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Aug. 4th, 2008

I really really want a new tattoo. Anyone know a good artist in Denmark? It will still be a couple of months before I can get one but I wouldn't mind checking out shops ahead of time.

The things we put on hold for our children... :)

New Blog

I have decided to make a few changes to my blogging life. My needs for a blog have outgrown live journal so I have created new blogs for me and Twig. This does not mean I am abandoning LJ. I am just going back to what it used to be and making it a journal again. I love the communities here and I love the friends I have met on LJ. I love being able to make friends only and private posts where i can bitch and whine and complain about the world. So from now on all but a few trivial posts will be at least friends only. If you want to continue to follow the adventures of a crazy American in Denmark then check out



Who's a Garden 'Ho?

I killed the Monza. Ok, no I didn't really but we are currently down to one car and Mark doesn't know what's wrong with her. So if I want or need to go to the store I have to use the power of my feet. It's not so bad when I want to walk to the store but it blows big fat ones when I don't have a choice. I hope we can get her fixed or sort something else before mom gets here. Otherwise Mark is going to be stuck driving us around all week!

Super garden 'ho to the rescue!! I have spent the last 4 days working my butt off (literally) in the garden. There is so much that needs to be dug up, cut down, and trimmed. Some days it is overwhelming! We have developed a priority list of what I need to work on when I get a little free time during the day. Yesterday I had a massive fight with the blackberry bushes in the back yard. We decided to cut down and dig up most of them since they are taking over. I felt like Brier Rabbit. It was horrible and I am all scratched up today. I hope I never see those things in my yard again! I am having to be super careful with the flower beds since my tulips and other spring flowers are making such a show. The tulips are one of my favorite parts of spring here and I can't hurt them! If I can muster up the energy today I am going to start cutting back the hedge between us and our neighbor. He has agreed to go in with us on a wood fence and that we can get rid of the hedge. Hopefully this will put an end to Z's escaping over the fence.

Still studying Danish and job hunting. Today we have to harass the driving instructor about getting me a date for my exam. Ugh stupid system.

At least we finally had temps hit 70 yesterday. And today it should be the same. YAY for warm weather!!!

Misha's Reply...

One of my girlfriends asked the other day (ok at least a month ago now. It took forever for me to get back to this) how and why did I get to where I am. It made me realize I have a lot of friends that don't know my whole story and how the American came to live in Denmark. So with Misha's permission I am copying her e-mail to me so I can answer it for anyone that might want to know the same things!

Hi Angel,

If you don't mind - I'd love to hear about your life in Denmark... (I hope I'm not being intrusive). For me I never dreamed of ever leaving New Jersey - or my county for that matter - virtually no one left. Most of my friends & family all still live w/in 20 minutes of each other. When I moved 45 minutes away - my friends gave me a "going away" party & my mom cried... so 2 years later when I announced I was moving all the way to Colorado - people were SHOCKED. I try to imagine life in another country and I just have no basis for it. One of my XK sisters is presently living in London - but she's on a "two-year contract" with her husbands job - then they come back to the US. So as hard as it was for her to leave - and for her friends & family to say goodbye, they have a firm "return date"... so that's different.

So what's it like, living abroad? It is something you ever planned to do - or just happenstance that you met your man & he happened to be in Denmark? What's Denmark like?

Do you envision your life there or will you live in the U.S. at some point? or somewhere else entirely?

Feel free to just DELETE if this is none of my beeswax! (and accept my apology) I'm just naturally curious.


I have always had a fascination with escaping America. It started when I was 15 and made my first trip to Europe. I spent a month with my high school symphony playing concerts in Austria, France, Germany, and Hungary. I then spent a few extra weeks in France with an exchange student that had visited me the previous school year. I missed my family but I was enchanted by the places I had visited and didn't want to go home.

After I graduated from college, I spent 3 months working for an NGO, called the Carnivore Preservation Trust, in the jungles of Laos. This reignited my desire to live abroad. Even though we had sketchy electricity, no running water, no TV and only got radio for a few hours a day, I loved Asia and would do almost anything to go back. I took the Foreign Service test (failed miserably lol) and tried to get jobs with several different groups. I finally decided that if the right opportunity came along I would take it. Nothing ever did and I figured it just wasn't the route I was meant to take. So I settled into a normal life in the US and vowed I would travel the world as often as I could.

When I met Mark I was very comfortable with my life. I had a house, amazing friends, and was close to my family. I hadn't been searching for a way out and actually wouldn't date him at first because he lived so far away. I never thought in a million years I would be sitting here on the other side of the world with him!

So how and why did we decide to make Denmark our home when millions of people dream of moving to the US? We weighed out the pros and cons and what would benefit us and our future family the most. Mark is Danish and is in his last year of University finishing his Masters. The government pays for him to go to school and he has a really good job and a very supportive family. We would have health care, I would be offered Danish lessons, and could go back to school for free if I wanted. There are so many wonderful reasons to live in America but for us Denmark was just our overall best option.

