Well, I’m home.
It’s been exactly one month since I left Denmark – with all my suitcases in tow – and headed back west to good ‘ole sunny California.
My master’s program isn’t done yet (thesis still needs to be written), but my time living in Copenhagen is over. It’s definitely bittersweet to end this European journey, but I’m so very excited for the next chapter.
My last couple days in Copenhagen were punctuated by food, sightseeing, and a trip to Sweden.
Somehow Mark and I managed to finagle my bike into this box for transport home. It was a hassle, for sure, but it’s such a treat being able to ride my trusty little Copenhagen cruiser along the California coast.
The long journey home started on a rainy, gray Tuesday morning. We grabbed a taxi to the airport, checked in my big fat bike box, then hung out in this Ikea-on-steroids style lounge.
And then, just like that…
We flew Air Berlin, so we had a layover in Düsseldorf, Germany. It was only 50 minutes (shortest connection I’ve ever attempted) but everything went off without a hitch, so we were able to just walk right onto the next flight.
Then we got to settle in for 11 hours of recycled air, movies, and naps.
My time in Copenhagen has been pretty life changing.
What started as a one-off idea (“I should do grad school in Europe!”) became the adventure of a lifetime. I’d never done something so transformative, so radical, so extreme. Quit your job, fly halfway around the world, settle down in a foreign country, move in with Danish strangers, and leave all your loved ones behind? Why not! I mean – YOLO, right?
Copenhagen has taught me so much about myself, and what I’m capable of accomplishing. I know this blog tends to depict the rosy side of things, but believe me when I say there were some really, really crappy times too. The kind that made me question everything. I haven’t really touched on it before, but Copenhagen was a very emotionally draining place to live. Denmark is a beautiful country, full of [mostly] kind people, but foreigners beware – it is not always the easiest place to live as an outsider. The homogeneous culture can make anyone who is “not Danish” feel very much “not welcome.”
It was hard to get around that feeling sometimes, but now that I’m out on the other side, I’m glad I got to experience all the things I did. There were hard parts. Loneliness, the language barrier, isolation from everything familiar, disappointment with the education system, culture shock at all the introversion…the weather (my god, the weather). But there was so much greatness, too. No gridlocked freeway commute! Biking everywhere! An amazing work-life balance! New faces, new places. New culture. New ways of life. I met so many amazing people throughout this journey, and I’m so grateful for every single one of them.
I’m sad to leave so many of those faces behind, but I know that we’ll cross paths again in the future. I will take with me the memories of the lovely city I got to call home for a little while, and all the lovely people I got to share it with.
It’s not ‘the end’ just a ‘new beginning.’ (How’s that for fulfilling the cliche phrase quota? *pats self on back*)
On that note…
Hello again, Los Angeles.
I’m heading to Copenhagen for a trip in a few months! Reading your posts about it make me even more excited to experience this beautiful city! Any recommendations of places to check out?