Something new! I’ve started this blog to write about my life as an expat in Copenhagen, and I thought it would be awesome to introduce you to some other people who have chosen to leave their home country behind and move to Denmark. So welcome to the new “Expat Portrait”, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
If you are an expat living in Denmark and would like to be featured, just drop me a line!
Kicking it all off will be Rosemary, who’s a writer living here in Copenhagen. She also blogs at Obsolete Vernacular. Rosemary is somewhat of a “repeat offender” in terms of being an expat: she lived in Copenhagen between 2002 and 2008 and returned again in 2012 because of her husband’s job. She has dual citizenship of the UK and Australia. She works as a writer and has turned her experiences as an expat into the story The Cinnamon Snail, which takes place in Copenhagen.
What is your favorite thing about living in Denmark?
I love how everything simply works. It is centralised and efficient. There is a process for everything. It is frustrating that nothing works outside the box but when you get the process right you can guarantee the result. I also like the feeling you get when you finally break through a Dane’s reserved exterior and find the kindness and humour beneath.
What do you miss most from your home country?
Sunshine! Friendly, happy go lucky people who greet you in the street with a smile. I was on crutches in Australia and every stranger opened doors, asked how I was and carried bags for me with a cheerful, ‘No worries, mate.’ I was on crutches again last month here and no one did any of that. Everyone is treated exactly the same and my right to go through a door first or get a seat on the bus while disabled simply didn’t exist. You really do need to stand on your own two feet here - literally.
If you could describe Denmark in 3 words, which would you use?
Efficient. Egalitarian. Conformist.
In your opinion, what is the weirdest or funniest thing Danes do?
Refuse to share their packed lunches at work. The language school warned us about this right off. Danes do NOT share their food. Most of us found that funny.
What is your favorite Danish food? What is the worst?
Aebleskiver is my favourite. Any smorrebrod involving cold, sliced turnip is my worst.
Which Danish tradition would you like to keep even if you move away from Denmark in the future?
Our Christmas Nisse came with us home to Australia and he brought December gifts there too.
What are your favorite three places in Denmark or the Danish city you live in?
- Mig og Annie cafe in Lyngby. Fantastic staff and next to a flower shop.
- Hellerup library. Wonderful architecture, good coffee and nice staff.
- Books and Company bookshop in Hellerup. English books, the best coffee in all of Copenhagen and lovely staff who let you sit there all day and chat with friends. They also know everything about their stock and give good advice. (editor’s note: they have Rosemary’s book The Cinnamon Snail in stock)
What is the most important thing you have learned during your time as an expat in Denmark?
Don’t expect to be fully accepted into the society unless you have a Danish partner. Your attempts to learn the language may be rebuffed as they speak such excellent English. Don’t allow yourself to feel unwelcome. You’re not. Just take what you want and leave the rest. The good outweighs the bad, as it does in so many places.
Which advice would you give someone considering a move to Denmark?
Bring warm clothes and candles! Come as an outsider and enjoy that role. Danes are very friendly when you get past the cool exterior, They just don’t want you to be a Dane. They like you for what you are. There is always more to a Dane than meets the eye, and usually in a very good way.
Finally, we all have a love-hate relationship with the Danish language. What is your favorite Danish word, and what does it mean?
My children love to see elevators that say I fart. Fart is speed. I fart means ‘in motion’. I like oplevelsen. It means ‘the experience’. It’s what I am getting here in Denmark.
Do you have any questions or comments for Rosemary? Post them here!