A child in a small police helmet holds a transparent blue umbrella close to his head.

Dansk Liv #2: The Rains

Essays and Observations on Danish Existence

— from an expat who knows nothing—

A man stands on a concrete bunker on the side of a beach...
SONY DSC

There is something I must tell any and all individuals wishing to move to Denmark to sample the herring, hygge, and hangovers.

The weather will crush you.

But it is also something that will make you stronger. Living in Colorado most of my life made me accustomed to the challenges (if any) of living in 300 days of sunshine a year. Living in South Carolina and Hong Kong taught me the ability to live under any condition of humidity and heat imaginable. As an expat in Denmark, I have learned to survive five years in a dark, wet, and sparcely sunny country.

I was counting the number of days I’d worn short sleeves last July. On my vitamin D depleted fingers, I counted 5 days.

But all of this comes from too high of standards. I go into July expecting Italian heat, but Denmark just can’t do that. I’ve set my pedestal too high for the Danish weather, and I get disappointed by something that was never physically attainable.

But am I wrong to desire warm heat in the summer? No; but perhaps it is wrong for me to assume this divine gift from the Norse gods that rule this windy land. With time, I’ve come to appreciate the cold, the rain, and to a lesser degree the wind. Rather than have the rain inhibit me, I see myself as a tree or leaf that is simply a part of the rain as well.

Every now and then, I find that the rain allows me to calm down a bit and gives me an excuse to curl up with a book. In Colorado, you almost felt guilty for not taking advantage of the perfect weather. Here, we enjoy our 5 days of summer to the fullest by spending the entire day outside. The rain, if you allow it to, can be a powerful source of restoration for the mind.

Finding some way to appreciate it makes it all go down a little bit easier.

A cow with long horns and long blond hair stands in a grassy field.

What have you learned as an expat?

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