There are many things one can agree to cherish about autumn. Colourful leaves, pumpkin-flavoured everything, and yes, most certainly the steady approach of Halloween. October is the month of the Rocky Horror picture show. Of Tim Burton movies and Neil Gaiman novels. The peak season of both spooky and hygge aesthetic. It is a charming time of the year and it would be a complete blast, if it wasn’t for a little issue called the flu.
There has yet to come an October of me living in The Netherlands during which I won’t catch the flu. I get sick every single year. Always during October. And, consequently, become the most winy person alive. There is nothing remotely charming about being in bed sick. And if anyone ever made it out to be charming, it was probably a Romanticism era poet and seemingly a whole bunch of them died of syphilis or suicide, so I wouldn’t take their word for it.
The flu is obviously by far not the worst thing in the world. It is, however, certainly one of the most annoying ones. Being sick with the flu is not only an aggravation for yourself, but to everyone around you respectively. During the last weekend, I not only had to breath entirely through my mouth (which makes you value free nostrils so much more), my face also looked like I watched The Fault in Our Stars on repeat for three days. And the worst thing? Nothing helps.
It doesn’t matter whether you swallow paracetamol like tic-tacs (which you probably shouldn’t) or fight it with a particularly disgusting (but, allegedly, very healthy) smoothie. It doesn’t matter whether you stay in bed or drag yourself to the general practitioner. There is no running from it. Once you get the flu, you have to mostly sit it out. All alone. While the world continues spinning and you become continuously more aware of your own physical decay.
October can bring out the best in some things — like the Pumpkin Spice Latte out of Starbucks’ commercialism — but the flu season accompanying it brings out the worst in me. I usually consider myself a very independent woman, but I do miss my mom taking care of some pampering during those weeks of weakness. I don’t like being winy and weak and homesick. But it is sometimes unavoidable when feeling bad. And, just like the cold itself, it is something we have to sit through to get better in the future.
Every two weeks, Antonia will add the songs she writes about to the Spotify playlist below. This way, she creates a soundtrack to her time in Nijmegen. Click left and right for more songs.