well, its spring — so its about time for my big danish christmas holiday blog post

I’ve been meaning to write about this and post my pictures for … well months now. I don’t even dare look at my abandoned line of drafted blog posts. I have some from as long ago as Huntsville Texas, if you can believe it. Anyway, i’ll write about the blog post now and try to remember the holiday as best i can.

When i go home its always hard, not as easy and full of sheer joy as i’m sure most of you would suppose. The more often i go home to more i feel like i shouldn’t leave or i shouldn’t come back again. Thats a terrible thing to say, i know and am well fucking aware — but it’s the truth. Coming home is the most difficult thing to do on the planet, when home is a place you’ve hardly seen all your mortal days. Being with family for a fleeting moment only to disappear again for years at a time. It feels like that pain is pointless and more trouble than its worth. Sounds like i’m not happy to see them doesn’t it? Well, of course i am happy to see them — but they don’t know me anymore just as i barely recognise them.

We went to Denmark for around 3 weeks, and i’m still paying for that privilege. My workplace is actually still charging me for the right to have taken a christmas vacation. They  ailed to make me aware when i brought it up in my interview, and a hundred times there after, to tell me that vacation on either side of the schools Christmas vacation means you pay for the whole damn thing. It’s May and I’m still losing $350 a month for taking this holiday. Thanks.

However, on to more happy posting from here. I noticed when i was blogging from my phone in denmark my blog views and so forth actually sky rocketed. I was so surprised and really unsure why that was the case, because i was posting pretty poor phone pictures (not from my Nikon or Canon or vintage cameras), and i was merely posting in between trips and visits while i was sitting my parents leather sofa watching crime programs; but it did some wonders for my blog traffic — so i’ve set it up so i can permanently blog from my phone and when my 8 to 5 isn’t the huge nuisance that it is, i plan to do more off hand little short travelling posts.

Mor showing us around the property our first morning.
God morgen. <3


Now this might sound terrible, but what i most looked forward to was seeing my cats again, they have always been so dear to me and they got me through a lot of bad times by sitting on my face or doing goofy stuff. So seeing Daisy and Charlie again made me so so happy — especially after losing Basil. I had some treasures back in my life, even if it was for a fleeting moment.

Daisy being mad at me for being gone so long and pretending she doesn’t want my attention, when she obviously wants my attention.
No place does foggy, gloom like mornings quite like Denmark.

My parents house is a fortress, and i love it. I wish i could spend more relaxed time there but considering my circumstances its not really feasible. The first few days we chilled with my mum to get over the jet lag, and it was fucking A, my brothers were in Denmark too which was a bonus. A few days later my Pap-Kent came home from a work trip and that was when we were all finally together again, all of us, since England some time ago. It was special, annoying and lovely. Hell knows when we’ll all be together again but it probably wont be for a while. Im thinking our next holiday will be to Disneyland or the Caribbean, but never say never!

My favourite boots in one of my favourite places.

Yes, i packed these heavy ass boots because i can’t go ANYWHERE without a pair of cowboy kickers. And i love this picture, because it really shows the contrast. These boots walk the desert and plains daily, yet for Christmas they waded through tall rich blades of grass on a little island in Denmark. Literally my life. A big cock up different cultures. These boots look a lot more worse for wear these days — all covered in dust and holding on spurs.

Den gamle øl bænk.
I woke up so early almost every morning of the holiday, and i’d grab my camera to watch the world wake up. Often Charlie would coming running to me when he heard me and together we’d go back in the house when everyone starting waking up.
The cute little town of Bogense a little ways from my parents place.

Jack the Texan in a little old Danish town, dressed as an Irishman.

Danish towns are really really special. Comforting. And i love walking through them and looking through the windows.


The day after Kent came home we went out to see the highland cattle and visit the farms store. The proprietor, a very lovely lady, let me in to the pastures to pet the cows and now i want one. Or fifty.

Messy baby just had breakfast. Beard got in the way.


