July 1….I’ve been kind of eyeing this day on my calendar suspiciously, because in many ways it marks the beginning of the end of our time here in Copenhagen and in Denmark. Tickets are booked, movers are scheduled, and the to-do list of tasks big and small grows by what seems like one hundred items every day. While in the diplomatic life, “they move you” as everyone will say, there is no real easy way out of moving. There are still oceans of paperwork to cross, and a myriad of expenses incurred.
And that’s just the “out of pocket”…There’s also the “out of heart” expense. In the end, each post that you get to live in as a diplomatic family will mark you in some way. After all, while all the work is going on, you live a daily life, becoming attached, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in big ways. If you have children, they are growing with the influence of a place, and you’re growing too, looking back on the time spent and adventures had and realizing how quickly it really does all go by.
I haven’t always had the easiest time in Denmark, particularly our first year, and I suppose that’s not much of a secret. I don’t place blame for that – the fault is mostly mine. I came in with expectations that were too high, and based them so much on what I thought it would be that I forgot to account for what it actually is. But over time, Denmark has most certainly softened me, and taught me much about family life, community life, and how to build a home life for all of us that allows those priorities to flourish, rather than constantly be pushed aside to a back burner that will never actually get lit. I suspect one day I might have much more to say about that, but for the moment, that will be enough as more will distract me from the time that we still have in front of us here.
I’m a sentimentalist, and a nostalgic, at heart. My Eastern European blood helps me to fight off too much unnecessary attachment, because making attachments often comes at the cost of obligations, and emotions, and in many cases, a few tears. But once I do, that attachment runs deep, and it runs for life. Denmark, you have my attachment.
My diplomat husband, much more poised than I for these changes, always like to remind me that every good party comes to a close. There comes a point where the host gently winds down the music, offers the last coffee, and gently lets you know the evening is at its natural end without having to say it. Your job is to know when it is your turn to go. That’s the deal of this diplomatic life…we don’t get to keep any of these places forever in our day-to-day, only forever in our hearts and memories. At some point, it’s time to make our way to the door, and exit gracefully, no matter how much we might have acclimated or changed or learned or experienced. Having to leave is the price of getting to stay for awhile. You agree to pay that bill when you sign on the dotted line of foreign service life.
I imagine there will be some posts in our future where we will be ready to go much sooner. But until now, we have always been lucky with our experiences to want to stay for that one last coffee with our hosts. We have thirty days to go here; much of those will be filled with preparations and logistics. But there is also still time to take in yet more of this special place, to still have a few more new adventures, but mostly, to really focus on the things that have made Denmark not just a post, but a home for us. Much will be different after we leave here. We don’t have all the details of when and where yet, but that will come in its own time. For thirty days, this is still our adopted home in all the ways that we love it, so we’re going to enjoy that last coffee. Maybe with kage, too. So, for now, no tears from me quite yet, but I will definitely take more cream and sugar.