One Year

What!?!

That can’t be right…

We’ve been living in Denmark for one year!

Seriously. It sounds so cliche but where has the time gone?

When we moved here, we didn’t really know what to expect. We definitely didn’t expect a pandemic to trap us in our new country but it hasn’t been a horrible experience.

We’ve made friends; traveled more (especially within Denmark); visited the ocean on multiple occasions; experienced a new culture.

I’ve loved the many family trips we’ve made and I can’t narrow it down to a favorite. The international community around the school has been a huge blessing in helping me not feel so alone as a foreigner in another country. I love all the nature parks around this country and how a fun hike is literally just around the corner. The Danes and foreigners in our area care for one another and it feels a lot like the Midwest spirit; neighbors helping neighbors.

But I do miss home. I miss easy shopping. Reading labels is a HUGE part of my life as I’m looking for wheat ingredients. While I have figured out the Danish words for said ingredients I must avoid, I don’t always catch it. Luckily, I’ve caught it all before getting sick.

I miss the memories that are being made with my family at home. My girls miss their cousins and grandparents dearly.

I also miss my old job. I’m honestly surprised I do because the work hours were a bit ridiculous at times. But the weather here is straight forward. I definitely miss the four seasons of the Midwest (yes, even snowstorms).

While I’m sad we couldn’t make it home this year due to COVID-19, I do not regret us moving here to this little country.

I may not speak the language yet (or at all) but there are moments I dread having to leave. We are definitely making some fond memories here.

What do my kids think about the last year? Well I asked Claire a few questions in the video below:

Her answers did surprise me a bit. And she’s a ham, like her mom was/is.

So to celebrate our one year in Denmark, where did we go?

Kolding botanical gardens.

You may remember (or not) but we have been here before. We went back in early October to participate in a little get together with other foreigners new to the area. I had been disappointed but not surprised (it was early fall after all) that the award winning rose garden was barren. So when I saw their Facebook account announce that the roses were blooming, I told the family it was going to be our next (repeat) trip.

It was a pretty dreary day when we went. It was the day after a cold front passed and kicked the heatwave out of Denmark. There had been a lot of rain the night before so I was sure the girls were dressed in rain gear and the umbrellas were packed.

We started the experience by following the path through the garden. We started in Chinese foliage and made our way through a bamboo forest to some caves. The girls spent quite a bit of time climbing up and down the caves exploring all the nooks and crannies.

Next, we made our way through Japanese foliage, to northern Europe foliage and North American. We found many flowers along the way.

After walking through a small patch of climbing roses, we entered the rose garden.

It was beautiful!
There were so many different types of roses and every one had blooms as big (if not bigger) than my hand. We may have missed the peak of the bloom as it seemed a lot of petals had accumulated on the ground. But we still had an excellent experience.
I walked from aisle to aisle taking in the smell, the sounds of the pollinators and all the colors. So many colors!

The girls did get bored quickly so I handed over my phone to them and ended up with some of these treasures:

The husband and girls headed off to the playground while I took in the last aisle of roses.

As I walked over to them, well, it had started to rain. Typical Danish weather. But after a year of living here, I was prepared with the umbrellas.
We finished the day with a picnic and a viewing of the animals. Avery was in love with the bunnies so we spent a long time with them before we called it a day.

I’m unsure what the next year will bring us. Will we be able to travel as USA citizens within Europe? Will it be safe to travel home in the next year? We’ve had three trips we have planned canceled so far due to travel restrictions and uncertainty.

There are still so many unknowns but whatever the next year brings us, we have each other to experience it with.

Play and get some sun

Fall is in full swing and the days are getting noticeably shorter here in Denmark. We’ve been trying to fill our days with more outdoor adventures before the sun starts setting before 4 PM. Eeekkk!

So we’ve been fairly mellow the last couple of weeks just trying to soak in some sun.

We have five apple trees on our rental property. I know five apple trees sounds like a lot but we waited too long to pick one tree and most of its apples were on the ground; mushy. The other trees didn’t produce much so we only came up with about 30 lbs or so of apples.

I was able to make around 11 quarts of applesauce, 24 apples muffins, gluten free apple cake (US version) and æblekage (apple cake: Danish version). Æblekage is more of a trifle dessert that requires no baking. Basically, you cook some peeled apples down to applesauce type consistency. Next, make a type of crumble/crisp mixture. I used gluten free breadcrumbs, sugar and butter.

After it all has cooled a bit, it’s time to layer! Apples, crumble, whipped cream and repeat.

Very simple to make (and delicious to eat).

To get more sun, we also spent a day at a botanical garden in Kolding, Geografisk Have. Its rose garden is rated one of the most beautiful in the world. Unfortunately when we went, all the roses were long past bloom.

However, some other flower were blooming so I was able to see some other beautiful blooms. The garden was also busy with worker bees and the girls were able to learn about pollinators and pollinator hotels from a gardener. Claire now wants to build one.

The garden also had a complex hiking trail through different vegetation that originates not just in Europe but Asia and the Americas.

It also had little book nooks with books for children and adults (most in Danish, of course), a few playgrounds, a mini town, petting zoo and pony rides. A great way to get out and enjoy some sunshine!

We’ve also enjoyed a few hikes around our area. I think it’s worth noting that even though we are separated by an ocean, rural Iowa and rural Denmark look a lot alike. Judge for yourself:

The girls really enjoy hiking and geocaching. Don’t know what geocaching is? It’s basically a scavenger hunt out in nature almost anywhere in the world. It is a free app but if you pay, you’ll see more geocaches. You just need a cell phone signal, GPS locator on, bug spray and good hiking shoes. We’ve had a ball finding different geocaches and marking “Found” on the app.

As you can see, Claire absolutely loves it.

Avery is still on the fence about it.

Oh and one more BIG thing happened! We celebrated Claire’s birthday!

In Denmark, birthdays are a BIG deal. The Danish flag is typically flown at your household to signify an important day. Claire was serenaded in class with the Danish version of Happy Birthday, they all gave her cards and she provided donuts to her classmates.

Her gifts included geodes and some books. She also got to go on a very special trip. Those details coming in another post very soon…stay tuned!