We’ve been in Denmark over one month. Here are a few things I’ve learned written in my dad’s favorite western movie format:
Denmark is beautiful. They encourage getting out and enjoying nature. Our town has nature trails that run through a forest, next to a stream and bridges are placed throughout the town. Everything is also very green (due to the chance of rain nearly everyday). Plants seem to be constantly blooming.
The houses are colorful and many have hollyhocks or climbing roses on the front. Every windowsill has knick-knacks or plants. Orchids are a common sight. The windows are typically open to enjoy the fresh air.
We are able to walk to the bakery, park, grocery store, pharmacy, etc. After living in the country for three years, it is nice to be able to stroll through town and get items I need without doing the car seat struggle with the girls and driving all the way to town.
The beach is also not too far away so we are able to enjoy that on warm, sunny days (doesn’t happen often).
Speaking of the weather, it was a pretty nice summer. I am not a fan of hot, humid weather(=Midwest summers). Typical days here have been a mix of sun and clouds with a chance for rain. Highs are right around 70°F. We did have a heatwave in July and while it was warm, it wasn’t the humidity we experience in the Midwest. We were able to get through it with a fan and beach trip.
Every Dane we converse with has been friendly. English is a second language here (the first being Danish). We are able to get through most conversations and everyone has been nice. No eye rolls or attitude. Lots of patience and helpfulness.
There also seems to be a lot of thought on the environment here as well. Plastic bags are not available in stores unless you purchase them. Most people seem to have reusable tote bags. Recycling containers are provided by the municipality. Wind turbines are everywhere and solar panels are seen on a lot of houses and in the countryside. Bike lanes are in every town with extensive trails through the country. Public transportation is also widely available even in the countryside.
A major plus is that the girls also LOVE their school. They get to make new friends from many different backgrounds and cultures. I am excited as well to meet new international parents. Fingers crossed I don’t say something stupid. Kids have it so much easier. They just say “Do you want to play?” BAM! Instant friend. I get in my head too much and worry about what I’m saying. Doing my best to relax and just be myself!
Obviously, there is a language gap. Everything is written in Danish. So with my celiac disease, I have to look carefully at the ingredients list for the Danish words for wheat, rye, barley, etc. Grocery items are also packaged smaller than their US counterparts. I miss being able to buy grocery items in bulk sizes. I am lucky the grocery store is nearby because I’m running there every other day.
Small. Everything is smaller than items compared to the USA. A few of my pans don’t fit in the oven. The washer and dryers are smaller. The cars are small. Not a huge issue but it has taken some getting use to.
The weather can be an issue with the rain. But one of the sayings to live by in Denmark is that “There is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing” (Alfred Wainwright). There’s even a book written about it (There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather by Linda Åkeson McGurk). This is taking some getting used to for us especially my youngest. She also complains about walking more than 100 meters (working on my metric). And walking is what you need to do in Europe to sight see and get around. That is our never ending battle right now.
Again. Metric. Trips me up constantly.
So much paperwork.
I feel like there is a never ending checklist. Once we check one item off the list, there is another item. A lot of waiting has happened in July and it’s continuing into this month. We’ve had our photos taken, seen our doctors, visited citizen services multiple times and waited. I’m hoping this part of moving abroad will end this month or the next. I may be dreaming…
I do miss my career. Moving over here, I had to abandon my career completely. Although I was only part-time/fill-in at the station, it did give me a little more sense of purpose. I know…I know. Being a mom is an important job and probably the most important one I’ll ever have. But it’s also pretty thankless and monotonous with the constant cleaning, prepping for school and taxi work. Working at KWWL gave me a break from that. I also miss my chats with my friends in the weather department and tracking severe weather.
Homesickness is starting. We miss family greatly. I’m sad we can’t share these experiences with our family in person. My girls won’t get to have both sets of grandparents at their events. We’re doing what we can with video chats but it’s just not the same. Avery will still ask if we can go to grandma’s house or the cousins’ houses after we video chat. It’s hard to explain to a three year old that it’s harder to visit family now.
The days are getting shorter. By the winter solstice, we’ll have just seven hours of daytime with the sun rising around 8:40 and setting at 15:40. Yikes. I’ve been warned that the winters are gray, dreary and dark. Yippee!
I’m going to go enjoy some sunshine now before winter arrives….