It’s About Salad Dressing

What a ride.

It’s been just shy of 3 years in Denmark. We arrived in the autumn of 2019, filled with enthusiasm and optimism. Fast forward 3 months and we were in lockdown. Being a husband and father during these times was incredibly taxing. Fundamental ideologies between people in the same household would clash. Mine was no different. The common ground for us was fear for our kids. Some would untangle themselves from this mess relatively quickly while we would take years.

I really underestimated the difficulty of the language and it’s overall importance to being able to integrate into the society. This is used as a test really. As a means of separating the wheat from the chaff. Clearly my family were chaff. For all those considering a move, go listen to some Danish and see if it triggers the right happy receptors for you. It’s an important litmus test.

What I will miss about Denmark is the scale. Generally everything is on a human scale. I will miss riding my bike in a country filled with bikes. My work and office which I really felt a part of. I’ll miss the team.

Throughout all this upheaval, we were trying to get to grips and understand this decidedly different nation. Denmark is different by choice, not by accident. Proudly different and incredibly protectionist. There is no Amazon. A handful of MacDonalds (I think 3). Starbucks is not a thing. There are instead local brands and a few (emphasis on few) non-Denmark brands. This lack of choice is by design.

At first I loved the simplicity, but then after a little while I also started craving things that I did not have simple access to. Being part of the European Union means that most of these things are within reach relatively easily, mostly online. But you’re not going to buy chocolate online. Or Franks hot sauce. Or different types of crisps. Or tea. Maybe coffee. A choice beyond a single school for the kids which you might or might not be able to get them into. This lack of choice was something that Mindy (friend from work) would talk about. For her it was salad dressing. Sometimes you need choice. Sometimes it’s about getting more than 2 types of salad dressing.