Saturday, 24 October 2015

by María Gloria Romero Romero

Being a teacher at University, I decided to apply for a grant to go abroad. Lublin, a Polish city near the Ukrainian border, was to be the final destination. I was excited and nervous about the adventures that were waiting for me in this unfamiliar country.

The first day after my arrival, I decided to go to a bank to get some money exchanged. I thought it wouldn’t be difficult to understand the local people. While I was standing in the line, I heard a loud noise. Suddenly, four men with black balaclavas stormed into the bank office. Everybody was terrified and started screaming. We were told to lie on the floor and keep quiet. I don’t know how many minutes it took but it seemed like an eternity. All my family, my friends, my childhood and whole life flashed across my mind.

I thought that it would be the last few minutes of my life. I started to regret ever having applied for that scholarship. I didn’t understand anything they were saying. They were speaking in Polish as you would expect and I only knew English. Why hadn’t I studied Polish?

I was so petrified that I hadn’t noticed a group of people surrounding me. Slowly, I stood up and realised that everybody was wearing a broad grin on their faces. Furthermore, there were five or six men dressed in a kind of uniform. I had initially thought that they were police uniforms but, they were talking to the masked men!

It had been a robbery drill all along.  I had never been so surprised in all my life.

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