CV, cover letter, resume, ansøgning?

Hello again!

I know it’s been a while, but I don’t think any of you expected any different when you heard I was moving, haha!  The past three weeks have been an incredible challenge, with rewards here and there, and some extra challenges-on-top-of-challenges along the way.  The good news is that we’re mostly pretty much moved in and settled!  While there are still several boxes unpacked, and lots of things that don’t really have a home yet, we’re getting there, and the worst is over.  I was going to wait until everything was done to do a small house tour and photos, but I realized that if I do that, no one will see the new place until next June, so I’ll be back soon with all of that!

But for today, you get to hear about my job search.

As I said, I was going to start my job search after we moved.  In my head, I was thinking of November sometime, but as a friend of mine heard of a an opening at her workplace, I got a kick in the butt, and got started on my first application just a few days after the move.

Here’s where it gets embarrassing.

See, I’ve never really applied for a “real” job before.  I did volunteer work, and worked as a catering server, a janitor, and a nanny.  These jobs mostly required a patched-together resume, and an application with personal and contact details.  As I was writing my CV for this job, Andreas kept asking me if I’d written my “ansøgning” (literally translated to “application”) to which I’d reply, “well, sure…” figuring that I’d fill in an application when I uploaded my CV.

Little did I know, an ansøgning is a cover letter, not an application.  Luckily, we caught our miscommunication early enough, but after struggling with my CV, I was quite dismayed over the fact that I’d now have to write a cover letter–something that seemed ten times harder!

It wasn’t exactly ten times harder (probably closer to three), but I finished in time, sent out my application, and was very pleased about the fact that I’d done it!  I’d applied for a job in Denmark!

I’ve written another one since, but today I decided to apply for my first Danish job.  In Danish.  I managed a translation of my CV, which wasn’t so bad, but now I’m supposed to be writing my cover letter, and…well…I’m writing this instead.

The biggest problem is not even the language–it’s that the format seems so foreign to me.  And then, well, there’s also the language.  I haven’t even gotten a single word down yet, and I’m already exhausted just thinking about the fact that I’m going to have to write a whole new one of these for each job I apply for.

It’s not even that I’m feeling discouraged, exactly, because I think I’m actually quite optimistic about my chances and all, but I do feel like a very small person looking up at a very large mountain, letting out a medium-sized sigh before I find my first toehold.

This is hard, guys.

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2012…whew!

2012 has been a big year for us for more reasons than I can say here.

A year ago, I was “celebrating” the new year alone in an almost-empty apartment in Waukegan, IL.  This year, I’m cozying up to my husband, in our first real place together, and waiting for the news that my newest niece has been born!  I probably won’t look back on 2012 with any great nostalgia for the most part.  It’s been a really rough year for me (which seems weird to say when I also pair it with the fact that I didn’t work a single day and pretty much all of my dreams came true by the end of it).  There’s a lot of stuff I had to get through and get over the past 12 months, but I think the biggest challenge was living in so many places.  So today, a recap of all the places I lived in 2012:

????????????????????????????Waukegan, IL.  I lived in Waukegan with Andreas after we were married, but he moved back to Denmark after three months, and I lived here by myself until just after the new year.  While living in Waukegan, I worked as a nanny for two different families (both with a baby boy) and often find myself reminiscing and missing them, but as far as the apartment itself goes, there are very few happy memories there.  It was in a rough part of town, smelled like cigarette smoke, and had a sticky carpet.  I was only too glad to move out.

Then I moved to:

Parents' houseA cookie house!  Just kidding…This was the cookie house I made last Christmas (my little sister made one, too!) when I moved in briefly with my parents.  That cup on the left side of the picture with the fruit on it gives me a pang of homesickness every time I see it.  All of the kids in the family got a cup (the girls with fruit and the boys with sailboats) when I was pretty little (maybe five).  We wrote our initials on the bottom with Sharpie and used them for the next…18 years or so (and counting!).  Anyway, the stay with my parents was pretty brief, and mostly consisted of me trying to pack and clean and get everything ready for my departure, but I count it because for that period of time, it was the only place I called home.

