Three Months in, Who Would’ve Thunk

Yes, who would’ve thought?

  • That so far, despite an overall very succesful repatriation, we would still be consumed with a longing for “home”
  • That we would spend October battling serious and non-serious diseases——which in fairness should amount to a year’s quota
  • That I would once again spend hours googling pictures of rashes (in my attempt to diagnose baby’s different illnesses)
  • That I would passionately experiment with different pho recipes, our favorite dish, because chicken soup according to science cures body and soul (and because Vietnamese restaurants here suck at Pho Ga)
  • That hubby, for the first time in our almost 20 years together, would suddenly get excited about cooking——wait for it——blended veggie soups
  • That both kids would still speak only English with their new friends
  • That our baby would become bilingual in Denmark
  • That I would be able to function on very little sleep for 15 months
  • That the first time, I would feel a sense of belonging, would be on a Saturday night while partying with a group of old female and male colleagues
  • That I would be partying with this group for 20 years (gasp) and feel younger, not older, after our expat years
  • That school would throw an epic Halloween party ——also by American standards —— which I would sadly miss out on because of our sick baby
  • That my daughter’s Halloween costume wouldn’t make it from the UK in time for her party, but that she would—— without drama—— accept to wear last year’s costume (in exchange of adding blue hairspray)
  • That her costume would arrive at 4PM on Halloween, just as I would be unfolding my crisis management skills
  • That I would be able to close my eyes and feel San Francisco’s warm October weather and picture its beautiful Halloween decorations
  • That waking up with three healthy kids tomorrow would be the first time in a month
  • That three months would go by so quickly: I start work tomorrow

Soo Danish

  • The daily struggle in San Francisco “oh no, where can I park?!” has been replaced by “oh no, where did I leave my bike?!”
  • My shopping obsession with “floral jumpsuits” (think SoCal and beach vibe) has been replaced by an obsession with “anything with wool”.
  • Danish buses have electrical heating. Really.
  • Everyday, I walk past famous actors, TV personalities, and bloggers, and I wonder: Did they always live in my hood, but did I not notice before, because I used to be so protective of my personal space (soo Danish) and not look up? Well, now I look up (soo American), they smile, and I smile back.
  • Cyclists cut in front of me, as I cross the street, even though they have a red light, and I have a baby strapped on me. So rude, so dangerous!
  • So many adults and teens smoke in the streets, it’s apparently become cool again to smoke. Yikes! In 2016, wtf?
  • Danes like to honk, it seems they even use it as a non-aggressive reaction. Uncomfortable and very annoying with a sleeping baby.
  • Danes also like to clap; I nearly got a heart attack at a parent meeting, when parents and teachers started clapping loudly after electing parent representatives. Awkward.
  • Little kids (from seven years old) are all over the streets, unaccompanied by adults, walking and talking on their iPhones. Why iPhones for little kids? And why not tucked in their backpacks?
  • Our obsession with Kale salad has been replaced by an obsession with soups and green smoothies, which I hope can get us through fall and winter.
  • When speaking English at our bilingual school, Danish parents and teachers casually slip in Danish words as the most natural thing in the world and talk about the “madpakke”, the “frikvarter”, the “penalhus” —— even in larger gatherings with non-Danish speaking parents, who get a blank stare on their face. Rude, but oh so charmingly “Danglish”.
  • Magasin — the shopping mall heaven for parents with strollers — still doesn’t have automatic swing doors, and I still struggle to get through with my stroller. Wtf?
  • The elevators at train station still break down all the time, so I had to climb these stairs with a stroller and baby, because there was no other alternative.

Danish Toddlers And Their Parents Don’t Get Sick That Much —— Said no Dane Ever

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I knew it the second my precious and I entered the room on baby’s first day at preschool. I knew that there was going to be trouble. In the little cozy preschool room, 80 pct. of baby’s future little friends had runny noses that needed to be wiped off. I even wiped off a few, while I was thinking that these kids needed to stay home and not pass over their germs to others. On day two of our short 30 minute visit, the kids with the runny noses were still there, happily trolling around, and I felt a pang of positivity. Maybe they weren’t sick, maybe they were the kind of kids that have runny noses throughout their childhood, not entailing any contagious diseases? Or maybe Danish kids just have runny noses through fall and winter, not entailing any need for sick days? I was optimistic. On day four of another short visit to baby’s preschool, I suddenly felt extremely cold on the way home. So cold that I bought wool socks for the whole family and wool pants and slippers for baby. I was shivering outside, I was shivering inside our apartment. I was almost panicking: If this was how the cold felt in early October, how would December feel? The cold that I felt was a warning. On the night of day four, baby had a fever and a runny nose, whereas I started throwing up, which continued all night even when I didn’t have anything left in my body to throw up. I felt I time travelled back to the nights where baby’s siblings were the same age, as I alternated nursing with handing my feverish baby over to his dad, while I ran outside the bedroom to throw up in a plastic bag.

When I called the preschool the next day to let them know, we weren’t going to make it that day, they let us know that those two viruses were indeed going around the house. Is this how fall and winter time are going to play out for us, again? Well, if that’s the case, I guess I’m going to have to look for daycare programs with only one or two other kids to minimize our exposure to germs instead of the otherwise perfect preschool we managed to find. Sigh.