It was 25 years ago that I left my beloved Denmark. Not because I hated living in a fairytale country but because I wanted to take a year out of my life to “find” myself.
Most of my friends had taken the mandatory gap year after high schooler college, but I decided to do it after I had completed college and my apprenticeship. It was time to test my abilities, see the world, and have fun.
I had plenty of fun in Denmark and had many excellent friends, and still do, but I wanted to experience another culture. It was time to explore our European neighbors, so I looked at a map to find my new home for the next 6-9 months.
Failte go hEirinn
Of all the European countries, I picked Ireland; an exciting history, great whiskey, Cranberries, leprechauns, U2, the craic, pubs, sheep, Thin Lizzy, IRA, Guinness, and strange sports.
The beauty of living in Europe is that you can travel and live in any of the member countries, and I was lucky to get a job at IBM doing tech support. For people who know me, tech support was not one of my strong sides.
Nevertheless, I stayed in a B&B for a few weeks, found a small (very small) 1-bedroom apartment in Dublin, completed my 6-weeks technical training, and started on the support lines.
I could not have predicted that I would stay in Ireland for almost 15 years, meet a wonderful woman, get married, buy a house, and have three kids (and three dogs), and I met a long list of fantastic people who I can proudly call my friends.
Ireland was and is truly magical.
A tribute to Denmark
25 years later and I’m still away from Denmark. But, my love and affection for Denmark are not getting any weaker, and I miss my family and friends dearly.
I’ve spent half my life outside Denmark and made the US our new home. We’ve made a good life for our family, made great friends, and established ourselves within our community.
When I do visit Denmark, I get overly excited when the plane hits the west coast. I’m frantically scouring the horizon and landscape for landmarks. A silly smile comes to life on my face.
I feel at home. I am at home!
I’m homesick, despite being home!
My heart flutters as I see the wheat fields, yellow flowers, small villages, and windmills off the coast of Copenhagen as we prepare to land. A renewed joy for my motherland runs through my veins, and I’m anxious to step out into the fresh air – even the air feels different, as if it caresses my face, welcoming me home.
As I walk through the doors into the arrivals, I’m overtaken by childish emotions hoping that some familiar face will greet me with open arms and a giant Danish hug. But, I must wait for the familiar smells of my mother, sister, family, and friends until I reach the magical hometown.
Living as a Dane
During the past five years, I have stepped up my love and affection for Denmark, attempted to stay in touch with friends and family more, and even listened to local Danish radio from my hometown.
You cannot remove or suppress the Dane inside me.
I’m born Danish and will always cherish my Danish roots.
It is who made me who I am today.
When I see HC Andersen’s characters, Carlsberg, Lego, Maersk, and B&O, I proudly smile – see we made this. A small nation under God made this possible. We might not be a superpower, but we have a mighty heart.
One day I hope to rejoin my community in my hometown; although many people I know will likely be gone, some have unfortunately departed already. However, I miss the wind running through the sound, the smell of the ocean, the lovely food, and the warm feeling of my hometown.
A return to the Danish Cuisine
I started a food journey last week, preparing traditional Danish meals, and decided to continue that path.
It is essential that I share my Danish recipes with my own family, making sure they know the flavors and ingredients of the Danish soul food.
Pork, rye, cheese and beer are a stable parts of the dinner table.
That is the reason Danes love beer, bread, bacon, and bodyfat!
No body shaming, please!
This week is no different, except for the kids’ school lunches. I’m solely focusing on dinners, although I will step up by introducing my kids to traditional Danish lunches using rye bread.
We’ll indulge in simple yet hearty potato dishes, fake hare roast, more pork, and perhaps a few slices of fried pork belly with parsley.
In case you missed it, we eat a lot of pork and potatoes.
|Monday||Bagel with hardboiled egg||Karbonader med hvid sovs med grønsager|
Pork patties with white sauce and vegetables
|Tuesday||Croissant pork in blankets||Brændende Kærlighed (kartofelmos) med ristedløg, bacon, og pølser|
‘Burning Love’ (mashed potatoes) with fried onions, bacon, and sausages.
|Wednesday||Pesto mozzarella toasted sandwich||Mørbradsgryde (tomato, svamp, og paprika) med ris|
Pork loin pot (tomato, mushrooms, and peppers) with rice
|Thursday||Mozarella and tomato pizza||Stegt flæsk med persillesovs of kartofler|
Fried pork belly slices with potatoes and parsley sauce
|Friday||Roast beef sliders with cheese and sauerkraut||Forloren hare med brun sovs og ristede kartofler|
Fake hare roast med brown sauce and oven-roasted potatoes
One day, I might get so organized that I will link the meals below to my recipes. We can only live in hope!
Have a fantastic week, my friends. I hope you enjoy these meal plans. It is much easier to make food in advance, although you must invest several hours preparing meals during the weekend.
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