Swearing...

I remember walking into a shop on Strøget with my kids on our very first visit to Copenhagen. A song was playing that I knew the words to, I also knew that this particular song contained a few choice swear words but also had a racial slur thrown in too. 

'It's fine' I thought, they'll bleep it out. 

They didn't.

Now I knew what word was coming next and surely THAT word would be bleeped out.

Well it wasn't.

I grabbed my kids and hurried out of the shop hoping their little ears hadn't heard anything obscene.

Now being from England, we're very protected from perceived 'bad language'. Our broadcasters bleep bad language on TV and the radio, they also have to legally apologise if someone slips up on air - in case someone is offended - yes I know, rather pathetic.

So then we moved, and we noticed that swearing is part of the daily vocabulary here in Copenhagen. Kids swear in school, the teachers don't stop them, the songs are played in full, with NOTHING bleeped out, it's just life here.

Now in many ways we've managed to have some really great discussions about language and how it's used here. We're an open family and discuss prejudices, sexism, racism, all the -isms on a regular basis, we feel it's important to educate our children on as much as we possibly can, but certain words just haven't and won't be used so it's difficult to talk about them and explain fully.

But with the relaxed culture here, it was only a matter of time before they brought up that they'd heard certain words and it allowed our conversation to develop on a deeper level - which is a good thing.

And so I asked around and found that many Danes take the language from American films, the words are just that - words. I don't know what makes England so prude when it comes to swearing but it's their style and that's ok. 

And this is the Danish style, and that's ok too, because that's where we are. 

I got pushed...

It’s been a while! How are we all? As ever life’s carried on with vigour and we’ve done as much as possible around the city. 

Each time I post I realise that we’ve done so much and as usual, not shared with you all! 

Living in a new city is quite the challenge, you’re glass eyed and bushy tailed about your new surroundings, but you know stuff will annoy you and at times things may go wrong, but it’s all part of the experience. 

With that in mind, let me tell you about a little story... I got pushed. 

Not once, but twice. 

Now I’m a fairly laid back person, I’m no shouter, as people can testify, but I’ve never been pushed, in my whole life, quite an achievement I would say, but here in Copenhagen I’m starting to wonder if this is an alternative way to politely ask you to ‘move’.

The first time I was talking to a friend outside a restaurant, yes I admit I was on the stairs of the establishment but they were big stairs, with lots of room may I add. A lady appeared from inside, she’d left her baby outside in a pushchair (extremely common here as you’ve probably heard) and she obviously wanted to check up on her/him. 

And then it happened.

Instead of simply asking me to step to one side, she pushed me. And not a slight nudge, a huge hand in my side, move out of the way push. I was really surprised, my brain didn’t know how to comprehend what had just taken place. 

Was I reading to much into it? I couldn’t tell, if I was pushed in England I would probably ask someone what was happening, to be pushed felt like an insult, it’s so very personal.

I didn’t say anything, I chalked it up to a mother concerned about her child and simply wanting to check her sleeping baby. 

And so I let it go, I emptied my mind of the experience and, well that’s it.

Until it happened.

I got pushed again. 

New situation, new surroundings. 

A girl ‘moved’ me out of the way, with her whole body weight pushing through her arm. She wanted something behind me and so instead of maybe saying ‘excuse me’, she skipped that and went straight for the kill.

And so it leaves me wondering what the formality is around excusing someone, or asking them to politely ‘shift’ out of the way.

Am I being too overly British, where as a nation we are maybe laughed at for our over the top manners? Or maybe lack of them? I don’t know, but I’d love to know what you think!   

Five things I learnt about Copenhagen last week...

The Danes have a huge fondness for their monarchy, this was evident throughout the city with the passing of Prince Henrik on February 13th.

February is by far the coldest month! We’ve crept into March and already the temperature swing is a whole 10 degrees! 

After going to a ‘start your own business’ workshop at International House, I found that Denmark is a very entrepreneurial country, and would love for you to set up your business here! 

The zoo has an influx of baby animals including bear cubs, lion cubs, a giraffe and two rhinos and a few others! Our visit is on the blog now so go and check it out.

There’s a huge community of ladies here in Copenhagen from all over the world- this was evident when I asked a question on an expat forum on Facebook and had over 250 ladies respond! I started a group so if you’re a lady in Copenhagen who would like to meet up and drink coffee and chat about your experiences of living here just visit here to join!