The end and a start

After a long wait…2017 is over…. and I have blogged again. I’ve been having internet problems. Yeah, that’s it. Internet problems for the last several months…..

But, seriously.

I was going to post thing last week– in keeping with the year in review theme of the year’s outset– alas, computer problems.

In saying goodbye to 2017, I said goodbye to the very first place I called my home in Denmark and the place I met one of the most important people my Danish life brought me; I said good-bye to my student status and have gotten used to thes fact that #adulting is not just a hashtag. But with these finished chapters and the realisations they bring, I want to look back, not over the last year, but to almost four years ago, to the first four things I learned in my first four Danish weeks:

1. Packing one’s life into a suitcase is easy. How many pairs of socks is good for

forever, you think? How many pairs of underwear—assuming you change them

everyday and never forget? Don’t forget: the one in your hand luggage counts too.

It’s nice to be able to change if you get stuck somewhere overnight, mom said. It’s

nice to be able to change if you’re stuck somewhere. It’s nice if it’s only overnight.

It’s actually easy to pack it all away; boxes and bags hold memories that I decide

will not overwhelm me—they will not show their fangs, their toothy grins, their

green eyes, their tamely gained battle scars. But what to do with all the pieces that

shouldn’t get lost? In the clutter of my desk a favourite necklace sits in three

instead of one. It was a favourite but the last time I wore it was the night I met

him and the night I kissed him (I’m not exactly proud of that timeline) It was a

favourite and after tasting his taste of smoke and beer, and wiping the sleep and

dreamlessness away from my eyes it fell apart. Don’t worry about packing

toothpaste and floss, mom said, they have that over there. Are you sure? Have you

seen their teeth? It’s easy to smile at all the pieces of my life that clutter my desk

and fill spaces under my bed. I throw my mistake(s) into a box with books, old

perfume, and several locks and keys that do not fit together. Probable eternal loose

ends that are easy to push away because they have no place inside the military

precision that is my suitcase


2. The mosquitoes are assholes. Generally (see above for exception) the people are

not. A helping hand is at the ready for those who ask. Those who don’t suffer at

their own peril—which means that I am allowed to just be one of the many mice

furiously navigating the extremely bureaucratic maze. Sometimes a girl waiting for

a train is just waiting for a train. Speaking of trains, did you know that because I

have “reduced physical capabilities I get my transit for half price? Speaking of

half price: beer. Speaking of things that are delicious: strawberries that taste like

sunshine. Speaking of sunshine: there’s been a lot of it, which is weird. Speaking

of things that are weird: there are spiders and flies and wasps everywhere. My feet

are swollen from bites. The mosquitoes are assholes.


3. The best way to confuse a Danish person is to use a Canadian passport as

ID but speak Danish to the person receiving it. Yes, that is a maple leaf. Rødgrød

med fløde? Pretty tasty stuff. Commas go in front of hvad—I need to know, what

your name is. Hvor—and also, where you live. Hvornår—lastly, tell me, when you

came here. Hvordan—I just don’t understand, how you learned to speak so well.

Hvem—oh, thankyou. You want to now, who I am? As it turns out those marks are

optional, but, everybody, does, it. Grammatical peer pressure is alive and well. I

know, that you would like to know, who I am. How nice. If you figure it out by the

answers you jotted down on that piece of paper to be filed away under those 10

personal numbers I get to call all mine, let me know. It’s been a somewhat lengthy

process so some neat formula, x= would be nice.


 4. Turns out that utter freedom (within the bars of the dollar $ign) is kind of

terrifying. Now I can pretend that I’m ke$ha and brush my teeth with a bottle of

jack. In theory. but that might actually be really gross. So much is good in theory. I

am plan-less. Plain lost. A bird let out of a cage with its wings oddly clipped.

Quicksand comfort zone, but at least a hyena fighting for its life knows what its

role is. A prisoner knows just how straight and narrow to walk. A wild bird doesn’t

even know not to eat the rice that makes it explode. But at least no one said I had

to land unscathed. Some marks, bumps and bruises are badges. They tell stories

and mark roads. Take the one lined by delicate flowers so that you can surpass

them and take the hard steps. A hard landing just means that your bruises beg you

to tread lightly. Good thing I don’t really tread. I don’t really think, because then I

might wonder better or worse. Safe and sorry. It’s hard enough to move that it’s

impossible to stop but that’s only good. Don’t hold back from handshakes; make

sure you’re firm when you return them. Meet eyes when you clink glasses. Smile

when they smile back. Let those hands, eyes, smiles collect you when you start to

unravel. Don’t worry too much about loose ends and loosing all sense. You’ll pick

more up along the way. Not all necklaces need mending, because then they lose

their charm. Not all kisses lead to happy endings, because some have to be toads.

Not all locks have keys, because how dull would that actually be. But chasing stray

threads as long as you keep your head can lead you down the best of roads.


I know that in the almost four years that have passed since I wrote these words, I have grown much more than I thought I could. The times that have passed have been far from roses and sunshine, but the road has been a good one, despite the rough patches, and as we look down a fresh stretch into a shiny and new year, I hope the best for all of you, my friends.

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