Saturday, December 18, 2010

Olivia and Santa

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Copenhagen Christmas

Olivia loves to look at Santa. She opens her own advent calendar and gets a piece of chocolate everyday, so she really likes Santa. It is funny though because she has no idea that he is going to be bringing her presents. We are spending Christmas at Lars and Ulrika's house in Sweden. I am so excited!! Below are pictures we have taken around Copenhagen- mainly on the walking street.
Matthew's favorite store, Royal Copenhagen, is located on the walking street and every year they decorate Christmas tables with different themes that are very elaborate. Here are a few of those tables:


















Below are pictures of the lights around the walking street:












Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Julekalender




It is Christmas time! In Denmark starting December first, the main television stations begin playing Julekalenders. Similar to an advent calendar where you open one door a day and eat the candy, you watch one episode of a series a day. The episodes are maybe 15 or 20 minutes long. One of my favorites that Matthew, Olivia and I try to watch every evening at 5:30pm (if we are home) is called Sebastian's Jul. It feels so Denmark to me! I love watching it. HERE is the link for the first episode.

To choose from the list of episodes, while you are watching the first video, put your cursor over the picture of the video and a menu will pop up called FLERE PROGRAMMER. Click there and you can choose episodes 1 -15. Epidsode 16 will be up tomorrow. It is such a fun show! There are a lot of animals and Sebastian makes a lot of tradition Danish foods and crafts. Yes, you will not be able to understand any of it, but just like me and Olivia, you will like it all the same!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pasty


I talked to my mother in law, Janet, on the phone last week and she told me that she just went to the Cornish Pasty restaurant in Tempe and I started craving a pasty so badly!! Oh man! I wanted a cottage pie pasty more than I can say! So I, of course, spent the next two evenings googling pubs and restaurants trying to find a place with pasties or bangers and mash or cottage pie to satisfy my craving. We had the absolute best pub food in London when we were there and I wanted it again so badly. My search ended in failure as I did not find anything that looked promising. Aside from pub food, there are so many other food I have been thinking about- a lot! Let me take a quick moment and list the restaurants in Arizona that I have been thinking about for the last month or so:

-Indian Grandma- (that is what we call it. The lady that is always there serving is like our dear, sweet Grandma- even though she was sitting at a booth plucking her eyebrows with a tiny mirror that one time). I think it is called Royal Taj on Broadway and McClintock. I get the Chicken saag (spinach) and Matthew gets the Tikka Masala. It is so good!!!

-Indian Delhi Palace- On McDowell in Phoenix - Matthew and I get the same dishes as above, they just taste different but awesome! Courtney knows this place rocks!

-Blue Adobe - Country Club and Main - I love the Enchanted Garden Enchilada. All tasty vegetables and cheese and creaminess!!

-Taco Bell- Mesa- I know it is wrong... but I want a bean and cheese burrito so bad! And cinnatwists! And a Tostada.

-Filiberto's- Mesa- I know it is really wrong... but Oh sweet bean and cheese burrito with their perfect hot sauce!

-Pizza Pit - Dobson and Baseline- This place has the best pizza! The crust is awesomely sweet. Their cheese bread stuff is so good too! GO there!

-Euro Cafe - downtown Gilbert - Butter garlic nuts!!!

-Cornish Pasty- Dobson and Guadalupe - Every pasty is so good, but the Cottage Pie is my favorite.

-Baja Fresh - Mesa - I want to go here with Jenny and get a chicken quesidilla with guacamole and that black salsa and sour cream and tomatoes so bad it hurts. Their chips and salsa make me so happy!

-Bahama Bucks- Mesa - Jenny! Please go get me a Strawberry Colada ice cream/shaved ice treat like in the old days (2 months ago)!

-Ted's Hot Dogs- Broadway and McClintock - Chili Cheese Dog!!!! This place is so tasty and we always seemed to go after a long day of manual labor. Mmmm!

-India Star - Los Angeles, California (on Melrose Avenue)- It was rare that we got here, but this place has the best buffet of all time. If you are ever in LA, you must go here! Lacy, take Megan and go there for me!

