I genuinely appreciate honesty and transparency. I implement these values in my daily life and also on my blog. I want my readers to know that what I write about is real, raw, and comes from the heart. This blog post covers a topic that I have been apprehensive to write about, but I feel that it’s important to share because so many expats deal with this.
Living abroad isn’t just rays of sunshine and rainbows – it’s hard work, resilience, persistence, adaptation, and coming to terms with being in a foreign country for the long haul. Yes, I’ve wanted to live abroad for the past three years, but it’s a lot more difficult than it may seem. Being alone is tough, not speaking the language is tough, and not knowing what’s going to happen next is tough, (especially for someone like me that strives on structure and organization.)
Yes, everyone wants to look nice and post dope pictures for the gram, but living abroad is so much more than that. Some days are harder than others, but lately, every day has felt like a challenge for me.
I’m not one to feel bad for myself or make excuses, I mean I am living in a beautiful city. I can take a short train ride and find breathtaking sights.
Despite the amazingness that is Berlin, I still struggle with solo travel. I absolutely love traveling by myself, but I can’t help feeling completely isolated in a foreign country. I knew transitioning abroad would be tough and I can be quite shy, but I wasn’t going to let that hold me back. I was going to have to make some changes in my life like stepping out of my comfort zone and being more talkative if I wanted my move to be successful. One thing I struggle with is initiating conversation with strangers. I know this is the only way to meet people, but I just feel more comfortable when people initiate conversation with me. I’m still working on this, but it has to change. I’ve met some amazing people by simply saying “hi” first, so even though it’s tough for me, I’m going to continue and try to be less awkward about it. Haha
Facing Berlin by myself has been life changing. I’ve acquired skills like growing my independence, and I think that’s extremely valuable. But I’ve also never felt so alone. I come from a big family so even when I wanted to be alone, I couldn’t really, and I now realize that I took that for granted.
I have a roommate, but we’re very different and don’t get along. I’m also an English teacher, so I work alone as well. The one place I have met friends is at the bar I work at. Bartending is just something I do on the side for extra income, but Wilma, (the bar I work at) has slowly become my favorite place because of the relationships I’ve developed there. The owners are awesome, they have my back, and make me feel really comfortable. Right now, my friend circle consists of coworkers from the bar and I think that’s a good start.
The struggle I face with friends from Wilma is not fitting in. Everyone is very welcoming and kind, but I stick out like a sore thumb. We have different interests and cultural norms which can stand in the way of effective communication.
Overall, it just sucks to be alone. By alone I don’t mean single, I mean not having close friends and family around that know me really well. I want to feel at home in Berlin, I want to be comfortable, and I don’t want to feel like a tourist. I know this will all come with time, but until then, I’ll be in limbo.
I’m the type of person that needs to make a change if I don’t like the way something is going, so I’ve been exploring the city more in the past couple weeks to feel more at home. I joined InterNations, Soul Sisters Berlin, and MeetUp to meet new people and that has been going really well.
Expatriate life is a difficult task to accomplish and at times I feel quite alone, but I’m determined to make this part of my life a success. ( Like every other aspect of my life. ;p )