Monday, August 18, 2008
I hit my 2 month mark abroad this week, and it's beginning to sink in that this is not a mere vacation ending in a few more weeks but my "real life." As I settle into the routine, sometimes I wonder if by coming here in a bid for change and real independence, I got more "on my own" time than I've actually bargained for.
So far, I've been quite happy to explore my new territory alone, inspired by the beautiful locale and being somewhere completely foreign. I've always been used to doing things on my own and am capable of being quite happy with my own company. Still, I think that I may have reached the limits of my solitude. I am now yearning for the company of the motley crew that populated my life back home more, and it's also sinking in that they are, in geographic terms, completely out of reach - at least for the time being.
Don't get me wrong, it's been a great experience so far. Some people will say it's too early to tell, but I can say with conviction that the decision to come has been a good one. It's shoved me out of my comfort zone and has forced me to come out of my shell by necessity. It's teaching me a lot - about being self-sufficient, not taking myself too seriously, being open to and making the most of new experiences, reaching out and letting new people into my life.
Yes, I have already begun meeting people here and sowing seeds of friendships that will hopefully grow with time. To be honest, I am still quite amazed at how kind people can be to someone struggling to get her bearings in this unfamiliar place full of strangers. I've been pretty lucky in the people I've met here so far.
But I guess I just miss being around people with whom I have a shared history. Being able to hang around with people who know the inside joke without my having to say a word. Even if we all had our busy lives at home, I always know with conviction I could drag any of them out for coffee and a heart-to-heart if I sounded desperate enough.
Part of realizing that this is now where I live rather than somewhere I am just visiting is also realizing that I don't really have anyone here like that. At all.
And sometimes I'm afraid that in my bid for a drastic change in my life and some real independence, I've just traded one kind of loneliness for another.