Hyggelig (pronounced hoo-guh-lee) is a Danish word that I absolutely love. It has no direct English translation, but it basically means being comfortable, happy, cozy, and content all at once. Hyggelig is staying up all night with a classroom full of exchange students all speaking different languages. Hyggelig is relaxing at the summer house playing cards with your family while your little sister braids your hair. Hyggelig is sitting in the aisle of a crowded train with the rest of your classmates, playing guitar and singing songs. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing in the past week!
I’ve been on 3 different trips around Denmark since last Friday, with less than 12 hours in between the first and second, and only about 30 minutes in between the second and third trip. My first adventure was to Holbæk for the Rotary Halloween party. It was a pretty casual Get Together put on by ex-exchange students from Denmark, and of course it was a blast (as all Rotary events are). We danced, sang, took millions of pictures, carved pumpkins (which most of them had never done before), and ate Danish food! This was the last Get Together for the “Oldies” so it was pretty emotional at the end as we were all saying goodbye.
For my next journey I went to Copenhagen for 3 days with the music half of my class. The International half of my class went to Germany for those days to stay with host families there, but since I don’t know any German at all, they thought it was best that I went with the music class instead. I completely agreed. We stayed in a hotel right in downtown Copenhagen with rooms that had three triple bunk beds in them so we slept 9 to a room. Very hyggelig :) Our schedule for the 3 days consisted of a Danish musical, a ballet, tour of the Opera House, and a Beatles dance/musical performance (probably my favorite). We also had time to walk around and shop in Copenhagen which is always very fun! On our way home, our train from Odense back to Ringe was canceled, so we had to wait about 40 minutes for the next train. While we were waiting, the other half of our class showed up at the train station too! They has just returned from Germany with some German exchange students that would now be staying with them for a few days, so we all got to take the train home together! We all sat together and in the aisles and had a wonderful 20 minute train ride home :)
My last trip of the week was to Fjellerup which is on what is called the “nose” of Denmark on Jylland. I went to the summer house here with my second host family and a two other families. I had met my second host mom and dad before, but this was my first time meeting Lise, my 13 year old sister, and Stig, my 10 year old brother. I absolutely love them! They are so full of energy and always making jokes and playing games; there is never a dull moment, and I love it! We played card games, made pancakes, went on walks along the beach and through the fields (so gorgeous!), visited a beautiful Glass Museum in Ebeltoft, shopped in Randers, and spoke Danish the entire time. Stig and Lise don’t think they’re very good at English (they’r mother thinks otherwise) so we only spoke Danish, which was really good for me! There were times when they would all start talking too fast for me to understand, or they would say a word that I had never heard of before, but for the most part I could understand them. But I’m back home with my first host family now, and speaking as much Danish as I can. I switch host families on November 28, so I think I’ll be staying put until then.
It’s kind of crazy to think that 101 days ago (yesterday was my 100th day in Denmark by the way- time needs to slow down) I didn’t know anything about this language or this culture, and now I’m speaking it and understanding it and living in it! Sometimes when I say something in Danish, I stop and think ‘Was I just talking in English? That sounded too natural to be Danish..’ It’s a weird feeling, but a good one at the same time!
Well I’m going out to dinner with the family now! Henrik is home on break from school for a while, and Niels passed some sort of veterinarian inspection today, so it’s a special occasion :)
All the best,