Updated: Jul 25, 2020
Every year, Denmark dominates in the happiness rankings. It consistently ranks in the top one or two countries. And each day, I discover more reasons why. People here get six weeks of paid vacation each year, multiple sick days and work 35 hour weeks. The work-life balance is incredible. Everyday around 3 o'clock people start heading home from work in our town.
The country is safe. That simple sentence is such a big deal. I am particularly sensitive to bad neighborhoods and bad vibes, especially as a woman, everywhere I go. But here, I feel safe at all hours of the day. When we first got here, we saw these cute little blonde kids on the streets, without their moms. And Ras explained to me, that even at five, kids bike or walk home from school alone. This country is literally safe enough for five-year-olds to navigate. It is not at all uncommon to see a moms group out to brunch, and they will leave their baby carriages outside the restaurant unattended. It's mind boggling.
Ten days in, and I'm trying to absorb as much of the culture as I can. I met some of Ras' lovely family earlier in the month, and I bombarded them with questions. I am absolutely fascinated by this country and want to learn everything there is to know about it. The truth is, Denmark really has it's sh*t together! So hopefully they don't kick me out... we are still trying to secure my permanent residency.
"Denmark is considered one of the most economically sound and socially developed countries in the world. Danes enjoy a high standard of living and rank highly in metrics of national performance, including education, health care, protection of civil liberties, democratic governance prosperity and human development."
In our city, Randers, the populations is a little over 60,000 people, which is about the same size as our college town. I love small towns. No matter where you are in the world, the small town vibe exists. I love that the lady at the second hand store already knows me. She has a huge smile and gets excited when I come through the door. We haven't had a single conversation yet, she doesn't speak any English. But I am determined to learn some Danish, so we can talk about the pans that I need for our kitchen. As soon as I get my permanent residency, the country will provide me with free Danish lessons.
For the most part, people here keep to themselves. Not that the people are unfriendly, but they aren't necessarily friendly unless you walk up and introduce yourself. People don't smile as they walk by, the way they do in some areas in the states. But once they are comfortable with you, they are super nice! Danes love to speak English, which is refreshing. It seems like everyone speaks English, which makes it super easy to navigate and get around town. Danes start teaching their kids English at a young age.
"Denmark ranks as having the world’s highest social mobility, a high level of income equality, is the country with the lowest perceived level of corruption in the world, the fifth-most developed in the world, has one of the world’s highest per capita incomes, and one of the world’s highest personal income tax rates."
I am also interested in the way that Danish people are so open. The way they talk about relationships, sex and family sometimes strikes me! But I find it refreshing. Life is too short not to be forward with people. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. I'm into it.
Hope you enjoyed our little video update! I'm going to upload a video tour of our town soon.