Alone in Shanghai: Conquering My Fear of Eating Alone

"I am afraid of being alone in public". I’m fine staying home alone but if I have to go somewhere by myself or eat by myself, just the thought of it makes me anxious. 

A week before coming to Shanghai, I almost had a mental breakdown at the thought of having to spend 4 months completely alone in a city where I knew absolutely no one. What the heck was I thinking?!

When I was studying abroad in Korea, I was still scared of being alone. Remember how I said I cried the first night because I had no one to eat with in Korea Study Abroad Guide Ep 3

In high school and college when I didn’t want to eat alone I would just not eat. Yes, I would starve myself. Starving myself was a much more comfortable option. In high school, my friends and I had two separate lunches and not wanting to seem like a loner, I tried the “Mean Girls” eating in the bathroom thing. I have to say it wasn’t one of my proudest moments. But my complicated “Asian Lunchbox” contraption made it really difficult so I just decided not to eat lunch anymore. I would come home and my mom would ask me why I hadn’t touched any of my food and I just told her I wasn’t hungry. 

I think my fear stems from a lack of confidence. I wasn’t just afraid of eating alone but more specifically eating alone in public. I was afraid of other people thinking I didn’t have any friends. I was scared that I would get lost traveling alone and no one would be there to save me. I didn’t trust my abilities to survive on my own. This was one of the major reasons I decided to study abroad in Korea and now intern in Shanghai, to work on my independence. 

I remember the first time I ate alone was coming back from Korea and I had Phó by myself at a restaurant near my university. It was a really scary experience walking in there feeling totally awkward. I didn’t know what to do while waiting for my food so I just did what I saw everyone else do, play with their phone. I didn’t get over my fear completely after that of course but it was a good start and I felt proud of myself.

While filming this vlog in Shanghai, I realized I didn’t feel as scared or nervous anymore. I confidently strode into the restaurant, Urban Harvest, and took a seat. Even though I played with my phone again this time it was not to put on a show but rather, I actually had messages to respond to. I even put it down after a while and just looked around the restaurant. I confidently paid afterwards and even asked where the bathroom was. (Yes, I was also afraid of asking where the bathroom is) I felt great! I am completely ok with eating alone now. I don’t particularly enjoy it but I can survive. 

I enjoyed exploring Shanghai by myself though. I had planned for the day to start with a movie so that I wouldn’t have to walk around filming myself awkwardly the entire day but I’m glad it didn’t work out in the end as I was forced to vlog more. 

I’m still trying to get comfortable vlogging in public. I do think I have made some improvements since Korea where I didn’t speak directly to the camera at all and most of what you saw was my awesome double chin. This time I actually said some stuff to the camera. It is my goal to get to the point where I no longer care if people stare at me but it’s so hard! So hard. I just have to keep trying I guess. FIGHTING!

I am getting used to the subway system. I was scared I would get lost but I managed to make it back home. I might have sounded a bit sarcastic in the video, saying I was thankful the rain came down when I was near home, but I sincerely meant it. Imagine if I was still walking around outside with that thunder…and standing next to a tree…

I want to thank everyone for their kind messages on YouTube. I just reached 1,000 subscribers!! I was so happy I almost cried because honestly I never thought I would ever reach this point. I mean I did at one point but after being on YouTube for a couple of years I thought it would never happen. It was my goal at the end of this year to get 1000 subscribers but I guess we completed it 5 months early :D My next goal is 10,000. Is that too ambitious?

Every one of you are like my friends and I cherish you all :) thank you for being by my side