I love my children and I try to be a good father. When I was still working in the pharmaceutical business, in a multi-national company, I was on business trip every week in peak times. It was always difficult for me to leave wife and children behind, see them on Skype in the evening, leaving a bitter taste of lonliness and emptyness on my tongue after the disconnection signal.
Being at home for a year, on the other hand, is troubeling me nothing less. The distance helps to reconfigure the focus on the family and to readjust the values of family life. Nobody should be lonely going to bed in the night. Nobody should be alone living in an apartment or house. Of course there is a significant amount of freedom taken, when living with a partner or especially with children, but I think people are not made for living alone: it leads to misbehaviour (in a common sense and healthwise), it leads to a lack of communication (except you have an all-in mobile contract and good friends); but living in company trains constantly your patience and flexibility to adapt to different circumstances.
So much for today from a man sitting all alone in a pharmacy on nightwatch, ready to help and eager to get home.
Home sweet home.
I was just checking my last entry, which was February. I mean: February? And now it is end of June? Oh my gosh.
What happened in the meantime, despite the fact that Great Britain left the EU and everywhere spreads the right-populistic garbage like weed in the garden?
I made so far 1200km on my cargobike. I think this is worth mentioning. And I am impressed, happy, enthusiastic and in love with it.
Otherwise I have still the plan to keep this blog alive together with Irena. It was just happening quite something in the last month, what took much time. This post has to written sooner better than later, because there is plenty roumors about us, which should be settled by writing a few lines.
Where to start? Shortly after the last post, Irena and I received four job offers in short time, each of us two. Irena sent her first application and received two regulatory offers in close pharmaceutical companies. At the same time, I got one offer from cook medical (thank you Peter, keeping you in best memory!!), which was a heavy travel position for whole Europe. The other offer was to take over a pharmacy in Germany. I took a brief flight back home and checked the pharmacy and the numbers, and the idea of starting the own business was amazing. My parents (especially one of them were quite sick, still are) and we saw the need for us to be close. We heard around a bit and found a house in good condition with a great garden for the kids to play – pics to follow.
So we decided to go for the own business. No regrets. The kids spoke Danish, they had some contacts, but I would not say friends.
At the same time, my health started to seriously trouble me and I had a couple of rather unpleasant examinations in the hospital. They found two knots in my throat, which turned out to be not maligne, and will be just regular checked for their size and shape. That is it, hopefully, not more and not less. But my first general anaesthesia was amazing and I liked the feeling of just letting is all go. I hope this was the only serious topic to clarify in the next 36 years. Then it is OK. 😉 But it is a blessing not to know what tomorrow brings – isn´t it?
We moved here in May, so it´s now a few months. The move was the same as it was from Slovenia to Denmark, with the exception that I did it all by myself. From a to z, even the transport. But please do not ask… but I survived it.
I will own the pharmacy with 1st of Octobre. It is a small pharmacy with 5 employees overall, but I think it is a great start to make experience in the self-employment sector without being in too strong pain for little mistakes, which I will for sure make in the beginning. I think the overall risk is small for making a decent living.
Until then, I am already working since March in the pharmacy as employed pharmacist. When I will have the house-warming / opening party, I will let you know.
Katarina is already going to school here and is having a good time. German was never a big problem for her, because I speak German to my children since their births. She was put to first grade and will be pushed to second grade in August. Mathematics is still giving here some trouble, but she is smart as a fox and will keep up very fast.
The other kids are having a great time with their mom at home and enjoy the free time they have. From August 1st they will go all together in the same kindergarten. Unfortunately there was no forest Kindergarten free, so they go again to a regular one. I had really great experiences with the Danish nature-kindergarten. But at least, they are all in one place.
The pharmacy, our home, the stores, the school – it is all just a few hundred meters apart in one direction, so we still live and enjoy life without a car.
That is it for today. Tomorrow comes another day full of work, joy, upbringing and so on – so stay happy everybody, stay healthy, keep tuned and keep in mind: Carpe diem!
There is one more thing…
The green phase in the contradirection towards city center enables cyclists to get from the outskirts to their jobs from 7-10am without dropping their feet from the pedals.
All major streets towards the center offer this luxury.
