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.
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!