Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Copenhagen, etc.
Hej, I am Lenka and am coming from the Czech Republic. I moved to Denmark in 2011 because of my boyfriend, who was studying music in Copenhagen at that time. I had just finished my bachelor degree in Prague so I was free to do what I wanted. Although we talked a lot about living together in Denmark and planed many things, the moving itself was quite spontaneous. I decided to buy an one-way ticket from day to day, quickly packed my bags, said good-bye to my family and suddenly, I was standing at the Copenhagen Central Station having just a little money, poor knowledge of the Danish culture, no job, and no specific plan for what I was going to do there. It was risky, but in the end everything turned out well. I found a job in a hotel very quickly and have also learned some Danish. I am going to school now. I am studying a program called Multimedia Design and Communication.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I used to blog in Czech about my experience as an exchange student in Germany. I enjoyed taking pictures and writing about people, events, and places I visited. Plus I got a nice feedback from my friends who liked my first blog, and this all encouraged me to share stories about me and my friends in Scandinavia. I decided to start blogging about the cultural life in Copenhagen approximately one year after I moved there. I have met many young, creative artists from the whole of Scandinavia through my boyfriend and I wanted to share their ideas and visions with both expats living in Copenhagen and people not living there. I wished to created an interactive virtual space, where you could draw some inspiration for nice concerts and books, unique festivals, beautiful hidden places, stunning design, and delicious food.
Do you have any favourite blog entries of yours?
- Smilla's Sense of Snow [Ice and Snow Study]
- PhotoTalks: Stisa Søgaard [Dancer and Choreographer]
- The Beauty of Vestamager
Tell us about the ways your new life in Copenhagen differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
My life in Copenhagen is totally different from my life back home. I really enjoy biking. I do it every day, no matter how the weather looks like. I am also interested more in the environment and its protection. That means for example that I started using ecological cleaning products and I am more into organic food. The New Nordic Cuisine inspired me a lot. I cook and eat differently. I often buy local, seasonal fruits and vegetable. I bake my own bread and eat more salads and fish instead of traditional Czech meals. I didn't have any trouble getting used to life in Denmark. I am a flexible, open-minded person who adapts quickly to new circumstances and situations. Though, differences are not so big, since both countries are in Europe. When I was moving to Copenhagen, I didn't have almost any expectation, so I couldn't be disappointed. I would only prefer the weather to be less windy and rainy, winters to be lighter and shorter, the landscape to be more hilly and Danish beer to be closer to Czech.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Copenhagen? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I didn't do any special preparations. After moving to Copenhagen, I just decided to stay calm, be positive and be open to all the new things.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I have many small stories that make me laugh every time I think of them. One of my favourite is about food. My boyfriend and I hosted a lunch for our friend from Taiwan who we knew from the Danish course. We were cooking some very traditional Czech potato soup for her. When it was done, my friend tasted it and said absolutely seriously: 'The bamboo is so delicious!' My boyfriend and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. We didn't expect that she hasn’t eaten any potato before.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Copenhagen?
- Be ready to bike.
- Start learning Danish as soon as possible. Not because you can't communicate in English. There are many Danes who can speak English fluently, so you won't have any problems. It is because, it will help you to come closer to Danes and understand more about their culture.
- Start looking for an apartment very much in advance and use all your contacts. It is not easy!
How is the expat community in Copenhagen? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
At the beginning, it was very hard to meet new people. I didn't know where to find them. It changed after I started with a Danish course. There were amazing people in the class. We went out for coffee and shared our funny stories about Danes. I keep on meeting with some of them until now.
How would you summarize your expat life in Copenhagen in a single, catchy sentence?
Eat, bike, love.