-And for some reason I want some gum drops- the spice drops, so badly! They have gum drops here but not the spicy ones. My friend, Rory, at work was bringing them a lot the last few months I worked at MRM and I got really hooked on them! Matthew was sweet to bring me some here and they were good but not spicy!

Back to the pasties... So, I decided to make pasties at home. I did the traditional pasty instead of the cottage pie, nothing too crazy. The recipe basically calls for potatoes, lamb, turnips and onion. It was near impossible to find a turnip here for some reason, so I went without. I forgot to take pictures of the pasties, so I am going to steal a picture off of the website where I got the recipe. My pasty looked every bit as professional as the one above, I assure you. Actually mine were pretty rough looking (no symmetry and the pinches were not great) but I was happy with them.

Matthew and I settled in to eat them that night and they turned out so good! The crust was so crumbly and buttery and delicious. Now I want to start experimenting with different savory types as well as dessert pasties. I am so excited! Matthew said that "we are really onto something here". I will translate for you- let's make this every night.

I used this recipe from Connie, an older lady who grew up in Cornwall- or so she says. It really could be some young dude from Texas who wants the Cornwall cred on this pasty site, I have no idea. The recipe is fantastic, though!

We are having our friend, Stine, over for vegetarian pasties next week, so I am starting to come up with something in my head. I think we will need apple caramel pasties for dessert!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Talent

We got a call on Friday last week from the people at http://www.workindenmark.dk/ to see if we would participate in a survey. About a month ago we contacted the WorkinDenmark organization, which is basically an arm of the labor market here geared towards foreigners, immigrants, expats- any non-Danish person that is thinking about coming to Denmark to work or is in Denmark and looking for work. We met with a guy named Martin and he helped Matthew and I with some job searching tips and changing our resumes into CV''s and other job search related items. I guess Martin gave our names to an outside consultant for Work In Denmark and they contacted us to participate in the survey. The Work in Denmark website is being overhauled and they want new video and pictures and new stories about people coming to Denmark.

Matthew and I agreed to the interview, thinking it would be very casual and only take a few minutes. The lady who coordinated everything sent Matthew an email over the weekend with an attachment with all the details. I guess we both just assumed it was not a big deal so Matthew didn't open the attachment until about half an hour before we were about to leave Monday afternoon for the appointment. As he read the attachment, he came across a list of about 30 detailed questions that we should be prepared to answer like:

- Why did you decide to move to Denmark?
- How did you navigate the green card process?
- What has been the most difficult thing about moving to Denmark?
- If you could rewind time and go back to the few months before you left your home country, what would you do differently to prepare for the move to Denmark?
- Are you doing fine so far? (I thought that was a really funny question!)
- If you have work already, how is the office culture different than the culture in your home country. If you don't have work yet, when you think about your future job, what do you think the office culture will be like?

After we read through the questions, Matthew gets to the part in the email where it says that we should be prepared to be filmed and to have HUNDREDS of pictures taken of us. WHAT?! Funny story, the night before, Sunday night, Matthew decides to shave his goatee. He has been wanting to for years and years but has been nervous about how it will look. He finally does it the night before the biggest photo shoot of our lives- besides our wedding! What are the chances?!Once his brain registered the situation he was in, there was a little bit of a freak out. We got through it. For the record, he looks great!

We took a bus to the building we were asked to meet at. It was a really cool building right on the water's edge. We walked into the lobby and were met by a nice lady and a professional camera man. They took us outside to the water's edge and had us walk back and forth towards the camera while acting natural. I was pushing Olivia in her stoller. The camera man took many different angles and got up in Olivia's face a few times which was funny. We did that for maybe a half hour. It was freezing outside, the coldest day so far here in Copenhagen. I just kept thinking how awesomely rosy my cheeks must look!

Then we went inside and upstairs to a really nice office where there was a reception area with all kinds of treats and food. There was juice and tea and coffee and coffee cake and cheese cake and cookies and fruit and vegetables- it was so fun! They told us to help ourselves. When we arrived, a second person, a nice Danish man, started asking us a lot of questions. Matthew went first and I kept Olivia with me. He was in the office for almost an hour and I just assumed he was being asked all the questions. When they came out they said that they had just finished photographing him! For almost an hour! Then they wanted to photograph Olivia and Matthew together. Then me and Olivia. And then just me. They talked to us during the shoot and got us to make gestures with our hands and stuff. It was so bizarre, but fun. When the pictures were done they sent the photographer away and then took Matthew back in the office and asked him questions with professional sound recording equipment. He wore a headset like you would in a radio booth or something. I went in when he was done to answer all the questions and he watched Olivia. We were there for about 2 and a half hours!

