Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Expat life, Travel

Glyptoteket, Copenhagen

This is the first museum I’ve visited since moving to Copenhagen, and it was definitely a good one to start with. It features the personal collection of Carl Jacobsen (son of Carlsberg Breweries’ founder) and contains a large selection of ancient Mediterranean sculptures, as well as French impressionist paintings. The building itself is quite lovely. It’s got a lush tropical indoor courtyard, for one, and lots of skylights leading the way up to a rooftop terrace with an entertaining view of Tivoli amusement park rollercoasters (you can see people getting flung in all directions).

Also, in case any of you plan a trip to Copenhagen or this museum in the future – it seems like there is free entry on Tuesdays so you may want to double check for that ­čÖé

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Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Expat life, Home, Travel

Botanical Garden, University of Copenhagen

Another Giverny post? No, this time I’m sharing some photos from here in Denmark, from my university’s botanical garden. It’s no Monet’s garden, but it’s got a charm of its own. It makes for an idyllic walk, and there’s plenty of interesting plants to observe on the way (many I hadn’t seen before!) as you will see in the photos.

The gardens are in a very central location, right next to Rosenborg Castle, and very close to my workplace. It’s free to walk around the gardens, but you have to pay to go into the greenhouses. Pity I don’t go for lunchtime walks here more often.

Even though my workplace is in the heart of Copenhagen, I haven’t felt particularly compelled to wander into town during or after work. Once I’m at work I feel busy! But looking back on these pictures, I’m thinking it would be really nice to read here or catch some rays on warm summer days every now and again.

Hope you enjoyed these photos!

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Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Travel

The Black Diamond, Copenhagen

First things first. What is The Black Diamond? It’s this onyx-like structure which is an extension of the Royal Danish Library. Take a look below.

It’s got some nice views facing the waterfront:

When you face away from the water, you face the Danish War Museum which is just across the road from The Black Diamond.

Do keep scrolling, because the coolest features of this building are yet to come.

Inside this building is a massive open hall that reaches all the way up…
And up…
And up.
This photo kind of looks like one of those impossible M.C. Escher illusions to me, ha
Really liked all the interesting views from each floor of this place.
The views by the water cycling back out weren’t too bad either.
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Bristol, Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, Travel

Harbourside – Copenhagen edition

To those of you who have been reading my blog from the beginning (or my friends in Bristol, ha), you already know my favourite thing about living in Bristol, UK, was access to the lovely Harbourside. It’s where I’ve spent much of my time and taken many a walk to contemplate, have deep chats with friends, check out the CARGO eateries, and get sunburnt in the summers. By the way, Bristol recently made national headlines when the Colston statue was dumped in the harbour during the recent BLM protest – a huge moment given Bristol’s maritime history.

Anyway, it pleases me greatly that there’s plenty of that Harbourside living in Copenhagen. I’ve only just begun exploring around Islands Brygge/Sydhavnen. There’s a lot of hanging out and swimming in these areas, plenty of modern buildings, and pedestrian paths by the water are very clean and well-kept.

Have a lovely day ­čÖé

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Copenhagen, Expat life, Personal

New job, new country: Life in Copenhagen 1 month update

So, in lieu of my Sunday Musings (abstract overthinking?) series this week, I’ve decided to do a little update on how things are going in my life given that it’s been exactly a month since I moved to Copenhagen.

Where to begin? Hard to believe it’s already a month since I arrived, though it actually feels like a lot longer. At this stage, I’ve just about opened up a Danish bank account, in good time for my much anticipated, much needed first paycheck. I haven’t minded dropping basically all my savings on this move to Denmark, but all the spending I’ve done in terms of upfront costs have barely been sustainable for the month (plus I’m trying to live that good life over here, ha). I did get extremely lucky to not have any “gaps” between pay checks, but I genuinely could not live in Copenhagen making what I was making on my old paycheck, that’s for sure. I’ve also only just got round to getting a Danish number, after having the same number in the UK for 10 years. I bought a bike, though I’m riding very precariously at the moment and embarrass myself on the daily with my clumsiness. I mean I haven’t really cycled in a good decade – and especially not when I was living in Bristol, which is full of the most hellish hills.