Denmark is well-known for its famous home design. The traditional house in an urban area, so-called villa, is usually a brick house with big elegant windows and doors, sometimes in a contrast colour to the facade so it gives the house even more character. The old villas have stucco decoration on the facade and in every room; on walls as well on the ceiling, where the lamp is hanging. The old countryside houses are half-timbered and have a thatched roof.
The Danes like the spirit of the old days, they like to stick to their tradition. Let´s take the windows as an example. It is not rare that you see houses built at the beginning of 20. century, and they still have the old good double-glassed windows. They like to repaint the windows quite often, but the old ones don´t have any rubber gasket, so it gets quite cold in the house on windy winter days. Another thing for old windows in Denmark is that they open to the outside. Why? We were asking people around, carpenters among them as well, and maybe the most logical explanation is that the wind helped to close the old windows better if they were opening to the outside. Could be. But it takes less effort to fall out of the window when cleaning the glass. On the other hand you can use the windowsill easily, if the windows open to the outside. In the long winter nights one can see windowsills with candles burning and table lamps on, which gives the home the typical cosy atmosphere; the Danes call it “hyggelig” and maybe you could translate it to “Home sweet home”. In the dictionary the definition is even more exactly described: cozy, homy, delightfully intimate, a genial moment or thing, often at home with candle lights and warm blankets.
Our flat is from 1940´s, and had also old windows as we moved in. Before we moved in, we made a deal with the landlady that the windows will be changed before winter. The winter was approaching, the nord wind started to blow, and in the flat was sometimes 16 degrees Celsius, although the central heating was at the maximal power. In the morning we measured a record of 14 degrees, and Sebastian was preparing breakfast and lunchboxes in his wool scarf and winter clothes. On the morning of New Year´s Eve we were getting some fresh air to the sleeping rooms, as usual. As the mechanism of fixing the window was broken, the wind threw with such a force the window against the facade, that the glass broke into pieces, so just the frame was left over. This was the sign that the windows are ready to retire. Not only the insufficient isolation was the problem. In the wintertime you couldn´t see through the windows. They were either full of ice or condensed water dependant on the temperatures outside. It´s quite depressing if you see only fog on a short winter day, although you could have seen the sun for a couple of hours.
New Year´s Eve broken window
But we have eventually awaited new windows in the mid January. We were so happy. Double-glassed wooden windows with vacuum in-between, and they looked like the imitation of the old ones. No usual handle to open them, but like the old ones two hooks and this metal stick to fix the window in place. Opening? To the outside of course, as they have to open like the rest of the old windows in the house. The difference was evident. The room temperature has risen to 20 degrees Celsius, and we turned the central heating down. No fog on the glass. And no internet connection since our windows have been changed. Hmmm? The carpenters asked me if they can unplug the modem to have better access to the windows, and of course I let them do it. Sebastian spent one day trying to fix the router together with the helpdesk experts from our internet provider. No success. The problem seemed bigger. Oh yes! The cable was cut as they have removed the old frame. Probably they thought the cable didn´t have any function, or there was no way of letting the cable as a whole, if they wanted o change the window. But strange that they haven´t mentioned it to us.
new beautiful windows
Couple of days later our neighbour told us that she doesn´t believe that exchanging the windows would makes any difference. The most of the energy is lost due to bad wall isolation, so new windows make no sense, is her conviction. She is living in the house for 35 years, and she uses extra electrical heaters besides from the central heating every winter.
I am slowly getting the picture, why the Danes are one the happiest nations in the world. Because they are satisfied with what they have, and try to make the best out of it.
I just checked my last entry to our blog – as well because Katja asked me “what about the blog”, when I announced my activity reduction on Facebook. And you are right, after so many months of inactivity, it is time to write about our time and news here in Denmark.
Guess what, so much happened, that it is impossible to describe it all. So I decided to pick a topic, as always, to write more about: Cargobikes, in special our new Cargo Bike. And here it is, yay:
It is a Larry vs. Harry cargo bike with an 11 gear hub switch by shimano, it carries including driver up to something about 250kg. It has a hub Dynamo with LEDlights, is super fast, super spacy for two children, super agile and best of all: Super clean for the environment. Like others being proud about their great cars with supercharged engines, I am proud about our 15 months, counting, without any car – and I think it is not a bad thing to be proud about it. Believe be, especially with many children and cold winter days, a life without a car needs a strong will. So far, we are getting along, and it seems fair to me to reward ourself with such a great bike.
