Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Denmark 18yrs later and Mid-Century Modern

My dad is presently in Copenhagen on a business trip, and since it was so last minute, it wasn't until he arrived that the whole family got wrapped up in Trans-Atlantic reminiscence. Phones were ringing and emails were flying. Remember Jacob-Bulls-Alle?! we cried. Dad, do a drive by and take a picture with your Blackberry! (A picture has yet to happen, but if one arrives I'll post it.) Here's a lovely Google image for you.
Living overseas really makes an impression. I read this article from England today about expats and kids. I have to say as a former expat kid I can empathize with those in this article. Also as a kid who moved a lot, period. And although we don't have kids yet, I can also sympathize with the adults in this article as well. Transitions are just that, not part of the daily grind, so they can leave indelible marks on us, and sometimes in strange ways.

Yesterday my dad mused that perhaps our time living in DK was what got me going with my current life. I definitely think it was part of it. I'm sure the threat of being sent to the Embassy School if my sister and I didn't keep detailed scrapbooks of our time abroad was part of me later wanting tangible and digital collections to process an experience. (6 months later I moved back to the States with 2 3-inch binders full of stuff.) Besides, what 13yr old do you know who loves school anyhow?

Our Danish apartment was pretty hideous. Even in 1991 it looked like the basements of 4 Danish grandmothers from 3 eras had been ejected and thrown all over our new home. I'm not just talking about style here either, I'm talking about cleanliness (icky poo), condition (threadbare and sometimes ripped or broken), and the fact that it looked hodge-podgey in general. That was not cool. The company my dad worked for at the time did a terrible job finding a furnished apartment for us. Mid-Century Scandinavian design was not in vogue with Americans in 1991 and since that experience was our first...well, maybe now you can understand why I have this aversion to the revival of the whole Mid-Century Modern style. The majority of the pieces I see make me think of the apartment on Jacob-Bulls-Alle, it's dark and sour basement, and Cecilia, the little girl upstairs who used to pee on the grass under our clothesline.
*images found on eBay
Isn't it amazing how deep an impression that made? Like a scent or a song, the interior of our Danish apartment gave me a permenant aversion to a certain style of furniture.
There were fond memories to be had in Denmark: our first interaction with spaghetti ice cream at our favorite Italian restaurant, the castle at Helsingor (probably part of why Hamlet is my favorite Shakespeare play), the Karen Blixen museum, and when my sister and I would pull our shirts over our noses as we would sprint past the stinky cheese shop en route to the ice cream stand, Kroner jingling in our pockets.

Anywho. I will not be going with the 70's theme our new apartment was built in. We had three Germans already comment on how old the place looks with it's wood ceiling and flourescent curtain lights. The lights are a riot and we hate them. But that's easy, we just don't turn them on! As for the wood ceiling, well, I don't care. I think it looks cozy somehow. Kind of boat-ish.
We have zero energy or funds to paint that ceiling white anyhow. I just can't even imagine what a pain it would be to paint such narrow and deep wood paneling!


Waterlilly said...

You could always spray paint the wood ceiling! Smiles, MOM

juliette said...

I remember watching them deal with stuff like that at Sequoia Woods Pl, and then I had to do it myself in Salem. Those were walls. So I'm going to say 'no' to a ceiling with even deeper grooves. We'd have to pay somebody to do that much work.

travelingmama said...

I was having such a good time reading your comments over at decor8 that I decided to pop over and check out your blog. I am not kidding- we are literally looking at apartments to rent short term in Denmark! How funny! We live in Morocco, but my husband just got a job offer in Copenhagen, so we are going to check it out in a couple months. I would love to know more about your life there and if you have any recommendations on where to live. We are already debating over whether to live right in town in an apartment or live just a little outside the city and try to find a house (we have three kids!) Anyways! I'm happy to have come across your blog!
Best wishes from Morocco,
Tina (aka Travelingmama)

juliette said...

Tina, how funny! I was only 13 when we were there, and it was 1991, so I'm not sure how much help I could be now. I recall the downtown old city area being very pretty, but also likely quite expensive.

As the oldest of 3 kids I know we always liked visiting one of my dad's co-workers who lived outside of town. He had kids and they had a whole open-floorplan house with a huge yard attached to fields. We loved to go running around outside. We'd always had space like that before DK, so I think that's why we found the city apt cramped.

I will say that most of us never took to all the pickled stuff in typical Danish food, and the high frequency of topless beaches was something we never adapted to. But those are side issues. I would imagine it to be quite different from Morocco!

I think your trip to scope out the area will be the best help. Going through the different neighborhoods will give you a feel for what's there and what will be the best fit for your family. Also - I'm not sure about insurance, but I recall having to see drs based on our street address and it being a little iffy. What an adventure, I'll have to follow along!

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