Monday, 12 November 2012

keeping busy

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Photo by Hiromi Torres

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(that's her) :)

Life is a constant learning experience sometimes. After living abroad for almost a decade, I thought I had the formula figured out. I had gone from being someone who in high school was so shy that I frequently passed whole days without speaking to anyone, to being someone who could talk to most people and make friends fairly easily. I'd made friends with people from every continent (except Antarctica). I had moved to a country without knowing a soul at least twice, and only knowing one soul several more times. I could handle anything.

Yeah right. In the last couple of years, with even more moving about, I found myself a bit lonely. I certainly wasn't friendless, but I gained a new appreciation for how long it takes to grow a network of face-to-face people you actually care about, and between London, Barcelona, long-distance relationshipping and having a blog (yep), I found myself outside of regular society. Going out and meeting new people seemed necessary, but also scary, expensive, and just an effort.

Around February last year I hauled myself out of that rut, joined meetup.com, which was amazing, and when I returned to Barcelona this year I did so with the vow to never turn down a single invitation (and to make a bunch myself). When you feel a bit alone it's so easy to get into a slump, to start feeling like you don't really want to go out, and to retreat to the internet. And let's face it, this can happen in all of our lives. I make things difficult for myself, but I bet you've all been through a phase where everyone seems to be in a relationship except you, or where time or distance and take their toll on friendships.

So, long story short, I've been keeping busy! The above photos are from a once-a-month photography meetup I really enjoy, but also...

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The lovely Johana from Venezuela, who I know from a Catalan class invited me to a Tuesday night of listening to her husband DJ rockabilly at a local bar

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which is delightful and red

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My local friend Mercè and I went to see Blancanieves, a Spanish, silent-film version of Snow White that is doing the festival rounds at the moment. It was beautifully shot and acted and erm, costumed, but maybe a bit too Spanish (sorry about taking you to two hours of bull-fighting and flamenco, Mercè)

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It does feature the wonderful Spanish actress Maribel Verdú, however (who Kallie, Albert and I saw leaving the Fabrica Moritz last spring)!

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Then Mercè and I had Argentine empanadas and Catalan beers
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And of course I've gone for a lot of coffee...
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And this, and so much more
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Photo by Jerome

(like reading lots and lots to restart my sluggish brain, and going to lectures about urbanism, and writing, but more on that another time).

25 comments:

Carrie said...

Love this post, Emily. Indeed, you can be surrounded by people (in real life, as well as online), and still experience loneliness. You can have 600 "friends" on Facebook, but not one that you could actually count on in a tight spot. I'm glad you are finding real friends. :)

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

Thanks Carrie. Most of my "tight spot" friends live in other countries, but it's wonderful making new friendships. :)

Kezzie said...

There is so much truth in that. I know what you mean. It sounds like your effort is reaping benefits though- well done for making the effort and meeting the challenge! That first photo is really lovely. I always meant to ask- when you haven't put 'photos by Albert or Shona' etc, have you taken the pictures yourself on a timer? x

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@Kezzie: erm, sometimes. I think recently I've been a bit remiss in labelling who took my photos. It is generally Albert or Shona. I think the last bunch I posted that I took myself might have been in May... like these ones:
http://rubyslipperjourneys.blogspot.com.es/2012/05/cheap-dresses-and-cheap-days-out.html

I can do it, but generally find I prefer to wait for a photographer, as I don't have a yard, and Barcelona is a busy city and there's always someone staring at you. So unless I don't see Albert for a month or something, I tend to wait and do a bunch of shoots at once!

ZZ said...

Well, you seem so poised and confident, it's hard to imagine you lacking company whenever you'd like it. I'm sure you'll get some lasting friendships out of your new efforts.

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@ZZ: That's really sweet of you to say, thank you!
As I say though, it happens to all of us, and one of the unfortunate things about loneliness is that people tend to look on it as a personality flaw, when it's usually just circumstance and maybe a bit of misfortune.

The Braided Bandit said...

I can definitely relate to this post. While sometimes I actually think I somehow thrive on that semi-loneliness of a new place, it is easy to fall into what I call my grandma-slump. I moved to Colorado from New Jersey without knowing anyone 2 years ago now, and joined meetup after a month or so. I actually met my current bf at the first ever meetup I went to at a bar trivia night haha! Anyway, seriously good for you for getting out there! Sometimes I still need to remind myself to do the same...
xo Hannah
p.s. forgot to say- the first photo is so lovely!

Despina T. said...

really beautiful pics!
JOIN MY MANGO DRESS GIVEAWAY!!!
http://www.fashionforlife1.blogspot.gr/2012/11/giveaway-mango-dress.html

Hannah said...

