A diary about the other side of moving abroad

I have 23 unread messages on my phone. Most of them are from caring friends and my family. And yet, I feel alone. I just came back from a get together with my former roommate, who has found awesome new people in his flat, who are really welcoming me, and yet I feel alone. Maybe this is because of the person, which ignored me from one day to another, after having one of the best long-lasting conversations abroad so far. Maybe it is because of the people I thought I am close with, but they bought tickets to Disneyland without asking me to come along, or my fellow scholarship holders, who went to Canada without asking me to come with them. Maybe it is because of the feeling of everyone leaving my table while I am getting more food. Maybe it is because one of my closest friends abroad is suddenly dating another friend of mine.

I feel misplaced. Moving abroad is never easy. Settling abroad is never easy. And pretending not to care, because I will just stay 3 more months is also not easy. I am afraid of rejection, and I am afraid of people leaving my life. And yet I am not doing enough to keep them. I want everyone to like me, even though I read the saying about the cherry… You know about you might be the sweetest peach on the tree, but some people don’t like peaches… bla bla. Do peaches even grow on trees?

Moving abroad is hard. It is supposed to be constant excitement. It is supposed to be the best time of your life. Exchange semesters sound like parties, sex and fun. A lot of acquaintances, you won’t ever see again instead of in the story feed of your Instagram. The stories you just see when you scroll to the very end and feel, oh yeah, this person was in my life once. Moving abroad are the pretty pictures, the sun on your belly and a ton of opportunities every day.

Covid took away the three years I am too old now. I don’t connect to the people around me and the best year of my life was postponed to an age I don’t enjoy it anymore. I grew out of the waiting for the realization of my teenage dreams.

I feel misplaced, too old, not fun enough, not connecting. People come and go into my life, leaving a footprint to my soul they didn’t realize to leave behind and continue to trample along their path. I want to meet new people, but I am also tired of it. I want to connect, but not for every price. It is hard to read the caring messages from back home when you are so miserable in the place you are right now. As if the positive messages are virtual, but the real world doesn’t give a dime about you.

It is a hard feeling to describe sometimes. Moving abroad, into a new environment, where people talk to you with their airpods on, is not only an adventure. Its alienation and homecoming. Home to a self you sometimes don’t feel comfortable with. Hiding behind a cold shell you want someone to break through. I whish someone would just look up from their screen and see this soul longing for something to hold on. I wish I didn’t need to hide behind my distanced appearance I just put on, because I feel nobody wants me too close.

But there are glimpses of light. Thank you, kid in the dining common 2, who passed by and told me “I like your trench”. You made me smile, when I wanted to cry. It was something honest I needed in that moment.

And tomorrow I will respond my grandfather and the 22 other people caring about me. I promise.

(Originally created on October 7th 2023)