Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A house of our own.

Ok, I guess I'm being a little lazy with words in the title because it's an apartment not a house and we don't own it, we're renting.  BUT I'm so thankful that we now have a place to call ours here in Aalborg.

Before moving here, I was hoping that we would find an apartment to move into by the beginning of April.  Hah!  That was before I talked to anyone else who has had the non-enviable task of finding an apartment in Aalborg.  It ended up taking about 2 months to find a place, and apparently that amount of searching time is the norm.

Meanwhile, we spent those 2 months living in a temporary place that was completely adequate and functional, and we were very thankful to have a furnished place to live in as soon as we moved here.  But, probably because we knew it was temporary, it never really felt like our space.

Our Building
However, after spending my days refreshing the apartment search website every 5 minutes and contacting non-responsive landlord after non-responsive landlord, I am SO happy to report that we found a place we actually want to live in, successfully translated a Danish lease (ok, some very helpful friends translated the lease for us, I'm not that good at Danish yet), paid a security deposit that we've been told not to expect back, and have established the home of the Gerhardts in Denmark complete with fully functioning dishwasher and a shower that doesn't spray water over the entire bathroom every time you use it.  Yay!

As we walked through the house for the first time on moving day, David remarked, "Wow, you're really happy about moving here."  And I was!  And still am!  But why was it that renting an apartment was such a big deal anyway?  I mean home is where ever I'm with you, right David?  And many times home isn't necessarily the building where you live, often people or a place or a time can be home.  And I certainly didn't expect Denmark to feel like home anytime soon.  But the thing was, even after being here for about two months, it didn't really feel like I was even living in Denmark.  It felt more like I was just staying here for a while.  

Living Room
You see, most things had gradually fallen into place.  We had Danish mobile phone numbers and local bus passes.  We'd made some friends.  We'd even found a church (in English!) to go to.  But without a place of our own, it still felt like I would be hopping on a plane back to Colorado at some point.  Having a place of our own filled with our stuff (which conveniently arrived in a big shipping crate on the same day we moved) went a long way in helping me feel like I actually lived here and I wasn't just on some really long vacation.  (Probably wouldn't seem like a vacation if I had a job...haha.)

The permanence of our move to Denmark is more real a good a way that makes me want to really become friends with the people that I've met here and discover my favorite places in Aalborg and explore this country that I now live in.  I don't want it to feel like I'm going back to the US any day now.  I want to figure out what it means to have a life here.  That's why I moved to Denmark.  I want to learn what it's like to live somewhere different than what I'm used to.

So I'm thankful for our apartment.  I'm thankful that we now have the space to invite people over for dinner, like our friend Karl who, after reading in this very blog that I had been unable to find canned black beans in Aalborg, found canned black beans for me!  (So it was practically required that we invite him over to show him the deliciousness of black bean burritos.)  I'm thankful that I have an oven so that I can bake a dessert to bring over a friend's house.  I'm thankful that, once again, we have instruments to play together.  And I'm thankful for a space that makes it a little easier to do the kinds of things that help me feel like I actually have a life here.