On Loneliness Abroad

It’s a Friday at 8:30 P.M., the sun is still out, and no, I’m not at a terraza in a plaza in El Gótico drinking sangría with my worldly group of friends. I’m not at a chiringuito on Barceloneta Beach either, anticipating the sun’s departure with said group of worldly friends.

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Rather, I’m sitting on my couch with my feet on our ugly-yet-functional coffee table, my laptop living up to its name by resting- you guessed it- on my lap.

None of my boy roommates are home, creating a stark energy and a lonely silence. 

Today, I’ve been with others but alone. In the study group I just joined, I missed the beginning breakfast portion in which we discuss our goals for the day over bocadillos and coffee; I thus only arrived for the silent library portion, in which I distractedly got half of the work done that I needed to.

My university classes are 100% online, and this study group has become one thing keeping me sane and giving me structure.

I don’t have plans for tonight- partially self-imposed-, and I’ve been working on the blog/watching makeup tutorial and “people trying stuff!” videos on Youtube.

However, after an hour or two, another smokey eye has stopped being a quick relaxation and has become an insatiable filler.  I turn off Youtube and put on a song that’s been stuck in my head: “Scenic World” by Beirut, and the inspiration for the title of the first blog I ever wrote- which was simply a document of my travels so that my family and friends would know I was alive.

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Those lines that have now probably been written a million times on the Internet, I still think are beautiful:

When I feel alive/I try to imagine a careless life/a scenic world where the sunsets are all/breathtaking

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And I listen to them and feel that familiar guilt for not being in the terraza en Gótico with my worldly friends, for not watching that sunset at a Mediterranean beach, for not “taking advantage of” living in exotic and cool Barcelona, Spain.

For being lame, and for being in my house.

In the beginning of life abroad, sometimes you don’t go out and do amazing things with amazing people because you don’t have any friends. Later, you don’t go out and do amazing things with amazing people because you start to live a normal life- which sometimes includes solo Youtube binges on a Friday evening on June 2nd. 

Life abroad isn’t always “amazing.” 

Nor should it be.

3 comments

  1. […] God, is my blog turning into the “how to avoid loneliness” […]

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  2. Amanda · · Reply

    Aw, I totally get how living abroad could get super lonely at times. I’m heading to China in a few weeks and will be there for roughly six weeks, studying Mandarin, and I wonder if I’ll get lonely, too. While I won’t be traveling alone long-term, I’m sure I’ll still have moments of homesickness kick-in. ❤ Stay strong! And I'll try to do the same. 😉

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    1. Wow Amanda, studying Mandarin in China sounds like such a wonderful experience! While going abroad can be difficult and lonely sometimes, I think that it’s always worth it. I hope you have a great time, and thank you!

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