My Dream: Hygge

From a young age I assumed my life would go the traditional route: meet a man, fall in deep, passionate love, get married, buy a house with a picket fence and a blooming garden, have babies, live happily ever after. When my life didn’t exactly work out that way, I started dreaming more broadly.

For starters, I wanted to move to Asia. I’d been there in college and had *that* feeling when I was traveling around China; I knew I’d live there again. So, I did it. I researched, I day-dreamed – a lot – and moved to Hong Kong.

Then when I was in Hong Kong and my “get married and have a baby” dream wasn’t coming any closer to fruition, I dreamed up a new dream: at the age of 35 if I was no closer to having a family, I would move abroad again. I’d always been interested in joining the Peace Corps, I wanted to learn Spanish, I’d like to see more of South America, etc. The possibilities were endless.

Recently, though, that “move abroad again” dream faded. I like living in Chicago. I love my job. I love my new yoga gig. My family is close. My life is here and I’m not ready to leave – even if 35 is 1.5 years away. As the “move abroad again” dream receded, a new dream formed:

Own a tea shop & yoga studio

I was at a coffee shop recently and they were charging $2.50 for a cup of hot tea. $2.50 for a tea bag, hot water, and a cup. The cost to them was probably $0.25 and they were charging 10x that.

If I owned a tea shop, I’d charge $1 max for a cup of hot tea. And, of course, I’m obsessed with chai lattes, so that would also be on the menu. My mom is an awesome baker and I have a few friends who make delicious baked goods. Food = done.


Every Saturday morning when I lived in Hong Kong, I would traipse down the mountain to the Pacific Coffee Company, book or laptop in tow. I’d pick up a bagel nearby and order a hot chocolate, settling into my favorite comfy chair and wile away the morning relaxing. When I told this story to a friend, she told me about the concept of hygge in Denmark.

Pronounced “hoo-guh,” the word is said to have no direct translation in English, though “cozy” comes close. It derives from a sixteenth-century Norwegian term, hugga, meaning “to comfort” or “to console,” which is related to the English word “hug.” Associated with relaxation, indulgence, and gratitude[…].

“The Year of Hygge, the Danish Obsession with Getting Cozy,” New Yorker

This is exactly what I envision my tea shop to be: cozy, comfy chairs, inexpensive and comforting drinks, yummy baked goods, flowers, antique tea cups, etc. And, of course, there would be gentle flow yoga classes held there every day. There’s nothing more hygge than that. I expect that my dream tea shop + yoga studio will be in a small town that’s not already inundated with either.

So while I bank a regular paycheck, I’ll continue dreaming up dreams. Maybe one day this hygge dream will come true. Maybe one day my “get married and have a baby” dream will come true. Or maybe a new dream will sprout.


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