I love this chapter of my life, but there are things I miss about living in the US…
1) Knowing how to get things done. My internet access was turned on last Thursday, I was supposed to have the router at least a day ahead of time, but that didn’t happen. In the US, I’d know where to call and how to ask for the missing equipment, here I have to beg for help and hope for the best.
2) Having a car. OK, I actually had 2 cars, which right now seems a bit greedy; I’d settle for one. I do like riding my bike, though not so much on days like today when it’s pouring rain, and sometimes I feel trapped inside this city. Even visiting friends nearby is a challenging game of begging rides and figuring out the bus/train schedule. Not too long ago, I decided to lease a Fiat 500, but then I found out that my US drivers license isn’t valid now that I’m on a work visa, so I’d have to hire a government approved translator and take a written and practical exam for some ridiculous amount of money in order to get a DK license. Not gonna happen.
3) Pizza. The pizza here is mostly sold by Turkish kebab houses. It sucks. Everything about it sucks… the price, the crust, and the fact that the toppings I end up with never seem to match what’s on the menu. I think I confuse them when I order the vegetarian option, but I’m certain the non-vegetarian pizzas would suck just as much to someone who’s grown up on New York pizza.
4) Taco Bell. The food isn’t particularly good, but I miss it, and knowing I can’t have it makes me miss it more.
5) $6 Subways. There is a Subway in my city, but the daily special is always full of meat and runs about $6 US for a 6 inch. The non-daily specials cost more than I’m willing to spend for veggies and cheese. Forget making it at home because the closest I can get to subway bread is a crusty baguette, and there is no Provolone here. A cheese country with no Provolone? No ricotta either :(
6) Tempeh. It doesn’t exist here. I asked about it at the Asian store where I buy tofu that says something about “tempeh” on the label, but the shopkeeper doesn’t speak English. So I brought in back-up, but he apparently doesn’t speak Danish, either.
7) Speaking the local language. I can’t read my mail or much else. I pay cash for everything because I can’t read the messages on the debit card terminals, and I smile like a polite idiot throught every retail transaction I make. And let’s not forget the 5 hours a week I spend in Danish language classes. I could do so much more with those 5 hours, it’s almost like having a 6 day work week *sigh*.
8) The thrift shops. I miss shopping warehouses of barely worn brand name clothes for pennies on the dollar. The thrift shops here great for furniture and housewares, but the clothing is limited, so limited that I bought a dress, and wore it to work. My coworker mentioned that she loved my dress, used to have the same one, but lost the belt and donated it; I see now that there are belt loops on the sides, but no belt, oops! If she happens to find the belt she’s going to bring it in for me.
9) 120v electricity. Aside from my blowdrier, electric kettle, deep fryer, and Dyson, every electric appliance I own has got to be plugged into a miserably ugly 40 lb. power converter box. I’ve already scratched my kitchen counter and a shelf trying to put it out of sight. I gave up, the power converter won and now it sits atop my counter upstaging my elegant Cusinart and Waring Bar blender with its ugliness.
10) Beauty. Health and Beauty items cost a king’s ransom here. There are no “Buy 1 Get 1” deals on nail polish and lip gloss. There are no coupons. A bottle of L’Oreal foundation costs about the same here as a tube of MAC in the US. And I really miss those strip mall nail places, where you can get a mani-pedi and eyebrow wax all for less than $40. I’ve been wanting to bob my hair for a couple of months, but I’ll have to lose 6-8 inches and that’s not something I want to gamble on with an unknown stylist. So here I sit with yet another boring ponytail. I used to have such nice hair. *sigh*
There are more, and I’m not sure they’ll be enough to drive me back to the US when my contract comes up for renewal, but they’re there in the background of my daily life, quietly nagging me.
Coming soon… a list of things I love/would miss about Denmark.
It is a new way of life and it takes time to get use to. Give it time and some of those important things will fall by the wayside.
I look forward to your list of what you love about Denmark. I’m sure it will grow as time goes by.
I was going to send you a whole wheat pizza dough recipe I got from Eating Well magazine. I’ve made it a few times and it’s really good. I’ll send it through YaYaFriends.
Wow, when Denmark hands you Lemons, you’ve made Lemonade :)
Bummer about your Drivers License situation. I was hoping that you would have a car for the winter.
I bet friends here in the US would be glad to send you are care package filled with make-up and stuff.
Oh man, all what you wrote sounds so familiar to me when we lived in France for two years! I hated not even being able to write a simple check without looking at all the complicated numbers and then all the unusual steps just to write the darn thing. Then there is the Mexican food aspect! I’m from California, where Mexican food is amazing, there is none in France!
The driver’s license thing is a racket in France as well! You must go to a driving school, or you will most likely be doomed to not pass, although my dear husband managed to hang in there and get his.
I feel for you, as I’m sure you love your new country, but things like calling a plumber, or just talking on a phone is a huge hurdle!
Hang in there!!
I am eating a Taco Bell all cheese quesadilla in your honor, right this second! Greetings from sunny southern California :)