7 Things I Didn’t Know I Was Missing About the States

Coming back to the States this time, had a different feel than it ever has before.  It’s the second time I’ve been back since I moved abroad, but considering that last time, I was somewhere deep inside a having-a-newborn-haze, I noticed many more things this time around.  These are some things I didn’t realize I was missing about the good ol’ USA

1. Being Polite:  Not to say that people are not polite in Denmark, or that I’m not polite in Denmark, but I forgot how easy it is to be polite in your mother tongue.  No wondering if I was saying the right thing, in the right way.  I knew exactly how to respond to any small-talk venture, and could very my “yes, thank you”s with some “absolutely!”s and “definitely!”s.  I do all my communicating in Danish here, with the exception of Andreas, Theo, and friends of mine that aren’t from here.  I am just so used to dealing with the daily frustrations or insecurities of communicating in Danish, that I totally forgot that sometimes, trips to the shop are actually super easy, and not intimidating at all.

2. Friendliness:  This is kind of an add-on to number one, but the friendliness was refreshing!  I had a full, easy conversation with another mom at the park, and even got to know a few people on our plane trip.  While I do actually appreciate the Danish anonymity on public transport, and the lack of expectation to make small talk, it is really nice once in a while to go back to the Midwest way of living, and for the three weeks that we were there, I found it really easy and comfortable to talk to strangers.

3. Variety:  We were looking forward to shopping in the US (we even came over with a suitcase packed into a bigger, empty suitcase so we’d have more room to bring our goodies home).  But I was focused on the cheaper prices (and the knowledge of which stores carry what for what price), and had completely forgotten about the sheer amount of choice in the shops.  While it was fantastic while we were shopping for clothing, and I could get whatever caught my fancy, I was struck with a bit of green jealousy, when I saw the homewares that were much too big to bring home.  If only I had that kind of selection at those prices here in Denmark, we would have the most beautiful home!

4. Food:  Okay, I did know that I missed the food.  But I really missed it, so I think it deserves a spot on the list anyways.  Topping the list are: Vegetarian Italian sausage (and just all of the vegetarian options in general!), crackers, cheese curds, and donuts (I didn’t actually even get any donuts while we were there, so I might just have to make some myself soon!).  I would probably be embarrassed if anyone saw the size of the sack of candy I brought home with me.

5. Amazon:  It’s been so long since we could use Amazon, that I rather forgot how awesome it is!  We mostly did one big Amazon haul, but it was fantastic to find almost every special thing we needed in one place, with free two-day shipping.  It’s probably a good thing that we don’t have it here, because I’m sure our budget would spout a little leak, but it was fantastic while it lasted!

6. Animals;  Yes, okay, there are animals in Denmark.  But this is more of a going-back-home sort of thing.  My parents’ house is filled with animals.  At present, they have: a canary, a parakeet, two guinea pigs, a cat, and a dog (with an additional cat and her four kittens living on the front porch).  Theo loved each and every one of them, and they tolerated him with varying degrees of caution.  It’s really fun to have animals around, and since we’re not at a point in life where pets are a great idea, it’s an exciting bonus when we visit my family.

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7. Cars:  I do love being a bike family in Denmark.  It works well for our life here, it’s cheaper, environmentally friendly, etc. etc.  But in the US, people have cars–and for good reason!  No one wants to bike thirty miles to get to the grocery store.  We went on a few trips to town, and my parents were good enough to loan us their family car, and it was great!  I did not have to think about how I was going to bike home with everything I was buying.  I didn’t have to carry ALL the things we were buying into every store we were going to.  It was a welcome break.

I’ll never be sorry that I made the swift and absolute decision to live in Denmark, but the longer I’m away from my homeland, the lovelier I find my visits, and I rather like it that way.

Emporia! (and apartment-hunting)

So today we trekked across the Øresund again to check out another apartment.  This one was in a nice area, close to a train station, but pretty far from Andreas’s workplace, and the apartment itself wasn’t great.  Actually it was pretty bad, so we didn’t take it.  I think that with work, it would be a good place to live (de-carpeting, bathroom overhaul, etc.)  but since it was too small to start a family in, it wasn’t worth putting in the work and leaving soon afterwards, so the search continues.  On the way back home, we stopped off at the new mall, Emporia!  It’s apparently the biggest mall in Scandinavia now.  It just opened a week and a half ago, but it was still mega-jammed in there.  I don’t think we actually even went into any stores…

Anyway, the design is pretty neat, and like any devoted blogger, I definitely forgot my camera at home, so you’ll have to trust me on that one.  It’s divided into color sections with colored escalators etc.  so that was pretty cool.  We spent most of the time just exploring, walking along the super-crowded halls and spent forever getting a bit of food in the food court.  We couldn’t find a table in the “food court” area, but managed to find an empty bench after meandering a bit more and heading home.  It’s no Mall of America, but I think once the crowds have thinned out a bit, it will be a nice place to wander and shop, if that’s your thing.  We wanted to go before we move to Denmark, and are glad we did, but probably won’t be back.

Now we’re resting our weary legs before having leftovers for dinner and getting cozy with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Purchases

Our line-up of shoes in the hallway has a new addition, can you spot it?

That’s right!  I finally found running shoes! While I was out shopping with my sister-in-law, I remembered there was a discount sports shop I’d been meaning to check out, and when we got there, it turns out they were going out of business and offering everything at 60% off of their already clearance prices!  I have to mention here, that whenever I go shopping with Rebekka, she’s like a lucky charm and I always find some stupendous deal or she’ll pick something out for me that I never knew I wanted, but that I then wear every week, the day after I do the laundry.  She was a good sport, pawing around in a clutter of tangled, mismatched shoes, and standing in the line for the check-out with me for a half an hour, and our streak of lucky shopping continues, unbroken!

Yesterday, I decided to do my first run!  I’m following the C25K program (couch to five kilometers) which means that this week, I’m running for a minute, then walking for a minute and a half, and continue the cycle for about a half an hour.  It went well yesterday, but was definitely still hard, seeing as I haven’t run in…let’s just say “forever.”  I only have to run three days a week, so I’m doing my at-home yoga on the in-between days for recovery, and even though my quadriceps are still burning, I’m excited for tomorrow morning’s run!

When Rebekka was here, we also made our way over to Malmö’s game shop, and I bought a game I’ve been wanting for the past year, Battle Line!

In college, one of my best friends bought this game, and we learned to play together.  Throughout the years, we played a lot, and whenever I asked him if he wanted to come over and help me eat my food (and really, when wouldn’t he?) he’d usually come, game-in-hand.  My husband and I both love to play games, but now that it’s just us two we can’t play Settlers of Catan nearly as often as we’d like.  I only have a couple other games (Bananagrams being one, but Andreas isn’t a big fan of word games) but not really any that are fit for two players, so I knew I had to get this one.  It was a hit with Rebekka and Andreas, and I’m so happy to have a game we can play together when we have no visitors to play Catan with!

Oh, and one last thing: we got a package from Amazon that we ordered a bit ago, and among other things, I finally have an SD card for my camera!  Before, I could take between 4-10 pictures before the internal memory was full, and I’d have to stop, hook up the camera to the computer, transfer the pictures, empty the memory, and then I could continue taking pictures.  Now I can take eight hundred and forty four pictures without emptying my camera, which means I can now take it on adventures around town, and do complete food photo shoots without having to stop six times.  Hooray!