Expat portrait: Sarita, freelance writer and blogger in Copenhagen

It’s time for an expat portrait again! Today, I’m introducing Sarita, a fellow Copenhagen blogger who I’ve also met during The Hive Blogging Conference in May.

If you’re an expat in Denmark and would like to be featured, just drop me a line!


Sarita moved to Copenhagen in early 2012, when her husband was offered a job here. She writes a great blog centered around gift giving called The Orange Gift Bag, which you should definitely go check out! Her mission is “to uncover the best gifts after love”, and her guide to gift giving in Denmark is a must-read for any expat here.

Sarita Rajiv - For Copenhagen Tales

What is your favorite thing about living in Denmark?

I live in Copenhagen and my favourite thing about living here is that it’s such a compact city. You can get to most places within and around the city within half an hour either on cycle or the efficient public transport.

What do you miss most from your home country?

I miss my family and friends in India and all the festivals we celebrate back home. I can get quite nostalgic thinking about them, but I’ve now begun to celebrate them in the best way I possibly can in Denmark.

If you could describe Denmark in 3 words, which would you use?

Charming, homogenous and balanced (work-life).

In your opinion, what is the weirdest or funniest thing Danes do?

I find it unusual that Danes are not particularly religious but they are tradition bound. You notice it in the way they celebrate festivals and the tradition of having the christening, confirmation and  wedding ceremonies at the church but rarely visiting it the rest of the year.

What is your favorite Danish food? What is the worst?

My favourite is the smørrebrød…it’s a fun piece of Danish cuisine. The worst would have to be  leverpostej…I just can’t get myself to eat it.

Which Danish tradition would you like to keep even if you move away from Denmark in the future?

It would be nice to continue the tradition of hygge.

What are your favorite three places in Denmark or the Danish city you live in?

  • Fælledparken  - I love visiting it with my daughter; there’s so much to explore and do.
  • Hovedbibliotek (The main library) - my source for English novels and my “office” when I need a change from working out of home.
  • Paludan Bogcafe - Perfect place to meet friends and have work meetings.

What is the most important thing you have learned during your time as an expat in Denmark?

To be realistic about my expectations. In hindsight, I was a bit naïve to assume that I would make many Danish friends quickly without knowing anything about the nature of Danes or Danish society.

Which advice would you give someone considering to move to Denmark?

Saunter, don’t rush into a relationship with Denmark. Give both Denmark and yourself the time to understand each other. Don’t be in a hurry to set expectations or make judgements.

Finally, we all have a love-hate relationship with the Danish language. What is your favorite Danish word, and what does it mean?

Punktum aka full stop/dot/period. It’s got a fun ring to it and I absolutely love using it when I’m saying an email id or a website address in Danish.


Do you have any questions or comments for Sarita? Post them here, and I’m sure she’ll be happy to answer them!

Expat portrait: Melanie, freelance writer and blogger in Copenhagen

It’s time for an expat portrait again! You guys have already met Melanie, a fellow Copenhagen blogger who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting during The Hive Blogging Conference in May, when I introduced her in the writers’ blog hop last month.

If you’re an expat in Denmark and would like to be featured, just drop me a line!


Melanie, 39, is originally from the UK and pretty much a Copenhagener by naturalization by now - she’s been living here since 2008. She lives in Østerbro with her family, and if you haven’t done so yet, you should stop by her lovely blog, Dejlige Days. You can also find her on Facebook.

Melanie

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Expat portrait: Rosemary, writer in Copenhagen

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!