Nearly the weekend

It’s been a long week. We’ve been consistently busy at work which is good. But the only downside is that greater engagement with clients and coworkers at work leaves me more burned out by the time I go home. Fortunately I have about an hour alone in the evening before my roommate gets back. So I use that time to prep supper, prepare things for the next day, and do bits of cleaning in our shared areas.

I’m not sure if it’s due to the restrictions, but my (highly extroverted) roommate has been more needy than ever. She’s pretty good at leaving me alone if my door is closed. And I’ve been utilizing that option a lot lately in order to recharge. So that’s been great. But as soon as I leave my room to fetch a glass of water or use the washroom, she pops out of her room like a jack-in-the-box and starts talking. It would be almost comical if I wasn’t so mentally exhausted. And at that point, I’m not even coherent. So I can’t really explain why I need to be alone.

On the plus side, we’ve been having absolutely beautiful weather. So I’ve been able to go for walks outdoors more often. It’s truly been a lifesaver. Especially since my roommate only leaves our place for work and groceries. And constantly wants to talk when we’re in the same room. And follows me around like a puppy if I move from one room to the next.

But I’m looking forward to this weekend. I’ll probably do some cleaning around home (with headphones in). Grab a cup of coffee or tea and go for a walk. And spend some time with my daily planner. What are you up to this weekend?

Daily challenges

sea-758165_1920I’m struggling a bit. Due to the current situation, I’ve been at home a lot. So has my gregarious, extroverted roommate. She wants to hang out all the time but I don’t have the energy or the desire to do so. We’ve had conversations in the past about our differences in energy and how I need alone time to recharge, but we may need to revisit it.

I understand she’s been having a hard time adjusting to this new normal. There’s nowhere to go after work so we both end up at home around the same time. She only hangs out with one other friend (every once in a while) so I’m her main source of companionship. I’ve been trying to spend a consistent amount of time with her. Usually for an hour or so most evenings and in the afternoon on Sunday. But it’s never enough.

Even outside the time we spend together, she’s always trying to get my attention. I’ll be doing food prep in the kitchen and she’ll be talking to me from the couch. Making random comments or asking my opinion on what book she should buy or what she should have for dinner. She doesn’t actually want my opinion, as she never acts on it, so I think she’s just trying to illicit a response.

My only safe space is my room. Fortunately she respects the closed door (most of the time) and lets me recharge. But as soon as I leave my room to use the washroom or get a glass of water, she immediately pops out of her room, and starts talking. It just feels very invasive. If our conversations were deep and meaningful, it would be one thing. But they’re filled with small talk, chatter, memes, and daily grievances.

I’m planning on taking some extra quiet time this week and weekend to recharge. Any suggestions on how to proceed are greatly appreciated.

5 travel challenges for an introvert

backlit-1870004_1920I adore traveling solo. I love immersing myself in a completely different culture. It’s such an educational, enjoyable, and addicting experience. But as I learned during my overseas trip last year, there are a lot of challenges too.

1. Lots of people
When traveling to any well-known attraction there will likely be other people who have the same idea. To avoid this, I would go early in the morning (I’d be out the door by 7 AM). This helped to circumvent the massive crowds. It also made for some pretty beautiful photos, sans tourists in the background. Fushimi Inari and the bamboo grove in Arashiyama (both in Kyoto) are enjoyed best in the early hours.

2. Language barrier
Asking for directions becomes more challenging and intimidating when you don’t speak the language. Learning a few phrases and common questions can help you connect with the locals. I memorized the phrase “_______ wa doko desu ka” which means “where is _______?”. Filling in the blank for whatever place/location you’re looking for. It helped a lot and people were pretty happy I was attempting to speak Japanese. Mobile apps for translation and key phrases are also helpful.

3. Unfamiliar streets
Unless it’s a repeat trip, the streets and alleyways will all look unfamiliar. While in Japan I often couldn’t read the street names as they are written in kanji. But thanks to google maps, I was able to navigate to all my destinations even if I couldn’t read the signs. Having access to either a wifi router or SIM card was a huge lifesaver and decreased my stress.

4. So much overwhelm
It’s hard to adapt to an environment full of different languages, personalities, street signs, and customs. It’s easy to shift from feeling okay to burned out in a matter of minutes. This means you have to take extra care of yourself. I go to bed early whenever possible. I schedule in at least two full meals so I’m not running on empty. I always bring water with me to stay hydrated. At the end of the day I like to reflect and write down the day’s events. It helps me unwind and process things.

5. Not enough time
As an introvert I have limited energy. I can’t do it all. It can be disappointing when you have to miss out on things because you’re burned out. But you can create “quiet day” itineraries for when you need them. Or work quiet time into your daily schedule for a quick recharge. Do things at your own pace and don’t blame yourself for not being able to see everything. Create a travel experience that is meaningful to you.

Where would you like to travel?

