Tabatha Pilon – Notes From Abroad. Feeling all Hygge in Denmark – October 4, 2011

CFN  –  What I have found within learning a new language, is that in other languages they have words that do not exist in the English language. In Danish they have one word that cannot be directly translated but google would translate it as “fun” or “cozy”. The word is Hygge. (hoo-ga)
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Hygge is a word that you can’t really describe correctly until you have experienced it first hand, and it is something that I have experienced numerous times since I have come to Denmark. I think this might be because Denmark is very family oriented, so therefore there are a lot more opportunities to experience hygge!
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Hygge could be anything, from sitting and watching tv with friends/family, or just eating supper! Last week I was able to experience a whole new level of hygge. My family had decided that we would have our supper out on the boat, so they prepared supper, we loaded up the car and off we went.
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It was an interesting experience I must say. I had never been out on a boat in the sea and I certainly have never been sailing before. It was a new experience and I was so excited for it, albeit I knew about it for approximately 3 minutes before we left.  Regardless of how long I knew about it, I was looking forward to it.
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Getting into the boat had to have been so funny for my family to watch because I made it look extremely difficult to do! We had to jump on it but I was too scared to fall in the water so I ended up attempting to pull the boat closer to the dock— it didn’t work out too well.
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We ended up getting it quite close though, and with the help of my parents, I sat on the dock and with cautious feet, I got on the boat! Very soon after, I hustled to the other end and sat down, solemnly swearing that I would not move from that spot for the entire duration of the trip for fear of falling in the water! And trust me, I know from first hand experience that the water does not taste good!
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Sailing creates an entire new feel for the water. It was that slow drift that propelled the boat forward, which gave the evening the entire hygge feel to it! Well, that and family and love and cozy fun! While we were on the boat, we had a somewhat traditional danish meal: Meatballs, potato salad, and salad. It was delicious!
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Around this time my sister and I had decided to play a game that we dubbed “jellyfish”. Every time we spotted a jellyfish in the water, the first person to scream “JELLYFISH!” won. Nobody was declared a winner as there was way too many jellyfish! (Cool fact: jellyfish translates to vandmand in danish…which would literally translate to “waterman”) Once we had already eaten and were tuckered out of screaming “jellyfish!” every two seconds, we sat back and relaxed. I think this is where the true hyggeligt was felt. It’s harder to explain than I expected; it’s something you just have to feel.
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Think of one of the happiest times in your life. That feeling is hygge. That is how I felt at that moment, that serene, beautiful evening as we sat in our boat and we watched as slowly, the sun descended until it was hidden behind the clouds and we were drifting our way back to the dock; on our way to another day, to another adventure.
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Tabatha Pilon is a 17 year old student from Cornwall Ontario spending a year in Denmark.   She will be writing to us  each week or as her “gymnasium” schedule allows.  If you have questions for her or would like to sponsor her column email us at info@cornwallfreenews.com
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2 Responses to "Tabatha Pilon – Notes From Abroad. Feeling all Hygge in Denmark – October 4, 2011"

  1. Jacqueline Milner   October 5, 2011 at 9:40 AM

    Hygge…from your description Tabatha I get a feeling of contentment; a contentment from being totally absorbed and appreciative of the “the now”. Thanks for the share.

  2. Reg   October 5, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Tabatha, you painted a good picture with your words. I got a good chuckle picturing you trying to getting on the boat. Please keep writing.

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