It’s been eight weeks since I boarded my last plane from Buenos Aires.
All in all, the return has been smooth, and everything went as planned, as far as the organization of it all is concerned. It could not have been smoother.
Friends, colleagues and strangers ask how it is to be back, and if I have arrived. The socially acceptable response is to smile, nod and say that I’m still adapting.
Though sometimes I just wanna scream at them: no fucking way… This will take months and months, if ever. I wonder if I will ever ‘be back’.
‘Being back’ meaning my old me coming back to my old surroundings and re-integrating smoothly. Not going to happen.
Not only have I changed, but a lot has changed here, too.
And I had so many temporary homes in the meantime, all of which I could have made my proper home, that I do not know anymore what the term actually means.
Have I become so flexible that I don’t care? So cut off of my roots? So random? So globally connected that I’m at home everywhere? Or nowhere?
I don’t know yet.
I just still walk through Brussels and feel like I’m watching a movie (of my old life), nice to watch, full of memories, but not really connecting to it. Anymore. Or not yet. Result unknown.
The weird thing is that at times I feel really lonely in Brussels. Alone. More so than during my journey when I was, in fact, traveling alone and by myself for 18 months.
Maybe this is why this feeling of loneliness and disconnectedness hits me totally unprepared, in Brussels, at work, surrounded by colleagues, a whole lot of close friends and acquaintances that I could call and meet on short notice.
After all I have lived in this city for roughly a third of my life. This is, by all means and intentions of the word, one of my homes.
Besides two or three closer friends whom I have met more or less regularly, I haven’t met anyone more than once or twice in the past two months. There are good friends I haven’t met at all yet.
It’s just that I don’t even call them up, when I feel lonely. I just hide out on my couch.
A few things kept me busy, I needed to sort all the files on my PC, the back-ups and the pictures…. I’m still un- and repacking stuff.
I’ve also been going out, much more than in my previous Brussels life, rediscovering the night life (and it ain’t bad).
And still I feel lost.
This week’s pride parade, planned on Saturday, of course had the usual luck of a rain shower setting in within an hour of the start…
So I stayed in and started to read. When the sun came out about 5 pm – when the parade was over – I went down into the center and had a beer with my friend Fred in one of the bars.
A DJane spinning electro tunes, people dancing on the cobble stones, a good mood despite the dark blue clouds hanging low… And I hadn’t felt lonelier in a long time.
I didn’t go out at night, I folded myself onto my couch and continued reading a book about Columbus’ four voyages. A travel book, what else.
I don’t know a recipe for this, and I was warned this drop into a depressive mood would happen inevitably. I am moody and angry and easily irritated.
But this, too, will pass.
I am balancing my accounts and credit cards, and next month I will pay back the first of my loans from my sponsors. Once that is done I’ll start setting up a savings scheme for the future. 2019. Whatever. I just need a goal I think. It doesn’t really matter yet what it will be.
And friends are right when they tell me: ‘Boo-hoo, poor you, just back from 18 month holidays…. Shut up!‘ I understand they don’t want to hear me moan and complain about how hard it is. Yet not talking about it does not help either.
I don’t want to turn this blog into a sad, depressed bunch of articles about coming back from a great trip. But it might help a bit to vent it.