fredag den 31. december 2021

2021 and done

Despite absolutely ZERO motivation to produce even a single tiny blogpost in 2021, I still highly enjoy looking back at the year that just went by. It helps me see all the highlights as the "downlights" more often than not are the ones I remember unless I make an effort. So here we go:

January:

The absolutely very first thing we got accomplished in 2021 was to submit our citizenship applications and start this final dance with the US immigration authorities. A dance partner that will not be missed once everything is over and we all have our US passports.

We had barely clicked "submit" before we watched in horror how the Danish borders closed shut - even for Danish citizens - unless they could show a fresh negative COVID test upon arrival. Said COVID test was unfortunately impossible to get our hands on in this corner of the US, so with Teresa attending Danish high school, there were a few weeks of 2AM online schooling in store for her to make up for the 6 hours time difference to Denmark. Eventually she made it back to Denmark though.

Otherwise January was quite uneventful with the first snowstorm of the year coming on the very last day


February:

This was all about Bailey. He had stomach issues for a while and after quite a few vet visits the culprit revealed itself on a late night walk where a solid tumor made it's appearance (I will spare you from the gory details of how and where it showed up.....). We were quite frankly shocked and with our very first decision that night being whether we wanted to put him down immediately or take him to the hospital, we chose the latter. Everything went well, and after some days with a very tired and doped doggo (and a hefty vet bill) he recovered quite nicely and we ended up having another good 6 months with him. 

Do we regret coughing up the money for the surgery? absolutely not! But would we do it again - absolutely also not! 


March:

As the weather started to be nicer we also started exploring our local area a bit more. Here is the very first time we got to visit Font Hill Castle. For this visit we stayed outside in the park, but later in 2021 we got to actually go inside and get our minds blown by what you can accomplish in a lifetime if you are a local castle-obsessed weirdo, who happens to have inherited a bunch of money.

Also it was the month where I got to wear an N-100 face mask. In these pandemic times N-95s were certainly hot stuff, but I got to up my game. 



April:

One of our big wishes for 2021 was to get a new couch. We even went out to take a look at some handmade Italian ones to get the couch of a lifetime. The we paid the vet bill...... and then we kind of shrugged and decided that life was better after all if we got to hug our dog still in our ugly old couch. But lo and behold! Kristian and I paid a visit to IKEA, and look what we found in the as-is section:
This picture was taken as I was guarding our new (and fully assembled) couch from other IKEA goers, who thought the couch was there for their convenience. I really got to practice my death stare on a 5 year old with a giant melting ice cream cone, as I was waiting for Kristian to drive home and swap cars so we could bring the couch home.

I blew our mind how our old couch got in the house in the first place as we literally had to saw it apart to get it out. RIP trusty old couch (BTW: here's the link to how the old couch joined the family):

Last but not least we went outside as much as possible to enjoy the awakening of nature


May:
Kristian and I got to spend a weekend in Philly, which was a good reminder that there is certainly stuff to explore not too far away. This cocktail was by far the fanciest I got to try in 2021!

June:
If a month in 2021 got to win the prize for being the very best - June it is!
I started out flying to Copenhagen early in the month to visit my sister and attend a European online conference:

It felt SO good to finally be back in Denmark for a bit. Kristian ad the boys joined a week later and we got to celebrate Teresa as she graduated the Danish high school with a lot more fun than graduating high school in the US in 2020 when the pandemic made everything super hard:
I could post SO many pictures and remember SO many good times from this visit, but I will throw in just one more, which is the tradition of lighting bonfires on the beach to celebrate summer solstice.

July:
We arrived in Newark in style as the Danish soccer team qualified for the semi finals of the European tournaments

And otherwise we promised ourselves that we would be out and explore at least one new place every weekend for the summer. Here we are in the rhododendron forest of Hickory state park on the "valley of death trail". Worth a visit on a hot summer day as there is a refreshing water fall at the end of the trail.

August:

As mentioned under the February comments, we had another 6 months with Bailey and if you do the math, August was the month where we had to put him down. Here he is - all ready to volunteer at the local park run. Unfortunately he missed it by a week. Never ever in our time as a family have all of us been crying this intensely at the same time, when we had to take him to the hospital on a late Sunday evening. 


