A lonely Christmas

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"With no possibility to go home nor the possibility to go to someone else’s home, due to the three-guests-max rule, this promises to be a lonely Christmas," sighs Hugo, one of the many international students forced to stay in Utrecht and spend the holidays on their own. How to cope with loneliness at this time? Hugo shares what he's planning to do.

Amidst the disruption caused by the five-week lockdown, one group is set to lose out more than the rest: foreign students. With international trips strongly discouraged, not to mention the threat of four weeks of quarantine (two weeks when arriving, and two weeks when returning), many internationals, including myself, won’t be going home this Christmas.

With no possibility to go home nor the possibility to go to someone else’s home, due to the three-guests-max rule, this promises to be a lonely Christmas. There is nothing I, nor any international, can do about it.

Writing this blog, I’ve been trying to think of a silver lining to this whole situation: things I can focus on during the holidays, self-improvements I can do, and my list is long. I have a pile of five freshly-bought books that have been sitting on my window sill for about a month, silently shaming me. I have some course work to do. I have some movies I want to watch (Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni is at the top of the list). However, while I do have stuff to do the coming two weeks, that’s not really the point of the holiday season, is it?

So, armed with my French ‘optimism’ and the directness I have learned from the Dutch, I can tell you that the situation just sucks.

This isn’t complaining though, in French we say ‘râler’, which is like complaining, but for the sake of it. The idea is that by raling and acknowledging that things suck, they become more bearable. In a way, it’s kind of an outlet for inner negativity, which just dissipates into the air.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that things suck, though -- after all, this is just a continuation of what has overall been a complicated year.

Between being away from my family, stuck in my room and now a lonely Christmas (sighs…), I can at least look forward to the third day of Christmas to see some friends, but all in all I guess my French Optimism is helping me to deal with it (maybe that’s the silver sliver of a ling that I was looking for).

Anyways, see you in 2020, stay safe, and remember that despite everything the supermarkets still sell beer (and wine)!

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