Can I see myself living here forever? Maybe. The one thing holding me back is I dearly miss my friends and my family. If only I could bring them with me on my travels! But I can see myself living in a old farmhouse with a grass roof surround by beautiful fields and horses. I can also picture myself living back in Asia or in Africa. I know I am a traveler at heart and I yearn for the exotic and new.

I also believe I will find it very difficult to assimilate back into American culture. I would miss the 5+ weeks vacation, 36 (up to 52) weeks maternity leave for the mom and 6 weeks for the dad, I would miss the higher quality foods, better environmental attitude, and countless other things I am leaving out at the moment.

So in the end the answer is we will see what happens. I love America for all of it's flaws but I am in love with the rest of the world as well.

Trailers and Trucks and Dumps

Unless you own a farm there is no reason to drive or own a truck here. Ford's biggest seller here is the Focus not the F150. And forget about Chevy, non existent! So what do you do when you need to haul trash to the dump or help a friend move? You either buy or rent a trailer. I don't mean the enclosed kind but this is a small open top model. I thought it was the funniest sight when I first moved here to see these ity bity cars pulling small trailers loaded with random crap. But it's just what you do. We use our Toyota Corolla to haul ours. It is limited to only pull 500kg but that is more than plenty for our needs.

(I was going to upload a photo but something is being wanky so maybe I will remember to do it later)

Now the trash dumps here are a whole new experience for me. I am used to the "throw it all in and it will one day decompose" type of dumps. DK used to have that kind but then they realized there was a better more environmental way to do things. So now everything is separated. The dump is one big recycling center.  Wood, furniture, metal, electronics, batteries, rugs, plastic, etc etc etc the list goes on. The only thing is they do not allow kitchen trash of any sort. But as a plus it totally keeps the smell down. As a matter of fact there was hardly any smell at all! I am really impressed with them and though they still aren't 100% perfect they definitely are a step in the right direction.

Spring Fever

I have had a lot to blog about the past few weeks but just haven't found the time to be able to. So let's see where to begin...

Job Hunt: Not going so well. To date, I have sent out 30 applications and have gotten 1 interview. My odds would increase greatly if I could speak Danish. I am working on it. But for now if only someone would give me a chance! I really thought my interview went well but obviously I wasn't what they were looking for. I actually interviewed for several HR assistant jobs with the same company. According to the interviewer I "passed" their IQ test and their personality test. I really thought I was the perfect candidate but I guess they had other ideas. I just wish I knew why they didn't offer me a 2nd interview though. Was I too ambitious? Too old? Too squishy? Too American? Alas I will never know. I had my little pity party when I got the email saying thanks but no thanks and then reminded myself I don't want to work for a company that doesn't want me to be me. So the search continues!

Babies: My word our family is getting bigger and bigger! Mark's cousin Gunilla is pregnant with number 3 and I am so happy for her. I knew she wanted another and now she will get her wish. Yay! We went to visit Allan, Johanne, and Julia at their new house. Oh little Julia is soooo little. But cute and precious and I love how she makes little puppy noises. She is doing really well and growing so fast!

Home: We have been working like mad around our house. Spring fever has definitely hit. Mark bought a trailer* so we can finally start hauling off all the unwanted crap we inherited with the house. In 2 weeks he has made 5 trips to the dump*. We only have like 20+ more to go. But the yard is starting to look nice and I think we will really be able to enjoy it this summer. We also made a much needed trip to Ikea. We finally have lamps that hang from the ceiling in our living room instead of work lamps. I love it. But the real reason for the trip was the buy stuff for Twig's bedroom. It is time we start preparing the little man a place of his own. The room is painted and now has cute little boy things for him to look at. We will probably wait until after my mom comes to make the transition but I am super happy we are almost there.

Random: Twig and I both have doctor appointments this week. His is for this bump he has had on his face for months. We have been once regarding it and the doc said it was a fat deposit and not to be concerned. But if it didn't go away to come back. And Friday I get to go to the dermatologist. I am having a few small skin tags removed and having some of my newer freckles inspected just to be safe.

Still haven't been able to take my driving test. Waiting for the police to approve my translator and give me a date. Grrr I am ready to take the damn thing and move on with my life.

I bit the inside of my mouth and it got infected. It is healing slow as hell and the only way I can eat anything is to put some of Twig's Oragel on it.

And my big exciting news......I can finally fit into my pre preggo jeans again!!!!! Eating healthy and walking is finally paying off it seems. It felt like this extra weight was hanging on for dear life but it got the hint and is getting out. Weeee! Now we just need to convince a bunch more to take a hike :)

*See additional life in DK post about these topics!


Even though I live and work (I will get a job I hope!) far far away from the USA I still have to file a tax return for the rest of my life. Hmph! I get some exclusions yadyadyada but its all a PITA. Dealing with foreign taxes is mind boggling. Thank god for the internet or I would be totally lost.

So I have been trying to sort all of this out for weeks now. First I didn't have Twig's SSN. A nice lady at the embassy in Oslo got that sorted out for me. Now I find out I have to apply for a ITIN (International Tax Identification Number) for Mark since he doesn't qualify for a SSN yet. On top of that I can't e-file and have to send it in by mail. At least there is an IRS office in London so it doesn't get lost in the US mail system. Who knows if I will qualify for the stimulus from dear old George. That one is still up in the air. I guess we will all see come May.

