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Love and laughter have no language



Conrad and Anna share their story of navigating careers, parenthood, and a new culture in a country that brought them together.


Photographs: Anastasiaa Isaieva - @anastasiaa_isaieva

Text: Michaela Medveďová


Conrad Molden and Anna Gyetvai both decided to try life abroad. Fate - or, more likely, love of humour - brought them together in a comedy club in Aarhus.


Now, they’re a family of four, pursuing their own creative dreams - he as a household comedy name, she as an owner of a make-up business with a refreshing attitude.


Different beginnings

“I always imagined that I would live abroad, ever since I was a child. I graduated as a fashion designer and started looking for jobs abroad. I was completely open to moving anywhere,” says Anna. And when she says anywhere, she means it. She also applied for a job in Bangladesh. It was for an internship at Bestseller, a Danish clothing company, and needless to say, her application took them by surprise. “They were so surprised about why a Hungarian girl is applying for a job advert written in Danish that’s in Bangladesh - so surprised that they contacted me and asked if I was interested in their International Business Training programme in Denmark. It was everything I was looking for, so I applied - and a year later, I was in Denmark.”


In his words, Conrad simply wanted to get out of the United Kingdom and find a free education. “There was a course at Aarhus University, so I was either going to do that - or then I had a friend who found a job in Turkey. I didn’t think I would get the Denmark thing because I wasn’t really qualified. And then I got in because, apparently, anyone could get on that course,” laughs Conrad. So he got accepted, turned down his friend in Turkey, and moved to Aarhus.


But while the second biggest city was waiting for Conrad, Anna landed in a different reality. “I was 26 and had been living in Budapest at the time. My lifestyle was very much about friends and parties. I knew when I joined the Bestseller programme I would be located in a small city, but I think I never had a real concept of what a small Danish city is.” Anna’s new home was Brande, a town in mid-Jutland with 7,000 inhabitants - so a far cry from her previous big city life. “There was no life. When I arrived, they invited us to an introduction event at the library where a kind lady presented us with the many potential things to do in Brande - but there was nothing I could do there. Actually, I went to the gym a lot. I was the fittest I have been in my life,” laughs Anna. “Also, I arrived in Denmark in September. In Hungary, it’s like a second summer. Here? Oh my God, it felt like November.”


She spent a year in Brande and afterwards went to China for three months - as a part of the programme, she had to visit factories and work with the suppliers. “When I was there, I was like: I’m not going back to Brande. During this programme, accommodation is a part of the salary package - so I asked to be put in one of the apartments in Aarhus. I would pay every day to commute from Aarhus to Brande, which is almost three hours a day. I wanted to do it because I wanted a social life, explore the city and date - and it was a really good decision.”


Life got kickstarted for Anna when she relocated to Aarhus. Even though she was commuting every day, she dove head-first into everything she could. She said yes to every extra activity and social circle. “A lot of the other internationals who worked at Bestseller lived in the same place, and I actually had the biggest apartment - which felt like a reward - so I hosted a lot of house parties. But in terms of culture shock, it was still weird for me that I would invite my Danish colleagues and nobody would turn up, only maybe the one guy who fancied me - otherwise, it was tough to make Danish friends. In Hungary, I used to go out with my colleagues all the time for a drink on Friday. Even if we weren’t out together, we would text each other and meet up - it was a lot more open and casual than in Denmark.”



Breaking the Danish barrier

Meanwhile, Conrad’s first impression of Denmark was starkly different.


Before relocating to Denmark, he had moved from London to Brighton, a city similar to Aarhus both in size and its student nature. “The weather is the same - crap - so it was not a real shock to me,” laughs Conrad. “When I moved to Aarhus in 2012, I also got lucky - it was a very warm September, so I remember even going into the sea until the beginning of October.”


“You’re lucky to have seen the sea,” interjects Anna. “Where I lived was probably the place that’s furthest from the sea in any direction and has the most rain.”


But Conrad had an overall positive experience - not just with the weather. He wasn’t a fan of the course he was taking, but his classmates made up for it. “It sounds bad, but there were no Danes - only half Danes. And you know what it’s like as an international in Denmark - there are huge international communities, everybody knows each other, everybody wants to go out all the time. So I think I did more drinking and less studying than even on my Bachelor’s.”


Just like Anna, he experienced a barrier with getting to know Danes, too. “I didn’t really meet any. I went to Lærdansk and gave up pretty quickly. Otherwise, actual interaction with Danes was minimal. Sometimes, I went to a party, and there would be one. Only after about a year, when I started going into the comedy club where everyone was Danish, I met more and more Danes. Then you discover which Danes are happy to speak English with you, and you become friends.”


Conrad thinks his Danish is embarrassing for having been in the country for 11 years. “You went on the radio and spoke in Danish!” Anna disagrees. “Yes, but broken, crappy Danish.”


Anna was really resistant to learning Danish for a long time. It was harder than expected - she still didn’t understand people, and they didn’t understand her. “When you tried to speak, they looked at you like: Oh, you’re speaking? So cute! Now, what did you want to say? But last year, I started learning again. I care way less what people’s reactions are, I’m just going to try.”


With three different cultures between them, conrad and anna have created a special little universe at home, with the kids speaking in all three languages. "I feel like we are citizens of the world. We spend so much time in Hungary and in the UK, and we love to travel together."


How Conrad met Anna

The comedy club where Conrad met his first Danish friends was also at the start of his and Anna’s relationship. The first time Anna saw Conrad, it was at a comedy club while he was doing improv. As per the international community rules - everyone knows everyone - they ended up being introduced and eventually started doing improv together. “I just thought she was really, really funny, imaginative, and very good at improv. After the events, we would go out and have some drinks as a group, and we would chat together,” remembers Conrad.


