. They told me the Sous Chef kept saying how he missed my morning hugs.

Being back there for dinner made me feel that I will always have memories from that place, and fortunately with time I’m managing to keep just the good ones.

After the last glass of wine, I could barely walk but I had to say one last goodbye. I went all the way through the kitchen not caring if I could, and I went to the office. I sat at the office’s chair, looked at the rota, talked a little bit with the chefs there and gave a very big hug on the Sous Chef. I told him I missed him so much. I kissed him on the cheek and told him to be happy.

I also said that to my former apprentice. It was funny because he was who taught me everything when I had just started, but because of the stupid hierarchy that exists in kitchens, he always had to answer to me.
I told him I believed in him, and that I’m sure he will go far, actually that he was already going far.

I just didn’t manage to say goodbye to one person that I really wanted to. He wasn’t there and he wasn’t going to be. He was the one I wrote the goodbye letter to. The one I never let go. The one that when I close my eyes I can picture him on my very first day giving me all the instructions I needed and me there, daydreaming about how could I had arrived there. (this also deserves a proper story).

The end of this all is, after all this babbling, that I went to London to say goodbye but I didn’t manage. I thought there was a door that had to be closed. I thought that all the feelings I still have about those days had to be gone somehow. And then I realized that after three days walking round, going everywhere I wanted to go, saying goodbye to all my loved ones and trying to shut that door I couldn’t, because there was never a door there to be shut.

London will always be there for me, and I know that if I ever decide to go back I’ll be in love with it again, as I was the day I came out of that tube station at St Paul and that I knew I was supposed to be there.

A Purple Suitcase

I was three years old when I had my first sleep over. My mum always tells this story to justify why I am the way I am. I happened to have this best friend from school that we were inseparable. Everywhere she went with her family her parents used to call my mum and ask her to ‘borrow’ me because my friend behaved so much better when I was around. So every weekend or so, if her family went to the farm, there I was, if her family had a birthday or a wedding to attend or even if her parents wanted to have a nice romantic dinner, there I was to entertain my hyperactive friend.

She used to be at my house a lot as well, and because I was still learning not only my mother language but also my second language, we used to have these hilarious baby conversations where I used to mix all the words and she, as a good friend used to pretend she understood exactly what I was saying.

One weekend her family wanted to travel to Montevideo. I think I could consider that my first trip away from my family. Again, I was three years old. So, they came over to our house, all of them, and asked to my mum very carefully if they could take me away for a long weekend with them. They said we would stay at her grandmother’s apartment and that we would basically stay in by the fireplace and have a good time together.

My mum didn’t know what to say, so she decided to pull me to the side and ask if I wanted to go and that if I didn’t want to go she would say that she’d rather have me not going. Until today she tells this story as if it was the most normal thing for a three year old to do. She said that I looked at her and I said – I would like to go mum.

After that apparently I turned around, went to my room and grabbed a plastic purple suitcase that used to belong to my cousin and that I used to keep all my dolls inside. I emptied it and I packed. I don’t really remember what I packed, but I’m sure my mum had to repack for me.

She also said that once I was ready I didn’t even hesitate. She asked me again if I was sure, that if I wanted to go back home I wouldn’t be able to because I wasn’t going to be round the corner as it was usually when I went to my friends’ house to play. Once again I grabbed my suitcase and didn’t even look back. I just got in my friend’s parent’s car and went away.

My mum always said she never saw such thing. How could someone that small just turn around and leave with no hesitation, with no fear and barely being able to carry her own plastic suitcase?

To be honest until today I’m not able to carry my own bags, but that never stopped me, never scared me nor made me give up travelling.

Something old, something borrowed.

As always it happened yesterday. Let me give you a feedback. My grandmother is sick, the sickest she has even been. She is in the hospital with no expectation of coming out of it. I’m the only one from the family that didn’t fly back home to see her and there are many reasons for that. The first one is that I cannot stand being in a hospital. The second one is very simple, and you might think I’m being mean or cold but the thing is I wasn’t that close to her.

