It’s been a heck of a long time since I’ve written on this blog. The break was unintentional, but along with the joyous news of my pregnancy came extreme nausea, vomiting and fatigue. This is my second time doing this pregnancy thing and both times, it nearly destroyed me. Now, in my THIRD trimester I am *slowly* but surely starting to feel better as I get sick less and less, and now that I can stand the sight and smell of food again I’ve noticed I really missed sharing my thoughts and eats on here. So here I am again, whether you like it or not, thinking about the changing seasons and all that comes with it.
I am one of those people that absolutely LOVES fall – I would trade the sweltering days of summer for a chilly fall breeze in a heartbeat. With fall coming to a close, a definite chill in the air and ever-shortening days, I’ve been thinking more and more about how to love the seasons to come, especially since we live in Canada. I’ve been inspired by our recent(ish) trip to Finland – we visited during Juhannus (Midsummer) where the sun basically never sets, but I know that in the winter months they have the opposite problem: mostly darkness for a number of months. All of Scandinavia is like this to some degree. So that got me wondering – how are the inhabitants of many Scandinavian countries among the world’s happiest people? Why and how do they continue to live there during long, grey, snowy winters? As we are expecting our second winter baby (Benjamin was born during a major snowstorm) and I know that we will likely be house-bound for the first few weeks, I want to find a way to soak up those early days as a family of four and not be miserable even if the weather is gloomy.
I stumbled across the concept of Hygge (pronounced heurgha, like you’re clearing your throat) a little while back. Hygge is actually a Danish word (to my knowledge us Finns don’t have a word) and is abstract in it’s meaning. Though very difficult to translate, it has been said to be the absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things. Hygge could be sitting by the fireplace on a cold, rainy night, with a hot drink in hand (I’m dreaming of mulled wine but that will have to wait until after baby is born), cuddled up with a loved one. Hygge could also be a gathering of friends around a table with candlelight, eating homecooked food. It could be crawling into bed under a warm duvet and reading a really good book. It could be fresh baked pulla (Finnish sweet bread) with coffee or tea in the morning.
As I look ahead to the coming fall and winter months, I can see our family can learn a thing or two from our Nordic relatives. I love the simplicity and accessibility of this hygge concept: it doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy or even take much planning, but rather a change in mindset. From the articles I’ve read and the people I’ve talked to, when boiled down, hygge means relishing in the simple joys of life. This fall and winter, I want to enjoy the crunch of leaves under my feet, watch the snow fall from my living room with my favourite candle burning, bake some Finnish treats with my family at Christmastime and breathe in the scent of freshly laundered newborn clothes as we wait for our little one to arrive.
I’m not naive, I know there will be some not so great moments as well – the arrival of cold and flu season, getting splashed by grey Toronto slush on my walk to work, multiple night wake ups with a newborn – but my plan is simply to be thankful for the good and savour the sweet, simple blessings in every season.
Here’s to hygge!