Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Last Days of Danish Life

Our lives here in Denmark are coming to a close. In a few short hours we will board a plane for Croatia for our last European adventure and then home to Portland. In the last days we have shut down our domestic, school and work lives. Craig's last day in the Europe office was Friday the 19th. The movers packed us up in one 8-hour day Tuesday the 23rd, and yesterday both girls finished school, Maya having graduation ceremonies from 5th grade.

The above phrases are simple to type, but the experience goes much deeper. There's something very significant about reducing your life posessions to one carry-on suitcase, leaving the comfort and sanctuary of our home, saying "good-bye" to everyone we've known while living here and walking away. For us, it's a little easier since we are going back to our Portland home and friends. Also easier because we have less here to pack up and less personal ties to break.

The good byes are always hardest for the people we leave behind. Just as new friendships become significant and we both realize there's more to be had, we abondon them to the hardships of the Danish life that we've all come to know. The oasis of the CIS International Coomunity reduces, and for those who remain, an instability in the already fragile balance of personal dynamics. Many who are staying dread the uncertainties they will face, but encouraged by those who remain, knowing at least that they will not be as brand new and confused as the newbies. We will remember our friends dearly next year and look forward to hearing how they continue their adventures.

Being part of the ex-pat community continues to be so unusual. Families just don't say "Good bye and I'll see you in the fall". We say "Farewell and have a good life!" People go off to new destinations worldwide while others remain. There are hopes and plans to meet again but we all know that time, chance and serrendipitous travel will direct the circumstances. We are like spinning tops around the globe and if we stay in contact, we'll meet up with some one, some where. There are people that we really hope to see again, and when we do, it will be a joyous celebration. But we may have to wait years...

Maya's graduation on the 24th was sweet. At 10 am her class marched into the performing arts center to "Pomp and Circumstance" and other than a short speech from the principle, directed and performed the ceremony. Classmates played the piano, recited poety, electric guitar and drum band, a slide show of year-long memories, personal reflections and singing. The two 5th grade teachers, Ms. Tearse and Ms. Christiansen along with the principle, Ms. Stanners handed out roses and diplomas. Afterwards families joined in the atrium to say their final good byes and last photos with classmates. And with that, Maya became a 6th grader - a middle schooler. Lord almighty, help us!! Molly was officially released at Noon and
became a 4th grader, bound for Rieke. We walked away from CIS with bittersweet memories.

That afternoon we joined many CIS families at a nearby beach (Charlottenlund Fort). Turns out, it was the nicest day we've had since living here. As if the city is taunting us saying - "See what you'll be missing?". It must have been 82 degrees and no wind. The girls swam and played in the sand for hours. The ladies talked and analyzed once again (as Molly puts it) "our weird Danish life". We walked for almost an hour with our friends Ilene and Andrew Bremwell (Andrew is in Maya's class) back to their apartment, stopping for drinks and ice cream along the way. Craig joined us, and we sat on their veranda and drank a beer overlooking the Waterfront, seeing the ships in and out of port and the numerous sailing boats, kayaks and skulls. It was an end to a perfect day and a long year.

Since Tuesday we've been staying at an apartment hotel near Trianglen Square, between Copenhagen central and Hellerup. It's an old apartment that is owned and run by a small hotel. While only half the price of major hotels downtown, our apartment is mixed in with people who live here regularly. There are 2 spacious, high-ceilinged rooms with twin beds around the perimeter of the room and then dining room and living room furniture in the middle. A small kitchen and bathroom and foyer complete the space. We love it. We're right across the street from a bakery and a market and near restaurants. It's been a great location to finish out our stay.

I need to get up and pack and get going, once again. This blog will continue.
Love and Light,
Mary Jo
comments to thecohen4dk@gmail.com

1 comment:

Paul Hehn said...

Have a good trip!