The story happened about 16 years ago when my grandfather died. He was young and so was she. He had lung cancer, a very draining and painful illness for both of them. When he finally departure my grandmother had her two years of grief and then decided to date again. Good for her right? Wrong. My grandfather was a gentleman, a man that represented the men of our city. Her boyfriend? A scumbag.

I have this very clear memory that explains why my grandmother was gone for me after my grandfather died. Actually there are two memories. I was about nine years old when we met her new boyfriend. At the beginning he was ok, until the moment he introduced himself to me as ‘my new grandfather’. From that moment on I hated him with all my guts, and I was only nine years old.

Time passed by and things began getting worse and worse with him, all the family hated him but hey, he is making our beloved grandmother happy so let’s deal with it.

Later on their relationship I cannot remember why but the new couple got into a fight with my mom and my uncles. I remember overhearing the conversation and she said very clearly that since my grandfather died she wasn’t going to be either a mother neither a grandmother. She said she was starting a new life.

For a kid to hear that is quite traumatizing. I was devastated but at the same time I got the message. Obviously if I heard that today I would say something like- what the hell are you talking about? But it wasn’t that way.

Well, years passed by and I lost all sorts of contact with my grandmother, so much that if I called on her birthday we would exchange a couple of words and then there would be an empty silence between us.

Yesterday night it was different. I was talking to my parents about her situation and how she might not get out of it and when we hang up the phone I started remembering all the thing that she gave me that were hers. I always liked vintage stuff so I was always asking her if she had old clothes or discs or even furniture that she didn’t want anymore and that I could keep. All of a sudden I couldn’t sleep thinking about a purse she gave me as an eighteenth birthday present. A purse that she used to wear for the city balls she used to go with my grandfather.

At that moment I had to call my mum and ask her where the purse was, and thankfully she said I didn’t have to worry, that she had it at home because she had borrowed it to go to a wedding. I felt relieved that the purse wasn’t gone.

When I finally fell asleep I was having all kinds of dreams but suddenly my heart stopped and someone whispered my name in my ear. I immediately woke up and said out loud – talk to me, I’m listening. The voice said nothing else.

The purse was my grandmother. And I think the voice was also her. She is fine, and whatever happens to her I’m sure she will be fine as well. I’m sad to know that I don’t know half of the stories I should know, and that all that might be gone soon. Im just glad I kept everything she gave me, and I’ll make it all be worth it.

It’s raining, it’s pouring

Nobody will ever understand my love for the rain. It’s almost as if it was an unwanted lover. Of course the sun is beautiful in all its ways. It’s good for your health, for your skin, for outdoor plans, for pictures, but what about the rain? Why it is only appreciated when you are at home, with blanquettes and ice cream? At least that’s what I hear every time I say I love the rain.

Today was a special day in a very regular way. Here in Barcelona it never rains, and if it does, it’s just for a couple of minutes and then BANG the sun comes out again with all its heat and humidity. I know I live by the coast and it would be very selfish of me to want it to be a ‘bad’ weather all the time but the problem is rain is a big part of me and all my changes. Let me explain.

Haven’t you ever felt that after a big change, a big happening, a sudden surprise, that you need a nice long shower and a new pair of clothes? Well, that’s how I feel about the rain. For me the rain is a symbol of closure, a symbol of restart. I don’t mind that the sun comes out afterwards. I just need it to rain.

Today was a good day at work; we were busy which is good because a busy day equals a happy boss. It was also a good day because I finished early so I had time to take care of myself (something I’ve just started doing) and because I saw the clouds in the sky and I could smell the storm coming. I could smell the rain.

So I went out running and it was slightly rain-dropping; nothing major. The moon, well, the moon was the biggest I’ve ever seen, it was yellow and bright as if it was trying to say something. At a certain point while I was running I looked at it and it almost felt as if it blinked at me when two clouds starting shutting the moon up. So I came back home and decided I deserved a treat (something else I’ve been doing a lot lately) and I bought some sushi and a bottle of white wine – that I’m drinking right now.

