Copenhagen, Denmark

Export Quality

December 11, 2023

I've come across an article that says when you move to another country and try to build a life there, it feels like living in between. You're not a tourist, but you're not a native either. You'd feel homesick, all the while you're home.

Major life update: I've moved to Denmark.

To be honest, there are so many thoughts in my mind about how I should go about writing this post, and it might not necessarily be in chronological order, but I guess that's alright. I write as I get into the thought, and express how I feel at the moment.

The decision to move began in March when I was headhunted for a job, the specifics of which I won't delve into. Upon reflection, I realize it might have started even earlier. It was May of 2022 when Marcos won the presidential election in the Philippines. I, together with other 15 million Filipino people, were beyond devastated. I woke up to it one morning, and I wasn't even exaggerating when I say that I cried and couldn't get through the day when I heard that Leni lost. That time, I told myself, I'm leaving the Philippines.

Months passed, and I found myself without any clear direction. The job I had no longer provided me with challenges, and traveling within the Philippines had lost its excitement. Concurrently, I was distancing myself from connections. It became evident that I had reached a dead end in the country of my birth, where I had spent 28 years growing up. So the first chance I got to leave it, I took it. Was it an easy decision? Absolutely, a no-brainer.

Getting here was a long tedious process, yet somehow it feels like it all came together really fast. In my almost three months here, here's an update on how things have been going for your distressed nacho so far...

  • Bureaucratic procedures were all in place — registered as a tax resident, opened a Danish bank account, obtained a Danish mobile number, and so forth.
  • I found a permanent place only after staying here for three weeks. Before I came here, I had read that the country's (especially that of Copenhagen's) housing situation is very competitive — high demand and less supply. So, one of the first things I did when I arrived was to look for a permanent place. I went to a couple of open houses but failed to get the apartments. Luckily, I found a listing on Airbnb and asked the host if she was interested in a long-term rental. She agreed to see me, and shortly after, we agreed on the terms. She and her husband are the kindest people I have ever known. They anticipated my needs and offered their helping hands even when they didn't have to. Moving to their place also put me in a better economical situation as they did not ask for much. Looking back on it, I feel like my first months here have been nothing but lucky.
  • Taking Danish language classes! Who would've thought that at this stage in my life, I'd be attempting to learn a new language? It's not a work requirement or a societal necessity since practically every Dane, even the young ones, speaks English fluently. However, for me, learning the language means fully embracing the country I've moved to. It's quite challenging, with numerous rules and complexities, but I'm making progress. Surprisingly, it's also been a fun experience. As an added bonus, I've had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and made connections.
  • Speaking of connections... one of the things I'm truly grateful for is having colleagues with whom I can connect both professionally and personally. Before arriving here, my research indicated that integrating with Danes might not be easy due to their tight-knit circles, with socializing outside of work being rare. I had mentally prepared for this, so my expectations were quite low. I'm pleasantly surprised (and incredibly grateful) that my experience has been completely opposite. On my first weekend here, I was shown around the city. They helped me understanding my rental contract, insurances, and such. They go the extra mile to check what else they can do to make life more convenient for me. I was invited to a saunagus!!! I was invited to a pre-party of selected people!!! One of them even made me a list of things I can do in Copenhagen categorized in weather conditions!!! Links where to buy good deals for clothes, food, etc, are sent my way!!! They've taught me life hacks. Heck, I even have an "how-to-apply-an-eyeliner" tutorial. These are among many other things I've lost count of. This fills my heart with warmth on so many levels.
  • I've even familiarized myself with the shopping spots and online stores now. Funny enough, I recall a conversation with a friend back in the Philippines where I mentioned spending too much money just by staying at home and indulging in online shopping. He jokingly pointed out that I had the same habit back in the Philippines; only the currency has changed. Lol
  • I've also met fellow Filipinos here who have assisted me in navigating Denmark.
  • I celebrated my birthday here for the first time. It's truly incredible how someone can go the extra mile to make you feel special.

There's a whole bunch more I could list, but I'm feeling positively overwhelmed by all the good things coming my way. Right now, I just want to gaze at my balcony and absorb it all. As an almost-closing-notes though, here are a few things I've learned about Danes so far...

  • Danes are huggers. In my (almost) three months here, I've probably hugged more people than in my 28 years in the Philippines. Lol. They smell good, so no complaints there!
  • Danes seem to have an excessive love for cake (and beer, but not necessarily together).
  • Dane men often go by Peter, Lars, or Anders, while Dane women are commonly named Pernille, Hanne, or Anna. So if you forget their names, chances are you're spot on by calling them those.
  • Danes have a great sense of fashion, even among the older generation.

Everyday, I am reminded that I am at the right place. It feels home. Seems like my mother's prayers are working.

More soon, X. *wink*

1 comment

  1. I can relate! I remember looking into Australia around the time that Duterte won. After moving to Sydney, and seeing what a fail this government was amidst the pandemic, I swore I wouldn't care anymore...until Leni announced she was running. I had hope. :( Anyway, I love hearing about immigrant stories like yours! I'm curious about life in Copenhagen, so I'm looking to forward to your updates.

    Also, if you haven't yet - I hope you got your BIR 2316 forms in the last couple of years and certs of employment and payslips from your last jobs in the Philippines just in case you're considering on moving permanently outside the PH because my god I wish I had that foresight. T_T

    All the best! xx