September:

As much as I felt like I was done having dogs as no-one would ever replace our beloved Bailey - just as much I changed my mind in a matter of a few weeks, as it was just too miserable coming home to the dogless house every day. So we went to the shelter, and brought this little stinky girl with heartworm home. Daisy is a very different animal from her predecessor and we were frankly not too sure if we made the right decision early on. But now we love her to pieces.


October:

We started out strong by getting our citizenship - well some of us did. Here we are out celebrating with drinks and burgers:

Little did we know that we also celebrated with a local super-spreader inside the restaurant. So we all came down with COVID. One by one we succumbed to the virus and watched a LOT of Netflix.

But even virus infections end, and Kristian and I took another trip to Philly to watch Hamilton. Probably as the last Americans to do so! We can highly recommend


November:
The highlight of November was escaping to Michigan for Thanksgiving. I have had the busiest months of my career this Fall and getting away from Pennsylvania a bit, was just what I needed. Tammy and Walker are our family here in the US and Luca certainly got to spend a LOT of time with one toddler (or both) glued to him at all times - LOL

We have also been spending an increasing amount of time with Luca behind the wheel. It feels a bit more safe when these magnets are slapped on the car.


December:
And here we are. The very last month of the year. Where we FINALLY had my sister visiting again for the first time in close to 2 years!

It took a while (and quite a bit of leverpostej) to convince Daisy that she was not a dangerous intruder. But once we got there, Daisy would make sure to keep her company at all times. Especially if there is yummy wool yarn involved.

We got to be local tourists for the day by going inside Font Hill castle. Wow! Ceramic tiles embedded in ceilings, walls, floors, and stairs. And many rooms inside decorated with amazing themed Christmas trees.

We also got to attend an actual concert at Luca's high school where he plays in both symphonic and jazz band. And it feels SO great as a parent to finally go to a school concert where all you can do is lean back and enjoy the music, as the kids playing finally know and enjoy what they are doing.


Last but not least we got reminded of the true meaning of Christmas as we attended the live nativity at living hope church. With actual real camels! And yelling soldiers. And sheep. And goats. And an angel choir that sent chills down my spine.


Tonight we will celebrate New Years with 2 out of 3 kids home as Luca has his own party to attend. Teresa had her wisdom teeth removed yesterday so it will be a quiet night, but we look forward to entering 2022, which will hopefully bring a house (we have saved up like crazy during 2021 to be able to get there), a college graduation for Ulrik, a US citizenship to Teresa, and enjoying that Doylestown PA finally has started to feel like a home for us.











torsdag den 31. december 2020

2020 in the rearview mirror

 Well. It has been a while. The days this fall have mostly been a blur of repeating boredom due to the pandemic we all know so well by now, and I have not had the blogging-mojo to share anything for some months. Nevertheless I would really like to say a proper goodbye to 2020 in order to prepare for 2021. Previous years I have done this month by month, but since time this year has been this ever expanding and contracting weird substance, I have decided it makes more sense to go by seasons.

So here we go:

Winter 2020:

One of the things we truly looked forward to in Pennsylvania was the absence of Michigan winter. Both in terms of cold and in terms of hours of actual sunshine. But whatever benefits comes from the milder winters are truly made up for by the lack of resources to deal with the roads. And when you live at the very back of a development on top of a hill, well - if something is brewing we always get the worst conditions. So waking up to this view kept us inside all day



Nevertheless we still made it outdoors for an - ehm - "fun" paintball experience, where some people in the household (especially the one wearing a bright pink winterjacket, which is a very easy target) feels like they don't need to do that ever again! Others had plenty of fun though


We usually never, not even a tiny little bit, celebrate valentines day, but this year we went out for a fun king crab dinner with my colleagues.  Little did we know that our fancy dinner, would be the very last fun dinner at a restaurant for quite some time. It was a very authentic Chinese restaurant and even back in mid February it was kind of empty as an omen of what was to come.

 Spring 2020

Spring had barely made it to the east coast before everything shut down. And from one day to the next we were all home. A lot! One of the things that has helped us immensely in terms of getting out of bed every day, when everything feels the same, are the daily dog-dates we have with Ruby and her owner at 7:15AM every weekday morning. 

