One group of friends here thinks that I hate it, that I'm miserable and want out and am counting the days until I leave. This is partly them projecting their own desire to be out of here. In fact, it's quite a lot that. But it is also because they don't know about the wonder. They don't bother to ask about the fun things I do. They don't bother to read the online life. They have limited appreciation for fun and pastimes not involving drunkenness. They only know that I do complain, that I am sometimes miserable, that there is more boredom than joy in certain parts of my life.
Another group knows me a little better and sees more of the combination - the intertwining of homesickness, misery and boredom with wonder, excitement and magic. They don't really understand it, but they're the kind of people who don't need to understand it to accept - they don't need to put me in a box.
And all the time, the narrative in my head is different from all of these. Only on my own, sitting alone, at my computer in my flat, on a bench at a park enjoying the sun, or on yet another bus, do the strands come together to make me. Some days I feel like a fraud but when I think about it I know I am not trying in any way to deceive people. I am not hiding any of me. It reminds me of a quote from Heart of Darkness:
No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one's existence – that which makes its truth, its meaning – its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream – alone (Conrad)