8 Things I Learned My First Year Living in Denmark

First off, I am sorry for being MIA for the past few months. A LOT has been going on but more on that later.

April 8th marks 1 year since I made the permanent full time move to Denmark. Even though I had been coming to Denmark since 2006 & on and off since 2015, I have still learned so much about my new home in the past year. These are just a few of the things I have learned in my first year living in Denmark! 

6-8 hours of daylight in winter is NOT A JOKE

This was 3:30 in the afternoon...

This was 3:30 in the afternoon...

It is something I have always known happened but you don't realize the impact until you are living in it. I come from "The Sunshine State" so a lack of sunshine took its toll on me for sure. Daily Vitamin D gummies to ensure sufficient nutrients & lighting candles every night definitely helped. What got me the most is how fast it happened & how quickly the sun is coming back now that faster we get to summer.

Summer is a state of mind, not an actual season

Summer sunshine & a jacket

Summer sunshine & a jacket

We had I believe 6 days during our last summer over 20 C (70 F). This to me is what I grew up having winter as. Although the sun was out & we all were mostly still wearing pants & a jacket, we sat outside with our drinks enjoying the summer vibes. The city gets in the Summer mood even if the weather isn't exactly on board. If the calendar says it's Summer then we join in!

Learning the Danish alphabet will not help in actually learning the Danish language


I will save my "Learning Danish Experience" for another post but will quickly touch upon it now. For almost 2 years I have heard, "Just learn the alphabet so when you get into Danish it will be easier" from almost every American I talk to about my new life. Good thing I ignored this advice because there is a HUGE difference between letters & words. For example, "H" is pronounced like HO & the word for What is HVAD so if I listened to the advice I was given I would be pronouncing it as HOVAHD instead of the correct VAH. See what I mean?! Letters make difference noises or just stop existing. 

Just because I live in Denmark doesn't mean my friends have to only be Danish

They will all be reaaaaaaally pissed at me when they see this up here :)

They will all be reaaaaaaally pissed at me when they see this up here :)

In fact, most of my friends are either Americans or other expats. I have a small group of friends that are Danish that I have met through my husband but have built my own relationships with them. This balance could change once I start working since most activities I participate in are ones built for expats like Danish class. Bottom line, I have built a group of friends here that are American, Danish & from other countries but they are all people that I consider to be friends & that is all that really matters.

The longer you are away from home, the easier it is to be away from home


This might just be me. I find that when I haven't been home in 6 or 7 months, the homesickness is less than if I had just been home a month ago. We have been back in Denmark now for a month since we were last in the States for 3 weeks & I am just getting comfortable again being here.  

The day will come when you stop converting everything in your head


I have reached the point that I no longer see a price & convert it to USD to know what I am spending. If it is 250 DKK than that is the price for me. No more 250 divided by 6 blah blah blah. I just accept a cost & continue on with what I am doing. Unless it is something I can get from the States & I am going home or someone is coming here that I KNOW I can get it cheaper.

The use of Google Maps will lessen


I am at the point now where I can get around pretty well without GPS aid. This is especially exciting when it comes to Public Transportation because there are A LOT of buses that go in A LOT of directions. I guess it is one of the perks of Copenhagen being a small city. You can easily walk arround the entire inner city with no issues and have a VERY hard time getting lost. 

It might seem like it is taking forever but creating your own life will happen


I was here for 8 months full-time before I even heard a decision on my immigration status. Another two months after that to get Danish lessons started & another two months after that to confirm my visa was secure. Those first 7 months had its dark moments for sure. You are in a country alone all day with no one to spend time with but then slowly I started making friends on the same schedule I was & began to develop my own life. I am now in the middle of job hunting which will create a new life system for me here.

Through all the ups & downs I have gone through in the last year, I would never second guess this move. Denmark is where we plan on staying & years from now I will barely remember the struggles of that first year but I will always be glad I made the jump.

Have you ever made a major life change? What were your feelings when you reflected back on it? Let me know in the comments below!

8 Things I Learned My First Year Living in Denmark - Girl Meets Dane

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