Friday, August 23, 2013


Departures are so strange and intangible. We have been leaving for several weeks now. We said goodbyes. We watched a team of Swedish movers box up our possessions, load them in a shipping container and drive it away on a semi truck. We have been doing all our lasts. 

Last visit to Magasin. Last trip to our friends' house. Last walk along christianhavn canal. Last paradis ice cream. Some lasts went unnoticed. When was my final visit to my Egyptian friend's delicious restaurant? When was the last time I walked by the round tower? Saw a swan family? Heard the bells on Holmens church chime in a song?

Today, to mark our final day living in Denmark, we went to Tivoli. It was a bit overcast and tourist season is dying down so there weren't many people in line for rides. I was lucky enough to have three sleeping children a d one patient cousin and was able to go up The Golden Tower four times in a row. Once on each side. The ride is one of the simple run you up a tall tower and then drop you in a free fall until you get close to the bottom where you bounce up and down as if you'd gone bungee jumping. Normally I wouldn't want to go on such a ride, but there is something about The Golden Tower. There is a moment at the top where everything is still and you can survey the beautiful old city of Copenhagen. And then you suddenly plummet from the sky back down to earth. 

I surveyed the city I have come to call home, trying to soak in the beauty, to remember how lucky I am to have lived here and then I fell. 

After Tivoli, we took the bus home and put all our belongings in bags. We threw out an embarrassing amount of food, packed an embarrassing number of suitcases and went to sleep for one more night in our echoey, empty apartment. 

I remember leaving our home in Washington DC to move here and feeling much the same way. A sense of profound loss at the life we were leaving and simultaneously thrilled at the new adventure awaiting us. People say you can always return. "You can come back to Denmark," they say. And it is true, you can, and we will - but it will never be the same. We won't live here again and we won't find all of our familiar people and places again on our return. Time will march on, we will change, our neighborhood will change, people will move away, the city will shift and transform. It will not be our Copenhagen in the way it is in this moment and we will not be the way we are in this moment. 

In the morning, we will gather our belongings, make a final sweep of all the rooms, slam the door so it locks and leap - free falling into our next adventure. Here. We. Go...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Farvel Danmark

I don't like leaving, and yet we are all always leaving. We decided at the beginning of August that we are moving back to the United States at the end of the month. There are many things I am looking forward to about moving to my home country, but there are so many things I will miss about this amazing country that I have come to love.

I will miss the friends we have made here, many of whom were instrumental in helping us survive my pregnancy and our early days with the twins. I will miss the bakeries. I will miss their pastries and also their amazing breads. I will miss taking Riley to Lagkagheuset and leaving with his free child's roll in a small brown bag. I will miss taking our huge strollers on busses, walking past the city's canals every day, hearing English spoken with a Danish accent, passing days or afternoons at Tivoli, talking to neighbors in our courtyard while Riley plays in the sandbox or on the pirate ship play structure. I will miss the Danish people who think they are unfriendly but who are actually kind and generous in their own quiet way. There is so much to miss.

Neil jokes that if we had to sum up our time in Denmark in two words those words would be "We reproduced." This is funny to me because on the one hand, it is true, we moved here with a 7 month old and are returning with a 3 year old and two 4 month olds. But children, while perhaps the most important thing to happen to us, were not the only thing to happen. We traveled, oh did we travel. We had my dream European vacation at least four times over. And we became a part of a community here. We learned to live abroad, immersed ourselves in another culture to the point that nothing here seems strange anymore except the language.

I fell in love with Denmark. A friend recently remarked that living here is like being at Disneyland, you can't stay forever. It is true. It's easy to live in Denmark. Sure, there are problems here, but compared to most places, it is utopic. Our experiences with the schools here have been outstanding. I feel it is almost criminal to take Riley out of the fantastic little bornehavn he just started attending in June. My time at the hospital was so positive in so many ways. Our family doctor is outstanding. Our neighbors are nice. We can bike, walk or take public transit everywhere. It just feels good to be here and I am so sad to be leaving this place and the people who make this place special for us.

I look forward to being closer to my family and in the same place as much of Neil's family and I am sure I will enjoy things like understanding other people's conversations, reading signs, going to Target, etc. But right now I am determined to soak in as much Denmark as possible before flying to Oregon with two 4 month olds, a three year old and a 14 year old dog (and Neil and cousin Brittany). You just know that day will make for a good blog post or two.

Movers will come this Thursday and take all our belongings and put them on a boat. As we go through our flat and sort and pack it feels like both yesterday and a lifetime ago that we were doing the same thing in our apartment in Washington, DC in preparation for our Denmark adventure. I hope our next adventure will be just as good as this one has been.