August 6th my husband drives me to Sønderborg, Denmark. The whole town looks like a picture postcard. There are cobblestone streets, statues, windmills, and sidewalk cafes. I am just in awe of the sites and keep reminding myself I live in this place now. Growing up in and around Wichita, Kansas there is nothing I have ever seen in my home state that even comes close to what I’m seeing here.
Tony pulls up in front of a red brick building that reminds me of the colonial styles I had seen in Salem, Massachusetts. It’s a plain square building with no porch or decorations. Compared to some of the other buildings I have seen here I have to say this building is a tad boring but the town makes up for it.
Just about everything I need is within walking distance, which is good since I do not have a car. Though as the weather gets colder those walks are going to seem longer! I have thought about riding Tony’s bike but there are a lot of minor hills that I think for someone like me who is not used to riding a lot, it could be tough going at first. I think starting out walking is a good move to build up my stamina before pulling out the bike.
Tony begins to unload the suitcases and we head up to our apartment. There are three floors to the building and, of course, our apartment is on the top floor. It was difficult enough the first day for me to just climb straight up three flights of stairs but to do it lugging up heavy suitcases was a real challenge. I had to stop a half a flight from out apartment to wait for the wheezing to pass.
Once inside, I finally see my new home. The apartment is small but not uncomfortably so. There are 4 rooms and a large entry. When you step into the entry there is a stand for shoes and hooks for coats. In Denmark it is the custom to take off your shoes when you enter a home. It is something I have had to get used to but does help keep the floors clean.
If you turn to the first room on the left there is a small kitchen. The only surprise to me was the size of the refrigerator. It is much smaller than average refrigerators in the United States. The oven was a lovely surprise. It too was smaller than the average U.S. oven but it does so much more than just bake and broil. It has about 8 setting, most of which I haven’t even figured out yet. But I did figure out the convection setting which I use a lot.
The next room to the right is the bathroom. There are a few small cabinets, a sink, toilet and shower. Actually, the whole room is the shower. The huge shower head is well above your head, something my husband and I are not used to both of us being above average height, for the U.S. anyway. You also have a handheld massaging shower head too. You pull the curtain to cover the cabinets and sink and the rest of the room is your shower. I have to admit I love that.
The toilet was interesting to me. There are two buttons on the top of the tank. You press the large one if you need to flush, we’ll say . . . solids, and you press the smaller button for liquids. It is a good way to use less water if you don’t need to flush a lot.
The next room to the right is the bedroom. I was surprised at how large this room was. There is a huge bed that I think would be the U.S. equivalent of a California King. Each side has it’s own twin mattress. Underneath the mattress are wood supports that you can adjust. The head and foot supports can be raised and locked in place to prop up either your head or feet or both. This came in handy my second month here. I came down with pneumonia and had a hard time breathing laying down. The only way I could sleep and breath for 2 months was sitting up.
There is no closet in the room but against one wall is a huge wardrobe. It has 5 sections and mirrors on two of the doors. My husband and I each have two sections and share the 5th, well he has one shelf in the 5th section and I have the rest but that is still sharing.
The next room to the right is the living room. It is really quite a large room. We have a dinning table, couch, loveseat, my husbands leather chair with matching footstool, a desk, one small bookshelf, a coffee table, and one large tv with xbox attached. All in all it is a rather nice apartment for a starter place.
It was hard to get used to a few things. There is no air-conditioning. If you want cool air here, you open a window. There is no central heat. Every room has a radiator. After a few weeks here I realized how spoiled I was in the US to be able to have a home you could set the thermostat and just leave it. Here I am constantly doing things to regulate the temperature here. Grab a sweater, take it off, open a window, close the window, turn up the radiator in one room and turn it down in another, it actually takes an effort to keep things at a comfortable balance here.
One cool thing about our apartment is the keys are all skeleton keys. It makes it seem like it’s just a touch of history having those keys. Maybe I’m just a nostalgic dork, but I like them. And the fact that I have my house key on a Lego Storm Trooper key-chain does not takeaway from it’s coolness, it amps it up.
It has been months since I moved into my home here. I can now walk to the store a few miles away, buy a full load of groceries, carry them all home and straight up the three flights of stairs without having to stop. I like being able to walk to the shops and around the town. I have gotten to know a few people here in town but have yet to find a job or make any real friends. It is hard to move to another country but it’s amazing too.
Next up: Things I Have Found That are Different in Denmark.