By Jonna Nielsen
When I thought ahead to my future as a child, I dreamed of a fantastical life, complete with a glorious home and a job that I loved. I was certain I’d be spending my years in America. It was all I knew, where I was born and where I grew; why would I ever leave? Despite my reasoning, I won’t be here in the USA for much longer. My family has made the monumental decision to move me and my younger sister, Eva, to Denmark, my father’s home country, in search of a brighter future.
This summer, I’ll make the 8 hour plane journey to Denmark, and this time, it’s not a round trip. I’m off to a land of rolling hills, vibrant homes, and welcoming, friendly people. In fact, some of the happiest people in the world! Waiting for me is my dad’s entire family and a whole new way of life. As I work on learning the Danish language, my parents continue to prepare for the big day. Although I can’t help but be looking forward to my move, the one part I won’t enjoy is leaving my friends and my mother’s family. One of my closest friends has planned a going-away party for me in June, where I will be able to say my last goodbyes to those who have been with me since my childhood. I am also making time to visit my American relatives one more time; my family refers to this as our “Nielsen Family Farewell Tour!” I believe that leaving behind my loved ones will be the most difficult part of this expedition for me.
Along with a new home comes the dreaded idea of making new friends. And when you’re not a fluent Danish speaker, meeting new neighbors and classmates can be especially difficult! For the first year or so, as I become familiar with both the language and the environment, I’m going to be homeschooled. Then, I’ll be back in public school with the rest of the Danish teens.
I’m going to have plenty of social and cultural differences to experience. I will most likely live in a smaller house and have one car shared between my parents. Danish food comes from its fertile land and the sea that surrounds it, rather than being imported from somewhere else. Denmark relies hugely on wind, solar, and other renewable sources of power. It’s impossible to drive through the countryside and not spot a windmill! Danish people value the well being of the citizens, and it shows in their government and society. Most people in Denmark generally work less than those in America, and students are not given standardized tests, so I’m looking forward to seeing both of my parents more often! Danes prioritize time with family and friends and focus on a balance of work and home life, which makes for happier citizens that have a love of their lives.
My vacations to Denmark have given me a small insight to the major variances in culture, landscape, and life, but being there permanently will give me a true opportunity to gain knowledge of the diverse world around me. I’m counting down the days to that fateful summer day and can’t wait to take control of my future.
Submitted by our members as well as teens across the world.