“Life is such an endless sum of beginnings and ends, consecutive events which mean all and nothing at the same time, this huge, massive, imperative big nothing. Because we breathe the same air and we eat the same things and we live the same way and it’s like we don’t make a change at all.. We all act and survive for a big and heavy cloud of nothingness, which surrounds us, envelops us and makes us feel the pressure of something that doesn’t exist.”
We all need a bit of melancholy sometimes, don’t we? The little note above is something I wrote the other day in my favourite bar, which is rapidly becoming the usual stage for my deep and heavy existential crisis. Sounds fun right?
First of all, you need to know that I hate October. I really do. It’s such an awful month, for so many things. Too late for summer, too early for anything else. One of those middle grounds that you can’t quite name, not autumn but not winter either. Cold but not too cold.
I hate October. Everything bad seems to always happen in that month doesn’t it? And then the nostalgia strikes and your mind runs back to past memories, trying to get back into the summer warmth and trust me here, there is no escape from that. It could be a song, an image or a gust of wind and there you go, thrown back into happier times and wondering how you got where you are, if it’s better this way and what you’ve lost. Nostalgia is a dreaded as much as friendly feeling, makes you feel down but at the same time so much at home. Because what is more familiar than your own mind, your own memories, the times that only you know of and that live on inside of you? And songs, I believe, are the greatest source of that. On so many occasions, we subconsciously attach meanings and memories to songs, so that every time we hear them, we’re taken back to that place and time and the wave of feels crashes over us. And it’s interesting how one single song can change your mood completely because of this very reason. So let’s just say, October is my unhappy song, which plays over and over again each year, relentlessly.
I went for a walk with my flatmate the other day, wandering about the city, shivering in the cold but with the need to explore. We ended up on the other side of the city centre, past countless shops I’d never seen and places I want to go back to. Everything was dark, cold and shiny and it reminded me so much of past winters back home, and in Scotland, and somehow that was perfection and it made me feel so lonely at the same time. We walked for hours and I found peace in that calm, finding new places I’d never seen and discovering my temporary home again. From the Nieuwe Binneweg to Oostplein, I finally walked through Meent, which I must say is a really nice street and a nice finding in the city. It’s full of little fashion shops, bars and life, which look even nicer when you walk through them as the sun sets. I also actually found out where Oostplein is, as so far all I’d known was the name of the station. This fact will, undoubtedly, be added to the collection of my random and potentially useless facts about Rotterdam. We also found a nice Kunstuitleen, otherwise known as an Art Gallery, which is where the piece in the feature image is from.
We concluded our (roughly) two-hour walk with a beer in a nice pub close to the Erasmus University – a fact which I am still trying to fathom to this day, as the distance between said place and home is way too great to be casually walked through by a pair of bored students. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the pub, but it felt like the UK as you can see from my despairing snapchat, featuring a group of lads drunkenly chanting dutch songs in the middle of the space.
The funnier thing though, amidst all this, is the fact that our initial plan had been to walk up to the start of Blaak to check out a bar before going home. Instead, we ended up in Oostzeedijk, tired but proud of our exploring skills, with a whole list of places to go back to on another day and, possibly, another month that is not October.
To conclude the blog post, I loathe October with everything in me, but it’s always nice to keep yourself busy and go explore new things. It takes your mind off of it for a bit, makes you think of brighter things and, especially, it actually makes it a little better. So, for all you October haters like me, hang on tight. We’re almost halfway through and it’s going pretty quickly, so take out your coat and scarf and set out on a new adventure. Who knows, you might end up loving it.
Here’s a grungy sexy song to keep you going through this cold month, by Cigarettes After Sex. A typical Winter Song, but why not start early?
Songs do bring back old emotions and memories. The best way to get past them is to get out and do something–whether that’s exploring or just going out to hear some music. I loved reading about your new discoveries!
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Thank you very much! I agree completely. No point in dwelling on nostalgia!
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