Ramblings of loneliness

Sunday, May 4, 2017
Bucharest, Romania

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”— Confucius

Every master was once a disaster.” — David T.S. Wolf

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. – John Wooden

Don’t overthink yourself out of something good! – Akosua Dardaine Edwards

Don’t overthink things. Sometimes you can convince your head not to listen to your heart. Those are the decisions you regret for the rest of your life. –Leah Braemel

The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.— J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

 

I’m in a bit of a funk lately.
Too many things are going on and it is a little overwhelming and hard to keep my head up.
I have been in Romania quite awhile off and on.
I still do not have a grasp on the language
People keep telling me that they know of others who learned it in one month.
That just makes me feel worse
Unable
Stupid
And we go to meet people
And they are courteous
polite
“Hello! Buna! How are you?”
And that is about the extend of the conversation most of the time
I say I can understand some of it.
I say I am trying to learn.
I say “No problem, go ahead and talk in Romanian, I can kinda follow along”
But I can’t
I do for awhile
I get the gist of the conversation
But then my mind focuses on one word or phrase
forgetting what it is
and my mind searches for what it means
and I lose track of the conversation
And I stare at the sky.
at the people walking by
Trying to not look bored
Trying not to look as alone as I feel
Left out
Isolated
I don’t want them to speak entirely in English
That would be an inconvenience for them
I am in their home country
They are speaking their mother tongue
I take lessons
I do the apps
Answer the questions right
And then when it comes to conversation in real life
My mind blanks.
What did they just say?
What am I supposed to say back?
And the visa
I finally turned in the visa this past week
And now I wait one month to see if they accept or reject it
If I have to leave or if I get to stay
If I get rejected should I to hire a lawyer and fight to stay?
After waiting in the lines for hours
With impatient, rude people
standing
forever
talking to the people behind the desk 9 times
My translator talked to the officer for what seemed like an eternity
And when we left the counter
I got a one sentence summary of the 20 minute conversation.
i need another document
another document
each time
waiting in traffic
stressing out my boss
Creating tension at work
i am scared I am too much work
Wishing she never hired me
due to all the headaches of this visa
leaving my classroom and coming back mentally vapid
not able to concentrate on what was going on
going home to cry
And am so exhausted I nearly pass out at 9
because I messed up
I didn’t know the new rules
Count backwards 180 days.
it doesn’t start over.
It was my fault
I could feel the heaviness
Disappointment from others
And I revert back to the days of pasT
When I was truly believed I was a burden
Unwanted, but invited out of obligation
It is my fault I am slow at learning
that’s just how I am
All the people I meet here
Must think I am so boring
i hope they don’t think I’m a bitch
Or stuck up
because I barely talk
I have so much I want to say.
I want to show them me
but they just turn to other friends and share stories
and laugh
in Romaninan
And I am left
Alone
Though sometimes they remember I am there
and translate a story
or respond in English to what someone asked in Romanian
and I jolt back to reality
they are talking to me
my heart soars with happy
I feel like I am pulling away
Regressing
Not putting as much effort as I should at work
the gym seems overwhelming
getting out of bed to go to meet people is difficult
No amount of sleep could cure the tiredness I feel
I love people
I hate inconveniencing people
I hate being a burden
And I noticed that I have been backsliding
Focusing on the negatives when I look in the mirror
As they talk and talk
I notice more and more wrong with me
My white thighs glowing in the sun
flattened out and huge as I sit in the chair
The scars on my arms from days long ago
The bags under my eyes that won’t go away
My hair, frizzy beyond belief
My silhouette makes me cringe
My stomach.
The liver transplant scar
a big indent in my belly
creating a soft roundness above and below
fat
no bikinis for me
I tried
I got down to 86 pounds long ago
I still had a soft round belly
I get more and more disgusted every time I look in the mirror
why did I decide to wear this tonight?
no wonder people don’t want to talk to me
I feel boring
all that time of listening to them talk
and sitting there
feeling awkward
not sure if I should intervene,
“Ce faci!”
“Nu înțeleg”
But I don’t
I don’t want to be a bother
I try to follow
then space out
lost in my head
all the thoughts
monsters don’t live under the bed
They scream inside your head
but not all the time
don’t worry too much
things still make me happy
the soft rain before the downpour
as it gently lands on my skin
a slight tickle from mother earth
laying in the grass with the sun shining on me
warming my body
Bubbles
and many other things
it is easy to spiral and forget
but there are many things that keep me here
But I have been longing more and more for going back
To Portland
To Santa Cruz
where I can understand people
Where I don’t feel detached
But would that be giving up?
Running away?
Should I power through and take 2 lessons a week?
Could I fit in here?
Your vibe attracts your tribe.
I feel part of a tribe sometimes
but then they slowly revert back to Romanian
laughing
talking
reminiscing
and I have no idea what they are talking anymore
because at one point I space out
too much in my own head
I need more things here
I need to change
I need motivation
But do I belong here?
Is this the life I want?
Do I want to go back to what’s comfortable?
Or do I want to step out of my comfort zone and zoom forth
I have always felt a little ostracized
all my life
On the fringes of groups
Along for the ride
A little odd
I’m used to being the me that they know
silly, bright and sunshiny
but I also come off as flighty
as dumb
and I am not
not many people know the real me
all the things I went through
The people I lost
the people that hurt me
the people I hurt
My stories that made me who I am
the good and the bad
No one asks anymore
and then there are some people I connect with on another level
and I adore them
and I feel wanted when I am with them
and I laugh
and feel warm inside
happy
But I can’t remember the last time I laughed
genuine laughter
where your eyes well up with happiness and silliness
I miss that
I need nature
I need a friend
I need the beach
I need to stop thinking that everyone is thinking negatively of me
I hate it
because that’s what teenagers do
I’m 31
I should be over that by now
Strong
Independant
Etc
But no
Because right now I feel deflated
discouraged
empty
lost
alone
But i still have the flame of hope
Deep inside
still burning
waiting for more fuel
for me to believe wholly
that I can do this
that things will get better
I just need to get out of my head
because life is beautiful
I’m living in Romania.
I am in charge of 17 of the most beautiful, sweet little 2-3 year olds
I have a good job that pays quite well
Someone who believes in me
and keeps me going
i have plans to travel in the summer
music festivals
summer is coming
i need to get back to that me
that me that said “yes” to everything
That had no problem talking to strangers
I have people that say I am beautiful
And check up on me
I’ve been here before
i know my mind is just messing with me
i’ve been here before
i can get out
get out of my head
and into my heart
And in these next week Is will start the process
of becoming a butterfly
starting by smiling from my heart
because I am strong
and I am worth it
I just need to work on believing it
mantras on the mirror
mantras by the bedside
little reminder that life is beautiful
of who I am
I will find my way

