Survivor: On migration

Image by bjearwicke on SXC.hu

I am from Germany. I came to Spain when I was fourteen years old because I had to. My parents wanted to live here. I felt bad about it. I had to leave all my friends behind. I didn’t know Spanish and had only been once to this house in Spain after my parents bought it the previous march. Then we spent three weeks here that summer.

In the beginning, the house was bought only for holidays. We came with my sister’s grandmother and she knew someone not far from where we lived who wanted to leave their restaurant. My father had always wanted a restaurant and decided to rent it.

At first, the idea was that my father would run the restaurant and my step mother would look after us in Germany. He then decided he couldn’t survive without the family. So we all came over. It was all the fault of my sister’s grandmother and my grandmother.

I had a grandmother I hadn’t known. She is the real mother of my mother – my real mother; real because I didn’t know her. I have only seen her in a photo. I think it was a photograph of my baptism when I was a baby which I think was on the same day my parents got married. From what I understand the real mum of my mum did not want to take care of her so she ended up with an adopted mum who I knew as my grandmother.

Image by SEPpics SXC.hu

I was six when my mum died of cancer, breast cancer. I was brought up by my dad and have good memories of him. He met my step mother a few months after my mother died. She was very good to me. She had a daughter and we were brought up together. She was a year older than me. So we have been together since I was six.

When my mum died my other sister, my real sister who is also my mum’s daughter was already twenty one years old, had already left home and was living on her own. She had a different father to me. Despite the age difference between us, we have remained close. When my real grandmother died and because our mother was already dead, she and I were her next of kin.

Our grandmother did not leave a will. However, a neighbour remembered that she had a daughter. The authorities started looking for my mother, found out that she was dead and then started to look for us. We ended up with a nice inheritance. I was about twelve years old at the time. I couldn’t receive the money because I was a child. A few years later, my parents – my father and step mother – decided to buy the house in Spain and they asked if I could lend them some of my money. I said yes of course, for a holiday home!

I felt my parents were escaping from Germany. They always wanted the sun. I don’t remember going on skiing holidays. They never said it but I don’t think they liked the routine – go to work, come home, go to work, come home… and the cold German weather. I remember once when we went on holidays somewhere near to Barcelona…they had wanted to buy a house. Then they stopped thinking about it.

Image by bepag SXC.hu

I began to regret their decision to buy a house in Spain when I discovered that by agreeing to the purchase of the house, I had signed away my life in Germany. I was only fourteen. When we finally moved, we were expected to go to the local GermanSchool. It wasn’t so straightforward. We couldn’t speak Spanish, the head teacher said and they had more subjects here than they did in Germany and he did not believe we would be able to cope. Apparently, he did not like our faces. He was that type of headmaster we were told, whose decisions about who attended his school or not depended on whether he liked your face or not.

As we left the school, my sister and I were excited. It meant that we would have to go back to Germany. There was no plan B. They had expected us to get into the school because we were Germans.

So, we went back to Germany. My sister to her father and I was supposed to stay with my best friend until I was eighteen. At eighteen, I could decide what to do.

 

| On migration |  On challenges |  On testing times On the fence 

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