Christianshavn (Pronounced Christians-hown with the emphasis on hown. When you hear Danes say it, it can sound like Christianstown. Do not, whatever you do, pronounce the v!)

Anyway, back to point. Christianshavn is one of my favourite places in Copenhagen. It has history, charm and canals.   We were lucky enough to stay here for a week last month, at my Dad’s cousin’s apartment, as we waited for our new home to be ready. Now Anne, my Dad’s cousin is an architect so she has the Danish eye for design. She has built up this apartment from scratch, quite literally. She moved into the building nearly 45 years ago, when Christianshavn was quite a different place, so much so, her parents didn’t want her living there. The area had some slums and there was a lot of poverty, with families of six or even ten, living together in one room. Anne remembers it well. But what it had – and still has –  is a strong sense of community. That community built up the block of apartments Anne still lives in, and made them home. Anne, along with a group of other women built it themselves. They installed bathrooms in 1980, having used outside toilets before this. They redesigned the stairs, created a heating system, renewed the roof and the facades.

And now….well just look. A building that’s over 100 years old full of character and charm.

 

The doors to each apartment staircase aren’t locked because the residents don’t want the original wood to be damaged by a big lock. There is an outside terrace with a bar and kitchen and a charming play area for children.

It would cause a serious dent in your purse to live here now. But this place isn’t really about that. It’s more the fact that a community built it up and a new generation’s community sustains its original character. During our stay there was a group clean-up over one weekend, called Arbejdsweekend  Residents all chipped in to sort out the storage areas and clean up the garden areas. They started the day with a communal brunch and ended it with a takeaway and wine. This is actually quite common in Copenhagen when apartment blocks share storage and a courtyard but I haven’t seen one as tight knit as this. Although Anne tells me there are some people that never turn up. Perhaps they make an appearance for the celebrations instead. There are always courtyard gatherings for festivals like Fastelavn (see post here), Sankt Hans (a midsummer festival) and New Year’s Eve.

Christianshavn canal
The Round Tower
Christianshavn Streets

These apartments are based in central Christianshavn so the canal is on your doorstep and Round Tower (Rundetaarn) can be seen from the higher apartment windows. If you end up visiting Christianshavn, the Round Tower is worth a stop off. Built in the 17th century, it’s Europe’s oldest functioning observatory. You can climb the spiral staircase to the top, look out over Copenhagen and look down a glass floor to the bottom. Not quite a toddler-friendly activity, so unfortunately we haven’t experienced this yet.

A great place to have a drink on a summer's day

It’s a real treat to have experienced a week of charming Copenhagen community living. We are very lucky to have family living here.

 

So August….quite a month! Rich finished his temporary car job, we packed up our apartment in Valby, stored our belongings in a relative’s garage and headed off to England with three suitcases and four outfits for four weddings over four weeks. We left, not knowing where we going to be living on our return. We had come to the end of our Valby tenancy and despite two months of apartment-searching, we had yet to find the perfect long-term home. I am happy to say, two weeks into our holiday, we found somewhere, did a Facetime tour via my cousin and signed the contract soon after. We move next week and are staying with relatives in the meantime, who have been incredibly generous helping us out. Apartment-searching in Copenhagen is quite hard work and requires you to search a few times a day, call as soon as you see something that matches your criteria and make a snap decision – that’s if the landlord wants you. It’s so competitive they can be picky who they choose as tenants. So it was a huge relief to have got that sorted.

So onto the fun stuff. Four weddings and a nephew! We were incredibly lucky to be invited to these wonderful celebrations and it timed perfectly, with being in between apartments and jobs for Rich. We were able to stay with Richie’s parents in Sheffield in between all the events, which Lydia loved and it made our stay so relaxed.

