Several things have happened since the last time I wrote to reassure myself everything would be okay.
- Two different friends on Facebook posted links to two separate articles by the same writer that were unbelievably relevant to the feelings I was, and still am, feeling about my move. I highly recommend them; you can read them here and here.
- By some strange combination of events I came across a video from this summer titled “Shia LaBeouf ‘Just Do It’ Motivational Speech”. It was…weirdly inspiring.
- I moved out of the Airbnb where I was staying into an apartment in the city, where I’ll be living until the end of the month.
- It started snowing and actually staying on the ground.
I don’t think I’ve ever been on such an emotional roller coaster as I have been these past few days. Something will go right, then something will go wrong, then a problem will be fixed, then I’ll have doubts. I should probably audition for a dramatic play because I can very easily go from smiling to crying in 2.5 seconds.
Millions of people have moved to new cities on their own. I know plenty of people who have travelled farther than I have to have a go at living in a new culture that is very different from the ones in which they grew up, so I feel silly panicking about having moved one country over (which also happens to be across a bridge from another country I’ve lived in). Of course, it’s not so much Denmark itself that terrifies me, but the fact that I’m suddenly doling out money for things I wasn’t when I lived at home, and I happen to be doing it in an expensive country.
Another nerve-wracking aspect is the uncertainty of the length of my stay. When I was planning my move in the summer, I wanted to make Copenhagen my new home – to work, study, and then maybe work some more. Now that I’m actually here, I don’t like not knowing how long I’ll be here. To put myself at ease, I settled on a few plans and backup plans so that whenever I get nervous, I can just tell myself that soon I’ll be back home. And if eventually I decide not to leave because I love it too much then I’ll just stop counting down.
Even though it’s been less than a week since I left Germany on the first day of 2016, several things have really stuck out to me during my experiences.
Don’t move somewhere cold in the winter.
A direct quote from my post-exchange report reads, “I had a few negative experiences, some of which could have been avoided had I arrived in the fall semester.” Since I arrived in Uppsala in the middle of January, I listed the early darkness when exploring a new city, bike ride-discouraging weather, and long bar queues in the cold as some of the only negatives of my exchange. Less than three years later I went ahead and moved to Scandinavia in January – again.
It’s really hard not to be a hermit right now. I have a whole city to discover. I packed plenty of warm clothes. I even kept up biking in the winter in Germany so that I wouldn’t chicken out of biking in the winter in Copenhagen like I did in Uppsala. The snow I missed so much in Germany is falling RIGHT NOW. Yet I can’t bring myself to go outside. I have somewhat of a home now, and a comfy bed, and the Internet, and so much longing to be curling up on my grandma’s couch in the evening like I did most nights for the past two months. I’m sure I’ll motivate myself to go outside today at some point…then two hours later I’ll come home again because the sun has set.
Back up all your plans.
As I mentioned before, I decided to move to Copenhagen way back in July with longterm plans of studying and working here. Then when I got here in the middle of winter, I started to have serious doubts. I was asking myself why I didn’t just move out to the next biggest German city from where I lived. Even though I was critical of things in Germany while I was there, I immediately started to miss the familiarity once I left. To make myself feel better I came up with lots of options for my future. When I came back from London I made the mistake of having one plan and only sticking to that, and when it didn’t pan out I had to come up with something new again while time kept passing. So this time I started thinking of things I wanted to accomplish in my time in Copenhagen. However long my experience here lasts, I don’t want it to be more than just a learning experience; I want to be able to show that I did something here.
I’m so grateful for the parents I have.
Okay, I didn’t just learn this here, but my time in Copenhagen so far has been a huge reminder of how lucky I am to have such loving and caring parents. Both my mom and my dad have already bailed me out money-wise despite being on opposite ends of the world. My mom spent over 24 hours driving both ways to bring me up here. My dad messages me encouraging words. They raised me to be clean, responsible, friendly, and of course adventurous. So many things they’ve taught me in life have been useful so far here and I’m so glad they’re so supportive.
So, now I get to carry on looking for my next apartment, a job, and a bike. At least I have the comfort of my new little room to remind me any place can be made a home.