Here are some more pictures of the bike. Afterwards, I will describe public and bicycle traffic here in CPH, and then I will finish with some general information about us and our time here in the last months – so if you are not interested in the bike part, please feel free to skip to the end, where there´s coming more personal stuff.
When we arrived here, we decided a month or two after moving, that we need and want a cargo bike, so we bought a used bike called “sorte jern hest” (http://www.sortejernhest.dk/jern/). Problem of these bikes is a physically one: It has three wheels, so there is no way one could balance it. Fast driving makes those things really instable and the steering under your butt is like the strangest ever thing you can imagine when going more than 10kmh. So after a month, we sold it for a similar price to some lady. The used stuff market here in Denmark in refreshingly vivid.
In fact is was my bro Johannes who could stop telling me great things about his Bullitt (this is equivalent to Larry vs Harry, but you dont mix up the both names in the wrong order all the time, so lets keep it “Bullitt”). He has an electrical drive though, because he is afraid his crazy muscle strength would destroy the propulsion unit. So he thinks its much smarter to let the electric drive the work. So to make a long story short, I tried it, fell in love the same moment, and here it is, helping me to get my everyday work done.
Let me show you some more pictures of this beauty:
All those nice bikes are super flexible, because you can take the childrens unit down and mount an alubox, or an open box, or keep it free to place a piano on it… it is really great. And it is designed, built and sold here in Copenhagen. The frame is from Korea and the equipment Shimano of course from Japan. But I like the “locally developed and finished”- characteristics. Price complete was by the way 3,600€, and I would do it again.
So the traffic here in Copenhagen is of course very oriented on bicycles, as I wrote before. Even in the suburbs, i.e. where we are living, there is on each side of the street a separated line for bikes. “We” have our own line, our own rules to stick to, our own traffic signs and traffic lights and our own parking spaces everywhere. Driving on the street is not allowed, driving on the sidewalks is not allowed and fined expensively. In my eyes this is a good thing. If you are on bikeline, you have to drive on the right side. Passing others do not require you to ring. You just pass. If you have to stop in the lane, i.e. because you reached your store or because you want to orientate on a map, you lift your left hand in the air and show your palm to the others cyclists behind you to indicate your intention to stop. More or less everybody is sticking to these rules.
There are different types of cyclers: There are the “intercity drivers”, which come everyday 10-40 km to their jobs and return in the afternoon the same distance. Me, driving in the morning 10km, join those guys on the beach. There is not much talking, and it is more an training-atmosphere. Reaching downtown, there are much more short distance bikers, many cargobikes (esp. these three-wheelers, less Bullitts), and a more talkative atmosphere. And there are really many bikers. Really many – if you didnt see it, you wont believe it. I love it.
In the bad weather conditions in winter now, there is considerable less traffic on bikes, and more tendency to the car, so there are quite long jams here as well. But lets not forget we are talking about one of the million-inhabitant metropoles of Northern Europe. For the size of the city, traffic is (lets say) OK.
Public traffic is used very much. The Metro, which is currently enlarged by I think 24 kilometers, is packed in the morning and reminds me somehow in the YouTube movies from Tokyo. In the rush hour, bike transport in the Metro in forbidden. The S-Trains are packed as well. I enter the C-line on its third station from his starting point, and it is half full already. But since it goes with a 10 min frequency, nobody is left behind.
The system, which is used here to pay public transport, is the “rejsekort”. It is a prepaid card, which you log in on blue spots whenever you enter a vehicle of public transport (I.e. bus, Metro, Train, S train etc.) Only in the end, you log out, and the price in calculated. For a ride from my home to the 12km distance city center, I pay something around 2€, which includes Bus, S-Train, (sometimes Metro). The card can be used as well to use rental city-bikes, which are all electrical, or shared rental electrical cars, which you find on your mobilephone on a special app. So to sum it all up: You are quite mobile here without car.
For taking the bike with you, you have to pay 1/2 price of an adult extra. You are allowed to take 2 children free with you. For 3 or 4 children, you have to pay the same price additional, which you would pay for taking a bike with you. This is not so nice in my opinion, children should be free. Sometimes I feel like punished because I have many children – but hey, the costs for this as really not so high.
