The Happiness Inquiry

A teacher's quest to cultivate happy habits in her students

4: The Kindness of Strangers


Hej alle! Sorry this post is coming about 12 hours late, but I have a good excuse! Last night, Greg and I ventured out to watch the US vs. Belgium soccer match, and we made some new friends along the way. They were extremely friendly and inviting, and even invited us to go along with them some evening for a swim in the North Sea and a beach bonfire, which I expect is going to be super fun. ūüôā Hanging out with them gave me¬†my first¬†taste¬†of “hygge”, which literally means coziness but also in my opinion, togetherness. As newcomers entered the room, our new friends welcomed them to join us, and there was an ease of communication and camaraderie that I found very refreshing. By the end of the evening, I was so glad we’d stuck around rather than returned directly home after the disappointing game. ūüėõ

Yesterday was¬†also a bit of landmark–I recorded the¬†first interview for the Happiness Inquiry documentary! The participant’s name is Kristine, and I met her while having lunch at the restaurant where she works,¬†K√§hler Spisesalon. She is a 21 year-old Denmark native, and was incredibly open and honest in her interview. She talked about the value of doing something that really matters for a career, which was echoed by one of the fellas we met later that night. She said she’d rather plan her profession around something that she finds deeply interesting, and then find a way to make it pay the bills, rather than think the other way around. I know in the U.S. many of us feel the same way, but perhaps this approach is not as feasible?¬†They both¬†cited the supportive government and infrastructure here in Denmark as allowing for¬†this self exploration.

Momentarily, I am headed to another yoga studio,¬†Hamsa, for a vinyasa class, and more importantly,¬†for¬†interviews with two young women who work there and have offered to be a part of the film. I am so grateful that those who I’ve met who have been willing to share and participate in this project–yay for the kindness of strangers!

And since I can’t make a post without at least one photo, here’s one I took yesterday of my all-time favorite comic characters, Calvin and Hobbes, or as they are¬†called¬†here for some odd reason, Steen & Stoffer. Our airbnb host has one of the collections and it’s been fun stumbling through the strips¬†to try and infer some new Danish words.


Author: henrykat

I am a middle school special education teacher in Chicago. I was fortunate enough to receive a Fund for Teachers grant that allows me to spend a month in Denmark, considered to be the happiest place on earth. I hope to use my experience to inspire my students to make choices that will increase their personal sense of well being.

4 thoughts on “4: The Kindness of Strangers

  1. Indeed, the result was disappointing, but it is a team in the making…comparing to the “old” golden US team back in 2002 World Cup which made it to the quarter final, Reyna, Donovan…most players in the current team are new except for Dempsey as I recall. So I am more optimistic for the next World Cup 2018 in Russia ūüôā

  2. I wish strangers at Chicago’s are kind and nice they just bump into you and not say sorry. Also is the film they offered was a yoga film?

  3. Funny, Andrea, because here they actually never say excuse me for bumping into you! It’s kind of something to get used to, but overall everyone is really polite. I don’t think we’re so bad in Chicago, myself, but then of course, everyone is different..The film is a documentary I have been making on my trip that you’ll get to see at Pulaski when we get back!

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