Friday, February 13, 2009

Seriously?

I didn't really want to complain AGAIN about life in Denmark - but I'm going through the integration process (read: assimilation process) and it is not pretty.

I'd really like to compare how things are here with how things work in the states, but as a citizen I don't have to go through US immigration. I know of someone who did... I'll email his wife later and ask.

Anyway, Danish Integration services were invented/put together/hatched like devil spawn in order to give Danes the illusion that dirty foreigners would quickly and efficiently be absorbed into the great white north that is Denmark and also to give jobs to a lot of Danes with liberal arts educations.

There is nothing you can say to convince me otherwise. I have Danish friends who agree with me.

"Integration services" has to be the most un-service oriented of all the so-called services in Denmark. Forget what you think "service" means. Think of it like having your car serviced. After dealing with Integration, my body feels drained, sandblasted, rotated and pumped full of air.

It's not just that the letter is in Danish. I mean, I'm a new immigrant for crying out loud, how on earth am I supposed to read this? (Okay, so because I've been here so damn long I can read a lot more Danish then you'd think, but it's the PRINCIPLE!) I then get a letter from JobCenter, which I *thought* had something to do with jobs. No, I think it has something to do with the biblical Job. As in, you need the patience of Job to go through integration. In the letter, again in Danish, it tells me I have to meet with a person for an hour and a half, but not to worry, as this meeting can be conducted in English.

What do they do when newly arrived immigrants don't speak or read any Danish - like asylum seekers? I'd like to think that there is a different, kinder, system for them and I'm just stuck in the "you married a Dane, you idiot" group. I know they have it worse, however. I've seen the camps.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm being punished for taking a pure Dane out of the inbred gene-pool. How are they going to maintain Danish purity if Danish men and women keep marrying dirty foreigners??

Anyway, I went to the JobCenter as instructed only to find out that my meeting had been cancelled. The overly cheery woman (you know you've been in Denmark to long when you instinctively distrust happy smiling Danes) said they tried "every means" to contact me. As my husband dryly pointed out, well, we do live right around the corner, they could have walked over and knocked on the door, so not EVERY means. I never did get the letter they SWORE they sent. Asshats.

This perky bouncy woman proceeded to tell us that well, it wasn't really necessary to meet with anyone because really the most important thing to do is sign up for Danish classes. Okay. Yes. Fine. But I am trying to get a job and I want to be able to work my class schedule around my job and this IS the JobCenter....

Oh, don't worry about that! She says. You'll get a job in no time and you can tell the language school about it when you go in for an interview.

Um. Okay. Yes. Fine. About that job?

Oh, they don't do that here, there's only one guy who does that and he's really busy and it's no problem to get a job in Denmark and at this point I see her lips moving and all I'm hearing is blah blah blah Danish blah blah blah Danish blah blah blah bunnies blah blah blah cupcakes blah blah blah rainbows emanating from my ass blah blah blah.

Of course she's not worried! She has a job! And she *knows* that no one is poor in Denmark! Everyone says so! Certainly no one is constantly facing foreclosure on their home because in Denmark, these things don't happen! Everyone can get a job, even a person with no skills and no Danish because in Denmark, people fart happiness!

Though I was one floor above the language school, she decided to sign me up for Danish class. So helpful. Thanks. I tried to tell her that I've done this before, but she just sort of kept talking and talking and talking. I don't think she trusted me to go and do it myself. I am after all a dirty foreigner come here for the free health care and welfare that I'm not qualified to get because I'm still breathing.

So today I got my letter from the language school. IN DANISH! Seriously? Are you kidding me?

I'm reminded of a billboard I saw once: "Want to Learn to Read? Call 1-800 (something something)"

Dude, if I can read the sign, I obviously don't need your help and if I need to learn Danish, how on GOD'S GREEN EARTH am I supposed to be able to read the letter???

The up side is that my husband, the Dane, is more pissed off about this than I am, so I'm feeling loved and supported by a six foot tall enraged Viking. The down side is that he's really gunning for me to get a job back in the states so he can emigrate.

One immigration at a time!