At the end as we were wrapping up, the people offered to pay our bus fare to and from the meeting and told us that they would like to give us a Christmas gift worth the equivalent of 1000 Kroner (about $200). He said they could not give us cash. He gave us his card and told us to email him and tell him what we want for Christmas! It was so funny! We will probably just ask for a gift card to a department store here like Illums or Magasin. We have had our eyes on a few things. This, this and this. The whole thing was really fun! The people in charge of the project were really nice and funny and they treated us like we were The Talent. It was a fun day! The website overhaul should be done next year - around March 2011. There is a very good chance we will be on the website looking very awkward! If/ when we are on the site I will post it here!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tivoli Video 3

Scroll down to October 25th to see the first Tivoli post...

Tivoli Video 2

Thank you, Rod and Paul

A few days ago we received a large package in the mail. It was addressed to Olivia Cox. She opened it and inside were four Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals shipped all the way from Portland, Oregon. She loves them! Olivia already sleeps with a stuffed dog that my friend Rory gave to her for her birthday that we brought with us to Denmark. She also sleeps with a doll we bought here in Copenhagen. Now she tries to take all four Winnie the Pooh animals into her crib and sleep with all of her favorite toys! I usually only let her bring in one or two, in addition to the dog, and she usually picks Piglet or Roo. Thank you so much Rod and Paul!! It was such an unexpected and much appreciated present! I showed her a Winnie the Pooh video on YouTube and she grabs each animal as it comes on screen and kisses it or makes it dance or pushes it up against the computer screen. You guys are great! We love you!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween in Sweden



We spied these cute ghost cakes at the bakery next to our apartment!


For Halloween we went to Lars and Ulrika's house in Malmo, Sweden. It was so fun! The house was decorated so cute and festive and there was candy everywhere! Olivia and Siri dressed up as mummies. Joar was a vampire. Love was a zombie/ monster of some kind. Matthew and I went to IKEA and bought a couple of cheap sheets and ripped them into strips.

Olivia sat there patiently while I wrapped her. I don't know if she was so compliant because it was already well past her bedtime or because Siri was also getting wrapped, but she just sat there and let me do it. I was so happy; I had planned on her struggling!


Finished product!



Olivia was okay holding Siri's hand for a second and then she looked up and kind of freaked out at Siri's costume!



Olivia loved Trick-or-Treating! She got so excited and just mesmorized by people putting candy in her little cauldron. It was great!


Ulrika holding Lisa, Love, Siri, Joar, me holding Olivia and Lars and Matthew behind where you can't see!

It was a really fun night and Olivia loved it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tivoli


We went to Tivoli the weekend before Halloween. It was decorated with more pumpkins and hay barrells than I have seen in my entire life! It was so fun! Tivoli is an amusement park in Copenhagen. We went with Lars and Ulrika and the kids.












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Tivoli Entrance

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Apartment- Part 1

Here is our new apartment. I did not film my bedroom because Matthew is sleeping in there (sicky). I will also film the kitchen and bathroom later when I have more time to tidy up a bit!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Here are some videos from around the city.



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We went to the downtown area and walked around near the Hans Christian Andersen statue.

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Nearby Cemetary

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New Construction Area on the Water

Olivia

Here are a few videos of Olivia. If you love Olivia you will love the videos. If you don't love Olivia, these may just be annoying videos of someone's kid!!

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Olivia and Matthew Swing

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

5 Weeks

Nyhavn - downtown waterfront


Christiansborg Palace - home of the Danish Parliment and the Royals

We have been in Copenhagen for well over a month now. I swore on my last post that I was going to write often, and I still plan to, but we have had some complications. My internet was a little funky for awhile and then my computer went a little crazy. Then we moved to our new place and didn't have internet set up for about a week and so I am finally up and running. I don't have much time right now to write a lot, so this is going to be a summary of the last 5 weeks and then I will add more details and pictures tomorrow.

