What’s so great about expat life? Answer number one…

What’s so great about expat life? Answer number one….

Becoming Danish…

Having only arrived a little over a month ago – I can completely empathize with all of these “differences.” We have already procured simple neutral (not all white) furniture, but aren’t quite loving the single duvets yet. And its really a long fall down to the courtyard or street if we hang it out the window! I haven’t been privy to any suppository application yet, but maybe my “babes” are past this point – I hope! I have personally witnessed on multiple occasions the baby in the pram OUTSIDE the shop (on the busy street in the middle of the city!) where mother or father are procuring their goods. Some were sleeping soundly all nestled in their buntings and pointy elf hats, most under a protective layer of weather proofing as the weather does change rapidly here. But another babe was crying her head off isolated outside in her pram. My inner (American) mothering instinct wanted to pick her right on up, but I thought better of it, seeing that the mother was clearly aware and maybe her baby had reflux or colic and she heard that crying ALL DAY (what? Oh, now I’m having flashbacks.) Instead I tried to soothe her momentarily by making some funny faces to which I am positive I got several reactions from passersby. I have been warned of the communal swim hall showers and think the cultural gap might be a bit wide there – the kids are interested in trying our “free passes” we received with our CPR registrations, but I will have to really muster some moxy to make that happen. As for scarves in summer – I’m already all in on that one! Lets see how the cultural adaption evolves – really wanting my bike to arrive so as to join in that Danish tradition. Going to go see the Danish Royals like a good local (or tourist) parade between palaces today – more later! – Erin

Godt Nytår from Copenhagen! Happy New Year!

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions, but can’t deny that the turn of the calendar definitively promotes fresh starts. 2014 was a year full of opportunities seized, plans made and challenges faced. Moving from Portland, Oregon to Copenhagen, Denmark was definitely one of those opportunities that has fulfilled and challenged many of our best laid plans. We left Oregon mid-November and after a brief tour of Barcelona and Madrid, spent the remainder of the year attempting to set up life in Denmark – not so easy as it turns out. (More on those comedies later).

It is a new year. Godt Nytår as they here say in Denmark. Here we are. In a semi-IKEA-furnished flat in the middle of Copenhagen. Seizing opportunities and making new plans. One of my goals for 2015 is to be creative daily. How that creativity expresses itself is up to me, the day, and what I have access to. This is supposed to be an attainable goal. Resourcefulness – using what is around me. In that vein, today I used the fruits of our family’s fishing endeavor yesterday – namely 13 frisk torsk. Fresh cod!

We woke in the wee hours and boarded Spar Shipping‘s “Skipper” skib in Østerbro Harbor yesterday. It was a 5+ hour tour of Øresund – just known as “The Sound” around here. It is the body of water between Denmark and Sweden. Cod is in season now – plentifully swimming in schools not too far from shore gorging on crabs near the bottom.

The "Skipper"

Despite the cold, it is pretty easy fishing – throw your rod and lure overboard, gently jig the line up and down and wait for the strike!


Success! We brought in thirteen nice cod. Not as big maybe as some of the others we saw, but for a first go – pretty satisfied.IMG_0185A quick lesson in gutting and heading your fish on board makes teenage son feel important while wielding a large, sharp knife and into a large plastic sack our fish go.


Home now with 13 friske fisk.


A bit of background, I’m not actually the fisher-person per se in my family. My dad endeared us as children to the wonders of baiting and casting and waiting and CATCHING. He was also the one who cleaned the fish. I have never actually cleaned a fish myself. Oh dear cod! So catching cod is conclusively easier than cleaning, filleting, and skinning said cod. What to do when you would like to use all the recipes that friends so charmingly forward to you for usage of the cod you advertised? Why you YouTube how to fillet a cod of course. So I watched this one “Passionate about Fish – How to Fillet a Cod” … maybe 17 times. (It is quite difficult to hit pause and rewind when you are covered in fish slime and scales.)

My first attempts were not pretty and did not afford the beautiful presentation NOR the fishmongers yield.DSC_3830 BUT – after nearly two hours – I now have eleven (we baked two whole last night) cod all cleaned and ready! DSC_3835 They still would not fly in any master cooking show – of which we have been watching a lot because TLC is one of the few channels in English here in Copenhagen, but they will be utilized in a myriad of ways.

Here is last night’s attempt at baked whole cod:


Rubbed with olive oil, S&P inside and out, placed with sliced lemons and rosemary sprigs into oven at 200C til separated easily from skin. Not family’s favorite application, and I see that the bones were an issue, but easy and quick whilst still slightly wobbling from Baltic boat tour.

This was deliciously easy and quick lunch fashioned today – which I can highly recommend:

Creatively using freshly caught cod for lunch
Creatively using freshly caught cod for lunch

Steamed filets with S&P and dusting of ground ginger, served over baby spinach and refrigerator pickled red onions and a little bit of olive oil on top. So delicious. Fish and chips to come for littles tonight. Will let you know how it goes! Feel free to share ideas on how you are creating your new year. Skål!