Loneliness or Solitude?
I haven’t done my research. But I’m pretty sure it does.
There are about one hundred forty thousand inhabitants in the city of Lausanne. There are about twenty-one units in the apartment building where I reside. But they are all total strangers to me, as I am to them.
I know, we are in Switzerland. This is just normal. COVID-19, confinement, lockdown, working from home, travel bans, first wave, second wave and now third wave… just make it worse, especially for a single foreign woman who lives all by herself. As the joke goes, “When the measure of mandatory social distancing of two meters is lifted, Swiss people are happily back to the normal social distancing of five meters.”
Every joke has a little truth to it.
Another truth is, everything has a price to pay. The price for living a non-toxic life, for me, is like casting an amateur swimmer into the vast icy ocean in the North Pole. I am cast. Life can be ruthless. I have to try my best to get to the shore a.s.a.p..
Shanghai dialect is my mother tongue. Around age five I started to learn Mandarin. At age eleven I started to learn English. When I was satisfied with my English language skills, I challenged myself with French. That was eleven years ago. A couple of years later, I started to learn German. Now I’m back to learning and improving French. Life can be surprisingly kind – all my efforts on learning those languages were not in vain, as those langauge skills in THIS country seem so vital. Another joke says, even a homeless man on the street can speak four languages fluently in Switzerland.
Yet, I’m feeling as lonely as those homeless men and women. I know, the only solution is to build a shelter, a sanctuary within myself. I need to become the sun of my own Milky Way galaxy. After month and month of practice, it’s finally working.
We are in the middle of the winter in Switzerland. The last round of snow usually visits us in April. It could also be in May, depending on its mood.
Loneliness and boredom try to kill me. I fight back and we start wrestling. In the process of it I finally understand why most Swiss people don’t complain about their long gloomy winter. The “fashion show” and celebrations actually take place everyday in the ski resorts. When the outer sun shies away, the inner sun shines.
When I will have mastered the skiing skills, I promise myself, I will upgrade the sportswear winter collection in my wardrobe.
By then, I indulge myself in the merry sledging, dashing through the snow. There are quite a few ways to get the adrenaline flowing.
Loneliness thus becomes solitude. I hope.