Friday, March 9, 2012


tonight-- my conscious attention directed at sweeping the floor, i am only peripherally aware of the silence surrounding me-- greg and the guys upstairs with the computer, no chattering streaming from the internet or from my children; the darkness outside the large kitchen window magnifying the light from within and so, magnifying my presence for any neighbor who may wander past-- and they do, frequently, because the stairs to the shared basement are right outside the window. and the subtle feeling of uncomfortableness this brings-- because i don't really know these neighbors, but i know their faces well enough by now and i know they never look in the window when i am standing at the sink, but i see them looking in when i am not. and they do not really know me, though they must know (and some of them do know) that we are not danish. we are not them. we are different. and their intense danish introversion, or whatever the proper description may be, sometimes feels like rejection, and frustration.

all this just an amorphous feeling. not a thought, as i clean up. the dustpan under the sink. the floor needs washing. and then, i realize. this is not really my life. it's suna's. the woman who lives here when we do not. i'm just sort of borrowing it. she is really the one who will clean up this floor and be neighbors with these neighbors while i... while i... what? while my life is to be determined. three years in denmark... what then? and what content will fill up these posts in that time? am i scared by this or am i excited for the adventure? do i relish in all of the unknown possibilities or do i just want to be settled? "settled" has always given me a claustrophobic feeling, but then, i've never felt so out of place until now, and with others besides myself to look after, and to make feel comfortable and well... settled. but i realize we are only three weeks in. that each day has managed to work itself out. that we are in a routine and know our roles when, say, henry wakes up in the middle of the night or william runs out of the bathroom to "surprise" one of us with his shiny, clean teeth and pajamas. or, when the floor needs sweeping and the guys need distracting. we do these things here and we'll do them at the next place and the next, and in that sense, we are settled. this is a comforting reality. one i can predict with fair certainty. the not knowing what comes next... all of those unknown possibilities... yes, i know for sure, these makes my eyes get wide and my heart skip with excitement! so where does my anxiety lie? in the places i feel i do net yet belong. in the grocery stores, the bank, on the street. i am hiding in plain sight. and when i am revealed. as a stranger. as an american. i sense mixed reviews: you don't speak the language-- good luck with that! you don't speak the language yet? why not???

but i will "give it time" and trudge forward. each day will work itself out and bring more of a sense of belonging, or at least knowing my place in this country, which, from a pessimistic point of view (but a view held by more than a few foreigners), could be the best i get. but that's a point of view i am not willing to embrace just yet. all of the possibilities of life in denmark have not yet revealed themselves, this being only the third week, as i mentioned. and i am really excited about two things in particular: 1) my children learning danish; 2) the work-life balance. also, the traveling possibilities. and the fact that henry will keep getting older (i am not under the impression that this is exclusive to his residing in denmark), though i am aware that he may very well become more of a safety hazard to himself before he becomes less.

so much to look forward to. plenty to be nervous about. a fine act to balance.

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