THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH…IS DENMARK

denmark happy

Move over, Disney World. I know being the “happiest place on earth” is basically your tagline, but you’ve got no seat in the United Nations, so technically your slogan is libel. However, I do have a constant love affair with your dear movies so I won’t file anything against you.

Every year the UN published its World Happiness Report, and in honor of celebrating World Happiness Day this week (by wallowing in my Millennial mid-college crisis and day-drinking), I might as well find some happiness in the happiest country in the world– Denmark. Yes, Denmark, the home of the most miserable, suicidal teenager himself, Hamlet. There is even a word in their language that embodies the Danish culture of coziness and happiness, called hygge. In the American culture, the closest phrase equivalent to hygge is probably supersize me. The spirit of hygge is incomprehensible to the American culture being that the best way we feel happy is when we’re sitting alone on a Sunday night watching the latest episode of whatever we paused last week on Netflix. Denmark, however, is all about the happiness of being together with friends and family and the warm feeling you get when you’re drunk.

The countries in Scandinavia are all about its people. In New York City, trying to cross an intersection in Manhattan is the jungle equivalent of fighting for your own life. If it’s DON’T WALK, you can totally walk but at other people’s risk. Scandinavians are all about the social responsibility. They don’t lock their bikes. If no one locks a bike in Brooklyn for five minutes, it would already be sold on EBay in ten minutes or become an interpretive art piece at the MoMa in ten seconds. Biking is a way of life in Copenhagen, which makes it no surprise that it is the #1 Smartest City in the World, according to Fast Company. So they’re energy efficient and have a low carbon footprint. I’d like to see your SAT scores some time, Denmark. Oh, the US still ranks lower than Denmark in education.

There is no shame in conversation in Denmark which means that “small talk,” is a chance for you to finally say your age, how much you earn, and what you really think about Miley Cyrus. That’s all according to the humorous tales from the Xenophobe’s Guide to the Danes. After recently coming back from Denmark, my mindset didn’t change but I may have been a bit angry at the Danish for being just so damn happy.

Denmark’s happy. Norway’s happy. Sweden’s happy. That’s it. They’re all just happy. They love each other and find nirvana from just being around other people. They don’t have anything else to worry about. Americans are all just finding happiness, whatever that word means. It’s basically why everyone comes to America, is to find happiness. That’s the point of the American Dream, right? Only to find out that you’re on your own and you’ve got to find your own way yourself and know where you’re going, Alice. Maybe that’s too heavy a subject. I’ll save it for small talk the next time I go back to a coffee shop in Copenhagen.

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MY LIFE-ALTERING PANTS (THAT NEED ALTERATIONS)

Life Altering Pants - HELP!

Last weekend, as I walked the glossy, waxed floors of Bloomingdale’s, I had no intention of purchasing anything, much like everyone else everywhere. Then my mom pointed to a colorful spread of striped sweaters in the Free People corner of the department store and exclaimed, “Oh, this is so you!” I took a quick glance at the mannequin wearing one of the displayed sweaters and my first thought was, “Yeah, it is.” Then my gut kicked in overdrive and my subconscious iconoclastic aspirations caused me to yell out, “Am I that predictable?!”

Throughout high school, I was struggling to be in fashion rather than finding my style. I subscribed to ELLE during my freshman year because I was mandated by the school magazine drive, but also to find out what I should be wearing that winter season. I, along with most girls, aspire to work in fashion the way all boys aspire to be cowboys and baseball players but settle to be a sports newscaster or something. I thought I would be the next Tavi Gevinson, but then I soon realized after reading my first issue of ELLE that all the avant garde clothes featured in editorials were not meant for 13-year-old me. Alas, I was unfulfilled with my wardrobe that was “so lacking of cool.” During that time, I had an utter contempt for fashion and its rather expensive schemes. I did, however, quickly understand fashion and trends by reading all the articles which gave me a detector for who was really keeping in style on the streets of New York.

It would only be a far-fetched dream of my 13-year-old broken-down-Converse-wearing-self to believe that my current college best friend would tell me that I should start a fashion blog. Now that I find opening my birchwood IKEA closet to select my day’s garments an actual party, I learn that I have become “predictable.” That’s not what I asked for! But maybe it is, when my first subscription to ELLE came in the mail. As my mom and I continued to the SALE racks of Bloomingdale’s, I spotted a pair of pants which I looked at for five seconds before realizing that I would never wear it. Being the supportive mother that she is, my mom tells me, “Those pants are cool.” And when a mom tells a girl that something is “cool,” sirens are supposed to be going off alarming the girl that it is in fact, “not cool.” I somehow reconsidered and took a second look at the dual-fabric pant saying, “But this is so not me,” to which my mom quickly whips a mildly teenager-ish, “So?”

