Blast from the Past

Nyhavn

The horror! I have just lost a week of my life!!!  I had planned to start this post with “With only eight weeks left in Copenhagen …” and thought I had better count it out just to be sure.  It’s seven weeks left!!  We have seven weeks left before we leave Denmark and our lives as expats.  Thankfully the process is underway and my husband, in his ever efficient way, has the ball rolling.  But seven weeks!!!  I have to go resume my position on the couch and have a lie down.

In the meantime, I saw this post I wrote when I first arrived and thought it might be a bit of a giggle.  Enjoy!

HEJ FROM COPENHAGEN 24/08/09

Hej All

We arrived in Copenhagen about two months ago and are now unpacked (depends on how you interpret unpacked) and somewhat sorted into our new lives. This could be a very long email or not. I have yet to decide. Depends how creative my fingers are. It will definitely be written over a few sittings as am writing this while I wait for M to get out of the shower.

When we arrived in Copenhagen we stayed at the Ascot Apts until the 31 July when we headed to the UK for a trip to visit our family there. It was a great location and am thankful on many fronts not the least being that the strip club girls next door when on vacation not long after we arrived. They also took down much of their promotional material so avoided a long list of possible questions from the kids (although to be honest, they didn’t really notice when it was there). The hotel is situated in Vesterbro which is one of the boroughs of Copenhagen. I received the distinct impression that it was not the poshest neighbourhood. We were two blocks from the Tivoli Gardens (which are great and full of rides and restaurants – we have a season ticket) and a 5 min walk from the start of the walking street Stroget.

I hesitate to give pronunciation for many of these new words popping up in my vocabulary. “Hej” I can do. That sounds like our Hi and is used to say hi and bye. Similar to ciao. A farewell is hej hej. A greeting is hej. Stroget we have not yet mastered and even if I had I don’t think I could write down the pronunciation even with the help of a professional linguist. In any case, we generally say it as you would expect us to or call it the walking street.

Stroget is made up of three streets that are for pedestrians only and most of the shopping is centred along these. The kids and I spent much of our time wandering along here, at Tivoli or at Ostedsparken. Orstedsparken has a wonderful playground where the kids could ride trikes, play in the sand, swing, climb, run and sometimes even paint. It was fantastic.

The Danes are very well setup for children. Most families have a large pram (think old england or 1950’s anywhere I guess) which they pack up with half their belongings. These are welcome on trains, buses, everywhere. When you add to that the bikes, a train can get crowded. Thankfully there are compartments which are free of wheeled contraptions. Even better are the silent compartments where I anticipate sitting when I don’t have my usual travelling companions.

So that was our time in Copenhagen central. We are now about 20 mins from the city in a suburb called Virum. We are closer to Sorgenfri (as you will see from the map I have put in the photo pages) and it takes us 5 mins on the bike to get there. Apparently some family members are struggling with the image of me on a bike let alone an image where I am on a bike trailed by a trailer with two kids in it. Well it is true. We do not have any photographic evidence so you will have to take my word. That and the new communications that I have been receiving from areas of my body who have never experienced a need to speak to me before. I have undergone an education on new groupings of muscles in my body.

Amy and Jack started school on Wednesday and so far all is going well. They both seem to be adjusting well and making friends. Jack has a talent for asking people their names and remembering them whereas Amy is struggling to even ask.

Amy is in Mr Watkin’s class. Mr Watkin’s is from the UK and I am hoping against hope that his accent will not affect hers. I don’t know quite how you would describe it now but if we were to add an english accent to her Australian/US/Kiwi mix … urgh the horror. Jack’s teacher, Ms Gregerson is also english and seems very lovely. Jack has made two little friends whom I have names for: James (? … suddenly doubting that is it) and Mikhail who is the son of the Junior School Principal and is Finnish. He is very slight and very blonde. Jack looks very stocky next to him. The school is very friendly and helpful. They are currently organising additional assistance for Amy to help her catch up the six months she missed. As we have left the Australian system and moved into the European school year, Amy has jumped to Yr 2 after only six months in Yr 1. They anticipate that she will require assistance for the first term and should be fine after although will be reassessed in October.

What else? We think we have found a church that we will be comfortable in. It is a Lutheran Church and much more conservative than what we are used to. Having said that, it is very friendly and we feel that we will be able to fit in and make friendships easily here. We went this morning and found that it has the additional benefit of being within walking distance of a nice little American style restaurant where they do delicious milkshakes. The kids had french toast and we BLT’s … I think Marcus could easily have eaten the french toast as well. It was yum.

I am doing well too although hard to really say much as I am still waiting for my new life to begin. Jack has been on half days and will start full time this Wednesday. I have told them both that they will be able to hear my sigh of relief in Sydney it will be so heartfelt. Jack is devastated that he has to go to school full time and only gets two days off per week. Cie la vie!!  So sad. Not quite sure what I will be doing with my time but envisage a bit more housework than I am used to. That will probably be the subsequent sighs that will be heard. Hopefully not in Sydney. I will not dwell on the turn around in my fortunes except to say that my delightful son has pointed out the following in the first week of our being here: “Mum, I am out of undies” and “Mum, I have one pair of socks left”.

My social life looks set to prosper though. On our first trip into school, we met an Australian family on their way in. Rebecca then introduced me to some other Mum’s and off for coffee we went. So easy lah!! There is a Newcomers Group at the school and a PTA both of whom are having coffee mornings in the next two weeks. Add to that, I have been invited on trip to the Asian supermarket and dim sum after. I think I may have landed on my feet. The lady next door to us has just moved in and seems very friendly and chatty. She has a little boy who is 4 so is possible that I may also get to know her fairly well.

So on to the photos. A new location deserves a new face on the webpage (which is at http://www.laneythestar.com). I have rejigged our welcome page and it is now full of photos. To access the interesting stuff, go to Our Albums and Videos which is where you will find my latest additions. There are two albums to look at. The first is entitled Copenhagen. If you have been eagerly anticipating my every thought through Facebook, you will have seen most of these. The two new ones are “Our New House” and “Silly Signs”. Summer 2009 includes photos from our trip to the UK as well as some final shots from Singapore. Hope all goes well with the browsing. Please let me know if you experience any problems. If I have inadvertently left anyone off this mailing who would like to be included, feel free to forward on and ask me to add for next time. Hopefully it won’t be so jam packed.

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