The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country

By Helen Russell

Denmark is formally the happiest state in the world. while Helen Russell is compelled to maneuver to rural Jutland, can she observe the secrets and techniques in their happiness? Or will the lengthy, darkish winters and pickled herring take their toll?

A 12 months of residing Danishly seems to be at the place the Danes get it correct, the place they go wrong, and the way we would simply make the most of dwelling a bit extra Danishly ourselves.

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Lego? ’ I requested, incredulous as I learn the correspondence. ‘You wish us to maneuver to Denmark so that you can paintings for Lego? ’ was once he kidding me? have been we in a few screwed-up sequel to that Tom Hanks movie the place grown-ups get their formative years needs granted? What subsequent? may Sylvanian households hire me their forest queen? have been My Little Pony approximately to DM me inviting me to turn into their equine overlord? ‘How on the earth has this occurred? And used to be there a genie or a malfunctioning fairground computing device concerned? ’ My husband shook his head and instructed me that he didn’t understand something approximately it till this day – recruitment agent he’d been in contact with a long time in the past should have positioned him ahead. That it wasn’t anything he actively went trying to find yet now it used to be the following, good, he was hoping shall we a minimum of reflect on it. ‘Please? ’ he begged. ‘For me? I’d do it for you. And shall we stream in your activity subsequent time,’ he promised. I didn’t imagine that this was once a completely reasonable trade: he knew complete good that I’d fortunately remain placed ceaselessly in a pleasant little city simply outdoors the M25 to execute venture Jessica Fletcher. Denmark had by no means been part of my plan. yet this was once whatever that he particularly sought after. It grew to become our sole subject of dialog open air paintings over the subsequent week and the extra we stated it, the extra I understood what this intended to him and what sort of it mattered. If I denied him this now, a yr into our marriage, how may that play out in destiny? Did i actually wish it to be one of many issues we regretted? Or worse, that he resented me for? I enjoyed him. So I agreed to contemplate it. We went to Denmark on a recce one weekend and visited Legoland. We laughed at how slowly each person drove and spluttered at how a lot an easy sandwich rate. there have been a few transparent sights: where was once fresh, the Danish pastries handed expectancies, and the surroundings, notwithstanding now not at the scale of the extra dramatic Norwegian fjords, used to be soul-lifting. whereas we have been there, a feeling of recent percentages began to unfurl. We stuck a glimpse of a distinct lifestyle and spotted that the folks we met available in the market weren’t like parents again domestic. apart from the truth that they have been all strapping Vikings, towering over my 5′3″ body and my husband’s 5′11″-on-a-good-day stature, the Danes we met didn’t seem like us. They regarded comfortable. They walked extra slowly. They took their time, preventing to absorb their atmosphere. or simply to respire. Then we got here domestic, again to the day-by-day grind. And regardless of my top efforts, I couldn’t get the assumption out of my head, like an excellent crime plot unravelling clue by means of clue. The concept that shall we make a metamorphosis within the method we lived sparked unrest, the place formerly there’d been a stoic reputation. undertaking Jessica Fletcher abruptly appeared a ways off, and that i wasn’t certain i'll maintain going on the comparable speed for one more 30 years. It additionally happened to me that wishing away part your lifestyles in anticipation of retirement (albeit an amazing one) was once verging at the medieval. I wasn’t a serf, tilling the land until eventually I dropped from exhaustion.

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