Week one - two: Sleep, Eat, Walk around Copenhagen. We have walked so many miles around Copenhagen. I have seen the most amazing buildings and parks. The first few weeks I just walked around all teary eyed- I kept seeing the most beautful sights I had ever seen. I felt like a I had been wandering in a desert (literally?) and was now shown green for the first time. I am being a little dramatic, but I really could not get over how green and lush and beautiful everything was for the first few weeks. I still feel that way, but it does not overwhelm me now- for the most part. When I went to London a few years ago, it was beautiful, but this has raised my definition of beauty just a little. Nothing against London- I love that place!
We have been down to Nyhavn, the waterfront. There are cool, old, colorful ships lining the harbor, tasty looking restaurants and a ton of people. We have been to so many sights that I can't think of them all anymore. I will start including pictures here soon. We went to the Copenhagen Zoo. It was so fun and you could get so close to the animals. We went with our Swedish friends Lars and Ulrika and their kids. We also went across the water to Malmo, Sweden to stay with them a few days after that. I didn't get to see much of Sweden, but I hope to soon! What I did see was so pretty!
By far the coolest experience I have had here was in a church called Vor Frue Kirken (Church of Our Lady) in the downtown area. This church houses the original Christus statue. The church itself is amazingly beautiful. The architecture is so grand. The aisles are lined with statues of the 12 apostles and there is a woman statue 20 feet or so from the alter. Those statues alone are amazing. As you walk in a look ahead all the way to the alter, you can see the statue of the Christus up ahead. When you walk all the way up there and stand up close, the statue looks so real. It is also quite a bit bigger than the ones I have seen in Mormon temples. As you stand in front of the statue with the organ playing and look up it really feels like you are looking at the reality and not a statue. I can't adequetly express the amazing experience it was to stand there in that church and so I won't try anymore! I plan to return to that church many, many times.







During the second week we had a little bit of a scare because we went down to the local immigration office to register and receive our CPR numbers (like social security numbers, kind of) and cards. Getting these cards gets you access to the free healthcare and registers you in the area and is a vital step in the process. When we sat down with an agent at immigration and showed them our green cards that are stamped into our passports, the lady told us that our green cards are invalid and that she could not issue us CPR numbers. She said that we had to have arrived in Denmark within 3 months of having been issued our green cards. We were issued our green cards in April and we did not get to Denmark until September. They expire if you don't arrive after 3 months, apparently. No one told us that. It was not on the paperwork anywhere that we received with our green cards, the only expiration date on our green cards was 3 YEARS away. We were shocked. And scared. And angry. Mostly scared. The lady told us we had to go down to the main immigration office on the other side of Copenhagen to figure it out. They were already closed by then so had to wait until the next day. Matthew and I were both forming a game plan in our heads for what to do if we got kicked out of Denmark. We could move to Sweden- move in with our dear friends Lars and Ulrika until the green cards got reissued. We could move to the Polish countryside temporarily and find work in the fields. We could go to Germany??? At that point we did not know if they would reissue them. I think we both thought realistically that it would get straightened out and they would issue us green cards and everything would work out, but I was worried that this might delay our access to the healthcare. The rest of that day and the next morning we worried about it and hoped it would be alright.

The next morning we took the bus and then walked to the immigration office. As we walked in we could see it was PACKED. We took a number and just as we were walking in the main waiting area, a Muslim woman in full dress stopped us and told us that we could have her number. Matthew and I were like- okay, thanks. We didn't really look at our number yet or what number was up yet or anything so we just kind of said thank you and went to go sit down. As we sat down and looked at our number, the number that was up next and the number that the lady gave us, we started freaking out! We had something like number 259. The next person to go was number 198 or so. The lady gave us number 210 or so. We were so excited! We felt like it was a break and hope it continued! We met with another immigration lady and she straightened everything out, issued us new green cards and then sent us back to the local immigration office to get our CPR numbers. We were so happy!

