The other day, I was telling Rahul about the book club that I had joined in Ljubljana and it struck me immediately that how one of a kind experience it was, you will know why as you read along. While talking to him, I opened my drafts in WordPress and noted it down as a post I had to do.
As I always do with personal stories, I am going to explain a lot of details, whether you get bored or not. I’ll try to keep it interesting.
So, I had moved to Ljubljana for work and before that I was living in Berlin with few of my closest friends (including Rahul). Living in a new city with your closest friends who are preparing for certain goals (in this case, internships, jobs etc etc) means that you will not feel you are in a new city, but rather get all the more comfortable in your comfort zone, a place that will very quickly start feeling like home. This also means that we hardly ever tried to make any new friends, or go out with new people.
And then came my move to Ljubljana. I never considered even for a fleeting moment that my lifestyle is going to change drastically. I will not have people I know and can fall back on with me. It just didn’t strike me as a move. It was exactly like this – I sat in a bus from Berlin to Ljubljana. I land in Ljubljana and realize I don’t know anyone here. This is exactly what happened. I got so overwhelmed with being alone at that time point that I was super emotional even while house hunting. I could cry at the drop of a hat. This one time I was house hunting and I took a bus and I started crying. A lady walked up to me in the bus and consoled me. I still remember that cold, wintry bus ride perfectly well.
Then, as luck would have it, Rahul also moved to Ljubljana due to work. I again got into my comfort zone. Both of us sort of stopped making efforts to make more friends. This is extra bad because I met some really lovely people at work back then. I was working in a startup and most of the people were my age and a really fun bunch. We had some good night outs together but it was pretty limited.
Eventually, Rahul had to move to another city then and I was on my own again. I was at my worst at that time if I consider a range of couple of years here and there (yes, this is a cue that I have seen worse form of depression). I was in a super pathetic state and like I mentioned, some of my co-workers were amazing. A boss of mine, who is one of the kindest women I have met, was constantly worried for me. At this point, I was feeling super homesick and I was absolutely not making the most of enjoying your solitude in an all new country/city/continent. Something that would seem like a dream to most was turning out to be a nightmare. I was certain of one thing though, I need to come out stronger out of this and, therefore, I am not going to rush back to India until I am supposed to.
This is when I saw a notification of a book club being started on Facebook and I just decided to join it. To give another chance to meet more people. I managed to attend only one of the meets as I was supposed to travel back to India after that but I am so glad I gave it a go. There are so many reasons for that.
First of all, it was an intimate group so it felt very cosy and, you know, not like a formal event.
Secondly, the members I met were all from such different spheres of life. Usually the people you hang out with are either known to you due to college, job or something similar, so you kind of relate to their lives. But this was a super diverse group. Funnily, one of the Portuguese girls worked in Zomato Portugal!!! What are the chances! To find a Portuguese in a book club who works in an Indian startup!
Lastly, the best thing of this meet was the place it was held. One of the members were hosting it in their home and it was bang in the middle of the old city centre! Can you imagine? A house, almost like a castle, in a European mediaeval sort of setting. I wish I had pictures. Their house had typical castle stairs, kitchen – everything. I actually got a little scared while walking up the stairs, the lighting was also pretty dim, modern but dim, to create an effect. Once inside, it was all modern appliances and everything, but still the lighting was dim to create that vintage chic mood. It was so different. I doubt I am ever going to attend a book meet, or any meet really, like this. 🙂
So, now you know, the book club meet was so different, not because of it being a book club meet, but so much more. I honestly wish I can visit that house once again, with Rahul this time.