Honestly, I had a tough weekend. This was the loneliest I’ve felt since I got here and I didn’t have very many people to turn to. Mark doesn’t have internet at the moment, so I haven’t been able to talk to him very much and people here? Well… I’ll mention that soon. This lonely weekend got me thinking though. There is a great group of expats out there on the web and why not reach out to them somehow? I’m not close with many bloggers, so I feel hesitant to contact anyone. That’s when I came up with this new project: Crossing Mountains.
At first I was thinking about naming this post: Expat Problems, but then I though, “You know what, that sounds like a ‘complaining post,’ and I definitely don’t want that.” This bump is something I know will seize and overcome. I see this more as a hurdle, than a problem. The next thing I thought about was that maybe, this could turn into a monthly thing; I post about something difficult that as an expat, we have to deal with at times. I know there are a ton of expats out there who seek advice on how to conquer these hurdles. I know I’m always looking for a community to help me get through these tough times and that’s what I would like to build here. This new project is not for me to give advice (personally, I think I’m terrible at that), but to seek advice and to spread this help, support, and encouragement to other expats. This doesn’t just have to be for expats, because moving to any place away from your home is tough. This is open to anyone who has ever had to move away from home, be it for college that’s an hour away from home or for a job that’s half way across the world. We all have those lonely moments, those tough times when we don’t know what to do.
This weekend, I’ve felt exceptionally lonely. I love living in Japan, I love my job, I love my co-workers and students, but sometimes, it’s can be extremely lonely. I’m living in a town that has only one other English teacher living here. There are a ton of other English teachers in the program living in my prefecture though. I’ve gone to some of the get togethers they have, but I’m having a hard time making a connection with anyone. I don’t know if it’s because we have different interests or because they’ve all known each other for a long time, but I feel invisible when I’m with them. Sometimes, I barely say anything because I honestly don’t know what they’re talking about. I’m also not an outgoing person, so I can get lost in large groups. Even when I meet people at these get togethers, I still feel like I don’t know anyone. The furthest we’ve gone is to introduce ourselves. So right now, at this point in time, I can say that I have three friends. People that I could text and be like, “Hey! Want to get dinner?” That’s about it, but they also have their own lives. I know it’s going to take time for me to get to know people and become closer with them.
I would also love to have friends in my host country, but it’s extremely hard when you barely know their language. I would love to be able to talk with them, but I have a lot more studying to do. Sometimes, the amount that I need to learn is so overwhelming that I feel discouraged to continue. It feels like what I’m studying isn’t being put to use. But there are moments when I realize, “Hey, you really are learning a new word everyday. Every time you try and talk to someone is good practice for you.” I’m proud of myself every time someone can understand the point I’m trying to make, which gives me that extra boost to keep on going. Language barrier will definitely have to be an upcoming topic, since it’s a huge one for me and I’m sure for many other people.
I hope that you’ll be able to join in the discussion below, help myself and others feel more comfortable and at home in their new country/place, and meet a friend or two. I would love for a community of positivity and support to develop and that people will have a blog friend they can turn to when they’re feeling down about being an expat.
Let us know your story. Have you ever felt so lonely that you didn’t know what to do? What did you do to overcome it? Do you have any advice for expats feeling lonely?
If you’ve written a post about feeling lonely or advice on how to combat loneliness, feel free to link it in the comments! We’ll be more than happy to read posts that will help us combat these obstacles.
Crossing Mountains serves to create a community and discussion between people who have moved from their homes and seek advice on how to cope with everyday and major hurdles they may face. If you have any suggestions on what topics to discuss, feel free to let me know in the comments or email me.