When All You Need Is Nature & Space (West Coast Girl, Pt 18)

Summer 2020

I tried to make the most of the new living situation in the dorm. One morning, I woke up early, made a tea, and brought my blanket outside to work on my laptop. By the door, two guys were chatting which sort of ruined the quiet ambiance. It’s like I was the only introvert in the house. There was a European guy who started complaining about how antisocial I was being. I regretted not putting my earbuds in.

It’s interesting how I wasn’t intentionally creating a little island for myself, but my mind intuitively knew that was the only way I could have my quiet morning with limited distractions.

Knowing that people were expecting me to talk to them made the experience more uncomfortable. I didn’t mean to be rude, I just wasn’t the type of person who wanted to talk all day, especially in the morning. A peaceful routine to start the day is key to my mental health. I was just trying to live how I would if I had my own apartment, but some people take that personally.

I didn’t have enough money to spend on going to a café, so after work I’d go back to the house. I’d usually write in my bunk to get the space I needed to create. Maybe that sounds close-minded, but I didn’t want to be there. There’s a reason why some people have their own apartment or house. I was broke and worried that my hours could get cut further, so in addition to wanting my own space, I was also stressed about other factors. If an introvert is living in a dorm, things probably aren’t going their way in the financial department. It’s rare that someone who is quiet and loves having their own space would choose to live in a shared household if they had enough money to rent their own apartment.

I know it could have been much worse, but for me it was an awful feeling to have come so far – to have my own place, thrive, work at a great job, and be free to live how I want – only to be stuck in a dorm. It was reminiscent of that time I lost my job in early 2014. I had to sell my laptop again. Since it was the pandemic, the libraries were closed, so I would have to take a break from writing until I got another laptop. I saved all my files through my e-mail then sold it for $250. It all went toward my phone bill, which was crazy high after months of not being able to pay it. I felt cornered and that’s a terrible place for me to be in. I lost weight due to not being able to eat enough, but I still exercised to keep my strength. I did my best to eat high protein foods when I could and I’d still go outside most evenings to enjoy the sunset. I didn’t let it steal all my joy. I would take photos of my outfits, makeup & hair, or nature to help pick my mood up. It was summer and there were many reasons to be happy.

A new guy came to the Air BNB and he was able to break through the walls I’d built around me when I was “home”. He wasn’t loud or overbearing, but when we were in the kitchen at the same time, he would ask me a few questions and our conversations would flow well. His name was Matt. He warned me about the loud European guy – apparently he was leeching money off a couple of different women to pay for his Air BNB costs. I wasn’t too surprised – it explained why he was mad that I wasn’t talking to him. He must’ve been used to women wanting his company. I didn’t feel bad for keeping my distance. I told Matt about how that guy was angry with me for writing outside the one morning when I had my laptop.

“He loves drama, so I’m not surprised. He probably said that to get your attention.”

I remember the one time we were eating together at the kitchen table.

“It must be scary being a girl. You don’t ever feel safe until you’re inside,” he said.

It sounded like a threat, but maybe he was just talking for the sake of talking. I walked a lot in Vancouver – it wasn’t unusual for me to walk for 40 minutes to get to and from a place. While I wouldn’t walk at certain areas late at night, it seemed a little dramatic. It’s not like there were predators lurking in every corner of the city – at least, not that I could see.

This particular point in time was so surreal for me. I was in this strange sort of limbo where I felt like I was half asleep, half awake. I wasn’t writing, but I was going on a lot of nice nature walks. In the deluge of random chats, walks, working, selfies, and reading books on my phone, Alexei unblocked me and we started messaging again. Would we finally get our chance to be together?

I don’t believe in magic, but I tried my luck by making a wish on a dandelion. It was my birthday, after all. Can you guess what my wish was?

Seven in the afternoon, half asleep, count the cars
All I think about is you constantly, that’s the hard part
Static on the line, I hear it all the time
But I’m quiet when you make me fade

* Fun fact: The photo in this music video is of Vancouver! ❤ Go Vancity.



  1. That’s stressful. Some extraverts have a hard time understanding introverts even though we are a 1/3 of the population. Both my wife and I are introverts, two of our kids too, but our oldest is an extravert, the family’s energetic spokesperson.

    • That’s awesome you have one extrovert in the family. Plus I love that you get introversion as an introvert yourself. I think secure extroverts are great but when they’re insecure they can make you feel like a villain for wanting some space.

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