Like so many other things, it drips into your heart - through a pinhole. I didn’t truly realize it until I got an email from my mom’s new i-phone. She was shopping at Target and wrote she was so relieved about the ultrasound.
I was suddenly transported to this happy, safe place: Target with my mom. I don’t even like Target, or shopping for that matter (I do like my mom). That is why it is so strange. It has taken me over two years to realize how much I miss the US. Not only this, but I have allowed myself to admit it.
I think when you move by choice to a new country, you inevitably go through a honeymoon phase where things in general are just better and more exciting than in your native land. But lately I have been overcome with nostalgia and an almost childlike excitement when I read about races in the US, places I would like to travel or … shopping trips to Target.
Maybe, as I said to SR earlier today, adults are not evolutionarily made to live in a country where life doesn’t intuitively make sense. No, there is nothing rotten in Denmark. There are just so many things that I can't understand about life here that Danes take for granted. I, for example, will never dress correctly. And I will never be able to say the right things at the right times. In fact, I am the same way in the US. But, in the US, somehow this is ever-so-slightly cool and part of my individuality. But there is nothing cool about it here. There are just certain things one has to do to show that one “gets it” here and if you don’t do them, you are simply a little less respected. Or people just think you’re odd.
Then there is this issue of food. I am partially defined by the fact that I am a vegetarian and in Denmark, it is a lifestyle that doesn’t make sense. Meat is viewed by most Danes as the healthiest thing one can eat. And they really care for their livestock, raise them properly and prepare them properly. This is something Danes are really proud of. And it makes me feel like turd for being a vegetarian. But, when all is said and done, I will go to the expensive, organic store to buy bagels and hummus rather than putting liver paté on rye bread like everyone else. Am I just too old to change? Maybe I've simply realized I don't have to keep suppressing it.
Why is it I'm not suppressing it anymore? Well, because we're going to be spending most of my year of maternity leave in the US. And I'm looking forward to it so much more than I expected.
Since we've moved here, I've wanted to appear as Danish as possible, just to avoid people's xenophobic stares, but I find myself becoming fanatic about things that make me more American: my cheap, ugly running clothing, my ultra running obsession, my desire to gain as little weight as possible while pregnant, veggie burgers, barefoot running, yoga, vegetarianism. I have even signed up for piano lessons to make me feel more like I'm back "home". I know that not all of these things are obviously American, but they feel American to me and that is what matters. I NEVER would have guessed I would write that last sentence a year ago. Last year, I would have felt like a failure writing it.
On my run today, I posed some questions: Denmark, what is it you want from me? What am I actually doing here? (we are, after all, going to be moving back here for at least two years after my maternity leave). More than three hours and no answer. I guess I didn't want an answer anyway.
Running Song of the Day: Empire by Jukebox the Ghost
Piano performace of the Day: Schubert's Impromptu in G flat major D899 No.3 peformed by Horowitz in Vienna (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6_SbflSwAg)