Danish Culture Shock Part III:
This is the last part in the three part series of things that I STILL find ‘different’ to this Alaskan girl living in Denmark.
Now that you’ve read Part I and Part II of my Danish Culture Shock, I feel as if I have to tell you: I’ve come to love my life here in Denmark. It’s not all peachy roses and it definitely goes without saying, no place is perfect. But I live here now and I am building my life here with my Danish family.
So, let’s get to the 3rd part of my Danish Culture Shock series of the things that I STILL find ‘odd’ but not necessarily bad to this Alaskan girl living in Denmark:
Proud of their actors– Ever heard of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (GOT), Connie Nielsen (think Gladiator), Viggo Mortensen (Lord of the Rings) or Mads Mikkelsen (Bond movies). Well ‘Game of Thrones’ comes to mind but that’s only because I LOVE it. But to most, no one in the US would know their names. BUT in Denmark?!? They are basically national treasures.
Stick shift– Most cars come in the standard ‘stick shift.’ Which was surprising to me since most autos in the US are automatic. Thank goodness I already knew how to drive a manual ‘stick shift’ car. Its was a bit of a transition though.
Red light district– Yeah- apparently they have one. I’ve heard of it but I’ve never ‘seen’ it but it’s there. Now I want to go and find it;)
Mobile pay– What a fantastic way to pay! You pay through this national app called, ‘Mobile Pay,’ where you enter the vendors mobile number and the amount and boom! You’ve paid. You’re done. Its quick and simple. No cards, money, coins, just your phone and done. The US definitely needs this! Or maybe Apple pay is a version of this?
Shoving– It’s no big deal if you get shoved. The first time it happened to me I was getting off the metro (train), I was shocked. As a native woman who grew up with cousins, if you shove me, I shoved you right back. May the best win. SOOOooo when I got shoved the first time here, I was very pregnant and holding my then 2 yr. old son’s hand. I lost it and told ‘said’ woman exactly what I thought of her. She didn’t even look fazed. So now, if I get shoved, I don’t take it personally, I just call them a dick (in my head) and move on my merry way.
Hygge– It’s the Danish way of living. Even though there is no direct English translation, I’m sure you’ve heard of it, “Hygge.” (Prounounced ‘hyougaa’) It became a worldwide phenomenon but I didn’t really get it until I moved here. It just means to relax and get cozy. To me, it means lighting candles, curling up with a good book and a glass of wine, a nice dinner, essentially just celebrating the everyday moments and not taking it for granted. I didn’t notice things like being ‘hyyge’ or saying, “oh that’s hyggelig,” until I lived here. Anyways- I love it, especially in the fall time.
Babies sleeping outside– When I moved here pregnant, I said I would NEVER let my child sleep outside alone. You’d get ‘Child Services’ trying to put you in jail for that in the US. This is besides the ‘fear’ of someone taking your baby. But my music man put it this way, “Why would anyone want your snotty crying baby?!?” Well that’s mostly true. But here, its common to see baby carriages outside of café’s and in gardens (people’s yards and/or apartment decks), and its completely normal and safe. They say that babies really do sleep better outside in the ‘fresh air.’ So now I’m a fan and my baby actually prefers to sleep in her barnevogn (baby carriage) when its nap time.
Lice– It’s common here, especially in kids, and is considered NO BIG DEAL when someone gets it.
As an expat coming from Alaska, where it’s considered ‘taboo’ to talk about, it’s a HUGE deal if one of your kids gets it. I have horror stories of getting it as a child. Everything had to be cleaned, washed and sterilized. Hair was cut short and you were told to NEVER play with the ‘dirty kids that have lice.’ So coming here and getting it from the kids was a nightmare. It was four days of treatments, combing and more treatment.
I have LONG THICK HAIR! It was awful and not to mention SO expensive. We waste a lot of time treating our heads and paying for the expensive treatments. Anyways, it’s considered ‘NO BIG DEAL’ here. I don’t think I will ever get over this one. (Great, I just started itching now:-/)
The language– Where do I begin? It’s just plain hard to learn and speak. BUT I will say that time helps and being ‘forced’ to learn it by living in the country where almost no one speaks English has helped. Danish language school helped. You must invest a lot of time and energy in the language if you want to get it. But the struggle is definitely real.
The style– I’ll probably be condemned for even saying this since there is a pretty big fashion industry here. I actually like it and follow many ‘influencers’ on Insta.
But- coming from a largely corporate world of suits, heels (which I was never really comfortable wearing anyways), and ‘trying’ to dress better, I find the style here in Denmark a bit different. Let’s just say that I don’t ‘get’ the boxy shirts and dresses, the shirt/pants that are all in the same floral lace prints. I guess it’s all relative though. What do I know…I live in my yoga pants now.
Lego’s– Did you know that Lego was born here and its like a birthright to have legos…like a A LOT OF LEGO. It’s also a must for Danish kids to go on a pilgrimage to Legoland like it was thee trip to the Holy Land.
Now don’t get me wrong, Lego’s are great for kids to play with and build. It fosters the imagination, I get it. But I am continuously stepping on them, finding them under beds and in every nook and cranny. It’s also sacrilegious to throw them away or get rid of them. So here I am with about 58 million pieces of Lego and kids that can’t seem to put them away.
I hope you enjoyed my series of all the things that I find different for this Alaskan girl living in Denmark. If you want more, please join my email list for my newsletter and continue to follow my unconventional life.
Tak! (Thanks in Danish:)