Under Construction

Construction at Østerport StationEverywhere you turn in Copenhagen there is construction. Omnipresent are the giant cranes that incongruously litter the historic city skyline. The level of high green walled construction sites seems in high proportion to the lovely Danish architecture. Behind these walls echo the seemingly perpetual noise of excavators, dump trucks, jack-hammers, blow torches. Lucky for me, despite my distast for the impacted sight lines and vistas these sites create, is the fact that many of them have wonderful murals, providing many opportunities for creative and beautiful public art. Being a member of my public art council in Oregon, I can get behind this.

Construction in the Lakes near Østerbro

But, what are they constructing? I’m glad you asked. Behind all those green walls with their muraled façades, will be the new City Circle Line Metro – known as Cityringen here in Danish. Like everything that I have experienced here, there is a beautiful design and polish to the Danish intent for this Cityring. Here is the graphic presentation of the lovely Circle Line (that is already behind 7 months in construction and slated to be opened after our visas expire in the summer of 2019. Boo.)

Beautiful Danish design in theory
Beautiful Danish design in theory

Here is another – not quite as perfect representation.

Not as beautiful Danish design – but a’ight

And here is what it will actually be like traveling on the circle ring.

Danish design in reality

To be honest – when I found out that it wasn’t actually going to be a true circle – which would have been so much cleaner – my internal Spotify loop of Beyonce’s “to the left, to the left” suddenly faded out. (Record scratching silence ensued.) Suggestions for new musical representation of actual shape of the circle line solicited and encouraged. Please comment below. I digress. (I’m good at that.)

Why am I so interested in a new Metro system that I will be unable to utilize? (Unless of course, we do come back to visit lovely Copenhagen in the future. A future in which I would be pleased to partake of a ride on the ring.) Why now though? Who really cares besides all the cool art? (Don’t worry – there is lots of it shared in the gallery below.) CLICK. Here’s why. This morning, while walking to one of my favorite café’s on the lakes – Den Franske Café – that big ugly green wall that encroaches into our neighborhood’s end of the lake and sits plainly in view from the café – made me stop.

Cityringen construction IN THE LAKE
Cityringen construction IN THE LAKE

Construction. Ugh. Ugly, noisy, slow, loud. BUT. I realized. I… am also under construction. An expat under construction, if you will. The idea was couched, the plans were agreed upon, the contractors determined (maybe not fulfilling expectations yet), champagne crashing ground-breaking has occurred, construction has started and earth is being turned. But.

It’s noisy. The biker who bangs on my window and yells at me in another language what I can only assume is something akin to the fact that I don’t know what I’m doing. You’re right! I don’t! EEEK! I’m sooooo sorry!! I didn’t see you there around the CONSTRUCTION that is taking place right outside my building. Noisy. Children who don’t have the established outlets or courage yet to set out on their own and spend a wee bit more time together than they are used to – Noisy.

It’s ugly. Messy and frought with emotion. Hard to correlate the initial butterflies and anticipation with the reality of the now. There have been a myriad of scientific studies done that illuminate the phases one might proceed through during an expatriation. I will divulge that I have clearly moved past the “honeymoon” phase and am a wee bit mired in the “culture shock” phase. Being the middle of vinter does not assist said feelings of dislocation, confusion and the rapidly rotating emotions of frustration, apathy and a dash of annoyance. I know this too shall pass, but for now I will embrace the valley. From changes, challenges and seasons past – I know the peaks will be all the more worthy for having felt the low.

It’s slow. Incremental. Like grass growing. Slow. Like the few minutes a day we glean of daylight. Slow. When I think I understand something, I quickly realize that I have no idea. Aha! Oh. No? Ok. Square one. Everything takes longer. Easy tasks become challenging. There is a sense of wings being clipped at times. Expectations have been lowered, so that little triumphs and discoveries can be exalted when found, which is good. But it is slow, this construction of my expatriated self.

It’s LOUD. I will proclaim to you LOUDLY (here and on Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and Instagram and Pinterest – that’s pretty loud right?) that I am working on it. Have patience with my construction. Be prepared for delays and oversights and cost-inefficiencies. I’ll let you know when we’re moving into the next phase. For now – enjoy the photos. Cheers from Denmark. PS – don’t worry about me #imok.