This is my first ever blog-post and I’m looking forward to sharing everyday-situations and common to-do’s for a Copenhagener.
See you all soon.
This is my first ever blog-post and I’m looking forward to sharing everyday-situations and common to-do’s for a Copenhagener.
See you all soon.
Did you know you can take a swim in Danish waters during summer months? Neither did I, when I first came here. I didn’t even bother to pack any of my swimming suits, thinking I have no desire to freeze to death. Oh how wrong I was. It ain’t no Greece, or Spain, but you can certainly dip in and try it out. I do, however, have to note I tried swimming only in Copenhagen area, which means I cannot guarantee it is swimmable elsewhere, but I can ask around.
Due to high humidity and temperatures as high as 28° C (even higher, if we’re lucky), it is a perfect reason for leaving the city and heading towards many beaches that lay scattered around. I myself am honored to live in the house on a beach and as soon as summer kicks in, there I am, practically making a second home in the water – looking like a ghost with a high factor sunscreen all over. As soon as I am free of duty, the beach is a place where I read, write, study, think, you name it!
On my left young Danes strut their 6 pack around, playing volleyball on sand.
On my right, a family of 5 plays with their kids while in the water many indulge the tolerable chill in defiance of somewhat intolerable heat.
Yes, it does get warm here. What I tell foreigners is that the first sign of a warm summer in Denmark is – if they have to keep a window open at night and use only thin sheets to cover themselves while sleeping, it is indeed, in words of Billy Idol, “hot in the city tonight”. However, it is not constant and refreshments in a form of rainy periods certainly know how to reboot our system but also smother us to depression if they go a few steps too far – like… raining until there is nothing to rain no more.
Where I come from, common practice is to migrate every summer somewhere beachwise for a week or two – for a natural suntanning, escapism and all the other elements of indulging leisure. My family and I would go somewhere to Greece every August, when heat is so unbearable you basically cultivate tender jealousy toward all the marine life. In the afternoon when we wake up we would go to the beach and later explore the sights around, being curious as we are. I do admit there is a special feeling to it, with music everywhere, smell of sea salt in the air mixed with smells of gyros, sunscreen and evaporations from the heated asphalt. Voices of people laughing and cheering, babies screaming and water splashing everywhere while easy breeze barely cools our skin melting in the shade. Now my family travels there without me, feeling sorry for me for staying in “a dreadfully cold country”, while I sit at the beach in front of my house with my cool aviators hanging on my nose and headphones stuck in my ears caressing me with my favorite hard rock tunes as I stare at the sea I just got out of. Smells are different, voices are lower and certainly the charm of the sight is of a different nature, but I bear no complaints. Sure I would prefer Corfu or Costa Brava over Copenhagen beach, but hey, at least I get to go to the beach for around two months anytime I want.
I have successfully persuaded my family and friends it is safe to walk around in almost scanty clothes and flip flops, but my ability to also indulge in a summer joy of sea swimming I am yet to explain as a fact and not an adaptational trait. One day, and that day may never come, I will get them to try it out themselves and shift their belief system from “everything is cold at North” to “there is also something hot at North, besides the Vikings”
Lately – which is actually for the last two years – I’ve been lucky enough to sit around and work in multiple places around the globe. Morocco, Brazil, Holland, Mallorca and soon Thailand to mention just a few.
It’s not because my job requires me to do so. My job is mainly done with a computer and in the office where the great employees of JUF.dk are. But, I can easily move this computer around if I have an internet connection and work practically wherever I want for shorter periods of times (a week or two is fine, and then I get restless and want to get back to work at JUF.dk in Copenhagen).
Right now, while writing this very article, I’m sitting at my (cheap) hotel in Thessaloniki, which is the second largest city in Greece after Athens. Here, I’m visiting Anders Saugstrup, with whom I work on projects like this on JUF.dk.
We’ve been working together for years, although we have never met – but now we finally have. Meeting someone is a whole different experience to talking with them on Skype, and I certainly recommend it to everyone. 3 days working here feels a bit like a recharge and makes me happy and ready to return to Denmark.
In April this year, I did the exact same thing with the owners of Graviditet.dk, Nicolai and Nina. Two Danes, who decided Denmark was too cold (and the tax was too high), so they moved to the little paradise known as Malta. Both Nicolai and Nina are very passionate and warm people, who greeted both me and my girlfriend Lise welcomingly for our short work-a-holiday close to Malta’s capital.
