Over a week of living Danishly, and I've definitely come to feel that warm sense of coziness that breathes in every corner of Copenhagen. The Danish lifestyle is one that is most definitely centered around balancing efficiency and comfort, something that is seemingly simplistic for Danes to exercise. People's daily routines include celebrating simple joys, being on time, and helping others. But not just sort of helping them, like REALLY helping them. Every stranger truly is just a friendly neighbor; there is not an underlying sense of competition clouding every sunny situation. One facet of "Danish personality" I've continuously noticed and come to appreciate is their intentional determination to follow through with every task or favor. People are overwhelmingly genuine and respond with honesty and sensitivity. There's just a fundamental understanding amongst everyone that if I help you, you'll help me, or if I help them, they'll help someone else, and so on & so forth. Like a pay it forward type deal. A little different from the survivor of the fittest, dog-eat-dog, every breathing thing for itself world we're used to at home huh...? I think this anecdote perfectly perfectly describes what I mean:
Just yesterday, I was taking the subway to met some friends for an early dinner in a part of town I had yet to explore. Hence, I got a little lost... There I stood, in the center of Nørreport, eyes glued too the map on my phone screen, my friends on speaker phone trying to help out, bikers passing on my left & right, seemingly aimless. That's when I decided to approach a local and ask for directions. I'm not kidding when I tell you it was the most jarring yet paradoxically heart warming experience. When I asked a young(ish) gentleman if he was from the area, he did more than say yes, he asked if I needed any help before I could even ask, and then he did more than just explain where I needed to go, he physically showed me how to get there! He hopped on the C train with me, made innocent conversation, and made sure I got off at the right stop. As I hopped off, he waved, smiled, and said: "it was great to meet you, Morgan, good luck!" Before I could run up up the steps to embrace my pals, I stood with a smile on my face and felt my stomach fill with gratitude.
And this is not an isolated instance • I'll never, ever, ever forget that encounter.
I know that the normal preemptive advice for young girls traveling abroad is to "stay safe," "steer clear of strangers," "always be on your A game," which sure sure sure I agree with. BUT, I am an inherent optimist and a firm believer in the aspect of human nature that craves trust. One piece of advice I have for anyone traveling to Denmark would be to exercise vulnerability, as it allows your sense of trust to grow to a vast degree. Do not be afraid to reach out and talk to locals, or ask Danes for help because chances are you'll learn something!!! Of course, safety is a delicate thing that should not be taken for granted. But, consider finding safety in recognizing the neighborly behavior of those surrounding you. I feel safe in the streets of Copenhagen.