Dealing With Loneliness In New Environments

Have you recently moved to a new country? Have you ever moved to a new community and had to start over? I have. Read on to see what it is like dealing with loneliness in new environments, how I handled it and how you can too.

“You never really understand just how lonely you are until the day has ended, and you have so many things to talk about, and nobody to talk to.”

New Environments 

Dealing With Loneliness In New Environments- Moving To New Environments

Moving To New Environments

If you‘ve lived and worked in a community for a year, should you still be considered a guest? And if you are, when should this status of “guest” be removed? As bad as it may sound, there are so many times when I am made to feel like a guest in my own community. It’s as if no matter what I do, no matter how I act, I will forever be subconsciously labeled “the foreigner” and that really really sucks.

The question that I‘ve been pondering lately though, is whether I should be happy and embrace this situation, or fight to my last breath to be seen as an accepted member of the community. My simple answer is neither. I don’t know how long I will be living on this island, and it almost seems like a waste to spend my time worrying about such a trivial matter. I‘ll just be myself and live the best way I see fit. If I make genuine connections along the way; fantastic. If I’m only able to forge surface relationships; oh well, such is life.

Assimilation 

Dealing With Loneliness In New Environments- Assimilation

Assimilation

I was told a story about a fellow teacher who lived on a small island, similar to mine. Being the sports enthusiast he was, he eagerly joined the local basketball team and played with them every day for 2 or 3 years. At the end of his time on the island, right before he was set to return home, there was a basketball tournament. Throughout sign up he had frequently heard that there would be a foreigner joining them. He was very excited and looked forward to seeing another new face. Imagine his disappointment when, on the day of the event, he was the one introduced by the team as the foreigner.

When I fist heard this story, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh, or to cry with him, because I understand. I understood every word he spoke, and it felt like a page had been ripped from my own story. Dealing with loneliness in new environments is hard enough, and all anyone wants, is to be able to assimilate so they can continue life as they had before. Assimilation into the Japanese society can be a seemingly impossible task, and this is mainly due to how foreigners are viewed in Japanese society.

What I’ve Done so Far 

Dealing With Loneliness In New Environments- Feeling Alone In A Crowd Of People

Feeling Alone In A Crowd Of People

After much research and reflection, I‘ve come to realize there are two extremes. In this post, however, I have chosen not to focus on the extremes. Instead, I want to encourage others who might be “fighting” a similar battle, after having moved to a foreign country or moved to a new community. Below are a list of conscious moves I have made so far:

. Encouraged by a fellow teacher, I joined the island’s hula team and now meet with them twice a week. This allows me to meet many of the other females living on IE and get to know the islanders on a more personal level.

. I am studying Japanese and try to have simple conversations with as many people, as often as possible. Many times, I make mistakes, but that’s just a part of the learning process. I also try to ask as many questions as I can and this is great because the people of the island love when someone shows interest in the language on a deeper level.

. Whenever there is a festival, or event, and I am available, I try my best to attend, even if it’s just to show my face and say hi to a few people. I walk around and ask about prices and the food, and what each food item contains, to spark a conversation. Bonus: I get to practice my Japanese.😁

. From September to October, I hosted a Jamaican Cooking Class as a way to exchange information between cultures. Each class averaged 20 students and was taught in a mix of Japanese and English. We had the chance to laugh, talk, cook together and gain great advice for future workshop ideas.

Cultural Ambassador  

Dealing With Loneliness In New Environments-Cultural Ambassador

Cultural Ambassador

Presently, I teach a Jamaican Dance Class to all interested in learning how to move like a “native.“The purpose of this class is not to become the best dancer but to bond with fellow islanders in my own way. My class consists of women ages 21 to 67 years old. It’s been a fun ride so far and am excited to see how they do when we perform the dance routines next month.

Each act has been deliberate as I am a Cultural Ambassador for my country, and I will consistently try to build that bridge, on a grassroots level, between IE Island and Jamaica. I have also made a few friends here without even thinking too hard or obsessing over the situation. The more I look around, the more I realize that I am not alone after all. It might seem that way at times, but the devil does like intruding on the joy people possess, and I don’t want to be a pawn on his chess board. I have no time for sadness, and I have no time for doubt. My mission here is to make as big of an impact I can, as often as I can, while I can. I have gained a lot from being in Japan, and my focus right now is giving back.

Advice For Moving Forward

Dealing With Loneliness In New Environments- Advice For Moving Forward

Advice For Moving Forward

It might seem difficult at the moment, but I promise you, that if you take the time to look, you will see just how many people are actually in your corner. The ones who matter will welcome you with open arms into their homes, hearts and lives. The ones who don’t, well, they don’t really matter. So Ive decided that I‘m not really lonely after allI am living, for the most part, in solitude.

