Hello,

I’ve finally decided to continue and also finish my series about moving to Germany. You can read the first two parts here: part 1 & part 2. In the second part, I’ve mentioned that the reason for my move was apprenticeship. This part will be me trying to sum 3 years of it in one post.

It all started on the 1st of August of 2014. I came to Germany few days prior to the starting date but on this Friday it all started. My apprenticeship job of choosing was hairdressing and and I was nervous and thrilled to start the job. Going into the salon, my nerves were racing and I have felt like I’ve forgotten all German that I knew, seriously. But first day have passed relatively quickly and I was glad that I’ve survived. Two days later, I woke up with a message that my sister is getting her first baby which left me surprised. The due date was 13th and it all dawned on me; I won’t be there with my family to celebrate this moment. I will be 1700km away when my nephew comes to the world. In all happiness, I was also sad and crying. I honestly didn’t think that it will hit me this hard but sometimes emotions are harder than us.

But the work called next week and there wasn’t time to dwell on it. First few months have passed in the blurr and everything was fine until my boss came to me and said that I was invited to intern styling competition next month, the theme was 80s. We had to decide on the whole outfit and the hair style and make it all work. That November, I was sure that my legs will give out when I climbed on the stage. Standing up there, in front of the jury and all other bosses made my stomach clench. Somehow I survived it with a support of my team that were cheering on me the whole time. Somehow I even won the first place and ended up crying on my boss’ shoulder.

The first of three years has passed quicker than I thought and in the mean time, I’ve decided to change the salon which will end up being one of my wrong decisions. I just wasn’t happy in my old company, even if there were good times. I talked to my teachers and they agreed that it would be good thing to change the company. I chose a relatively small hair salon to go to, hoping that it will be better. Sadly, the next 2 years were the time were I hit my lowest point couple of times. My new boss didn’t let me do anything aside clean and wash hair, and maybe ocassionaly dye someone’s hair. I was allowed to work on my own models but it was hard to find them.

After 1,5 years we had our midterm exam (better known as part 1 of final exam). My boss barely belived in me, honestly but somehow I did it. Somehow I did it and passed even tho it wasn’t that important to pass. I thought that this might be a sign for my boss to give me more stuff to do but I still wasn’t allowed. All I was allowed to do was still same old; hair washing, cleaning, hair dying here and there, working on my own models (once a week) and working on doll heads. It all took a tool on my mental health, honestly.

Thankfully, throughout all of my 3 years, I was going to ‘Ausbildungshilfe’ (training aid) for trainees that have problems with studying. I started going there because my German wasn’t the best but I stayed there until the end. Somewhen, the person that was helping me changed. Noticing how strict she was, I wasn’t sure will it be another burden for me. But somehow, this person ended up being my savior and the light at the end of the tunnel. The Wednesdays became my favorite days of the week; it was my day off and I was going to the aid, I had someone to talk to and someone who understood my problems. In all honesty, I was ready to give up shortly before the end of my apprenticeship. My boss wasn’t making my life easy and I was afraid will I even successfully pass my final exam. But my helper at training aid center helped me push through, fought for me even if my boss didn’t want to hear about it. Together with her, I decided to send my documents in so that the school I went to in Croatia would be accepted. It was expensive but it was so worth it in the end.

I started preparing for the written exam good 4 months before and it honestly took a huge burden off of my back once the due date came close. The only problem was practical part of my exam. On top of it all, I was searching for a new job, knowing that I won’t ever step a foot in the hair salon as a worker. My boss has officially ruined all my motivation for this work. At this point, the customers would ask can I do their hair but she would refuse me doing so. Silently, I have found a new job in an IT company that I would start after my apprenticeship was over. Once my boss heard about it, she was furious and balantly told me that I won’t be able to pass the exam. I bit my tongue and decided to push through.

16th of July 2017 was the day of final practical exam. Out of 5 people that were supposed to take this exam, only 2 of us came which meant there will be more people in jury than the students. It all started at 7:30a.m. and ended at 2:30p.m. It was all or nothing then but I was determined that even if I don’t pass, I will go to the next practical exam on my own, without hair salon. After the evaluation, they called us in and we stood there in front of the jury, just waiting to hear the decision. After playing with our nerves one last time, our teacher told us that we both passed. All the pressure left my body with that one sentence and I started sobbing as she gave me my ‘Gesellenbrief’ (Certificate of apprenticeship). I continued crying in the arms of my friend that was there. My boss was invited to come to my final exam as a support but she didn’t bother to do so. I think she didn’t believe in me until the last moment but I believed in myself that last day, my teachers believed in me that day, my training aid helper and my models did as well.

This day was the day when I told her goodbye and said hello to my new future. The future that was brighter than the days spent in this hair salon. Were all those 3 years worth the pain? Yes, because they taught me a lot. They were school on their own and I will never regret doing them no matter how painful the memories are. I proved myself that I’m stronger than I thought I was.

If you are doubting yourself, don’t! You’re stronger than you think you are. And if there is no one that believes in you, that’s a lie because I believe in you. I know that you can do it and I know that you can do whatever you set your mind to.

Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle!

Love and Light,
Ana

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