Claudia Su, My Life as An Amazing Journey, C1
What is life? Throughout the history of humankind, we keep asking this question, producing and reproducing different kinds of answers. Tonight, I’m thankful for having a chance to stand here, to share with all of you, my attitude toward life.
Ancient philosopher, Aristotle, regarded life as a destiny. But to me, life is not a constant destiny but an amazing journey that can only be experienced and created by us in every present moment. Now, let me elaborate this claim through a vivid experience of mine.
Last year, I attended the exchange program in the University of Copenhagen. Upon hearing this, you might have questions: Why did you choose Denmark? The very beginning answer was really simple. Just based on my grade level, and my curiosity toward Northern European countries.
I knew nearly nothing about Denmark before I went there. Let’s brainstorm for a while. What images come out in your mind when you hear of “Denmark?” For me, they are Lego, open-sandwich, and thunder god, Thor. Those three are exactly all I knew about Denmark before I went there. However, after half-year fantastic life in Denmark, I found the culture much more bountiful than that. What I have learned from the Danes are not just those icons, but also some meaningful virtues. And now I am going to introduce you the most remarkable one, which is the Viking spirit, “hygge.”
This word is coined by Danish ancestors. Some anthropologists who study Danish culture consider “hygge” equal to the word “sharing.” But according to my local friend, Ida, the meaning of this word is much more sophisticating. Therefore, I intend to concrete the abstract meaning of “hygge” through a series of pictures I took in Denmark.
On Christmas Eve, outside the house covered with endless snow and darkness, with the air freezing. On the contrary, inside the house filled with warm and joyful giggling. Family and friends gathered together, decorated the Christmas tree with lightened candles, danced and sang as a chorus around the tree. After the ceremony, they lied down in the living room, smiling and chatting with a sense of “hygge.”
Dwelt deep inside this context, I seemed to realize the true meaning of “hygge,” with family and friends joining together, to become a community, collaborating to conquer the endless darkness and fear, through producing a direct sense of belonging and unity.
I would not have learned this true meaning of “hygge” if I hadn’t been to Denmark based on my wild decision. And this experience just exemplified my attitude toward life, that life is never a planned schedule that you can foresee, but a nonstop adventure filled with surprise and discoveries. And now, I think it’s the right time that I turn through a new page to learn from all of you in Toastmasters! Toastmasters of the evening.