Earlier this summer an old friend from high school reached out to me. He was considering moving to Belgium from the states for an expat assignment. He knew I’ve been through the experience of expatriating and he had some questions about life abroad. Living in a foreign country isn’t something you think about much until an opportunity comes up.
He decided to move abroad and took his family overseas. We’ve caught up a bit more now that he’s in his first 30 days of moving abroad. Talking to him has brought back a lot of memories of that time for me. The transition isn’t the easiest but I learned a lot of lessons. I’m happy that I’ve been able to pass them on. I also decided I should share them with a wider audience here.
Continue reading “Life Abroad – Expat Advice for the first 30 days”
I moved to Denmark in early 2017. I left Philadelphia and set out to Copenhagen with my partner. We were nervous. We didn’t know anyone in Copenhagen. Moving took us away from family, friends and the familiarity of everyday life.
It was an adjustment. There were ups and downs, but Denmark is our home now. We had the opportunity to leave just this month but we turned it down. Our time here in Denmark is open-ended and so are our hearts – we love it here.
We miss our friends and family but look forward to their visits and we get to show them this beautiful country. We have found our niche in Denmark with new friends – both Danish and international. The once-confusing everyday life has now become familiar. Life is good! However, this week, as President Trump has picked a fight with our adopted home, it’s been tough.
Continue reading “I’m an American in Denmark – Trump needs to stop”
Everything You Need to Know About the Eurovision Song Contest
What’s Eurovision? Well, until I moved to Denmark, I really didn’t know what Eurovision was. I had heard about some song contest, and kind of remembered that one time the bearded drag queen won (only because John Oliver talked about it), but then last year I got hooked. Eurovision was like heroin to my vein, combining so many things I love – crazy music, competition, nationalism, and flags. Having lived here, I learned that no one in Europe is neutral on Eurovision – everyone either loves it or hates it (but still secretly loves it). And now that I’ve been a Eurovision fan for exactly one year, I am here to answer all your questions about Eurovision 2019!
Continue reading “What is Eurovision? Guide to Eurovision 2019”
Watching Sports Abroad
I’ve always loved watching sports – my parents still joke that I went right from Sesame Street to SportsCenter. As you’d imagine, watching sports has been one of my main hobbies all my life. Of course when Derek and I moved to Denmark, many friends asked me how I would handle watching sports abroad. I’ve had to adjust to life away from my beloved teams and the ESPN family of network. After two years in Copenhagen, I’ve completely adjusted the way that I enjoy sports and how I watch sports abroad! Continue reading “Watching Sports Abroad -Tuesday Morning Football”
How Learning Danish Got Political
Before we moved to Denmark, Mike and I were excited to fully embrace the new culture including learning Danish. As we prepared to move our lives to Copenhagen, we downloaded language learning apps to learn Danish language basics. Is Danish hard to learn? Yes, and a lot of this is because of Danish pronunciation. Still, when we arrived in Denmark, everyone pointed us towards enrolling in Copenhagen Danish courses. It was free to enroll and the best way to really start speaking Danish. We made a lot of friends in our class but after completing the first module, we stopped taking lessons. It was a huge time commitment and we had other activities we wanted to pursue. We also realized that things could go off the rails when learning Danish got political. That political reason that caused us to stop taking Danish lessons is the Dansk Folkeparti. Continue reading “Learning Danish Got Political With the Dansk Folkeparti”
American dining service vs. European dining service
Before I moved abroad, I heard tales of culture shock and reverse culture shock. Of course, I wondered if these experiences would eventually hit me. The ups and downs of culture shock in Denmark have come and passed and I’ve come out on top. While I have adapted well to the Copenhagen lifestyle, this past week I enjoyed a trip back to the US from Denmark and noticed some reverse culture shock where I didn’t expect it – dining out.
Continue reading “American Dining Service vs. European Dining Service”
The hidden benefits of living abroad
When we decided to move to Denmark for an expat assignment, everything happened fast. One thing we came back to often was, “what will we miss if we move abroad to Copenhagen.” Even in a short term expatriate assignment, we knew we would miss out on family birthday parties, friend’s bachelor parties, weekend trips to the beach and almost every holiday besides Christmas. But what would be the benefits of living abroad?
What we found was some incredible trade-offs to missing these events. This week, while we were missing Easter with our families, Mike and I spent time talking. We discussed what we gained in exchange for missing those events. These “expat trade-offs” really mean something to us. We focus on them when we start to get down about missing things back in our native country, America.
One week ago, Michelle Obama visited Copenhagen, Denmark as part of her European book tour promoting Becoming. While she has sold over 10 million copies worldwide, her Royal Arena appearance last Tuesday has drummed up some pointed criticism. As an American living in Denmark for over two years, I see a cultural misunderstanding with confusion on both sides. While I may not be an expert in everything Danish, I have adapted quite well to the norms of Denmark and therefore have a solid foot in Danish and American culture. Here’s where I think things went wrong for the former First Lady and how some cultural sensitivity could have prevented an awkward appearance. Continue reading “Culture Clash: How Michelle Obama Annoyed One of the Happiest Countries on Earth”
At times, I think about what I would do differently now that I’ve been living in Denmark for over two years. Being an American expat in Copenhagen has been thrilling. Mike and I often describe it as “really high highs and really low lows”. There’s a lot more than what you see on House Hunters International. Expat life is intense! Most of this adventure, I would never change but there are still things we could have done better. One of those is something we look back on and call “the travel trap.” Here is some expat advice on how to avoid the travel trap.
Continue reading “Expat Advice – Avoid the Travel Trap”
Last month marked my two year anniversary of moving to Copenhagen. Celebrating my “Denmark Day” with Mike and my friends was a lot of fun, and it made me think about some of the biggest surprises I experienced when expatriating. It’s been a lot more than expat housing and Danish hygge – those things I could read about online before I showed up. Everyday expat life in Copenhagen (København) can be very familiar but still so different, and here are my 7 biggest surprises moving to Denmark.
Continue reading “My 7 biggest surprises moving to Denmark”