Memory loss??

As my 51st year approaches quickly, I realize that I have signs of aging that I try to ignore as most do. Aches and pains, and a memory that is not as sharp as it used to be.

I have always admitted to having a bad memory, so I stay organized to prevent myself from being stressed.
Last month was a particularly stressful month for me because I truly thought I was developing dementia, Alzheimers, or some sort of total memory loss.

No, I had not gotten drunk and forgotten what I had done, haha.

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My husband gave me a trip back to the states for my birthday and Christmas! While booking the trip he needed my passport.

PASSPORT: THE MOST IMPORTANT DOCUMENT FOR LIVING ABROAD!

I knew where it should be, where I should have put it but it was not there. I went through every possible place that I could have put it. But I could not remember! I seriously thought that I must be having signs of major memory loss.

For 3 weeks I tore the house apart. I looked under mattresses, I unpacked all my drawers and repacked them (more than once), I went through trash, called the last few places we had been to see if it had fallen out of my pocketbook, called friends whom we had visited, …finally, we decided that I would have to get a new one.

I told my husband, I would never again fuss at him for losing things because I had lost THE single most important thing I had living in Denmark.

I had been in tears more than once over this incident.

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I decided to look through the office one more time. I do not know what prompted me to look in the printer ….but THERE it was, laying on the scanner face down. Again, I thought I had lost my mind. I did not remember putting my passport there or why. It was a relief, but also scary that I could not remember doing that. I called to my husband that I had found it!!!

He started laughing and he called back to me, “hmmmm, oh yeah, I needed to make a copy of it for the government tax office!”

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Seriously!!!!!!! I am not losing my mind, but he is making me crazy!!!!!

Oh, the joys of marriage, haha.

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Courage

I had a friend tell me that she could not imagine moving to another country. That didn’t surprise me because it really is not something for just anyone to try. But when she told me that I was brave, I guess I understood more about why people do not do things out of their comfort zone.
When things take bravery, people tend to choose the easy path, the one they are familiar with.
I on the other hand have never taken the easy way to do anything. I have always made things harder on myself than was necessary. I tend to leap while having faith that something would work out.
Sometimes I do not know if that comes from courage or stupidity because not everything has gone as smoothly as I had wished.

I think back to when I was going through my divorce.  It was a scary thing to decide to leave my marriage of 18 years and start life on my own.  I had no idea of what career to have, where to live, or pay my bills.  I just knew that in order to become myself again, I needed out of the marriage.

Over and over again, I watched the movie Under The Tuscan Sun.

Under The Tuscan Sun
Under The Tuscan Sun

I gathered much of my courage from this movie.  Needless to say, I am the same age as Diane Lane, and I connect with her so much.  Though the movie was fiction, I felt empowered by a woman newly divorced taking chances in her life, moving abroad, fixing up an old house, creating a new life, and eventually finding love again.

Courage-Quote

Courage comes from having choices in life and choosing the path unsure of it’s outcome, but going for it anyway.

I guess there are many choices I have made that have been somewhat courageous in the past 10 years.  I can say that I feel liberated and unafraid to try more the older I get.  It is because of this I know I am experiencing things that many others will not.  I feel blessed, and I will continue to try things without knowing the outcome.  It truly makes me feel alive!

 

Respect…..my declaration

I opened my email the other day to see one titled in swear words that offended me right off the bat, telling me to “get the **** off ….” How on earth did I receive an email with words that I never use…well, rarely use, and only at myself not at others.Digital Respect

It seems that a fellow blogger decided that they could monetize themselves by creating a blog and a video channel that was not doing as well as they had hoped. I had subscribed, but did not have the time to check out the videos yet, but knew that I would at some point. I was trying to be supportive of my fellow bloggers and their ambitions.