I’m already a few weeks into my job now. Even though in some ways I have a lot more to accomplish in this job, I don’t feel like I’m tripping over myself to do my job properly – I don’t feel like a headless chicken. The work culture actually does make me feel like I’m doing “enough” for once, or at least that being the most productive as humanly possible really just isn’t everything. Even though I’m the first one in my office and the last to leave, I feel like I spend a very reasonable time at my desk. I still probably work a bit more than what I’m supposed to (oh, the joys of academia), but an actual 40 hour workweek is a welcome change from the ungodly amount of unpaid extra hours I was putting in my previous job.

I’m interested to see how my latent imposters syndrome develops, if at all, in this new role. Ever since I started my PhD, I felt like I had no idea what was going on, that I was being policed by my peers about how much I work (PhD competition is real – I really don’t miss that), and that anything I did accomplish was a fluke I didn’t deserve. All those feelings stayed with my even when I finished my PhD. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty realistic about myself and I can definitely say all three of the aforementioned were and are true at points. It definitely feels like everyone else around me has done “more” than me, and I’m sure that feeling is not baseless. And it’s not like I suddenly “know” what I’m doing now, one year post-PhD (in fact, my new role involves research in a field that I did not specialise in). Moreover, there’s a very quiet but nagging voice in my head that tells me I objectively probably do not deserve the job I have now, even though I worked so hard to get it. But, well, who cares? I’m here, aren’t I? The difference now seems to be that it doesn’t feel like the end of the world even if it were true that I “could be better.” It’s just not a cause for despair anymore. My “incompetence” and “flaws” are part of a learning curve, which I get to experience in a tolerant and supportive environment, as far as I can tell. Talk about work-life balance and emotional well-being! I’m sure part of this newfound confidence is down to actually starting a new job and being really excited about it, but I’m definitely experiencing a trend towards having a little more faith and just trusting myself a bit more.

Collegiality seems to be a big thing in the working environment here, which is another positive. You don’t notice much of a hierarchy between the different “rankings” of academics. The difference between a PhD and a postdoc (that’s what I am) seems rather minimal, even in terms of pay grade, which is a good thing. In the UK I would say the difference between a PhD and a postdoc is basically a doubling of salary (with PhDs being underpaid, that is). That much should be explanatory of some of the differences in British and Danish academia. So yeah, when I got this job offer I already knew it was my dream job offer, but now that I’m living it, I can only confirm how happy to have this job, beyond all expectation.

The frustrating stuff about settling in? Not knowing the language. I mean it’s so easy to get away with only speaking English in Denmark, and sometimes you actually forget you’re in a non-English speaking country (well, bi-lingual at least). But for me personally, I’m not used to being in a situation where I cannot communicate or comprehend something perfectly. So when I go into a Danish supermarket or receive bank letters in Danish I’m reminded that I’m sort of helpless in that aspect, and that I need to be a lot more proactive about learning the basics. I mean, I’ve even avoided using my work desktop because it came with a Danish keyboard that I just could not get used to, ha.

Weirdly, though, I’ve been kind of enjoying the fact that most people I’ve met here assume I speak Danish (maybe because borders are still closed to most tourists) and will speak Danish to me first (before I respond in English, ha) rather than assume I am too foreign to speak the language. So all that’s left for me to do is to actually live up to those expectations and try to integrate a bit more.

I guess I’ll be back in another month with any progress ­čÖé

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Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, Expat life, Travel

Valbyparken, Copenhagen

Goodness, this place was an amazing surprise. A big green park a mere 20 minute cycle ride from home, and with a beach? In the city? Yes and yes.

My cycle going there and back wasn’t very pretty – it was a hot sunny day, I’m very road-shy, I had no idea where I was going and had to stop and check my map every 2 minutes. I also haven’t quite perfected my cool cycle chic look. Regardless, I would definitely brave the trip again to revisit this park.

