Away from home: tackling loneliness

Ok, so I wrote this post 6 weeks ago and it’s been staring at me ever since. Yesterday I had dinner with such an inspirational friend and she confirmed ‘You know, it’s ok to sometimes be sad and be honest about it’. At the moment there are really good things on my horizon, but this certainly hasn’t always been the case. With this blog, I strive to give a truthfull picture of life abroad, so I just wanted to share this with you all. About the ups and downs from missing loved ones, starting over and overcoming doubts.. So here it is; unedited and raw.

It’s always darkest before dawn.

A new city, a new life, new job, new friends, special dates into the rustic Stockholm streets…. It all sounds so good before you go, and yes, living in a new place certainly has it’s perks. But inevitably you’re gonna hit that wall called Loneliness, and today I’m staring right at it. I’m going through very exciting times with lots of plans, yet also lots of insecurity, and I found it’s the first time I can’t really share it. And then the monsters creep in, am I doing the right thing in moving away? Can’t hop by my friends for coffee, can’t have a casual day with shopping in my old studenttowns, can’t even go out to a cafe and go partying like 1,2,3. And a nice bottle of wine is 4km away in the systembolaget. Not that I’m a drunk, but every now and then it would be nice.

Let’s face it, living abroad sometimes just mother ffing sucks. And I know those who scatter the earth with me can resonate.

I wish I could settle for a bar-job, wish I would be the type of person who can do long-distance and wish I could be chilling on my parents couch just sipping expensive espresso. But no, I have to be the spoiled little brat wanting to make a career abroad. I’m sorry for dumping this all on you, and I’m really sorry if this shitstorm is the first thing you’ll ever read here, but sometimes it’s just not all rainbows and butterflies. Also, I normally don’t swear so much, but sometimes you just have to. 

I feel really bad about posting this. I’m in a privileged position and have been able to learn, see and do so much in the past years. Sweden, and Stockholm are amazing. But some days are just too much.

I can handle being alone very well, most of the times I actually prefer me-time. I like me and I’m my best companion. But Loneliness is a whole different thing. I live with this great guy and can’t imagine what it must be like with me sometimes. He’s so understanding and patient, I admire it.

Beating loneliness is a stone cold war with your inner self. Of not being connected, not being in the moment, a hopeless drifter. I feel it’s also taboo to talk about it, and I’m definitely having doubts about posting this. But some time has to be first right? I miss my friends, I miss my crazy family and I miss the Dutch openness. The news-items about Sinterklaas, pepernoten, pissing on the weather, the funny little jokes and the endless stream of only talkshows on the radio. Swedes are tough to crack and I don’t have that many ‘ins’ in Stockholm. It’s so much easier if you know somebody who knows somebody. And those bulky guys at the gym probably won’t be my new bff’s whom join in on SATC night. Damn.

Plus, I don’t have that much money to go out into the town, so I’m becoming a home-body, which is not at all what makes me happy.

But then I realize the grass is always gonna be greener on the other side. The Netherlands will also be gray in winter and I’ll also face the endless list of things to do and responsibilities. I’m grateful for having a rock here, someone that grounds me, loves me and is here for me. There are opportunities ahead that in the past I couldn’t even have dreamed of and this keeps me focussed. But sometimes I get e-mails from you that literally cut through my heart. I try to be all tough in front of my guy, but the written word really is an extraordinary thing. It really helps me sometimes. I just have to go through this melancholic day and stick with it. After all, I live in a beautiful place. ‘The hour is always darkest before dawn’. Good things will find their way. 

Upon reflection I was definitely looking at the glass half empty that day. But a girl can vent once in a while, right? At this moment my whole outlook is completely different. I’m in really good moods and I’m expecting something really really really cool to begin in January. But I know being an expat can be really rough at times and want to let those other drifters whom read my stories, know that I understand how they feel. That sometimes you have to push through, stick it out and keep your head up. Never give up.

For now, I’m soaking up the last bits of the Netherlands before I head home. I can’t wait to get back to Stockholm!!love sign


  1. I feel ya sister! Ik heb dit gevoel heel erg aan het begin van het jaar gehad en vind het nog altijd frustrerend dat je met buitenlandse meiden hier er nooit over kan praten, alsof het een taboe is om te zeggen dat het leven niet altijd over rozen gaat. Dat het kut is om een nieuwe taal te leren, dat het kut is dat je niet met je moeder op d’r vrije dag kan winkelen, dat het kut is dat een glas wijn 10 euro kost, dat het kut is als het warm weer is en je eigenlijk niemand écht hebt met wie je op een terras wilt zitten (aka besties)… Misschien denken anderen dat het “klagen” is, maar dat is het niet. Het is gewoon af en toe niet zo makkelijk en dat mag heus gedeeld worden.

    Maar van dat alles heb ik wel geleerd dat alles komt op z’n tijd, als je maar geduldig wacht. Maar het is zo moeilijk om dat in te zien, na de 100e afwijzing…

    • Precies! En 6 weken geleden had ik echt zon’n dip, afwijzing na afwijzing, donkere dagen en kille Zweden. Dan denk ik echt, aaah, wat doe ik hier? Maar doorzetten en het uitzitten hebben wel geholpen. Stiekem vind ik het ook wel fijn om te weten dat ik niet de enige ben die hier mee dealt, hoe lelijk dat misschien ook klinkt.

      En net wat je zegt, al die ‘kleine’ dingen maken het juist beter, maar dat is er vaak nog niet. En er is toch een cultureel verschil. Net als dat ik/wij bepaalde dingen niet begrijpen, begrijpen zij mij/ ons ook vaak niet. En ik hoop dat dat op den duur weg ebt.

  2. Love the way you dared to express your feelings, even though you’re in a better place right now. Nothing is perfect all the time, like you mentioned, but also keep in mind that bad things also pass. Now you’re in good spirits again use your positive feelings to build your (privileged) path in Sverige. I’ll read along, sometimes wishing it were me doing what you do 🙂

  3. Love the way you dared to express your feelings, even though you’re in a better place right now. Nothing is perfect all the time, like you mentioned, but also keep in mind that bad things also pass. Now you’re in good spirits again use your positive feelings to build your (privileged) path in Sverige. I’ll read along, sometimes wishing it were me doing what you do 🙂

  4. dit is zo fijn eerlijk en vooral ook zó herkenbaar.
    mensen denken al snel dat in het buitenland – of telkens in een nieuwe stad, for that matter – leven enkel leuk en jeej is, en nu ja, wat je zegt gewoon. ik heb ook ervaren dat ik ondanks dat ik bij m’n vriend woonde en mensen kende om gezellige dingen mee te doen gewoon eens behoefte aan mijn échte vriendinnen. zij die je al zolang kent, die jou al lang kennen en met wie je meer hebt gedeeld dan enkel de afgelopen maanden. en dat is heel normaal hoor, niks om je voor te schamen <3 geniet nog even van Nederland en dan vooral straks weer heel erg van Stockholm!

    • Nou, je verwoord het echt precies goed! Soms is het inderdaad allemaal niet zo makkelijk.
      Woonde je in Oslo met je vriend? of nu in België?

      Ik zat er eerst ook mee van, ooh, kan ik dit wel posten, en ook al post ik het nu veel later, ik ben er wel blij mee. Een wat eerlijkere weergave van het geheel, zowel de ups en de downs.

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