Tonight I think the loneliness of moving to a city halfway around the world without knowing a soul set in. It dawned on me after walking aimlessly for over an hour “on my way” to get groceries. I just walked. I didn’t leave the apartment thinking it would be that night. But when I left the first Carrefour empty-handed (under the mental rationale that the other store had a better selection, of course) and then meandered street after street to at long last arrive at a place that was only three blocks away, I realized it was that night: the night that every solo traveler dreads, the one that is inevitable.
I tried to think back on today and the excitement of finally meeting my new co-workers, but it wasn’t enough to keep my grey cloud at bay. Swoop in did the feelings and train wrecks of thoughts that question and doubt and scold the life upheaval I made, each longing to be back in former routines but chiefly with former people. As my feet began to tell me it was time to head home my heart argued that it wasn’t yet ready. If I couldn’t be with people I would be among them. It was better than an apartment that was potentially empty or potentially filled with a flatmate I can’t decide if I like. In that moment, I seconded guessed this whole thing. I ached for my Monday night ritual with the girls, a glass of wine with a darling friend or even someone to text and check on. I ached for the community I left.
My head knows all the things my heart is resistant to embracing tonight: that my community in Chicago certainly wasn’t built in a day, that I have to give it time, that I will transition, that these moments are the impetus for ensuring I am bold socially. All those things seemed to fade against each table I passed that overflowed with laughter and warmth though. I was envious. Envious of the people sitting at the tables; envious of those who have lives here; envious of those who have people to call.
I know it will come. I do. I just wish it were already here.