After a terrifying flight to Denmark, I lived:

????????????????????????????in Andreas’s student apartment!  (the bed on the floor is mine).  We only stayed here for a number of weeks as well, then packed, cleaned, and moved all of our things to:

Andreas's parentsAndreas’s parents’ house!  Where we played so, so many games of Settlers of Catan that we had to make up new ways to play (including, but not limited to: throwing our starting settlements onto the board while closing our eyes.)  We also did a lot of baking, and Andreas graduated with top grades!  Then we made our way to:

Sweden 1Sweden (’70’s edition)  I actually really loved this apartment.  It was really nicely decorated, super retro, and the place where Andreas and I finally got to live alone together again!  It was also the setting of our first Fast together, the place we lived when Andreas got the job we’ve been so thankful for ever since, where we dog-sat, and where I watched what seems like a million episodes of Project Runway with Swedish subtitles (and decided to finally bake lots of those things that I always thought I was too busy to bake!).  This place only lasted for two months before we moved to:

Sweden 2

 

the apartment next door!  This apartment was actually nicer (fewer things to dust, better-functioning kitchen, etc.) but by this time, I think the restlessness and depression was really starting to hit me.  I hadn’t been working in almost six months by the time we moved here, and now that Andreas was working full-time, it was tough to motivate myself to get out of the house, even on the summery days when the temperatures reached above a stunning sixty five degrees fahrenheit!  However, this was the place I started my running program, drank a lot of lemonade, and lounged on a sunchair on the balcony, so it wasn’t all bad.  But this apartment was only ours for three and a half months after which we moved in to:

bedroom afterAndreas’s sister’s apartment!  We were very grateful that we could move in here, and I was really glad to get to know my sister-in-law and my nephew a bit better, but the truth is that by this time, I was already weary of never having our own place, never knowing where we’d live next, and feeling out of place.  But this was the place we lived when I started attacking the library with zeal, knitting a lot again, and got the joyful news of my Danish residency permit!!! (After which we moved to….)

Denmark

DENMARK.  Boy was I glad to move here.  We’re still getting the apartment together, still missing some key things (like a television) but for the most part, it’s well on its way!  I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned the past year, and all the patience I’ve practiced (and practiced).  But I’m not sorry it’s over.  I’m looking forward to 2013 with so much hope and excitement, and even though I know I have more patience to practice (before I make friends, settle in, get a job, and really feel at home here), I know that I’ve got what it takes, and it will all come with time.

Happy New Year!!

 

 

 

 

 

Negative Nancy

A lot of the time, I’m really happy.  I finally got my Danish visa, we’re finally moved into a place of our own (with our own furniture!) and things are generally going really well.  But sometimes, I still get down, and go all Negative Nancy, like I have been the last day or so.  I’m happy to finally be building our home together, but sometimes it’s really frustrating to be in this little period of not-quite-there-yet.  We don’t have any plates or bowls (or mixing bowls or baking dishes) and only a couple pots and three plastic cooking utensils.  That’s pretty annoying.

Our internet, which was supposed to be up yesterday isn’t up.  I think there’s something wrong with our phone line (through which we’re getting the internet) and it might not be up for a while.  In the mean time, I can occasionally connect to some random open network that works when you sit near the living room window.  That’s pretty annoying, too.

The grocery stores here are filled with meat.  I knew this.  I remembered it from all of my visits before, but the lack of things I can eat is really frustrating, especially when we’re looking for convenient foods that we can cook with our two pots.

Meanwhile it’s gray outside, and I’m getting a little tired of being cut off from the outside world and chain-watching Friends while I switch between my knitting project and Skyburger on the kindle.

It will get much better soon, but I’m having to work pretty hard to not get consistently frustrated.  Meanwhile, I leave Friday morning to Thanksgiving Weekend at my in-laws!  Andreas is staying here for a fun night with his fellow coders, so I’ll be doing most of the prep and cooking with my sister and mother-in-law!  I’m excited, but I wish Andreas could be with us.  My favorite part about Thanksgiving is everyone doing everything together!

In other news we got fantastic new duvets (and duvet covers!)

Sunday Funday

Today is our final moving day!  We’re going to gather up our odds and ends (which will surely take up more space than the two suitcases we have to put them in) and drag them through the city for what is hopefully the last time on our way to the train station.  We’re going to put together the rest of our IKEA furniture, go shopping, and start “homing up” our new apartment, and I’m super, duper excited!