There is a lot of caps driving around. My only comment on them is: Great cars, Mercedes E or S, correct and friendly drivers, and too expensive for me. Exceptionally only.
I think this is it regarding public traffic and traffic generally.
So what about us? How are we, what are we doing, etc etc.
We are really fine. Gabriel is giving us a really hard time regarding his sleepless nights and his day-activity. He enqueues is the row of our other hyperactive children (in a good meaning) and is happy with 2x20min sleep during day and 10x45min sleep during night. He is developing great, discovering the world and being majority of the time in a really good mood.
Benjamin is messed up with all the languages, and still very fond of Slovene, as Ana as well. In the Kindergarden, they started however all the sudden to speak Danish, in sentences up to 8 words (the teachers tell me always about the new records, thats why I know its eight words). They are enjoying the time in the Nature-kindergarden. There is plenty of activities, and they were out in the winter every single day. Snow, wind, rain… never sick! Imagine that. In fact, we suffer right now from the first cold at all this winter season. But I would have never imagined them to be so healthy. They are happy with the other children in the group. The whole Kindergarten is 28 children, who act as one group (3-6 years) and they stay together all day. There is 3-4 fulltime pedagogues with them constantly.
Katarina is impressing me with her languages. She speaks Slovene with Irena, German with me, and just talking Danish in school like there is no end. She is learning so fast, that it is hard to believe. On the other hand, she is getting a more and more tough character and playing with people to get what she wants. i think this is naturally in her age. And she has a good heart and knows well what´s right and what´s wrong, so I am happy.
Irena might want to write for herself, so I skip her. I am OK. I did Danish intensive classes for 2 months and was upgraded after the last exam to a higher class due to good skills. The job search was disappointing and reminds me in the year in Slovenia, which I was not employed. Sometimes I am scared, sometimes I am disappointed, but majority of the time I am optimistic and know that everything happens for a reason. As long as I do not work, I try to push Danish on the highest possible level to increase my chances to find a job. So it is like a win win situation and I try to make the best out of it. Health-wise I have some issues to sort out, and will write a separate post about the healthcare here in Denmark, which I could test in all details in the last 2 months. In the bottom of my heart, I am happy. I am in love. With my wife, my children, my life. And that is, what counts.
The last weeks went in a rush.
The children are happy in their institutions, creating a lot, playing a lot, getting a lot of attention from their friends and pedagogues. It is a pleasure to see how they grow and florish like flowers in the sun. The small baby is getting a bunch of teeth lately and is keeping us very busy, especially Irena during nights. Irena is doing a great job.
I lately travelled to Germany to attend my brothers wedding. Coming back from Frankfurt and landing in Copenhagen, I had not had the same feeling as I had in the last years returning to Ljubljana from my business trips. This feeling of “home sweet home”, finally home… the Slovene language; the tiny and cosy airport. Maybe it will come in a few years also here to the point were I have this feeling in Copenhagen.
My language is improving quite fast. I understand what people are asking me, of course as well because I can in many cases guess what the topic is – about me, about the job, about the children, about the living and the reasons for moving here. Speaking, however, is another topic, because the written Danish differs for foreign ears and eyes significantly from spoken Danish. Until you don’t develop an “ear” and a feeling for the language, youre having a hard time.
Danes are, as I guess al other nations as well, very pleased, when you try hard to speak their language. And they give you all the time you need to express yourself. What I felt in the last weeks is, that they have real trouble to understand you, when you just slightly differ from the right pronunciation.
So I had until today exactly one week of intensive language class, meaning 3 times 4 hours plus homework. Twelve hours. The progress in the book is very fast (I join D3 – the fastest progressing class out of three beginners classes). The language class for foreigners is paid by the community as well as all working material you need. In case you do not attend the class 2 times in a row, youre out. In case you do not pass the exams after each unit (called module), youre not allowed to proceed as well. In case you do not reach a certain level of knowledge (I think after module 6 or something, youre not allowed to receive certain things, between others as well the Danish citizenship. This is however depending on many other factors as well.
Since we moved here – that is already three month ago (!!!) – I cannot complain about the weather. It is windy often, sometimes up to 20m/s, but stable. We live so close to the sea, that the rainfalls are passing by very quick. If it is raining, it´s in many cases a brief shower and that´s it. Many days the sun in shining and make the nature burning in most beautiful colours.