Wedding number one was my university friends Tori and Abe who both went to Durham University and ended up getting together years after leaving. The wedding reception was held at Tori’s family home and it was a beautiful setting. Lots of champagne, delicious food, hilarious speeches and a great live band made it a fun-filled day with my uni girls. It was the first time in seven months that Rich and I had spent an evening together toddler-free, so it’s fair to say we partied hard.

Wedding number two was that of my younger brother Rob and new sister-in-law Sophie at the wonderful Priory Cottages in Wetherby. We all stayed on site in the cottages and enjoyed a weekend of family fun. My Dad took the service (he’s a Bishop for those not in the know); my younger sister Izzy did a reading, Lydia was a flower girl and I was unofficial videographer. This was my idea, as a gift to Rob and Sophie as they didn’t want to spend the money on a wedding video, so I hired a Canon C100 MKII and did my first wedding shoot – whilst wearing heels, drinking wine and enjoying myself. It was pretty special being able to see my brother and Sophie get ready before the service and capture their day. Lydia was just incredible from start to finish and walked down the aisle holding my Dad’s hand which just made my heart melt. Danish traditions included a mini bottle of schnapps for each guest and the customary cutting of the groom’s socks. This quirky tradition occurs late in the evening, as everyone is merry and dancing. The groom’s friends and family lift him up, take off his shoes and cut off the end of his socks. It’s apparently to make sure the groom won’t walk off with any other woman. My brother-in-law and Richie also had the same thing done to them, by our Danish relatives and it always causes much amusement and confusion! I caught this on film and can’t wait to edit it.

The day after the wedding, we got on a flight to Italy. Wedding number three was in Varenna, Lake Como. We decided last year, even before Denmark plans, to make this our main family holiday, along with Richie’s parents and his sister and family. We had a wonderful villa in Menaggio that was perfect for Lydia and her cousin Sadie to play in. Swimming every day, walks around the town, pizza, ice cream and prosecco made it the perfect wind-down. It also gave Rich and I the headspace to search and find our new apartment while we were here. When it came to the wedding, Rich and I hopped on the ferry to Varenna to enjoy another toddler-free afternoon and night celebrating the marriage of Richie’s school friend Charlie to the lovely Sophie. The setting was incredible, the food was typical Italian –  divine and lots of it, and the wines matched it perfectly. Their wedding photographer was the brilliant Jon from S6 Photography, who also shot our wedding so I know their pictures are going to look stunning.

Apartment-searching with a view.

After 10 days on Lake Como, we headed back to England for more friend and family catch ups and then the drive to Durham for wedding number four! Lydia was invited to this wedding but we decided to have a final night off and save her from any more travel. Ben and Stephanie also went to Hatfield College, Durham and it’s where they met. So it was very fitting for them to return, as they became husband and wife. The Castle is a college within Durham University and was always a rival of Hatfield College, which is just around the corner. So whenever we went to the Castle as students, it was to sneak in when we weren’t meant to, or during a bar crawl. So this was the first time I actually got to appreciate the beauty and scale of the place. The ceremony was held in the gardens and the reception in the Great Hall, where students are lucky enough to eat their meals every day. It was a day filled with memories, wonderful touches and a first-dance that would give Strictly contestants a run for their money!

You are never far from a rower in Durham.

With the final wedding over by 28th August, it was time for Rich to get ready to start his new job on 1st September. But there was just one more celebration that I couldn’t miss and I stayed back an extra week with Lydia. My older sister Charlotte, who couldn’t make my brother’s wedding because of an imminent arrival, gave birth to a beautiful boy called Finn Alexander, just in time for me to visit him. In a fitting Danish tribute, Finn is my Dad’s middle name and the name of Dad’s uncle, who gave him the information to find his birth mother. That uncle, is the grandfather of my second cousin who we are staying with now. I back-packed down to London with Lydia, to stay with my brother and sister-in-law, fresh back from honeymoon and we had a lovely couple of days seeing family again and meeting my tiny new nephew.

I won't lie - I prefer Copenhagen metros to the London underground!

