I’m not exactly sure when the feelings of homesickness started creeping in. I’ll take that back. I don’t believe I’m homesick, but then again I’m not exactly sure how I feel. Most of the time I feel rather comfortable in my new surroundings, like a puzzle piece placed in the correct spot. Most of the time I can embrace my foreign surroundings and appreciate them for their differences. I don’t know. There was something about today that didn’t set well with me. My unfamiliar surroundings no longer seemed attractive, but instead seemed foreboding and unwelcoming. As I sat in my dorm room I had thoughts of home. After spending the past 19+ years of my life in one location I had become comfortable, and now being in Denmark had taking that comfort away. In Denmark there is a word, hygge (hugh-gah) that truly has no English translation. If it were to be translated it would be close to “cozy”. Now I believe I understand what that word truly means. Although I have loved my time here in Denmark, I had lost my hygge at home. As I sat in my dorm these thoughts began rushing in to the point where I couldn’t really take it anymore.
So I ran.
Whenever I am stressed about something at home or at Wofford I like to workout. I have no workout equipment with me, and my room is too small for any sort of calisthenics. So I ran. I put on my headphones and began playing my workout mix. At that moment and old familiar tune started playing
‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired,
Feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
People can have their opinions about Eminem, but I think he should be a motivational speaker. At that moment I ran straight out of the kollegium and straight for the street. I’m not sure where I was going, but I knew I had to move. I recall my RA mentioning not to take a left out of the kollegium and run in that direction. I’m not sure why, but I decided to run that way anyway. I had been to the right side of town, but if I wanted to find my hygge I needed to be familiar with all my surroundings. I run to the left and embrace the sights around me. In fact, its not much different from home. I see a mother and her two kids walk across the street with a double stroller. I see a man outside of a restaurant cleaning tables, getting ready for the dinner crowd that were about to arrive. I saw a Netto, a Danish grocery store, to my right filled with people buying groceries for dinner that night. All of these sights helped calm me down. Running through the streets and looking around I see that we are not that different after all. All these people are hard working people trying to make an honest living and provide for their families. Bronshoj began resembling home more and more, and I felt much more “cozy” in my surroundings.
Of course, nothing ever goes completely as planned. I had ran for an unknown amount of time. Even though my surroundings were familiar in that they reminded me of home, but they were not familiar in that I knew where I was. In other words, I was lost in Bronshoj. Normally, a man lost in a foreign city would immediately have a panic attack. However, I was in the middle of a wave of hygge and confidence. I could either ride this wave to the shore, or I could cut back and stay in the sea. I wasn’t going to go back to where I was about an hour before. Embracing this city and going strong was my only option. I kept running down the sidewalks, determined to explore this side of Bronshoj. I was in a suburban area which was strangely reminiscent of some neighborhoods of Marion. I couldn’t revel in this similarity because those are the neighborhoods of Marion that one shouldn’t frequent if they don’t absolutely have to. I picked up my pace significantly, and eventually I made it back to the main road. This section of the main road was very different from the area around the kollegium. Around me there was a park and what looked like swamp. I notice some running paths up in front of me. The soft ground was a much needed relief after running on the cobblestone roads, and the sounds of nature all around me were enrapturing like a warm southern night. After running for a bit I stumbled upon a small creek. Although smaller, the creek looked like Glendale Shoals. There was a bridge and a dam and opaque water. The only thing missing were college students playing in the water and people walking along the sides. I guess they don’t do that here in Denmark.
After leaving the forest I was back on the main road. My way home was simple, and I had found some peace at mind. My surroundings were familiar yet different, and the people, although culturally different, were the same as the people back home. I walked back into my room and collapsed on my chair. I was physically exhausted, but I couldn’t help but smile.
I had found my hygge.