How One Little Word Can Mean So Much When You Live Around the World

Sometimes it’s the simplest of interactions that make the most impact


Walking away from our middle son’s most recent football match, we were passed by some of his teammates heading home from the game by bicycle. Because it’s Denmark. It’s how you do. As they rode past, each called out, “Ses Q!” See you. A small head nod or raise of the hand with his reply, “Ses.”

See you. It’s such a simple phrase. Ses. Spoken between boys. But the sentiment behind it? So very powerful. Especially for an expatriate. Or an immigrant. Or a migrant. Whatever you want to call me. It’s powerful. For me. For him. For us. Choosing a life lived across borders. Calling Denmark home. Continue reading “How One Little Word Can Mean So Much When You Live Around the World”

Slik eller Ballade is Trick or Treat for Danes

Last night we celebrated an authentically Danish Halloween. That statement alone may seem controversial to some. Do Danes even do Halloween? Why yes. Yes they do. But Danes fall on two sides of the fence when it comes to the prevalence of what they see as a very American holiday. Some embrace it full on, while others ignore it, or worse, admonish the obvious escalation in adoption of the holiday here. We have witnessed an increase in participation, just in the two years that we have lived in Copenhagen. More jack-o-lanterns gleaming from windows and restaurant perches. Orange and black decorations in shops and on the street. Pumpkins for sale for the entire month of October.

And for what it is worth, last night’s Halloween was definitively Danish. How so? Let me share. First of all we took our daughter to a Danish neighborhood. One of the cutest neighborhoods in Copenhagen if you ask me. Trick or treating in apartment blocks where we live proves a challenge. What bell to ring and which floor to traipse to? Hard to know in a town that only partially celebrates. So we walked a little ways to the Kartofflerækkerne. The “potato rows.” Darling little row houses sit sandwiched along several blocks near the Lakes in Østerbro. You can find them running between Øster Søgade and Øster Farimagsgade. Each with a little fenced yard, on Halloween their gates and doors are open. Decorated with cobwebs, jack-o-lanterns and fog machines. Many sporting more haunting decor.

One of my favorite images of the Potato Row houses by photographer Henrik Schurmann

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SOMMER means summer in Danish

Sommer is coming. So they tell me. Coldest Maj in the last fifteen years. So they tell me. In Denmark, the official first day of summer is June 1st. June 2nd it rained the entire day here. Really RAINED. To be honest, for me, with no other basis for comparison, it has really just felt like the Mays and Junes that I am used to growing up in Oregon, where I’m “from.”normal May and early June in Oregon, that is. As someone who grew up in the Pacific Northwest, I lived by the mantra that summer began on July 5th (one day after our National Holiday the 4th of July, if that date didn’t ring a bell for you). I spent many an American Independence Day holiday lighting sparklers and charcoal snakes and smoke bombs in the drizzle. (Yes – fireworks in Oregon suck and the selling and use of is highly regulated. It’s just because we do like our trees there.)

Continue reading “SOMMER means summer in Danish”