The strange thing is that when I was awake, I spoke only a few words and rarely had chores to do. In school, I was expected to be attentive, but I couldn't understand the language enough do homework or take exams. At home, I tried to always listen to what was going on so I could show my host family that I cared about them. But I didn't know enough Croatian to be able to talk with them. So I just sat on the sofa and watched tv with them. Often, I wished that I could leave the room, but I just didn't feel like it would be right for me to do that.
When I acted this way in Japan, my host mother reported me to the school, expressing concern that I was homesick and depressed. I wasn't either of those things - I was just trying to show that I cared. But that wasn't how she saw it. My roommates in DC interpreted these actions in different ways, too. Some thought I was sweet, while others thought that I was being invasive and annoying. As for me, I felt like I could never rest. I was always on call, always attentive to be sure that I was being helpful. There were times that I escaped, though. When I closed the door and turned up the music and got lost in binders of census records and Pokemon battles.
I'm still trying to learn when it's ok to interrupt. Or to leave. Or to listen to my own music and pursue my own interests. Because when I do that, I could be gone for days or years in my own obsessive bubble. I'm also trying to learn how to show others that I care when often I feel like I'm in another world.