We also got to meet her very talkative chickens that believed we were only there to meet them. They clucked and rapped and peep peep peeped with all the chicken gossip. Above you can see Pap-Kent with a bunch of chicks.


That same day we also visited the bison “ranch” and got see these beauties. Bison are some of my favourite animals. Almost right up there with the Texas Longhorn and the American mustang.





Obligatory picture of Norse Fjord horses in a nordic country.


After our little livestock trip we went out to get a christmas tree from a roadside elf attraction. Something i always loved as a child, and still do, is that Denmark has little places like this set up and it looks like a real little elfs house. Even in Kolding you’ll find Santas house and in the Christmas month you can go in and visit him. Its so festive and i’ve never see it any place else — and i’ve been a lot of places. Sweden and Norway probably do similar things.

Elf woman who sold us our tree.
More chickens that had something very special to tell me.


I want all the things. ALL.


Our christmas tree, and i think it ended up being the most beautiful we’ve ever had because almost all the kids decorated it together. After Christmas my mum set up the tree in her garden. She’s just like me. Doesn’t to see them die after being used for a month — so she decorated it for easter and its still happily planted in her back garden. But thats why we use plastic trees at home — because i refuse to pay money to cut them down only to use them for a month, and then throw them away because they’re a fire hazard and “ugly.”

Suzy, my sisters dog. On our way outside to shit in the most ridiculous places because dog.
That there is my brother Franck.

Daim and anything kinder is food of the gods.


On the 23rd we had Christmas with Farmor in Kolding. It was wonderful and just what i wanted. Quiet, relaxed and safe. The only place that never changes and im so grateful for that. Believe me. Christmas at Farmors house is always the best. Films, Danish christmas food and copious amounts of chocolates, sweets and such forth that i miss when im away.


The best part of Christmas is the roast duck and the desert.


Jack found the almond and wont the prize, 100kr — which Farmor had her eye on to take back if no- one found the almond.


Franck did not win. Franck was not happy.


Franck and i with Far Dall. <3


And our Swedish Aunty Connie. I was SO glad Jack got to meet her because she’s such a character, and we all laughed like witches.  <3


This is Monty, and he will ONLY play with me. No one else. SO when i arrive we have to concentrate on making sure he is happily entertained with feathered things and fluffy mice. Because he doesn’t play for years at a time because im away. He is an enormous Norwegian Forest cat.


The best Christmas. Only Basil and Farfar were missing.

This is where Jack, Franck and i stayed in Kolding before returning back to Fyn. Nice little apartment type hostel thing hotel whatever.


Another beautiful morning.


And another morning that i had to get up and photograph.


I saw it shining through the window, the entire room was almost hot pink thats how bright it was and it was still 4.30am.


Charlie getting highs from the Christmas tree.


Decorating time! Mum let me pick a few things to take home with me for my own Christmas tree. So i can have a bit of home when i’m in America. Christmas and Birthdays can be hard for me, from time to time, because i’m used to a big loud annoying family. Luckily i have Jack who makes plans and keeps me going. We always have sweet little Christmasses (?) by ourselves. Cooking enough food just for two, Basil would get a special Christmas dinner and wear a wooly sweater, thats all we ever needed. The three musketeers.


We all decorated the Christmas tree together — aside from Steph. She was working. Boooo.


Kasper and Franck.


Cat + Box = Daisy in Box.


Buck toothed Gritty and her brother of many colours.





Charlie sneaking into the presents because no one in our family can stay away from presents.















The red house is  Santas house — the one i previously mentioned.




















Denmark for me is a tough subject. And the holiday was nothing too extraordinary, and we didn’t want it to be. We saw the places, spent time with my family and i knitted a lot of socks for my mum. Like a lot. But other than that there was really nothing to report. And thats why theres more pictures than writing. Going home after having been… home…. why it sucks. Believe it. It confuses me and hurts me. Every time i leave Denmark its feels like i’m leaving my inner innocent child behind, and i get so little time with her enough as it is. Coming back to America is coming back to real life.
After coming home this time i was CERTAIN i wanted to move back. Having been back in America for a few months — i’m sure to hell that i don’t. And thats the constant battle haha. Anyway, i hope you enjoyed the pictures. I realise the writing is sparse but sometimes pictures are enough.
Stay safe and healthy out there.

awake

I’ve been awake since 3.46am this morning and i’m stuck watching middle-aged housewives bitch eachother out on tv. Clearly being rich kept women isnt all its cracked up to be. Around 10am my brother, Jack and i are going to have breakfast at mormor and morfars house which is always a good way to start the day.

