So What Is Hygge, Anyway? (And Other Pre-Departure Thoughts)

In 44 days, all of which I’m sure will fly by, I will be venturing to the second happiest country on Earth: Denmark. (It was number one last year, but Norway decided to be sneaky and rise above in 2017.) Which lovely city in Denmark am I prepared to call home for four months? The ever-charming Copenhagen, of course. No, I’ve never actually been to Copenhagen before, so attesting to its charm based on research, word of mouth, and photographs might be a little bold, but I have plenty of reasons for doing so.

One of those reasons is simply a word: hygge. This word is in the title of my blog and basically sums up what I want in my daily life. It is impossibly hard to pronounce (some say it’s hue-gah, others say it’s hoo-gah, and then there are those that say it is somewhere in between both—hopefully once I’m there I’ll figure it out), but its meaning is fairly easy-ish. From what I can gather across the interweb, it is a sense of “coziness,” “the art of creating intimacy,” “contentedness,” a moment in which “the ordinary feels extraordinary,” and “creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.” I know I’ve experienced hygge in my own home town, on my college campus, laughing around the dining table with family, belting out songs in the car with my friends, sitting by a lake and appreciating the beauty in its stillness, etc. Experiencing that distinctly blissful and peaceful feeling is why life is so brilliant, and is also why I hope to find more of it in the place that gave it a proper name. It’s what I yearn for, and will continue yearning for for the entirety of my life.

Hygge is supposed to be at an all-time high during the holiday season, which is my absolute favorite season, so I am beyond excited to get a taste—I’d also be fine with a faceful—of holiday cheer in a new city. The lights, the spirit, the festivities—I’m sure it will be out of this world. (Plus, Tivoli Gardens at Christmas time will be nothing short of magical.)

I’m equal parts nervous and excited at the moment, which is why I’ve avoided making a packing list—once I do that, the reality of leaving will hit me. It’s not that I’ve never traveled before, I’ve been to *I think* 12 other countries over the past several years, it’s that this isn’t just hopping on a plane with family to explore Europe for a few weeks, it’s flying out alone to live in Europe for four months. It’s a big deal.

I am one hundred percent sure that I will have the time of my life while abroad (*knock on wood*), but I know the first week or so will be difficult. The goodbyes, the adjusting to a new way of life, the approximately 3650 miles separating me from the small town I grew up in and the college I’ve come to love.

Change has always been hard for me, but in the end, it’s always been gratifying. My parents know best, and whenever they insist that I try something new, I protest, whatever they are suggesting too “unfamiliar” and “scary.” Then, once I cave, I am glad I listened to them. Copenhagen will be no different. It will be an adventure that I will tell stories of forever and will look back on fondly. 

Until then, I have a lot of things to plan and friends and family to see. 🙂

Have a hygge-filled day!




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