Isolation…

…is not good for me.

It’s not on a lemon tree, though – it’s in my classroom. While work is (as my last post described) an absolute joy at the moment, the periods between classes are becoming difficult for me.

I’m alone.

I don’t mean in general – I have the best friends I could ever have hoped to find, and I spend as much of my spare time as possible with them. My social life has never been fuller or more fun. There’s always a chat ongoing with someone on my phone chat apps, and I can stay connected with what’s going on with friends near and far through Facebook. In general, I am far from lonely.

In school, however, relationships with my colleagues have been steadily deteriorating over the past 6 months or so. Terri – one of the very best friends I have ever had in my life – went back to South Africa in August, and her absence changed the very atmosphere of the school. Particularly for me. Suddenly, my friend was gone and I had no one to chat to during coffee breaks, no one to saunter home with after work and maybe go get some dinner down the road, no one to share jokes and secrets with, no one to vent to when things got stressful, no one to hug in times of sadness or joy.

My other foreigner colleagues? They get on better with each other than they do with me. They’re from the same country, they share interests and tastes, they have similar senses of humour and personalities, and they have gradually formed a friendship that I’m not a part of. We’re just not alike. Which is fine – not everyone can be friends! I was lucky to have Terri while she was here, as finding a colleague who can also be a close friend is quite a special thing. But now she’s gone, and I miss her more than I know how to express.

Not only that, but I didn’t realise until she left just how much she helped me to interact with all the other teachers, too – drawing me out of myself and away from my tendency to sit quietly at the lunch table or shut myself in my classroom. My friends bring me out of my shell. As Terri’s friend, I was a chatty and sociable staff member, and perhaps even a popular one. Now I’m well and truly on my own, while the two more entertaining and outgoing personalities are hugely popular with all the rest of our colleagues.

I just realised today that I have gone for two whole days without a conversation with anyone. It’s not anyone’s fault, and certainly no one’s being unkind to me – I’m not a downtrodden victim or anything! I’m just not one of them any more. And I suppose I’m a little sad about that.

But as I said in my last post, not everything can be wonderful all the time. I do have a job I love, I am surrounded by incredible children who make me laugh and smile every single day, and on the weekends I have some pretty amazing friends who will laugh with me, cry with me, dance with me, sing with me, and sit chatting all through the night with me. That’s more than many people could hope to have!

I’m just missing my friend, that’s all. It’s an Eeyore day. Sometimes I need to write about those, too.

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3 thoughts on “Isolation…

  1. I’ve been reading your blog for so long now and I think that when you write from the heart about things that are not so good, you do so as you are intending to give the situation a kick up the pants. Go Hayley! You don’t have to scintillate – just get chatting to somebody, make a start. The great thing about conversations that turn out a bit lame – nobody dies! I’m rooting for you.

  2. Nelly’s right, it wasn’t Terri who made you that sociable, chatty outgoing person, she just put you at ease so you could be what you already are. Terri’s not with you physically but best mates always stay in your heart. And with Terri, amongst many others, in your heart you can be whoever and whatever you want. You will always have you’re quieter moments, that’s part of who you are, but Terri has helped you find a part of yourself you didn’t realise was there.

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