Show of hands - who remembers my expat portrait series? If you don’t I can’t blame you, because it’s been a loooong time since I posted the last one! Originally, I thought I’d make this a monthly thing, but somehow ended up dropping the segment and focusing on other things. But I thought it was time to introduce you to some more fantastic, interesting, and inspiring people that moved to Denmark from abroad.
If you’re an expat in Denmark and would like to be featured, just drop me a line!
Today, we’re meeting Liz, a professional photographer based in Copenhagen. She’s originally from the US, but she moved to Copenhagen with her Danish husband last year. She’s an incredibly talented photographer, specializing in kids photography, weddings, and portraits - definitely check out her beautiful shots at Twig & Turtle Photography (Facebook). Especially her portraits of children are so amazingly natural - not at all like those staged, black-and-white, awkward family shots you see way too often. Liz has shared some of her experiences as an expat in Copenhagen with me below!
Side note: There’s a special offer on holiday sessions with kids - so be sure to check out her website and get some Christmas presents for grandma and grandpa!
What is your favorite thing about living in Denmark?
The weather. Kidding. I have to say being a visual person all the art, architecture and design. There is SO much to see here and it all is so beautiful and on certain days you can see it for free! It’s fantastic!
What do you miss most from your home country?
Aside from family and friends, I miss my home with its lovely bathtub and clothes dryer, the sun and my mountains.
If you could describe Denmark in 3 words, which would you use?
wind, windy, windy-er.(Is that a word?)
In your opinion, what is the weirdest or funniest thing Danes do?
The whole dressing in black thing to me is both weird and funny. I love black but I have two pugs so black is out for me, because of dog hair. But everyone in the whole country is dressed in black. When my husband and I go out shopping, if we get separated it is impossible for me to find him because he is in black with 1000 other people. It is so embarrassing not to be able to recognize your own husband. I think that is pretty weird. That and no one talking at all to anyone else on the trains ever…
What is your favorite Danish food? What is the worst?
Lets just say I judge a bakery by their Tebirkes. So far Granny’s House is the best because Granny’s double the size of regular ones and are super gooey and lovely. I love flæskesteg, frikadeller and the rødkål. I don’t like the leverpostej. At all.
(Editor’s note: Nah on the flæskesteg, hell yes on the leverpostej!)
Which Danish tradition would you like to keep even if you move away from Denmark in the future?
I would light those candles, boil that tea and I’ll take the hygge with me. And the sweet little nisser at Christmas time. The more the merrier.
What are your favorite three places in Denmark or the Danish city you live in?
- I love Dyrehaven. It has magic, really and truly.
- I love the ocean so any beach is great, but I really love the ones with sand dunes and tall grasses (editor’s note: Like Amager beach and Rørvig beach!).
- It can not be overrated as to how much I love the little town of Dragør. Have you been? It is so amazing with the yellow houses and the small streets and all the flowers in the summer. I would love to live there. It is definitely one of my favorite places to take photos. (Editor’s note: Sounds like I should go!)
What is the most important thing you have learned during your time as an expat in Denmark?
The thing that has surprised me the most is how alien I still feel and how much harder it has been than I perhaps realized. It is no small thing to leave your family and go to another country. Part of me feels like I’m on a really long vacation, and part of me misses home, and part of me is so happy to be here. I definitely don’t regret it though.
Which advice would you give someone considering to move to Denmark?
Say goodbye to the sun and start learning the language. Try and learn even just a little. I believe that if you live in a country you should be learning to speak the language. I know it is hard, and that everyone speaks English here, but I think if you just make an honest effort that effort pays off and Danes get so happy even if you fall all over their crazy pronunciation. It shows respect and a willingness to be a part of things. I can’t wait until I can speak fluently.
Finally, we all have a love-hate relationship with the Danish language. What is your favorite Danish word, and what does it mean?
Well as a way of learning Danish I am reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in Danish. It was one of my favorite books when I was little and I read it several times. I thought it would be a good book to start with in Danish because it is for kids and I already know what happens. I have learned many words while reading it though I’m sure they are totally outdated and old fashioned but my favorite is “temmelig tåbeligt” because it is fun to say. It means pretty foolish.
I definitely understand the feeling alien part, and I fully second the motion that learning Danish will help you adjust to life in Denmark (read my post about it here, and my best tips for learning Danish here). Plus, it’s actually fun - so wouldn’t it be temmelig tåbeligt not to?!
Do you have any questions or comments for Liz? Post them here, and I’m sure she’ll be happy to answer them!