Managing a solo parenting trip to London, made the solo parent flight back to Copenhagen very smooth. A sticker book and endless snacks got us through and asking for help with carrying heavy loads. And here we are, back together in Copenhagen, ready to start the next chapter of our adventure. We feel very lucky to have seen so much of our friends and family during August and take stock on everything we’ve achieved. We feel ready to be back and make our new apartment home. Rich is settling into his new job and has a company car (still getting used to Copenhagen parking rules!) We’ve finally invested in a family bike, after selling my car back in England. And we have signed a two-year contract with a one-year break clause on our apartment so no more packing up for a while! We just need to furnish the place…and we thought we’d host a party for Lydia’s 2nd birthday three days after moving in, because you know, we like a challenge and we like to have fun. So bring it on 🙂 xxx

 

If there is one thing you should do when living in Copenhagen, it’s to experience a performance of Hamlet at Kronborg Castle in Elsinore – the very place where Shakespeare set his play.

I was lucky enough to experience this aged 17, with my family.  Something about my Danish ties and the unique experience of watching that performance, had an impact on me. I wrote about it for my English A-level course work and used it in my applications to study English Literature at university.

 

15 years and many Hamlet essays later, I was back in Elisnore to see another performance of the play at the castle. This time, it was just as unique. Not only was I now a Danish resident audience member, watching with new friends and a bottle(s) of wine; but I knew the Danish actor playing Hamlet. And it was his opening night.

 

Indoor picnic due to rain!

Cyron Melville is part of my wider Danish family. I’d met up with him a couple of times in the build-up to Hamlet, and as a bit of a geek, asked him loads of questions. He’s the first Danish actor to play Hamlet in an international production of the play at Kronborg Castle. The only other Danish actor in this particular production was Natalie Madueño, playing Ophelia. It was directed by Lars Romann Engel. Now, if you know Hamlet, there are a lot of words. It’s actually Shakespeare’s longest play. And although this version was cut down, there were still a hell of a lot of words for Cyron to learn, understand and perform in a British accent. It’s such a brave decision to take on the role, especially when his predecessors who have performed on that stage include Laurence Olivier, Kenneth Branagh and Jude Law. To say he did it brilliantly is an understatement. I am convinced he’ll go onto even bigger things from this, so you heard it here first. 🙂

Rave reviews

What makes performing and watching Hamlet at Kronborg Castle so unique is that it’s completely outdoors. Only the stage is covered. Behind the stage you see the castle, the views of Elsinore and the sea in the distance. You hear the seagulls, who seem to time their squawks at just the right dramatic pause. As the play enters the second act and becomes quite dark, (people die, Hamlet turns quite horrible), the sun sets and you are actually watching in darkness, with the sounds of the night around you. It’s a vast yet intimate setting and even on the back row, as we were, you can see and hear everything clearly.

Being outdoors, you have to be prepared for the weather. Denmark is like England in that respect and true to Danish summer, it rained on the opening night.  But this doesn’t deter a Danish audience, wrapped up in their thermals and waterproofs. An announcement was made just before the play started, saying if the rain became heavy, we’d be directed to shelter. “Errr…this is heavy..?!” whispered my expat friends. But as soon as the actors entered the stage, we didn’t notice the rain or our soggy bottoms and before we knew it, the first half was ending and a rainbow appeared.

The comedy of the first half, which was actually laugh-out-loud, it was so well performed, was counterbalanced by the very dramatic second half. It’s the first performance of Hamlet I’ve seen where they’ve acted out Ophelia’s death (not the way I was expecting!) and the way Hamlet poured the poisoned drink down Claudius’ throat was so realistic, I wondered if we had paramedics on stand by. Luckily, this happened at the very end and he came back to life for the curtain call so all was well.

