I’m typing this up from my living room/ dining room table, with a hot cup of peppermint tea and a completely empty, eerily quiet house. My roommates left over the course of yesterday and today, flying back to the U.S to spend the holidays with their families. I’m excited for the trips I have planned in the next two weeks (Amsterdam and Berlin)- very, very excited. But I am also a little bit jealous of them, getting to be home for even just a few days. I get this warm feeling when I think about home…my bed, my kitchen…Teddy, familiarity, safety, love. I mean- the grass is always greener on the other side and I’m romanticizing like 150%, but it’s how I feel at the moment.
90% of the time, living abroad is wonderful. It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s freeing. And it’s cooler than anything anyone you know is doing (and provides some great instas). But that other 10% of the time? It’s not always that easy. When you plan to travel abroad, no one tells you about the loneliness that will sometimes wash over you. No one tells you how you might find yourself sitting on the metro, listening to the buzz of people speaking in another language; a language that you understand if you focus, but a language that is still foreign, and find yourself thinking “I don’t fit in”. No one tells you how you might walk down the street and see people eating together, and yearn for your parents to be here with you, even for a day. Or for your best friends to be here, laughing and making jokes and understanding one another.
I am very very lucky to have friends and roommates, and most importantly, Luis, but that is not to say that loneliness doesn’t settle in occasionally. Sometimes it passes in minutes- a fleeting feeling on the metro, and sometimes it lingers for days- in the pit of my stomach, making my head feel cloudy and making me so unsure of every decision I need to make. Loneliness tends to pop in on Sunday afternoons and evenings, when all I want is to sit at the kitchen counter while my mom cooks, or go to the gym with my dad, or not do anything with either them, but know that they are close. It pops up at night, when I am standing at the kitchen counter eating a lukewarm dinner that I barely took the time to put in the microwave. I want to share my day with people. I want to hear about other people’s days. It comes up on days like this, when everyone I know has gone back to the U.S- when I am scrapped for people to reach out to and things are deathly silent in my house. I haven’t heard my own voice today.
As I type this, I am trying, trying desperately to push off the loneliness, but I can feel it creeping up. I went to the gym this morning, made plans for my Berlin trip this afternoon, I’m meeting a new friend in a couple hours, and I’m sitting in my sunny living room because I know darkness doesn’t help. But when everyone has fled the country, landing in just a few hours to parents and siblings and dogs and warm houses and home-cooked meals, it’s really hard to not think about those things. With that being said, I wouldn’t change my plans for staying here during this break. Like I said, I am so excited for these trips and have lots of other exciting things planned for the next two weeks. I’m getting coffee with a new friend later this afternoon and I have dinner plans with Luis and his family tomorrow. I am so grateful to them for pulling me in. But…sometimes living abroad is hard.
90% good, 10% lonely. This is just a stupid rant. Not to worry anyone that may be reading it! I’m good, i’m good.