 

Moving is Weird

Moving is always an awkward time for me, as I’m sure it is for most people.  There’s that weird period of time where you’re not sure if it’s too early to pack, but you know if you leave it all for last minute, you’ll regret it.  Then there’s the trying to decide what you can pack first, and what you don’t use every day (which I am almost always wrong about).

But what is usually the most weird for me is the food situation.  I don’t usually feel like bringing so much food to the new place.  It’s just more to take, and it can be avoided, so I try to use as much weird, random food as possible, so there’s as little as possible to take along.  This time around it resulted in weird meals like frozen garlic bread and fried eggs for breakfast, and pasta with pesto and mozzarella cheese and fried eggs for dinner that same day.

Usually, that’s the most awkward part of moving (along with the occasional reaching for an object that has been packed away, accompanied by a sigh) but this time around, it wasn’t.  I left some clothes here, so we’d have something to wear as we stay for the next few days.  Unfortunately, this morning as I rummaged around trying to find clothes, I realized that the one thing I neglected to leave behind is clean underwear.  Nuts.  I had to turn to the only other sensible option: Andreas’s boxer-briefs.  And honestly?  They’re super comfortable, and I’m a little jealous.

 

Putting Things Together

So as I said, over the weekend, we started putting together our IKEA things.  We’re still far from finished with all of it, but we did manage to get the sofa together, which is really the most important thing.  One of the worst moments in moving is when, after lifting heavy things and losing small things, you look around for a place to collapse for half a moment, and there are none, so you have to sit down on a box and hope it’s filled with sturdy, non-fragile things.  So, in an effort to avoid that moment, we put together the couch first.  It was a good decision.

That color of cover was on clearance, so although it’s not the nicest color, we can always buy a nicer one when we have a bit more cash on hand.  We were extremely glad we started with the couch because it went really smoothly and easily.  The bed that followed was a lot more complicated, and my thumb still hurts from those dang allen wrenches.  If we’d started with that, we’d have gone home long before the couch was finished, and wouldn’t have anything to collapse onto in times of moving distress!

Yesterday, we moved basically everything we have to the new place, so while we wait for it to have internet access, we’re basically staying in our apartment in Sweden as overnight guests.  It’s nice to be on the home stretch, and although we don’t have much food here, we’ll work it out.  I’m just excited to go back and do more organizing/cleaning/setting-up work!

Busy!

I have been busy!

The past several months I’ve been vaguely wondering to myself how I’ll be able to handle it when I’m busy.  I’ve felt stressed out and anxious just being a housewife and waiting for visas, and I thought “how am I going to survive when I actually have stuff to be stressed out about?!”

It turns out that my anxiety is pretty much the same, no matter how much stuff I have going on in my life.  If I don’t have things to feel stressed about, I feel anxious about leaving the house.  If I don’t have to leave the house, I feel anxious that I *should* leave the house.  The past few days have been sort of a whirlwind, and we have a lot to figure out, but I feel just as or even less stressed than I normally do.  I’m perfectly confident that when I have to start language classes, I’ll definitely be nervous, but I’ll be fine.  I won’t fall to pieces.  I’ll just sweat a lot, stutter a bit, and be perfectly fine.

If anything, having real things to stress about really helps my anxiety.  Last week, I was preoccupied with getting an apartment, and as I got myself ready to run to knitting group, I realized that I was so preoccupied that I wasn’t even nervous!  I just kissed Andreas, ran out the door, and was fine!

Anyway, before I start anything life-changing like going to class multiple times a week, we have to complete the actual move.  We’re hopfeully moving most of our stuff tomorrow, so I’ve been a packing maniac today!  It started off slow, but has picked up and I’m nearly finished already!  We’re not going to move in completely until we have internet there, so we can look important stuff up like how to get places and “leaky faucet fixes,” so until then we’re going to be staying in Sweden, but without all of our stuff.  Should be fun.

This is my life today:

Cha-ching

Moving is expensive.  Our trip to IKEA was surprisingly cheap (although that was probably because they didn’t have a lot of the things we wanted), but altogether, we’re spending a big chunk of cash.  We’ve got our big furniture now, which is nice, but we still have to equip our kitchen, move all of our stuff from here (and some from Andreas’s parents’ house) and we have small furniture to buy and things like…you know, a TV and bicycles.  It doesn’t help that everything is expensive in Denmark.  We also have to get internet (quickly, please!) and until we do, we’re not going to be staying in the new place.  That means that I’m traveling back and forth every time we need to get over there and do something, which is expensive.  It costs about $40 round-trip to get to our place in Copenhagen back to our place in Malmø, and while that’s not terribly, it definitely adds up.

