Note: this story takes place on First Nations traditional territory. It’s a fun one about a recent overnight trip, written in response to the prompt: “How did I end up here?”
“What should I name my pee-zee?”
We were a group of mostly lesbians, gathered around a campfire at our campsite on Vancouver Island’s southwest coast. My friend was obsessed with her new toy: a device that allowed her to pee standing up. Every so often she’d gleefully shout: “Be right back!”, and frolic off into the woods. We were excited about it too; a little jealous, even. We were also a little buzzed. Naming it only seemed natural.
Moving to a new city is hard. It’s easy to pretend you’re brave and adventurous, but while you’re telling people how excited you are, it’s likely that your actual thoughts about the whole ordeal are an anxious mess. Leaving your life behind, the move itself, and the settling in period are stressful and emotionally draining. For many introverts, there’s an additional worry: how am I going to make good friends?
This problem isn’t exclusive to introverts. But in order to make meaningful friendships, you usually have to give yourself lots of opportunities to interact with people. Extroverts are generally able to create more of these opportunities.
The options for settling into a new city may seem pretty grim for an introvert: either give up your downtime to small talk with strangers, or be a happy recluse. Honestly, the second option is always the most tempting, but it turns out that having friends is awesome. So how do you get from Point A (reluctant acceptance that hermitdom is not the answer) to Point B (having consistent and meaningful social connections)? My suggestion is to fake extroversion. Just for a little while, I promise. Here are some tips for becoming a short-term, extroverted introvert:
‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all through Korea
People were freezing, due to winds from Siberia;
The passports were placed by the front door with care,
In hopes that Leslie Teacher soon would not be there;
The children were sniffling and picking their noses,
I even had one kid throw up on his clothe-es!
And me in my jacket, scarf, boots, mitts and cap,
Thought: “It’s definitely colder than home now, what crap!”
But decorations are up, I have holiday cheer!
(And I wouldn’t turn down a good holiday beer.)
I have a small tree, and some half-working lights,
And a plan for avoiding a cold Christmas night;
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
Like Dasher and Dancer, I’ll mount to the sky!
I will sure miss seeing you all, that is true,
But I will be travelling (’cause that’s what I do!)
That’s right, while you’re trudging through snow that’s knee deep,
I’ll be indulging in a massage in Siem Reap! (Sorry!)
Now I may not be getting a new Christmas toy,
But I’ll be saying “Happy New Year” from Hanoi!
The whole time I’ll be thinking of family (and food),
Of gingerbread, injera, the holiday mood;
Guitar songs, board games, Secret Santa, and more,
That special warmth you can’t get from a store. (Thanks, Grinch.)
Now perhaps I will see all of you soon on Skype,
But in case there are technical difficulties, I’ll type:
Though I’m not there person (which just isn’t right!),
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
*Last year was the third time I was away from home at Christmas. (I spent it in Siem Reap… I know, I know. Life is rough.) I was feeling inspired on a lunch break, and sent this out to my relatives.
First, let me say that this post is loaded with privilege. Not everyone has a good relationship with family, or positive holiday experiences, and on top of that has the ability to be overseas missing them. I’m very grateful for my family and for the opportunities I’ve had to travel long-term. Also, it’s a very Christmas-oriented post, but feel free to replace the C-word with your holiday or non-denominational celebration of choice!
Whether you’re working on the other side of the world without the means to go home for a visit, or choosing to take advantage of days off to travel, it can be tough to be away from home for the holidays. Here are some ways to ease the ho-ho-homesickness: