Home – Sweet, Anxiety-Inducing – Home Or DK For Life!
Written by Marie Hougaard
Art by Coco
During my first year in Berlin I was like “No no, I don’t miss home at all. I love going to Berghain and partying there for 48 hours. I also love currywurst… and ketamine? Sure, seems like a perfectly normal combination to enjoy on a Wednesday evening”. I wanted to fit in so badly, in this city where everything is OK and where no rules seem to exist. Then 2014 came, and I stopped pretending. Instead, I slowly started admitting things like “I don’t party hard, I don’t do drugs, and I quite enjoy hanging out in nicer parts of the city, like Mitte …” Then a little later: “In fact, I also like bougie coffee places where the barista invents rules as to whether or not it’s OK to have cold milk in your coffee”. And then, finally, I admitted “I like some parts of Prenzlauer Berg, too”. After admitting the latter there was no way back, I had to say it out loud: “I am Danish, and I am homesick”.
It took me three years to admit it. Three years of dreaming about windmills, bacon and Danish design — and waking up soaked in sweat. Three years of trying to avoid thousands and thousands of Danes, while walking past them as they happily marched from COS to & Other Stories to Weekday in Alte Schönhauser Strasse. Oh the Danes, the happiest people in the world. Denmark, a place with rich culture, design (I mean, we have HAY. HAY, You must know HAY), critically-appraised contemporary architecture and a highly developed food scene. The thought of moving back became tantamount to moving into the perfectly curated kitchen shelf of your tidiest and most organised friend, who makes sure that the shelf and what it contains never changes. Not one bit. But I was still homesick.
In Copenhagen everyone looks the same. I guess that’s what happens when you have three national fashion magazines to consult. If someone, let’s say, shaved one side of their head and dyed their hair on the other side pink, it would be noticed and hotly discussed by bystanders. And maybe, a week later, you’d still hear people saying “I saw this person on the street with pink hair on one side of the head” and someone else would reply “oh yeah, I saw that person too”.
Copenhagen is quite a homogenous society and as such the chances of having a POC in your circle of friends is very slim. If you do have friends with different ethnicities, you refer to them by adding the nationality to their names, e.g. Allan the Turk or Somali Kaj. As awkward as it may sound, this is how the speaker expresses their great tolerance towards other races and ethnicities.
In Copenhagen everyone is also connected in some way. That’s nice, because it means you have quite a big circle of friends and get invited to lots of events, because you all kind of know each other. But it’s lame when every match on your dating app either knows your younger brother, is the son of your old maths teacher or, after scrolling through a couple of pics, you realize you two used to play doctor with each other in kindergarden.
Speaking of the little rascals, in Copenhagen people have kids early. That’s the beauty of living in a society that is pro-young families and kids. But, jesus, they’ve started even before I got to understand my own cycles. That means I now spend more weekends feeding porridge to toddlers and playing Lego than drinking G&Ts and dancing the night away.
Three and a half years in Berlin had to pass before the inevitable happened. I moved back home – just like that – and guess what? It was the easiest thing I’ve done in a long time. Not only was moving back easy, settling back in was, too. Everything I feared about Copenhagen was true. But I’m not scared any longer, I’m just at home again.