“I’m so scared of getting mugged.” She was a little chubby, with skin so pale it was almost blue – except when she was blushing, which was nearly always – and bright blond, shoulder-length hair that always looked like it could use a good brushing.
I rolled my eyes and tried to ignore her, but she just kept going on about it, her voice plaintive and desperate. We had just arrived in Barcelona for a semester abroad and it was the first time we were all together; coming from different schools all around the country, most of us had never met before. Orientation was in a small building just north of downtown.
I looked at her nametag: Katie. She was from some university in Kansas and looked like she had probably grown up there as well. Amid the general chatter, I heard her mention that she’d never been out of the United States before. When she raised her fears with the instructor in front of the whole group, the instructor assured her that the crime rate was very low and she really had no reason to worry. But she just kept mumbling about it.
Less than a week later, the email from the program director went out to everyone: Katie had been mugged. Continue reading »