Who am I kidding…?

Ok, so another sleepless night at our DK ‘palace’.  I have been having them for some time now…  Well, I guess that means there is a lot on my mind and it all needs de-junking.

Guess what top of the list has to be…? – The damn Danish language!  I can’t see the light at the end of this tunnel.  I’ve never struggled to learn something so badly before.  There are a lot of things against me – my age, lack of ‘real’ help, my feelings of uselessness and insufficient confidence – to name a few!  I will plod on here but can’t ever imagine being fluent.  There is also another obstacle, which effects my mentality here, and that is the way my attempts at Danish are perceived.  I either get an over abundance of exaggerated praise (which is embarrassing, and trust me – doesn’t happen too often) or there is the more common reaction, which consists of impatience/intolerance about my wording/pronunciation.  In comparison, I am always wary of criticizing anyone’s English, from wherever people are from – it’s just accepted/tolerated and not laughed at, annoyingly snubbed or irritatingly corrected. I am always going to have an accent and people are going to have to get used to it.  I just wonder, is it because there are still so few foreigners speaking Danish that it’s such a joke when a foreigner tries?  Or is it to do with the sense of humour here?

This topic haunts me so much, because it also affects so many other areas of life.  My inability to speak Danish is having an enormous impact on my job situation.  I have gone from being totally employable to scraping the bottom of the barrel.  It’s lucky that I have a supportive partner, who is doing very well with his work (on the flip side, that also makes me feel guilty as hell and a little like shit in comparison).  I never thought I’d like being the little woman at home who enjoys ‘doing lunch’ (no offense), but I was right to think that – it’s mundane as hell, for me personally.  However, the job search is futile and I am stuck not knowing where to go or how to proceed further.

Simple, everyday things (normally taken for granted) have turned into an assault course of obstacles.  Seeing the doctor, dentist, opticians, speaking to repairmen, dealing with random Danes in the street (if they do speak to you), sorting out bills, travel, bank forms etc. The list is endless.  I don’t even have the courage to pick up the phone to deal with most stuff – thank goodness for emails and the internet!

It is no fun being in a country that seemingly has no need or desire to have you and barely recognises/acknowledges you as a decent citizen.  I can see why other partners/spouses moving here, without a job, want (and do) return to their country of origin.  And, if/when you have a fall out with your partner/spouse (naturally we all do sometimes), then it’s not just the relationship you have to think about – there is always the thought that you are potentially dispensable to the partner/spouse, and also the country – then  to top it all off, could face the added stress of deportation…  You can have the happiest relationship in the world, but if (like me) your glass is prone to being half empty then you imagine the worst case scenarios which plant their seeds subconsciously in your silly mind.

It is tricky to complain about Danish life without causing too much offense.  But to me, it’s natural to want to bitch about stuff now and then.  It does not mean I don’t appreciate the good stuff about being in another country.  I just think that I should be able to point out the stuff that can affect foreigners like me over here.

Sadly, every gathering or event has become a nightmare to bear, particularly if there is a shortage of other expats or foreigners.  I can’t remember ever having so many battles with my nerves to attend events or parties.  Plus, I’ve never felt as dumb and stupid in all my life as I do right now.  But I’m still trying here – it just feels like I am losing the battle 😦

Maybe I should try and sleep now!

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11 Responses to Who am I kidding…?

  1. Nerissa says:

    Hey now, Danish is hard! Reading and writing it is relatively comparable to other languages, but speaking it is a whole ‘nother ball game. Forget even most cleaning jobs unless you are conversational. My husband tells me that when he goes into apartments to fix things, he ends up using English or just motioning at things a lot, because many people who have been in the country a long time still can’t communicate in Danish. I took a long break from studying it and have started back into it, thankfully I have a Danish tutor at home.

    I think we all need to vent sometimes, living in a foreign country is hard enough without it being a kind of unfriendly and rough place. I sometimes thank my lucky stars that at least my in laws are very nice and welcoming.

    • loobylou2 says:

      Having a tutor at home would be bliss – though am guessing the cost is probably v high. I just can’t understand why this language is so difficult, for many of us it seems…

  2. Tommy Schouw says:

    Danish is shit-hard, because it was “designed” by a nobleman with the explicit goal to make it sufficiently hard to learn that peasants couldn’t keep up. So yeah, Danish sucks in that regard. Got a colleague who’s been working in Denmark for the last 20 years and he still has a very discernable accent.

    A lot of internationally minded firm don’t require you to be able to speak Danish, especially in the IT sector, so don’t let poor language skills stop you. At the place where I work at present, we have 5 people out of 16 who can’t speak Danish, and another 2 where Danish is a second language for them.

    Oh, and the surly reactions from danish people isn’t related to your language skills, its just how we cope with the crappy winters. 🙂

    • loobylou2 says:

      Here’s the thing, I don’t want to lose my British accent – I just want to be understood and accepted for how I sound. That nobleman doesn’t sound very noble to me 😛

      My IT skills have become dated and I no longer have the edge to compete in that field of work. So, I would have to fall back on administration skills only.

      And, us foreigners have to deal with the crappy winters too and they probably suck even more for some, who come from warmer climates,,, 🙂

  3. HOX says:

    I don’t think there are any patent solutions to the learning Danski problem, it’s what and how as an individual you cater for it. I was quite adult when I started learning, and had no choice at all, no one, but no one spoke English to me, and they still don’t. I underwent total involuntary immersion, the rest I taught myself, from reading adverts, to the subtitles on the TV, to reading newspapers and not being able to follow any of it. I went through the usual motions of practicing before going into a shop to ask for something and being met with a blank stare, you know, been there, the tee shirt, the film and the book! I still a met with blanks because I have this er, accent you know, but sod it I say, now I am in a position to dish the dirt in return in the patois. So, if I can, I’m sure you can!

    • loobylou2 says:

      Hey Hox, well done on the total immersion – must have been very tough at first. I just wonder, how long it takes any average novice to learn and speak confidently in Dansk. I know of one or two who passed their danskuddanelse 3 exam and still speak their own language. Anyway, it’s good that you have the confidence to return your remarks in the patois – keeping your own accent should not be viewed as negative.

  4. I am so sorry. The situation you describe could have been written by me, it mirrors my own so identically.

    On the bright side, you are younger than I am, and you do have slightly more mobility than I do, being an EU citizen and all. Maybe set a date, and if you’re still finding it a trial, give you partner an ultimatum. Danes seem to do just fine in other countries. Not sure if it’s because they’re just so awesome or if other countries are easier to navigate. (Well, I have my suspicions, shall we say?)

    • loobylou2 says:

      Lol, not sure I am younger or much younger tbh – have hit the very early 40’s now 😥 And, think moving to the UK is a no go right now – his job/career is going really well.

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