Week 3 - Finding a New Apartment- Matthew spent hours and hours trying to find the 30 day apartment we had at first. He got a lot of responses from scammers trying to get him to send them money, but mostly did not get a lot of possible apartments. It is difficult because we have a dog and a baby and need a fully furnished place and didn't want to sign a lease or anything. We had so much to do before we left the United States that we realized Matthew could not continue to spend two hours a day hunting for apartments so he thought of the idea to contact a place he liked and just offer a lot more than the landlord was asking for. He did that and we secured the 30 day place quickly!

Matthew starting looking for our second apartment once we had been there about a week and a half. There is a lot of competition for housing here. He looked for a few days and found a cute place that had just been posted. Matthew emailed and called and he was the first to go see the place. Apparently the landlord had just posted it and received around 200 calls in the first two days! Matthew went to see it that night and came home and we called the guy and accepted it that night. We feel really happy that we got it! It is tough here and we have the dog, a baby, we need a fully furnished place and the fact that we don't have jobs. That makes landlords nervous! So, we moved in about a week and a half ago.

Week 4- Moving In - One of our friends, Stine, knows someone who has a car and she helped us move all our stuff into the new place. The furniture that is already here is okay. We don't love any of it, but we don't hate it. We can work with it- we are just happy to have a bed and a couch. Oh! And the landlord left silverware, plates, pots, pans- a fully stocked kitchen! It was such a blessing! I can't imagine how much money we would have to spend on those things! We have done a lot of moving furniture around and we cleaned every surface in the entire place. I will post video of it tomorrow, I love the windows and the light and that it is twice as big as our other place. We desperatly need rugs and art to make the place look more homey, but that will take some time. The location is good. We have a beautiful cemetary really close (in Denmark the cemetaries are like parks you can just stroll through and look at the amazing foliage). We also have a really cool church (pictures below), a fun downtown area about 15 minutes away that is all immigrant shops with Middle Eastern pastries and fruit stands and buffets and grocery stores. Most everything in that area is Middle Eastern. We are really enjoying it so far!
Grundtvigs Kirken - in our neighborhood


Week 5- Maybe We Should Stop Slacking Off and Look for Jobs - We met with someone from workindenmark.dk - a job search help resource that Danish Labor puts out there to help Danes and immigrants find jobs. The guy we met with went over our resumes and gave us good revision tips and good job search resouces. It was a very beneficial meeting. We have a ton of work to do on the job front!

Olivia got sick last Wednesday. At first it was just a cold. Then it turned into a bad cold with some kind of eye infection. The infection really kicked in last on Saturday morning. We waited until Monday morning because we kept thinking her eye would clear up on its own and the cough would subside. They didn't. We took her to see a doctor on Monday (yesterday) around noon. The doctor said her eye was infected and prescribed her some medicaiton- some for her eye and some to take orally for her cough and cold. I got her home and gave her the medicine and put her down for a nap. An hour later she woke up crying and would not stop. Then she started throwing up. And throwing up. I tried to call the doctor but she had gone home for the day. We called the after hours line and they told me to take her to the hospital to see what was going on. We walked down to the hospital- it is only about 15 minutes away (the most beautiful hospital I have ever seen, by the way). When you get to the hospital you just slide your CPR card in a little reader. No paperwork, no check in, just slide it and go sit down in the waiting room. We waited about half an hour and then saw the doctor on call. He examined her and said she had an infection in her lung and her eyes. He said that she was throwing up because she probably did not have enough food in her stomach when she took the medicine. He told me to keep giving it to her but make sure she eats more and come back if there are any problems. The doctor was not worried about her and that made me very happy. The other thing that put a huge smile on my face- not paying to go to the emergency room or to the doctors' office earlier that day.

This morning when Olivia woke up she looked so much better! Her eyes were still red but at least she could open them! I am so relieved that she is doing so much better, poor kid! Now Matthew has taken over being sick. At this moment I have two sick people in the house. Little Olivia and Ole' Soupy Sales (Matthew). I hope they both get better soon!

Well, that is the short version. I will add more about the last 5 weeks in detail later.

