Tales from an American girl living in Denmark
Well, guys, I went and did it. I quit my job, and I moved to Denmark. I woke up one cloudy morning in Denver, checked my email, and couldn’t believe my bleary eyes.
The Danish work permit I applied for in November had been granted. After four months of processing and government red tape I’d almost given up on it. Suddenly I had three weeks to pack my life up and move before the start of my new internship in Copenhagen.
The reality of giving notice at jobs and apartments, last minute doctor and dentist appointments, packing, goodbye parties, and so on turned three weeks into four, but it’s fine, here I am in Copenhagen nearly settled.
Finding housing here is really difficult. There are long waitlists (we’re talking two years or more), most places aren’t publically listed, and almost none are advertised in English. Luckily, a friend I met last year in the arctic circle of Norway (oh, the serendipity of travel!) has a spare room that I’m renting from her. The space is perfect for me; my favorite part is the desk against a large window that looks out into the courtyard. It makes me feel like a character in A Room of One’s Own.
I worked at my internship for a whole two days before having this week off for the Easter holidays (Påskedag in Danish). It’s a perfect amount of time for me to settle in.
Right before this break, the design organization I’m working with moved from the Danish Design Center to a new building on the canal that will soon be the center of all sections under the ministry of design. I got to know my new workmates while we hauled boxes from one place to the next and constructed stubborn Ikea furniture. It was genuinely backbreaking at times, and we all started to smell a little, but good company makes the first two things forgivable.
In my first week and a half here I’ve gone on lots of walks to reacquaint myself with this glorious city full of responsible urban design, informed storefront typography, and general attention to crafted details. I’ve also listened to a lot of Danish radio (great language acquisition aid) and re-celebrated my birthday with my best Danish friend, Tasja.
And… I officially have a long-coveted CPR/personnummer now. The Danish version of a Social Security Number, but better because it comes with FREE HEALTHCARE. Thank you, Denmark. Really. THANK. YOU. When the issuer printed out my paperwork he told me, “Tillykke! You are now a Copenhagener.” And so I am 🙂