5 comments:

  1. Hilarious post. Will forward it to my boyfriend so he'd finally believe me what I was trying to tell him ages ago just when I was at your shoes

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ohh, I could go on and on about this topic but you pretty much covered it. Every time I have been summoned for a meeting with my 'advisor' it's a new person. The meetings are absolutely pointless, and they take place only because some rule, somewhere, says they have to take place. And yep, the language school continues to send all mailings in Danish. Maybe they figure eventually if I keep attending school, I'll be able to read their mail.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Even though I have ancestors who were born in DK, and even though I had a CPR from when I lived here in my childhood (briefly) I still had to wait almost a year before immigration gave me the all clear. Then a little later, when they wanted to throw me out (with our kids and letting my partner stay) on some obscure ruling (based on my finances at that time)they eventually, after lots and lots of meetings and lawyers and paperwork, allowed me to stay on grounds of my ancestors, when legally, actually, just being European should have been enough. I'd committed no crimes and it was due to some psycho smiling idiot in an office who simply did not like me.

    Because I am a European I don't technically have to go through the integration mill that ex-European people have to, not by law. But there have been other procedures I went through that are all connected to the plan of making this place inhospitable to people who are not token members of the evangelical/Lutheran church.

    They wanted to throw me out when I was pregnant, for example, due to a tiny law that shouldn't have been applied to me.

    They singled out and persecuted my kids because they are bilingual, for example.

    The called me an alien and treated me like one, for example.

    LOL.

    They scolded me for not being 'there' yet, as in not completely fecking Danskified and wolfing down great portions of smeggy pigs liver paté and marching my kids off for confirmation classes and speaking danish EVEN IN BED.

    And then the awful double standards. I am insulted by the number of Danes who are telling me, when i group myself with 'the immigrants' that oh no *patronising laugh* "..you are not an 'invandrer'! You are from England and there is no difference between the English and the Danish way..we are the same. 'Invandrer' are different" Would they say that if I was black?

    If I was a black person from England, would Danish people tell me I was not 'like' the 'invandrer' because I hail from England? I don't think so. It is high time that attitudes change here. They need to grow out of this stage of being so absolutely resistant to new ideas.

    And all that rubbish about Democracy and free speech here. Who the hell believes that? I don't see free people here. I see people free to do as they are told and very little else. We are free to be Danish here that is for sure.

    Oh dear. I could go on.

    This is only the tip of the iceberg.

    See, also, thing is, the Danes, just generally are completely unaware of their image in the rest of Europe, certainly the people I know in England who have contacted me independantly with view to understanding the situation here are very concerned, a) about the politics here and b) about the general attitude of the People.

    I have a hunch that the influx of internationals at all 'levels' is a very good thing for Denmark. Denmark is at risk of stifling itself without our input, and we just have to be kind and patient while the powers that be and their underlings bully us.

    The biggest joke is that they believe that their methods of integration are healthy. Most of the newcomers I know just learn how to 'play the game', and many newcomers are so vulnerable they really don't have any other choice.

    Refugees are stripped of their dignity here and seen as pesky people, and yet, these people are as valid as any Dansker and it pizzes me off that they are treated like vermin.

    If we abandon this place because of the negative aspects then this place will never improve. We are here to enrich Denmark culturally, and no matter what the Danes say, they are culturally as boring as a cold potato, and it's time they had a shot of life!

    I go now, sorry to rant in your comment space ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. oh I love this one!!

    When I went to my meeting...it was in DANISH also and they had a MAN FROM INDIA there as my Danish translator... What a hoot! And the first thing they told me was not WELCOME TO DK.. rather it was "We will not give you money".. HUH???!! Again.."we will not give you money". Ok, I did not ask for any. "Well, your husband gave bank guarantee for you coming here so you are not eligible for help from the kommune." Great, thanks for clearing that up since I never asked for money and you INVITED ME to this meeting...
    lord, we could all write a book!!

    And you are right, if we feel this shunned by that office, how on earth must refugees feel?!

    ReplyDelete
  5. My husband also had to give a bank guarantee. The bank wouldn't sign the papers until we had deposited the CASH into an account, which they then froze so we can't use it.

    So... the state won't give me money because we have a bank guarantee saying that we have money that we can't use to cover any expenses that I may accrue but we can't touch it because it proves we have enough money for me to be here.

    My mind spins at the logic.

    ReplyDelete

Keep it clean, don't be mean....