Finally- The most pleasant suprise about Copenhagen so far: the city is so thoughtfully constructed towards babies, strollers, and kids. There is a changing table everywhere I go ( I remember nursing Olivia in the Phoenix Art Musuem hiding in that window outcropping where you have that amazing view of the city a year ago and pretending to be really into the view for about 15 minutes). Every curb has a ramp for strollers. All the busses and trains have special areas for them where no one else can be if you need the room. It is great. There are parks everywhere. Right next to our apartment we have a park with a freaking zip line in it!! What!!!

The most unpleasant suprise about Copenhagen so far: everyone smokes. All the time. The young, the old, the very young. And usually they do it in doorways just as you walk through them! That is really my only complaint about Denmark so far. Not bad.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Copenhagen At Long Last!


PHX ---> CPH



This has been an insane week and I have been wanting to write about our arrival in Copenhagen for awhile but finally have the time. I must first just say that this city is so beautiful! It is so green and full of nature! I am so excited we are here and feel so lucky to be living here.

Matthew and I have been packing up our house for over two months. In addition to packing everything, we also needed to sell or get rid of a lot of stuff. We started the process as soon as we found out that our green cards were accepted- in the end of April.

In the last month or so, we started to feel like we were really short on time and have been working really hard to get everything done. I gave my work a 6 week notice and my plan was to hire someone new and train them for 2 weeks and then have 1 full week to get everything else done. I hired a new Human Resources Manager who seemed great. She started on a Wednesday, exactly 3 weeks before I was to fly out. She worked for 3 days and then on Monday morning she texted me that she would not be returning to work. TEXTED ME!! I was so shocked she was so unprofessional that she couldn't even call me. I had spent that weekend working to prepare to turn everything over to her. I changed my access on my systems and forwarded her all my 200+ emails and basically had everything ready for her to start. I was right in the middle of trying to reconcile the new 401K plan I had implemented and open enrollment (when all employees enroll for new health insurance) was days away. I was so swamped but excited to give everything to her and then help her figure stuff out. When she quit, I had to undo everything I had done and basically get back to work on the 401K and open enrollment stuff. I hired another guy a few days later but he couldn't start for 2 weeks! He couldn't start until after I was supposed to be gone. So, I had to work a lot of hours to keep everything going. I also told my boss I would stay on until just before I left the country so they wouldn't be without an HR Manager for 2 weeks. Basically, I should have had hours and hours to get stuff done on the house and instead I had to work a lot. That put our schedule WAY behind. Up until the last possible minute, Matthew and I were scrambling to get our house packed up. Family and friends were so nice to help. Marie watched Olivia a ton and I am so thankful for that! Also my mom, my dad, Janet - my mother in law, Jenny, Ellen, Laura and my friend Tony all helped so much. Thank you Marie and Jaime for throwing us the goodbye party and to Wayne and Carl for moving the couches and to Rod and Paul for their generosity. Thank you all!!!



I think the packing up and finishing the house was hard on both me and Matthew, but Olivia has had to endure a lot of watching Lady and the Tramp and Toy Story- just general boredom. She has watched more tv in the last two weeks in Mesa than she has her entire one and a half years combined! She was bored a lot, but she got through it! I am so glad Marie took her to play with her and her kids so often.

My Aunt Ellen gave us an idea to pack our stuff in large boxes instead of suitcases because you could fit a lot more stuff. She was right. We bought 6 huge boxes and loaded them up. They each could weigh a maximum of 50lbs and we used our bathroom scale to get them right to 50lbs. We paid the extra $50 each to bring an extra box, so I had 2 boxes, Matthew had 2 boxes and so did Olivia, since we bought her a seat. We also had 3 carry ons and 3 personal items. 1 of the carry ons was our dog, Bug. We also brought a bike. It was in a huge 6 foot by 4 foot box. We had an insane amount of luggage.