And when most indoor places were closed down we opted for the outdoors. We have discovered SO many of the local parks and nature areas, and here are a few of the favorites:


We even got adventurous in the pond right next to our house, greatly helped by our neighbor who donated a kayak and got us hooked on local lake-life to a point where Luca and Kristian would get up at crap-o-clock many a Saturday morning to go fishing with him
Summer 2020

Then summer rolled around. We had many, many travel plans. Luckily I had decided to wait a bit before any tickets were booked, but needless to say Ulrik didn't get to go to Nepal, Luca didn't get to go to Denmark, and Teresa and I never got to go on our big adventure together either. 

There were things to celebrate locally though. Such as Teresa's high school graduation:
and also we got to know Delaware river quite a bit better
And even managed to squeeze all of us into our busted old minivan and drive off for a slice of Michigan summer, complete with lots of driveway dinners and boat-rides.



It was also the summer were Teresa left the nest to move back to Denmark and complete the senior year of high school in the Danish system. Here she is - all packed up and ready to go:


Fall 2020

Fall in Pennsylvania is absolutely gorgeous and we soaked up the cooler temperatures and ventured a bit further out to visit the ocean and trying out some tikihuts at a local show garden


 We even got to drive all the way to Vermont to spend a weekend in the mountains with some of my colleagues. It was stunningly beautiful and we managed to get there just as the leaves were changing and the sun was shining. Here is the view from the creepiest fire tower I have ever climbed in my life:

And then we watched the nerve-wrecking US election. For the first time in my life I chose to spend time on a presidential debate and, well, I think those of us who watched this were left speechless. But the relief when the results finally came in after days of endless waiting was huge. 

Luca went back to school 2 days per week after about a month of online only classes. Playing flute in band called for some alternative solutions, so here he is with his instrument PPE

 I also got to feel very fancy at work upgrading to a N100 mask as I was working with chemotherapeutic agents:


In the middle of all this Kristian had to rush to Michigan to retrieve Ulrik as the virus started to get out of control on campus. As of right now it does not seem like he will be back until fall 2020, and we get to enjoy some of his work here at home


Winter 2020

Now we are here. The winter of 2020 where everything seems to be going haywire with virus. We are keeping to ourselves - especially if there is a sudden winter thunderstorm rolling by.....

We have had a single snowstorm so far but has also managed to be out and about a little bit despite the cold. We can highly recommend a day trip to Jim Thorpe (picturesque town in the mountains)


Also we got to visit drive-through Christmas lights. An event we didn't even know existed until our neighbor got us tickets


Happy new year from all of us here in Pennsylvania. May 2021 bring plenty of opportunities to get vaccinated and spend time with family and friends again (but also still plenty of walks for all the dogs out there)



lørdag den 12. september 2020

Finally fall

The transition from summer to fall is different here in PA.When we lived in Michigan I would dread the end of august where some leaves would start to turn, and in a heartbeat it would all be over and everything would be cold misery. Here in Pennsylvania the summer is looooong and HOT and humid. To the point where you literally ache for just a little bit of chill in the air, and when fall finally arrives it is the best! One thing I did not notice last year are the yellow flowers taking over nature areas

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They are literally everywhere. There are even whole fields full of them and in the golden September glow of the evening sun they are magnificent.I have promised myself that I will try and be outdoors as much as possible, because this...... Dog paws and rivers and yellow leaves❤️

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Otherwise school is back in full swing. We have installed Luca at the kitchen table (to get him out of the basement.......) and it works quite well.Here he is taking a science class while being super unimpressed with sharing the work space with a real life scientist. Sigh

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One of his classes is ceramics and we have cracked many a dumb joke about “ha ha. Are they just gonna send an amazon link to a lump of clay or what?”. Turns out they are packing up supply boxes with clay and tools etc so they can make something at home and bring it back to be burned in the kilns. So overall - despite online schooling - our school district seems to be well prepared.

And I have undergone a significant transformation myself. Every year I have rolled my eyes at those crazy Americans who decorate their homes for fall/Halloween/Christmas/valentines/Easter/whatever like there is no tomorrow. But here in 2020 I literally have to restrain myself from spending hundreds of dollars on decorations. I crave burnt orange and pumpkins and stupid “apple picking this way” signs and fluffy blankets and pumpkin spice everything.

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Oh my gosh. Shouldn’t have googled those images! Gotta go shopping. Bye 👋