This is a chance to get to know who you are, while exploring all the things you possibly never thought you could before. Loneliness conveys the agony of being alone, while solitude, well solitude reflects the magnificence that comes with being alone. You decide.

If you want to read more about my journey thus far and gain more fantastic advice , check out any of the posts below:

Never Give Up Never Surrender   

Sunshine Blogger Awards   

5 Important Life Lessons You Will Learn  

My Dee Dee's Diary Signature

You might also like

Comments (37)

  • I love how you took this from a different angle. I recently wrote about the difference between the difference between being alone and being lonely. And there is a massive difference! I think sometimes it is good to be alone but being lonely, especially in a big city as a “foreigner” can be oppressive. *hugs*
    Ps. here is what I wrote. Let me know what you think 🙂 http://holdthemoo.com/2017/11/26/alone-vs-lonely-benefits-solitude/

    My Dee Dee's Diary 3 months ago Reply

    Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my post. Yes I wanted to be more positive about the experience and try to encourage others to find positives because if we dwell on issues instead of coming up with solutions, we won’t get anywhere.

  • Alice Coaxum 3 months ago Reply

    That’s great that you are being yourself and putting yourself out there. It may not be easy to “fit in” but those who are meant to gravitate towards you will.

    My Dee Dee's Diary 3 months ago Reply

    Thank you so much. Yes it can be difficult at times but as you said if I am myself then those meant to be around me will eventually come 🙂

  • IrieDiva 3 months ago Reply

    what a great post. I connect with it being that life can get lonely as a blogger who works from home. It’s a life I chose though and I’m happy to live it. Just need to be the one to reach out and connect with friends more and more to keep sane. I love that you’re hosting a dance class and there’s a 67yo in there! That’s so cool. This experience is surely going to leave lasting impressions on your life

    My Dee Dee's Diary 3 months ago Reply

    Yes it’s definitely been a very interesting road. You are right though that reaching out to friends every now and then is great for mental health. You should come to my class and watch that 67 year old move. She def has rhythm.

  • Bianca 3 months ago Reply

    At least you are trying! I commend you for going out of your comfort zone to do have those conversations and learn a new language.

    My Dee Dee's Diary 3 months ago Reply

    I am an introvert by nature so it definitely has been difficult stepping out and putting myself out there, but I think it is worth it in the end.

  • Cristine 3 months ago Reply

    It’s always important to know who you are and make yourself a better person. Who knows what lies ahead

    My Dee Dee's Diary 3 months ago Reply

    Thank you so much. I agree knowing who you are is extremely important.

  • Christine 3 months ago Reply

    I could definitely relate to this post and I love your outlook. I lived in NYC for 26 years and then moved to the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Although it is not a long distance and I had my husband, I felt so alone in the workplace and found it so hard to make true friendships. I was often homesick and “lonely” BUT this is what I realized….I didn’t need new friendships or any reason to prove myself to anyone. I stayed true to myself and to this journey and I learned from it. I would regret living in the same place my whole life but instead am experiencing new things, challenges, opportunities and possibilities. Exciting, isn’t it! Enjoy the solitude and embrace it. Good things and company will come when it’s right!

    My Dee Dee's Diary 3 months ago Reply

    This is such a fantastic experience. I absolutely love how you have stayed true to yourself even when you were “lonely.” I am enjoying the solitude and learning new things about myself everyday. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I wish you all the best.

  • Kinan 3 months ago Reply

    What a great post, beautifully written..I can relate to your story..I am too struggling to fit into my new country, it has only been a couple of months since I moved here but I can understand what you’re trying to say in this post..
    Japan is a very beautiful country, beautiful culture, and nice people..enjoy your time there as much as possible because I believe once you overcome the language barrier you’ll find people are opening up to you..
    Cheers

    My Dee Dee's Diary 3 months ago Reply

    Thank you for your kind words. It has been a year and the language barrier isn’t really an issue because I can speak Japanese. I just think it takes time to find your groove and really settle in. I wish you the best of luck in your new adventure and would love to hear more.

  • Gaby 3 months ago Reply

    I loved reading this post. It sounds like you’re doing an amazing job at fitting into the community, so you should be proud of your achievements. Teaching a class is not an easy feat! I’m pretty sure that a lot of Asian communities are similar to this when it comes to accepting people who they perceive as ‘foreigners’. I wouldn’t take it personally – just keep forging forward (as you seem to be).

