Every day, I wake up alone. I go to school, see my friends, hang out and be social. Then I go home, where I live alone, and the silence sets in. At first, it was liberating. Walking around with no pants on, peeing with the door open, leaving the dishes unwashed if I wanted to. I do appreciate having my own space and love to come home to an empty house after a stressful day.
All my mates here have roommates and I always felt like it would be quite the bother to always have someone around. Nonetheless, there is a loneliness that sets in one the door shuts behind me. I have no natural light in my apartment, being on the bottom floor in a block of high-rise apartment buildings. This gives my apartment a somber and grim sort of feel to it.
I don’t have any pets, as I’m only living in Cairo for four months. I used to have two or three kittens that would come to my back door and I’d feed them ham. After two months, the disappeared. It saddened me because the cats here in Egypt are often sickly and dirty. I worry that something happened to them. They were the only company I had here.
I began to feel lonely every time I was home. I would play music to stop the silence and FaceTime my friends and family from the States and Europe. I started inviting friends over constantly, and that really cheered me up.
When I first moved here, I was a bit self-conscious of my apartment. Like many homes in Cairo, the furniture is bleak, the walls and floors are stained, and the appliances aren’t that nice. But once I moved past that phase and started having more people over, I realized, as long as I cleaned it the best I could, people didn’t really care.
For those of you who live alone and who feel the loneliness I have described, here’s what I recommend. Do your best to make your house a home. Put pictures of your family and friends around the house. Hang up art and start a book collection. Buy nice cups and plates for when you have guests over.
Try to make your bed every day and not let your clothes pile up on the ground. The more you settle into your home and make it your own, the more comfortable and at ease you will feel when you are there alone. I made the mistake of not doing this at first because I knew I wasn’t staying too long. But I came around and feel so much better.
Remember this your home should not be somewhere you dread coming back to. Your home should be where you feel safe.