My mom and dad helped get us to the airport and then we dollied all our boxes and bike into the airport. The attendant roped off a special section for all our stuff. We arrived at the airport at about noon on Wednesday, September 8th. The United Airlines workers behind the desk then proceeded to ignore us for about 45 minutes. We asked for help and they seemed to be trying to find someone to handle us. Eventually someone came and started weighing our boxes and checking us in. About half way through the process, the lady helping us told us that we could not board the plane because we had bought one way tickets to Copenhagen and you can only travel there with a roundtrip ticket. I explained to her that, no, we had green card- work visas- and we did not need a return flight booked. She should have known this by now as she had been staring at our passports for the last half hour. No matter. She called someone (Danish embassy? US embassy?) and soon she said we were okay to board. We watched them take our 6 boxes and bike box and then went to security. As any traveling mom knows, when you go through security with a car seat and stroller, which we did, you have to take the child out and take apart the stroller. So when we got to security we had to take Olivia out, put the car seat and stroller on the belt, take bug out, put her bag on the belt, take our 3 laptops out and lay those on the belt, unload our shoes, other carry ons and personal items. It was crazy! We had like 15 different pieces going on the belt. It took forever and people were so annoyed we were slowing things down. All in all, the check in and going through security process probably took us a full 2 hours.

We got to our gate and waited about a half hour until we boarded. The flight went really, really well. Olivia did so great. She went to sleep pretty quickly and slept for almost 2 hours. The flight was 3.5 hours. She just played with her stickers and books the rest of the time. I was so relieved, but also knew we were not even half way done. I have been really worried the last few months about how well she will do on the plane.

When we landed in Chicago, I realized that Olivia had gone to the bathroom everywhere- all over her skirt and legs and so I had to go to the bathroom and change and bathe her. Then we had to take Bug outside to go to the bathroom and stretch her legs a little. Also, the Chicago airport is so huge that we had to go to another terminal for our SAS flight to Copenhagen and we had to go down and out of the secured area to get there which meant that we would have to go back through security. We had a 2 hour lay over so we were not too worried, but knew we had to hurry. So we hurried to run our errands (Olivia and Bug) and then went back through security.

Chicago has a huge airport and the whole process took forever. As we were finishing up in security and dragging all our items to nearby seats to put everything back together, an airline worker came up to us and said that the flight to Copenhagen was already boarded and everyone was waiting for us. They brought out a special golf cart just for us to get on so they could rush us to the gate. We could hear our names being called over the intercom as well. We started frantically shoving all our laptops back in the bags, try to put the car seat and Olivia and Bug back together. I got my shoes on but Matthew didn't. They were rushing us like the plane was leaving at that very moment. It was the most stressed out/frantic I have ever been. We grabbed our crap (I was holding Matthew's shoes) and got onto the golf cart thing and they took us to the gate. We ran up the ramp and onto the plane. I was holding two carry ons- one hanging in front of me, one in back, 2 huge coats, Matthew's shoes, and Olivia in her car seat. I was easily carrying 100 lb. I asked the flight attendant where my seat was and she gestured up the aisle to the right so I went that way. I could barely fit through the aisles. I had to go through first class and all the people were looking at me like I was a piece of crap. I am sure I looked completely frazzled and was carrying all these things, Olivia was fussing and my shoes were untied. After first class I started going through the even more narrow aisles in the coach section and I was obviously physically unable to go much farther. Not one person offered to help. It was a huge plane with two aisles and not one person even smiled. I scanned the plane and there were no empty seats anywhere. I quickly realized that the flight attendant had sent me the wrong way. I tried to turn around which was near impossible. I was about to totally lose it emotionally. I think I am generally pretty laid back. That moment was the most emotionally unhinged I have ever been. It was the culmination of the last 2 months of moving and stress and especially the last few days where we had gotten only 2 or 3 hours of sleep each night. Finally, a nice flight attendant who knew what she was doing came and took my coats and a bag and Matthew's shoes from me and helped me to my seat. Matthew had been sent the correct way and so he was almost to our seat. The attendant put all my stuff down and then left. I still had fussy Olivia and all our crap and was trying to find room in the overhead compartments. Again, not one person helped. I loaded all our stuff and got Olivia situated, Matthew came and settled in and then I just sat there. Another nice Swedish attendant came up and brought us some water and was very nice and was looking at me and asking if I was okay and if Olivia was okay. I literally could not answer her. I just stared. Matthew answered her and he helped me get all our personal items arranged.

