Just an update on how it’s going over here in Copenhagen:
The Job: Going through the usual new guy training, meetings, and introductions. My project team is great, my boss is really nice, the coffee and lunches are gourmet, and I even get to go to Milan, Italy in a few days. The kind of work I will be doing seems to be really interesting and I really enjoy going to work. I’ve never experienced that before.
The Commute: I bike 5 minutes to the train, my bike and I take a 35 minute train ride, and then I bike another 12 minutes to the office. I get to watch cruise ships come and go while waiting for the train by my apartment, and the surrounding land by my office is impossibly beautiful. It makes for a really nice commute. I’m sure my feelings will change during the dark winter months.
The Apartment: Still hasn’t gotten any bigger. At 44m2 I still feel slightly claustrophobic, but I’m always grateful to come home to my own place after the day to day battles of being a non-Danish speaker in Denmark. I already have to start looking for my permanent apartment since they are so hard to come by in the city. I don’t have to move until December.
The City: Copenhagen generally just rocks. Granted it is the summer months, which are warm and sunny all the time, which I know will definitely not continue come October. The nightlife is incredibly entertaining, there are parks everywhere, you can bike anywhere, and it’s on the ocean. I really could not ask for more in a city.
The Reality: If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s when someone tries to put only their good stuff out on display, while hiding their “dirty laundry” in an effort to make themselves look good. If you are wondering what I mean, just check your Facebook news feed. I’m sure you’ll find a good example within 2.5 seconds.
The honest truth is overall I’m really happy with my current situation. I am so fortunate to have been given an opportunity to live and work abroad at a really young age. I can even see a future here. Denmark has so much going for it as a country, and the Danes as a people.
But I do feel like an outsider. I don’t speak the language, the price of anything makes me want to vomit, and it takes courage to just walk down my apartment steps and out the door to face a new set of challenges every single day; challenges that never existed in my own country. I’m not trying to paint myself as some sort of martyr, but simply as a kid in a foreign country who misses his family, best friends, and the comfortable life back at home.
There are highs, and there are lows. I would not be doing myself or anyone else any favors if I omitted the lows in this post. It is something that I truly do want to always remember. I think a great point to get across is that you could have been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to move across the world for a dream job, but the searching, wondering, and doubting never changes. Yet all of your alleged dreams just came true for you, so what do you reach for now? That’s probably the most unsettling thought of them all.
“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins
For some reason this quote strikes a chord with me, but I’m not going to try to analyze it or even write about it at all.