Friday, 26 September 2014

Wait, I'm Scandinavian?! | My time in Denmark

As a child I always identified with being Irish, with my flaming red hair and cheeky attitude I spent much of my time playing in fields and attended a Gaelic speaking school. Participated in horsing riding and even Irish dancing for a time. I loved my crazy little childhood adventures of climbing up the small 'waterfall' into the forest and sledging in the snow down the field usually occupied with cows. 

When I was eight however I moved permanently to England where I have spent the past thirteen years of my life, developing a great love for British heritage, pastimes and afternoon tea. When asked I refer to myself as British as that is where I have truly lived. A mixture of both England and Ireland. But with my southern accent and cultural attitudes I am quite fundamentally attached to my English roots. 

Yet often throughout my life I was told the story of my parents romance. One of which being how my father had compiled a mental list of what he wanted in a wife. On his list included that she would be a blonde Scandinavian, until he told himself to get real and happily decided on 'half Scandinavian'. Fortunately for him he fell in love with my beautiful mother who happens to be half Danish. Now this story has been accounted to me many times. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I truly realised this meant I had as much of a claim to a Scandinavian heritage as I do to my English one (minus never actually living there). It really took me by surprise! Utterly a revelation! Being Danish is not something I ever equate myself to. Yet I am. It is odd how something as simple as the heritage of your family can influence your perception and sense of home in this grand world. 

I look at all these jaw dropping Scandinavian girls full of such elegant style and pose on instagram and the such, and very often fail to realise I too have claim to the culture and beauty of the very country's aesthetic. In summer 2013 I was blessed enough to take a trip 'around' Sweden, even visiting Denmark for a day. I adored the beauty of the place. The architecture complemented the landscape in such a way that both added character and worked together. The people were astounding beautiful, male and female alike. The public transport was brilliant. The landscapes like that out of a novel full of an abundance of deep blue lakes and plush dark green forests resembling Christmas trees. Now I know I live in an equally wonder country full of luscious landscapes but there just seemed to be something more in Scandinavia. 

While in Sweden people often automatically spoke to me in Swedish. A pleasant and surprising compliment as I didn't feel particularly Swedish or feel that I looked particularly Swedish. I in no way can speak fluent Swedish but made a great attempt to learn as much as I could. It is such a marvellous thing to be able to communicate in more than your mother-tongue. It is an odd concept, even a dreamy ideal to find myself attached to a country and a culture I have never really been exposed too. To wonder how different an upbringing and outlook I may of had riding bikes across different plains, surrounding by pastel, barn looking homes. I would love to visit there again to explore more, to learn more about my family and understand a culture I haven't yet had a chance to be apart of. 

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