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Gaby’s father and her step-mother decided to get a divorce, which wasn’t all that much of a surprise overall but it came rather suddenly, and at a really bad time because her father was out of work and was having a lot of trouble finding a new job.
At first her step-mom was really kind and told them that she would pay the rent for a month, and that they could stay, while he found a job and a new place for the two of them to live. The apartment had been hers to begin with.
But only a few days later she had kind of forgotten all about her offer and asker Gaby’s dad for the rent money. He told her he didn’t have the money and reminded her that she had offered to pay, to go easy on the divorce while he got things settled and started up somewhere else. Her dad was trying, and looking for a job, and all of that in the middle of a divorce.
She got super mad, denied ever saying that, yelled some more about the divorce and told Gaby and her dad to pack their bags into the car and leave. They didn’t have a choice, with no money and no place to go, only their car and clothes, they shoved a single mattress into the backseat of their car and spent the night homeless, in a car. Gaby spent that night crying, shaken, scared and uncertain, she never imagined she would be homeless, sleeping in a car.
The next morning they watched the house to see when her stepmom left for work and then they quickly went into the house, showered, and grabbed the rest of their things. And still, after all that had happened, Gaby had to go to school. All of her best friends had heard about what happened and they were all really supportive and some of them even offered to have them stay with them and their families, anything other than sleeping in a car.
But, instead, her Dad found a public park that had bathrooms, and one stall that never got used where they stored their larger stuff. Her dad made a shower out of a hose that ran into one of the bathrooms and that’s how they bathed every night.
The park had a barbecue as well, and that’s where they would cook their meals, all the time sleeping in the car, homeless.
Gaby and her dad lived like that, shopping for food a day at a time, eating and showering in the park, and sleeping in their car, for a few months. Finally, one of her dad’s friends somehow found out what was going on and insisted that they come to stay at his house for a couple of weeks while her dad continues his job search.
Her dad was embarrassed, and ashamed, but he needed the help and he accepted his friend’s offer to put them up. With the very little money that he had all he could afford for them was a shared house, with lots of people living in it, totally cramped and uncomfortable, and the people there were really weird and acted really strange. Gaby and her dad really hated it there. It was almost worse than sleeping in a car.
On day her dad got great news – he had gotten an offer for a really decent job, but, it was in another state. Gaby really didn’t want to move, didn’t want to leave all her friends and move away – but – she knew that they needed to and that her dad needed that job.
They had to go all the way from New South Wales to the Norther Territory. She pretty much cried the whole way.
But now it’s been three years since they were homeless and sleeping in a car, and since they moved, and she’s now super happy that they have settled into a real home that feels safe and secure.
And, even though it sounds strange, she’s glad that they had that experience because it brought Gaby and her father so much close together, and she saw and learned how much she had taken for granted, and will always appreciate every moment she has and all the blessings that come with them.
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