So I had just moved to Glasgow but still had to commute to Greenock on a daily basis. My new flat was in an old, typically Glaswegian tenement building right next to Hampden Park, the Scottish National Stadium. Mount Florida train station was a 5 minute-walk away and the train to Central Station took about 10 minutes, from where I had to catch another train to Greenock. A one way commute took me about one hour and 15 minutes. I could have taken the car but that would have been far more expensive than the £90 the train ticket cost me with the IBM discount applied. Since I was now paying £80 more for rent every month, I had to safe money elsewhere.
Since the parking in the area was quite limited compared to the amount of people living in a tenement, I sometimes had to park my car one block, or even further away. One of those days, I went to work without even checking on my car in the morning and just went to the train station, where I noticed that someone had called me from a withheld number at 3 am. I dismissed it for someone drunk dialling my number and went to work.
It was a Thursday and my last day before going to Brazil for a month. A couple of hours later the withheld number called again and it turned out to be the police, informing me that my car had been found in a shady part in town. I did not quite understand what was happening and told them that my car had been found in Greenock a couple of weeks back. After they double checked the information, it became clear that my beloved convertible had been stolen again – for the second time within 2 months. This was surely not what I had expected when I left Greenock to live in a better area…
I left work earlier that day to deal with the situation but did not end up doing much. Instead of following my usual Thursday night ritual of going to my mate’s for a men’s night with hot tub, beer and poker I just felt like getting drunk at home alone. Thankfully they talked me into going there anyways and also convinced me to collect the convertible before going to Brazil.
In the morning I took a cab to the very east end of town, where my car had been recovered. I had my whole luggage with me and the plan was to collect the car, drive it to Edinburgh and keep it parked at the airport, which would have still been cheaper than the £25 the recovery company would charge me for the storage every day. Unfortunately the poor car looked a lot worse than expected and was not drivable at all. So I called another cab back to the city and took the train to Edinburgh, informed my insurance about the theft and asked them to get it the hell out of there before storage would cost more than the whole car.
I flew to Brazil via Frankfurt and what happened there is a story for another post…
After the trip I got in touch with the Insurance company and they told me that they won’t be paying for anything as my car did not have an alarm fitted at the time of the theft. At least I could get it back without paying for recovery or storage and I rented a little garage in Shawlands to store the car away until I would have the money to fix it. The recovery driver who delivered the car was an absolute idiot of a man and not only did he put the wrong key in the ignition, which was a hassle to remove, he also just dropped the car transversely, blocking 2 other garages. He was lucky I was not there at the time…
Our next task was to apply for Bruna’s residence card that would be valid for 5 years after which she could already apply for British citizenship. Since we already had most of the documents from the entry visa application in Rio, this step was not much of a hassle this time and we applied in early August.
We had arrived back from Brazil on the 26th of July 2010 and I had made a very sharp calculation that our money would last for a maximum of 3 months until Bruna had to find a job and so she did – right on time. IBM did launch a new project and they were looking for several Japanese, Polish and Portuguese speakers to support the new Skype-Team – a project that would likely be dissolved after 3 months. We didn’t care, as it was a first income for her and we could go to work together in the morning.
We found a couple of friends in this new team, all living in Glasgow. Since I was rather new in Glasgow myself and most people I knew were living in Greenock, I was thankful for this opportunity to meet new people. We all went out together on a regular basis and had a lot of fun.
In September I had been informed that my job would be taken back in-house by the actual company we worked for and no longer be outsourced to IBM. This meant that I would have the opportunity to either move to Dublin with the job in the new year or get a redundancy payment and look for something new myself. Since Bruna’s fixed term would run out just a week after mine, we knew that in the worst case we would both end up being unemployed in early January. Nevertheless we decided to move to our own place in early November, as now being married we were not too keen on shared living anymore.
We found a place one the other side of the same tenement and could move everything over without the need for a van. This time we were facing Hampden Park and since we were going to all the Scotland matches, it was literally faster (and a lot cleaner) to use our own toilet at home during half time.
We absolutely adored our first flat together – it was exactly our style with wooden flooring all around and the most comfortable brown leather couch we have ever seen until today. It even had a dishwasher!
