Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 26 - Lonely

Today was rainy and cold but I spent a pleasant afternoon walking the streets of Lausanne, taking pictures of cheerful sunflowers and shopping for shoes. I made good on my promise and purchased a pair of faux-oxfords so my feet don't have to shuffle in the shame of clunky American shoes.  In reality, I went shoe shopping because I literally forgot to bring any practical, flat dress shoes with me.  Now I am the owner of two brand new pairs for less than 60 CHF.
You dig them. Don't deny.

But this is not about shoes. I had a nice relaxing day but I couldn't shake this nagging sense of loneliness. It's been following me around like a hungry cat. (Odd simile but my host family's cat circles my feet the minute I come downstairs, no matter what time of day it is, and I nearly always trip over it.)  It sneaks up and takes a little bit of the shine out of what are otherwise pleasant moments.

I've always been the kind of person who is happy to disappear and spend hours by myself.  In fact, if I go too long surrounded by other people, I grumpy and just a little twitchy.

The problem here is that I've gone from having friends everywhere I go (or at least ones I can pick up the phone and call at any time) to having two in a 600 mile radius.  And visiting them involves train/plane tickets, a passport, and exchanging currency.

Now, before I draw a picture of myself walking the moors alone by day, sobbing into my keyboard by night, I must clarify that love my host family and all the people I've met so far. And I'm really eager to make new friends but patience is not one of my greatest virtues.  In the world of instant communication, it's been really difficult to get used to only having a few hours in a day where I can talk to friends and family.  And while Skype is probably my favorite invention after electricity and indoor plumbing, there's still something missing. I firmly believe the most meaningful interactions between people happen when you're face to face.

I miss running into you at lunch and spontaneously eating together (Windsor...sob).  I miss when I'm talking and you finish the story because you remember when it happened. I miss having inside jokes. I miss you handing me a quarter when I don't have the right change. I miss laughing with you about something that isn't really all that funny. I miss passing you the salt and pepper. I miss you making fun of my taste in shoes when we're shopping. I miss making fun of your taste in music when we're driving. I miss your hugs. I miss drinking in the view with you.  I miss companionable silence.

That got really depressing. Not sure if I'll post this....
I don't mean to sound whiny. I've been away just shy of a month so I feel like the sheer force of how new it still feels should keep me happy. This is an unexpected side effect. One I'm not sure how to deal with. Do I sit online for hours every night and wait to talk to people or do I run around hugging strangers?  Neither sounds very appealing.  One day at a time, they say.

So here's a photo of me from today, smiling like a loon from Loonville just so you know I mean it when I say I'm not Debbie Downer all the time.
In real life I have a neck. Just not in this awkward self-portrait.

In the meantime, be sure to leave a comment because clearly I'm desperate for attention!
But seriously.....


  1. I know exactly what you mean--to be having an awesome experience but be so lacking people to share it with. And the people back home almost forget how important a little comment can be. As an erstwhile travel blogger, I know how much cheer blog comments bring. And thus...I comment. :)

  2. ELLIE!!!! It'll be okay, I promise!!! I kinda miss my mom right now, a lot, so I can share in your dreadful loneliness! Just remember, everyone across the pond still love(s?) you to pieces and we can't wait till you come back! I SO wish i was over there right now, but I guess you'll have to experience it for me :)
    Keep smiling, (with or without a neck! :D )

  3. I already typed this out once and then got a "Service Unavailable"... stupid thing. THis is how much I love you... I'm going to type my inspirational words again.

    As I was typing...
    These are perfectly normal feelings. You are like 50000000 miles away from everyone (and thing)familiar. You will move on from this as you adjust to your new home... You will make new friends... You can succeed... (I sound like one of those self-help tapes to play under your pillow while you sleep! LOL) oxoxoxoxoxox

    P.S. I know of someone who is feeling this EXACT same way. You two should talk!!

  4. Yay for skype! I hope it helps to see my lovely face. I know it helps ME to see YOUR lovely face!! Thanks for helping me shred that cabbage! I LOVE YOU!!xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Mom

  5. Ellie dear....I feel your pain....although the only language barrier I've had to adjust to is deciphering the minnesoooota accent and the time difference between my family and I is only one not nearly as severe as you're feeling. Soak up the experience...and it's okay to have lonely days!! That's one of the nice things about being married (which I'm sure you will be someday!)....for the most part you drag each other along on these adventures and then you can share them in sweet nothing discussions lying pillow to pillow at night. Something to look forward to!! Not sure if I'm offering any help...but I do think of you often!! If I wasn't tied to job and school and such I'd fly over and visit! LOVE you bunches!

  6. ELLIE so this crazy thing happened one time and then...OH. you were there. hahaha just kidding, but I know I've started a story that like way too many times and that's what I thought of when I read your "I miss.." paragraph. You know what I miss? embarrassing you with a hug that lasts too long and involves wrapping a leg around you too. hahaha because I know it makes you feel awkward :D love you to the moon!
    xo ebc

  7., love, love your blog and the adventure you're on...miss you!! rachel

  8. Just a hug from someone who's had all those same feelings! You'll survive and be better for it... but meanwhile, just keep living and putting one foot in front of the other. xo

  9. As long as you're not wandering the lonely rainy streets AND talking to yourself like a certain Parisian all will be well. Chin up til Friday milady, when I shall flee this place and the real party will start. Shall I bring the wonderfully over-processed President cheddar-gruyere?

  10. Becky, Karina, Christina, Mom, Jami, Eva, Rachel, Anita, and Jillian!
    what excellent people you all are. I read your comments and am instantly cheered. THANK YOU! :)


I love to hear what you're thinking! Thanks for the comment love. :)


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