Kyle’s Column: Getting sick abroad


The cafe in England where Kyle felt comfort after being sick for almost two weeks in England

Need some free advice today? Well, Kyle “Walks Everywhere In The Rain Even Though He Knows He Will Eventually Get Sick Because Of It” Fitzgerald has some just for you in this one-of-a-kind situation: If you walk in the rain, wind and snow (sometimes together) you will eventually come down with some debilitating virus. How do I know this? Well, maybe it’s because I walked in the rain, wind and snow for hours on end on more than a half dozen occasions.

I woke up on an ill-fated Friday morning with a blistering headache and a sharp pain in both of my ears. Struggling to reach for my phone, I asked my American crony Erick to pick up some items that were supposed to help me recover. An hour or so later I walked down the three flights of stairs to be greeted by Erick and he said I did not look well.

He was right.

What does one do, or what can one do, when horribly sick while studying abroad? I certainly didn’t have the energy or strength to walk up hills for hours, so I used my best judgment and stayed in my bed streaming television on my computer.

If you’re sick for two weeks, then the hours start to pile up a bit. Using my calculator app, I streamed approximately 2,655 minutes of television. Converting this into hours, that would be 44 hours (I think?).

Needless to say, I didn’t go out much, or at all. That’s not even counting the Olympics, either.

But, believe it or not, there was one maybe-positive experience I could take out of being sick. When you’re sick abroad, you sort of have this craving to be surrounded by comfort and familiarity. Well, believe it or not, I actually encountered something a bit closer to my ethnic region.

On my way to the Headingly-Carnegie Stadium for class, my Canadian senses kicked in (I’m one-quarter French-Canadian) and just so happened to come across this Canadian café. Of all the places I’ve come across in the UK, this was certainly the least expected.

So I entered this incredible establishment. Behind the counter was a lady from Toronto. Sporting the traditional and stereotypical politeness inherent in Canadians, she instantly detected my American accent (not like I was trying to hide it, though).

And then I ordered. What on Earth would I ever order at a Canadian café? Oh, I don’t know, maybe a maple syrup latte?

Words could not express my joy in such a warm, intoxicating and welcoming beverage. I ever so delicately held this intoxicating concoction in my hands while I drank out of it. And the world seemed to turn a tad slower as I did.

While I understand that time and medicine are probably the reasons why I am not sick anymore, I am tempted to – and absolutely will – give full credit to that maple syrup latte at the Canadian café.

Even in Leeds, the great nation of Canada is being represented.