Life without a car is incredible easy here as well. I do not see a mayor difference to the situation in Ljubljana, Koseze. It was very similar and easy there as well. I enjoy it not to have the worries and the costs of a car staying in the streets and not being used most of the time. Travelling by bicycle is easy and safe here. Bicycle lanes are everywhere separated from the car lanes and the zones for pedestrians. It is nice and convenient for me to see the two girls cycling every day on their own bikes to school/daycare and to carry only the boy on the seat on the back of my bike.
…it took me some time to bring something usable to paper, inspired by our good friend Janez, who constantly takes some time not only to read our blog for his entertainment, but to question it. He questions our actions and our words – and most probably also his own life. I appreciate this to an amount I can hardly express in words: The perspective makes the whole difference in most decisions and opinions we have in our lives. Additional perspectives should not and will not understood by us as criticism, but as help and as some little light in the dark.
So, Janez, sincere thanks. You help us to re-question.
As I mentioned above, it took me quite some time and thoughts to bring something (hopefully) usable to paper. Let us see… hot topic ahead.
First of all, I have to clarify an important thing, which I had in mind to write about since I started to write this blog: We are not writing this to compare countries between each others to classify and rate them. This is not meant to be read as “We moved to Denmark because it is better:…”. There is no better. There is no worse. There is differences huge as mountains, which does not mean that Slovenia is the valley and Denmark the top. There are black sheep here as well as there. Some things are maybe better, some are maybe worse. Here as well as there. Each time we post something, we want to share our thoughts about the difference of cultures in this small world. I agree, one will easily understand this as a comparison to diminish and reduce the value of the “old” countries, which were left. This is similar to a left partner after a long relationship – the left one is easily disappointed and frustrated. Some followers (most probably today “ex-readers” of this blog, who have a strong character, such as Natasa S, told us how she feel: as I described above: “Why are you writing that everything is better?”). I am sorry for that, but there cannot be any description of the environment we are living in, without an automatic comparison between countries we lived in already. Here and there, we might even say a word about Slovenia, which is not positive; we try not to: but hey, we are regular persons under strong impressions, no machines and no journalists. So, to make this as clear as it gets: We try to make our followers understand differences of cultures, of people and of countries. We do not want to rank countries we lived in.
The second thing: Janteloven. The Danes generally do not live all according to this. In fact, there is plenty Danes ignoring it or stating theirself, that these rules are old-fashioned, overcome and too strict. Maybe. My thought about this are crystal clear: They mean the next step of development of the human race. Imagine that everybody in the world would live according to these rules. The idea “You are not worth more than the person next to you.” is found in many other cultures and religions as well. Take Christians for example. The first of the ten commandments is “love your next more than yourself”. Is it not interesting, that for thousand years, different cultures are following the same goal, because they identified it as the ultimate goal? Imagine the IS-soldiers decapitating and killing hundreds and thousands of innocent people. Would they do this? Imagine US soldiers pushing the button to make a drone somewhere drop a bomb and killing innocent by destroying remotely whole buildings. Imagine mankind would not just read, but live the idea of “you are not worth more than your next”. Would they really pull the trigger?
This goes hand in hand with another comment of yours regarding the education of children towards the direction of “we are all the same” and “treat the other correctly”. As I mentioned to you before, I had a hard time in the school. Many of the others bullied me for years. This was not easy for me. Without my friends Stephan, Joerg and Markus, I would not know how it would have all ended. No, it was not easy, not nice. But they are not guilty, but the system. The other children did never really learn, that they should not fight against others, and they should not always try to stand out, but to team up and help the weak ones in a community to reach higher goals. Of course, I see and understand your argument that – especially in the times today – there is an imminent need for children to be as competitive as possible to achieve the best in life.
But let us put this into an easier way of thinking. Human race lived for millions of years according to “survival of the fittest”, which is the strongest form of competition. Thank you, Darwin, to make us understand our character. Weakness meant and sometimes still means death of you or even your whole genetic line. So, the “factory setting” for human mind is “compete!”. And we do it: in the supermarket, in the car, in bed, and also in school. This is, why it is not only important for us parents, but rather obligatory, to teach children from early years to include weak genetic lines to team up and achieve more. We parents have to teach our children by action and example, not only by words. This will not mean any harm to the child, because the “factory setting” is still in the head and can be activated at any point in life. Without delay.
