The Things I Do Not Like

Let’s do a quick scan of the readership… I know I have some real life Danes who read this and before I start, I need to make it clear that the following crass generalisations are only about you if you do it. Okay? I mean “the other Danes”.


What I really do not like about this place is the people.

Heh. SOME of the people. I mean SOME of the people.

There is something very “arrested development” about the cultural practices that some of the people do. The funny thing is, it is not the majority of the Danes here who partake but it is so accepted it feels a lot more widespread. Imagine my confusion.

Telling Tales

There is something satisfying about being a goodie-goodie who gets naughty people into trouble. When you are seven.

You have to leave that stuff behind when you develop a sense of self awareness that extends to questioning your own motivations.

Passive Aggression and other Indirect Manipulation

Children have no power. They quickly learn to get their own way with indirect means. They then unlearn it when they realise it is douchebaggery of the highest order.


Go spend time with a Danish toddler. Listen to their self-talk. The little babbly things they say while they are playing. What did you hear?

“What are you doing? Where has Mummy gone? I’ll put this here. Take this.” probably. Did you also hear
“I am allowed. You are not allowed”?

Children are told what to do in the institutions they attend. No one has time to explain the rules (who has time, seriously?) so the rules can seem arbitrary and unfair. They change the rules when they are playing. They subvert their experience.

They are allowed.

Now, go observe an adult Dane doing something antisocial (for example, putting a seat back as far as it will go on a plane during the daytime). What do they say?

“I am allowed, aren’t I?”

“It’s a free country!”

The most irritating thing we could do in primary school was antagonise other children and then cry “it’s a free country, isn’t it?” We (I) did it a lot.

You irritate a child who is playing quietly by themselves and when they ask you to leave them alone you tell them you have the freedom to bother them.

At some point though you discover that even things like freedom have limits if you want to be a mature human being.

“Can’t you take a joke?” / “Bare rolig!” / “Det er bare sjovt!”

Similarly, we (I) would do something infuriating to another child and then criticise their sense of humour until they cried out of frustration.

Here, I have been pissed on. Physically pissed on. And told to calm down.
Here, I have been roundly mocked for making an effort to speak the language. And told “It is our sense of humour”

“That’s not fair!”

Children notice who gets gold stars. Who has to do chores. Who gets opportunities. Who gets told off. They note it and comment on it. God knows where they get the idea that people can expect equality. I mean, it is lovely and all but it is a bit impractical. For example, I did not get drum lessons as a kid because my music teacher could recognise a lost cause when he saw one. And although I was bummed out, I could see his point.

Adults cut out the fairness talk as soon as a teacher in high school lays the smack down with “LIFE ISN’T FAIR!” or “WHEN YOU GET OUT OF THOSE SCHOOL GATES YOU WILL SEE”

Here, I have had to attend meetings I cannot understand for several hours (missing my language classes) because everyone else has to and had to explain my sticker policy… to adults.

The Take Home Message
I don’t know. I really do not know. I know how to deal with immature children. I tell them what is acceptable. I set a good example. I make fun of them if it is serious immaturity I am dealing with.
With adults, what are you supposed to do? Especially if that adult claims “it is how we do things ~in Denmark~”
Many of the expat blogs have gone private recently, for as many reasons as the bloggers themselves. I have to admit, I am feeling the pressure and want to say less and less on this medium. For all the “we have freedom of speech here”, I feel that just speaking about my experiences is enough to get me into trouble. Because of the Tattle Tales and the You’re Not Allowed-I am Allowed and the Passive Aggressives.
Well anyway, if they ride me out of town on a rail for speaking my mind in the only way I know how, then at least I will have that story to tell at dinner parties.
(What it might look like to be banished from Denmark)