lørdag den 20. april 2019

A small step for (wo)man kind.....

......a big step for Henriette!
Today is a very special day as I have done something that I have tried to stay away from for the longest time. Something embarrassingly simple that most people do on a regular basis without even thinking about it. One of those things where it just grew even more embarrassing with every day going by where I did not do it. And for years I just did this:
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But now I am in Pennsylvania all by myself with no one else to do it for me.
What can this be, you may ask yourself? What is is that she cannot do, this women who speaks at international conferences, who has fearlessly biked in snowstorms, and given birth to 3 children, and who can do complicated surgeries in animals?
Well.
I put gas on my car today🥳

søndag den 14. april 2019

4 weeks.....

have said my goodbyes and hugged Luca extra hard tonight as it will be 4 weeks until I see him again. And Kristian. And Bailey. But not Teresa, who will visit me in only two weeks when Kristian and Luca are on a confirmation retreat with our church. I am on my way back to Philly after such a nice weekend in Ann Arbor. I have managed to do a bit of all the things I like the most, such as biking (gosh - I miss biking) downtown for icecream. I even came across a new succulent, which is tugged nicely away in my carry-on luggage after having been out for a check at security
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I have snuggled with the dog who actually forgave me for giving him a bath. A much needed bath. So needed that I suspect he actually liked getting clean again.
I have been outside with one of my favorite ex-colleagues and her kids. A short hike, but the sun was shining, Ellie was chasing Luca, and Bailey managed to jump onto a fallen tree without immediately falling off. Quite an accomplishment for our chubby clumsy dog - LOL. He was so proud he was beaming. And then he fell off and couldn’t get back up.......
I have been eating Danish easter candy. THE best Easter candy. Period. The marshmallows and marzipan eggs are light years better than all the peanut butter crap they tend to sell here. I was lucky that my sister sent us a box which happened to arrive the day before I did. Perfect!
And as side note I would like to add that having those earbuds have really helped my sleep. Even though I know I am going straight back to my ridiculous upstairs stomping neighbors, I know that these little thingies will allow me to fall asleep to the sound of rain, and that makes a world of difference.

tirsdag den 9. april 2019

How much is sleep worth?

lot I would say! It doesn’t take many nights with only little sleep to truly start thinking about how valuable it is. But how valuable? That’s a question I am asking myself these days after another sleepless night because of the upstairs neighbors. They usually come home late on Mondays - around 10PM where they will start to cook and walk (stomp) around, and I have been trying to not stress out about it, stay up a little longer and sleep in a bit on Tuesdays. And on Fridays one of them go to work at 4:30 in the morning, and on Wednesdays....... you get the picture right? Well, yesterday I waited and I waited. And when it was 11:30 I was like “screw that. They are probably out overnight. I’ll just got to bed”. As if! 🙄 all I could do was listen for them without any sleep - until they finally arrived at 1:30AM. Add that to the many other nights of little sleep and the situation is getting a tad bit desperate. I have quite seriously considered just coughing up 2x rent to break the lease and just move straight into a house rather than wait until Kristian and the kids get here. A quick calculation brings that to around 5000$ of extra expenses. Is my sleep worth that much? Maybe. But I googled around for solutions and went straight to Best Buy after work to get these:
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They were certainly not cheap either, but 250$ is after all less then 5000$. And tonight they will get to hang out with two other sleep friends: Big Glass Of Red Wine and NyQuil. I do hope they will make a lovely effective trio that will leave me functioning slightly better tomorrow😴

lørdag den 6. april 2019

#DCcherryblossoms

One of the things I promised myself to do while on the east coast by myself, was to make it down to DC for the cherry blossoms at the tidal basin. And I have been worried that I might miss it, but I didn’t! I am here now and it has been a loooooong day........
I planned to take the train down but Amtrak tickets were 240$ for a return trip and despite being shorter than a bus ride I still figured that I wouldn’t mind spending an hour more each way to save 200$, and i ended up booking with mega bus instead. I have to admit that I did consider just staying home for the weekend on Friday night, but I also knew that I would be mad at myself for not going once I set myself up for it, so off I went. Everything went super smooth until Baltimore, where the bus broke down. Luckily it happened to be at a stop right outside a mall and there are certainly worse ways to wait for a fresh bus than this:
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But in the end I didn’t make it to DC until around 3:30 PM. I started out going straight to the hotel, which turned out to be a hotel for deaf people🤨 It is on a university campus and I have since learned that it is a university for deaf people, so that makes a bit more sense. Right across the street was Union market:
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Where I got to taste arepas for the first time
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While I was being watched carefully - LOL
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And then I started walking. First sight of Washingtonness was Capitol Hill surrounded by flowers:
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And then I walked and walked and walked some more all the way down to the tidal basin. It was stunning (and super crowded - which is why the pictures are all kind of upwards towards the sky)
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And then I walked and walked and walked back until I gave up and booked an uber pool. Which got me back to union market 2 minutes after they closed🙁 = no dinner for hungry me😩 luckily they did have some snacks at the hotel so my dinner tonight was a (small) bag of chips and a beer. Not really what I envisioned, but sometimes you just gotta go with what’s available

