In addition to friends, family, and overall familiarity, there are some surprising things I miss from home. Six months elsewhere goes past fast in almost any conditions. But these little observations remind me that I’m not at home.
1. Having more than two big tea mugs
It is surprising how little material we need for living a full life. In reality two big tea mugs is enough. However, having more than one really increases the probability of at least one being clean when there is the odd moment to sit down and relax over a hot BIG mug of tea. I miss my beautiful collection of Iittala mugs designed by Klaus Haapaniemi.
2. Familiar tea flavours
The Danes have a pervasive taste for peppermint flavoured tea. Another one is liquorice but I don’t mind that as much as I do the peppermint. It seems to be in every non-black tea blend. I’ve become somewhat an expert in interpreting the trade descriptions. And in causing a long queue in a coffee shop. Sorry.
3. A bookshelf
As we rented an unfurnished apartment, we needed to get some furniture. But we wanted to get as little furniture as possible. It has resulted in a life without a bookshelf. Now in a family with two readaholics – one toddler and one academic – this decision has its consequences. Now it seems we have no tables to set aside things as they are covered with books. The consequences of living without a bookshelf is demonstrated in the photo.
All in all, it has been comforting to experience that we are just fine with less furniture and material. We don’t need that much of stuff – except books – and life is still good. Perhaps it is even a bit better. During this time I have noticed what is important to me: having a big mug full of my favourite tea by a stacked bookshelf.
This week I attended meetings at Copenhagen Business School and walked through Frederiksberg Have (park). I’d love to write a novel or poem about the park as it seems a world of its own in the middle of Copenhagen. Actually, Frederiksberg is its own municipality in the middle of Copenhagen.
Frederiksberg park is not the fanciest, biggest or calmest park I’ve experienced. But it has some magic to it, perhaps due to Baroque influences. Trees are old and paths windy. In the middle of the human size park there is a huge palace and a zoo.
Instead of words, I offer you photos. Frederiksberg winter blues got me into poetic images of the park and streets on my way to the train.
I missed my bus this morning. Twice. In a row. I took another bus which is not as convenient for me and finally made it to the Roskilde university. I need a bike, start to act like a Dane and bike to work.
This episode captures something elemental about moving to another country for a time period longer than a vacation but shorter than “for now”. The fact that we put our life on hold in Helsinki for six months and moved over here in the meanwhile makes me feel like I have been teleported.
The smallest things are new, like shopping for basic groceries or finding the nearest playground for our toddler. It takes a lot energy although we get to see fun things too we wouldn’t see in Helsinki. Yet, soon we too will to be carried away by our routines and stop seeing. So now when I notice people going on with their everyday tasks I feel like stopping them and telling all the great (and not so great) things I have observed in the environment and lifestyles. But I guess I’d have been annoyed if someone did that to me in Helsinki.
Yet, feeling like a character out of Start Trek is a unique situation and I should cherish it as long as I can. Soon I’m routinised too. With a bike there will be no more random morning buses.
Everything has a reason, even running late from a morning bus. Now I can wear my slippers and write a long due blog post concerning our move to Roskilde, Denmark, for six months. Actually, there’s only 5 ½ months left.
Instead of words, here’s some photos of our journey and first days in Roskilde. We took the ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm and drove through Jönköping to Roskilde. In order to get to Denmark, we crossed the Øresundsbron, a bridge betweeb Malmö and Copenhagen.
In Roskilde we first stayed in a hostel before we got our rental place in Roskilde. It is part of a house built in 1920’s and has a lovely garden.
We are moving to Denmark for six months in two weeks time. I’m visiting Roskilde University, Centre for Social Entrepreneurship due to my PhD studies. Exciting stuff! This is what I have been dreaming about for some years now: visiting a relevant place for my work and gaining everyday experiences while living in a new environment. I like the idea of being annoyed by the morning traffic and finding my favourite place out of many great ones. These are the things you don’t have time to do on a shorter trip.
I just had completely forgot how stressful it is to move abroad for a longer time. I’ve moved abroad once before but maybe that doesn’t count as I was a teenager and an exchange student, i.e. someone else was organising everything and I was concentrating on smiling and looking happy.
It seems doing a grown-up exchange is a lot of work and moreover, a lot of stress. Furthermore, my family is accompanying me, which is extremely comforting but also causes some extra hassle. What are the realities of moving abroad for half a year? (Half a year sounds more than six months. Maybe with this stress level I should talk about six months.)
Accommodation. The number one stress. It seems people are (a) unwilling to rent to foreigners at a distance or (b) willing to take our money via Western Union and leave us with plain air. At the worst-case scenario, Denmark as a welfare state has social service so when we sleep under the bridge (with a toddler), they would come and get us. Maybe we should take a tent with us and try camping (legally).
Renting our own place. This is actually my spouse’s stress so I shouldn’t worry about it. Still, if we don’t rent our own, we lose potential income. If we rent, we would rent it furnished and what happens to my favourite tea mug? Maybe I should take it with me.
What to wear.Major stress. Applies to all trips but this time I should decide six months before hand. Really, I should I know if I feel like red or green stockings? Maybe I should bring both.
Paperless office. On top of everything, I decided that carrying some hundreds of journal articles, book chapters, and several books is not a good idea (as you noticed deciding what to take is hard for me). Thus, I have been setting up an e-office with a tablet (computer), PDF annotation application, synchronising etc. Yet I wonder, how do people find time to learn all this new stuff? Maybe I should bring some hard copies just in case my abilities are not developed enough.
Over-packing. Obviously stressing for my spouse. In addition to a tent, favourite tea mug, red and green stockings, and some piles of paper, I have been thinking about bringing a blender. I admit it sounds odd. Yet, the thing I like the most, when being an adult, is knowing what is good for me and acting accordingly. And I know making smoothies makes me happy. Still my spouse thinks I’m exaggerating.
In order to escape my moving-aboard-for-six-months-in-two-weeks stress, I used my early morning to walk in an autumn forest and after that sit down and type this blog post. As an adult, I know what is best for me and today it was reaching out to you over a bowl of lingonberries & hot porridge and organic green tea.