When Falling is Good

I’m one week away from writing my level 3 danish test, and I am feeling good about it. I’ve been studying, showing up to class, and staying positive (mostly). I’ve noticed that I have really good weeks where I am speaking danish effortlessly and confidently, and then wham!, I don’t know a thing! Living in Copenhagen as an expat, learning to speak danish is like the golden ticket for getting a life here. If you can’t speak danish, you feel like an outsider. Even though the favorite saying is, “everyone in Denmark speaks English”, that doesn’t mean they do speak English…. ummm… hello? How about, “everyone in Denmark can speak English, but they actually speak their native language, Danish”. I strongly believe that if a place is ever going to feel like home, you have to understand what people are saying. And I certainly know for myself, that if I am ever going to feel completely accepted and comfortable in Copenhagen, I must learn to speak Danish.

The last couple of weeks have been great! We moved into a new apartment, I’ve been going to school, seeing family and friends, checking out new cafes and restaurants and feeling those warm tingly feelings one gets when they are starting something new and exciting. I love those tingly feelings! They are like the Universe’s way of showing you that you are on the right track. I started to feel at home here. I started to feel, dare I say, Danish…. Then, suddenly, I was running up the stairs of our two-story apartment, and I tripped and surfed down the wooden steps on my shins. Needless to say, it killed! I was in so much pain, and both my legs felt like they had been hit by lightning. As I laid there on the floor, I yelled an array of profanity words, but between my F*ck, S#its, and Oh my GOD’s!, I cried out that I was alone! In that moment of near paralyzation, I was crying because I felt so incredibly lonely. It’s not that I don’t value my independence and alone time, because I do. I’ve always considered myself someone who actually needs their own space to go home to at the end of the day, and that is why I’ve always maintained (still to this day) my own apartment.  But, I felt vulnerable and uncomfortable, and not just because my legs were injured. Just when I was feeling alive here, and like I was ‘one of them’, fitting in and building a life. What happened to the tingles?

Sitting at emmery’s bakery studying Danish. I am sitting in the same seat that the Crown Prince of Denmark, Prince Frederik, sat in a couple weeks earlier!

Why was I lying on the floor, unable to walk, worrying about the fact that I was alone? Of all things I should have been worrying about my legs! I am certainly not a widow, or someone with no friends or family to care for me. In fact, my boyfriend was due home in a couple of hours and I don’t even own the cat that would eat me if I were truly alone and happened to die. But in that moment, I think the barriers I had subconsciously put up to protect myself from feeling like an outsider, came crashing down. I realized my life has taken a completely different direction than I was prepared for, and I wasn’t being honest with myself. There are at least two sides to every life story. Here are two of mine:

Story #1: “The Fairytale”

Krista falls in love with a handsome danish prince and moves to Denmark with him where she lives in their beautiful apartment living out her passions of writing, cooking, nutrition and online business development. She spends her days strolling the streets of beautiful Copenhagen taking pictures and stopping in at cafes to drink coffee or earl grey tea. She feels more and more like a citizen of Copenhagen and is making friends. She studies the fantastic and challenging language of Danish, and practices with locals who are not only impressed with her level of Danish, but her very charming accent 😉

Story #2: “The Nightmare”

Krista falls in love with a handsome danish prince and soon realizes love is a serious business where your heart is the only currency. She moves to Denmark with him and lives in a beautiful two-story apartment. One day, she tumbles down the stairs of her castle and realizes she feels lonely. She does not have the career job she always thought she would where she is  making loads of money, paying off her debts, and saving for the future. She is living far away from all she knows  -friends, family, lifestyle- and wonders constantly if she is ‘missing out’ on things back home. Some days she is motivated and gets a lot done, other days are spent watching crap reality tv. She sees herself in all the tourists visiting Copenhagen, and on the best of days, she mumbles enough Danish to get by. Kan du forstå mig?

I really was having a great few weeks before my tumble down the stairs, but as soon as that happened, it was no joke that living in a different country where they speak a crazy language, is HARD! I thought I could live only through the lens of story #1, but I don’t think you can have any of your life stories, without the others. Like they say, there are many different shades of gray! The bottom line is that I have to accept all my stories. Some days I am going to see my life through story #1, and others I will see it through story #2.  Both are fine because both are the truth. The stories are just a difference of perspective. But if I think I can live only through the lens of story #1, The Fairytale, and ignore or judge story #2, The Nightmare, I will get tossed on my ass down the stairs.

So, the lesson of the day kids, is that we all have many different stories and in order to live authentic lives with life stories we love and are proud of, we must first accept all our stories and be honest about them, and then, only then, start making some changes. Acceptance = clarity. We do everything for a payoff and reward, why else would we do it? There is obviously a reward I get from watching three hours of Klhoe Kardashian drive her car, shop, and ‘work’, but until I accept that my over-loaded brain needs a break every once and a while, I will never wake up.

I think it’s a really good sign, and one could almost say a sign of success, that I don’t wish I broke my neck falling down those stairs. I want to be here, studying danish, and living this life, and every time I see my purple toe nail polish scraped on the stairs I will remember that.  I love my boyfriend dearly, and although I may not have that glossy career with the fat paycheck, I have love. Cheesy as it may sound, I feel at this point, at the tender age of 27, I could have three possibilities:

1. No career and No love

2. Career, but No love

3. Love, but no career

I know that those are not the only two things in life, but they are two big things. I’m glad I have #3, and who knows… maybe my career is just around the corner. Until then, I am not only going to keep on living my stories, but embrace them (hence, this blog post). For they are who I am on this wild journey in this game called love.

Check out these fine Danish soldiers showing off Denmark’s military power in the streets of Copenhagen. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they have to walk past one of the most tourist filled places in Copenhagen, Nyhavn, to test their concentration. I wonder how many pictures of them are circulating around the world now.

 

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6 comments

  1. This sums up exactly what I’ve been vaguely feeling for the past few days! Thank you!

  2. Loulou

    Wow lovely writing, made me cry 🙂 Louise

  3. I would like to offer a 4th option to your list of possibilities 4) love AND career with FAT check. I wish number four for you. By the way, now that you’re living abroad how do you exchange money on a regular basis? I’m sure it’s important for you get the best exchange rate, how do you ensure this?

    • I love the 4th option! I’ll definitely aim for that!
      As far as ensuring I get the best exchange rates, I have set up a bank account here and I transfer money into it for spending. Denmark has one of the most conservative banking/paying systems, so I learned quickly that it’s a good idea to have a danish bank account with danish cards. I also use my Canadian credit cards sometimes (but I’m a cash person mostly) but it’s a good idea to check the international charges, and make some phone calls if they are outrageous. I use online banking to make sure all my bills in Canada are covered. Thank god for online banking! 🙂 Hope this gives you some useful info!

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