Spending time alone

I think I’m going to have to get used to spending a lot of time having fun by myself over here. It’s just difficult trying to make good friends here that I can hang out with.

There are two reasons: the first one is that I live over four miles from where the majority of the students live. So I miss out on a lot of the things that they spontaneously do together. Every time I want to do something with them, it has to be planned out and becomes a big production, especially because there is no bus that goes directly from their dorm to mine. So it’s really easy for them to forget about me, or invite me somewhere as an afterthought. In fact, it happened earlier this week. I was supposed to go downtown to see some of the festival with them. They were supposed to text me when I should leave for downtown to meet them. But they never did, and later that night one of them apologized and admitted they forgot about me. And, although I was kind of annoyed, I don’t really blame them. If I were in their shoes and there was one person who lived by himself out in the middle of nowhere, it’d be easy for me to forget that person too.

The second reason is that I just don’t share the same interests as most people my age. I like engaging in clean fun, meaning I don’t like to go to bars. And for example, tonight we had fun downtown for dinner and a little concert, but then they wanted to go to a bar where everyone smokes and it’s really crowded. And I can’t handle that environment. I have a slight respiratory problem so it’s difficult for me to breathe in stuffy, smoke-filled room. It’s a tiny bar with about 35 people packed into it at all times. So I went out and sat outside by myself for a while. Then I started walking to other parts of downtown by myself. This Danish man came up to me and asked why I was hanging out by myself on such a nice night. And I told him that my friends were in the Billabong Bar and that I couldn’t breathe in there so I decided to go for a walk. He said that the Billabong Bar is one of the few bars in Arhus that permits smoking indoors and that it was pretty inconsiderate of my friends. And I said, no, I’m sure they’ll check up on me soon. And so he left. And I admit, after waiting for a while more, I was thinking maybe he was right. And so I went back to the bar and told my classmates I was going home.

But I don’t blame them. I don’t expect anything to do anything more for me. It’s probably their only chance to party in Denmark and I don’t expect anyone to give that up just because I can’t handle smoke. It’s not anyone’s job to keep me company.

And it’s because I haven’t put forth any effort.

Because they all live pretty close together to each other and that is why they hang out together so much, I’ve been trying to see if I could become friends with the other people in my dorm building. Last Wednesday I went to the dorm meeting and everyone there was Danish. They all kept speaking in Danish, and when they did speak in English, it felt really forced and they kept looking at me, making sure to let me know that they’re speaking English just for me. After 40 minutes of that awkwardness, I excused myself and left early.

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