Do you ever have those moments that put you in your place? Pull you from revery. Fully entrench you in your present. Like right here. Right now. Feel this, kind of present. There is really nothing like falling flat on your face to do that to be honest. Literally. Falling. On. Your. Face.
Me. I did that. Recently.
And no. I wasn’t day drinking on the canals in the sunshine like I may have recommended that you do. Like Danes may do in the summer. This was a weekday people. Before noon. And I wasn’t at a Danish birthday brunch. Today anyway.
Actually, since you were asking – I was really feeling quite full of myself to be honest. In the best most happiest, full of self satisfaction kind of way. Had just had a very spectacular meeting with a local graphic designer/artist. (Pssst… you can meet her here.) In a cool ass neighborhood in Copenhagen. Walking away with a sense of accomplishment and excitement and full of ideas and potential and posters. Cool ass posters. To hang on my wall.
Rocking my Swedish clogs and vintage sunglasses, I was all that. And a bag of chips. At least in my head. When all of a sudden in the middle of the trendy, hip and somewhat tattooed meatpacking district – I ate it. Clog caught a cobble and down I went. Flat out on the tarmac in the middle of Kødbyen in Vesterbro. It’s true.
And it was one of those moments when you can almost see it play out in slow motion (cue Chariots of Fire music) but then it happens so fast that you are on the floor before you even realize that you’ve tripped. BOOM. Just me? You don’t do that? Damn those clogs. No, just kidding. I love them. I will absolutely still wear them. They’re SWEDISH. I really do love them.
So there I am. On the ground. And being in the middle of – you know – the meatpacking district – there are actual meat packers there. Forklifts and trucks and packers and … meat.
“ER DU OK?!” shouts the nearest meat packingly forklifter driving type.
Are you ok?! In shock, I look up. Are my underwear showing? No. Ok. Thank god. Instant gratitude. That I was actually wearing them to be honest.
“Ja, ja. Jeg er ok.” I am ok.
Plucking myself up from the parking lot, I do a quick stomp stomp stomp to test the legs. Jeg er ok. I am supremely thankful that the lunch crowds hadn’t yet filled the picnic tables outside nearby Warpigs – home of Copenhagen craft beer crown holder Mikkeller. I mean if it had been only thirty minutes later, I may have been putting on quite a show for more than just the forklift driver. Skål! Cheers. Fantastisk. That’s Danish for fantastic.
I do a quick inventory. Camera ok? Ja. Posters ok? Ja. Am I really ok? Give me sec. I’ll check around the block. I have to save a little face. Licking some of the egg off, I round the corner, cross the street and head for the Hovedbanegård – the central train station to get back home. When I do finally look, the top of my right shin looks like a cheese grater has been applied. GAH. Awesome. Not sooo horrible. But not exactly pretty either.
ER DU OK? Are you ok? Shit. I think so. Ja, Ja. Jeg er ok. Yes, yes. I am ok. I am. I’m not perfect. And neither is this life. But I’m still grateful. (Not grated.) Grateful that one year later, my relocated ankle – after three surgeries and three months on crutches – didn’t go out on me. It was just a wobble. Just a scrape. A good one, but just a scrape. And two days later I was able to run on that ankle. Yes, it was only a 5K. And there were no personal records, but I did it. Jeg er ok.
Living an expatriated life is full of stumbles. To be honest, living any life is full of stumbles. Remembering to shake off those stumbles in your favorite clogs is key. Psst – you don’t have to like clogs. It’s a metaphor. Choose whatever you love and hold on to that. Keep an open heart full of gratitude. Be thankful for opportunties put in your path. Even if they require falling on your face once in awhile. Jeg er ok. Du er ok.
Every scar adds to the map. The map that makes you you. How you embrace those scars is up to you. I made this map. It is my map. Sometimes it is flat. Sometimes there are hills to climb. Sometimes, I fall in the valleys. Knowing that the dip is only part of the journey makes the peaks that much more breath taking. Cliché and predictable perhaps, but sometimes when you are flat on your face in the middle of the parking lot of your life, it’s just what you need. Jeg er ok.
Thanks for listening. Cheers from Copenhagen. Coming soon – sharing scars and stories in my from with family and friends – can’t wait! Keep you posted, love Erin