Sometimes there are “those moments” – a conscious acknowledgement of gratitude for being right where you are in that particular instant. It is a feeling of wanting to capture it, contain it and not let it slip away. Any parent knows this feeling…when you watch your child complete a milestone, make note of how they’ve outgrown a favorite sweater or simply watch their chest rise and fall as they sleep. For a moment, time stands still. It’s Thanksgiving week in the USA – so no better time to speak of gratitude, right?
But those aren’t exactly the moment I’m referring to. When you make a drastic change in your life – for example moving abroad – there are times when you stop and think…how did this happen? How did I get here? And more specifically, “this is awesome!” It’s not always awesome. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it’s very hard. Sometimes we miss family or want to pick up the phone and call an old friend. Sometimes you can’t understand an important message & Danish may as well be gibberish! Not long ago, I stood in a hospital corridor with tears streaming down my face because nobody could understand where I was trying to go or what I was asking them…but that’s another story. The point is, that regardless of those moments – or perhaps because of them, there are instances that exude gratitude. You appreciate new friends; you appreciate that things are “different”; and you start to realize that another language is being spoken and you actually understand what’s being said.
As I walked the festive streets, surrounded by a damp fog, I could not believe that our second Christmas in Copenhagen is upon us. I visited some of my favorite shops and I made my first Christmas purchases. I peeked inside the candlelit windows of cafes and restaurants and grabbed a latte and a loaf of bread at the bakery. The city is already decorated with garland and hearts and there is no shortage of pebernødder, Glögg and Æbleskiver at the market.
Yes, it would be wonderful to be surrounded by family for the holidays, but selfishly, what I really wish is that they would all come here. Perhaps it’s just a sudden abundance of Christmas cheer, but I really believe that Christmas in Denmark is something special. So, I’m going to do my best to bottle up all the Danish “hygge” this season and enjoy “those moments” when they present themselves. Hope you’re looking forward to doing the same.