I can’t sleep. Bloody typical, I have to get up tomorrow and I need the rest so I can get better.
My brain is torturing me with ideas about racism and xenophobia and integration…. So, I better get it all out before I cry blood or something.
A lot of immigrants, it seems, have a big disillusionment process when they come here. I bet it is the same of most countries, if not all.
Thinking about it, the hype about Denmark was very big before I came. It was one of those feedback loops where you ignore the things you do not want to know and concentrate on the things you do. The sort of feedback loops that lead you into wars. Denmark had the happiest people, Denmark has the best social systems, Denmark has high taxes but good services, Denmark!
I was a bit to blame. I go on about teachers needing to critically think but then there was a need in my life to idealise something. My life in London was difficult. Hard job, tough city, rough finances. I needed the “There are no cats in America and the streets are filled with cheese” at the time. The thing is that I would not have been able to build up such unrealistic and unfulfilible (it is a word now, ok) expectations without help. I got a lot of help. Mostly from Oliver James (the writer) and some from newspapers who seem to think that Scandinavia is some sort of Islington without the traffic.
Of course, you put something on a pedestal it has a lot further to drop and smash.
There were naysayers. I read a book called Culture Shock. There is an entire series of them for each country. It was by a Dane who had lived in Singapore for the longest time and came back with his family and was shocked and dismayed. Every page read like this
“If a Dane is rude to you, it is not personal and it is not because you are foreign”
I read it and it made me nervous but I thought “perhaps I will be okay”.
Then there is the fact that I am a massive whinger, even in the UK: the things people do and say! The rudeness, the racism, the lack of good values, the lack of good service. Ugh. I needed to leave and I do not forget that. Plus, there is the thing that all people do where they idealise the past. I think back and say “Wasn’t it much better when ….” and now that I have moved I will complete the thought with “back home” instead of knowing that it no longer is like that back home at all. The world has moved on.
There are ups and downs, is what I am sleep-deprivedly trying to say.
My quality of life is really great and the fly in my ointment (currently), is how vile some people can be about dark skinned immigrants, especially ones with different cultural or religious traditions. Well, that was that same problem in the UK (granted, my circle of friends were paranoid to the point of not saying the word “black” in case they made themselves look like twats) and it was not the reason I left.
I left (mostly) because the education system is in a mess and I wanted insight into how it could be better.
I quite like the education system here but I do worry how Denmark can compete in a world market or indeed achieve excellence in any field. The children are not encouraged to excel (neither were they in the UK, they were encouraged to reach the arbitrary target set by a politician, which just goes to show why the UK is not excelling in much either)
I also left in the spirit of discovery. I wanted to know some new things and I wanted to find out about myself and it is really depressing that I am losing sight of that, just staring at the treadmill and forgetting there is a bigger picture.
For instance, I never would have written that Nanowrimo novel if I had stayed in the UK. I never would have had the inspiration for the one I am writing now, I would not have the continuing inspiration every day if I were sticking to a London routine of tube, work, tube, internet, sleep.
This cold has stopped me writing and it is at 47K now. I cannot let this story die through having a headache but if I write it come out like this: all elliptical, ellipsisical, parenthetical and … bad.
It is frustrating because I have got to a good bit
And I am enjoying the process of creating this whole new world, it is set in a pre-apocalyptic world where people are beaten and tortured by the gov forces, where wars are started for land and resources, where people get sick and die from easily treated diseases and where there is hunger and want. Such a stretch of my imagination, I know.