So I may have to go back on some of my self-righteous words from my previous post 🙂 .
Turns out there are some material possessions that are quite necessary and greatly add to the quality and comfort of everyday life.
We arrived at our nice little home in Højmark, Denmark after about 20 hours of travel and 24+ hours of more or less being awake. Thank goodness for our awesome landlords! We were worried about having no food whatsoever and no transportation to get to a grocery store; our landlords had already thought of this and had stocked our fridge with a few staples. They also provided us with a few dishes, homemade rolls, and a vase of flowers ;).
They even let us borrow a table and chairs, and most importantly, air mattresses so we could all finally sleep. Also integral to our survival was the loan of a car from a colleague of John’s. We were able to borrow it for the first night in case there was an emergency, and also use it to pick up a loaner vehicle from the car lot in the morning (the car we purchased was still in the process of registration). These acts of kindness really made all the difference in our first few days here, and are representative of the friendliness of the Danish people we have encountered thus far.
The older kids fell asleep around 7pm our first night, slept more or less through the night (with several short awakenings), and had more or less adjusted to the 8 hour time difference by the next day. John, Rowan, and I, on the other hand took several days to adjust. For me it was because Rowan didn’t adjust, and if he didn’t sleep, I couldn’t, even if I really, really, wanted to. It was hard–I’m glad it’s over.
I title this photographic work, “Exhaustion of the Children”:
Now back to the necessity of the “Stuff for Life”. It was authentically difficult not having just the basic items necessary for life. Almost no furniture. No shampoo or soap to shower with or bathe the kids. Nothing to cook with. Then of course the little things: no lamps, no night lights, no hair dryer. No toaster oven. No can opener. We did have a couple sets of sheets, pillows, and some towels that I had bought on our previous trip and left with a friend who delivered them for us to the house. So for the first few nights in the Bailey Danish Household, you were lucky if you got a sheet on your air mattress, because if not, you got a towel or two.
The kids were complaining about not having real beds, Charlotte was complaining about having to share a bed with Arabelle. Everyone was complaining about not having internet. That part has been really hard, not gonna lie. Not only does it contain myriad uses to occupy the kids, it is also my lifeline while John is at work, it is my connection to the US, it is my way to find resources here in Denmark. We called the internet company, and they said it would be “a few weeks” before the internet could be connected. We’re still waiting.
Here are the kids kicking it old school with a DVD (since no internet means no Netflix):
(I have been able to use a mobile hotspot rigged with John’s cell phone, but it has run out of data, so this may be the end of the road for that set-up).
We went to the grocery store. Needing everthing, was overwhelming. It left me feeling like I had no idea what to buy, so I started just throwing stuff in the cart. It didn’t help that half the stuff in the grocery store I didn’t even recognize ;). I bought some juice, some bread, some cereal. I bought a large carton of 18 eggs and then got home and realized I didn’t have a pan to cook them in.
We went to a bigger city several days ago to get our “biometrics” done as part of the permanent residency process. While we were there we went to a “Bilka” which is evidently the Danish equivalent of Walmart. Again I am finding myself at a loss for words for that experience. It was huge, and organized in no fashion that seemed familiar or logical to me–no doubt to the Danes it is second nature 🙂 We just started throwing stuff in the cart–diapers, toilet paper, laundry detergent, hangers, a set of pans, a set of knives, a few plastic dishes and more We spent over $600 USD. Starting with nothing and having to buy all new ain’t no joke.
Then we went to the “Jysk” which seems to be the equivalent of “Bed Bath and Beyond” We bought adequate bedding for most of us, more towels, two bunk beds for the kids, and a wardrobe for the girls. (Side note: most bedrooms in Denmark do not come with built-in closets for hanging clothes, so these must be purchased separately, IKEA-wardrobe-style). Since the items we had purchased on our previous trip to “tide us over” also from Jysk, our grand total at this store is now close to $1200 USD, and I don’t think we’re done yet.
Another interesting thing is that in Denmark, light fixtures don’t tend to stay in the house when it is sold or rented. Our living room would have been completely without light, if not for our land lords, who once again were kind enough to loan us a couple of lights to hang in there.
Since everything was costing so much, we decided to set our sights a little lower. We turned to second hand, and finally, just yesterday, we were able to go to a Genbrug where I found a dining room table, a desk, some chairs, and a few odds and ends for a very reasonable price. There’s still lots more we need–a bed for John and me, a couch, some lamps, but we are starting to fill in the gaps.
Yesterday our nine boxes arrived from the U.S.; these were mostly winter clothes for all of us that were not able to fit within our 1-suitcase-per-person restriction. There were a few boxes full of toys and things, and it was fun to pull the items out and see how excited the kids were to see their favorite belongings. It was seriously like Christmas all over again, and they played happily all afternoon.
Delivered right to our door, from an ocean away:
And so the kids never forget where they came from…;)
“‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land…God bless the USA” (music emoticon).
The house is filling up, and the comfort is coming back.
So I guess I do like stuff, after all 😉 .
PS: Rowan likes stuff too! This piano thing was his favorite toy, so even though it’s kind of big, and a cheap piece of junk, we decided to ship it.