Lessons from Copenhagen...

lessons for clara

CopenhagenDear Clara, Believe it or not, our time in Washington is coming to a close.  When we arrived last summer, two years seemed like decades away, but in less than half a year, we’ll be on the move again.  We know where now, and that always lifts burden off my shoulders.  I never really mind where the home is, but I do like knowing what I should plan for.  Your father and I did a little scouting mission to our new home-to-be this past month, and here’s what we noticed so far about Copenhagen, Denmark:

  • Candles are cozy and lighting matters: In a place that gets dark by the time most of us are finishing up lunch, light and atmosphere matter a lot.  We had heard a lot about Danish “hygge”, which can only be loosely translated as a feeling of coziness or warmth, but we didn’t really understand to what extent those principles of creating a welcoming environment really matter.  Even the Laundromat had candelabras and everyone took their job of creating an environment you want to be in very seriously.
  • There is no such thing as bad weather: . . . only bad clothes for the weather---many a Dane seems to say that with pride.  And it’s true---weather conditions, again in a place with a long and cold winter, don’t seem to stop people from doing much.  Whether it was dark or cold or rainy, people had on the appropriate footwear or layers or hats or gloves, and everyone was out, on their bikes no less.   It was a reminder for us that if you’re prepared, you can still be up for anything.
  • Fresh air is good for you: In a similar vein to the above, people seemed to be ready and willing to be outside and partake in fresh air.  We saw baby carriages on the outside of coffee shops---with babies still in them---and children out at recess.  Fresh, clean air is a luxury that refreshes the body instantly.  If we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by fresh, clean air, we should take advantage of it.
  • Early to bed, early to rise: We arrived just past ten o’clock in the evening our first night, and already all the restaurants were closing up, including in the hotel.  Everything seems to be happening earlier here: people get out of work earlier, they eat earlier and they go to bed earlier.  Yet somehow, I bet their day is still longer.
  • Maybe things are supposed to be more expensive sometimes: You notice instantly that life in Copenhagen doesn’t come cheap.  Even the small things, such as a simple coffees in a café, are easily three times the price we’re use to paying.  I know we will be quick to complain about the cost of living---it’s an adjustment after all, and paying more for one thing, means having less for another.  Yet, life in Copenhagen seems to be pretty good; people seem to be taken care of.  I’m sure we’ll get a better sense of how everything works once we’re living there day in and day out, but the thought occurred to me, maybe it’s not a bad thing to pay more for the smaller things in life if it guarantees that some of the bigger things will be provided for.

I can’t wait to explore our new home with you –

All my love,

Mom