Forever, Forever Ago

I am painfully nostalgic. I love it. My favourite way to spend a boring workday is sifting through old emails between me and my friends. I just love having that record. Plus, the people I communicate with are especially effing hilarious.

I’ve been feeling especially nostalgic lately. It hits in waves sometimes and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s triggered this recent bout. After three years of getting settled into what I can refer to as the Australia years, it’s time to move on. A new country, a new culture, new friends. A new currency! It’s so unnerving to get used to a new currency. I’m serious.

I remember how awful I felt when I first moved here. I can’t say that I hated it, but I was scared and I was overwhelmed. It’s so hard to enter into someone else’s life and try to feel like you belong. I felt so much pressure to be happy and OK with everything that I didn’t allow myself the chance to even consider how I actually felt here. The result? I don’t remember being sad. I do remember feeling extremely anxious.

I’m afraid of feeling like that again. I don’t want Indonesia to be me sitting at home putting on a happy face feeling a million miles from my friends. Even though, of course, I will be a million miles from my friends. Until there are the new friends. New friends are so exhausting at first and then so amazing the moment you realise that you’re no longer trying be friends, that you really are just friends. It’s fabulous. I’m going to miss my friends here so much, but I’m confident that they’re people who will always be in my life. They’ll just be added to the ever-growing list of friends that I miss. And ZOMG, I do miss my friends. Every day. Hence the nostalgia.

One of the best and worst things about moving to Australia three years ago (Three Years!) was that I got a ready-made group of friends. Although the people I was introduced to I have grown to love, it was incredibly intimidating to be forced into a group I was supposed to like before I even got to know them. There was a lot of expectation (in my head) and I worried that my own relationships with these friends wasn’t going to develop organically. What’s that? I was over-thinking things? Thanks for that.

One of the best things about moving to London five years ago was finally being reunited with my boyfriend. One of the worst things about moving to London was my boyfriend immediately telling me that he had made a mistake in inviting me to join him and I shouldn’t have come. Interestingly, I was also introduced to a group of ready-made friends there and I felt no pressure to like them. Again, a few of those first people I met became good friends who supported me during and after my prolonged relationship with the douchebag fellow who rejected me.

I know that during that time I was crushingly depressed. I can remember calling my friends from a bench in Hyde Park and choking back tears as I left a voicemail. It was quite possibly the loneliest I have ever been. However, when I think back on this time I don’t feel bad at all. I think about the strength that I gained from this period, the person that I became as a result and I feel kind of (gulp) proud. It was awful and I was lost and alone and I survived. I was numb for a long time, but it gave me a confidence that I just wouldn’t have otherwise.*

This photo was taken my first week in London.

I love this photo. I look so annoyed and pissed off, yet also completely passive. I can remember how strongly I just wanted things to be right, for my boyfriend to accept me there and just want to be with me. But the lesson that I learned is that in relationships there are things you can get over and there are things you cannot. Turns out that being emotionally abandoned in a foreign country is one of those things that you just don’t get over. It makes a good story though.

And it’s an amazing feeling to know that moving to Indonesia with my husband will be nothing like that. It’s nice to set the bar so low for moving experiences, right?

* I have to admit that it might not have been the crappy boyfriend that made me grow in London, but he helped. In his own childish, spineless way he helped. There was also an attempted sexual assault by a flatmate’s boyfriend that helped kick the survival instinct into high gear. And if there is one thing in my life that I regret, it would be that I didn’t KICK HIS FUCKING ASS FOR EVER LAYING A HAND ON ME. Phew. That is all.

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~ by Jenny-la on 11 November 2010.

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