As soon as I got home I was only worried about making myself feel good by eating, taking a long hot shower and selecting a movie. Because I’ve been really nostalgic about London these days I’ve decided to watch The Hooligans for the tenth time. You might think I’m crazy because is violent and stuff but I’m really way more concerned about the main character’s English accent and hotness to be honest.

All of a sudden I start hearing this weird noise coming from outside as if something was constantly knocking at my window. Because of the noise there’s outside I usually keep it closed so I can hear the movie. After a couple of minute I was like – what the hell is that noise about?? And guess what? It was pouring rain outside like it hasn’t poured for the past three months. I just couldn’t believe it.

Immediately I paused the movie, grabbed my glass of wine and just watched. I watched the rain fall on my feet not caring about them being wet. I watched the neighbors coming out to have a nice and long cigarette by their windows. I just closed my eyes and took a deep breath and thanked.

Maybe now you all can finally understand why I love the rain so much. The rain means to be new again, it recharges my energies, it makes me believe everything is going to be ok. The rain brings me light, brings me freedom, brings me clarity. Let it rain, and when the sun comes up, I’ll be ready to shine with it.

Sunflower Field

One week before my birthday last year I had a very memorable dream. So memorable I haven’t forgotten it. I was standing in front of a beautiful field of sunflowers and admiring the delicate but strong flowers they are with their thick stall leading to the big round head they have that makes it almost sound funny. But then you stop and take a really deep look at them and there they are: yellow like gold, following the sunlight like there is nothing else on their way, all they have and all they want is right there above them, and all they have to do is follow it.

So I was there, asking my dad what was all that about. Why did he decide to grow sunflowers all of a sudden? It took me straight to when I was four years old and I have this very clear memory of running round a sunflower field playing with my brothers of hide and seek. The flowers were so much taller than me that I couldn’t see a thing so I would just stay still waiting on them to find me. It could have been one of the best days of my life and I didn’t know.

One week before my birthday last year I woke up crying and I didn’t know if it was out of joy or sadness. I instantly reminded the dream. I looked at the field, I looked at my dad and I asked who that field was for. He looked deep into my eyes, held my both arms and smiled with his lightly wrinkled eyes and his spaced front teeth. Then he said: all this is for you my daughter, happy birthday.

Suddenly I realized that I was the sunflower field. That I was the field and all I needed was to follow my dreams and nothing else, no one else, with nobody on my way. The gift that my dad gave me that night on that dream was called freedom, was called choice, was called wings.

Come and Knock at my Door

Unfortunately I’ve felt a desperate desire to write about this week’s happening. It just doesn’t get round my head that the world can be so cruel, so closed, so vulnerable and at the same time so blind, so narrow-minded, so narcissist. What am I talking about? Yesterday happened a terrorist attack in Barcelona, fifty meters away from where I work and very close to where I live. I was on my day off so I was at home. I was supposed to go out at the exact time of the incident, but for some reason I felt very tired all of a sudden and I decided to take a nap. Soon I woke up with some messages on my phone asking if I was ok. I didn’t know what my friends were talking about until I realized I could hear a lot of sirens and helicopters around my neighborhood.

I went online and everything was real; the images of my street, my work, my people. I’m not going to get into details, everyone knows what happened. I stayed hours locked down at home, on my own, talking to people about it and letting everybody know I was ok. I was trying to keep up to date with my work colleges that were still locked down at work with no prevision on when they would get to go home. My street was closed, police officers yelling to people so they would stop trying to go and see what everything was about. It wasn’t pretty, why would you want to try and see it?

And that’s why I’m writing today. When I woke up, I didn’t want to go to work, I didn’t want to walk through that street, I didn’t want to see it. I was already feeling it in my bones, why see it? It came to the moment I had to go out. First thing I noticed was the silence; even though the streets where filled with people, no one was talking. All around the Ramblas streets were blocked by police cars and police officers. Candles were lit all the way down. I saw some people gathered around some roses that were put on the road on a heart shape. I started to cry; the energy around there was immeasurable. I had to wipe my tears and get to work.

The restaurant was empty, everybody with their faces looking down. Not a smile, why would there be a smile?

