Tag Archives: expatlife

Easter Time

26 Apr

Blossom1.jpgAh, the Easter holidays! How I longed for them! While most people make plans for all the things they’ll get done around the house and in the garden during their time off, my plan was simple: do nothing! Having now come out at the other end, I can safely say mission accomplished, pretty much.

During the holiday week, my neighbours could be seen industriously loading and unloading trailers with assorted garden-related items, passing my window on countless trips to and from the tip and, judging by the trailer contents, other gardening themed errands. I, on the other hand, observed all of this activity with my bottom planted firmly on the couch.

Here in Denmark, the holidays began with crisp blue skies, and the appearance of the sun brought with it the hope of relaxing time spent outdoors. The good weather only strengthened my vision of empty days stretching before me like a decadent mirage, but it didn’t take long before we were back to grey skies and torrential rain. My daffies were completely ruined.Daffies.jpgMy daffies at the beginning of the Easter holiday

The message was clear: get inside and stay there! Far be it from me to ignore signs from the cosmos, so I settled down and watched the entire first season of Arvingerne (The Legacy) and also mangaged to catch up on some geeky reading when noone was looking.

Although it was nice to sit and do nothing for a while, it wasn’t long before I started feeling antsy. To counteract this, I made some half-hearted attempts at keeping up my yoga practice (my midlife crisis is nothing if not a cliché), but fortunately Viggo was on hand to perform an intervention when activity levels looked to be spiking.Viggo yoga.jpgTowards the end of the holiday, I had a visit from my extremely motivated friend T, who insisted that after a walk in the pouring rain we do some yoga. Her bossiness is such that she even managed to inspire my stepson (who has never done yoga) to join us. He did well to follow the moves, particularly since he was using most of his concentration on trying not to break wind at an inopportune moment.

In honour of T’s visit, I felt inspired to bake a cake. I’m really not much of a baker, but I had been intrigued by images of the magic 3 layer custard cake that are all over Pinterest at the moment. Sadly, however, once again social media and reality were proven to be worlds apart. Never mind, a wee dash of icing sugar on top and cutting the cake into dainty slices improved its aesthetic qualities sufficiently for it to be deemed fit for consumption.Baking fail 1.jpgCake – pre-cosmetic surgery

The holiday was rounded off with our traditional family lunch at my in-laws’. I’m constantly in awe of my mother-in-law’s ability to effortlessly serve up a veritable banquet for 15 on a beautifully dressed table.Feast 2.jpgA week is not a long time, and the holiday passed in a flash. I’ve now been back at uni for more than a week, and Easter already feels like a long time ago. But the rest did me good, and I’m now raring to go, ready for the final stretch of my BA and whatever else the future may bring.Sunset1.jpg

Påsketid

Ah, påskeferie! Hvor jeg længtes efter den! Mens de fleste planlægger alle de ting, der skal ordnes i hus og have, var min plan ganske enkel: at lave ingenting! Nu, da vi er nået om på den anden side af ferien, kan jeg sige, at det for det meste er lykkedes.

I løbet af ferieugen kunne jeg se mine naboer godt i gang med at læsse og losse deres trailere med adskillige havemæssige ting, da de kørte forbi mit vindue på deres utallige ture frem og tilbage til lossepladsen. Jeg – derimod – betragtede al denne aktivitet fra sofaen.

Her i Danmark begyndte påskeferien med blå himmel, og solens fremkomst bragte med det håbet om, at det vil være muligt at slappe af udenfor. Det gode vejr støttede min vision om tomme dage, der lå foran mig som et dekadent fatamorgana. Men det varede ikke længe, før vi fik grå himmel og kraftig regn. Mine påskeliljer var helt ødelagt.

Beskeden var klar: Gå indenfor og bliv der! Det er langtfra mig at ignorere tegn fra kosmos, så jeg slog mig ned og så den komplete første sæson af Arvingerne og nåede at indhente lidt nørdet læsning, da ingen kiggede.