I honestly was shocked, horrified, and disappointed in this blogger and I decided that I did not need to be treated with disrespect so I no longer follow the blog. I understand it was not directed specifically at me, but it was directed at all the followers who did not do other things this person wanted. I could not believe the utter nonsense of curse words that were there in my inbox.

I guess there is always a reason why people do things, and a “why” that they need to fill.  Somewhere along the way, some people lose their why for doing something. Or maybe their “why” should not be a “why” to begin with.

I started blogging for myself. Not to sell anything, not to become famous, not to make money, but to have a chronicle of my life, my thoughts, things I have learned along the way, and occasionally a funny story or two about life in general. Maybe someone will enjoy it, someone will notice similarities, someone will learn something they didn’t know. My why for my blog was a personal one without expectations, without hope that it would be viral, and with total respect for anyone who might read my blog. So everyone has a different why, but you should not treat others poorly because of your failures.

My Declaration

I understand that people work hard on their projects and some feel they should be compensated for it. “Go for it” I say, and I will support you how I can. But do not burden me with your expectations that might be crushed when you realize that it takes years to build up something. It takes work, it takes patience, it takes hmmmmm….more respect of those who are supporting you in whatever way they can.

I guess I needed to get this off my chest. I felt violated in a way that I never thought I could. Maybe I am too sensitive, but I rather like that I have values and ethics. Maybe I just expect too much of others. Whatever the cause, I felt I needed to write this post as a declaration from me to everyone:

I will treat you with respect and with compassion and to support you however I can.

It is in these ways I wish to make a difference in this world.

Tanya

Cool Cool Summer

I must admit, one of the things I am enjoying about being in Denmark is this wonderful summer weather we are having.  Cool nights and nice days.  In fact, the nights are so cool we cannot even sleep with the windows open because of the chill!

Mmmmm, but I love it.  I come from the hot, sticky, humid, and sometimes unbearable summer heat of the south in the U.S.  Though there are times when I would like to be able to put a bathing suit on and sit in the sun, right now I will just enjoy being able to breathe, wear my jeans and comfortable t shirts without sweating, and walking to the harbor and beach without being worn out from the heat.

Denmark Strand
Greve Strand in Denmark

It will come though, I know it will.  I have been here every summer for the past 7 years and I have felt the heat.  The kind of heat that is stagnant, without any movement, and for sure oppressive at best.  I lived those days waiting for the nights to come.  Some nights were still too warm to sleep.

Oh yes, it will come.

when its hot
When it is hot in Denmark, head to the cold water!

I remember hot nights from my  youth.  The days before we had central air conditioning to cool our homes.  The difference is that we used fans to at least move the air and make the heat somewhat bearable.  Those were the nights I spent sleeping in my dad’s old holey undershirts that were so thread bear they did not hurt my sunburned skin. Those nights were ones of tossing and turning from being worn out from sun, heat, and the activities of the day. Those hot summer nights transformed into ones as a teenager sitting in the air conditioned living room watching tv late at night with friends. Best memories are made on hot summer nights!

Those summer nights of my youth were magical even though they were hot.  A bit like what I am experiencing now.  These magical cool summer nights in Denmark in a home that is starting to feel like mine, in a life that is starting to feel like mine, and married to my “Great Dane”, who is also starting to feel like mine, lol.  My new memories being made will include these cool nights with the doors and windows open, a sun that retires for the night at 11 pm, and a life filled with love.

 

“Skol” to summer evenings, long days, relaxed vacations, and time to reconnect with our families!

Traveling with Sofie

“She pooped and peed”……..I just realized that I sound like I did when my kids were babies!  That was the headline of the day as a stay-at-home mom, haha.  This however is not for human babies of course, but my canine baby who made the trip from North Carolina to Denmark to live with us.

Sofie is her name, my sweet but feisty Dachshund.  She is our baby, and I can say she has brought so much laughter and love into our house.  She adores my husband and of course he calls her his “little girl”.

