Saturday, November 21, 2020
... or narrower still, Danish problems.
Now here's something I never in my wildest dreams thought would become a dilemma in my life, and no it's not global-pandemic-related. It's a flags versus fairy lights issue!
Before, when I lived in Scotland, the Xmas tree went up around Anna's birthday and came down just after Charlotte's. That was it on the Xmas-decorations front. Here in Denmark, or at least in our corner of Denmark, I've noticed Danes distinguish between Xmas decorations, such as your tree, which goes up mid-December till January 6, and winter garden decor which goes up around the end of October when the clocks change and stays up till around February. This kind of thing...
Last year I hadn't sussed the difference so took our garden lights down with the tree, but I'm now starting to realise that the garden lights are a winter hygge and happiness thing and not fully to do with Xmas.
One thing many of our neighbours had last year was flag Pole fairy lights. They look like this, (or you get them with vertical lights too):
The kids thought they were really cool and I promised I'd get us some this year which I have now done and intend to put them up this weekend. However, now I have them, I realise you need to clip them onto the flag hoist to get them up which means we can't use our flag until they come down again. The problem is that the main time Danes fly their flags is to celebrate family birthdays and five of the 7 of us have a birthday during the winter fairy lights season. Even if we cut it short, all three of my daughters' birthdays are between December 19 & January 11.
So do I need a second flag pole? How do Danes with Xmas birthdays cope?!
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Yesterday I had my PD3 language exam. PD3 is the highest official Danish ministry exam set at the level you need to pass to obtain Danish citizenship and amongst other things to be able to practise as a doctor or dentist etc here as a foreigner. It's probably the first time I have sat an exam since I was 23 years old (as far as I can remember anyway). Obviously there are other requirements for citizenship too that will come with time but this is the language part anyway. Ideally, I would have preferred to sit it after being in Denmark a bit longer (which is more normal) but my passive Danish knowledge meant I was thrown in at the deep end in January and this was of course compounded by lockdown followed by two hours a day being knocked off our teaching schedule once we started back.
As a young woman, I found exams quite stressful. I'd be nervous, I'd find it hard to sleep, I'd worry and more. This exam should be a big deal for me as it is my only way back to the EU passport I'm about to be stripped of, very much against my will, and as far as I am concerned against my rights... How exactly is it that I can have my citizenship simply removed? Anyway, that's a different blog post so let's not go there for now.
I went to bed entirely unfazed on Monday night, I slept like a baby, other than the fact that I'd had to set my alarm slightly earlier in case the car park was full. Even when I turned over the first paper and found it way harder than any past paper I had done in class, there was simply no effect on my adrenalin.
So am I just a smug git who assumes I'll pass with flying colours? I have done reasonably well in my class work this term, so it could be construed as that, but the truth couldn't be further from the mark. The reason none of it stressed me is entirely different and very personal, probably not something anyone in the class (other perhaps than my friend Slava, who I mentioned it to very briefly once in the beginning) could guess.
The reason behind the new calm Phyllis is that two years ago, almost to the day, I was in a very different situation to the one I am in today. And that experience changed me and my outlook on what was important and what wasn't forever. It changed everything in my life. I'll put a link here as there's no point in typing the whole story up again, but the reality is that this exam doesn't matter. If I were to do badly, I could sit it again, or I could choose never to do it. Waiting to hear if I got 50% or less, 70% or more doesn't matter. Compared to the hell of waiting to hear if you are going to live long enough to see your kids grow up, how could it ever matter? Two years ago I remember sitting waiting for my phone to ring, knowing the person on the other end would be telling me if I would live or die and still I had the balls to answer that phone call and try to act casual as I awaited those results. Quite frankly, if you can do that, you can do anything. Every piece in the jigsaw puzzle that was my life fell into an entirely different place after that. Since then, life's priorities, life's goals and the way I approach things have entirely changed.
It is probably also one of the reasons I am here today, sitting this exam. I'm not sure pre-2018 Phyllis would have had the courage to restart her life from scratch but post-2018 Phyllis knows deep down what matters and what doesn't and moreover she knows she can do anything, as long as she has her health.
Thursday, November 12, 2020
Tonight Scotland is attempting to reach an international tournament for the first time since 1998 (7 years before he was born). He's throwing everything at it, but the odds are predicting tears 🙄
Thursday, November 05, 2020
Monday, November 02, 2020
I'd never heard of chestnut soup until I happened to mention in my language class last month that I had a chestnut tree and suddenly the Hungarian and Bulgarian girls were raving about it. So I came home, researched it and gave it a go. Strangely, it tastes almost like a really exotic cream of mushroom or similar - it definitely has that interesting foresty flavour. So I'm uploading my (extremely simple) recipe here so that next autumn, when I inevitably can't find the recipe online again, this will jog my memory. And for anyone that happens upon this - give it a try, it's lovely!