We had a great few days and returned with much more inspiration than we could’ve got for the rest of the year in Denmark.
And just last December, I was on a trip with 3 of my friends to London, where we buried ourselves in an apartment for the day and went out sightseeing and drinking a few beers in the night.
I can’t recommend this experience enough.
Most of my friends in Copenhagen are – seeing as I’ve never studied or grown up in Copenhagen – somehow related to my work. They are also tech-entrepreneurs of some kind.
Some of these – like Nikolaj Astrup Madsen who twice a year arranges the fantastic WorkAway camp – which is learning to understand how your computer is not a limitation, but an opportunity to work wherever you want to work.
But many sit tight at their office; most without employees, or kids, which are the only reasons I can think of that can ”put you on hold” in regards to living wherever you want.
Speaking of living wherever you want – check out the blog NomadicDanes with my friends Celia and Hans, who have made it their mission to work pretty much everywhere but Denmark. They don’t make a million every month, but more than enough to live near a Caribbean beach if that’s what they want to do. I think Celia and Hans are both brave and very pleasant people to spend time with. I definitely recommend a follow.
When I come back to Denmark, it won’t be that long before I’ll be on the move again.
This time, I’ll have a few weeks in Thailand, where I’ll go and visit a friend living there (never met him before, but that’s not a limitation, it’s an opportunity).
Later this year in September, I’ll be participating in WorkAway which is in Spain. Here, I’ll be joined by my partner in crime Michael Roscoe among other entrepreneurs for a week of awesomeness.
And if I wanted, I’m sure I could join the boys behind Elekcig.dk either in Sweden or Spain – I never seem to know where they are, and I think it’s simply amazing.
I tend to go where my friends are, but you don’t have to.
Utilizing services like Couchsurfing, Wimdu and AirBnB you can easily hook up a place for a few dollars where you want to go. Remember to bring your laptop, and you’ll have made these dollars back in no time.
And you’ll experience something most others never get to.
Many are aspects of questioning curiosity about Denmark as a Nordic country. One of the most common questions that now provokes twitching ticks on my face is “Are Danes cold-blooded?”. Cold as in being frozen? Emotionless? Or with serial killer potential? Well, unless they live in refrigerators (which I reckon they don’t), bear no reaction to a puppy face or own one ax per family member, I would have to say NO to all three perspectives on cold-blooded Danes. Perhaps I am too enthusiastic about Denmark or I might not even be the most objective person in the world, but my experience weaves entirely different story. Even though they might not be as expressive as Southerners or as well-mannered and disciplined as Easterners, they certainly have spirit and sometimes sharp sense of humor. Personally, I don’t think of it as a cultural shocker as where I come from sarcasm, dark humor and irony is as common as fish in the sea. But a question I am asked even more often is actually about the weather conditions in Denmark. I am almost felt sorry for, but it isn’t all that bad.
When I first came to the Nordic region not far from Denmark, in August 2010, I have to admit it came as a bit of a shock. On the plane to Copenhagen, Sun was shining brightly and I was excited to throw myself into another adventure. But an ominously abrupt change swept in, the plane entered dark clouds, tilted on one side which nearly gave me a heart attack as it looked like we are insanely close to the grayest sea waters I have ever seen. Not to mention it was raining heavily. Thor really has mood-swing issues, I tell ya, like a pregnant lady.
For days since I arrived, massive clouds like a blanked spread across the skies, denying me my birthright of experiencing marvelous color refraction yonder – I thought if this continues, I will for sure forget how it looks like. On my first walk around the city I was thoroughly introduced to capricious behavior of weather in the region. I got my sweatshirt and jacket on, as dark fluffy clouds above me spoke of cold shower in making. Unexpectedly, clouds separated in an epic divorce, letting some lovely sunshine in. I took my jacket off. Half an hour later it began to rain, but luckily I had an emergency umbrella in my bag. Another half an hour later it was warm enough not only to take the jacket off again, but also my sweatshirt, remaining dressed only in a t-shirt. After some more time, wind began blowing and I got my layers back on. It began raining. On my way back to the apartment, sunshine pierced through the clouds again, warming my cheeks while forcing me to take some of my layers off once again. Sam, we’re going in circles!
“Well… this was new…” I said out loud in the privacy of my new home, while heading off to the shower.