Selv om det var rart at sidde og lave ingenting i et stykke tid, varede det ikke længe, før jeg blev lidt rastløs. For at modvirke dette lavede jeg nogle halvhjertede forsøg på at fortsætte med min yoga (ja, min midtvejskrise er en kliché), men heldigvis greb Viggo ind og fik mig til at ‘klappe hesten’.

Mod slutningen af ferien fik jeg besøg af min meget motiverede veninde T, som insisterede på, at – efter en gåtur i regnvejret – vi lavede lidt yoga. Hun er så overbevisende, at hun endda overtalte min papsøn til at deltage. Han var dygtig til at følge stillingerne, ikke mindst fordi han brugte den største del af sin koncentration på ikke at prutte i et ubelejligt øjeblik.

Til ære for T’s besøg blev jeg inspireret til at bage en kage. Jeg er ikke nogen bager, men jeg havde været fascineret af billederne af den magiske 3-lags custard-kage, der er på Pinterest lige nu. Desværre viste sociale medier og realiteten sig imidlertid at være langt fra hinanden. Pyt med det! Efter et pift med lidt flormelis på toppen og ved at skære kagen i små nydelige stykker blev kagens udseende dømt egnet til forbrug.

Baking fail 2 crop.jpgKagen – uden flormelis…

Ferien sluttede med vores traditionelle familiefrokost hos mine svigerforældre. Jeg er konstant fyldt med ærefrygt for min svigermors evne til ubesværet at varte op med en virkelig banket på et smukt dækket bord.Feast.jpgEn uge er ikke lang tid, og ferien passerede lynhurtigt. Jeg har været tilbage på uni i mere end en uge, og påsken virker allerede, som om det var for længe siden. Men jeg fik gavn af at slappe af, og jeg er nu ivrig efter at komme i gang – klar til det sidste tidsrum af min BA, og hvad ellers fremtiden kan bringe.Sunset 2.jpg

Alternative Routes

10 Apr

The good people of Odense would be forgiven for thinking that they have woken up in some kind of dystopic nightmare in which they are condemned to live out their days in an eternal hell of construction-site chaos. Due to an extensive and ongoing redevelopment project, the centre of Odense is, to put it bluntly, a mess. Adhering closely to the principles of stealth warfare it would seem, Odense’s traffic planners are busy implementing new and often surprising traffic routes on a daily basis. Bad enough that the traffic bedlam had extended to include the cyclists of Odense (of which there are many), but we have now reached a point where even pedestrians are doomed.

Overgade.jpgIn light of all this, I refuse point blank to drive in the city centre. Instead, I prefer to park well away from the mayhem in a quiet, tree-lined street and use the walk into town as a chance to practise a bit of mindfulness. Odense has a number of parks that are set out like a protective arm round the city centre, so it’s quite easy to get right into the city without having to set foot on a single pavement. Munke Mose is my favourite park at this time of year, when the spring flowers begin to bloom and transform the grass into a shimmering carpet of blue. It’s a spectacular sight, transfigured to an otherworldly vision by the late afternoon sun, and Odensians of all ages stop in their tracks to marvel at the scene.

Blue flowers 1.jpg Blossom has just started to appear on the trees here in Denmark – quite a bit later than in the UK, from what I can gather. Facebook has been sporting a number of photos and articles about the blossom in Copenhagen, but I reckon Odense can also hold its own when it comes to fairytalesque backdrops of blossom.

Blossom 1.jpg Speaking of fairytales (do you see what I did there?), the next park along from Munke Mose is called Eventyrhaven (the fairytale garden). It’s named after the king of fairytales himself, Hans Christian Andersen, who was born in Odense, and in celebration of the great man’s birthday, every year wreaths are laid at the foot of his statue.

