My husband rang while I was sitting in a bar with old school friends. It was my first real night out since having our (then) 13 month old son; opportunities are rare when you live in a foreign country away from all your family.
‘Would we be interested in a job in Denmark?’
The bouncer was watching me, I’d gone out onto the street to take the call, coming in from Turin where my husband was at a conference.
‘Ahhh. Yeah. I guess’
I went back upstairs, drunk some beer, went to a karaoke bar. All the time ‘Denmark’ knocking around in my head.
And that is how it started. And how I found myself, five months later, in Aarhus. It’s Denmark’s second biggest city. Heard of it before? I hadn’t either.
It may seem like a slightly nuts decision, but an international move had been on the cards for some time. That’s just life when you marry an academic. With a rapidly approaching end of contract deadline we had to make some big decisions. New Zealand and Australia were, sadly, not going to happen. If we were going to be the other side of the world then Denmark has some things going for it. No, not the weather and the extremely short days in winter. I’m not sure if I’ll get paid work here, but even if I don’t, day-care is affordable enough we could consider part time. Compare that to the UK, where we would probably be making a loss on my wages compared to child care. Or Australia, where I could join the scramble for a place; harassing centres until they final cave just so the phone calls stop. Immigration has been a smooth process. ‘You’re a New Zealander, married to a British citizen. Here, have a residence card’. No ‘12 letters over two years, from at least four different sources, addressed to both of you and forms signed in your own blood’ à la UK Home Office. (NB. I made the bit about blood up – it just felt that way at the time).
The biggest reason to say ‘yes’, was this. If we don’t like it here, we can leave. But if we said ‘No’ we might spend the rest of our life wondering – what if? Maybe the two years here will be pretty average. Maybe we’ll regret it. But maybe it’ll be a time of our life that we’ll look back on and be glad we came here. We’ll meet some friends, get to know a new city, and hopefully manage to learn a wee bit of Danish too. Since i don’t have many friends here (yet?), and I do have friends around the world I’ll try and do a bit of blogging to keep you in the loop.