Viene tormenta!

All weekend, the UK news was on Stormageddon overdrive but Aarhus and Fredericia had seasonally appropriate weather and there wasn’t much in the Danish news apart from “big storm headed for the UK.”

I got to leave work a bit early and my boyfriend rang me while I was on the train to warn me that the storm had got a lot worse. I said everything was fine and to expect me in half an hour.

Fifteen minutes later, the train stopped and then reversed back into Hedensted. The train driver got on the PA to say that the storm was too strong in the south and they had no idea what next. He got on the PA to say that a lot but sometimes with ‘I am getting more information in an hour’. The conductor moved down the train talking to people and was quite entertaining and nice. He got on the PA to offer everyone a coffee and remind them about the travel time guarantee money back scheme. (In the UK, a train I was on got stuck for three hours and the conductor basically hid from us and it was up to seasoned commuters to tell everyone which form to collect and that they were allowed a coffee). He also asked if there was anyone who had major problems because of the delay “for example, you need to pick up a child from daycare” and no one lied. We just shook our heads.

I was sitting at a table with three other women. Two were travelling together to a beautician course in Vejle (7 minutes away from us by train). We all started joking together and being very friendly. Mostly what we joked about was Hedensted. The conductor came over and joked some more about Hedensted.

‘Hedensted. Hardly the centre of the world(!)’

My boyfriend initially offered to pick me up and I said not to bother because I was sure the train company would sort us out. Then he rang me back to say he wasn’t going to drive because massive tree branches and roof tiles were flying around Fredericia.

Then our carriage started to rock. It was pretty wild. I have seen wind but never going in a big circle outside the window and hardly ever with streetlights waving back and forth.

We just chilled in the train, getting periodic announcements that we were stuck and that was going to continue for a while.

Then they talked about going back to Horsens and my boyfriend re-offered to pick me up because the storm had died down in Fredericia.

So, two hours after I said I would be back in half an hour, I got off the train so I didn’t accidentally end up in Horsens or worse. I waited in the bus stop which was less fun than you would think. A full bus heading to Vejle came by and picked up some of the people from my train. Then my boyfriend picked me up and we drove on roads littered with branches but full of traffic.

I read later that when the storm died down, they laid on buses and people were given emergency shelter in different towns (including mine), which answered my question ‘what if he had been in Afghanistan?’

There were even some unfortunate people who had to spend the night in the carriages apparently and several trains had to just park on the tracks overnight while they cleaned and repaired the tracks.

I got off lucky by only having a four to five hour commute home. If I had left at the usual time, I would have had to have slept in an emergency shelter overnight because trains weren’t running south of Aarhus anymore.

In the morning, I got up at 5am (as is my wont) and left the house at 5.50am. My usual train was running more than half an hour late before it even arrived so I got the slow train. This meant I was around 15 minutes late to work (8.25am), which was incredible considering. As we drove past Hedensted, my old train was still on the tracks. Dark and empty.

On the way home at 5pm, the trains were still pretty badly disrupted. My train was a bit delayed but others were cancelled.

I am pretty wiped out now, it’s been a long couple of days.

Newbies: Winter Survival Guide

If you arrived this summer (as so many new arrivals seem to), it is often around this time that culture shock often hits hardest. Let’s assume culture shock is going to get to you this winter. That is pretty normal so it’s reasonable to prepare for it (but it is ok to hope that you will be an exception).

If you have foreigner friends then now is the time you will fall out with them. This is normal. Sometimes it gets nasty. Foreigners who have been here longer than a couple of years have their falling outs a little earlier in the season.

The process of feeling rotten and lonely and miserable and annoyed and bored and angry tends to end around April. The immigrant then declares themselves cured of culture shock and claim it is all because they have gained some insight and become a better person. Oh honey. You just started producing melatonin on the proper schedule and are sleeping better but whatever… OK, you’re a better person now… Except immigrants tend to come unstuck again in October. After a few years of this, you would be grumpy and impatient too.

Here is a spoiler-free Game of Thrones guide to surviving this winter. Let’s go to Westeros! (I’ll act like you’ve seen like a handful of episodes/read a couple of chapters of the first book)

Stay True to Yourself but Fit in Well

Catelyn Stark

Catelyn Stark is from the south but married a man from the north. At the start of the story, she is living happily in her husband’s country. She always feels like a fish out of water but her husband claims she has gone native because she has had a buttload of his children. She pretty much has adapted to Winterfell but she keeps a lot of her old ways (for example, her religion) She just gets on with it, you know. There is a melancholy though, she misses Riverlands, guys! But she’s a stoic (and also has someone to take out her shit on who can’t fight back).

Go Batshit

Lysa Arryn

Caitlyn’s sister married a guy and moved with him to where his job was. A lot of shit went down and I guess he wasn’t supportive enough? She certainly didn’t have any friends. Anyway, she goes a bit wrong but tries to keep it together for the sake of her kid. She is reasonably successful at this, for a given value of success.

Get Sucked In (and spat out)

Sansa Stark

Caitlyn’s daughter moves to the south to be closer to her boyfriend. She enthusiastically adopts his culture and customs. She rejects everything about her previous culture. She looks forward to being completely accepted by her new country more than anything.

It is actually dangerous for her to be open about her disappointment when King’s Landing does not live up to the hype so she hides her true feelings. She also has to deal with the knowledge that she will never be truly accepted.

Go Native

Daenerys Targaryen

Dani moves to be closer to her husband’s people. She learns his language in a short amount of time and adopts even the gross weird customs of his people. She becomes a part of his people. She fully intends to make a triumphant return to her old country and bring him with her.

Work to Your Own Agenda

‘Lord’ Varys

Mysterious Varys comes from Essos. Despite being a foreigner, he has great power and influence. He has done this by not giving one single fuck about becoming a Westerosi. Sure, he speaks their language but he plays them at their own game and comes out on top.

Flip out for a bit and then settle down by keeping busy

Jon Snow
Jon Snow

Sansa’s older half brother moved even further north for work. It is total bullshit. Almost everyone there is a dick, there is no dating and his career plans are diverted.

He is sad about it and even toys with going back home. In the end, he comes to a sort of peace with his situation and learns to fake it to make it.

Now, I don’t know what method you should use. But this much I know: if you know any Sansas or Lysas or Jons then for heaven’s sake: keep your judgements about their coping strategies to yourself.

Did Lysa go a bit funny because she put out negative energy and deserved bad things while Catelyn adapted well because she was thinking positively? HELL NO! Their (mysterious) background circumstances shaped them and ultimately gave them little choice but to react they way they did.

Did Dani learn Dothraki ways better than Sansa adapted to King’s Landing because Dani was more dedicated and hard working? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Their outside circumstances were completely different and out of their control.

Good luck this winter and be gentle with each other.

What is dead may never die!

(Edited to correct the spelling of Catelyn, thanks A!)