My Circus, My Monkeys

From the minute we moved to Denmark in the depths of dark December, we were tempted with the dangling carrot of a beautiful Danish sommer. Just wait til summer, everyone said, it’s beautiful here. What no one told me and we are surely smack in the middle of discovering, is that despite the beauty beauty, everyone and their mother evacuates Denmark during summer. Or at least Copenhagen. Seriously. Where is everybody?

There are open parking spots in front of our building at all hours. Too bad I don’t have a car. Shops are closed with signs stating “Lukket uge 29, 30, 31.” Closed weeks 29 through 31. (I still have to look up dates on the Google for the numbered European week designations.) Everyone it seems, is on holiday. The Danes are on holiday, away at their summer hus near the water. It feels quiet around here. Everyone’s out, including my childrens’ new friends. Even our expat friends got the memo. Skip town during summer break.

And without friends around to engage kids on break, what it means for us is A LOT of familial togetherness. Great! How lucky for you! Um yeah. It is. Great. But as it turns out – we could each of us use a little break from all the togetherness. So while I will go ahead and post pretty pictures (because that is what fills my bucket) I wanted to share a wee bit of the reality behind them. The griping. The complaining. The picking on each other.The down right bitching. From afar it may seem grand and glorious and amazing this adventure we’re on. And it is. Or it should be. Or maybe it will be in retrospect. But right now, there are many things it is not.

It is not easy necessarily. Not easy to find things to engage disparately aged children. What your 9 year wants to do is seemingly abhorrent to a teenager. (What isn’t abhorrent to a teenager right now?) And vice versa. Without the ease of neighborhood friends at their beck and call, mom becomes the entertainer and ring leader. What interests me does not always interest them. And sometimes I feel like the whip-cracker rather than the clown. Do you know what I mean?

Feelings of guilt creep in – is the benefit of this experience worth the feelings of isolation in your children, especially the teenager? I know that other expatriated families have gone through similar scenarios, but it doesn’t always assuage the doubts. In my gut, I would make the decision to move again. And don’t worry. We will be fine. But I just wanted to balance the expectations of what this pretty expat life looks like with the reality. It isn’t always roses. But this is my circus and these are my monkeys. I love them. And this opportunity to try this Danish life. Even with all its thorns. Enjoy the pics (I enjoy taking them!) Cheers from Denmark – Erin

Love from Denmark
Love from Denmark

7 thoughts on “My Circus, My Monkeys

  1. Oh I’m sorry you’re discovering the exodus the hard way! My first summer in Milan was exactly the same, that feeling of living in a ghost town, of having missed a trick while everyone else was off having a good (and not boiling hot) time. I didn’t have a kid to entertain at that point though! We went on a mission to discover Milan’s museums, many of which are free during the summer months (what does that tell you). It’s all part of the adventure, eh… Lovely photos, by the way!

  2. Well said. It’s funny , but I was just thinking yesterday about the tug-of-war summer is for me, too, right here at home. It’s the most beautiful time of year and so greatly anticipated after a long, gray winter. And yet it’s also my time off (I teach), so I am eager to travel, which I love but it erases some of the beautiful summer weeks at home! And the culture here for many people is to disappear for weeks or at least every weekend to a lake house (which we do not do), so our town becomes a ghost town in some ways as well. I always vow to spend more time at home in the summer and every year I cram just one more teeny tiny trip in there and pretty soon, it’s over and I feel “cheated”! In any case, your situation is the much tougher one, and I hope you and your family can keep those positive attitudes intact – you are certainly giving it your best!

  3. You’ve just described every weekend and holiday of mine vis a vis the circus! 🙂 We have decided to take turns choosing activities, and everyone has to go along. London is always heaving with tourists in the summer so we never feel the loss. What about exploring Denmark? or taking the train to Malmo and then on to Lund? Lund is awesome!

  4. Joy

    All they need is love! LO will always be here. Remember… It’s not all roses here either. With that said, OMG I miss you xxx

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