Ruby: An American Girl's Adventures in Denmark
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Denmark, etc.
I’m an American girl who is getting to life the life of a much luckier person. I was born in California, but grew up in New York. I have a background in musical theatre, radio broadcasting, and voiceovers. I married my English husband on May 26th of this year, and will be moving to Copenhagen with him this summer.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started my blog in September of 2011, when I began trying to teach myself Danish (a daunting task). I found that keeping an account of my studies kept me honest, and also gave me an outlet to discuss other issues with moving to Denmark, and live in general.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
- “Leave You, Leave You, How Could I Leave You”
- “Painting Denmark Red, White and Blue”
- “I Want To Go To There”
- “A Love Letter to Government Health Insurance”
Tell us about the ways your new life in Denmark differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
I’m sure I’ll have a better answer to once we get to Copenhagen this Summer, but I already know I will have a lot to get used to. I’ve advised my husband that he may have to consider me like a child, barely able to read or write the language, not knowing where anything is or how to get there on my own. Luckily, I’ve connected with some American expats in Denmark who seem really nice, and my husband has a strong group of friends there already as well. I feel lucky to have a bit of a head start.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Denmark? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I like to think that I’m as prepared as I can be, but that may be wishful thinking. I can already say that I wish I’d spent more time focusing on learning the language before the move.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I don’t have any just yet, but I’m sure I’ll be posting them in my blog once we move!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Denmark?
Note: These tips are based on my brief trip to Denmark last year, and on what I’ve heard from my husband and others in Denmark. I’ll likely have more tips once we move.
- Be patient. The Danes are slow to warm up, and that can be frustrating when moving somewhere where you don’t know anyone. But once you make a Danish friend, they are your friend for life.
- Try to learn some Danish before you go, but don’t expect to be good at it until you get there and can speak Danish with the Danes. I’ve skipped the pronunciation section of Rosetta Stone completely, as I don’t have a Dane to correct me.
- Be an extrovert, but do it humbly. The Danes are a reserved people, and they are put off by people who boast. As an American, these Danish traits can be a bit frustrating and confusing. But if you take the time to be self-aware, you’ll do just fine.
How is the expat community in Denmark? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
So far, most of the American expats that I’ve been in tough with through my blog and through Facebook have been really lovely. Always willing to answer my endless questions and always up for cracking a few jokes and reminiscing about what they miss about home.
How would you summarize your expat life in Denmark in a single, catchy sentence?