(Grab a cup of tea…long post alert!)
“I hope you’re settling in.”
“Good luck settling in.”
“We’ll come and visit once you’ve settled in.”
I’m not quite sure how you define ‘settling in’ but I think there must be levels to it. I felt pretty settled from day one, mostly thanks to the lovely house we’re in and being married to Mr Laidback. But then you’ve got the ‘getting-about settled’, ‘making new-friends-settled’, ‘enjoying-work settled’, ‘finding-a-good-nursery settled’ and finally, ‘mastering-the-language settled.’ That’s a lot of levels of ‘settle’ and it will take a while to get there. So it’s important to take the settling-in wins when you get them.
Win number one: Acclimatising to the weather
Oh it’s cold. The house is lovely and warm but once you head outside, the cold wind hits you. As I mentioned in my last post, I didn’t pack brilliantly for our first two months here…in winter. All our clothes are hanging in our open-style wardrobe and I find myself looking at Lydia’s in envy. However, I have now found an outfit where I can just about zip up my coat and not lose the feeling in any part of my body. Win! The next mission is adjusting this Michelin-man look to a ready-for-work professional one. The Danes seem to carry this off very well and not look at all cold. Note to self – must research how to tap into this Danish gene of cold resistance.
Shivering aside, I feel like we’ve been incredibly lucky with the weather. It just looks stunning and there’s nothing more pleasant than walking on crunchy snow with the sun shining down on your face (as posted in this video I put on Instagram). It actually feels like we’re on a skiing holiday (minus my lack of ski wear, sob –and skiing) but I did actually bump into a lady carrying her skis in central Copenhagen. When I say bumped, I was feeling curious and asked her where she had been with said skis. I didn’t really understand but I gather it’s a nearby field.
Win number 2: We’ve unpacked
It’s taken ten days but we have finally unpacked the last suitcase! For us, the first few days of settling in meant catching up on sleep after a real whirlwind farewell to our house, friends and family. When you have an active little person around, you can’t sustain late nights and not enough sleep. Rich and I made it a priority to tag-team Lydia entertainment with hiding away for a snooze. And then we just couldn’t face anything remotely linked to a form of packing/unpacking. Good job I didn’t pack much then hey!
Win number 3: A fridge full of food
Denmark isn’t cheap. We knew that. But it didn’t stop us being shocked after our four-bags-of-essentials-from-Netto shop coming in at over £70. If that’s Scandinavian for value, we’re in for some baked beans on toast.
To do our ‘proper big food shop’ we decided to use Nemlig – an online supermarket service. The site is great but we needed Google translate to work out what on earth we were clicking on and whether it was worth the money. Three hours later and Rich had meticulously gone through every category via translation and filled the basket. At check-out, the system wouldn’t accept his card, or mine, or any card. A phone call to the helpline sounded promising but oh….no…..that…did….not….just….happen. Basket emptied. You know that monkey emoji with the hands over the eyes….this is what that face was made for. As the day-trip plans had been thrown out anyway, Rich persevered and realised the system only worked if you kept the site in Danish. If there’s ever an incentive to learn the language. After another two hours, our food shop was complete. We needed to get out the house so went on a wander. Where do we end up….yep…a supermarket. We needed to keep warm, it’s all we could see and we realised we didn’t actually have any food in for tea. Can a Saturday get any better?! Actually it can…the supermarket didn’t sell wine. We stopped off at the local off-license where the wine lived on the back of a top shelf looking warm and dusty. I decided against it and ended up having my evening meal with a can of cider. This is not me. So when the online food shop was delivered the next day, at the right time, to the right address, you bet it was a win.
Win number 4: The house
The family letting it out to us have two young boys and have left everything for us to use, including bikes, car, cot and so many wonderful toys for Lydia to play with. We are so grateful to them as it has made our transition not just seamless but joyful. I am going to dedicate a whole post to the house later because it’s divine and so perfectly Danish.
Win number 5: I don’t have to rock Lydia to sleep for every nap and bedtime
Lydia has never been great at going to sleep but for the first week here, she has snuggled tightly into me for comfort in order to drift off. This hasn’t happened since breastfeeding days and I felt a heart-wrenching guilt. But now she is managing
to self-settle, a hit-and-miss routine of leaving the room/coming back in/lying next to the cot/singing/back-rubbing/giving in and rocking/pleading – what self-settle really means. As this is her norm, and she’s sleeping through (big win), I have lost the ‘I have traumatised my baby’ guilt. I’m saving that for when she starts Danish nursery. We’ll cross that bridge another time…
Win number 6: We’re happy
I was expecting to get that slightly sick, nervous, what-on-earth-have-we-done feeling in my stomach but it hasn’t happened yet. Rich feels the same. Lydia is in her element, in her new open-plan play area with lots of lovely new toys. There are hurdles to overcome, we know that. But right now, we’re taking our wins. I’ll drink my Danish can of cider to that. Skål!