I’m having a blast setting up our real home with Andreas.  I’ve waited for this for ages, but especially since we got married almost a year and a half ago, and I’m so thankful that it’s now!  I’m trying to not be too materialistic, and not mind that our place is a bit bare for a while, but now that we’re almost to having a complete home, it’s hard to take it slow!  I’ll just keep reminding myself that the best thing is that I finally get to live with Andreas in a place that is ours and the rest is just bonus, but doesn’t really matter.

I was going to wait until tonight to write, but we’re going to be spending most of the afternoon (and probably all of the evening) in assembly-mode so I don’t know if I’ll get home in time to, and I really want to keep up with posting every day in November!  I picked what is probably the worst month out of the past year to do it, considering I finally got busy and also might be spending a few nights and days here and there in an internetless apartment, but I don’t want to give up!

PS-sorry for all the italics.  I think it’s a side effect to all this stress and excitement that suddenly rushed into my life.

Giddiness

Today has been one of those days where you’re just too excited to get anything done.  Similar things happened to me shortly before my wedding day, but back then, I had people surrounding me and constantly reminding me to stay on track.  Today, I had none of that.

The past few days, I’ve been super anxious, just waiting to make sure everything was legitimate with the apartment, and I couldn’t relax until I knew we had it (or didn’t have it) for sure.  I couldn’t sleep at night, and it was generally pretty stressful.  Now that I’m basically free from worries, I don’t know what to do with myself!  I made myself sleep as late as I could, since I’ve been getting very little the last few nights, and that lasted until ten.  I meant to make a cake, but waited too long, and then realized I hadn’t taken the butter out to soften!  I did manage to finish my book, but with no less than three breaks for me to get up and pace around the apartment, feeling like there’s a hundred things for me to do (which there are but I can’t do any of them yet!).

Luckily, it’s the weekend, and Andreas and I are going into full-blown planning mode.  We’re going to the apartment tomorrow to take measurements, then doing a run-through in IKEA (without buying anything!) and do research, research, research!

Now, I’m supposed to be making supper but…you know.  I’ll make Andreas help me while we make a list.

An American Hermit Crab in Denmark in Denmark

So today’s writing prompt was about tweaking your title and tagline.  The funny thing is, that I’ve been thinking about doing that for about eight months.  See, I’ve been living in Sweden, waiting out visa issues, so I thought I should change my blog title to An American Hermit Crab in Sweden, but I felt like that was giving up.  After all, Sweden was just this in-betweeny phase that was supposed to be over with rather quickly.  The longer I lived in Sweden, the more guilty I felt about my blog title.  Voices would hiss in my ear every time I opened up the page “you’re not reeeeeeeeally in Denmark.” 

I guess I should explain that the title actually is a line in a poem I wrote that’s part of a collection.  It’s partly almost-literal, in that I feel often that I’m carrying my home around with me (though in the form of a green suitcase, not a shell painted to look like a soccer ball), but also in that I feel like I carry America on my back everywhere I go.  I am American and though I might give up my citizenship in the future, I’ll always be from America and sometimes that feels like a lot to carry around.  I carry around the judgements people make about Americans, the stereotypes, and feel responsible to every move America makes.  I feel more American than I ever had to while I was actually living there.

So the title is really quite symbolic, and not literal (much to the dismay of the many, many people who are led to my blog through google searches about hermit crab care).

But it’s funny, the day that I’m invited to change my blog title is the very day that I don’t feel like I should any longer.  That’s right.  Guess who’s moving to Denmark!  We signed the lease for an apartment today and can start moving in…well basically today.  I feel like I’m on the verge of something huge, and I’m so excited.  We’re starting to plan our moving-in, when we can do what things, and where and when we can buy which things, and who can help us.  Tomorrow is going to be List-Making Friday.  Let the organized craziness begin!

I’m so, so excited to be moving, and even more excited because our apartment is fantastic.  Like, super great.  Pictures to come.

Oh, also, with all this moving-and-decorating-and-finally-making-a-place-our-own, I think I’m beginning to understand pinterest.  This could be dangerous.