My first two weeks in Spain. A time I had anticipated to be full of feat, novelty, and charm, took a bit of a turn. Instead of filling my days with tapas, hot girl walks, and fulfilling my pursuit to find my go-to coffee shop for the semester. I spent my time hot girl walking from the U.S. embassy to the Court House of Valencia, getting a lawyer, and enjoying the comforts of mail jail.
While haphazardly shopping in Zara and presenting a skirt and shirt to the cashier at the counter, the lady forgot to scan the shirt and placed both items in the bag anyways. When I exited the store, the alarm went off. The security guard took a gander into my bag to find what appeared to be a stolen item.
We spent a good amount of time challenging the very apparent language barrier and ultimately failing. In mall jail, we furthered our previous discussion while waiting for the two police officers in full uniform to arrive. The security appeared to be a bit miffed regarding my Spanish level and refused to check the cameras or to talk to the cashier.
Once the police arrived, I explained my situation and they seemed to understand. However, I learned that once you make a police report in Spain, you must continue the process all the way to court, so that’s just what we did.
After I was released, I hot girl walked my way right to the U.S. embassy before my first day of classes. There the very nice woman handed me a list of lawyers and warned me that this could lead to possible denial of my visa and ultimately deportation.
The next week before my day in court was extremely educational. I learned so much. I learned that there are virtually no lawyers in Valencia that speak English, I learned that European companies like Zara take petty theft incredibly seriously.
I learned that a crime like this can be given a fee of €10 a day for three months. Not to mention what this experience has done for my Spanish. I will surely never forget the words for white shirt, bag, to steal, lawyer, ticket, or court.
One extremely stressful week later, my day in court came. There I was greeted by my translator, my lawyer, Zara’s lawyer and the oh-so-lovely security guard. Against the request of my lawyer, and the judge, the Zara lawyer failed to bring the camera footage that would have proven my innocence.
My lawyer requested a suspension, but the prosecutor refused and decided that we would hold the trials based solely on testimonies. I had to deliver a full testimony, with the help of my translator, and was questioned by my lawyer, Zara’s lawyer, the prosecutor, and the judge. After I finished, the security guard was subject to the same.
My declaration seemed to be a little more convincing than his because the prosecutor decided to drop all charges from the Spanish government, and the judge ordered Zara to do the same.
My Spanish criminal record will be cleared, I won’t be fined, and I’ll receive my visa. Though my time in Valencia did not begin the way I anticipated, I know that life has a funny way of delivering our paths.
I hope to one day soon be enlightened and to laugh along. But, for now, I rest assured with an epic tale, an iconic mall jail BeReal, and the notion that I can only go up from here.