Ina and I lived in the same house some 20 years ago in Harajuku.
It was a fun time, a wild time, as only living in Harajuku could be, perhaps.
Then, year before last, right as my world was exploding with all of the truths about my husband coming to light, Ina came to visit us from Denmark with her oldest son.
Never in my dreams at that point did I think I would actually be able to take my kids to visit her and her family on her farm in Denmark! I mean, holy cow, even moving back to Hawai’i at that point seemed like a fantasy – we were living in a house that we were taking care of, living out of our suitcases and no idea as to what was coming next.
At that point, I was only just starting to collect the divorce papers I would spend the next few weeks figuring out how to fill out and file on my own.
A lot can change in a year, a year and a half.
As we sat on the grass outside of a small train station outside of Copenhagen, waiting for Ina to come and get us, I was feeling awash in gratitude.
I’ve been really, really lucky
Some of the events that have happened to me in my life have not been lucky, but I think I’ve been lucky in how I’ve been able to recognize and utilize my resources. Or maybe “luck” isn’t the word I’m really looking for: maybe it’s “grace.”
I’ve been graced. I’ve experienced grace. I have grace.
On that grass right there in Denmark, I was thinking all of this of luck and grace and the difference between them, and mulling over how very bright that green Danish grass was… then I looked up and there was Ina in her Volvo!
It was so good to see her again.
Ina lives on a farm with her parents, husband, 3 children and adorable dog.
Her kids and my kids are around the same ages and for the most part, like the same things.
I think Ina and I like a lot of the same things too, and I always feel very inspired being around her. She is one of those people who (very calmly, in dulcet tones) gets shit done. Moreover, her lovely and serene Danish countenance stays even keeled no matter what. I can’t even begin to say how much I admire that.
Ina and her family are kind people.
They were so generous with their time and with their spaces.
Besides just the joy of their company, I personally got so much out of being with them and seeing how they organize their lives. I saw how much I end up unnecessarily treading around a mill, and how much more efficient I could be.
We went to the Viking museum in Roskilde
Micah has been obsessed with anything Viking since, well, since he met Ina’s son when they came to visit us in Humboldt. Micah’s gulped down every book he can get his hands on about Viking mythology, culture, history, you name it (he’s read it).
This museum was pretty amazing.
They have actual Viking boats that were recovered from Roskilde bay. Added to that, they make Viking culture come alive with Viking games, clothes, building workshops (for kids! with real nails and saws!). I love the Danish way of making culture and history accessible to everyone, especially children, and trying to engage children in it in every way possible. I mean, it makes sense, right? The children are the ones who are going to be perpetuating all of this in the future; having them interested in it now will do a lot to ensure their culture doesn’t get swallowed up by global mass consumerism and pop-crap.
I spent a lot of time on Ancestry.com before this trip, both digging up family in Europe and also the spit test thing. I learned that I’m mostly Irish, Scottish, Swedish and a splash of English and German – pretty much a regular Euro-mutt.
None of this surprised me, but I was surprised there in the Viking museum in Roskilde to learn how connected the Scottish and Irish were with the Vikings. I had no idea.
Legoland in Denmark! Yes, we went! I’ll have to write some kind of a “disability access tips in Scandanavia” post later, but one thing that I learned there was you can get in to a lot of places for free if you have proof of having a disability.
In the US, we don’t carry disability certification cards (- might not be a bad idea if we did though). The closest thing I have to such a card is my Disability National Parks Access Card – which was widely accepted in Europe because it has the little wheelchair emblem on the front.
Moxie and I got in for free and also got the access band, which meant that we could jump lines if we wanted to, or we could stay on rides for as long as we wanted to (because since Danish schools were still in session, the park was pretty empty).
We had a blast!
Now, Micah and Ina’s son Balder did not have the same kind of wild and crazy fun that Mack, Moxie and I did. Legoland is way more geared towards younger kids and freaky lego-obsessed adults than it is to the tweens, so they were pretty left out.
No big, bad rides for them to get scared on, it’s all pretty tame there (which is perfect for me, since I get thrills from Ferris Wheels).
I loved Legoland.
That was a lot of fun. I did notice, however, when I was in their gift shop that it was cheaper to order particular lego sets on Amazon and have it mailed home than it would be to buy it there. Legoland isn’t like the Jelly Belly Factory in California, where you can get reject jelly bellies and big packets for much cheaper than in regular stores. Nope. If you want your cheapish legos, get ’em on Amazon (or better yet, one of those used toy mail things or a real mom n’ pop store).
I also just loved Denmark
I know a lot of my love has to do with the fact that we were staying with Ina and her family, and relishing all of the time with them. But even if someone wasn’t staying with Ina and her family, I can’t see how anyone couldn’t love Denmark.
We went to Copenhagen
I joked that I was going to check out colleges, but I wasn’t really joking.
Since my kids are all EU citizens, I think college in Denmark is a great idea.
It’s stellar, FREE, with fantastic courses of study, oh, and did I mention FREEEEEEEEEEE?!
Denmark is so loveable
I mean, really, though: what’s not to love?
All that clean air, water, fresh beautiful strawberries? The health care, first rate education system?
Poppies all over the place?
Cheeses, all delicious, and named after Nordic gods?!
How to not love the tasty food, the delightful people?
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Meriah Nichols is a career counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E). Deaf, with C-PTSD and TBI, she’s also a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.