mercredi 12 janvier 2011

Why I 'need' to travel all the time

Warning: this is a largely a rant so if you only like reading about happy stuff please skip this post.

OK by the title I know what you're all thinking: that I'm a spoilt brat. "Why does she need to travel all the time?" you ask yourself, so I am about to tell you.

I was thinking back to something I wrote here earlier about going out and how couples don't go out as often as single people do but then on the other hand I have 2 close friends who are coupled up (no children) and yet go out very often (and often without their partners). It's as if they're still leading a single life sort of.

OK I figured out the 'formula'. Those 2 friends of mine... One has been with her boyfriend for about 4 years but she still lives with her parents and he still lives with his (in somewhat far apart suburbs in Sydney). My other friend is actually married, but lives with her in-laws. Yeah, don't ask.

So I figured this out (yeah yeah I know, I'm a genius). If your living conditions are less than ideal and it does not really truly feel like 'your home' then it makes you feel like going out often. If you live in a nice place (and nice doesn't necessarily mean big or new, it just means comfortable) with your partner there is not much need to go out as you constantly have someone to talk to and something to do and somewhere to relax.

But when you live with people who aren't your age or who aren't your partner (or sibling or a really close friend or noone at all!) you just don't feel like you're really at 'home' hence the need to go out and mingle and be amongst society. There you go, my scientific discovery (that is sarcasm btw).

I am going stir crazy and I'm not the only one. There is another teaching assistant at my school and she's been here less time than me and we have ALL the same complaints. Whilst our room (we have our own, we don't share just to be clear) is nice it's only 8.68 square metres (yes I measured it), half of which is the bathroom so my actual sleeping/living/eating space is probably about 5 square metres. In Paris they consider a 20sqm apartment small. Most people I know are living in 50-200sqm+ apartments/houses.  I grew up in a 3 br house which then became a 5 br house. To sum up I go crazy if I don't get out and about and my town is too small to explore. I've already been everywhere and seen everything 100 times. So I have to get out!

I have a few friends who are teachers and they say they hate it when they go to the supermarket or shopping mall and see their students as it makes them feel somewhat awkward. Well try having your students see you eat dinner, and knowing where you live, and standing outside your bedroom window! There's no separation between work and home because work IS my home.

I'm also kind of getting really really really really really tired of being by myself all the time. I can't chat with the other teachers like I can with my real friends. My French isn't good enough to understand what the bloody heck they are saying half the time and they don't make any effort at all to talk slower or use simpler words. And all they ever talk about is work which bores me. So I basically have noone to talk to during the day, and noone to talk to on the weekends. Thank God for the surveillants that I have someone to talk to during the evenings (and I actually get along with them, and they don't talk about work which is a Godsend).

And it's not just like this since I've been in France. It's been like this for YEARS. Back home I was working for myself most of the time and whilst I had a flatmate she was somewhat antisocial and introverted and never wanted to do much or talk. So I'd go stir crazy when I had noone to talk to during the day and noone to talk to during the night! Whenever I saw any of my friends (or my sister).. my poor, dear friends/sister... I'd be like an avalanche unleashing my 50 billion words that I had stored up in my head from the past couple of weeks with no outlet (I suppose writing this blog is an outlet so hurray for that at least). Luckily my friends are understanding even though I could always tell there's a point when people get bored. But it's OK for you when you live with someone who you can actually talk to about your deepest thoughts and feelings. Meh.

Actually I made another scientific discovery (yeah, I know, I'm a total genius. You can thank me later or you can leave a comment below if you disagree). I discovered that the friends who most often commented on my statuses/photos/etc on Facebook and who wrote the most statuses were people who either lived alone and/or don't have a partner. I think people really underestimate how important/nice/good it is to have someone to talk to at the end of a crap (or even good) day.

Don't get me wrong, I actually like being by myself and don't mind it that much but I just wished people were more sympathetic. I think most people take having some things for granted. I long to have a room bigger than 5 sqm, a couch, a tv, a kitchen and a car. But I don't have those things at this point in time.

One thing I've found that happens to me after I've spent all this time alone is... when I am then surrounded by lots of people I feel somewhat uncomfortable. I don't like all the simultaneous talking, and noise, and commotion (like in the staff room). I feel agitated when I'm on the train and constantly hear chatter and people walking up/down the aisles. I wished people would just stay in their seats unless they need to go to the toilet. Is that too much to ask? I love peace and quiet. When I'm with other people and their big families and kids and stuff I think my brain actually stops working as it can't compute all this TALK and NOISE. It's crazy, huh?

I love spending time 1:1 with people (or with 2-4 people). I do not like big groups at all. I find my French actually improves when I have a 1:1 conversation with a French person.

What was the point of me even writing this post? I'm not sure but I do feel better after writing it. And so to sum up, yes I do need to travel all the time as it's the only thing that preserves my sanity! And even though I'm alone most of the time when I do it, I'm still happy. I'm proud of myself that I actually know how to be alone (as it seems most people don't). I go to the cinema alone, I eat out in restaurants alone, I travel alone. It's not by choice though of course but I've just gotten used to it. I know there is a stigma about it but when someone has a problem with it I figure it's their own insecurities and not mine. I'd rather go out and do something alone than sit at 'home' and do nothing at all.

I know I'll read this in a few years and laugh, because then I'll wish I had all this me-me-me time again! I do cherish my selfish 'me time' but it would be nice just to have someone who is always there to talk to and do stuff with. This is somewhat related to my next post (about CouchSurfing)... stay tuned!


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