Awake

I’ve been having trouble sleeping, something very familiar to me for many reasons, but instead staring aimlessly at the ceiling counting political sheep i venture outside to watch Denmark wake up. Yesterday morning was Christmas morning and i watched the sunrise by myself whilst my camera filmed a timelapse. I scurried around the grounds filming birds flying over the fields and resting in the pine tops. I keep hoping ill see the deer my mother keeps talking about but no luck as of yet.

Last night we celebrated Christmas with my farmor, she makes the best risalamande any side of any place. It was nice to be just 5 of us. Franck, Steph, Jack, Farmor and myself. Laid back, easy and hyggeligt. You don’t need more than that.

It was a lovely Jul with a lot of laughter, story telling and word repetition cause im deaf as a bloodhound with a deficet.

I was falling asleep in the chair by the end of the night, as i am always prone to do, like some father with too happy family. So when we came back to the hotel room we’re sharing i passed out… got 5 hours sleep and here i am. Counting the damn minutes to the menfolk wakes up from their infernal snores.

Im not sure what our day will bring today, but i hope its a simple one. We all talked about visiting town even though everything is closed, but mostly to see familiar places and enjoy the calmness of the morning after Christmas.
Im really glad i set up to blog from my phone — it makes it a lot more convienient when im on the road.. which i am a lot. I found an app to resize my pictures too. Dont get me wrong i prefer posting DSLR pics but its nice to go back to plain basics now and again.

Glædelig jul og godt nytår!

And a happy christmas to those of you who are celebrating today.

expat blogger of the month

Hello lovely readers !
Let me catch you up a little on whats going on.
A few days ago i received an email asking if i was interested in contributing to an online expat magazine on expat.com.
I was so surprised and super excited, so of course i said yes. What an interesting opportunity.
I only recently happened across this website for expats a week or two ago from happening to glance at a few other expat blogs, so this all happened really quickly. Hence my surprise. Its a really great platform for people to learn about moving abroad and getting information from real people who have experienced that kind of life. So its genuine advice, thoughts and discussions. So if theres anyone out there reading this that wants to move abroad and wants a little help, this might be a nice place for you. (This is not an advert by the by — this is just my own opinion and i’m not paid to have said opinion). 
Anyway, they sent me a list of questions to answer about my blog and my general expat experiences. I know i don’t write like other people so i was a little unsure that my writing was right for something like this as its very “novel-esque,” but thats just the ever present self doubt we all suffer from once in a while making an appearance.

Tomorrow this little extract on me goes live on the online magazine, and i didn’t realise it that it means i am “the blogger of the month” August 2018 ! How exciting is that after only having been a member for a very short time?


Thats my little bit of news for this gloomy Monday night.
I hope you all have a lovely on going week, and that its not as humid where you are as it is here.
You can read the “interview” here!

Its never too early in the year for long johns. Ever.

 

 

The 411 Of Being An Expat

“I’ve been homesick for countries I’ve never been, and longed to be where I couldn’t be.” —John Cheever

When i first started out my blog i wanted to talk about integrating into another culture, being an expat and living away from your home country; the struggles and the joys.
This will be my first official post about being an expat.
So here are ten frequently asked questions i get daily.

1. What are you doing here? 

This is the biggest question i get asked, and quite frankly the rudest.
I always immediately lock up and become utterly defensive — wanting to respond with something witty and probably seeded with expletives.
But regardless of that — the simple answer to that question is that i’m living.