As I post this, it’s the penultimate performance of the production’s 19-day run and I can’t imagine how the actors keep going night after night, when I think of what I’ve done since the premiere (blog posting not included!) But a new production of Hamlet is performed outdoors at Kronborg castle every summer. So if you’re planning a trip to Copenhagen in August, definitely go and experience it. You might just view Hamlet, and the state of Denmark differently.

 

This is one overdue blog post! I have missed updating you all on all things Danish but life suddenly got quite busy. Lydia, work, language classes and some super fun visits from friends and family, haven’t left much time for blogging. If I have any time left at the end of the day, which tends to be 9pm, going on Lydia’s recent bedtimes, I tend to choose to sleep. If I had one of those Trainspotting t-shirts from back in the day, mine would be amended to ‘Choose Sleep.’

So it’s about time you had an update, and we’ve hit some pretty big settling in wins lately. So here we go…

1. We have both started our Danish language lessons.

It’s so nice to use parts of my brain that have been in slumber since school and feel like I’m really challenging it. And even though I haven’t had many lessons, I can now pick out words I here in every day life and that’s a huge settling in win.  Rich and I are in separate schools, as one of us needs to look after Lydia, so Rich has been going on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and I’ve been going on Monday and Wednesday evenings. My school, called Studieskolen is quite hardcore it would appear. Lessons are 5.30pm-9pm and there’s a lot of homework. I had to actually be interviewed to get onto the course, which involved an English grammar test, that I feared I’d failed after forgetting what an ‘article’ was. Embarrassed English Lit graduate. Then I had to translate Danish even though I hadn’t had any lessons. Perhaps they were testing I had some sort of brain up there?! Anyway, I got on the course and my first lesson came after a 24 hour flight back from San Diego. I looked a little spaced out to my new classmates. I’d like to say that look has changed, but as a mummy to a toddler who never sleeps, I don’t think it has. No one else in the class has a child, which is my reason for being the one who never does their homework on time. Richie’s lessons have been more relaxed, finishing at an early 8pm. His school was called Clavis. I say ‘was’ because halfway through his module, he received a letter from the government informing him that his language school was closing. The students found out before the teachers and just like that, before even finishing the module, his class was dismissed and told to enrol at a new school. There are now three language schools left to choose from in Copenhagen, compared to the original six, because the government are no longer funding those that teach ‘labour market-related Danish.’ The rumour on the language school circuit, is that it’s the beginning of the phasing out of free language classes altogether. Whether that is true or not, I have no idea, but we are extremely grateful to be learning while we can. Rich will start his new school in September, and I will continue with my classes after a summer break. I will keep you updated on all things Danish language and how difficult the pronunciation is! Right now, my only aim is to converse with toddlers. And that, I am beginning to achieve. Win win!

Standard language text book image. Standard swotty Emma notes.
This image is so very accurate.

2. Keeping with the theme of Danish – Lydia can speak some of the language!

Aged 21 months, Lydia can count to ten in Danish – not always in the right order and sometimes mixed with a bit of English, but she can do it. Eight ‘otte’ and ten ‘ti’, are her favourite numbers. She also says ‘vi ses’, which is ‘see you’, ‘hi hi’, which is ‘bye’ and the word that gets the most use at the moment, ‘nej’ which means ‘no’. I think she’s probably saying other words that she’s picked up at nursery but I wouldn’t know. A mum told me last week she was saying peekaboo to me in Danish. I thought she was doing a poo.