The key to happiness is letting each situation be what it is instead of what you think it should be.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” – Unknown

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be. ― Abraham Lincoln

True happiness is… to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Loo with a View and Caves with Waterfalls…

“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” 
~John Muir

Sunday July 10, 2016
Day 49
Interlaken, Switzerland

Wow… One of my favorite places.. I had to come back twice.. Couchsurf with 2 different people in order to get the most of it.. Two very different experiences.. I just can’t get enough… of couchsurfing.. of Switzerland.. the air is so fresh here.. so delicious.. I’m addicted to this crisp, clean air.. the vast stretches of nature.. everything.. I have always hated being inside.. I would much prefer to walk in the sunshine in barefoot, feeling the earth beneath my feet than soulless rubber shoes on cement, read in the shade under a tree or in a hammock rather than a comfy chair, climb a tree or a rock or a cliff for a better view than take an elevator, jump in a lake rather than a shower…
The first weekend, my friend came to pick me up at the train station and drove me back to his place with his girlfriend… They lived right on the lake.. Lake Brienz.. In a little village outside of Interlaken..
The color of the water is BONKERS!! The color was this beautiful emerald, creamy green blue color.. SooOooo cold!! Coming straight from the glaciers above.. The lake was surrounded by huge mountains all around.. We proceeded to build a fire and threw some food in to cook it and poured glass after glass of wine and the language barrier made it more fun to interact.. try to understand each other.. learn new words.. it was amazing..
The next day, we drove around both of the lakes, (Interlaken – Latin: Inter=between, lake=lakes.. Interlaken, between lakes, the main city was between two lakes..).. Driving through vast stretches of hillside farmlands, old Swiss people slaving away on the sloped pastures in the hot sun.. Little Swiss German villages with swiss chalets and all the German words.. As we passed them, I tried to read them aloud, failing epically at my German accent.. We found an amazing little place to swim.. a little cove.. I loved swimming around in that beautiful water.. cloudy and blue green..
That night we had another bonfire, they invited a few more people over, most of which didn’t speak English.. so I was intrigued and we proceeded to talk to them.. breaking the barriers.. connecting on that beautiful level where no language wasn’t that much of an issue..
The next day we went up the mountain.. hiked through a cave (I ADORE CAVES!!!!!) with the water gushing off to the side.. the spray from the water slowly soaking our clothes as we walked up.. it was clear how the incredible pressure of the water carved the tunnel deep in the heart of the mountain.. up and up through the dark, dank, beautiful tunnel we went.. and right up back up into the sunshine.. pastures.. green grassy stretch of mountainside with mossy covered stones cropping up here and there.. and the most gorgeous waterfall.. with a rainbow stretching out in the mist in front of it.. What better way to cool off than to jump in? And so we did 🙂 (Granted, it wasn’t THAT grand or tall of a waterfall, but wow.. I ADORE all waterfalls!!!!)


