Friday, 10 May 2013

Three Months, 12 Weeks, or 133,920 minutes (approximately)

This week marked the three month-iversary of our arrival in Denmark. I thought, since I'm going back to London for the weekend and I have a few free hours until we leave for the airport, that I'd do a bit of a recap on how the move has been so far.


The weather, the rain, the occasional lovely days, the consistent wind, are pretty much as expected. When we first arrived I was absolutely chilled all of the time, but wool tights under trousers and water proof clothes make the difference.

The winter is generally colder and a lot snowier than Ireland or London, and that was a bit of a surprise (that snow storm in March was, too), but I mean, it's Europe, you won't get harsh extremes of either hot or cold, and that's why I like it so much. My pasty skin and inability to get warm need moderation.


I cycle everywhere. I got a nice bike, and we have a couple of spare cheap bikes too, so we're always sorted. I usually only lock my bike with the flimsy lock on the back wheel, and I use lights at night so the police don't fine me 1000dk.

There are cycle lanes everywhere in this country (well, in Zealand anyway), including one that is rumoured to go all the way from Copenhagen to Roskilde. There were perfect cycle lanes in random countryside areas on our way to the ferry, and everyone, toddlers to the elderly, cycle everywhere in this city.

I love cycling, I think it's great exercise, great for concentration and it's so very free, that I'm chuffed how easy it is to do it. If you do need to take a train or bus for some crazy reason, they're reasonably priced, very clean, very new, and also a lovely experience.


Danes seem to be a lovely bunch of people. They generally smile at you on the street, are courteous, and are always trying to chat to me (and I am always awkwardly apologising for not speaking Danish). Unfortunately living and studying with your partner is the ultimate deterrent for making friends, and I haven't had much expose to non school friend Danes, so so far I haven't made friends with any other than the ones in my class, and it's an English speaking class.

I was surprised, and possibly the thing I'm most disappointed in, is the lack of 'lagom'. I expected this concept to be as pervasive as I felt it was in Sweden. Instead, there is a finely gradiented, but noticeable and irrefutable class structure. I was also very suprised by the, well, heteronormativity, of this capital city.

I haven't seen many gay couples, or indeed, any non-traditional couples at all really, and this makes me a bit concerned. If I was to stay here, and settle, would I really want my child to one day grow up thinking 'normal' is straight, married or paired off, with at least one baby in tow?

Generally, though, the culture here is very pleasant. People are polite, services are organised and orderly, and business get back to you efficiently with a concise answer. I like it.


Denmark is very expensive. A latte is 30k, that's twice what you might expect to pay in Dublin, and almost twice what you might pay in many places in London. Taxes are very high, and jobs for non-Danes are hard to attain.

On the plus side, you have very high basic wages, and excellent subsidies for students, parents, and every category of citizen imaginable. To come on holidays, yes, it is expensive, but for the relative quality of life, I think living here is affordable. You just might have to lay off the lattes like I did.


I'm 5 weeks into my Danske classes, and I have just one thing to say about the Danish language:

In its' written form; makes sense, pronunciation and speaking to be understood; forget about it kid!

I don't know if I'll be able to hold a conversation any time soon, or ever actually be able to speak the damn language. I don't know if I'll need to in order to live here. All I know is, the fact that chokolade is pronounced 'choco-lale' is enough for me to run away and hide.

So there you have it, a recap on my major impressions of living in Copenhagen so far. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to make an omlette with some wild garlic we collected from the park today. Hej hej!

An unrelated image of the lake I sit by when I need a time out in school

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