3. Lydia is in Danish nursery – vuggustue.

She started at the beginning of June and settled in after just a week of building up from one hour to five. It was heart wrenching, just as it was when she started nursery in England. I’ve personally found nursery the hardest part of parenthood so far. Thankfully, it didn’t take Lydia long before she was running in to greet her friends. Perhaps because she was older, this time at 20 months, rather than 12 months when she started in England, but it was a much smoother transition. The nursery gave me photos and names of everyone in her class, as well as a laminated sheet of Danish vocab they would be saying to her during the day, so I could repeat it at home. Lyds knows all her nursery friends’ names by heart – Sophus, Viggo, Jens Peter, Clara, Christian, Daniel…I won’t list them all as there a quite a few. And not quite as many adults. This is the Danish way it seems. It’s laid back, and then some. It has and still is, taking me a bit of time to adjust to it. Lydia is happy, I can tell, it’s just poor Rich and I who are left a little in the dark as to what she actually does there. The motto of a lot of Danish nurseries, is no news is good news. In England I was given a sheet of paper at the end of each day, telling me exactly what Lydia ate, how many nappy changes she had, what made her laugh, what made her sad and a development ‘test’ to check she was reaching milestones in social and physical development. The end of a nursery day here, consists of me asking:

“How has she been today?”

“Fine. Vi ses i morgen!”

We get updated via an app with photos of what the children are doing each day and I know they will text me if Lydia is having a bad day. It’s just a different kind of approach that I’m getting used to. Yesterday I logged into the app to see photos of them building a camp fire in the playground. You know, like you do with under twos! Lyds is happy and healthy so we are just trying to go with the Danish flow.

4. I got a work project that took me to San Diego.

I had never been to San Diego before and even though I was in the air for longer than I was on the ground, it was so much fun to work with a Californian crew,  produce something different and briefly see some of San Diego. Watching flight films all by myself, was also a huge novelty! (I, Daniel Blake by far the stand out.).  I’d never left Lydia for longer than a night, so being away for three nights and four days, did make me have a little cry when I said goodbye. Yes, this is how I am now. You give me San Diego filming fun, I give you tears.

6. Summer has arrived in Copenhagen.

And wow what a city it becomes. It took a while. Back in May, while England was basking in a heat wave, here in Copenhagen it was pretty darn cold. Rich did actually ask at one point, whether we’d moved to a country where you can never take off your coat and kids have balaclavas sewn onto them. But by the end of May, we were officially out of winter and we’ve enjoyed some gorgeous summer days. Blog posts about day trips, visitors and a minibreak are to follow. As you can see, we’ve discovered quite a few places and all of them are on our doorstep. The beauty of Copenhagen.

Belle Vue beach in Klampenborg
Hellerup
Frederiskberg Have
Islands Brygge
Christianshavn
Nyhavn

7. Visitors

As mentioned above, we have enjoyed some lovely visits from friends and Richie’s parents. We’ve also had two trips to see my grandparents and aunt and uncle in Jutland, including a lovely four days on the island Rømø, where my grandparents have a summer house. My parents. sister Izzy and her boyfriend Dan also came out to join us there. After five months away from them, it was so lovely to catch up and Lydia was in her element.  Rømø is where we have spent most summer holidays since I was at school, so it is always a special time for all of us. I’ll tell you all about it in another post.

8. And the best win for last. Rich got a job….and then he got a better job!

You probably noticed in the networking article I wrote back in May, that I casually mentioned, what we had all been waiting for….Rich got a job! Now I didn’t go all bells and whistles about it on here because a) it was a temporary job and b) we were waiting until the contract was signed, after a previous experience where Rich was offered a job and then the company folded. That aside, we were so relieved when it all came through, thanks to Richie’s friend at his language school. And it timed just as Lydia was about to start nursery. The job was and still is, cleaning hire cars, checking for damage, filling in paper work and driving them to an allotted space. Repeat. 8 hours on a shift rota. Part of my brain thought, eek – Rich is a business graduate with nearly 10 years experience working in sales and he’s having to clean cars. But it’s a job, in a country where you don’t speak the language and Rich has really enjoyed working there; he’s met people from all over the world and made new friends. They all have their own story to tell, of how they ended up washing cars in Copenhagen.

