I was able to fund half of my tuition from the severance money and borrowed the rest from my parents. The exchange rate between GBP and JPY was about 1 GBP = 250 JPY. Soon after school started, the sterling began to weaken and never gained the same level of strength. After paying for my tuition, what I had left in my bank account was 1,500 GBP. I couldn’t cancel the pension scheme I had in Germany for another year. When I finally redeemed the fund in 2020, it amounted to approximately $9,000.
I was dependent on Stuart. He let me stay with him rent-free and paid for food. Sometimes, I made the mistake of telling this to people when it was none of their business and received chiding or contempt. But I assumed my degree would promise me a high-paying job, at which point I could repay him.
I had paid for the train pass for the whole year, which was about a few hundred pounds. I packed my sandwich and carried tea in a thermos. I rarely went out with my classmates, but I allowed myself to go to a pub with them after Friday class and have a half-pint of beer. It was the only time I could have a space between intense weeks because I’d return to studying by Saturday afternoon. I also started taking a free salsa lesson on campus at 7 pm on Friday, one of the few fun activities I could do without costing money or time. So I didn’t come home until 10 pm on Fridays. In the beginning, Stuart would be home when I got back, but he started going to a pub with his colleagues, too. I was glad because he had to spend weekdays with his stressed-out girlfriend.
Stress was grinding my body and mind. One source of stress was, of course, financial. Stuart was not a high-earner, and there was hardly a prospect of his climbing up the ladder in the current job. And I was not happy about his staying in the same company that treated me horribly. So I asked Stuart how he felt about changing jobs. He criticized his employer and said he’d want to leave badly. I was glad to hear it and encouraged him to update his CV. He looked very determined when he said he would.