Only in college did my sense of style finally arrive, much like a teenage girl having her first sip of unsupervised alcoholic drink with initial befuddlement, “So this is what it’s like.” I first walked into a J. Crew during the summer after high school when I assuredly called that store the mothership that I never knew was calling me. The only way to describe my current style would be Kennebunkport meets Williamsburg Farmer’s Market, with the occasional “villain in a John Hughes film.” From then on, my collection of button-down shirts ranging from shrunken ex-boyfriend to perfect-fit has grown beyond compare. I do daydream that if I were an unabashed risk-taker (and unbelievably wealthy) that my closet will replicate that of Beyonce’s, and maybe these pants that were paneled in linen fabric, fitted in jersey fabric on the back, and are “so not me” is a step toward that.

I bought the pants, but with a mild reluctance. It is currently hanging on my bedroom door, still with its various tags, and it is staring at me. Of course I Google the pants’ brand name to see what celebrities have worn it, as well as to validate my purchase. There in the vast wasteland of Google Images are Hilary Duff, Olivia Munn, Kristin Cavallari, among others. I think to myself, “Olivia Munn? She’s cool, I watch The Newsroom. But do I want to wear the same pants as Hilary, Olivia, and Kristin?” I examine its rustic-looking zippers and faded linen cloth, I imagine it something to be out of a 2008 issue of ELLE. I realize that they’re just pants. So I cut off the tags because that’s what Beyonce would want me to do, yet all I wanted was to escape the void of predictability.

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THE GREATER FOOL: ECONOMICS OR ENGLISH?

diarySince starting this blog, I have come up with a few conclusions about the blogging world. It consists of many bathroom breaks to make up for the lack of exercise, writing, checking the fridge, writing, and avoiding the Sun. I started writing when I was in First Grade, with my first essay being about my dream to travel to “Paris and Europe to walk the campgrounds.” As I progressed in elementary school, I wrote poetry and kept journals, mostly as a way to express my joy and vent my “frustrations.”

In 4th grade, my mom bought me a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank which completely changed the way I wrote in my diary and (secret) Xanga. I realized that Anne Frank probably did not know when she was writing in her diary that people in the year 2013 would be quoting her. She is the reason why I was careful not to write in my diary about school crushes or arguments with my parents because there was a small hope within me that my diary will someday be a time capsule. Perhaps I was a fool to believe that, but it made my journal entries more well written, hilarious, and honestly naive. Although I thought myself as a 10-year-old with a thousand affectations, I was convinced that I would be a writer.

When high school arrived, I lost myself in the world of selfies and sitting at cafeteria tables exchanging banalities. Then in college I spent my first year “UNDECLARED” but eventually majoring in Economics. Many people begin studying Economics to eventually be welcomed at the gates of Wall Street, but I believed that it would be a gateway to…frankly, I’m still figuring that out.

One theory (out of a multitude) that I did learn this year from my Econ class was the “Greater Fool.” It is the theory that a person would make a risky investment with the assumption that there will be a greater fool who will be willing to buy into it at a higher price. In simpler terms as Aaron Sorkin explained it in The Newsroom, “It’s a patsy. For the rest of us to profit, we need a greater fool, someone who will buy long and sell short.” Perhaps I am the greater fool for starting a blog with the belief that I will attract readers to my site. Perhaps the readers of this blog are the greater fool for buying into something that is not even valuable in the first place…but eventually will be.

The other day, I uncovered one of my many old diaries that I wrote in when I was at the great age of 10. I read from it aloud because, like Shakespeare, my literary works are always better understood when spoken. I started to recite the first few sentences, but then I immediately stopped when I started laughing and crying out of embarrassment. Its as if I was reading something by a completely different person. When I finally finished reading, I discovered that I found more joy reading my old diary than any of my other attempts of written work at my current age, but maybe I’m being too hard on myself.

“You should have been there! OH! It was wonderful! Speaking in front of everybody– AGAIN!…While walking down the staircase I almost had a heart attack because my heart was beating fast. I skipped [two] steps and I almost tripped…Now, when I remembered this morning that I might, MIGHT!, talk on the lectern, I didn’t calm down!!!…I kept on smiling [on the lectern] and was about to laugh but I covered it with a cough in the microphone!”

I want to feel that way every time I read something written by myself, and I hope you do too.

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