The arrival of Covid in Denmark (and the world) has definitely put the kibosh on my cross-border goose-following. But if you ever have to choose a place to ride out a pandemic, I can recommend Denmark—8 out of 10 stars. It loses 2 stars for not turning it away at the border ;)
Almost two years ago, I sat in a café talking about going to Istanbul for my birthday. I actually said the words, “I’m not too concerned about this coronavirus.”
Then all hell broke loose.
Oblivious to the fact that the first lockdown would be announced in the evening, March 11, 2020 was business as usual for me. I delivered some client work, worked out, did some light grocery shopping, and had a session with the magician who keeps me looking (much) fitter than my age. Around bedtime, I realized that I forgot to buy toilet paper. TP pretty much robbed me of that night’s sleep because I had no paper towels, no paper napkins, and no tissues. I had a roll-and-a-half of toilet paper left to my name, I use cloth napkins, and I’d seen what had gone down in the States!
I was up well before the sun, waiting for the grocery stores to open, fully expecting to come home empty-handed and in literal deep shit. But my usual grocery store was a ghost town with mountains of TP—all different types, brands, and price points. I was never so happy to see toilet paper in my life!
The silent, empty streets would’ve usually been filled with cars, cyclists, and pedestrians. The city felt eerie that morning, kind of like how Chernobyl depicted the day after the meltdown.
The lockdown didn’t officially take effect for some days, and the actual rules were somewhat confusing in the beginning. People were mostly laying low. I had a (first) sushi date that Friday, which we decided to keep unless restaurant cancelled our reservation. By Friday, the restaurant was takeaway-only—but they’d forgotten to cancel our reservation, so they offered us a private seating. Though it felt like a VIP experience, the date wasn’t a success. That was my last in-person social interaction for some months.
Being locked down in a foreign country with closed borders is a special kind of isolation. Until further notice, I was stuck riding out Covid in Denmark — alone in a 62-square-meter apartment. With the borders closed, I couldn’t visit my sister in Connecticut or my best friend in Holland. I didn’t even have Opie to keep me company. It was one hell of a mind trip.
Winter turned to spring, but little improved for me. In April, scaffolding for our building’s new roof was installed on my balcony and in front of all of my windows. Now I was on lockdown, I couldn’t open or look out of my windows, and my balcony was off-limits—for over a year. I watched the ivy in my flower boxes die along with my lemon and olive trees—and my optimism for the future.
Fortunately, I still had plenty of work, and I’d been spared the stress of dealing with kids and/or a spouse. Through the lens of social media, that luxury hadn’t been lost on me. I embraced my solitude.
After a short respite, Denmark locked down again last Christmas Day—and stayed that way until spring was turning to summer again.
I did some projects around my apartment, rediscovered my simple-living roots, came up with new recipes, worked a lot, and walked 15-20K steps a day in a deserted shopping mall. I paid off my mortgage.
The heyday of Covid in Denmark sucked, but people followed the rules and things didn’t get political. We had free on-demand Covid testing, and the promise of healthcare without a bill if the worst came knocking. As of November 15th, 2021, our vax rate is close to 90% and Denmark has only had 2,767 Covid-related deaths. The only supply chain issue I’ve encountered was a 3-day tomato paste outage.
Things opened up at reduced capacity in early summer with a Covid-passport scheme in place until September. I’m itching to travel, but I haven’t ventured into that yet.
The government removed all Covid-related restrictions as of September 1st, and life in Denmark was mostly back to a maskless normal. Unfortunately, they acted too soon because cases are surging again and the Covid-passport scheme was reintroduced last week. Here we go again…
How are things in your neck of the woods?
MELANIE EDJOURIAN says
It was so strange once this all kicked off. It was a bit unnerving to see shops and streets empty when I ventured out rarely. Sounds like you kept yourself busy.
I’m impressed that you paid off your mortgage! You’ve come a long way since your days with the twerp (I always thought you were out of his league). You should be proud! I’m glad to see you blogging again. I was disappointed when you stopped but I get it.
Thanks, Cara! It was difficult being blindsided like that, but the Dalai Lama is right—sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck. I feel like I’m living the life I was meant to live—with the people I was meant to live it with.
Amber Myers says
Oh gosh, sounds crazy. We had lockdowns in the US but it didn’t seem to be as long. We do have more covid surges now. I keep wearing my mask when out, but many do not.
