I have now been living in Denmark for a month. What are my first impressions? Are the Danes as unwelcoming to foreigners as a number of other expats make them out to be? Are Danes as happy as they like to think they are? Is the weather really all that bad? This is a short snapshot of my still forming view:
I’ve got sunshine! In a bag
Weather is foggy all the time. At first it makes you feel as though you are in an enchanted land. This feeling, unfortunately, wears out pretty quickly and then it starts to wear you down. I am glad to be able to escape to Malta for Christmas where the weather (I hope!) should be way better. I guess in these circumstances I really need to transport myself to the sun if I am to enjoy any!
Tell me Why
Most people can speak English, but would prefer not to if at all possible. This means that when I ask for help people often try to fob me off. However, as soon as Michael speaks Danish the service is quickly and efficiently provided to me. I have already written about my experience when applying for the CPR number. However it happened again when trying to get a bank account (was told that I needed to go back another day) and registering for a tax card (was told I needed to post a form and it would take 2 weeks at least). When Michael tried in Danish he got me the bank account there and then and the tax card within 3 days max. How’s that for service?
How do you solve a problem like…?
Another thing I have noted is that Danes tend to answer only the question put to them and do not try to think of how else they can help me. Therefore, if you don’t know the exact question you want answered it is difficult to get the information you need. Thinking outside the box as to what someone in your situation might need does not seem to be a strong point here!
Hi ho, hi ho, and off to work we go!
I have already written about my impression of working in Denmark earlier. So far at work I have been included and made to feel welcome by everyone. I am sure that the presence of other foreigners in the group has paved the way for me here and it also means that I have someone to ask questions to – having an assigned buddy who seems very happy in this role is also a blessing as I feel comfortable enough asking when I need help (and him being a foreigner means that he can often guess as to what I need and answer with that information!).
Food, Glorious Food
Food here is what I call real farmer food: meat and potatoes and you’re all set! Unfortunately Danes like to slather their food with salt, and then some. To someone who grew up without using any salt in her cooking this is quite a shock to the system I am sure.
However, on a more positive note, I am happy to see that we have so far found all the ingredients we have looked for – including condensed milk for making Christmas logs at a local ethnic store. We have also found out that there are local fishermen selling their fish from boats on Als Sound – we definitely need to check them out!
Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round
They actually do! Unlike London, here, when on the bus, it actually moves! The frequency is not as high as in London, as could be expected in a more rural area. However, when a colleague grumbled that the buses sometimes arrive 5 minutes late I knew I was on to a good thing! Also, rather than traffic, people and buildings here I see sheep, cows and horses – ever so much more pleasant!
And in the End
Although it is not perfect (and it can never be) I am happy with the decision to move to Denmark for work so far. I am enjoying Sonderborg and I am excited about my work, besides sharing it with Michael. What more could I want?