Ride sharing challenges

car-2564584_1920My roommate and I have several shared friends and acquaintances. This means we’re often invited to the same events. This is fine. Unfortunately she doesn’t have her own vehicle and it makes things tricky.

When you live together and you’re both going to the same place, obviously, you travel together. And while she says she’s okay with leaving when I’m ready, she’s not. She wants to go early, stay late, then hang out at a pub with everyone until the wee hours of the morning. I want to arrive on time and leave early. The two don’t match up. Someone is going to end up feeling frustrated or disappointed.

Fortunately these situations only happen a couple of times a month. Here are a few things that have helped make things a bit easier.

1. Stick to the departure time.
I tell her ahead of time when I’m going to leave for home. Once that time hits, I let her know I’m on the way out. If she wants to ride back with me, that’s great. But if she wants to stay longer, she’s welcome to find alternate transportation. This allows her to decide what she wants to do, rather than forcing her to leave.

2. Take all the breaks.
I need a lot of quiet time. If I know an event is coming up, I’ll get as much rest I can beforehand. During the event I’ll take breaks as I need them. Bathroom trips are super helpful. Even wandering around outside the main event can keep my energy up. Then after the event I stay cooped up in my room until I’m recharged.

3. Avoid draining people.
As much as possible, I try to avoid overly draining situations and people. For me, talking with fake, gossipy people is very draining. Whereas a deep, interesting conversation gives me energy. I still try to be open and friendly with everyone. But I’m learning to politely cut short a stagnant conversation so I can move onto more interesting ones.

4. Stop feeling guilty.
This is something I’m still working on. I don’t have the boundless energy my roommate has. I know my limits and I can only work within them. If she’s upset at having her fun cut short, that’s not my problem. She can find another way to get there or get home. I need to look after my energy so I don’t get burned out.

On rare occasions, like weddings, I’ll stay longer than I normally do. But that’s an exception rather than the rule. I’m also hoping she can get her own vehicle soon 🙂

Do you have any tips?

6 roommate pet peeves

bonding-1985863_1920It’s been a busy weekend and it hasn’t slowed down yet. So I’ve been treading water and looking forward to a quieter weekend coming up. I wanted to share a post on the lighter side. Here are a few examples pulled from seven years of shared living experience.

1. They want to constantly socialize.
As soon as you walk into the kitchen, they pop out of their room and start talking. It may start with a question about your day. But it inevitable leads to a monologue about their own. Or they’ll talk to you the entire time you’re meal prepping and have no way of escape.

2. They monopolize the shared spaces.
Now I understand the living room and kitchen are shared spaces. But they spend hours in the living room scrolling on their phone. Or they have loud phone discussions I can hear through my door. If you went into your room I wouldn’t be able to hear you.

3. They leave things empty.
Almost every time I walk into the kitchen for a glass of water, the pitcher is suspiciously low. It’s never empty. But there’s only ever a mouthful left sitting in the bottom. Please fill it up once in a while.

4. They let things pile up.
Life is busy. Having a few dishes in the sink doesn’t bother me. But it becomes a problem when the dishes take over both sinks. As I no longer have room to do my own dishes. Also, please stop leaving random stuff in the living room for months. Just put it away.

5. They forget important things.
Like turning off the lights before they leave. Do they wonder why the electricity bill has doubled since they moved in? Or failing to lock the door on the way out. Please stop.

6. They leave things to smell.
Rather than taking out the garbage when it’s full, they balance things on top. Or they leave their stinky shoes/gym clothes at the front foyer and that’s all I smell when I walk in.

What are your pet peeves?

Roommate challenges

girls-1209321_1920It’s been nearly three months since my extroverted roommate moved in. It’s been a good experience overall. Both of us keep things clean and tidy which is great. She’s a lovely person but there’s a huge difference in our personalities and it’s been a bit of a struggle at times.

To me, a roommate is someone who shares rent. Someone you can chat with when you cross paths. But otherwise you maintain separate lives. I get the feeling she’s looking for a best friend. Someone who’s game for late night pizza runs and all-nighters. But I’m not that person. I don’t have the energy nor the inclination.

She comes across as confident but she’s also needy. If she hears me in the kitchen, she’ll join me. If I’m in the living room, she’s sitting beside me or talking to me from her room. She’ll ask me where I’m going if I’m heading out. She’ll ask me why I’m getting back later after a dance class or workout. She’s likely just curious and making conversation, but it can be stifling. She got a gym membership at the same gym and suggested we work out together. Even if I wanted to, our schedules and routines are so different that I don’t see the point. I often dread going home. Sometimes I’ll spend time at a quiet coffee shop after work, to postpone the inevitable.

It hasn’t been all bad though. We’ve connected through a few shared hobbies. And I’ve been learning a lot. I’ve been getting plenty of chances to practice saying ‘no’. I’m learning to prioritize my health. And I no longer feel guilty for closing my door and recharging in my room. I’m really hoping that once it warms up she’ll get out more. And maybe I can have a quiet evening alone 😉

Do you have any suggestions?