Hardly a week goes by without being asked a variant on
“If you can think critically and are expressing those thoughts freely; shouldn’t you consider a different country?”
To which the answer is “But I just bought a dining table!”
When Danish people ask me, you know, I am a simple, compassionate and patient woman. I excuse Danish people for this petit faux pas. If no one ever publicly questions your country then an ungrateful outsider would be particularly hard to take. Besides. Danish people rarely ask me to leave. They listen to my gripes, add their own and we set the world to rights.
The people who ask the most are the other internationals.
There is a shocking oversimplification taking place on the Danish International Internet Community. I was guilty of it and for this I apologise.
There are at least five types of Danish International Internet User.
Came here for whatever reason, Denmark is entirely to their liking. They love it here. They do not need to piss on anyone’s chips. They are truly stoked to be here. Maybe a bit confused at the blog posts on the downsides of Denmark. Truly nice people who are happy. Happy and nice. Did I mention that I like these people? Well, I do.
A little bit miffed
So, Denmark was a bit of a disappointment. But it would have been worse in Finland, am I right? They like the clean beaches. They love (some of) the quaint food items. They can rationalise the disappointment with the thought that “it is the same everywhere”. They do not mind when people speak about the downsides of Denmark, it gives them a vicarious thrill to hear someone else say it. Sometimes they say it in public. Sometimes.
The crushing disappointment. The PR job done on Denmark was believable and yet entirely positive. The reality, whilst not dreadful, is unbearable in its dissimilitude to the picture painted before their arrival.
Loud about it
They will not stop, they will not rest, they want the Paradise they were promised. They will help this country achieve its potential… or… repatriate trying.
Quiet about it
It is not possible, sometimes, to say all that you think. Sometimes it is better and safer to say nothing.
Silencing about it
Anyone that dares say anything which sounds like a criticism, no matter how constructively put, must be stopped. Their thoughts must be silenced. If they complain about being shut down; stage two can commence… reframing such complaints as “opposing free speech”.
If people are to speak about this country at all, it must be in either glowing praise or else not-very-serious little gripes. Anything meaty or serious must be stopped.
If they continue to say things which remind the person that they are terribly disappointed with their life here; then they must be asked…
“If you hate it here then why don’t you go home?”
Remember. This is the Internet we are talking about. If someone “meets” someone else on the Internet until they have seen the whites of each other’s eyes, the person they are talking to is a construct of themselves. Trust me. I have clocked up four years of Internet dating, I know whereof I speak.
If anyone goes on the rampage, often their attacks are of imagined things, things they wish were not true about themselves. If someone claims that *someone else* thinks something based on an impression and not a direct quote of this other person, then we are dealing with the accuser’s own feelings and insecurities.
They recast reality in the terms “negative” and “positive” and merrily dismiss people on the basis that they are one thing or the other.
It is funny to note which “camp” denies things happened, denies things are a problem and tells people not to discuss things. The FUN you can have when you are laughing.
These people are very unhappy here. Like many of the Internationals. But they have made it their life’s work to convince everyone they are HAPPY. They are GLAD to be here.
It’s like that bit in Annie with the abusive orphanage lady. She abuses them and what do they have to say?
“WE LOVE YOU MISS HANNIGAN”
The “shut up! I HEART DK I do I DO!” brigade think that if they only try hard enough, only suck up enough, only say they LOVE IT HERE loudly enough; then Denmark will love them back. Since when in human history has that been the case? Hmm?
The question “why don’t you leave?” is not meant as a serious inquiry. It is meant as an attack. It is also the question on their lips for themselves. Which is the saddest thing of all.
Well… The saddest thing after the picture of a one legged puppy called Li’l Brudder.
“I’m going to be a quarter back when I grow up! I’m going to make it on my own!”
Oh Li’l Bruder! The heart of a champion!