Culture Clash: How Michelle Obama Annoyed One of the Happiest Countries on Earth

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”

Travel Plans – Baltic Trip to Estonia, Finland & Russia

Next week we are off to explore a section of Europe we have yet to travel, the Northeastern Baltic cities of Helsinki, Finland – Tallinn, Estonia and finally Saint Petersburg, Russia. We can’t wait to explore the beauty, culture and unique character of these cities. Even with a late Easter holiday, the temperatures will be cooler but we are ready. The shoulder season should mean smaller crowds and the cities may be a bit quieter, even for a holiday week. Like I posted about earlier this week, it’s a good time for us to travel as expats because most of our friends will be visiting family for the Easter holiday. Here are some of our plans for the week: Continue reading “Travel Plans – Baltic Trip to Estonia, Finland & Russia”

Kiev – It’s Beautiful, Emerging & You Need to Visit Now

Why Should I go to Kiev?

Well, that’s what we asked ourselves. Still, travel inspiration comes from all over. I don’t really know why I looked up flights to Kiev (Kyiv) one random evening this winter, but it happened, and I’m glad I did! Maybe it was from binge-watching The Americans on Netflix and a mounting curiosity about the Cold War. Another reason is the fact that I am mildly obsessed with visiting locations that were once closed off to the West. It could have just been flights under $100, but without a lot of debate, we were booked for Kiev and convinced our friend, Uffe, to join us. Continue reading “Kiev – It’s Beautiful, Emerging & You Need to Visit Now”

My 7 biggest surprises moving to Denmark

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.

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Napoli, Italy Trip – Part 2

In this second piece about the group trip we took to Napoli, Italy, I’ll talk about our travels and settling in to our villa. Plus I’ll discuss our first excursion in Naples. Visiting the ancient ruins of Pompeii, having lunch at a vineyard with a generous wine tasting and climbing Mount Vesuvius. This was a tremendous kick off to our Italian vacation! Continue reading “Napoli, Italy Trip – Part 2”

Jaipur, India – A visit to The Amber Fort and Water Palace

We left Agra early and cold the day after visiting the Taj Mahal and Red Fort of Agra. The city was crowded, but by this point we have started to get used to chaotic traffic and the constant blowing of car horns. We left the hotel around 6am and were dropped off at the bus station to take the local bus to Jaipur, known as the Paris of India. A six hour ride on the local bus was a hip, no-frills way to travel. Riding through the small towns and villages was something we would have missed out on by train or plane. Dotted with small produce stands, crowds of people and animals moving in every direction – rural Indian towns were exciting to witness up close.

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Agra, India – A trip to the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort of Agra

Getting to Agra

The day started early as we met in the lobby of our hotel at 4:50 am. Here, we prepared to leave New Dehli for Agra. We were off to visit the home of the Taj Mahal and Red Fort. Needless to say, we were all a bit groggy in the morning. Still, the excitement of our first full day was more than enough to overcome the pre-dawn start time. We made our way to the train station and boarded Indian Railways for the two-hour ride to Agra.

Istanbul – What to Expect

How to Visit Istanbul

This Easter, Mike and I decided to spend the holiday visiting Istanbul, Turkey. We didn’t know precisely what to expect in Istanbul. Still, the adventure was one of the most memorable trips we’ve ever had together. Istanbul packs a lot, which makes sense because it’s the economic, cultural and historical center of Turkey. The city also connects Europe to Asia both physically and culturally.

We experienced it all, from dazzling sights and delicious tastes to a stunningly unique culture. Visiting Istanbul is tremendous! Read about surprises we encountered along the way and a breakdown of our must-see attractions and how to do them right. Here’s some idea of what to expect.

|Read more about why we do a trip every Easter: Expat Advice: Avoid the Travel Trap
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Napoli, Italy Trip – Part 1

The Plan

I’ll be writing about the trip that we’re taking this week in stages and I’ll start by describing the itinerary we have lined up for a fun-filled, sun-filled mini-vacation to The Amalfi coast of Italy.  Continue reading “Napoli, Italy Trip – Part 1”

20 questions about Copenhagen to celebrate 850 years

Golden Days Festival

This weekend marks the 850th birthday of Copenhagen – my new home. I haven’t been here for almost all of its history, but that won’t stop me from enjoying the Golden Days Festival – activities, and free programs around the city to mark its celebration. Most of the event info that I received was in Danish. This prompted the history nerd in me to read up on the background of Copenhagen and trace its founding back 850 years. I also figured this was a great opportunity to answer all the questions about Copenhagen I hear from home. Continue reading “20 questions about Copenhagen to celebrate 850 years”