In Search of Gezelligheid
In Search of Gezelligheid
An international kid, a Third Culture Kid (TCK), a Global Nomad; these are but a few of the terms that define my “lifestyle” thus far…fleeting, temporary, and in a constant state of movement. After relocating from one country to another, when it came to be that I would branch out on my own in the United States my “interior design” style could be described as minimal at best. Minimal? Who am I kidding? What I described as minimal is nothing more than window-dressing to describe my lack of interest and willingness to decorate a room (my Bentley University dorm room and, presently, my Boston studio room apartment) with the full knowledge that my residences are temporary. With the understanding that after a school year I would have to move into a new room; that after a few more months I would have to move to a smaller place than the one I am currently residing in; and that after a few years I would eventually have to leave the United States for another country, I do not see the benefit of investing (emotionally, financially, or space) into decorating a “home.” What is the purpose of decorating? It only increases the number of boxes for the eventual Move, so why? Pourquoi?
The answer came to me while reading Kinfolk Magazine’s Winter Issue where I discovered, and was inspired by, the dutch word Gezelligheid. A number of factors played into the realization of Gezelligheid, from the new job at an art gallery, new friends born from the Instagram community, and new interests (instagraming my “joie de vivre” in Boston, fashion, food, and sociology) I feel as though I’ve grown a number of roots into this great city of Boston. Additionally, Spring having sprung all around Boston gave me that final push to capture and foster Gezelligheid.
With neither flowers nor a vase I went into Beacon Hill’s Rouvalis Flowers & Garden and consulted with one of the florist. With her aid, I decided to go with a white vase to harmonize with the white décor of my furnished studio apartment, and its geometrical style was chosen for that modern and “controlled” feel. On the other hand, while the vase was “controlled” and carefully designed, I asked the florist to arrange a bouquet that was slightly “untamed” to give the entire look an interesting visual contrast (perhaps a reflection of my true insanity hidden behind this cool and collected composure).
I now enjoy waking up to the sunlight filtering through my window; opening my window to a fresh morning breeze that sends a chill through my tired body; and the fresh flowers that open up as the day begins. The flowers, while ephemeral, is absolutely necessary to create this Gezelligheid - well, for me – but in truth, it didn’t have to be flowers. At this point, I think the concept that I’m trying to foster would be better understood if I were to explain it first:
Gezelligheid (huh-zell-ich-hait): An untranslatable Dutch word at the core of its culture. It’s an atmosphere, a vibe, a serendipity togetherness, an aesthetic, a relxed mood, a feeling of flow, a sense of belonging. No matter where you are or what you’re doing it describes the sensation of being at home.
-Kinfolk Magazine (The Winter Issue)
In other words, its curling up in a little corner with a good book and a cup of tea on a rainy day; it’s meeting up with friends for coffee or an Instagram meet (like the #BostonSpringMeet); and it’s having fresh flowers in a small corner of your home. So, while I started this post talking about decorating a home, Gezelligheid is more than that. Gezelligheid is about creating that sense of belonging, to grow roots, to craft that expression “home is where the heart is,” in which the “heart” is your passion, your interest, your joie de vivre…whatever they may be.
I have finally found my Gezelligheid after years of being uninterested…have you? I would love to hear the kind of things you do to live with a sense of Gezelligheid in the comments.