EMBRACING THE DANISH CULTURE

Today is May 1st. This is my second May in Europe. I have learnt so much. We were not able to take Bernie out over the weekend. I therefore got up today so crazy about getting my little one to enjoy some fresh air. The weather is starting to get better too. Today was quite sunny. It felt warm in the sun but bone cold in the shade, that’s Denmark for you. However, I have learn’t to appreciate the shining days especially with 300 days of rain here. So I pulled my sleepy self out of bed just before Rógvi left for work, so that he could watch Bernie while I showered. It felt great. Showering in the morning. You know that feeling of going to work too. Bernie got to freshen up in the morning too. Embracing Danish culture has been part of my growth here.

For instance having rowdy drunk teenagers screaming everywhere because it is Labour day. We left the apartment quite early and headed to the nearby grocery store ( supermarket). I was enjoying a conversation with my son. He seems to be having so much to tell me lately and I always like to engage him fully. No sooner had we gotten there than I remembered I had left my purse at home. We had to walk back to pick it up.  The pedestrians stared at us in awe. Most Danes will always smile at you especially when you have a baby. I find it to be a gesture of happiness. They might be a closed up society, not so easy to interact with but, they have some kind of peace and happiness they emit.Actually, one of the sweet ladies gifted Bernie a cute mice.

The thing is, there is something special in every person, every society. I try to take it upon myself and focus on the good in people. Every one of us has flaws. I would’t like people focusing on my downside too. See, a place like Nairobi, where I grew up,has so much insecurity.  I remember someone snatching one of my China phone from my handbag. It was a gift from my then boyfriend. I could also choose to emphasize on the fact that buses ferrying to my home actually face hi jacking and I have also been a victim. With all the flaws of Nairobi, I miss the life there. You know unending hustle. People always being in a hurry to go nowhere. I miss the kindness of the Kenyan people.

You never know what you have got until you lose it. For example, I did not see it so magical having over 42 tribes in Kenya and all of them being able to coexist peacefully. I admire the cultural diversity we all share as Kenyans. Did I just digress to Kenya? Okay, today. We walked through the park and there was all manner of activities. Union workers parades and children’s bouncing castles. It was a great family day out. Good weather days are family days in Copenhagen though. I love being a mom here. I walked across the park to the trafikplads. This is where the kids are taught the cycling traffic regulations. Cool huh?

I had Bernie swing a bit and we were done for the day as he started falling asleep. Is it a new fashion to carry the big radios or is it just a Danish culture? Teenagers were off school so they had a reason to buy packs of tuborg and carlsberg  to binge drink by the beautiful park. They also had the radios hanging on their backs playing loud Danish songs or rather what sounded like Danish. I was afraid that my boy would wake up from the noise. Luckily he didn’t.  I strolled up through Østerbogade (a street name) with the intention of buying a birthday present for a friend of mine.

The noise and the crowding was unbearable. I could not help but wonder whether these kids came from families they would go back to while so drunk. Can you imagine going to my dad’s house high like a kite. The first thing you do is try your best and not stagger,then fake a headache or even a running stomach. These two will cause redness of the eyes and a long nap in the bathroom. Don’t forget to chew some garlic to counteract the smell of the alcohol. At 14 they are allowed to buy alcohol here. I do not know what to say about this, especially now that I am a mom.

Bernie will be a teenager soon. My society shared a different ideology in relation to upbringing. Trying to intertwine both is a bit challenging even now when my little one is only 16 months. After a long walk in the sun, I could not bear with the noise anymore. I took a bus back home. This was a wrong idea. It smelled like an old downtown bar. In addition to that, It was so crowded and noisy which actually reminded me of those Kawangware buses at midday. Bernie still survived it. It is always so beautiful seeing the Danes being so carefree.

The day ended with us going by a recycle shop and checking out for those great second hand clothes and stuff. I later went by the grocery store, picked up a few groceries for dinner and headed home. Bernie was already awake by now. We had a fruit together and played a bit before I began dinner. I made cottage pie which we enjoyed together with my parents in law. It was such a beautiful day in spite of the free teens. I like how Danes utilize these free days. Majority of the workers under the union turned up for the speeches and the peaceful demonstration. It was a great May 1st. Happy month folks!

By Nancy Njoka

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2 Comments

  1. I miss my days in Copenhagen as well. I plan to come back. I remember strangers asking to touch my belly when I was pregnant. I had to join an English speaking mother’s group and we would hang out in the malls or go out for walks in kongenstov. Going out would keep me sane especially after my husband returned to work leaving me with a one month old. Keep writing…