Ahh…it’s good to be back! The truth is though, the break was much needed. I was surprised just how good it felt to be back in the United States for a bit. Well, I shouldn’t be surprised really, it’s my home but I’ve always been comfortable being away for long periods of time too. And if anything, when we moved back to the US a few year back, I was truly surprised as just how UNcomfortable I was at home for awhile…which just goes to show, everything is an adjustment, no matter which direction you move.
The break from the blog gave me a bit of space to think, and so did a break from Denmark. It might have become a bit apparent here that I struggled a bit with the winter here and if you have met me in person, there definitely was no hiding that I was struggling with many a thing in Denmark. Which is a weird thing to say. We were looking forward to being here for so long, that in the end it caught me a bit off guard that some things turned out to be difficult. I’ve lived tons in Europe before…but never in Scandinavia…I’ve traveled tons for work…but never at this pace…I’ve lived in so many different places…but never in an actual house… and I’ve been through many a cold winter…but never one that seemed so dark and so long that looking out the window every morning just made either cry or hide under the covers, or both. That’s just it…every move is different. And every move takes an adjustment.
This is not meant to be a complaint about Denmark or Copenhagen (though I definitely went through a very marked phase that sounded a whole lot like complaining). The thing is, life is pretty nice here. And as far as postings go, this is exceptionally nice. People are nice…it’s safe…the forest school we have set up for our daughter is a tremendous experience…I get to keep my job and own career… lots of good things to be excited about. So I say that I was going through a rough patch not because it was Copenhagen’s fault, but just to show that as much as we have enjoyed the adventure here, moving abroad, even after you do it time and time again isn’t always easy. And that doesn’t mean the location has to change…it means I do.
But it also means that it’s okay to feel out of place sometimes…In the 50’s, a Norwegian sociologist Sverre Lysgaard came up with the “U-shaped adjustment curve” for those going through cross-cultural changes. I listened dutifully to a very long winded explanation of it at a spouses seminar at the State Department way back before our first posting in Vienna…A lot of people don’t necessarily agree with this theory, they think that the phases aren’t so clean, you might not get through all of them, and that how you go through them depends a bit on your own attitude, your experience in the country and how you establish yourself locally and all that. That might be true, but I definitely see this pattern in pretty much all of my moves.
The trough is where I think I spent a greater part of this winter – and that makes a lot of sense. It was full of long, dark days; it was the toughest time work-life balance wise for my personal job, and it was also around 5-6 month mark here which is a natural time to come off the high of the beginning and really start to be confused – not by the fact that things are different, but how to reconcile living with different.
But things are looking up. The trip to the US and a little vacation (finally!) with out computers and phones and projects hanging over my head were just what the doctor ordered. We came home to a garden a bloom and brought our bikes out for a ride. It’s so sunny now that I have to figure out where to put my work desk since it’s actually too bright to work in my usual spot. Generally, I try to keep things positive around here on the blog, but I also think it’s worth admitting that no matter how wonderful the host and post country it is, all the days are not easy days. It’s okay to be in the trough for awhile – in fact it’s normal. But the key is not to stay in it too long – after all, I don’t want to miss out on all the better things to come.