Science and Oprah tell me that to become a 'master' at something, you must practise it intensely for 10 000 hours.
As of the end of June, I will have been here in Denmark for approximately 16 032 hours. Which makes me qualified to spread my opinions about with the understanding that I am, in fact, an expert.
The question often pops up in online boards, regarding the quality of life in Denmark and how education is free and asking whether it's true that clowns give out giant lollipops for free on the granite hewn street corners whilst canons blow loads of cash on the democratically free nation of SUPERHAPPY attractive, blonde people with charming bicycle baskets, and whether the sun shines for 24 hours a day straight from the butt of God.
Well maybe it's not precisely worded in that way, but.
The answer is, yes, sometimes things are given away for free, and the sidewalks are in fact constructed from hewn granite. And most people do in fact have lovely baskets.
The rest is a blatant lie, not exactly propaganda, but more like... the merry misinformation that people who live in a desolate cultural wasteland must repeat to assure themselves that life is still worth living.
Can you be happy in Denmark? It's a stupid question.. of course you can.
I have been happy in Fort Mac, and that is a real challenge... Copenhagen is a cake walk compared.
The fact is, that I would always discourage people from moving here if only because Denmark doesn't deserve them.
There are many wonderful things about my life here, that I will miss intensely when I leave. I love our apartment. I love our neighborhood. I love biking (most days). I love the cafes we frequent and I can even grudgingly accept the price of a cup of coffee every now and then. When the sun shines, it is truly a beautiful city. I love the compactness and the different neighborhoods. Looking at this list, it is obvious that these are mostly functional qualities.The city itself. If only we could transport the city to a place with different people and better weather.....
It's just that the Danes ruin everything. They ruin positivity, they ruin enjoyment, the piss on everything that is beautiful. They run about the city acting like recently uncaged baboons, ignoring rules of common decency and civility. They sap every ounce of kindness out of their daily interactions with you, simply by being universally exactly the same! ...leaving you a withered, embittered shell. And they do it so unconsciously, as if it was their right to do so, that you can't even be upset with them.
It's the small things, you know?
No, you probably don't.
It's hard to explain what it's like, confronting the prevalent 'Danes are Gods, the rest are rubbish' attitude day to day.
Here's one good example.
Only hours after taking over as immigration minister on Tuesday, Pind declared himself ready to tighten up immigration laws. He said it should be set in stone that the country welcomes foreigners that adopt and respect Danish values, norms and traditions.
“The way I see it, when you choose Denmark, you choose Denmark because you want to become Danish,” Pind told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
Pind, who has multiple times in the past stated that he prefers the term “assimilation” to “integration”, said a misunderstood notion of integration, where traditional Danish values have been compromised in an attempt to accommodate foreigners, was a threat to Denmark as a nation.
“In my view, mixing cultures makes the whole thing crackle, and I will do everything I can to fight that,” he said, addig that he would seek to roll back what he saw as appeasements the nation had made to immigrants in the name if integration.
Yes. Those evil, foreign immigrants and their evil, NON-DANISH ways will cause your ENTIRE COUNTRY to fall apart.
It's THAT attitude. That one. It pervades every interaction you have with Danish people. It pervades every conversation I have at school, and it pervades every dialogue I have with 'instructors' here. Non-Danish is threatening, evil, and must be stopped at all costs. Even those who say otherwise ('immigrants are fine, um, as long as they're not... you know.... *cough* scary looking dark people.') are really just covering up because they know it's not PC to be openly racist around foreigners.
Oh except, they are generally extremely racist and think it's hilarious to tell N-word jokes, then you get this sort of trash in the newspaper comments when the adoption of the Euro is once again proposed...
What an idiot! More bailouts for the garlic-eaters on the back of Danish taxpayers. In Sweden they tear down EU flags, they know what to do.
Garlic-eaters? I said PARDON?
Or how about this one:
The latest Pisa study by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) in Paris tested approximately 470,000 15-year-olds from around the world in their academic capabilities in maths, reading and science in 2009.
Denmark’s students came in at 19th place overall, just edging out the United Kingdom in 20th place. The top scorers were China, South Korea, Finland, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Australia. American students came in at 14th place overall.
Although Denmark did not score at the absolute top of the list, there are still lessons the US and other countries can learn from the Danish public school system, according to Anders Bondo Christensen, chairman of the Danish Union of Teachers.
Now I'll speak slowly for you slow ones out there.
Yes Denmark... placing 19th out of 24 means that the other countries can learn something from YOU. *pets Denmark's head* But, um, just so you know, you weren't even CLOSE to the 'absolute top' of the list. You were pretty much at the absolute BOTTOM.
But, you are special, it's okay. I know you feel that you must be THE BEST at everything, because you have THE BEST education system IN THE WORLD... but how about maybe if you tried learning something from the OTHER countries for a change?
This feeling of being expected to delight in the showy 'Danish Awesomeness' all the while feeling a sort of shame at one's own culture, that's what chokes foreigners out of having real lives here. Every now and then you want to go to www.peopleofwalmart.com just to feel what it actually means to accept the unacceptable.
So really, Denmark, you don't deserve us... and although we might be able to find our own corner where we can be perfectly happy, it doesn't really matter because in the end, you're not so special that we would give up our own history and culture just to experience riding a bike every day.