2. What made you want to come to America? 

When you’re foreigner or expat, unfortunately it automatically makes your life a public spectacle. People become nosey, and want to know everything about you. This can be incredible frustrating and i’m still finding my feet on how to handle questions that i don’t entirely want to answer. As i’ve said i’m a private person and my business is my business. In short i never wanted to come to America – i didn’t plan on it. I didn’t even want to go to America on holiday. I wanted to move back to Denmark and die there, but my plans clearly changed. I met a man i couldn’t even have dreamed of and i moved to be with him. Yes, long distance relationships are hard, but not impossible if they’re worth it and mine absolutely was. People are always quick to cast something aside when it gets tough, but thats not what life is about. Its about taking that bull by the horns and riding him out.

3. Don’t you miss you family?

Yes. Everyday. I think about them everyday. I wonder what they’re doing and if they’re happy. If they ever think of me and what i’m doing. I wonder what i’m missing out on. I picture what life could have been like if i’d moved to Denmark and been there with them 24 -7. And thats when i realise it never could have been me. Realistically i was born to discover and wander. And my family let me go like a free bird looking for warmer suns. I miss out on so many wonderful gatherings, and when i hear others around me talking about not wanting to visit grandma, how their mother was being a pain or their father wont buy them a car … i think to myself. How lucky you are to have your family down the road. Never forget how lucky you are, because there are days when it is torture and a very lonely way to live if you are 4000 miles away from them.

4. What was immigration like? 

Well, first off it cost more than a liver, set of kidneys and a prosthetic leg on the black market. But i will say, considering the cost, we had a relatively painless experience regarding immigration. The worst part was probably having to go to do medical things, which i hated but it wasn’t as terrible as i’d thought it was going to be. I thought i was going to have to drop my clothes and get man handled. I do not appreciate being at all trifled with so this was my worst nightmare. It was not as bad as all that. I just had my measurements, bio metrics and some injections done. Pretty painless, but i’d actually looked up a list of the medical things i needed before i left home and got my own doctor to give me most of the jabs i needed.

5. Do you get to go home very often?

Sadly not as often as i would wish. Its expensive and a very long trip. Its a night and a day. Its really enjoyable when theres two of us but thats even more expensive especially with an animal the needs constant attention at home. So no. Sometimes i’ll go alone for a few weeks which is nice but its hard to be away from one life to go to another. Theres also people who want to see you but don’t understand that you just don’t have time to see everyone inside of a short holiday — this can cause a lot of agro so i pretty much stick to just seeing family.
But i always miss Jack terribly. We’re two peas in a pod. And i don’t like being alone in a pod.

6. Weren’t you scared?

Nope. I wasn’t. I honestly never thought it was as big a deal as everyone made out to me. I was excited, but i wasn’t ever scared or in any doubt. I’d made my mind up to go and so i did. I looked back but only to see how far i’d come. Never in regret. I knew there would be things i would lose and be giving up, but life comes at you — you get up and you go.

7. What was it like to move such a long way?

It wasn’t until i’d been gone a year or so that i started to realise how hard the move was getting to be on me. My life ended up having to stop while i waited for immigration to be done. I couldn’t legally work, i couldn’t drive and it was Texas… there was nowhere to go that was in walking distance. Even if there had been — the heat would have killed me 20 steps in.
However, having been home all that time gave me months of working on interests and projects. I learned to knit, crochet, practice my photography, created art, learned to sew, exercised and practiced Shakespeare. I read as many books as physically possible and taught myself to cook. You have to make the best of the situations that suck. And it really wasn’t plain sailing. It was hard work. Nothing, and i mean nothing worth having is ever easy. Why would it be? You’d never appreciate it if it was. I suffered pretty severely from cabin fever but i got through it. Its a huge struggle that honestly cant truly be expressed in all its horrific-ness. You’ll know when you hit that wall, but remember. Just pursue the interests you’ve never had time for. Get excited about new bird species, sunrises and hailstones the size of your fists. Life is not all about 9 to 5 and paychecks. 

8. Was it hard to start working in another country?

It was nerve wracking, and sometimes it still is. Even after a few years i don’t entirely understand the American culture or the way people act with each other here. And obviously, with me it goes slower because i am a notorious recluse.  I don’t understand the rules, paperwork or the taxes. I’ve been lucky that i’ve had Jack to help me every step of the way, if i was alone it would have been a very arduous up hill battle. Working in another country never phased me till i tried it in the USA, the language is ever so slightly similar to English but don’t be fooled. Thats where the similarities end.
At least i’m still funny, witty and entertaining in every language. So i can always bring the laughs.

9. Does the magic of being an expat ever wear off?

Only if you let it. I don’t. I enjoy every car ride, every walk and every rain fall. Its another case of making the best of the opportunity you’ve been given. Yes, i just made myself sound like a Labrador but truly, if any animal treasures every day — its a dog. So there are worse things.
I will say that not every day is a bed of roses and full of unicorns, sometimes those unicorns leave giant turds and those roses have thorns. But you cannot expect everyday to be a holiday. Visiting a place for a holiday is VERY different to moving there and creating an entirely new life.  You still have to wake up to yourself every morning. This is something i CANNOT stress enough. I was lucky enough to know this from a very young age so i knew this when i moved to the USA. But those of you who don’t — think about it. I’ve met a few people who say things such as “I want to move to London, i had the best vacation for like a week,” or “I love Sweden is looks like so much fun in the snow!”
Stop. Right. There. 
London can be a rough area — like any/every capital city. A week with a friend is fun and all, but a lifetime and you could be letting yourself in to some serious problems not to mention dangerous situations if you think its all Mary Poppins and Bridget Jones’ high waisted underpants. Mr.Darcy isn’t that good looking or charming in real life.
Swedish winters are beautiful but you could also turn into an icicle if you don’t know the ropes or you could go insane due to the 6 months of constant sunlight/darkness.
I’m not saying don’t go, but i am saying be smart and remember that life is life — it will have downs just like it has ups. Can you survive Monday to Friday living where-ever you want to go? You be completely starting over and it can be very lonesome.

10. Its easy to integrate if you want to, isn it?

Sure it is for some, but others not. I think a lot of that depends on culture and the country someone is  moving to/from.
I don’t know that i’ve ever integrated anywhere, or ever wanted to. In England i was always the funny foreign kid but i still had a pretty great childhood, but i wouldn’t say i “integrated”. I’ve never changed, i’ve been the same person for a good while — i’m worldly, and though antisocial, i do mix pretty well with a lot of cultures and people. For the most part I believe in respecting a country for what it is and not asking it to fit YOU. Its you who must assimilate. The country does not owe you a damn thing. Remember that.
However, I quite enjoy being an outsider looking in. You experience more and get a better understanding of differences.
Your mind broadens.
That is a huge gift.

the secret kept by mountains

Do you have anything you want to ask or want to know about being an expat?
You can write a comment on this post, and i’ll try to answer as many as i can !

flying machines

We fly out at 20:24 (thats 8.24pm to some of you). Bit of a ridiculous time but hopefully the airport will be quiet at that point — Boston Airport is usually surprisingly deserted.
I’m already exhausted and ready to be back in my own bed. My mind always gets clouded trying to remember every little thing that needs to be taken care of. I should write lists. My mother tells me to write lists and i think a part of me doesn’t just to be a little bit rebellious. Also, did i mention i’m lazy as a sack of spuds? I really should write lists though, i know it would make travelling so much easier, but knowing me i’ll lose the list that i wrote telling me to remember to write a list before i go.

You see? Adulting is tough, kids. I don’t recommend it.

I will say I’m excited to show Jack more of my Danish life and my home town; visit some forests, castles and pubs.
Im proud to be Scandinavian. So i’m really happy to bring him into that culture. Besides, he’s been trying to learn Danish and i cant wait for him to use the inappropriate words i’ve taught him in front of my grandparents.
Its amazing to witness someone learning a language when you’re fluent in the language they’re learning and the language they speak.

But everything is packed and ready to go. All there is to do is get tickets, and get the bus to the airport. And the adventure begins!