The day Rich signed his contract for the hire car job, he got a phone call out of the blue. A global tiles company were on the look out for a Scandinavia Sales Manager and a contact Rich had made during his networking, had put him forward for the role. Richie’s work in the U.K. involved selling tiles, so this was a perfect job and actually part of his career progression. One week later, someone from the company flew out to interview Rich at Copenhagen Airport. He was told there was one other person in the running for the job at this point, and he spoke Swedish. We know how this ends, we thought, yet we hoped differently. One week later, while Rich was on his way to his first late shift, he got the call. He was their new Scandinavia sales manager. He’d done it! Eight months after his first Danish application back in October, Rich had made it happen. Interviews, meetings, networking events, application after application and that small matter of a relocation – it had paid off. Those cars got the best clean of their lives that day.

Rich starts his new role on 1st September and a new chapter in the Danish adventure begins. It also coincides with the time we move apartments (not actually found one yet) and comes just after our first trip back to England in August (to attend four weddings-yes four). So it really will feel like we’re starting afresh, but in a settled kind of way.

When the sun is shining down on you...

Six months on…

This new chapter is probably the point most people begin their journey of living abroad – with jobs sorted, a place to live and nursery set up. We have definitely taken the road less travelled, working it out as we go along with a dollop of family-belief, and sense of adventure. It’s not been easy. May and June were both months where we had to have conversations about how long we could sustain living here if the right job didn’t come along, and we discussed all our back up plans, including the date we would go home. On top of this, we really felt the gap of grandparent support when we got about three full night’s sleep during the month of May, and then June brought us hand, foot and mouth disease. Cue a screaming Lydia, rather frazzled parents, a call to Danish 111, a knock at the door from a concerned neighbour, ending in lullabies from Richie’s mum via Facetime for Lydia but quite frankly I think we all needed it. They have been testing times but we made it. We’ve constantly got each other’s backs, checking the other is still ok doing this, ready for the next stage and still happy. And here we are, at Settling In Level Three, nearly six months into Danish living and so excited and grateful we have got more to come. There’s so much more to say, so much more to learn. I look forward to keeping you with us as we progress on our Danish dream. x

For those that missed it, this is the article I wrote for the online paper The Local, Denmark about networking two weeks ago. Where two weeks have gone I do not know. Well actually I do know – working, Lydia playing (day and night) and nursery settling in! I will do a full update on our Copenhagen lives soon, I promise. For now, here’s a little insight into how I’ve found networking in a new country.

Lydia's lovely new bike to grow into.

Just after I wrote the article, our current landlord came by to give us his daughter’s old bike to use when Lydia is older. It’s these acts of kindness that really make a difference to how you integrate into a new place. It keeps you bobbing along when obstacles come your way. Living in a new country can make the every day simple tasks quite tiring because of translating, not quite understanding protocols and just inexperience. Only yesterday I was staring at our communal tumble dryer wondering why, for the second attempt and numerous google translations of the settings, our clothes were still damp. So if you add a few bigger obstacles into the mix and a dose of sleep deprivation; your bobbing along can soon turn into treading water. *

* Treading water for me =  massive effort and a bit of a panicked look. I only ever got my 10 metres.

My point is, aside from my poor swimming metaphor, is that goodwill gestures are vital. Not just for people who are new to an area, but in life. Never underestimate them because if you can keep people afloat, they can go on to thrive.

 

The Local, Denmark, 22nd May 2017 

Networking. A word I used to shudder at. Alone in a crowded room, lurking on the periphery of a group deep in conversation, sipping cheap wine while smiling meaningfully at a conversation you can’t hear. All the while channelling that song from La La Land…

“Someone in the crowd,

Could be the one you need to know.

The one to finally lift you off the ground.”

As in the film; the reality is that you spend most of your time in the loo.

But since moving to Copenhagen three (*eek it’s now four since this was published!) months ago, I have started to view networking differently. It doesn’t involve awkwardness, it doesn’t pin all hopes on one meeting but it does, slowly but surely start lifting you off the expat ground.

Neighbours

It started with asking our first landlords for a list of places we could take our one year-old daughter Lydia while we got settled.

