Wild at Heart make-up mirror

So deciding to start a blog and enter the world of social media the week of packing up our lives to move country was a bit ambitious, so I haven’t yet put up all the past posts. But, to keep up with the idea that blogging is about posting current events (as Rich helpfully pointed out tonight) I thought I’d quickly write this!

It has been a week filled with a lot of packing and a lot of farewells. Many people are asking whether we are excited/apprehensive/scared. To be honest, we are just exhausted. It turns out we have accumulated a lot of possessions during our 11 years together – well I have anyway. At one point in the week I actually asked Rich if I had a problem a.k.a. Cathy Coronation Street (must research if hoarding is in the Danish gene). But I have now successfully completed the New Year wardrobe detox and then some – and we are ready. Friends and family have given us a wonderful send off. We can’t wait to start this adventure and share it with you. x

Gifts from friends and family

Graphic by #ABeautifulMess

Post written in November 2016

Sometimes you just need to be reminded that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Last night I started wavering about moving to Denmark. As I was in my evening Pilates class, I started to think, ‘I won’t have a clue what’s going on if I joined a similar class in Copenhagen’. Then in between hip curl lifts and hamstring stretches, my mind started wandering even more. I enjoy my life in Sheffield. We have family and friends here, I have a good network of mums I’ve got to know, we have a lovely house in a great area. And bloody hell, I think I’m suddenly a bit broody. That’s good timing Emma. So then I started thinking about being pregnant in Denmark, giving birth in Denmark, do they do hypnobirthing courses, will it all be a bit traumatic, won’t it be ridiculously hard juggling Lydia, a newborn and no immediate family support? But I don’t want another baby right now, just at some point in the future and that future could be in Denmark. I off-loaded all of this onto Richie just before he announced he was going to bed. You can imagine, we had a wonderfully constructive conversation about it. “Ah….OK….I stopped listening a while  ago to be honest. Like I said, I’m going to bed….”

So this morning I went to a Mama Social meeting in Sheffield. It’s a group where the babies play and mums listen to an inspirational talk by another mum who has set up her own business. This morning we heard from Grace Tindall, founder of Scandibørn, an online children’s store selling Scandinavian-inspired nursery and children’s interiors, clothing and gifts.  She set up this gorgeous business during her maternity leave in Sheffield. So apt! To hear how much she has achieved, with a baby Lydia’s age and the focus, drive and self-belief she had, was just what I needed to hear. She’s working long hours in her day job three days a week, to then spend her other time not only looking after baby Harry but staying up late each night for her business, which she runs with her husband. Being around other new mums reminded me of the strength we often forget we have. And to hear everyone’s enthusiasm about my plans really gave me a boost. I was also reminded I’m not the only one who gets tired, questions themselves and wonders if broken nights will ever end. But we all get through it. Mums are a tough bunch I have discovered. Actually that’s an understatement. Mums are super-beings. So to conclude this ramble; the thought of having a second baby in a different country is not a reason to give up on the whole idea. It may not even happen. But if it does, the adventure will just become bigger.

My handwriting. Before I discovered snazzy blog graphics.

Welcome to my blog!

I wrote my very first post (Danish Gene) back in September when Rich and I started talking seriously about moving to Denmark and I started dreaming up the idea of this blog. Four months on and we’re actually moving… in just a few days time! Before I start talking about packing (in denial) and moving our lives abroad, I’m going to post some entries I wrote while we were still working through the decision. Although this blog will be all about Danish life, the journey began back in October, when we started voicing our idea…

 

 

“Why do you want to move to Denmark?”

The question every Dane and Brit asks when I tell them our plans.

“Because I have family there and I’ve always wanted to try it out.”

“Ah so you speak Danish.”

“No.”

“Ah your husband speaks Danish.”

“No.”

“So what are you doing?!”

 

It was the same question I got asked when, at the age of 24 I had two degrees and a bursting CV but there I was, living in Sheffield with my parents, on the dole, desperately trying to break into journalism. From the age of 16 I decided I wanted to be a journalist. I knew it wasn’t an easy career but the more I found out about it and the more I did, the more I wanted it. It was a gut feeling, and despite more doors closing than opening, I felt like it was in my blood and I knew I’d be good at it. Just before turning 25, I officially became a BBC Broadcast Journalist and started winning awards.

I have the same feeling about moving to Denmark. And this is actually in my blood. I’m half Danish. Ever since I first visited the country aged eight, I have felt the Danish gene. I asked my parents to send me to a Danish school when I was 12 but they thought I was mad. I suggested it again after school for a gap year but my Mum thought I’d run off with a Danish boy and never return. I thought about moving after university but I got the travel bug and bought a round-the-world-ticket to travel independently for nine months. When I returned to England I went full pelt into my journalism career and that was it.

Now, aged 32, I’ve had a baby and my life has slowed down, giving me time to think. There’s something about creating a new life that makes you look at your own through fresh eyes and realise how precious it is. And it came back like an itch. I’ve got the Danish gene and now my daughter has too. I really want to experience what that means and for my new family to speak Danish.

You may wonder why, being half Danish, I don’t speak the language. My Dad is Danish. He was born in Ringe on Funen and spent the first six months of his life in an orphanage. He was then adopted by a Danish mother and a British, Yorkshire father. The family moved to England and aged seven, Dad was sent to full-time boarding school where no one spoke Danish. He lost the language.

After his parents died, my Dad took an enormously brave decision to find out who his blood parents were. His Danish mother and father weren’t together – they were only teenagers when Dad was born, which is why he was adopted. His father acknowledged the request but wanted to draw a line under that part of his life. His mother, unable to have children after Dad, had since adopted two daughters with her husband. She welcomed Dad and all of us into her family with open arms. I was eight years old and remember my first visit vividly. I’m the second oldest of four children and the only one with blonde hair and blue eyes. That’s when I found out why. I looked like a Dane, and I looked like my grandmother.

My grandmother, Bedstemor is now 84 and so is her husband, who has always been Bedstefar. I see them once a year for a week. I feel lucky to still have them in my life and now my daughter Lydia’s, but time is running out for me to have a conversation with them in Danish.

So this is where it stems from. It’s far more than a whim and I have a husband and one-year old daughter with me on the journey. I am incredibly lucky to be married to someone who shares my dreams so much, he’s not only willing to jump into the unknown for me, but actually lead the way.

This is on the side of a building in Rømø – where we spend our summers.