First of all, you can’t really blog. Unless you’re a superhero which I’m clearly not. It’s not that I don’t have time, I just simply lack energy. Both physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s not a fairy tale. More like an adventure, you just don’t really realize that it is for a long-long time. It has its ups and downs and I’m going to try to talk about them. In this post, I want to focus on all the difficulties and later, in the second part, I will describe everything that still makes it a good choice.
Let’s start with a little background story. Last August I moved to Breda, The Netherlands to study International Leisure Management. It was the first time that I started living alone or going to university or living abroad, so everything was very new to me. I was a pretty independent person in my past view years, even though that I lived with my parents, but it still takes some time to settle in and I’m not sure that I already have.
- You’re completely alone. You just have to get used to it. You have to accept the fact that you have to take care of everything, even if you don’t want to. Especially if you don’t want to. The evenings and the weekends get so much harder to bear, because it’s just you and your room. I consider myself more of an introverted person and I really need to be alone to recharge and so I’m perfectly fine with being on my own, until I start feeling lonely. This is something that I’ve been working on for a long time. I don’t know if any of you remember my post ‘How to be alone without being lonely?‘, but I talked a lot about this and since that, I think that I’ve successfully managed to improve myself at this area. It’s the most important aspect of living alone, if not the most important aspect of living. You must be comfortable with your own company.
- Eating becomes an inconvenience. I don’t like cooking. I just simply don’t enjoy it. I I’m sure it will change as soon as I can cook for someone else, because I’m essentially a caring person, so I imagine it would make me satisfied, but for myself? Nahh. Breakfast coffee and muesli is kind of a ritual for me now, which is nice because ever since I finished 4th grade, I never had time to eat breakfast at home. I can’t really function without having something to eat in the morning, so I just have to create time for it. Also, coffee. It doesn’t need an explanation. The problem starts later. Usually I grab something light to eat at school, but when I get home it’s usually either lunch or dinner time and I’m starving so I want to eat something ASAP and cooking is not ASAP. Furthermore, there’s grocery shopping. Why don’t adults prepare you for the struggle of grocery shopping?! It makes me so mad. You spend so much money, even with your bonus card, go home with huge bags and then two days later you’re out of food again. Seriously. I hardly eat. What’s happening?
- Floating. It’s the hardest part. Even if you go home every month, even if you have friends and family at home, something changes. You go back and you don’t feel at home anymore. But you don’t feel at home in your new place yet. So you’re just floating. It may get better, I don’t know. I think, it can only stop if you dedicate yourself to the new life 100%. It was really hard for me because of the long-distance relationship. It’s really nice because you can still have a home, even if it’s not an actual building, but it also disables you to fully focus on what’s going on where you spend most of your time. It’s all about finding the balance. If you think you can live both, then you’re not. You can either live one fully or two, low-key one. It sounds really harsh, but it’s something that I have to say to myself now, to sooth my feelings. Also, you can’t be happy spending 1 week of a month at home, if you’re not happy the rest of the time. You can’t make anyone happy, if you’re not happy alone and for that to happen, you have to live your new life.
- Culture shock. You probably heard this before, but mainly associated with Asian, African or something other, drastically different and exotic context. Well, you don’t have to go that far. Holland is not Hungary. People tend to have the same stereotypical questions for me, when I tell them that I live in The Netherlands. No, I don’t smoke a lot of weed. None, actually. It’s not so typical at all. Of course there are those infamous coffee shops, and sometimes the smell hits you when you’re biking through the park, but it’s not at all a daily activity for the Dutch. At least not in Noord-Brabant. I don’t see as many gay couples as mixed gender ones. Tulips don’t just grow everywhere. There are no prostitutes in the windows, but yet again, this is not Amsterdam. The magic is in those little things. Like when we wanted to grab some lunch with my classmates and with a German guy we considered the Italian restaurant and a Dutch girl said: “Yeah, I like Italian, but it’s a little too heavy for lunch, isn’t it?”. They basically eat dinner for lunch and lunch for dinner. And that oh-so-famous liberalism and treating everybody as equals, meaning: it doesn’t matter if you’re a woman, if you’re old, if you’re pregnant, you still have to fight for getting on and off the trains and busses. I’ve actually learnt a lot about a part of my personality that was influenced by being Hungarian, stuff that you don’t notice until you put them into another context. I will write a more extensive post about it in the near future.
- Living with flatmates. It’s actually not that bad, because at least you don’t feel that lonely, but it certainly has its disadvantages. I live in a student house with 4 other people and share my kitchen and bathroom with two of them. It’s those little things again. When you don’t go to the toilet at school, because you’ll be home in 10 minutes and it’s more convenient and then you actually get home and your flatmate is taking a number two and not only that it takes really long, but you still have to wait a few minutes after he finished, because you ran out of air freshener and you don’t want to die. Or when you’re on your period and wake up in the morning and you know that you have to go to the bathroom REALLY fast and then you hear the water running and remember that whatsapp conversation with your flatmate in which he was talking about how much he likes to take his time in the shower and you know, you’re fucked. Or when they leave their dishes on top of the washing machine and someone else starts doing their laundry and when the machine starts getting ADHD and jumping up and down the leftover food just flies everywhere and covers half of the kitchen and stays like that until you clean it up. Or when you ran out of toilet paper, but you’re a rebel and you don’t buy any because you bought them last time, but everyone forgets to buy it so you just casually use tissues for days and then you get enough of it and buy a family-size package and all your roommates remember that day as well, so you have enough to use for eternity. At least you think so and then it starts again.
Everything else that comes to my mind is connected to The Netherlands, so I’m going to mention them later. These things are the difficulties you’ll face when you start living alone, but of course it’s still worth it. At least for me. I’m going to talk about the pros in my next post.