You are such an inspiring woman, I wish I was as brave as you. The photos are gorgeous, and the snow white film looks right up my street! x

Closet Fashionista said...

I wish I was brave enough for that, I am still a loner who is afraid to go out of public, ha ha. But yay for you getting out there in the world! :D
http://www.closet-fashionista.com/

Monique said...

Emily, this is such a great post. I recently spoke to Josh about "cutting some people off," you know the one's who will hang out if you go to them but they never initiate. I did that recently and it felt great. It's all about finding a balance. I recently deactivated my personal FB account because it didn't feel quite right to me. It's so important to be out in the world meeting people face to face and enjoying the energy of other people. Positive people. Glad you are out there doing that!

Kirsten said...

Aah this is pretty awesome. I've lived in the same city my whole life, but I literally have no friends here (apart from my boyfriend), so you making friends in many different countries is quite inspirational! Making friends is hard!

elissiam.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, I moved to Amsterdam a year ago and still have very few friends, I have joined meetup but I still to scared to go to the events it shows I just need to go to finally meet some people outside of work x

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@Kirsten: I´ve been there...

@Anonymous: you should definitely go to the meetups! If you´re worried about not knowing anyone, I find the ones centred around an interest to be best. For example, I do the photography one, and a creative writing one. For me they´re easier than the ones that are just about going and socializing, because you definitely have something in common with the other people there! Seriously, Meetup improved my mood soooo much last spring, and you often end up making some real friends through it as well!

TheHeadlessMannequin said...

I really enjoyed this post - you have a wonderful knack of articulating concerns or insecurities - whether it's about blogging or more personal issues - that I think a lot of people bottle up. I've been city hopping the past 3 years - two of those moves were for study so I had ready-made friends in my classmates. I've just moved to Glasgow though and I find it's so much more difficult to make friends as you get a little older (late 20s) as ppl aren't 'in the market' as much for new friends anymore - they've got long-standing social circles from having lived in the one spot most of their lives. I spent this past weekend at home in Ireland lamenting all my great friends there and my lack of them in Scotland. But your post has made me get up off my self-pitying ass and I've joined two meet-up groups - now just to attend them :) But thanks for posting about this and inspiring me to take the reins in my life and get back out there!

Satin and Souffles said...

Its sounds perfect, just travelling, taking photos & meeting new people. Its my goal in life xx


www.satinandsouffles.com
www.satinandsouffles.com

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@The Headless Mannequin: Imagine all the stuff I keep bottled up then? Neurosis central around here ;)

I completely agree with you. There was even an article in the New York Times about how much harder it is to meet people when you're not university-age any more. Still, if it's such a common malaise it means those other people are out there somewhere!

Amber said...

I actually joined meetup.com a month ago but have been too shy to actually go to any of the meet ups. I know once I get there I will be fine, but its the act of actually going that gives me butterflies (does that make sense?) Anyhoo, happy to hear you had such a great experience with it.

Rebecca said...

Just a great post Emily. I find loneliness is like a taboo, people don't want to talk about it or really acknowledge that it effects many people. And its so true that once you are out of education it's a lot tougher to make friendships. You are so brave moving around like you have, I hope I can do the same one day. Meetup is good too, i joined a book group on there and it's been fun.

Kallie, Happy Honey and Lark said...

OMG THATS HER!? I wonder how I can see this movie...
I also approve of your Tamagotchi angel coffee cup ;)

This sounds like a whole lot of fun. Making friends in new cities is so tough (speaking from experience)

Emily, Resplendent Tranquility said...

This is just what I needed to read. Thank you for your continued honesty and inspiration, Emily. That said, I owe you an e-mail. I'll get on that soon.

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@Kallie: It's Spain's selection for the foreign film Oscar, so it may be coming to a theater near you. :)

If not, you can still see her in Pan's Labyrinth and Y tu Mama También!

Ashley said...

Oh Em, this is a beautiful post with beautiful pictures to accompany it!!! It echos the sentiment of my heart in every way!

With that said, not sure if you replied to my last question? Is the weekend of January 26th fine to visit you? If so, what days? I'd like to book my ticket and meet the fabulous miss emily!

Rubies and Emeralds said...

Great photos and meaningful post. Thanks for your insight!

xoxo
http://rubiesemeralds.blogspot.com/

Penny said...

How did I lose so many great posts? and by the way, your hair is so long now :)
I think it might be a new age group thing because I m also going through the same phase these days. Having my parents in one country, my sister in another, my friends in London and various countries and I m stuck in Leeds during the week does not help at all!
I think it's a normal thinking - but I also know that having a nice coffee turns everything around and you feel optimistic again!