    My Dee Dee's Diary 3 months ago Reply

    Thank you so much. I truly appreciate your comment. Yes I agree that teaching a class is pretty hard work especially teaching in another language. I try not to take things too personally and will consistently move forward.

  • Erin 3 months ago Reply

    I totally relate to this post as I’ve moved several times. It’s so important to see different parts of the world and experience new things. But I agree to stay true to oneself always. thank you for sharing your journey!

    My Dee Dee's Diary 3 months ago Reply

    You are so welcome. Thank you for commenting and continue to enjoy your travels 😊😊

  • Kristi McAllister 3 months ago Reply

    I can so relate to this. I have always wanted to live by the sea, so last December, I moved to the island I’ve always vacationed at since I was 8 years old. I wanted a quiet, simple life. And I got it! While I’ve met some great people, this is truly the loneliest I’ve ever been. It’s so hard to start over, as you know. I’m 47 years old and the move itself nearly killed me. I’ve decided that it’s time to really put down roots if I want my life to work here. Thanks for posting this. It helps those of us who are struggling with moving to a new community!

    My Dee Dee's Diary 3 months ago Reply

    Wow. Congratulations on your move. I completely understand the stress of moving and also know that it takes time to settle down and really put down roots. I’m so glad my post was able to help you. Take your time, find your groove and you’ll soon be truly enjoying the island life. Good luck and blessings 😊😊

  • Samridhi Kumar 3 months ago Reply

    Lovely post and loved the stories. It is a peek into your life and yet feels like mine. Loneliness and life go hand in hand and you can tackle it head on and live life to the fullest.

    My Dee Dee's Diary 3 months ago Reply

    Thank you so much for reading. I’m glad you were able to relate. I hope you’ll find my other posts as helpful.

  • when you put it that way, clearly solitude is the way to go. Great post to help introverts!

    My Dee Dee's Diary 3 months ago Reply

    Thank you so much 🙂

  • Damond Nollan 3 months ago Reply

    It sounds like you have a great plan of action. As I was reading, I felt your pain, but was happy to learn that you made the best out of a situation. Congratulations!

    My Dee Dee's Diary 3 months ago Reply

    Thank you so much. At first, it was quite difficult but I have learned and i have grown. Now I can say I am pretty happy with my life here. Thanks for commenting.

  • Ann 3 months ago Reply

    Hi Dee! What part of Japan island? If ever you want someone to talk to, message me, been here for 17 long years already. Gambate ne 🙂

    My Dee Dee's Diary 3 months ago Reply

    Hi Ann! I live on IE Island in Okinawa. Thank you. Which part of Japan do you live?

  • Ashley 3 months ago Reply

    Great advice! My husband and I have moved states 3 times and each time I’ve had to dealt with loneliness. You give some great advice on how to handle it.

    My Dee Dee's Diary 3 months ago Reply

    Thank you so much. I’m glad to hear my post helped you.

  • Kurline Altes 3 months ago Reply

    WOW!! I am an island girl and I was thrilled to read this. I literally just moved to another state and my accent is already being noticed. I will always be a foreigner :). However, I do like the idea of coming together with other cultures and making the experience great. Wish O can be a part of that dance class right now.
    I will use this blog as a guide as I navigate my way through my new and exciting journey.

    My Dee Dee's Diary 3 months ago Reply

    Fellow Island Girl, hey. Thank you for reading and commenting. Believe in yourself. Own your foreigner status and just take things one step at a time. You never know how many awesome opportunities you could have asked a “foreigner” in that community.

  • Christie Moeller 3 months ago Reply

    This brings back memories. When I first moved to LA I felt so lonely at night. It seemed to creep in when the sun went down. But slowly I started engaging more. It’s funny how when your taken out of your normal daily interaction how foreign it feels to have to reach out to strangers.

    xoxo Chrisite
    http://www.icanstyleu.com/blog/

    My Dee Dee's Diary 3 months ago Reply

    Yes it can be so weird but the more connections you make the easier it can become. Be yourself and the right people will come.

  • umesh Kumar Bhardwaj 3 months ago Reply

    NICE article! It’s my good luck I can say I never feel in life yet alone or lonely! All thanks to my family and friends!

  • Hannah Marie 2 weeks ago Reply

    In my case, I moved to a different location of the same organization. At first, people were warm and encouraging, until I find myself sitting in the corner and not being approached by people. I don’t know if it’s just me. Maybe, I have to initiate a conversation myself too at times.

    My Dee Dee's Diary 2 weeks ago Reply

    I think it can be hard to get accustomed to new environments. Maybe you could go talk to someone. They might just be as shy as you are.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: