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Denmark: My Life Around Vikings


My adventure in Denmark began with a comment that I would have heard many times afterwards: "I'm sorry for the weather, but I hope you'll get used to it because it's always like that in Denmark". These words didn’t sound so encouraging. However, I did not give too much weight to them because I was already in love with Denmark. From the plane I could not help getting excited in front of all the water that seemed to take possession of everything by not only lapping the coast but occupying also the hinterland with lakes and rivers. Not to mention the forests that seemed to rebel against the arrogance of mankind who tries to build a refuge at the expense of nature.

With time, however, I understood the meaning of those words of welcome. Danes love to complain about the weather: "What a cold weather! Could you imagine something like this before coming? ","Hopefully spring will come soon", "Trust me, this year the summer will be different and it will be like being in Italy ". Soon these resigned exclamations began to be a constant in my daily life and I began to think that things were going so well in Denmark that the only thing Danes could complain about was the weather. But then I realized that this is only half the truth.

Of course, there is no need to worry about unemployment in a country where only 4% cannot find a job, but what brings Danes to dream constantly about crowded Mediterranean beaches is their humility. Everything is more beautiful for them outside their own country. They are tormented at the thought of living in a place where there are no mountains, where in winter it is dark early and where you cannot taste the delicacies of Southern Europe. It took me some time to make people understand that even in Italy the winter temperature goes below zero, that we do not spend four months a year on the ski slopes and that, after all, we are not all experienced cooks.

Yet this does not mean that the Danes do not love their country. On the contrary. You can perceive that by the flags that are everywhere and stand out on any surface of the house. You can perceive it also by their eyes when they discover that you are learning their language and that you even plan your future there with them. Yes, because it is very likely that you will start doing it after a month. Of course, first of all you will have to recover from some traumas, but if you do find yourself prepared I am sure you will be able to overcome them easily.

First of all, you must know that the Danes wake up earlier, have lunch earlier, have dinner earlier and go to sleep earlier. You must know, then, that it does not matter how proactive you are because you are already two hours late on their schedule. Even today I try to convince people around me that if I wake up at 8 does not mean that I'm lazy and that I would call the meal at 18 more a snack in the middle of the afternoon than a dinner.

Speaking of delays, living in Denmark will take you to reconsider your biological clock. You will soon realize that if your Danish peers are not already married, they are very close to do it and heir children are around the corner. My advice is not to start counting the days before the menopause and do not obsessively search for your maternal instinct. Take your time!

Let's move on to a very important aspect of Danish life: candles. I hope you do not belong to that category of people who fear that a house can burn down by lighting up a match, otherwise there is no hope for you. Danes love candles, they are everywhere and always on. It is part of their culture and their concept of "hygge", an unpronounceable word to indicate that feeling of warmth and well-being that is felt when you feel comfortable whether you are outdoors or at home, whether you are alone or together. In short, a very labile concept, but no matter which culture is, I think that each of us has experienced it at least once in life.

At this point, I need to warn you about Danish humour. Soon you will learn to appreciate it, but most important to recognize it. In the meantime, stare at the person who speaks to you seriously, studying every move of the face in order to see if he is joking or not.

However, if you are still reading this article, it means that you are not frightened by diversity and so I encourage you to take the first plane and experience the deep North in person as I am doing. It is said that you need to be brave to leave and start a new life in another country. I have never understood if I did because of courage or recklessness, but Denmark made me realize that in life it comes a moment when you look around and think "Yes, I could live in this place forever".

by Genny Cabas

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