I live by the motto: ‘’You have to either be writing, or doing something worth writing about’’. I feel like the universe conspires in me living by this motto, by putting me in the craziest type of situations. Let me tell you the story about how I spent the night in jail in Bulgaria.
It was Monday evening. We were on our way to the club, me, my friend and Micky, the friendly Nigerian guy we met the day before. On our way to the club, the police pulled us over. It was no big deal, just a regular traffic control. Micky had an international driver’s license from Nigeria, but since none of the officers could speak or read English, they did not understand it. When it started taking longer and they asked us for our ID’s, I started to panic a little. My hand shifted to my little purse to take out my ID. The same purse that contained my weed. Weed, which was illegal in Bulgaria. I turned to the backseat and told my friend: ‘’I have the weed in my purse. Should I put it in my shoe?’’
‘’I think you’re being a little paranoid, girlfriend’’, she replied. ‘’They’re not going to search us.’’ Not long after that, two other police cars pulled up. Keep in mind, we had been standing there for two hours, not knowing what was going on, because we couldn’t understand the police officers.
When the other cars pulled up, I knew I was going to jail that night. The entire night played out in front of my eyes. They were going to find the weed and they were locking me up. I knew it at that moment. I felt my heart pounding in my throat and my leg started to shake. Now, here was an emotion I hadn’t felt in a long time. Fear. I was terrified of what was going to happen. A woman got out of the car and started searching my friend. Well there you had it. She was going to search me too and then it would be over. I looked at Micky. ‘’I have the weed in my purse. What do I do?’’ His eyes filled with panic. ‘’Can you swallow it?’’ I looked out of the window. There was an officer standing right in front of me, looking me in the eye. There was no way I would be able to take the weed out of my pack of cigarettes and swallow it without him seeing it. It was a lost cause.
After they searched my friend, they started searching me. She immediately found the bag of weed in my pack of cigarettes. ‘’What’s this?’’ she asked me.
‘’It’s just some grass.’’ ‘’Grass.’’ Never in my life have I ever used that word. I don’t know why that was the first thing that came to mind. Fear does crazy things to one’s mind.
‘’This is illegal in Bulgaria!’’ She yelled at me. My friend’s acting skills amazed me.
‘’ILLEGAL?’’ She yelled out in fake-shock. Thinking back at it, it’s funny, but at that moment it took everything in me to control my emotions. They were going to lock me up. I knew it.
There were a bunch of police officers and one, maybe two of them knew how to speak a little English. Ridiculous. How can you be of service to me if you cannot understand me? It’s 2017, for God’s sake. It should be a top priority that all of your officers speak English. What if I’m in trouble and I need help? They wouldn’t understand a word I say. Absolutely ridiculous. They kept us there for another hour without explaining anything to us. Micky got aggravated and started yelling at the officers. All the police brutality videos I had seen in the past couple of years started floating through my mind. We tried to calm him down, because I could just see the officers beating him up like it was nothing. Fortunately enough, no such thing happened.
After an hour, they told us to get out of the car. They gave Micky and my friend their ID’s back, but not me. Of course not. I had the weed. The officer looked at me and said only one thing: ‘’Station.’’ Now that was an international word. I understood what he meant and got into the back of the police car, thanking God that they didn’t handcuff me. Micky said: ‘’But that’s my friend.’’ The sweet guy. He didn’t have to do that. He didn’t even smoke. We could have gotten him in a lot of trouble if they had found the weed in his car. ‘’Come to the station’’, the officer said. In the back of the car, I couldn’t help but to cry anymore. The tears started floating across my cheeks and I was sobbing like a baby. There I was. In the back of a police car in a foreign country where no one spoke English. I had never gotten into any contact with police at all. I was in complete unknown territory. I had no idea what to expect, so naturally, I expected the worst. All the officer said the whole ride, was: ‘’This big problem in Bulgaria.’’
Stay tuned for LOCKED UP ABROAD PT. II: THE POLICE STATION!