At least Mark handles the stuff DK side. Though their system is cake in comparison. Almost everything is automated and there aren't 500 different forms to choose from. There are standard deductions, including commuting mileage, and you just report your amounts and your done. No need for H&R Block or Billy Bob's Taxes to Go :)  If you are flat out loaded and have money in all directions you might hire an accountant. But that's way out of our league!

Ah what I wouldn't give to have the days of the 1040-EZ again.

A Wee bit of Randomness before Bed

So I have several posts I have written offline and haven't gotten around to finishing them. Misha I haven't forgotten you! I meant to today I really did but I got distracted by shopping and Mark being home and a Twig and last but not least....SPRING! We went out for a walk with the dogs today and when we got home I didn't want to come in so I got started on a few of our many many yard projects. Phew. Rough work but it felt soo good to be outdoors.

Alas but I skipped a bit ahead of myself. In the last post I forgot to mention that we celebrated our first anniversary!!! Wow I can't believe it has been a whole year already. It was nice to get the cake top out of the freezer, though I can't say it tasted too great.

About two weeks ago we got a letter in the mail (again) saying we needed to boil our water. Last time it was because of too much poo bacteria! Ewww. So we boil it 2x then filter it. Still feels a bit odd but what else can we do? We have been told it is safe to bath in etc. just don't drink it. Ugh.

Still no job interviews.

Still waiting to take my drivers test.

BUT.... My mom is coming to visit in about 6 weeks! May 8 - May 18. So maybe that's a small good thing about me not having a job yet. : )

Hopefully we will get around to painting Patrick's bedroom this weekend. Holes in the wall are filled and sanded. Now I just need to clean up the dust and get Mark to tape the borders. Currently it is this hideous green. I think the old people who put it there were blind or liked feeling queasy when they walked in the room. We picked out a nice light blue. Once it's painted we just need a trip to Ikea for a few little things and it's done! Ahhh I love my son but I can't wait to have him in his own room.

And to really mix things up I will make a nod to Easter. We had a blast hanging out with Monique and her family. *poke* must do it again!  We made yummy bread and colored eggs. One of the posts I have been working on is adding some of my recipes to here. Maybe tomorrow.

On Sunday we went to Mark's parents for lunch. I ate a bit of everything but still passed on the Herring. I promised that once I can speak Danish I will give it a try. Eeep.

I can't believe it is only 10:40pm and I am about to fall over on my keyboard. Oh the joys of 6am sunrise!

Auntie Angel!

I don't have any pictures to post just yet but Julia Lysholdt-Hjarding was born on Saturday March 22, 2008.  Johanne went into labor Friday evening and they did an emergency cesarean early Saturday morning. She was 4 weeks early and weighed only 2.2kg. Thats half of Twig when he was born! Both mommy and baby are doing well. it is expected she will get to go home in about 2 weeks.

We went up for a quick visit yesterday after lunch. OMG she is soooo tiny! But adorable and made little wimper sounds like a puppy. Cute cute cute! Now that Patrick has a little girl cousin the pressure is off of us for a little while. Phew =)


I'm Dreaming of a....White EASTER!

Phew that was rough going through all of my old posts. They go way way WAY back in time. I can't believe I have had this journal since 2003! Everything should be all nice and neat and clean and friendly again. I only wanted to have posts public that are relevant to my life now. It doesn't change the past just no point in keeping it all out there.

Now onto the new....
So the past 2 weeks have been a whirlwind. Let's see if I can hit the highlights:

~I sent out a few more job applications and got a few more rejections. Still not one single interview.
~I love my Danish language classes. Even though they are 8am-1pm on Saturdays. Last week sucked because my fab instructor Marcelina was on holiday. However, it wasn't a total waste since I now have another American in my class and we spent majority of the time blabbering on with each other. Monique is awesome and you can check out here journal here ... http://moose69.blogspot.com/ . We have plans for them to come over on Saturday for Beans and Rice and Cornbread. YUM!
~Mom is looking at plane tickets to come visit in May and they are up to $900 USD or so. Ouch. So who knows when she will come visit.
~Gosia is moving to Norway! Funny enough it would actually be closer to drive to see her in Poland than in Norway. Her aunt lives on the far west coast which is beautiful I am sure just far far away. Why couldn't she be near Oslo? Oh well maybe a summer trip will be planned to Norway :)
~We got a refund for $200 from SAS for our hotel room in DC and other expenses we incurred due to the lost stroller incident. Schweet!
~We are expecting snow for Easter. ?!?! Go figure.
~We bought paint yesterday to finally get started on Twig's bedroom. It is time we each had our own space. He will sleep better and so will we. I have enjoyed having him in our room and it made life so much easier but he is becoming a "big" boy now.
~Most everyone is on Easter holiday right now. It's Thursday - Monday. The stores are only open for a few hours on Saturday and closed the rest of the days. This would NEVER fly in the US but I love it. Mark says the only reason they take Monday off is so people can recover from having too much Aquavit at Easter lunch. *shudder* Eww that stuff is Snasty. But I guess they need something to wash down the herring.