Her favorite place
Her favorite place
Sofie in bed
She loves our bed

It was a bit stressful thinking about moving her by plane, but it was by far one of the simplest things to do after I did my research.  I wanted to make the flight and being cooped up in a crate the easiest it could be on her, so I planned my trip around that.  You MUST start preparing months early when it comes to moving an animal because of regulations in each country.  In Denmark, a dog has to be micro-chipped, FDA papers filled out by a licensed veterinarian and approved by the FDA, had its rabies vaccination, etc.  Check out the regulations at http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Denmark.cfm and http://www.expatindenmark.com/livingindenmark/pages/pets.aspx.  I also used the http://www.pettravelstore.com/ to get the necessary papers.  The pet travel store will charge you, but  I wanted to be sure that I had everything I needed at whatever cost.

The priors to the trip are a pain.  But I researched which airline was the best for transporting dogs in a hold.  According to the specs on the websites, she was too large to fit under the seat for a flight like that, which was fine because I wanted her to have room to move around and also not be crying or barking and bothering other people.  When considering traveling with a pet, check your airline first.  I flew SAS because I could get a direct flight meaning no stopovers, and the reviews said they handled animals very well.  I drove to Washington and spent the night before flying out the next day so that Sofie could have the shortest amount of time in her kennel.

  1. Check which airlines service where you are flying to.
  2. Check the reviews on their transportation of animals.
  3. Check the procedure and any regulations with that carrier. ( size of crate, stickers needed, etc.)
  4. Be sure to crate train your dog if they are not trained yet. You can get tips on that on plenty of websites.  Just be sure to test run the amount of time you think they will be in the crate on the flight.  Ad the flight plus 1.5-2 hours prior and about 20-30 minutes after.
  5. Be sure you have planned enough ahead to get the pet travel papers in order, etc. The FDA has to approve the pet papers within 10 days of your travel which means you have very little time to get papers back and forth from their offices.  I had to overnight my papers there and back to get my papers in time, and knowing I was leaving a day earlier from my location made it very stressful.
  6. I would suggest breaking your trip up if at all possible. Driving or flying to one place and then spending the night, then continuing on the next day.  If you cannot do that, it really is ok.  Your animal will be fine if you have crate trained them and you walk them prior to giving them to TSA or the airline.
  7. Before heading to the airport, be sure you have frozen a small bottle or the container for water for the crate.  TSA will always make a mess of this turning the crate over, so if at all possible keep the water to a minimum, but freeze it to keep from having it slosh everywhere.
  8. Check out the pet relief areas at the airport you are flying from beforehand.    Arrive early enough to check your bags in and then take your dog for a good walk.  Be sure to get your dog to the kennel and through the TSA in enough time for it to be loaded.  Most of the time they suggest 1.5 to 2 hours prior to the flight to be sure you can get through security and get to your gate as well. At this time, be sure to add the water to the crate.
  9. Let the flight attendant know that you have a dog in the hold so that they will let the captain know.  As much for your peace of mind as for the Captain to ensure the proper temperature in the plane.
  10. Try to relax on the flight.  Your dog will be fine and happy to see you on the other end. (I cried the first time I had to leave her with them)
  11. When you arrive on the other end, be sure not to pass customs as they will need to check all of the paperwork you have on your dog.  I would suggest attaching the originals in a pencil case (in a Ziploc) to the crate itself.  Then be sure to have copies on yourself in case of emergency.  These papers will need an official stamp from customs.

If you do decide to break up your trip and stay overnight, you can use a website like http://vacationpetfriendly.com/  or http://www.bringfido.com/ to find hotels that will allow you to have your dog.  Hotels are becoming more pet friendly so it is not too difficult to find one that will accommodate you.

I hope this information is helpful in some way.  If you have other questions, I can try to help if you contact me.  I am not an expert, but I have traveled with my pet twice on overseas flights.