Well, Anna remembers the initial stage of their courtship a little differently. “For a long time, we were just having these really short, awkward conversations that you would see in the film. One time, we had a break, and I was drinking from my water bottle. Then Conrad came up to me and said, oh, we have the same bottle. And I was like, no, no, this is mine. We had these one-minute bits for seven or eight months. I didn’t realise it had something to do with Conrad liking me.”


At that time, Conrad was already doing some traveling around Europe. He was in Slovakia, Hungary’s neighbouring country, and was chatting with Anna who was also visiting home and told him to wave to her across the border. He altered his travel plans to visit her - and after that, it didn’t take long before they were a couple.


The pair got married in Denmark in 2022 in a beautiful ceremony in a botanical garden and have a little girl and a little boy.


With three different cultures between them, they created a special little universe at home, with the kids speaking in all three languages. “I feel like we are citizens of the world. We spend so much time in Hungary and in the UK, and we love to travel together. The kids are exposed to a lot of cultures and places,” explains Anna.


But with their second baby, navigating parenthood got a whole new meaning. It was during the pandemic, and the couple felt incredibly alone without any support. It suddenly became challenging to be a family of four abroad, away from family. “One thing that is a bit easier in Denmark is that information is in English - and even though not always happy, people will explain things in English just to make sure you finally understand. So, as compared to what I imagined, if you were trying to raise a child in a country where you just had to learn the language, that would be kind of daunting,” says Conrad. He says the information is always there - although he adds, tongue in cheek, that it can just be hidden within a website or an email or an app that they did not even know they needed.



Connecting through comedy

For Conrad, all of his Danish experiences help him professionally, too - a lot of them can find their way into his comedy one-man shows.


Conrad inherited the love of stand-up comedy from his mom. They’ve listened to it or watched it since he was a little kid. One time, she took him to a comedy show, and the comedian made him laugh so much that he fell out of his chair. “I remember that this kind of door opened in my mind because I realised that as a comedian, there are no rules, there’s total freedom, and you get to connect to the audience. So the moment I turned 16 - the minimum age to perform comedy at venues in London - I started doing stand-up. I was terrible. I didn’t understand how to write a joke. I didn’t have a point of view; I was just some boring 16-year-old kid. And there were all these adults, and they were like: You’re not even funny, man, why are you here?” laughs Conrad.


Early experiences made him give up for a while, but after moving to Denmark 5 years later, he realised he was carrying around a little notebook, writing down silly things he noticed. He realised he could make Danish people laugh by saying something about their language. “I thought I could use an outlet for this, so I googled stand-up comedy Aarhus, and this comedy club came up. I went in and performed, and it’s so funny to think back on that first night - I didn’t know anybody, but some of those people are really famous now. I started at just the right time because at that moment, comedy was suddenly becoming really popular. Even five years earlier, it would have been way harder.”


But the timing was right, and Conrad became a household name, having TV2 specials and four nationwide tours under his belt.


It’s hard for him to say what the difference is between British and Danish humour. “People ask me about that a lot, but the problem is - I don’t understand it,” says Conrad. However, the sense of humour is very similar. “Danes are good at being self-ironic; they don’t take themselves too seriously. You can talk pretty critically about Denmark, and they will still listen. They can really laugh at themselves, just like the British. When immigrants in Britain do stand up and say: your country is terrible, the food is awful, and the weather is hell, we’re like - yeah, we know,” laughs Conrad.


There are tons of plans ahead for Conrad - for example a show across Europe - but comedy helped him with more than just his professional success. “If I hadn’t gone to that comedy club, I probably wouldn’t be in Denmark anymore. So many of my international friends from the beginning - probably everybody - have left. But the Danes I got to know through comedy are still here.”



Perfect imperfections

However, Conrad isn’t the only creative force in the household. But Anna’s professional journey in Denmark wasn’t easy. The combination of the pandemic and a bad economic situation meant that finding a job was difficult. “Every single job application and interview I went into, they decided to go with an internal candidate. When I investigated a little, they admitted they can’t really hire new people. Time went on and on, and I was feeling depressed. Ever since I was a little girl, drawing and design have been me, not just my job. For someone creative - that was the only Anna I knew. So I was in a really dark place, and I just needed to do something that I am good at, that gives me similar creative energy because I can’t just exist as a mom, as a housewife. I can’t just feel unsuccessful. I need to create something for myself.”


Luckily, she had talents aplenty. For example, she always did make-up at friends’ weddings, and whenever she was in Hungary, friends asked her to do their hair because not even their hairdresser could do it like Anna could. So she decided to start an Instagram page and feature what she thought was beauty - and see if anyone else was interested.


And they were. “Lots of people thought my approach to make-up was refreshing. I don’t just put a mask on people’s faces - I just enhance their features. I never do the same make-up on two different people,” explains Anna. She chose a perfectly fitting name for her make-up business - Imperfectly by Anna. “I would never hide ‘imperfections’, for example freckles. I love the individual characteristics of people. I think that’s what makes them the most beautiful - and what I want to represent with my work.”


Anna’s new business gave her a lot of new energy and got her out of the dark place she was in. “I didn’t give up looking for a design job, but for now, I’m just going to keep building my make-up business and see how far it goes and what life brings.”


You can see a list of Conrad’s upcoming shows and explore possibilities of booking him for events at conradmolden.dk

You can explore Anna’s business on Instagram: @imperfectly_by_anna


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