Let me tell you a similar example:
It is like giving rules to the child, what not to do. Generally. Rules mean: I reduce childrens freedom, I might reduce his abilities to explore, I might reduce his experience to see the result of it´s own doing. “Factory setting” is to do everything, try everything, explore everything. But I am not afraid, that the child will be later unable to explore and collect strong impressions and experience. Because it will. The factory setting will not be deleted. Sex, drugs, rock and roll, as we all made our experience.
All feelings and ways of thinking, which are new to the human race, and which are necessary more than ever in the community of humans, such as understatement, acceptance of mistakes and failure, empathy, unconditional love, humbleness, religion, faith, trust etc. MUST be taught by us parents to our children. In the end, our children will decide about all those characteristics by and for theirself. This is when we parents have to let them go. But not today. Because we do not want them to live there life in the “factory setting”, but to know and to understand what they do to theirself and others and to be able to make a responsible decision.
Janteloven or the 10 unwritten rules in Scandinavian culture has attracted my attention already back in Slovenia. I was inspired by Sebastian´s post about our awkward Danish birthday occasion, and Janez´s interesting feedback, so I said to myself, that this topic should be put more attention to. When it comes to moral and ethical values, every and each of us is involved, this is our compass in life. We present our values to our children every day, so they can easily decide, which way to take in their way to independency.
The social rules were defined by Sandelmose in his novel En flyktning krysser sitt spor (A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks) in 1933. To summarize the rules, they negatively describe attitude of individual success towards efforts that should be put into the collective well-being. The rules start with
You’re not to…
…think you are anything special.
…think you are as good as we are.
…think you are smarter than we are.
…convince yourself that you are better than we are.
…think you know more than we do.
…think you are more important than we are.
…think you are good at anything.
…laugh at us.
…think anyone cares about you.
…think you can teach us anything.
These rules are in my opinion very hard to follow, also if you wanted to, as the will to survive makes us all egocentrics, and forgetting about others. So being humble is in my point of view, the next step in our behavioural evolution, when we have overcome our ego, and have behaved empathic towards others.
And how can we observe Janteloven in real Danish everyday life?
Smile on the street
I have spotted on the streets in Denmark that people are not ashamed looking people in the eyes, when they pass by. They moreover smile or greet. How come that the most of them are in such a good mood all the time, I am asking myself every day. They are spreading very positive vibes, and it looks they are relaxed and not having any worries in that moment.
Do you need any help?
It happened not only once, when we looked lost or were looking for something, that people asked if we need any help. They took their time to explain, or lead us to the store, we were looking for, and they didn´t seem they are in a rush at all.
Where is the mom?
What I have also noticed is that mothers often leave their babies unattended, when the babies sleep in their strollers. Parents in Denmark must have less fears and have probably more trust in the good intentions of others. They probably think that somebody would appear and say, somebody´s baby is crying, rather than having in their heads the dark scenario.
When I talk about trust and relaxed attitude towards children, I have noticed in the kindergarten our children go to, a lot is allowed and the care keepers try to make things very practical and prepare children for life. The children are allowed to climb the trees, be outside not depending on the weather, make an open fire and make their own stick-bread. Our kindergarten children go every day on a day trip, usually to the nearby woods, where there are lots of deer easily to see. They find a nice place to play, put up their swing and a big self-made toilet for the road. They eat their lunch outside, and return to the kindergarten in the afternoon. I am a bit concerned when the colder days come, and how will the sick-healthy balance look like.
Funny bus signs
The Danes know that the result would be better, if they use humour instead of prohibition. I think they really know a lot about effective psychological approach, how to make people think about their behaviour in their everyday life.
- A smile is like a boomerang
- Give to space to others when one is from one’s own planet – or in other words don´t pretend that you don´t see that someone else would also like to have a seat, so move over.
- You have earned this place – actually a rhetorical question, as put next to the sign for pregnant women and elderly people.
- Support the smallest when it is off the balance – look out for children if they are not already seated as they might easily fall
- Everything is easier with a little ping pong (chit chat)
- Who shoulders a great number of years should be given a few privileges – leave the first seats free for the elderly people
Since our relocation to Denmark I haven´t seen any dispute or angry people in the public. Of course everywhere conflicts are present, as people aren´t the same, but if you are trying to see things through the eyes of the others, you can sooner come to a solution acceptable for both parties.
