So we left things off with a new place to stay, someplace with a bit more freedom. On to month three:
I will be honest, and admit this was the lowest I have ever felt. Except when I was grieving the loss of loved ones. The tiny victories from the previous month was short-lived. I had made a couple of nice friends on campus (though we were all from different faculties) but my anonymous online friend? Well we met and then he disappeared. He was not too happy to be my friend. I was depressed and I realized I had been cooping myself up in my room for days and crying myself to sleep. I hated the person I was becoming and started thinking too much about why no one wanted to be my friend.
I got homesick and missed my parents especially when there were festivities back home. They’d be too busy to respond to me for days (It felt like they were ignoring me). I was worn out, I was tired of trying to fit in. I still participated in social events but I felt like an outsider in my own life. It felt like I was sitting in the audience and watching events unfold before me. Being someone who likes to take charge of their life, that made me feel troubled. I am a positive person but it was devastating that even I was struggling the see the happy moments. Though I am blessed with some amazing people in life, I couldn’t burden them with my woes of lonesome. I felt like they wouldn’t understand my struggles anyway.
Things weren’t that bad though, I was lucky enough to land the one and only job I applied for. Actually, studies were going on well and I was learning to cook, that should have counted for something, right? Then, one day, I managed to find the courage to re-connect with my online buddy- L. I felt a strong need to confide in someone, someone I could talk to. Now that I can see more clearly, there was a lot of positive light in my life, but back then it was difficult to go through each day.
When I reconnected with L, I constantly felt self-conscious, like I was gonna say something wrong and things would go back to the way they were. I felt like I was walking on egg shells with L, I felt like I was using him for my own selfish needs. Having been labelled as an amazing friend, I feel embarrassed to say that I was trying to be friends with him for my own advantage, and I didn’t have anything to offer. I tried really hard to not take advantage of L because I am so used to giving in a friendship. Taking something felt like a bad thing. That is by far the worst feeling I have endured in my journey.
The fourth month- this happens to be my favorite month thus far. I took the chance and went for a weekend trip to help out the local community. I made more friends during that journey and I was initially anxious about meeting this whole bunch of people but it went very well. My colleagues at work became friends and I was finishing up my semester. Phew, time flies!
I was becoming more sociable, felt like I was becoming my usual self. I hung out with a couple of friends when I went to the other campus and more often with L. I liked it because I was forming bond with people and it gave me a sense of belonging to Brisbane. Maybe it is too early to say, but I feel at peace with the small social circle I have at the moment. One of my friends on campus will be heading home to Germany soon since he was on a student exchange programme. Oh yea, I even had a random act of kindness relocating a kitten with L. That’s worth an entire post by itself but it has been good. I call my parents most days and I speak to my friends on Skype and WhatsApp.
I have a tendency to sweep my struggles under the carpet but lately, I have been thinking that it is worth documenting. After all, not everyone shares the same journey as mine, some have it harder but I am going to look back at this on a later day and stay positive that life doesn’t always stay at a low. Ups and downs are part of our journey. It’s like the wise education agent said- “It takes four months for an international student to settle in.” Maybe four months was all I ever needed.
Maybe I might feel low on some of these days, but it doesn’t last forever. I am a fighter! I will rise up against the lows and seize the moments in my life. I am looking forward to a beautiful journey with amazing people.