American Love versus Danish Kærlighed

You’d misunderstand my point if I said I liked America, so to make sure everyone’s on the same page I’ve got to say I love it.

I love how open people are, the can-do-spirit, the willingness to work and succeed – it’s great.
What’s not so great is your perception of the word “love”.

One of the best monologues a teacher ever gave me was when my English teacher taught us the difference between “being in love” and “loving someone”. But I find that the usage of these words in American culture aren’t far apart and that her speech worked better with the Danish concepts.

“Forelskelse”, being in love, is pretty much the same thing.Y’know, teens, hormones, cupid in the air, dang arrows everywhere. It’s a state where you’re very caught up in emotions but don’t know much about the one you care about or how compatible they are with you for that matter.
In this case I find that the American phrase is much stronger. “Being in love” gives off a stronger vibe than “forelskelse”. In fact, “forelskelse” is more like a crush.

But then the word “elske”, to love, I find is much stronger than the word is in American culture where “I love you” is flung around like it’s everybody’s business.
Perhaps it comes from the very Jütlandish attitude of the Danes, whether people from the capital admit it or not.

This is my point on why saying “I like” America is not enough. Saying I like America is very close to a declaration of love in Denmark (at least if you’re from Jütland, and I am).
If I prepare dinner and my dad says “it’s fine” or “ok” I know he’s enjoying it. If he says “it’s good” or “I like it” I know I’ve hit the god-damn jackpot.

But in America you fling the word “love” around, plaster it on everything till it loses its importance.
Even with people you truly love as much as I “elsker” you water out the words by saying them ten times a day.

At least this has been my experience of Americans. Granted, we may say it too little.

That was food for thought from a Dane.

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