They left us a four-page document, a cuddly toy present (for Lydia, not us) and their contact details, if we had any more questions. Two-weeks into moving, we knocked on our neighbour’s door introducing ourselves. This led to being left a lovely note on our gate, inviting us to their house, where we were treated to pastries, coffee and most of all a genuine friendship.

The card left on our gate by our new neighbours.
The card left on our gate by our new neighbours.

They offered us a stop-gap place to stay when our two-month rent was up, they contacted friends to help us find work, they even translated our mail. When we moved, our new landlords were equally as welcoming; inviting us over for coffee (we end up drinking a lot of it over here), and recommending local nurseries.

 

Saying hello

Lydia will knock on windows to get a response to her waves.

Having a toddler who likes to wave and say hello to anyone passing, has been a gateway to many conversations. Now I’m not saying, we all need to wave at strangers in the street to find out information, tempted as I am to try it. But being present in the moment and open to smiling/helping someone off the bus/giving a little more information about yourself, can really lead to some fruitful conversations.

Lydia’s productive waving started on our flight out here, when we met a mum from England, who has lived in Copenhagen for seven years. As I write this, I’m about to go for an evening drink and catch up with her. A nanny looking after Danish children gave my husband a list of fun places to take Lydia, as well as money-saving tips and apps. A Danish family we met at a Fastelavn festival, offered their house for us to rent over the summer. And a Dad I met in our local park on a day I was feeling homesick, turned out to come from a place 30 minutes from our home in England. We swapped numbers in case we ever need adult conversation on the park run again.

Work

Kaffe og kage, available around every corner in Copenhagen.

As a freelancer, meeting people for coffees to discuss potential projects is how I get work. I didn’t realise this was also the most successful technique for getting a permanent job in Copenhagen. Employers like to know people who know you, however tenuous it might be. As a result, I have been blown away by the number of people – Danes and expats – who have gone through their contacts list to try and think of people that my husband and I can approach for more work. When my husband joined his Danish language class, the first lesson was about what you did for a living. He was the only one who needed the translation for ‘job-seeker.’ As a result, people in his class came forward with advice and contacts. Through that, he now has a temporary full-time job. It’s not a dream job but it’s work and it’s the first concrete offer after six months of applications. The Power Job Seekers group is another form of networking that has been a big help to him. It’s a weekly group, run by job-seeking volunteers, who invite employers to give presentations and follow it up with a workshop. Here people can learn tips about making Danish CVs, practice interview techniques and most importantly, give each other the confidence to keep going.

Social Media

Facebook and Meetup provide an abundance of groups where you can share information and meet new people. I never thought I’d be someone that used social media to make new friends. I’m that wave and say hello type of person. We also have some family in Copenhagen and Jutland so we are not completely alone. Yet social media has made moving to a new country so inclusive. Wondering where to buy new shoes for your toddler? Post it on a group and you’ll get a few replies within minutes. Struggling to work out how to send a parcel – someone there will have the answer instantly or recommend a useful blog. Want to meet up over the Easter weekend…wait, you’ve already been invited to an event. So there we were, on Easter Sunday afternoon, at someone’s house we had never met. A young family had put on an Easter egg hunt and picnic for other people, like us, to feel welcome on what’s traditionally a family day. Not only did it feel completely normal, it was enjoyable. We were inspired to hear why everyone ended up here in Denmark and we now have a new circle of friends.

Summary

So for me, this is what networking now means. It isn’t searching through a crowd for someone to present you with a golden ticket. It’s making an effort, each day, to meet someone new, learn something different and start building up a new network of information, of friends, of future colleagues. It’s a network to help build your new chapter of life in a different country. And if this type of networking has taught me anything, it’s to never underestimate your goodwill gestures. That smile, that tip about the best playground, that number of the prospective employer and that invitation; that is what ultimately lifts you off the ground.