English please

In Denmark, newcomers are required to learn to speak the language.  The kommune (town) pays for each student to attend classes so the new residents can assimilate and maintain the Danish culture even with internationals living here.   People seeking to live in Denmark sign contracts with the kommune, or country, that state what is expected of them to remain in the country.  Things like speaking Danish, having a job for ___ many years, giving back to the society through volunteer work, are all included in the contract.  These are not just goals, they are requirements.  If they are not met, then you have to say goodbye to Denmark.

And so the first hurdle I have is passing the Danish 1 proficiency test before 5 months are up.  So far I have been in school for 3 weeks, and I know I will be ready for my test soon.

Danish Classes
Back in school at the age of 50 has made me realize I am not as young as I used to be.

Because I am not working yet, I am going to school 3 days a week for 5 hours a day.  It is intensive to say the least, and by the end of the week I am mentally exhausted, probably because being 50 brings its own mental challenges.   But I am happy to make friends from all over the world who are, like me, trying to learn the language and the culture quickly so we can work and provide for our families.

The problem I have here is that everyone…or almost everyone, speaks English.  You would not think that would be a problem, because I can communicate with 95 percent of Danes.  But the problem is actually that I NEED to speak and practice my Danish!  It is very funny that when I am out, if I try to speak Danish, the people can tell I am just learning and they immediately will switch to English.  I guess I sound funny with my Southern US accent trying to speak Danish.

All I can say is that I appreciate all that Denmark is doing to help me.  I am getting closer to being able to give back and make a difference here in my new country.

 

Hospital Hilarity

So the time finally came that I had dreaded and hoped would take years to happen….I had to go to the hospital.  Not only did I have to go, but they had to admit me.

Here in Denmark, the medical care is of course socialized and not privatized like in the US.  I had heard such horror stories from friends who lived in countries with such health care, and I was scared to say the least. How long will it take for someone to see me when I obviously have something wrong?    The language barrier was the second issue. How would they understand what my problem was, and how would I understand what they were going to do to help me get better?????

Ok, so without going into details and boring medical jargon, I had to be admitted to the hospital and recieve IV medicine.

The whole thing now makes me smile.  The nurses and doctors were great!  They all spoke English, though some not so great, we were still able to communicate.  There were even very hearty laughs in the CT scan room for me and the nurses.

 

 

The hospital “gowns” in Denmark are not gowns.  They are unisex underwear and tshirts resembling a man’s “tighty whitey’s”.  At least everything is covered up!

In the US, you walk around holding the back of the gown so you are not showing your backside to everyone!

Finally after being in triage for 2 hours I was transferred to my room in a bed still wearing my new sexy hospital clothes.

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Better hospital clothes than in the US!

The next morning when I awoke the nurse told me to go down the hall to get my breakfast.  In the US hospitals there is staff that serves you your meals in your room, regardless of whether you are able to walk or not.  I was a little thrown off by having to go retrieve my own food, but I was hungry so off down the hall I walk.  Though I was feeling a little shy of being in the hospital clothing, I started down the long corridor of rooms toward the food cart.     A nurse was walking by talking to me in Danish with a slightly distressed look on her face.   The ONLY thing I understood was “bukser på” which meant… “pants on”…oh geeez, I could feel the blush running over my face….hahahahaha.  Well, seriously, no one had given me any pants to put on over my hospital underwear and how was I supposed to know?  The nurse rushed over to a closet and handed me drawstring pants to put on.  So back down the hall I walked to my room to finish dressing myself.  I decided at that point, no need to be embarrassed, things are obviously different here.  I laughed it off and started back down the hall to find that food I was needing.

I have to laugh at my learning curve.  At the age of 50 I have learned to not be embarassed, but take things in stride because this is my way of learning about totally new and different things in life.  Living in Denmark has been fun, challenging and at times laughable.  The language, the traditions, even the way the people use their eating utensils is different!  Eventually this will be all familiar to me, lets just hope by that time I am not too old to remember things!