Be More Danish, Part 5: You’ve Got a Friend

The life important therapy of spending time with friends

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Why hello there, Ducklings – aren’t you looking all kinds of gorgeous today. Spring has arrived in Denmark, hurrah! It’s sunny, the trees are showing signs of coming out of hibernation, the Marina is full of Danes getting their boats ready to go back in the water and I’m determined to make the most of this glorious day.

Oh the presumptuousness (surely, I am most important and you await my monthly musings with heaving bosoms and clutching your pearls, no?) but if you happen to have read the first installment of our ‘Being More Danish’ story, you’ll know a little about why we moved out here.

In a nutshell, the husband was working in Copenhagen during the week and my job as a wedding coordinator meant that, as soon as he arrived, he could just about help me pack up my car with my wedding kit before I’d be off to work for the weekend. So far, so 21stCentury, and it’s what you do for the perfect job opportunity. We need to squirrel away the pennies so we can retire and run a sanctuary for old dogs, you know.

Fast forward two years and we realised that, seeing each other about a day a week just didn’t cut it and that it was about time for another mini-adventure for our pack. We’ve been lucky enough to have lived and work-hopped across the world and, after Bahrain and Jamaica, our move to Denmark was greeted with whoops by friends and family rather than the disbelieving looks we got when we upped sticks to move to Kingston, proud title holder of ‘murder capital of the world’ at the time. And those whooping people are precisely whom I want to tell you about today. Bear with me for a few paragraphs? It may start sounding a little gloomy but I promise, it’s not!

My biggest dilemma is that I utterly adore my job, if only it could be done Monday to Friday, not (mostly) Saturday/Sunday. I launched bride&glory almost ten years ago and I worked bl**dy darn hard (hear the clatter of £2 hitting the bottom of my swear jar?) to build it into a profitable small business that happily washes its face and keeps the dogs in organic kibble. I’ve gotten to meet some uh-may-zing people along the way, a lot of whom have become the bestest friends. You know, those kinds of people you meet and think: “where have you been all my life?!”

I still need to sit down and tally up all the couples I’ve worked with over the last decade but the most significant number in my head (and the one that nearly broke me) was 72 weddings in 30 months. I utterly loved every single couple I worked with (fine, that’s a lie – there was that one that made me question my sanity) and I wouldn’t do it any other way if I could go back in time.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I learned during that insane period in our lives, all of which made me better at my job and gave me an immeasurable feeling of pride for what I was achieving. I couldn’t have done any of this without Mr Mac, always having my back, patching me up after numerous wedding related injuries (cake knives are sharp, who knew?) and not once questioning how I could have possibly thought taking on seven weddings in four weeks was a good idea eighteenmonths ago.

And here’s the flip side: mostly, weddings still happen on weekends, which means my diary runs opposite to most other people, at least most of my friends and family. At first, that was still ok. There are some people you can catch up with during the week and I used to be able to join infamous Ravenstone dinner parties once I was done with work. Just save some cheese and a G&T for me when I totter in around 11pm on a Saturday.

But then you get busier, you often work Saturdays and Sundays and, when you’re not working, you hunker down with the husband, who is back off to Copenhagen on a Monday at 6am. And before you know it, it’s been five months since you’ve seen your friend who lives three houses down the road, never mind spoken to your family and friends spread across Europe. Again, that’s fine to start with, it’s what you’ve worked so da*m hard for (one more for the swear jar) all those years and the success is surely worth it, no?

And then you find yourself, four years on, having practically lived and breathed nothing but work, facing a full on burn-out and the miserable realisation that your friends no longer invite you because they know you’ll have to turn them down anyway.

Which – tadah! – is where this  slightly gloomy-sounding tale unglooms itself. The husband and I took a good look at our life and concluded that, great as it was while it lasted, it was now time for me to cut back and join him in Denmark. I can’t say this often enough: I adore my job! Most of the couples I’ve worked with feel like family to me. I love social-media-stalking their lives, seeing their families grow and their names pop up when they like the gazillionth beach Instagram or get in touch years later just to say Hi. I just don’t want to work 30 weekends a year anymore.

Having a severe case of FOMF (fear of missing friends/family), I had this dream of filling our new Danish house with all those people I hadn’t been able to spend proper time with for so long. Just picture it all being very Barefoot Contessa meets The Waltons and you’re right in my head. There may even have been the vision of me, a flamingo apron and a KitchenAid…

So it’s no surprise that we picked our bonkers house on stilts, with the weirdest layout over four floors and with three terraces, making it wholly impractical for a family but perfect for us. We have an entire floor that’s really just for houseguests, which makes it ideal for visitors.

– Our house on stilts –

And that’s precisely what we’ve done since September last year. Toddlers, teens, dogs – they’ve all come to stay with us at Sanskevej.

My Mum’s 75thBirthday was a week of Danish celebration, minus her lost luggage but plus Chardonnay in a box, decanted into crystal carafes, obvs, and with a surprise appearance by my epic little sister.

N&J came to visit (really to see the dogs more than us), got lucky with the hottest day in May and the misfortune of seeing our neighbour naked in his paddling pool.

We outdoor cinema’d on our newly painted porch with the lovely E&J and got to see Denmark and Copenhagen through the photographer-trained eyes of one of my favourite couples. You know we adore you, Mr & Mrs CJ.

Our 18-month old godson made me practically squeal with surprised delight when he toddle-walked into arrivals at Copenhagen airport (when did that happen) – and we got to take him on his first ever train ride. Legoland next time!

One of my oldest school friends, whom I had only ever seen for a few hours when I went back to Munich to visit Mum, stayed for a week and we Halloweened around the hood with her 9-year old son.

My former indescribably gorgeous intern came over with her equally unspeakably lovely brother, took precious photos on the beach and made the best guacamole known to man.

We staged an impromptu 80ties revival with the entirely epic ‘Dawg People’ and, when their flight back got snow-scuppered, we did Tivoli at Christmas and drank all the Gløgg.

We spent New Year with I&B and properly got to know their little girl, at last, whom we had only ever seen for a couple of hours previously. Through her, we learnt that the language of Lego is universal and it really didn’t matter that she speaks German and the husband English.

We got to reminisce about student times with S&C, finally met their fellow Montenegrin rescue dog, took our new little rescue pup Ella for her first trip to the beach and rescued a squirrel (for future reference: they’re feisty and have evil teeth). We’re still waiting for you to become Danish, K-Ks!

We celebrated the first BBQ of 2018 with L&J, who are hopefully already planning their next road trip over, camper van and dog included.

And I can’t tell you how cathartic it’s been. Never mind the laundry mountains and ironing more bed linen than I knew we even owned – and I fully blame my mother for the obsession with pressed linen, by the way. I feel like I’d forgotten how therapeutic it is to spend time with friends, to share what’s been going on in their lives, to hear different points of view that will often help you evaluate what you’re doing with your life and inspire you to venture into new directions.

So our 2018 plan, Possums, is to fill the house with more of the people we adore and live vicariously with and through them. If there’s one thing we learnt from Lady Barley this year, it’s that you really don’t know what’s around the corner and that we absolutely do need to live our best lives now.

And with that, I’m off into the sun so Ella can attempt to eat more bumblebees and bite Rufus’ legs.

Love, rockets and Spring chickens to you lovely lot!

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