The 2nd weekend at Interlaken was DEFINATELY more of an adventure! We hiked from his village, through Interlaken.. took  jump in the lake.. explored an abandoned, run down old castle.. hiked up the side of the mountain to Harder Kulm.. took in the view over a beer and then continued up and over the ridge.. up and up and up we went… it never seemed to end.. roots and dirt created the perfect staircases to climb up.. the trees would part occasionally to reveal Lake Brienz, the north face of Eiger, and Jungfrou… at one point the trail narrowed, and there was a steep decline on either side.. One side sloped down to the green, grassy countryside and rolling hills that stretched out into misty clouds while the other side descended down the rocky cliff to a village below, followed by the lake that was overshadowed by the Alps beyond.. I had to stop a few times to soak it all up…

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We made it to the hut.. it was built right under a cliff, the back wall of the hut was the rocky cliffside.. I was so glad to get there, my legs burning with the 3.5 hours of hiking up and along the ridge, along with the hours going up the mountain and through the village…
We shared some beers and watched the sunset and played cards and ended up going to sleep early so that we could watch the sun rise over the north face of the Eiger.
Magnificent.
Wow.
Once in a lifetime…
And the bathroom!! Or the toilet rather… had the most awesome view… a Loo with a View..
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Switzerland stole my Heart.

Polska!


“You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs. But people more than anything else. You will need other people. And you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living, breathing, screaming invitation to believe better things.”
~Jamie Tworkowski
Thursday June 23, 2016
Day 33
Warsaw, Poland

I arrived at the hostel I hastily booked that morning after learning my friend I was riding to Warsaw with had changed plans and wasn’t staying the night. I was on my own in Warsaw. It was too late too look for a Couchsurfer. That’s ok, I figured that staying at a hostel would be a fun and different way of experiencing Warsaw. I already had a couple nights with locals and had the best time…

The hostel I checked into was empty. Not a soul. I asked the guy behind the desk what happened to everyone. He said that they were really slow and there were only 2 other people staying there (it was a 6 room, 32 bed room hostel) and they had gone to dinner.

Shit. I thought. I needed human interaction. I needed to talk to people in English.

The Friday before, I had arrived in Gizycko, Poland to my friends place and the whole weekend was full of vodka, new friends, more vodka, more friends, sun and sleeping on a sailboat. Monday came and my friend had to work. I barely saw him. I was at his house, not his sailboat, so everyday I walked an hour to the little town and wandered around, exploding, observing… Not many people spoke English. I had no one to talk to. I got lonely very quickly. I tried to learn a couple things in Polish, but not enough to make a conversation. As the week wore on, I wore out. I watched the sunsets amongst cows next to sprawling fields of hay and a myriad of wildflowers. I was happy in those moments. Swimming in the lake. Sunsets. Walking. Meandering.

Wandering through an old abandoned fortress….

But the loneliness was eating away at my soul and I reverted back to what I do when I’m overwhelmed with sad. I began to hate my body. I wrote in my journal nasty things about my scar and my arms and everything. It was easier to focus on that than the issue at hand.

So, needless to say, I was very disappointed when I learned I wasn’t going to make any friends at the hostel that night.

I went back to my room. 4 beds. I had my choice of any of them. I chose the one under the window that overlooked the street below. People were leaning towards each other over tables on the sidewalk with glasses of wine and bread baskets, laughing. Couples were holding hands across the table and gazing into each other’s eyes, deep in conversation. Families were crowded around tables, moms with little ones on their laps.

I debated… My first thought was to stay right where I was. In the room. Sleep early. Fuck it. I didn’t need dinner.

Buuuuutt a tiny voice challenged me.. This was my opportunity to go out by myself… Prove to myself that I can do this. And my last night in Warsaw.

