I stole this questionar from The Writer, who didn't *tag* me, but in her own way challenged me to give it a go.
Q: Before you knew you'd be coming to Denmark, for whatever reason you originally came to Denmark, truthfully how much did you know about the country?
A: I had read Number the Stars as a little girl, watched WAY to much Victor Borge and heard quite a lot about my father's parent's trip to Denmark. My grandfather was mostly Danish, my grandmother was Swedish, Norwegian (probably), and Danish.
Q: Did you learn about Denmark in school when you were growing up?
A: Only a little bit about the Vikings. My family used to go to Solvang in California fairly regularly.
Q: Do you have family who is Danish or Danish heritage?
A: Yup. See the first answer.
Q: Were you aware the language the Danes spoke was Danish and not German or any other language?
Q: Had you ever lived outside of your home country for longer than one month prior to living in Denmark?
A: I spent 6 weeks digging in Israel... does that count? And I moved from the West Coast to the East Coast. That was quite a culture shock in of itself.
Q: Had you learned to speak any other language than your own, even if only partially so, before coming to Denmark?
A: I took French, Spanish, Latin and German for reading before coming to Denmark. I sucked at all of them.
Q: When you learned you'd be coming to Denmark, did you feel it was important to learn Danish?
A: Yes, I really didn't want to be surrounded by people who could talk about me in front of my back! I also harbor dreams of raising brilliant multi-lingual children.
Q:Did anyone prepare you with information of any type before you came to live in Denmark, did you attempt to find information on your own, or did you come to Denmark without preparing?
A: I arrived the first time in Denmark without knowing much more than I already knew. But I did read my guide book cover to cover on the plane! Over the years, before I finally got a residency visa, I'd learned a lot more.
Q:How did your friends and family react when they learned you'd be moving to Denmark?
A: Everyone was pretty bummed. It's really far away from California and my best friend doesn't have the money or the health to come and visit. My family did make it out for the wedding. I think my mother would have been happier if I'd married a Brit. She's such an Anglophile! My dad was tickled pink to get to come to Denmark. But I'm a daddy's girl, so he misses me dreadfully.
Q: What did you think would be your biggest challenge living in a foreign country? Or did you feel you would face any big challenges?
A: I thought language would be the hardest because I suck at languages. I thought the rest of it would be fairly easy, since it was a western European country and I was prepared for some culture shock. HA!
Q: Upon arriving, can you remember the overall impression you had in the first 48 hours?
A: It was all just slightly different from America. Like walking across a slightly tilted floor. Everything is just off-balance but you can't really point to something and say, oh, this is completely different. My then-boyfriend-now-husband picked me up at the airport and we took the train across Denmark. I remember being excited to 1) be there with him and 2) take a train. I couldn't get enough of the train travel. Still can't, it's my favorite means of transportation.
Q: Tell me about your bicycle, if you have one. Is it borrowed/rented or do you own it? And how often do you use it weekly? Have you ever had your bike stolen? Feel free to mention and elaborate about anything special concerning experiences you have/had with your bicycle.
A: I have a bike. It's in the basement. I *thought* I knew how to bicycle when I came to Denmark. But I keep looking at the rear reflectors and expecting them to light up when people brake. I had one bad accident when I ran into the bike in front of me and toppled into traffic. The car swerved and I jumped up with only some bruises, but I won't bike in the city any more.
Q: Name three of your favorite things about the Danish culture which first come to mind:
A: I like the history. The old buildings, the old graves, the old stuff in the museums that actually comes from here!
I like a lot the food. I would go crazy if I had to eat it all the time, but if we ever move away I will force my husband to make frikeddella (how do you spell that) and I'd miss the herring. I'd also really miss drinking beer and schnapps with lunch, especially now that I've learned how to do it without getting completely trashed.
I like how, when it's cold, all the bars and many of the restaurants provide heaters and blankets for outside drinking and dinning. I just think that's cool.
Q: Of the things you never knew before coming here, what have you learned about Denmark
A: OMG! Where do I start? It's a lot more conservative than I ever imagined. And by conservative I mean, disliking change and upsetting the status quo. It may have a more progressive social policy for welfare and health care, but it's very stagnent and even if it is broke, no one wants to change it... because change is bad.
Q: Culture shock. Does this ring a bell?
A: Oh yes. For a while there was the "honeymoon" period. And then it sort of came crashing down when I finally got residency and I realized, this is it, I could be living here for the rest of my life!! Things that I used to shrug off began to really bother me. But at least I no longer feel guilty about not always loving it here.
Q: How far have you come with learning Danish?
A: Passed my Danish 1 test. Continuing with Danish 2. I can read a lot of Danish and I understand quite a lot, but my speaking is still pretty random. I can chat with my husband now about simple things like what I did in class and what I did yesterday and what I'd like to do tomorrow. He's learned to not correct me and just let me chatter.
Q: Has your view on politics or world issues changed from how you previously viewed things before living in Denmark?
A: I joke that I've become much more conservative since I moved here. I see the problems with socialism and a welfare state and I find myself getting frustrated with the complacency of the Danish voters and the ineptitude of the Danish political system. The US may only have two parties, but we get shit done! Here it doesn't matter who's in charge, nothing ever changes!! And people here really lack a work ethic. I am all for working less and having more time for social things, but Danes take it to extremes.
Q: Since living here, have you learned anything new about yourself? Or perhaps have you learned anything else new? A new hobby or a new way of life?
A: I learned to cook! I learned to love cooking! I learned that I am not as career driven as I thought and that I'd rather be happy than successful (thank god I live here where that's okay, even if it sometimes pisses me off). I thought I was flexible and adaptable before... now I know I am.
Whew, that took a while! I'm now faint with hunger. Oh, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I hear your siren call! PB&J with sour cream and onion potato chips and an apple.... mmmmm. Tonight I make spicy mac and cheese.