mandag den 1. april 2019

A surprisingly OK weekend

had not looked forward to Saturday morning where everyone except me was leaving back for Michigan, but it actually turned out to be OK! I didn’t cry when they drove off, and I got back upstairs and spent some time vacuuming (I didn’t just buy a new car this past week I also bought a vacuum! Uuuuuuh) and reorganizing my few things. And because the weather was incredibly nice with a clear blue sky and temperatures high enough to wear a t shirt outside I decided to soak it up outside. I searched for hiking trails on google maps and found this place:
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Which turned out to be quite close by (if you walk the right way that is. Ahem) and which was much nicer than I anticipated:
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I even got the first mild sunburn of the year✌🏻
And then I got in MY car! And drove to the secondhand store to look for an additional lamp. I found a few other things as well and the apartment looks way more homey with these few extra items:
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I even attempted a target run without my GPS on..... well, three times a charm right? Because that’s how many times I had to try to get there without happening to end up in the wrong lane at one point or another. On a positive note I got to see a bit more of the local neighborhood!
When I got home I reached out to a couple of other Danish women living in the Philadelphia area and one of them invited me for brunch in New Jersey Sunday. She lives about 20 minutes away and I just had to show up at her house then they would give me a ride to New Jersey. And not just any New Jersey but super fancy Montclair right outside Manhattan. Where I met some more of the family. It was such a nice day and honestly - the first time a stranger offers to have you over, when you have just gotten to a new area makes you breathe a little deeper, relax the shoulders, and genuinely start believing that everything might be OK❤️

lørdag den 30. marts 2019

Spring break visit

In Michigan it is time for spring break so Kristian and the kiddos packed up the car and ventured out for 8 hours of going east. We had sort of planned that they should have arrived last Saturday but we wanted to squeeze in a college visit for Teresa at Penn State. Well - she was notimpressed and I guess it is also of value to see places where you do not want to be😣 According to her they have better resources in her high school classrooms than what was available at the engineering program. but she survived and they all arrived safely Monday night where Kristian unloaded a bunch of stuff such as a small TV, some shelves, a lot of candy, and that gin I got as a gift but had hardly had time to taste myself. And honestly - living in a state where you can’t buy alcohol in most grocery stores really makes you appreciate a small selection in your own home.
I also took a few days of work. Unfortunately starting a new job in the private sector also means that vacation days are limited for the first few years so I try to spend them wisely and we had planned for a Philly visit even though Teresa has an SAT to study for.That day turned into another college visit however, as UPenn happened to have an available slot on Wednesday. So here we were. Teresa and I. At an Ivy League School.
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And according to Teresa the crowd was - ehm - slightly different than the one at Penn State. Such as Asian girls asking how little sleep you should prepare yourself for if you plan to double major😳 But campus was beautiful and seemed like such a good place to live.
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I am glad that she got to see that Pennsylvania also has nice stuff to offer. There are still more college visits to be done and way more thinking as well, but for now she needs to focus on her SAT.
Thursday we spent like this:
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Slouching in chairs at a car dealer ship because I REALLY needed to get a car! Did we get the car we originally came for? Bwahahahahaha. Of course not. Did we get something cheaper? Bwahahahaha. Of course not. But after 8 hours!!!!! of trying cars, visiting a mechanic, trying to get to the DMV, signing papers (and teaching the car salespeople how to say thank you in Korean - they do sell Kias after all) I now have this parked outside:
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And I know it is a car you either love or hate. Kind of like cilantro. I happen to love it, but Teresa is very disappointed. She did admit though that she thought it looked slightly nicer after we bought it (she still doesn’t get to drive it though!).
Kristian and Luca also managed to make it out to our beloved Atlantic Ocean. The place where Denmark is just on the other side, where the air smells like salt, and the sound of waves is all you can hear despite Manhattan being in plain sight:
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At home we have been working on a puzzle almost every night:
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And sitting there with a puzzle while having your mind free to chat has been such a needed activity. As kids become teenagers having time like this feels like a rare treat.
But all good things come to an end, and they have just left for the drive back to Michigan. We did debate whether they should have stayed another night, but getting up Monday morning after spending all of Sunday in car, returning home late to an empty fridge was not really a pleasant option, so they left today. Luckily I get to see them all again in just 2 weeks where I’ll fly back for the weekend

torsdag den 21. marts 2019

Random ramblings from the past week

am still here. Haven’t lost my sanity yet! But being so much by myself really have me appreciating that I have a family waiting for me that will eventually be here too. Truth is that my life has been all work and family and family and work for a couple of decades now and it is kind of scary to look at all these hours every night and every weekend and not really have any clue about how to fill them out. Books and cross stitch is OK (finished a project BTW):
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But it is not human interaction. And I have very conveniently blamed everything on “well I don’t have a car yet so I can’t do much but just stay here in my little bubble”. Time is counting down though and when Kristian visits next week we have car finding on the agenda. Which means I no longer have excuses for not getting out and do stuff. But what stuff? And how? And where? Sigh. Meeting potential new friends with my kids friends parents, kind of doesn’t work anymore. And I also know that before long work and family will swallow me for a while. I have a few ideas such as signing up for dog cuddle volunteering at a local shelter (I miss Bailey SO badly😔), perhaps something crafty? Ideas from you out there would be very welcome!
I have spent more time in Philly and I am getting to know the city a bit better. But somehow my inner map is tilted 90 degrees so I keep thinking east-west is north-south whenever I get off the train which kind of confuses me, and makes it hard for me to follow google maps. I have learned to look out for the City Hall though which is a giganormous fluffy building literally in the middle of the street:
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I have also learned that Philly has it’s own Alcatraz called the Eastern State Penitentiary:
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Apparently Al Capone also served time there and I am looking forward to going inside. Kind of love old abandoned prisons. I just find them way more exciting than many other places.
And then there is the food! I am currently trying out some of the vegan places so I am ready for when Teresa visits. Came across this one Saturday:
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And tried their vegan Philly cheese steak:
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Yep. That’s vegan. It was hard to tell but it was really good, so no complaints from here. I plan to go back there this coming weekend. Living in no-sidewalk-ville makes me appreciate all the walking I can get done downtown:
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