I’m Californian, this is unnatural to me!
We don’t have a cold hell in Brasil…
Bora Bora, baby, that’s all I’m sayin’…
Well, I’m Serbian in this incarnation (if I must define myself in those terms for the purpose of mutual understanding) and I know of cold but I also know of hell – hot hell. Due to Earth’s reaction to man-made pollution and changes on Sun, Serbia has seen both some scary blizzards and temperatures as high as 40° C – in the shade! I’m not kidding, it’s pretty common in spring and summertime. But, even so, I can proudly say I am one of those who adapted thoroughly to Danish weather. To demonstrate, here’s an example – one late September at 17° C I took a stroll downtown and while passing Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, dressed in tank top with material claw-torn on the back, capri leggings with shorts and flip flops, I noticed I’m being watched. At the top of the stairs of the museum, a large group of tourists, zipped up to their noses in winter jackets, spotted yet another tourist attraction in motion. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have realized how vikingized I became (shhhh, let me have this one!)
Just a few days ago, while waiting to get on the Vertigo in Tivoli, tourists from California asked me how come I’m not cold at 22.30h in July. When I looked around, indeed, I noticed I was one of few casually dressed people.
I do have to agree winters here can be harsh, but nothing I personally haven’t experienced where I come from. When nature awakens from “fro-zen” meditation, spring gently streams in with rainy episodes but also long awaited sunshine. However, temperatures are still shy. Fall again brings new waves of rain, lulling nature into sleep, painting everything in red, yellow and brown.
There is one part of the year, however, which I still struggle with – sprimmer, a period between spring and summer. Temperatures still swing between 13 and 17 degrees in late March, April and early May when naturally I am already prepared and waiting on my toes to jump into something one layered, short and comfy. When I first came here, I thought it was hilarious seeing Danes during that period sunbathing half naked, while I still hid inside my jacket. Now I do the same thing.
But now it is S U M M E R! We have a saying “good things don’t last long” and summer here sure doesn’t, but when it arrives it brings titillating joy with it. It is the period of year when days are wonderfully long – everyone, infinitely diverse in age, step outside their caves to feed on vitamin D and B, if they traditionally include beer in their indulgence. Tourists swarm into town, music is heard from many corners and the city is alive again. Conditions may still be weathericiously indecisive, which is why I always have weather emergency aid with me even though I might not use it at all. I don’t trust you, Denmark!
Finally, don’t be afraid of the weather here, just come prepared and embrace the beauty given to you:
1. Always bring your emergency umbrella or a rain poncho with you
2. Do not trust a weather forecast too much
3. Unless otherwise advised, always bring a jacket with you – for just in case
4. Wear a scarf from September till May, where in September and May you can wear it for fashion while in between mostly out of necessity.
5. Prepare for winter with super warm-waterproof boots.
6. Own a pair of rubber boots (I still don’t shhhhh, but I have Ranger boots, so I’m forgiven )
7. Last but not least, make sure you have your swimming suit with you from June till September! I swear, I’m not joking
SUMMER TIME HAPPINESS, PEOPLE! Breathe it in and have fun!
The holiday time has really hit Denmark, and despite the quite nice summer weather this year it also means leaving Denmark for holiday in other countries. But this year, new rules regarding travel insurance has really confused people and I really hope, that this confusion does not result in people getting into trouble. For many years we have had a special travel health insurance in Denmark, making sure that you where almost always covered if you got sick or injured while traveling – the yellow health insurance card. But from 1. of August the everybody in Denmark will receive a new yellow health insurance card that does not cover anything, while travelling…
This means, that like any other EU citizens, Danes should now make sure to get a EU health insurance card, when travelling. Easy – you contact your local authorities or order it at borger.dk – BUT! And there is a big but! Cause the insurance coverage is not the same! We have been used to calling a danish emergency number to get help – now you are on your own! We have been used to going to the best hospitals, even if they where private, and get free medical care – now you are limited to public hospitals. We have been used to getting free medication – now you will most often have to pay a big part your self. Well, lets just face it – until now we have been spoiled, compared to most other European countries, and now the rules are similar – i think we will just have to get used to that.
You can learn a lot more about the new rules, and how you are covered in different European countries at forsikringsguide.net, patientombuddet.dk and ec.europa.eu. And remember always to consider a proper travel insurance and to order the new EU Health Insurance card at least 3 weeks before travelling.