A little history, I had an eating disorder when I was 16-24. I was hospitalized once due to low weight and went to an eating disorder treatment center three times for 4+ months each. I still struggle with certain things… Body image.. Restaurants alone.. Eating in general. The utter loneliness of this past week was kicking it back in gear.

But I decided to go out anyway.

“Just a beer and a nice soup” I said to myself. “I can do this.”

I walked up and down the street. Everyone was happy. No one was sitting alone. Everyone has someone, or multiple someone’s. I tried to keep my spirits up, excited to eat some good food. But I could feel it all coming down. I heard Polish. I heard German. I even heard The occasional French. No English. I wandered down different streets in hopes of finding something. Nothing. It was getting late. Restaurants were closing. Anxiety begin to taint my thoughts. I would never find anything. I can’t do this.

Then I spotted a place with a huge outdoor patio. There were plenty of tables. Bright lights. I checked the prices. I checked the options.

Perfect.

The waiters seemed friendly. One smiled and brought me to my seat.

Perfect. I can do this. I looked around. Everything smelled amazing. I sat there. Time passed. Where was my waiter? I spotted him, crouched down, flirting with a table of young, pretty blond girls.

Okay. Sure. Whatever. He’s doing his job. He’ll come eventually. Fifteen minutes passed. Finally, he came over. Didn’t look at me, but flipped his note pad out and asked “What?”

Hmmmm… Did he mean what did I want? Was he going to finish his question?

Perplexed, I went ahead and ordered onion soup and a beer. I could see a smirk creep onto his face. He slapped the notepad shut, gave me a curt nod and left in a flurry, saying nothing.

Ok. Whatever. I occupied my time by looking around, dreaming of Barcelona (which is where I was flying to the next day), reminiscing on London and Paris and Concarneau and the previous weekend at Gizycko.

I snapped out of my reverie and checked the time.. 30 minutes had passed. People around me who ordered after me already had their food. Surely it couldn’t take that long to pour a beer and bring it over. I was within 10 steps of the bar. The restaurant wasn’t busy, it was clearing out, near closing. Three servers were milling about out front, joking with each other. My server was chatting it up with another group of ladies, this time they were older, fancy sophisticated women and his demeanor and voice had changed from his loose flirting with the younger ones.

Finally it came. The beer and the soup. The soup was bland. Unappetizing. The beer settled me a bit and I enjoyed every cold, crisp sip.

It’s bizarre to be in a place. So far from anyone I know. Not understanding anything people are saying. Not being able to read menus. Not being able to pay a proper compliment or reach out to people. In a good mood, which, honestly is most of the time, I would make attempts. Point at something on the menu and hope it wasn’t too gross… Find any way to connect with someone.. By hand gestures… The few words I knew in their language. But when I’m frustrated, dejected, lonely.. I tend to give up too easy.. Not a good habit of mine…

45 minutes after finishing, I still hasn’t heard a word from my server. Had barely seen him.

The laughter and happiness surrounding me felt like a slap in the face. My eyes began to water.

A sweet older lady server came over with sympathetic eyes and crouched down next to me. In perfect English she asked, “Honey, are you ok?”

And the dam burst. I couldn’t stop the tears. I couldn’t hide the sadness. I was drowning in lonely. I needed so badly to talk to someone. I broke down, sobbing, my body trembling. All the tables around stared at me.

She brought my check and I quickly paid and hurried back to my hostel. My eyes were blurry and still watering, it was difficult to see. I didn’t care who saw me. I wanted to go to my bed and call someone, anyone. Cry to them. I needed comfort.

But who would care enough to want to hear my sadness when I was living the life they dreamed of? It’s ok to be sad. Even on the epic journey through Europe. Adventure of a lifetime.

I had done such a good job moving around and keeping distance from people, trying hard not to rely on others that when it came down to it, I could think of no one that I knew well enough to talk to.

I went up to my room and cried for a good hour.

I never felt so alone. So scared that I had done such a good job of being independent that I had no one.

And I learned something.

I learned I need to work on something. Not just work on loving myself. But on trusting that the friends I HAD made really, truly did care, even if I hadn’t seen them in a year or two.

And at that moment. I yearned for stability. I wanted nothing more than a home to go home to. A job that I love and return home to a person I love. With bookshelfs of friendships and family. Pictures of my travels gracing the wall.

But I was alone. In an empty hostel in Warsaw, Poland. On a Thursday night at midnight.

And I eventually fell asleep, my pillow wet with disillusioned tears and my moms dreaming of the next adventure to come, hoping maybe this time, I’ll find a friend.

 

“The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.”
~Shirley MacLaine