There were a couple of Russian men behind us in when we were going through security in Chicgo. They were visibly annoyed at all our crap. As we were frantically trying to get our stuff together and get on the golf cart the airline sent for us, the Russians went ahead of us and took our golf cart! I couldn't believe they were so rude! The airline sent another one for us. When I was trying to get all our stuff in the overhead compartment and settled in our seats, I looked to the people sitting right behind us on the flight and it was those Russians! I heard them say that our dog smells. Burn. I have never had anything against Russians and have always wanted to go to Russia, but at that moment in my crazy state I just thought to myself- at least we have been to the moon. I was in a weird mood.

We then sat on the plane for another 15 or 20 minutes and then left ON TIME. That is right, we were not late, they just boarded early and then decided to make us rush. I could not believe it. Oh well. We were on the plane and, barring a crash into the Atlantic Ocean, we would make it to Denmark.

The flight was 8 hours and it could not have been better, given the circumstances. Olivia slept a lot again and then woke up and was in a good mood and played with her books and stickers and with the tv on the seat in front of us. I could not believe how great she was. I think it was a special gift to us because we needed the time to relax. Matthew and I tried to sleep a little but mostly we just sat and stared and tried to recover from the last 2 months. It was good we had a break because it was about to get worse.


When we got off the plane, we went down to baggage claim. We saw our 6 boxes on the belt and they were extremely beat up. They had holes in them. Some were ripped open. One was completely ripped open with a little bowl next to it containing Matthew's underwear and socks that must have fallen out along the way. We were just freaking out. The boxes looked like someone had been throwing our boxes about 20 feet onto the ground as a fun game to see if they could make them pop open. I was so mad. I was just foaming. Somewhere some baggage handler is wearing a pair of Matthew's trouser socks. So, we made a pile of the 6 destroyed boxes, 3 carry ons, 3 personal items and Olivia in her car seat. Then we had to find the stroller and bike. I went to go find them and the bike box was completely ripped open too. There was a huge hole in the bottom. It looked like the pedals and wheel were still there, but it was bad. It was obvious that it had been thrown and abused. We were so mad!! We assessed the damages later and the frame is bent and the derailer is destroyed. It will cost a lot to fix it. We paid $200 to ship it so that we would not have to pay $500 for a bike here. So frustrating!

Next, we had to figure out how to move all this stuff through the airport with just the two of us. We got dollies and Matthew pushed two loaded dollies with three boxes each on them. I loaded up the car seat and stroller with Olivia and the personal items and the two of us put the carry ons on our backs. I pushed the bike box with it up against the stroller. The bike would go about 2 feet and they veer off in a crazy direction. This box was like 6 feet wide and the airport was packed and so I was bumping people and trying to steer this stupid thing with the stroller pushing it. I was carrying so much luggage on my back and pushing a baby and a bike and again not one person helped! Hundreds of people watched the spectacle that was my first day in Denmark, but not one person offered a hand. We then wheeled our ghetto caravan to customs.

We have been really nervous about this moment. The last thing we need is for them to have problems with our visas or for them to say Bug does not have all the right paperwork and not let her enter the country. We arrived there all nervous and talked to the agent and she could not have cared less about Bug. She didn't even want to look at her. All that worry over nothing!

So we started wheeling ourselves out to the curb. Matthew's friend, Anne-Greta, was going to pick us up. As I was struggling with my load and Matthew with his, I saw a lady go up to Matthew and hug him and I knew that we finally had help. I was so excited!! She helped us with our load. As we went through the main doors and out towards the parking lot, a pack of Danish frat dudes were sitting outside and started mocking us in Danish. At this point I was happy just to be done with everything and I thought it was so funny! Then they must have heard us speaking English and started mocking us in English. Anne-Greta yelled at them in Danish to get off their butts and help, which they did not. It was really funny! She brought a trailer and we loaded our stuff in and drove to our new apartment. The apartment is so cute, I love it!


This is Olivia standing on our balcony. This is the view to the rear of our apartment. The building in the picture looks identical to ours, so you can see what our place looks like on the outside.



I have more pictures and more stories, a good one about how we almost got kicked out of Denmark, our trip to see Lars and Ulrika and kids in Sweden and you see Olivia below showing off her forehead where she fell at the Copenhagen zoo, but I shall save those for another day.

Farvel!