Dear Amy

A single review of my blog on expatsblogs.com

“This blogger seems very angry, and incredibly unhappy to live in Denmark. I really wanted to ask her what her reasons for staying are, but it seems like she has disabled comments. I can’t imagine which part of this blog would be useful to someone interested in being an expat in this particular country.”

The comment policy on expatsblogs.com is “Please note: only positive or constructive comments will be published. Unnecessary, negative comments won’t be published.”

**EDIT** They removed it! Anyway, I spent ages writing this, so here we go**END EDIT**

Apparently, calling a stranger “very angry” and “incredibly unhappy” is constructive somehow? This comment is not seen as either unnecessary nor negative. What a world.

Let’s take it from the top.

“This blogger seems very angry”

My last few “angry” posts have been about forced terminations for underprivileged women, a lack of support in intercultural adoptions leading to emotional neglect of vulnerable children and the nature of racism in this country.

If that sort of thing does not make you angry, Amy, what would? What on earth could?

“and incredibly unhappy to live in Denmark”

This confuses me because, hell, the rest of my “non-angry” “this is an outrage!” “political” posts have been pretty light hearted and gentle. The non-mouth breathing peasant Dane has nothing to fear from me. (In fact, some of my best friends are non-mouth breathing non-peasant Danes. And anyone who says any different is a fucking LIAR.)

“LOL,” I exclaim, “Danes, eh? With their foibles? Hmm? How about them, eh? Nah, they’re alright… Everybody, let’s give it up for the Danes! They sure have given up on themselves. Only joking. Remember to tip your waitress. Here all week.”

Incredibly unhappy. Wow. Amy, I see I am going to have to introduce you to my good friend Mr. Projection and his common-law wife Ms. Defensiveness.

“I really wanted to ask her what her reasons for staying are”

Did you? Did you in-fucking-deed? You “really” wanted to ask me? What my reasons? For staying are?

Who do you think you are? Louis Theroux? Going around wanting to ask people to justify themselves to you.

If you read back through my archives, you can see that I have gone through cycles as I have integrated into Denmark and am currently in quite a positive, accepting phase. Indeed, in my last post, I wrote “Denmark is probably ok”. Do you have to LOVE where you live to not have to justify why you live there?

“but it seems like she has disabled comments.”

I haven’t disabled comments. I just have them open only for a short time after a new post. This is to reduce my comment moderating workload. And your comment would have been moderated because it breaks my “no attributing emotions” rule. Twice.

“I can’t imagine which part of this blog would be useful to someone interested in being an expat in this particular country.”

Perhaps it is your lack of imagination which hampers you? Maybe it causes problems in your wider life, too?

I think expats considering Denmark are exposed to an extraordinary amount of hype. A little pre-emptive bubble bursting is meant as a kindness. Being an immigrant in Denmark is incredibly hard and just being told “everything is lovely, you’ll have a great time, here’s how to deal with practical problems, here’s a picture of something quaint” is not enough.

My regular readership is around 100, not counting readers who check out one or two posts and decide I am not their cup of tea. No doubt a few of my 100 or so regulars hate-read me but I would not put their numbers above a dozen. So, there are scores of people who keep coming back to read this site. I am humbled (and a little unnerved), by that knowledge. (Sorry I have not been writing more, Regular Readers!)

I assume what they are finding useful is:-

  1. The idea that they are not alone in finding Denmark difficult
  2. News stories translated into English
  3. An archive of posts showing one person’s integration process
  4. Another voice on issues that affect them and are of interest
  5. The concept that you can think “wow, mouthbreathing peasant scumbags are the WORST” and still go on to have a happy and successful life in a country which enables mouthbreathing peasant scumbags to go about their business of being a scumbag entirely unhindered.

Furthermore, Amy, I expect they find it refreshing that someone can have a laugh and enjoy life outside of the narrow constraints of “THOU SHALT NOT BE NEGATIVE”. The cult of positivity is cruel, it is unrealistic and it is unnecessary. It is possible to look at the culture you are living in, identify its faults and continue to live a contented life.

I am living proof.

6 thoughts on “Dear Amy

  1. Exactly! To think that the rest of us go around roaming the internet looking for negative things written about our own country only to criticize them and harass the people who write them? I made the mistake of saying a little peep about the negatives of Danish culture and it seems like that made me a bit of a target. I have a small and new blog mostly about being a SAHM and crafts we do at home and it was just so uncalled for. Geeeez.

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    1. I know it very well. One of my first “negative” posts was about how the food pyramid in DK was different from anywhere else in the world, in that dairy was on the bottom “eat as much as you like” tier.

      I got link bombed with all these sources of information that were supposed to contradict me (they didn’t). I know the tone very well. It is a sort of “I am so TIRED that I have to help you but you ought to be grateful I am attempting it. Your problem is that you are wrong, I am right and *dramatic sigh* try not to fuck up again, ok?”

      As I got more and more into writing about things that are in the “not so good” column of living in DK, the comments got a lot more in my face.
      At the time, there were a few people blogging about the difficulties of living here. The vast majority went private. The one or two who continued, faced the same level of bs as me.

      So. It’s good you’ve got your eye on the exit.

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  2. I’m Danish, I’m a regular reader and I love this blog because it is honest.

    I can’t even imagine how hard it must be, for any expat to try and integrate into our incredibly closed and often narrow-minded culture, where being different by default is a sin. You can forget about even trying to learn our impossible language, which you’ll never learn well enough anyway. Even if you’re from Sweden, we’ll rather speak English to you, than try to understand your version of “Danish”.

    This blog is like a mirror. It has given me great insight into my own culture, it has opened my eyes and it scares me. Danes are supposedly such a friendly and happy people, but apparently only to natives. I genuinely hope that you will continue to challenge our way of thinking, because we need the input. We sure haven’t got it right yet.

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    1. Thanks, Jes!

      I hope I can help. Underneath it all, Denmark is a nice place and it would be great to help “midwife” it into a place which is more enjoyable to live in for everyone.

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