Aarhus and Eastern Jutland is home to many internationally-minded companies and organisations that all contribute to the internationalisation of this area. This month International Community gives the floor to its very own Tiny Maerschalk, living and working in Aarhus for Erhverv Aarhus.
Text: International Community
Today you can find many posters, wall stickers, signs, pictures, embroideries etc., with the phrase to hang in your home. The phrase means that no matter who you are with or where you are in the world, your family and home always have the deepest affection and emotional pull. Only yesterday, I spotted a poster like this in a shop window, and it made me think about the meaning of the phrase to me, being a long term international here in Denmark.
After finishing my studies, I travelled to Denmark in August 1997 for what I expected to be just temporarily. Having studied Danish at a university in Belgium, I was on the lookout to improve my Danish skills to have a stronger CV to obtain a job as an interpreter within the EU offices in Brussels. However, life decided otherwise, and I stayed beyond the 2-year period I had anticipated. For the past 23 years, I have been living here, and I am hitting the point where I will have lived longer in Denmark than in my home country Belgium. However, having your heart in more than one country isn’t always that easy and can result in inner conflict.
“Moving to a new country is exciting and exhilarating. It has its ups and downs though.”
Where is my real home? Is it a physical building or rather the physical closeness to other people, my most significant ones? Is it where my work, family, partner, children are? Or is it the home where I live now or where I grew up? Is it where I can find true love, memories and be happy with my loved ones?
Moving to a new country is exciting and exhilarating. It has its up and downs, though, I have to say. One day I look at Denmark through rose-tinted glasses, and the next, I might wonder why - for the love of God - people would ever want to live here, including myself. Upon arrival, I felt more at home in Belgium than in Denmark. After all, I was just here for a limited period. However, today it has shifted, and I feel more at home in Denmark. The sum of what Denmark offers has changed – it’s not just a country I live in - it’s now a home with a capital H. It is, of course, having my own family here, but also the closeness to nature, the work-life balance, even the reserved Danes kind of grew on me.
As an international, you can doubt why you ever made a move to Denmark. Somehow in times of frustration and adversity, your memory might play tricks on you depicting your home country as simpler and happier. You need to remember that life has its ups and downs no matter where you live and where your heart is. When in doubt, make a list of the reasons why you moved here. Making such a list will help you remember the positive sides of your move and all the goals, dreams and hopes you had and wanted to achieve here. It takes time and effort to build a new life in a new country from scratch. Don’t expect it to happen all in one go. It took me years to build a new life, including valuable and lasting relationships. Who knows, maybe one day you too will be a long term international here and feel that both your home and your heart is right here in Denmark.