We also threw a hell of a housewarming party. Many guys from the Skype team were there including their partners, some of my friends I knew longer and even my mother came from Germany and she loved it so much that she stood even longer than initially planned. Well, actually that was due to the cancelled flights and closed airports.. Some may remember the crazy winter of 2010 in Scotland – we could not get to work for 3 days in a row, because it was snowing so much, the trains were not running and driving was not an option either.
Speaking of driving – we did repair the cabriolet at some point after a good friend of mine had assessed the damage and in the end it turned out cheaper than expected and just cost me about £300. We then started driving to work rather than to take the train and one of our friends from the Skype team gave us some petrol money and we picked her up in the morning which turned out cheaper for all of us.
Even though life had always been a struggle for money, we had friends, fun and loved living there. I had been paid monthly and most of my money went towards rent and bills. Bruna got paid on a weekly basis and when we were running out of money, we always knew there was going to be more in just a few days. However, we quickly found out how bad life can suck, if you have to run behind absolutely everything.
In a series of very unfortunate events the dishwasher broke and it took the landlord 2.5 months to get it fixed, the neighbour living above us had a flood with their washing machine and ruined our microwave. On 30/10/10 we had ordered Sky TV and broadband and we soon wished to have opted or Virgin – first they told me I have to be at home for an “engineer” to connect the television. I asked them twice if it wasn’t possible to send me the thing and I connect it myself. That was denied, it HAD TO BE DONE BY AN ENGINEER. So on 08/11/10 I took the last holiday I had left for the year to wait for the engineer and once he arrived, he just connected the new Sky box to the TV and left – of course I could have done it myself! I would have to wait up to 2 weeks for another engineer to come and connect the phone line so we could finally have internet and then it would still take another 8 days until the modem would arrive. Since I was told via text message that said engineer would come on 03/12/10 and I obviously had no holidays left, I called Sky several times to re-schedule for a Saturday. They never called me back regarding that and on the 3rd I got a call from the engineer who had come to my house, whilst I was at work. At some point I got tired of it all and when they did not want to let me cancel the contract I simply cancelled the direct debit.
We decided not to move to Dublin with my work and rather take the redundancy payment – including the bonuses I got in October and December the financial situation got a bit better. I had been sick of that job for a long time and the salary they offered me was not really what I expected for one of the most expensive cities in Europe and so we knew we both had to find new jobs in January. I tried anything – even getting back into the food business but after the probably worst job interview experience I ever had, that idea was out the window. Bruna easily found a new job in Glasgow as a hotel receptionist and I made it to the final stage for a very interesting German role just a few minutes from that hotel. Unfortunately I never got any feedback from that agency anymore and funnily enough, I overheard a conversation in the blue building one day from the guy who had actually been offered the role.
The last year in Scotland felt like someone deliberately stapled the bloody pest to my shoes (literal translation of a German saying) and everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong. I had been flirting with Gibraltar for a while but never been lucky enough to secure a job. This time, however, I had made it to the final stage interview and was invited to fly into Gibraltar on the 22nd of December, to be interview on the 23rd in the morning and fly back to be home just in time for Chrimbo.
The last 6 weeks in the Blue Building were an absolute joke – knowing that our team would soon be leaving, they relocated us into the darkest corner of the building where, and that’s the good good thing, we could do whatever we wanted. Our team leader had already been assigned to a new team and most of us had our December targets finished by mid-October. It had just been to early to deliver them. Instead of just being nice and letting us stay at home, knowing there was bugger all to do, they made us come in until the end. Most of us started playing by our own rules though and as absolutely nobody was giving a toss for what we were doing, we just took turns in leaving earlier and one guy used to log everyone else out of the system come hometime. I myself have been using those weeks to download music from the work PC and taking online Spanish courses, hoping that I would get the job in Gibraltar.
On the 24th of December, the day after I returned from my interview in Gibraltar, I got an email in the early morning offering me the job. We were going to move to Spain! One hour later Bruna’s 5 -year residence card arrived arrived in the post…
The next two working days I called in sick, knowing that we had already been paid before the holidays and the last days I just did not bother calling or going there anymore.
In the new year I registered in the job centre as unemployed, just to get a couple of hundred quid more for the move and after 2 weeks I informed them that I had found another job abroad.
I always loved Scotland and I always wanted to live there, but in the end I was really pissed off and and I did the country wrong by things I said when I left. Glasgow will always be in my heart and it will always be my home!