Tuesday, March 31, 2015

One year in.

So before we close out March and head full on into spring, we have a big anniversary to celebrate here.  The Gerhardts officially made it through one whole year on the Jutland peninsula back on March 11.

These pictures aren't really related to the blog post, but a post
with no pictures is kinda boring.

I don't know what you're thinking, but what I'm thinking is "What the heck?  It's been a whole year already?"  I'm pretty sure this has been the fastest year of my life.  New places, new people, new language, new foods, new job, new apartment...I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that it all seemed to go by so fast.  But it's hard for me to believe that it's been a year since we moved because I still feel kinda new here.  I think part of it's because I'm still not really comfortable with the language.  But a bigger part is probably because, no matter how long I've been here, I'm living in a culture that is not the culture/society that I'm most familiar with.  There will always be things that just seem weird to people who did not grow up Danish.

I'm currently reading a book called "How to Be Danish", but since I don't plan on changing my name to Mette or dying my hair blond (and the book is really more of observations on Danish culture than an instruction manual), I'll just have to be glad that I can now make it through a grocery store trip without feeling illiterate and I can at least tolerate the salty black licorice.

We caught the train down to Rold Skov/Rebild Bakker
which is a huge forest south of Aalborg.

And there are some things that I really like here.  Off the top of my head (meaning this is not a complete list but just what came to mind right now)...
The bike infrastructure is great, and traveling by train is actually a viable option (unlike in most parts of the US).  Paid vacation days, paid sick days, maternity leave, flex-time, and working from home seem to come standard with most jobs and aren't things that you have to negotiate in your employment contract.  The wonderful hours of glorious sunlight in the summer almost make me forget about my winter time complaints.  And the pastries...oh the pastries...how did I live without hindbærsnitter for 28 years of my life?  That thing Americans call a Danish is a complete insult to deliciousness that I have enjoyed over the past year.  And the beaches...definitely a nice surprise.

But for all the chocoladeboller that have blessed my stomach in the past 12 months, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't miss some things from the USA.  Like Mexican food.  And mountains.  The American kind of football.  Turning lights on by flipping them up instead of down.  120V kitchen appliances.  And being around people who have known me for longer than a year.

It's not the Rocky Mountains, but you definitely can't complain.

That last one is hard.  As someone who's pretty extroverted (surprise!), I enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories.  And when you're a foreigner in a country, you tend to meet a lot of other foreigners in that country.  So I've been able to meet people from all over the world here and learn how similar and different their stories are from mine, and I've definitely learned a lot.  (Meeting new people here has also made realize that the "Boulder bubble" is definitely a real thing.  Boulder friends, did you know that not everyone likes camping, craft beers, and kombucha???  :D)

But, while meeting new people is exciting for me, sometimes I don't want the excitement but rather the comfort of being around people who already know my story.  People who know what I mean when I say "the rollerblading incident" or "that time I broke my elbow".  People who don't need me to explain why I doubted that I would ever finish grad school because they know, they were right there with me.  (And right now, I'm remembering just how thankful I am for David in my life.)  Of course, it just takes time to tell those stories to new people.  As most people who have moved to a new place as an adult can tell you, making friends is a lot harder when you're the only one who's new and you don't have tons of people (i.e. college classmates or whatever) who are also new and in the same situation as you and all wanting to make new friends at the same time as you want to make new friends.  And that realization makes me hugely grateful for the people we've met here who have been willing to share their already established lives with us.  It really makes me think about how I welcome new people that I meet and if I'm willing to show that same hospitality and love.

So there's some thoughts on this adventure so far.  I'll let you know how the next year goes.


  1. Wonderfully written. I cannot believe it has been a year! I am so proud of you guys! It definitely puts you out of your comfort zone. Id love to visit one of these days and try those yummy danish foods you commented about. I miss you, think of you often, & u both r in my prayers. Xoxo

  2. Hoooraaaa ;) So glad that you like Denmark !