Project Make it a Home
I have moved all on my own before. Several times, in fact. Each time, getting a little further and further away from where I call home: East Aurora, NY. First 200 miles, then 1,000 miles, and now 9,000. You would think that every time it would get easier. That the thrill of the unknown and inevitable once-in-a-lifetime adventures would outweigh all the negative emotions. In some ways, it does. But in others, it does not.
When I am out exploring the city of Shanghai, I am consistently in awe of world around me. The way the buildings look, the mixture of old and new architecture, the bridges and rivers, scooters zooming by. I have to remind myself to slow down and take a breath because I am so excited to chase after whatever it is that is hiding around the corner. Even going to work is exciting. Everyday, I am able to talk with the Chinese people I work with and learn more and more about their culture and language. I get to try the different foods with them, and I get to teach them out to use American phrases appropriately (eg. ‘get off’). I get to make friendships with people in the most simple manner because our linguistic communication is so limited. Those are the easy parts about moving to another place.
When I come home, the reality of everything I am doing sets in. The moment I close the door behind me and see the plain apartment with no one in it but me, I am immediately consumed by loneliness. For the first couple days, I didn’t know how to find the English speaking channels so I would leave the Chinese news on in the background, just to hear some noise. I couldn’t bring myself to actually cook anything because being in the kitchen would just remind me of my boyfriend, Josh, who would always make me the most delicious food. Trying to sleep at night was the hardest. I had been used to having Josh beside for the better part of a year now. I would wake up multiple times a night panicking about where he could be and wondering why I was suddenly so alone.
Despite how lonely it felt at first, I knew it would pass. I just had to make the effort to make my apartment feel more like home. So now, I am currently in ‘Project Make it a Home’.
I started by buying a bunch of groceries that I HAD to cook or else they would go bad. It forced me into the kitchen and get used to trying to cook new foods for myself. It is fun to have all these foods before and try to guess what Josh would do with all of them. I purchased some plants to have some green and life in the apartment. I even settle on a color that I will use to decorate the living room! I invited some friends over to make it seem like a comfortable living space, rather than my lonely hideaway.
Moving to another place is hard, it’s rough, and it’s amazing. But you need to make the effort to make it feel more like home.
If you have any recommendations, suggestions, or thoughts, please let me know! I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on Project: Make it a Home.