Archive for Oktober, 2011

Sharing is happiness

I didn’t want to post anything recently, because, frankly, Sweden was kicking my ass. When you can’t remember what double-digit weather feels like, there is little differentiation between weekdays and weekends, you have no money left and its a week before you get paid again and you crave any food that can be described in a different way than “bland”, life just becomes dull. At least I had a bottle of Finlandia Vodka that I had purchased with some lime cordial before my great depression hit.

I simply couldn’t face another night alone in my room. I am really struggling to make friends, I’m not sure why as this has never been a problem for me. Even though boyfriend-type person is around, I missed having friends, and he is studying for exams. It seems just that every time I try to do something with people I don’t know it ends up being okay, but never really in a friendship. I miss coming home and having a flatmate to share my day with, waking up and knowing I can make plans with my friends that evening and living in a country where having a beer or going to the movies don’t need to be budgeted for two weeks in advance.

So on Wednesday night I found myself alone in my room with the evening stretching before me (it gets dark at 5pm now) when friends of my boyfriend invited me to a club. I think God saw that I was about to fling myself from my 9th floor window, because the friends could get me into the club for free, dancing does not cost anything and, since my airtime was finished and I had no money to recharge, this friend was the right cellphone network and I could message him back for free. It turned into a great evening from there and, even though I missed the next day’s class, I think I’ve made some friends. They were fun to hang out with, accepting of me and could take a joke (more than I can say for the Swedes).

Anyways, just having that one fun evening and making plans for next week, revived my spirit. As romantic and strong as “I can be by myself” sounds, it’s really hard. The fact that, from Thursday the rain stopped and the sun is shining (even though it’s still 7 degrees Celcius in the middle of the day) also aided in the elevation of my mood.

It’s weird what friends can do. Even simply having company can lift your mood. And it’s funny how deep and dark depression can be when we’re surrounding my strangers, not having friends to share our experiences with. Even sitting in the same room as my boyfriend now, though we are both studying and not talking, helps to keep me from feeling lonely. Sharing a space. Breathing the same air. Hearing someone in the background. This is essential to my happiness. I remember weekends in Cape Town, I loved waking up and smelling the coffee that my flatmate had made, or knowing she is inside the flat somewhere, even though we haven’t seen each other yet. I hate waking up alone. And though I think it is essential for us to be able to be with ourselves sometimes, I cannot predict a future where I will be an alone-person. My happiness is always in togetherness. In the sharing of experiences. Everyone is not like this, and that is okay, but for me the happiness of an experience does not lie in the experience itself, but in the sharing thereof.


Dear Karlien

Dear Karlien from Des 2009


Guess what? You’re living in Sweden now! But don’t worry, you still call Cape Town home.

Things you’ve learned so far is that you are definitely a summer person. Other than that nothing

is definite. You miss coffee with your friends, wine and sushi. You also miss going to the Labia.

You still have a love-hate relationship with the silence. As you always will, I guess. You’re learning

to love parts of the winter and living on the 9th floor. You love the chocolate, the public transport

and the endless internet.


About that boy…turns out you never really loved him like you thought you did. Or you loved him,

but you weren’t in love, whatever that means. And that him breaking your heart was more merciful than

you breaking his (which was inevitable). I know you know that and I know it doesn’t take away the current pain.

But soon it’ll be next week, next month and next year. You will look back fondly on those evenings you spent

crying on the bathroom floor. You can be a little dramatic at times 🙂


The darkness still haunts you at times and you still get really sad. But less often and for sorter periods of time.

I guess it’s part of growing up and taking life less seriously.


For now, I want to say, you can stop worrying about everything and calm down. It works out in the end, it really always does.

Enjoy the beach, the sun and by the way, moving to Cape Town is going to be awesome!



Karlien from Oct 2011

“Karlien, meet yourself”

So I’ve never been good at being alone. It’s not my favourite thing to be nor can I stand it for long periods of time. In 2009 working in rural Mpumalanga I made better acquaintances with being alone. One could say we almost became friends. But one of those friends you don’t see often, but when you do you can chat for hours.

So here I am in Sweden again. Me and alone-ness staring each other face to face. More often than I care for. The romance of being alone wears out quickly in a small room on the 9th floor when it’s dark and grey outside and the cold descends like a predator.

So…Winter is coming. I need to find a way to handle this. My usual escape methods (e.g. a glass of red wine with my flatmate on my balcony, sushi at Beluga, staying out late with friends and coffee after work) are unattainable due to both financial reasons and lack of people to hang out with.

I’m sure it will get better. This is only the beginning. Or it could get worse. Either way, this is the way it is now and I need to make friends with my own company. Any suggestions? Anyone???


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