Danish cash, plastic, and banks

Until now I’ve been living off my U.S. ATM card. I pull Danish Crowns (“Kroner” in Danish) out of an ATM, Visa charges me 1%, and everybody’s happy. But now my U.S. account is empty, so I need to use the pay that has been deposited into my Danish account. Simple enough, except that I haven’t been given a debit card yet (which is a whole other story). So, finding myself out of cash, I went to a branch of my bank in the small town where I work. I walked in an explained that I didn’t have my debit card yet, and could I please withdraw some cash. The woman behind the counter responded, “This is a cash-free branch.”

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My new pad

I got my apartment today. It’s what we’d call a 2 bedroom in the US, but here they call it a 3 room apartment. It’s about 85 square meters, or around 900 square feet, which is meager in the US but quite large for Copenhagen, especially for one person. It’s on the floor that in the US would be called the 2nd, but in Denmark the 1st floor is considered to be the first floor above the ground floor. The living room and small bedroom face out onto a beautiful and unmistakably European courtyard. The kitchen and big bedroom face out to a small, quiet street.

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So why leave the US?

I’ve done a lot of thinking about this, and essentially it comes to this: I wanted to leave because I was having a dysfunctional relationship with my country. We’d been seeing each other for a long time, and it was certainly a serious and steady relationship, but things were headed in the wrong direction. If I stayed in the relationship, things were bound to get worse, and possibly violent. I think I basically understand her, but in the last few years — since 9/11 — she changed. It was probably in the works before 9/11, but that’s the event that really changed things.

I still love her, and I already miss a lot of things about her, but I needed to take a break. I need to date another country for a while. Perhaps we’ll get back together, but for now, it’s best that I stay away. I need perspective.

There’s also this Bush guy. I know she’s been seeing him, and hey, I’m not a prude — if you want to date someone else for a while and experiment, that’s fine. But, after four years of outrageous behavior on his part, she elected to go in for another four years. That’s when I realized that she was serious about him, and the she may never come back to me. So, painful as it is, I had to start dating someone else and start thinking about myself.

It’s not that I’m jealous. I certainly don’t envy this Bush guy, but she also expected me to help foot the bill when she and Bush went out and painted the town red. That’s just unacceptable. By dating another country, I was able to completely stop helping to fund their debauchery, and that’s definitely the right thing for me to do right now.

Well heck…

I’ve been snickering about this whole “blog” craze for some time now.

For one thing, would it be so popular if it were merely called a journal? I doubt it, because everyone knows what a journal is, but a blog — well, that’s new and exciting. Even if it is just a journal.

Another thing though, is that in order to have an interesting blog, you’ve got to have something interesting (and on-going) to talk about.

So, when people started asking me if I’d keep a blog when I moved to Denmark, at first I scoffed. But then it occurred to me that this is as good a time as any. Besides, I found so little information on Denmark (particularly from the American perspective) that I figure any extra information might benefit others that follow suit, or are just curious about Denmark, and Copenhagen in particular.

So here we are. I have a blog now.