Frederiksberg winter blues

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.

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Our Great Move to Roskilde

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.

Should we take a blender? The realities of moving abroad for half a year

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.)

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

My destress morning

Revisiting Barcelona

Although I feel I have nothing wise to say today, I decided to use the possibility to do some blogging. Unfortunately for blogging, I’ve been too busy finalizing conference papers for summer research conferences, writing texts for blogs, like the EMES Junior Expert’s Blog, and planting our allotment (garden).

Currently, I’m in Barcelona for a workshop concerning social entrepreneurship teaching and research. Consequently, I have a great chance to revisit a nice place, this time Barcelona. I seem to enjoy revisiting since it tells me what has changed in the place I like (if anything).

What has changed in Barcelona after my last visit? I’m told that the Sagrada Familia has progressed. Judging from my bedroom window, this is the case; I can see some new white statues. Indeed, I’m staying over at close friends who live next to the Sagrada Familia and have windows facing the Barcelona monument. This is the view from the guest room:

Sagrada_Familia2 Sagrada_Familia1It is very impressive to see and hear the church while spending time at the apartment. I’m also impressed by the fact that they are building the monumental cathedral only with income generated from the admission tickets.

Otherwise I feel the Barcelona spirit has not changed. People are as relaxed as before, at least on a sunny Sunday like today, parks are still lovely, and I can always get a drink and something good to eat. By the way, I guess I just listed the three things I value the most in any city.

Perhaps the temptation to revisit (nice) places is the feeling of arriving to a potential home. I could easily imagine myself living in Barcelona although I have no idea what I could do here for a living. Maybe one day I will move here for some time. To me there’s only one thing that beats revisiting: Living the everyday life away from home.

Always looking for an oasis

Currently, there are two things that characterise me as a traveller: I like to revisit places twice and I’m a park and garden enthusiast. The first goes to say I love visiting nice places twice or more let it be a country, a city, a restaurant, or a park. My park & garden enthusiasm means in every urban setting – after eating regularly – I’m most eager to go and find a park or a garden.

Parks and gardens are the city oasis. In some way they reveal the essence of the city too. Besides, usually you find locals at parks and gardens. And a good sign for me as a tourist on any trip is the ratio of locals. Then it is more likely to be something I might enjoy too. A kind hint to all those visiting Finland during winter: you don’t see many locals dipping in the sea or lake via a hole in the ice although it is said to be something very Finnish.

I stayed in Trento, Italy, for few days due to work and this trip made no exception in my park & garden spotting. Time will tell if I visit the nice North Italian town again, but at least I found a park and visited it twice. This park via Via Livio Marchetti and Vicolo San Marco has a peculiar air to it, as it has been there for a while. Moreover, the worn-down benches and cigarette butts are a valid proof of high use of the area. In addition to flowers and trees, it has a kitchen garden and this gives the park a very practical feeling. The area is not very big. A garland-covered brick wall and two old three-storey houses create cosy cover from passers-by. And yes, it had mainly people from Trento with their crossword puzzles and shopping bags, just popping in on their way to somewhere else.