The Kids are Alright

Being in Seattle, even for this short visit, reaffirmed two things for me:

  1. I miss almost nothing about my daily life here. Life here is harder than it is in Denmark. It’s more expensive. Sure, “stuff” is cheaper. I can go to Target or Marshalls and buy a shirt for $7.99 (plus tax) and I have more “stuff” to choose from, but everything else is ridiculous. You really do need a car here, taking a bus or a train is even more expensive than it is in Denmark (and in Denmark it’s considered expensive), housing, utilities, etc… Don’t even get me started on healthcare and education. The buses are spartan and always manage to have some questionable people riding. If it’s not a tweaker couple, who can’t stop itching, it’s some guy who will stare intently into my eyes as I try to read my book (every time I’d look up, there he was, staring). Downtown you can’t go one block without running into a homeless person or someone talking to themselves or screaming at someone (real or imagined). Dave asked me for a book and I’m going downtown today, so I figured I’ll get it then. The problem? I can only think of one, yes one!, bookstore downtown (compare that to one on just about every block in Copenhagen). Seattle keeps on building, people keep on blaming Amazon (but I talked to a friend yesterday who works at Amazon and she said she can’t afford to live in Seattle either), rents keep going up, houses are being foreclosed on (I talked to another friend who recently bought a foreclosure house; he said it was sitting empty for eight (8) years before he bought it), more and more people are being kicked out of their homes, just so that they can live in the driveway (like my neighbor across the street did). This country is dysfunctional. If I ever get deported from Denmark, I am going to Sweden.
  2. I miss my friends and family even more than I thought I would. Since we arrived in Denmark, I’ve been busy setting up our life there. When things happened that frustrated me, I’d just deal. Go for a walk, pet my dog, or write in my journal. But what I really needed and wanted were my friends. Dave and I have been so lucky to find a community of people in Seattle that feel more like family than friends. They have been there for us through impossibly hard times and we shared so many fun times with them as well. Vacations, parties, holidays. We’ve been through births and funerals together and life without them is extremely hard. I have met some great people in Denmark and I trust that I will meet more. But it’s not about knowing people. It’s about 10 or 20 plus years of friendship that many of us share. The other night, at our friends’ Megan and Collin’s house, we got together, with the kids. That is when I realized that us, grown-ups, can go for a year without seeing each other and it’s not so tragic. We can catch up. But a year for a kid is a long time. Next time I see them they’ll be taller, more articulate and they will act like different people. Even in the three months since I left, they all changed.

Migration is so hard. We left our privileged, fairly comfortable life in Seattle and upgraded for an even more comfortable life in Denmark. We can save up and travel. But it’s still so hard. Every time I miss our community of family and friends, I am reminded that some people do this with a one-way ticket. People who leave Syria or Sudan may never be able to go back and visit all the people that they left behind.

I’m not even sure what the theme of this post is supposed to be. I have so many conflicting emotions, it’s hard to articulate my thoughts.

I just want to say: Kaleb, Ash, Zyatah and Tor, (Darien and Denham too) we love you and miss you. Please convince your parents to come and visit soon. We have two awesome amusement parks really close by and a tree house with a slide in the backyard.



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