Time for my break and I had to walk through the Ramblas down again. On my way back there were a lot of people just taking pictures; pictures of people praying, pictures of people lighting candles, pictures of the journalists that were filming. I got really upset. I just don’t understand how the human being became so blind that the only way they take all this tragedy in is registering a nation’s suffering and sending it on WhatsApp to someone across the globe to see how bad it is.

At work I found out that last night, the owner was even considering keeping the doors opened and making some money out of people’s desperation. The restaurant is fifty meters away from the terrorist attack, the police recommended that everywhere nearby should stay shut because they were looking for the murderer and even so my colleges almost had to stay open.

I just cannot understand people’s reaction to an atrocity that just happened and that has being happeing all around the globe. People have no filter, just for Instagram. People have no heart or compassion, all they want is to be the first to register a picture and have the biggest number of likes possible. And then we say there is no salvation, that is the end of the world and that violence is winning. Humanity is knocking at our doors and we are no letting it in. Instead, we are watching it all through an eight inches screen so that way we are safe right?

 

The Letter

I though nobody would ever get to see this, but I think it’s time to share something I’ve done about a year ago, related to a year before that. Everything desserves a closure, and I feel I have a lot of open things at the moment. I need to close them once and for all to be able to move forward and to grow.

This letter is on its original form, with no writting edition other that covering the name of the Chef I sent this to, just in case he doesn’t want the exposure.

Dear Chef,
This is a letter that was never supposed to be written nor sent. Still, I don’t think I’ve said to you all that I felt like when I left. Maybe today I don’t mean anything but a broken and messed up mind that just couldn’t take the pressure. Maybe the last memories you have of me( if you have any memory at all) were of me crying for some attention and care, yelling angry wondering where have all my good days of BSK gone. It doesn’t matter now because after almost a year ago I was something I’m not anymore and most of it I owe to you.
I was really hurt, I thought I was weak and that I had given up on everything you taught me and everything I could be one day. It took me several months to recover from everything and to have the courage to write this letter. A thank you letter.
It doesn’t mean I agree with everything you’ve said to me, but it would be silly if it happened that way. I just wanted you to know that you were and are a big part on my professional growth. For the things I did and the things I don’t accept anymore, for the standard and discipline that I don’t leave behind not even for a second. For the team work and the strength you showed we need to have to survive in this industry.
I always believed in you as I think you believed in me, and it broke my heart having to go, but it was the best for me and for my mental health. Until now I think that I wasn’t good enough and that’s why I broke down. I thought that either I stayed strong and made part of this culinary army, or I should leave it all behind and go do something completely different.
I want you to know that everywhere I work I pick a mentor, someone that is my mirror, my biggest example and that I always will care and think about within the tiniest details of my day. Since I chose you I haven’t found anyone else. In a certain way its good because I’m having to be my own mentor. On the othe hand I miss having a strong figure that can calm me down and tell me how good or bad I’m doing.
Where I work now I’m still a demi, even though I take lots of responsibilities, run pastry and larder and prep for sauce. I have time to breath when I need to, I even have time for a 30 min break when I’m on a double shift. We make really nice food and I’m proud of myself. I just miss my mentor being proud of me too.
This letter is to thank you for teaching me to be strong, organized, to be a leader, an example, a rescuer. Because of what I’ve learnt in BSK and because of the routine we had there, I’ve learned how to be the opposite around here. I don’t stress as much because I can see the solution, I have more time so I know how to handle it better than anyone else. Nobody knows how is it to really run against time like we used to.
This letter is to thank you for all the times you pulled me outside to know how I really was, for all the hugs and all the pushes you gave me believing that I could do better and better every day.
I’m sorry I let you down, I’m sorry I couldn’t get my head around my problems. What I did was just to stand up for me and stop. Stop and think if that was really what I wanted for me and if It was what I wanted to become. Now every little bit of knowledge I’ve got from you and some other chefs I carry with me forever.
I think not many people would even care to write a letter like this, but I believe I have a mission in this life and it’s not to be indifferent, not to be replaceable, not to be invisible. I hope I made some difference in your life while I was there, and I truly hope, from my heart, that you have an amazing life and that you always reach what you seek for.
Thank you for everything, and I hope we meet again someday to have a beer and share all that’s been going on in our lives. I buy!

