Elisabeth Hawthorne
March 3, 2015

I grew up surrounded by Scandinavian culture, which is why – though not a Roman/Italian concept in the slightest – I am telling you about hygge.  The best words are always the least translatable, but the Danish people might point us to the comparable meaning of “coziness,” perhaps “companionship,” definitely a sense of warmth and solidarity.  To hygge (hYOO-guh) oneself is to be wrapped in a metaphorical blanket of goodwill, or in a group results in the emotional equivalent of a cinnamon-roll hug.  It’s a state of well-being both in/externalized.  It’s not a guard against being alone, but against debilitating loneliness.  It’s too complex for description, only understandable through application, and I have no idea how to successfully convey my impression of it.  For me, Hygge means finding solace in family, friends, good books, good food, strong drink, great company, long correspondence, and thorough introspection.

I’m thinking about this because I was in Sweden during January, waffling between semesters.  I went to Gothenburg for a weekend and remembered what real (non-Mediterranean) winter is like.  Now I’m suffering in the fourth week of a sinus infection, producing an inhuman amount of phlegm and startling small children with the loudness of my nose-blowing.  *Thanks wikiHow for teaching me to do it right.  But this is seriously gross < che schifo! > and no one wants to hear about it.  The point I would like to communicate is that hygge can be a very useful tool for the study abroad student.  It’s another case of monitoring/controlling/coloring one’s reaction to the everyday that can have a surprisingly profound influence.  Give it a try sometime.  Make a cup of tea, curl up by the fire, cuddle.

I’ve been trying to practice hygge for my own self-preservation; Rome in February surrounded by strange new people who are quickly becoming interesting new friends has truly been a ride.  Doctor’s orders say the best treatment for 1) disorientation and 2) inhuman amounts of phlegm is hygge.

No wait just kidding it’s Sudafed.


Here are some long overdue pictures of Sweden – it was cold and snowy and breathtaking!

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_preview","fid":"229676","attributes":{"alt":"View from Skansen Kronan","class":"media-image","height":"180","style":"width: 180px; height: 180px; margin: 4px 8px;","width":"180"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_preview","fid":"229671","attributes":{"alt":"Skansen Kronan","class":"media-image","height":"180","style":"width: 180px; height: 180px; margin: 4px 8px;","width":"180"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_preview","fid":"229686","attributes":{"alt":"En Deli, Haga Neighborhood","class":"media-image","height":"180","style":"width: 180px; height: 180px; margin: 4px 8px;","width":"180"}}]] 

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_preview","fid":"229691","attributes":{"alt":"Konstmuseet","class":"media-image","height":"180","style":"width: 180px; height: 180px; margin: 4px 8px;","width":"180"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_preview","fid":"229696","attributes":{"alt":"Contemporary Swedish Art","class":"media-image","height":"180","style":"width: 180px; height: 180px; margin: 4px 8px;","width":"180"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_preview","fid":"229701","attributes":{"alt":"Southern Archipelago","class":"media-image","height":"180","style":"width: 180px; height: 180px; margin: 4px 8px;","width":"180"}}]] 

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_preview","fid":"229706","attributes":{"alt":"Donsö","class":"media-image","height":"180","style":"width: 180px; height: 180px; margin: 4px 8px;","width":"180"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_preview","fid":"229711","attributes":{"alt":"Styrsö","class":"media-image","height":"180","style":"width: 180px; height: 180px; margin: 4px 8px;","width":"180"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_preview","fid":"229716","attributes":{"alt":"Älvsborg Bridge","class":"media-image","height":"180","style":"width: 180px; height: 180px; margin: 4px 8px;","width":"180"}}]] 

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_preview","fid":"229721","attributes":{"alt":"Bridge Abstraction","class":"media-image","height":"180","style":"width: 180px; height: 180px; margin: 4px 8px;","width":"180"}}]] [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_preview","fid":"229726","attributes":{"alt":"Swans on the Göta River","class":"media-image","height":"180","style":"width: 180px; height: 180px; margin: 4px 8px;","width":"180"}}]]


In other news second semester is well under way, travel planning for Spring Break has begun, and I haven’t even told you what classes I’m taking!!  I’ve been terribly remiss :(

Baroque Rome, Issues in the Contemporary Catholic Church, Italian Fascism: the First Totalitarian Political Religion, Italian 351, and an Internship at the National Museum of the Markets of Trajan!

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Elisabeth Hawthorne

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I&rsquo;m your standard artistic mutt, head on the ground, feet in the clouds, brought to you by a serious case of wanderlust. Small-town Minnesota girl, ex-expat of Singapore, international traveler, art history major, varsity fencer, opera singer, aesthetics junkie, curious soul, gelato votary, far from home at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, making distance and immersion my teachers during a year abroad in Rome, Italy. You can follow along as I happily consume art and carbs in la bella città, but be warned I might not stay in one place for long!</span></p>

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