The older daughter had her birthday last week. Irena asked her, whom to invite from her class, and she really decided for some of the children by name, which she seems to play more with then with others. She painted really beautiful invitations and invited the other children, in total 4. We were looking forward welcoming them in our new, nice home.
The next day however, the teacher of my daughter asked me to join her a moment to have a talk, when I was picking K up from school. My heart made a leapse because I thought my little one made some serious mistake. We had to go into a seperate room. I was almost sweating and could feel myself blush. She looked at me and told me, that such an invitation is not ok. I was relieved on one hand that nothing serious happend, but confused on the other, since I wasnt aware of doing something wrong.
The mistake is that you cannot invite seperate children from class to a birthday… because the others would be seperated, could feel lonely, not part of the team/class and less worth. As child, inviting in the school, you habe to invite all girls, all boys or all children. Silly, my first thought. Then I will invite privately, my sexond thought.
This is not bad at all, my final thought. The while northern education system relies on the equity of the children to be worth the same. Better, worse students do in fact not exist. Everybody is part of the team, everybody is worth the same. I remember how I felt in my early years in the school, when teams were elected and I was one of the last sitting on the bench, still waiting to be chosen. I was not a joker, as others, I was the black Peter. This does not happen here. This is fantastic and fits perfectly to the Danish culture of prople and behaviout, which will be described in a seperate post by Irena, as far as I know.
I think, and I am sure about, that I can learn plenty here from the Danish regarding respect, esteem and social life together in a community.
One more thing: two working days I am working on the wooden box, which I bought for approx. 150 Euro last wednesday. The box is old, from 1723, and was refurbished in 1978, but very bad. Today I spend the second full working day on it and like it every day more. When I removed the iron-parts for brushing the wood below it, I had to remove these handmade nails.
This are handmade square nails, which were produced only until 1850 latest. It is such a great feeling to work on such a peace from the old days, an honor almost. How much energy and time was put into furniture back in the days!
This is where I started:
Complete working days to finish including oiling and cleaning up. So we will sit again at a proper table next weekend!
And here we go, the pleasant days are over, it’s getting cold and windy. But hey, this blog is not about weather, there are more important things to write about. Tonight I will try to summarize what we achieved in the last six weeks, which we are here. To make it more thrilling, I will make the list according to my personal priorities, most important first. Afterwards I will make a second list with all to-do’s, also priorized from most to least.
Lets see where this leads us.
What did we accomplish?
1) we did it, and we never lost our temper.
2) we live in a flat which suits us well and in which we can imagine to live for years.
3) there is no shortterm-harm to the children. Others will time show.
4) the interruption in the education/daycare of the children was optimized and the home-time reduced as possible. We found kindergarten, school and toddlergroup close to us and in walking/cycling-distance.
5) we got a good insight in the Danish culture and it is as we thought and wished it would be.
6) nice that you are still reading!
6a) we found enough time to play with the children, used the warmer weeks to go to the playground often. Discovered the city, the parks, the churches, went to the castell, the small mermaid, the castle.
7) all finances are clear and costs are far below maximum plannings.
8) we recived all papers, documents, cards and rights in very short time. (CPR, NemID, bank account, internet, mobile contracts, family doctor…)
9) the flat is equipped nicely and completly, almost nothing is missing. Even the pictures are already on the wall.
10) we have a good connection to all neighbors and like them.
11) we managed the first wave of diseases and high fever.
12) I had some very nice interviews despite the summe holiday time.
Ok, this seems for me to be it what we achieved. Lets see the what to do-part.
1) language, seems to me the important step, since integration in the community is most depending on learning and understanding the culture, which is difficult if you dont speak the language. The same goal is to find ways to support the children to learn the language to soften their experiences in the new culture.
2) find a job which will make me happy for more than anfew months. A job, where the boss is honest and works trustful with his team. Where there is open communication and clear rules, which are not adjusted according to daytime or position. A job in a company, where is no such thing as private pride, but a common goal to fight for.
3) find some quality time with Irena. Sauna, Amusement park, walks, talks, restaurants, culture, and some romantic.
4) buy a place to live
5) restart sailing. Make the driverw license for motorcycle.
Ok, tomorrow evening I will open this list again and see If I can make some checks.