Sincerely,
Sophia Corá

Back to Day One

Is funny how things turn up the way they do. This morning I woke up and realized two years ago I moved to London without looking back. I remember two weeks before that I was really anxious trying to decide whether I was going to move to Madrid or to London and I realized that August was the worst month to move to Spain so I chose England instead.

Once I decided that, I started to send CVs to everywhere I was interested on working at. There were more than thirty definitely. I remember being by the beach in Italy with my friends, and waking up at seven AM and starring at the phone waiting on answers. I got four of them and I bought the tickets for the week after that, booked a hostel at a central area so I could get everywhere with the tube without getting lost and that was it. I was going to London on my own.

When I started packing I tried to leave everything I could behind; moving on your own can be quite tough (and heavy). There were only three objects I couldn’t leave behind and they were my coffee mug, my moka coffee maker and a coffee tin I bought in Rome that I used to put the coffee powder in. I could leave everything behind but that.

That was one of the toughest weeks I’ve ever had in my life, but luckily I was so into it that the fact that I didn’t have a house, that I didn’t have a job, that I didn’t know anyone whatsoever there and that I was short of money, all of that didn’t scare me once and all I was concerned about was to make things happen.

This morning my routine was a repetition of what it was two years ago. I woke up early, took a shower in a house I share with other six people, made some fresh coffee that I took from the coffee tin in my moka coffee maker, poured it inside my coffee mug and had a quick breakfast with the same ingredients I used to have in London – white bread, cream cheese and ham. It was like living inside a flashback, where everything is new but it feels right, where the people I know I don’t really know but I have to trust them because I have nothing else left and that I have to live one day at a time, otherwise I’ll go crazy.

Today I was living the same day I had two years ago, but with a lot more stories to tell, many won challenges and a huge collection of failures. Today I asked myself if everything I’m doing is worth it, I asked myself if I’m getting somewhere or will this routine be played on repeat over and over again. I don’t know. I hope not.

Seven Days

Years have passed by and I’ve realized more and more that any decision, any change, any wait, any disappointment or any conquer lasts only seven days. My latest happening was my break up. Now it’s been exactly one week. In that week I cried too much, I spent money I didn’t have to sleep at a hotel, I hated myself.

On the first morning I woke up early enough to get the very expensive breakfast I paid for and enjoy the rest of my day searching for rooms to rent. That same day I had a viewing. And I had to go to work. That same day the viewing was disastrous and that same day the man, that once was the love of my life and that now I had wrecked everything because of who I am, told me he was leaving the country. That same day I went to work and had to sleep at a friend’s house. This friend I’ve met one week before.

The next morning I had to go to work again, and received calls from many rooms to visit, some very far from work, some very tiny, some very expensive. I made a reservation at a hostel until things got sorted out. I had a hand bag with enough clean clothes for a week, toiletries, uniform and socks. I went early to the hostel to drop my bag and go to work. In the middle of the afternoon he came to say goodbye, he was leaving that night. My heart hurt like it hadn’t hurt for a long time. Everything was so real at that moment. I had to go back to work. He didn’t want to wait for me to finish the shift to say goodbye. I went back to our old room and managed to stay there for a couple more days. I went back to the hostel to pick up my stuff – by that time it was already eleven in the evening. I went back to work to drink. I met a Scottish man that paid for a couple of my drinks. I went to our old bed and didn’t sleep.

