Have I ever told you about how I suddenly landed in Bristol when my destination was Shanghai? No? Well, I’m about to.
This was a key moment in my life. A proper sliding doors moment that literally, changed the course of my life forever and brought me to where I am now.
Early 2013, I applied for an MBA with an American University that has several campuses around the world. One of them was Shanghai.
I went through the admissions process and after a few months, received the confirmation that I got accepted.
I had to study for an exam called GMAT but as I was working full time, the only time I had to spare was in the evenings. I’ve always been a night owl when it comes to study and it’s how I got most of my University assignments while doing my degree.
It’s the only time when I don’t get distracted.
Anyhow, I had been offered a place and I was expected in Shanghai by mid August 2013.
When I stop to think about it… Man… My life would had been so different…
I had been in a serious relationship for 2 and a half years when I decided that a degree wasn’t enough for my professional ambitions and that I would like to do an MBA.
At the time together, we decided that it was a really good opportunity for us as a family for me to apply. This was due to the professional opportunities that I would get once I graduated and that would allow us both to do what we love. Me, finance. Him, music.
There was the problem of funding, of course. I didn’t have $50,000 to fund a full year for a full time MBA, plus living expenses, plus family commitments back home in Lisbon.
I was able to get half of that in scholarships (more on that some other day) and for the rest, I needed a student loan. We started making some financial calculations of how we could make it work. It was a bit of stretch on both of us but the pros outweighed, by a lot, the cons.
I spoke to the bank, provided them with evidence of the ranking of the MBA according to the Financial Times, together with earning prospects, etc. All seemed well and the bank confirmed they would be able to lend me the money.
I took care of my student visa, got a passport… All the bureaucracy boredom that comes along with these type of things.
I’ll spare you some other details in the middle of the story and take you straight on to when he decided on a night out that he didn’t love me anymore.
He said to me around lunch time, he had met the love of his life… Approximately six hours before.
He moved out that same night and basically disappeared. It sounded crazy to me, my family, our friends… It sounded crazy for everyone what was happening and I felt I was living a nightmare.
Also, because we knew so many people… Well, you can imagine the rest.
Between the very public humiliation of what happened; feeling like the floor was slipping away from my feet, whilst trying to be a responsible Mum to my four year-old daughter, I ended up losing myself in numbness.
I couldn’t eat and lost 15Kg in two weeks.
To make matters worse, I received a call from the bank telling me that as it turns out, in their opinion, an MBA doesn’t really add much to one’s CV and therefore they were unwilling to lend me the money.
Yes, you read that correctly. An MBA… Doesn’t. Add. Anything.
Is LOL allowed on a blog? Well, considering it’s my blog, I can play by my rules so allow me… LOL!
Despite all this, everything happens for a reason, right?
Shortly after this (and considering I was unemployed because I had resigned from my job at the bank as I was due to leave in a few weeks), I had to give my house back to my landlord… I was unemployed so how could I pay rent?
A good friend, Fábio, ended up asking me if I wanted to come to Bristol. I was already pretty much packed anyway and either sold or gave away most of my stuff to Charity so I asked him:
- Do you have a couch I can stay for a while?
And he said:
- No, I actually have a spare room and you can stay for as long as you like.
I spoke to my whole family and a family decision was made.
My granddad paid for my one-way ticket from Lisbon to Bristol. A total of €364 that changed the course of my life forever.
How different would my life had been if he hadn’t made the choice to leave? A stupid, reckless decision during a night out (which I know ended up costing him dearly) had such a great impact on both our lives.
I wouldn’t have met all the people I have been so blessed to meet here and cross paths with. They wouldn’t have met me either. I wonder if that would have changed something in their lives too.
I’ll never know but it’s true what they say.