My Danglish family moved from rural Denmark to the big city of Copenhagen.
(Original post: OCTOBER 2018, Updated June 2020)
I don’t know about you but I’ve been moving for most of my life. Why? To be near family, job relocation, to be farther from family, better and safer neighborhood, and just opportunity. So when my family did this last move recently from Stubbekøbing (Falster island) to the largest city in Denmark, Copenhagen, we did it with two toddlers in tow, one dog, and a lot of crap. We did many many MANY trips to/from rural DK. This was not fun. It certainly wasn’t exciting (yet) to be back in the big city. It was just plain exhausting and overwhelming.
How does that saying go, “You don’t realize how much crap you have until you move.” Yes, when you move it really does just boil down to this. Just to give you an idea of the scope of what we were moving, we had a huge two-story house with a large garage, yard (garden), and basement. We went from this to a three-bedroom apartment. Downsizing was an understatement. And our personal space is challenged. The kids now have to ‘share’ bedrooms which is new and not fun all the time. Also, my hubs is a musician, and all our ‘storage space’ is used for his ‘gig gear.’ So space has been shrinking at a rapid rate.
But, this move was necessary and we knew the challenges we were going to face. It is just hard actually going through them. As we are still getting adjusted to our new (and I mean NEW) surroundings, we still don’t have things like childcare as we are ‘wait-listed’ and the lists are looooong.
A perfect example of our transition was when we lost Milo, our dog. One day we had forgotten his leash while we went grocery shopping. Mindlessly we thought we could leave him in the cargo bike and he’d be fine, as he’s stayed there a thousand times before. We were wrong. We came back and Milo was gone, NOWHERE to be found. Now mind you, this is Field’s shopping mall area with cars and bikes everywhere. We immediately went into ‘find Milo’ mode. We looked for what seemed like hours. Just when it started to get dark and I was trying to hold back the growing lump in my throat, my hubs called to say that the Politi found him. He was on his way to get him. Never was I SOOOOOoooo relieved. I sobbed. Since then, we’ve never forgotten his leash. The busyness of the city was just one of the things we are finding challenging here.
10 challenges of moving to the city:
1.) Fast bikes, cars, and generally a faster pace of life. Us country folks forgot about this;) Which reminds me, why-o-WHY do people walk on the left side?!? (It’s one of my pet peeves) Seriously, aren’t people on the walking paths suppose to ‘stay to the right’ as an unspoken rule of the road? Danes don’t follow this…they stay on the left, I don’t get it.
2.) We must always lock our bikes now. Gone are the days of just parking our bikes in front of the store and not worrying about it. People take shit here. They are professionals about it too. (See #7)
3.) Bye-bye yard. Danes call a yard, a ‘garden.’ We don’t have that anymore. Property is holy hell expensive here and apartment living is now the norm.
4.) Danes speak English here! (yay!) Although in the winter, I’ve noticed that people don’t communicate or smile anymore at all. (Shhhh it’s the Danish way;)
5.) Combat shopping is the norm. I dared to go to the mall recently and never EVER will I attempt that madness again. People were combat shopping and shoving is the norm. Nope. I have to be strategic about my shopping now and shop in the early am with all the old people:)
6.) We still have NATURE. Thank goodness we live just on the edge of the city, Ørestad where we have nature trails, cows and sheep, and the ocean. It’s proven to save my sanity as I love running in the Amager Nature preserve. Thank goodness.
7.) Theft is a profession here. Its probably one of the worst things about living in the city, people steal bikes all the time. Personally, I lost my Nikon Camera. It’s just gone. I can’t be sure if it fell out of the stroller or if it was swiped on the Metro. Apparently there are professional pick-pocketers here that don’t even have to be near you to take your shit. Either way, it’s gone. Damn it.
8.) We moved into a brand SPANKIN new apartment building. This is not necessarily a challenge of moving but we moved in a brand new area. It was like a ‘ghost town’ when we moved in. We were the first people to move into our building. This means all new appliances and NO ONE has lived here before us. Also, we have an elevator just outside our door. My hatred of stairs has subsided. The upside of apartment living is that our son is overly obsessed with the elevators. lol
9.) Waitlists are the norm. As stated previously, everything is expensive and everyone is trying to get in. There are waitlists for childcare, doctor placement, schools, apartments, and restaurants. You’d think that developed took his into consideration? Nope. Anyways- everything takes time.
10.) Jobs are still SUPER COMPETITIVE and far between. At least there are MORE jobs here than in rural Denmark. Although let’s be honest, I’ve been applying for jobs ever since even before I arrived in Denmark over three years ago! I’ve had 3 interviews in three years. I’ve had just countless rejections after rejections. Ehhhh the struggle is so real here.
This move definitely tests our limits as individuals and as a family.
Personally, being in a constant state of ‘overwhelmed’ is an understatement. At least we have a small place that we can call our own. And I consider myself a ‘professional mover’ now. Boxes, tape, and more tape are about the only thing you need. That, organization, and a strong back;) I still don’t know where things are but at least, I’m here among more people and more diverse peoples.
We are trying, still moving and a shaking.
We are ‘city folk’ now.