Next morning I had to work and I had a viewing. The room was expensive but good enough to start again – with a bed, a desk and a shared balcony. I took it immediately and went back to work to give the guys the good news. I was starting to feel better. That same day the owner of the old room texts me saying I had to leave the next day because they needed to paint the room. My stress allergies started coming back instantly and I was freaking out again. I was so upset he wasn’t helping me out that I simply said I wasn’t leaving and that he had to deal with that. I think I was so straight forward with him that he didn’t even argue. Two days from then I packed everything and moved all my things to the new room, but I couldn’t move in completely yet, I just dropped all my life in a place that could be my new home. But it couldn’t be that easy right? So I put all my things inside the lift and went down by the stairs, but of course the lift got stuck with all my stuff in. I had to call the owner and I had to wake up the building manager. I did it. I called a taxi and it didn’t come. I waved to a taxi driver and he stopped, he didn’t want to take me but at the end he did. He moaned all the way. He wanted to leave me with all my five bags a block away from my new home. Finally at the building I managed to carry everything upstairs and the moving was done. I went back to work. I slept at my friend’s house again.

The next day I worked again. All of those days I had to drink quite a little bit too much so I could sleep. My last night out we went way too far with the drinking, but it was worth it. We danced, we met people and we even bounced out of a fight.

On the seventh day I was settled. I had my new room with all my things, I had new roommates, new neighborhood, new friend. On the seventh day I was feeling empty, starting again, alone.

I Carabinieri

I remember I was just washing some spinach and talking to one of my colleges on a very hot day of July. The restaurant was empty because it was low season for Florence; at least that’s what they told me at work although soon I would find out it was for another reason.

The thing is, having a business in Italy is kind of complicated. I’m not going to talk about mafia because I have no bigger knowledge about that but basically everything has to go through some big guys and if they don’t approve yours plans, they will find a way to knock you down – not in a physical way but they will ruin your career.

Back to my very boring day, it was before lunch service when it all happened. It took me a while to understand what was going on but all of a sudden the restaurants Maître d´ came inside the kitchen and said the Police were in and asked us all to go upstairs to our lockers and bring down our documents. Immediately I ran and got mine (because I was more than sure that I had every single document I needed to be working in Italy) and gave it to him. All of us did. A few minutes later I get a phone call from the Head Chef telling me to get out of the restaurant from the back door. I told him I couldn’t because the Police already had my passport; they already knew I was there.

So that’s when the trouble began. After a few more minutes the Police called me and the pot washer. He was from the Philippines. They sat me down and started asking me a lot of questions like where I was from, when did I arrive in Italy, how did I get my passport, how did I start working there and the most important question of all: how long had I been working there. I was shaking and very nervous with my very basic Italian and not understanding why the fuck was I being investigated like that.

I lied, and I signed underneath it. Even though I had no idea what was going on, I thought that saying I was there for 4 month would make it worse, so I said it was my first week. And that was it, I lied to the Italian Police. Me, a just-born Italian was already in trouble. I was shitting myself. But that’s not the end.
After the Police left, I went back to the kitchen in shock, angry, crying and yelling to the only responsible around that was the Maître d´, asking what the hell was all that about. Not only was I confused but I noticed the Sous Chef and the other Japanese guy that we had in the kitchen had disappeared before the Police arrived.

The head Chef called me again. This time I answered and said I’m never coming back to work. I said, with my very poor Italian, that what happened was unacceptable, that I shouldn’t have gone through that, that I signed documents on my first day so that everything up to date.

He said the Sous Chef was hiding around the corner and that he wanted to talk to me. I got changed, picked up all my knives and went to talk to him expecting an explanation, an apology. All he did was laugh because I was crying and told me to stop crying that this was nothing. That he had been illegal in Italy for ten years and that he got used to running and that that happened all the time. I didn’t want to hear. I just wanted to get home.

Finally, after all, the Head Chef tried to call me for three days and I just texted him saying I didn’t want to know about him or the restaurant anymore. He understood but still tried to cover his ass. He said that I should have never given my documents to the Police, that I should have escaped like the others and that now they had to pay a fine because I was irregular on the papers. I just gave up on them.

In the end, days after what happened, all of us from the restaurant staff got together for a farewell. They found out what happened that day and they explained to me. Apparently the owner of the restaurant had broken a partnership with the big guys so they called the Police on him, saying they knew he had irregular people working there. Not only that, but they also knew neither the owner nor the Head Chef would be there that day to cover things up. It was all planned, and it worked. After that the restaurant shut down for ‘refurbishment’. It re-opened one year later.