The subway was filled with way more humans than I’d ever seen. I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to get on. Two months back, I would have shyly retracted my steps and resigned my space, not wanting to impede on others’ space. But today wasn’t two months back, it’s today haha. I stepped on like I belonged on that subway and reached through a couple people to hang onto the rail. There were people all around me and I could barely move.

I squeezed myself out at my stop and reached the meeting point in front of the supermarket where I was supposed to meet my friends. I opened my bag and saw my money purse open with receipts sticking out. Funny. I had tucked away my metro card and zipped it after swiping in. I shuffled through it and immediately knew some money was missing. 40 euros.

Retracing my steps to the moment I had put away my metro card, I realized what had happened. I remembered feeling a slight pressure on my bag and rustling while on the subway. It had been so crowded I couldn’t turn my head to look down. I also didn’t want to offend anyone by checking my bag based on assumed suspicion.

It was a really really creepy feeling, knowing that someone had opened my bag, unzipped my money purse, identified the cash among the paper receipts, and taken just that. It was also a really creepy feeling knowing that there were so many people and someone might have seen it happening… and said nothing. This part I’m just assuming because no one might have been aware, but the thought that there were so many people and the person who took my money did it regardless is mildly unsettling.

Here are a couple things I learned.

1. Don’t be afraid to protect my stuff. There is no reason to be afraid of offending someone for checking on my bag or shifting it toward my front. It’s my stuff. I don’t know why I’m so sensitive to how people will feel if I check my bag in front of them. It is what it is, isn’t it?

2. This might sound strange, but it was weirdly cathartic that this happened. I had been clenching my cash money like it was all I had. I wasn’t really enjoying my time and the opportunities that came my way (aka food, food, activities, food, etc.). I was counting my money, trying to stretch it out thin. I was working for my money rather than the other way around.

Having 40 euros taken from me changed something for me. Ultimately, everything I have and everything I don’t have, I’m taken care of. Money comes, money goes. The night before, I had refrained from snacking while I was out with my girls… trying to save a couple euros… now knowing the next day 20 times that would be pickpocketed from me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not entirely unaffected. It hurts to think what I could have done with that money… So much! But I would have spent it as a miser anyways.

Later in the day, my friends and I trekked to a local outdoor market where the entrance fee was 2 euro and the food cost nothing less than 5 euro. With the 11 euro left in my purse, I strutted the marketplace feeling like a boss. This money, this little money I have is for my enjoyment and to be able to choose what to do with it is a gift. So I spent it and loved every spoonful of the cheesecake, every crumb of the sandwich, and every bite of the crepe bought with a few coins.

Person who took my money, I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I enjoyed the money you left in my purse. But know, I’m not playing the oblivious tourist anymore lol. Hand on my bag at all times.

Happy Monday.

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Walking my journey, evolving endlessly into the Me I came to Be.

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