I’m guessing these are poplar trees?
Either way this long path lined with trees is a distinctive entry point into the park, and very nice to cycle down.
Loved the little peeks of water through the trees.
Plenty of folks windsurfing at this place!
It was an almost blindingly bright day.
I skipped on a few stones by the water ­čÖé
I can’t say I’ve ever seen people windsurf before, but it looks fun!
Clear water at the beach.
Just beautiful, isn’t it?
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Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Culture, Expat life, Home, Travel

First impressions of Copenhagen: Then and Now

I confess when I visited Copenhagen for a short weekend trip a few years back with a friend, I didn’t think it was anything special. There was the usual warnings of “It’s an expensive place”, of course, but looking back I think my enjoyment of the city was affected by the dynamic between myself and my friend. I was under the impression we were going to visit this city to explore together and have lots of fun. She didn’t really want to do much, and she spent most evenings texting and talking on the phone with other friends (I mean it was pretty much 24/7 – funny what you learn about your friends when you spend full days with them, I even struggled to vie for her company while we waited around at the airport). To top it off, we had a random but pretty big argument during the trip that soured our moods. All I did on that trip was visit a couple of really touristy spots by myself because I had already bought the Copenhagen Card which gave you access to all the touristy stuff. I thought everything was nice, but also very run-of-the-mill (probably something to do with comparing every European city I visit to the loveliness of Vienna, where I used to live). I probably wouldn’t have visited again.

How things change – and how I’ve changed! I would not in a million years have guessed I’d end up back here, for a job no less, or that I’d be this ecstatic about it. I genuinely don’t remember ever being this happy. I guess regardless of me ending up here in particular, I also just didn’t think I would secure my second academic job less than a year out of my PhD and that everything in my life would be accelerating so fast. This entire situation really is a massive surprise to me and I don’t know that I’ll ever get used to it – or that I will ever not feel like the luckiest person in the world.

And well, my ‘first impression’ now is that I’m totally obsessed with Copenhagen. I’m sure some of that magic feeling will settle down eventually, but I feel very differently to how I felt when I first moved to Bristol for example (my previous city). Bristol was a very slow and gradual process of nurturing a kind of fondness – and it was probably around the fourth year that I started really enjoying Bristol. In Copenhagen, I feel a bit like someone who is falling in love for the first time. It’s exactly the kind of place I want to be at this particular stage in my life, that’s for sure. It’s bigger than Bristol, which was starting to feel way too small for me. It’s a European Capital, which fulfils one of my life goals – to live in a European Capital as an adult. But it doesn’t feel massive or overwhelming. It’s a pretty modest size. It’s a good life. It’s a beautiful life. And it’s flat! I’ll happily walk 30-60 minutes at a time to get places (I don’t have a bike yet) since it’s so damn easy to walk around and pretty straightforward to navigate. I’ve been told there are a couple of seedy areas, but that hasn’t been a hinderance on my impression of the city so far – I feel safe walking around. I got lucky with my apartment as well, which is in a central enough location, in close vicinity to shops, cafes, and restaurants. There’s lots of natural light coming in, which makes me feel very comfortable at home. Obviously the weather, my workplace, and how I’ve been welcomed in my job has a lot to do with how I feel in the city as well, but I’ll maybe save the job stuff for another post!

Copenhagen is a pretty amazing place to be in the summertime, and even better if you live and work here as the wages should match the cost of living. I’ve already been begging my friends to consider moving over here since there are certain skills that are needed in the country which should make it possible to find a job (here’s a “list” of job shortages in Denmark, by the way – I went the researcher track but again I can write about that in another post). But I’m getting way ahead of myself. For now, I’ll leave you with some of my first snaps of the city:

My route to and from work.
You can ride on these “swans” in The Lakes, just avoid the real ones as they’re not friendly ­čÖé
I’d probably get to work 5 minutes quicker if I didn’t take photos on the way, but can you blame me?
I took this photo in ├śrstedsparken, which is pretty close to The Lakes (the route I take to go to work)
One more from ├śrstedsparken – I really like this park.
A beautiful sunset at The Lakes. Pretty sure it was already past 9.30pm by this point.

As you can see, there’s a sense of serenity and tranquility even in the city (though I’m not sure if that’s because less people are out nowadays because of Covid-19). Even in my limited knowledge of the place, I’ve been able to find plenty of spots to enjoy a bit of nature and found it very easy to avoid big crowds and so on.

More to come in the following weeks – let me know if there is anything you want to see or are curious about! ­čÖé

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