HCA.jpgMy route into the centre through the parks follows the path of the river, and I usually don’t need to go any further than Eventyrhaven to get where I need to go. However, due to the latest pedestrian deterrent, I recently had the ‘opportunity’ to extend my walk and ended up at a part of the river I had never been to before. Luckily, I was in the company of my father-in-law at the time, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that I doubt if there’s anyone alive who knows more about Odense than he does! Not only was he able to show me a very pretty smutvej (shortcut), but he also told me a little about the oldest cast iron road bridge in Odense, which we passed on the way. The man could earn a fortune as a tour guide, I tell you!

Iron bridge.jpgI’m not sure what kind of impact the construction work is going to have on tourism to Odense, but I’m looking on it as a reminder from the cosmos that my life this year is all about finding alternative routes. Yes, it seems like nuisance at the time, but being forced to rethink your journey can often lead you to experience something new that you didn’t even know was there.

Alternative Ruter

Jeg ville nemt kunne forstå det, hvis odenseanerne troede, at de var vågnet op midt i et dystopisk mareridt, hvor de skulle leve til deres dages ende i et evigt helvede af bygningskaos. På grund af et omfattende og løbende saneringsprojekt er Odenses centrum, kort sagt, en rodebutik. Ved tilsyneladende at overholde principperne om stealth krigsførelse har Odenses trafik-planlæggere travlt med at gennemføre nye og tit overraskende trafikruter på daglig basis. Som om det ikke var nok, at trafik-svikmøllen var udvidet til også at omfatte Odenses mange cyklister, har vi nu nået det punkt, hvor selv fodgængerne er dødsdømt.

I betragtning af det nægter jeg at køre bil i Odenses centrum. Jeg foretrækker i stedet at parkere langt væk fra kaosset i en stille gade og bruger gåturen ind til byen som en mulighed for at øve lidt mindfulness. Odense har en række parker, der er tilrettelagt som en beskyttende arm, der omfavner byens centrum. Munke Mose er min yndlingspark på denne tid af året, når forårsblomsterne begynder at blomstre og omdanner græsset til et changerende tæppe af blåt. Det er et spektakulært syn, der bliver forvandlet til en overjordisk vision af eftermiddagssolen, og odenseanere i alle aldre stopper op for at beundre scenen.

Blue flowers 2.jpg

Blomsterne er lige begyndt at titte frem på træerne her i Danmark – ganske senere end i Storbritannien, så vidt jeg kan forstå. På Facebook er der en hel masse billeder og artikler om kirsebærblomsterne i København, men jeg synes, at Odense også kan være med, når det kommer til fabelagtige blomster-baggrunde.

Blossom 2.jpg

Når vi nu snakker om fabler, hedder den næste park efter Munke Mose Eventyrhaven. Den er opkaldt efter eventyrkongen selv, H.C. Andersen, som blev født i Odense. For at mindes hans fødselsdag lægger man hvert år kranse ved foden af hans statue.

Min vej ind i centrum gennem parkerne er langs åen, og jeg plejer ikke at have brug for at gå videre end til Eventyrhaven for at nå min destination. Imidlertid havde jeg på grund af det seneste afskrækkende middel mod fodgængere fornylig ‘muligheden’ for at forlænge min gåtur og endte på et sted, hvor jeg aldrig har været. Heldigvis var jeg sammen med min svigerfar, og jeg overdriver ikke, når jeg siger, at der ikke er nogen, der ved mere om Odense, end han gør. Ikke kun var han i stand til at vise mig en smuk smutvej, men han fortalte lidt om Odenses ældste vejbro af støbejern, som vi gik forbi på vejen. Jeg siger dig, han kunne tjene en formue som rejseleder!

Iron bridge.jpg

Jeg ved ikke, hvordan bygningsarbejdet vil påvirke turismen i Odense, men jeg ser på det som en påmindelse fra kosmos, at mit liv i år handler om alternative ruter. Ja, det virker irriterende på det tidspunkt, når det sker, men når man bliver tvunget til at genoverveje rejsen, kan det ofte føre til, at man oplever noget nyt, som man ikke i forvejen vidste var der.

Overgade 2.jpg

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