Sarah Bailey says
It is crazy isn’t it – COVID seems have bought the whole world together and made it seem so much further away all at the same time. I hope things start to calm down soon.
Tara Pittman says
Last year was a crazy year. I am glad that we don’t have to stay home anymore.
I only recently found your blog! So glad to see you are back to writing just as I found you. I hope you’ll continue to be inspired! 🍻-Janina
Thanks, Janina… I hope so, too! It’s nice to be back :)
I live on a mountain in upstate New York. 60% of the population is vaxed, and those who are not are supposed to wear masks. HAHA! When I venture into the grocery store only a few people are wearing masks. (The rest of the folks are running around with their pants on fire, because it’s the honor system and they’re lying!)
I continue to be pleasantly surprised when I see a post from you! It’s so interesting to see how others are coping in other places.
Thanks :) I’m trying to post at least once a week. I just got a lot of new work, which is awesome but it means that I might not have time to finish next week’s post.
LOL@ “The rest of the folks are running around with their pants on fire…” But living on a mountain in upstate New York sounds lovely! I’ve always liked upstate New York because there are so many beautiful old houses.
I’m not a fan of masks, but I wish they’d bring them back. With the vax rate near 90% and more new cases per day than in all of 2020, it seems that the vaccine isn’t the panacea that everyone expected it to be. I’m still laying low for the most part, despite having a “Coronapas.”
We still have a lot of restrictions, and a mask mandate in my state.
Monica Simpson says
I’m in the US. It feels very political now and I hate it. I feel like it’s never going to end. It’s just insane what life is like these days.
It’s been very interesting to observe how things have been in Denmark vs. the US. The cultures are just so different. Denmark has a strong sense of community and “acting for the greater good.” People also trust the government, which helps—and having many political parties in parliament keeps things from getting too polarized.
Richelle Milar says
Last year is really a not a really great year. A lot of things happened but I am happy that little by little we are now starting to stand up and not be sad about covid anymore.
Rose Ann Sales says
These past years did teach us the importance of helping each other. Covid-19 really put a lot of life at risks but it also taught us a lot.
It’s great to know how other people in other countries went through this experience. Thanks!
Very interesting observations! Thank you for sharing…I especially enjoyed the photo of the bar sign requesting professionals only.
Denmark and Sweden are our current role models on how to safely maneuver a pandemic. Hoping some of that sanity and common sense might migrate over here. Take care.
Last year, I also spent my time doing DIY stuff around the house while quarantining. It feels like it’s going back to normal here now although there is still a mask mandate.
Everything Enchanting says
I have been watching Turkish dramas since 1st September and now I can’t wait to visit Istanbul 😍. Here the cases are rising too! I hope everything gets back to normal (like pre-2019) soon. 😞
I’d love some recommendations :)
Yes Covid is not gone, it is there. Only if people were willing take vaccination it will be under control. I like Denmark, visited there when I was working in Stockholm.
I don’t know about that. Denmark has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world (almost 90%) and we’ve had more new cases per day this week than we did in all of 2020.
Annette Thompson says
Moving to Denmark is one of my death or divorce plans. 🤣
I hope to visit Als in 2023 to see where my great grandparents lived before immigrating to the US in the 1880s. I may have a couple cousins interested in coming too.
COVID will never go away. I’m not sure it will ever be contained with all the mutations floating around. At some point we’ll need to find a way to live with it. Here in Iowa there hasn’t been as much of a lockdown as other states but based on the rates all over the world I’m not sure that has long term benefits anyway.
I found your blog before COVID and am glad you’re back writing.
Thanks for letting me know that you’re reading!
Your name is very Danish to my eyes, though I suspect you pronounce it in English :)
I agree with you. After almost 2 years, this is very tiresome. We need to get on with life in this new reality.
Sage – thank you for restarting the blog. Hope you are healthy and safe as the New Year begins.
Hey there – checking in since the blog has been quiet for a few weeks since the reboot. Navigating the pandemic has been strange and, for me, a reminder to touch base. Missing your thrift finds and fab jewelry. Hope you’re well!
Thanks for checking in. All hell broke loose work-wise in November and it (thankfully) hasn’t let up since then. I’m not planning to shutter Sage & Simple, but I’m committed to several big (writing) projects for the next few months. I hope to come back once things have calmed down :)
It has been a long time since your last blog. I wonder how are you. Hope everything is fine at your end. Take care.
You’re sweet to check in on me. I’ve just been enjoying life in private, but I’m planning to post something in the coming week :)