It’s so hard to begin such an unbelievable real story that happened to me recently. Anger, regret, sadness, hurt, distrust, homesickness... now my head is being taken up with a complex feeling.
She is from the same country as me; she shows up as a respected Asian Swim Champion; she acts as a kind new classmate… Actually, shock to everyone, she is a Cheat.
Now, describing the process is not as meaningful as to give some useful advice I got from this terrible experience. But to make it easily understand, I’ll simply explain the whole thing.
I wanted to learn swimming for a long time. So it was “lucky” that I met a new classmate who called herself an ex-Asian Swim Champion. Then she became my tutor and charged me $450 for 30 lessons. Although it sounded a bit expensive to me, I still paid the money as she said “the more you put into, the more you get out of it”. The same afternoon, we began our first lesson. Before we got into the swimming pool, she asked me to take out all the money I had brought with me, and she would keep it for the moment. She said if I complied, she would feel I trust her so much because I gave all money as well as my life to her. Always, she emphasized “trust”. Oh, My Goodness! I really complied. I took out $79 USD and some RMB (the lucky money my mum gave me before I left China)--even all the change! When I was on my way home, I just felt a little strange, but I couldn’t tell what it was exactly. The next day (Friday), after my second lesson, she had a chat with me. She said I couldn’t finish studying within 30 lessons as I have no experience in swimming. She would like to teach me 2 hours per lesson--then I could master swimming within 30 lessons. During the chat, she requested $350 more from me as she thought $450 was unlucky number to us. That meant my total fee would be $800 and she asked me to give her that money immediately (still out of “trust”). Fortunately, I rejected to do this time. I had no plan to pay such a lot for learning to swim and I also felt that something wasn’t right. I just said I needed to consult with my boyfriend and would give her the answer the next day. But when we arrived on Saturday, she had disappeared. Because my boyfriend had already suspected her a defrauder after my description, we took a digital recorder that day. But it was too late. Sigh… The worst is I had almost no information about her, even her true name and address. Because of that, the police could do nothing for me except to caution me against such thing because they have received too many similar cases among international students.
Still a long story, eh? It’s made a really big impression on me as something like this never happened to me before. I’ve recovered a bit now as I’m beginning to consider it a learning experience, rather than getting enmeshed in anger or regret.
Please don’t laugh at me for being so silly or pity me. The reason why I wrote this is because I hope something like this will never happen to international students ever again. I hope this “$600” experience will give both you and me a priceless lesson in the future. Here is some advice:
1. The more you’re eager to achieve something, the more possible it is that you’ll get into a trouble. Keep rational as well as calm through fair and foul.
2. If you are a person full of fantasy like me, just keep level-headed in any unusual situation. Otherwise, you’ll follow the way the cheat wants you to go because out of your profuse fancy, you’ll believe what you want to.
3. Ask for proof every time, especially when it comes down to money. To most Chinese, it is the most crucial advice, as we usually consider it a lack of the milk of human kindness when we ask for proof from friends or acquaintances.
4. Most international students used to live in a relatively unsophisticated situation. We trust others easily, especially when they come from the same country or they are your classmates or friends. Though trust is a merit, don’t be too quick to believe in others especially when it comes down to your life or money.
5. If something terrible really happens to us international students, who usually live abroad alone, remember you have nice friends and kind teachers to help you. If something serious happens, you should report it to the police. We should try our best to not let anyone guilty get away with committing a crime.
These are the most important lessons I got from this experience. Besides, I want to say THANKS to the following people:
1. Wendy, my English teacher in VCC, who tried her best to do what she could do even on her weekends
2. Jamie, SO-YI, YUKI, Amanda, my ex-classmates as well as my friends here, who gave advice and help to me as soon as they heard the news.
3. Carol, Miroslava, my new classmates, who also gave me much advice and help even though we just became classmates.
4. Catherine Hu, my first new friend here, who gave me much legal advice because her boyfriend majors in law
Although there is some dark side in the world, there are more kind people, as mentioned above, around us. So we shall never give up the hope in our life!