First impressions of Copenhagen

After walking 16.5 km around Copenhagen, here are my first impressions, in no particular order:

  • Immigration was a breeze; there were no arrival and customs forms to fill in
  • Copenhagen is beautiful; the buildings are not very tall
  • Some restaurants will give you an English menu once you start talking to them
  • There is no clicker at the traffic intersections
  • Bikes, bikes, more bikes, and bike shops
  • Swans will encourage you to feed them if you approach them
  • A police car has a different siren sound compared to an ambulance
  • Just before the traffic light turns green, both red and yellow lights light up
  • There are a lot of churches
  • Some roads are very quiet because there are only bus and bicycle lanes
  • There are a lot of green copper statues
  • Lifts have doors that swing open, which may be made out of wood
  • I’m not feeling jet lagged (yet); although I am getting tired, perhaps due to the long walk
  • My colleagues are a nice bunch
  • Finding accommodation in/around Copenhagen is very difficult; it might be easier (but not necessarily cheaper, once transport is taken into account) to find a place to stay in Sweden, and then commute to work
  • The buskers are great; If you are in Copenhagen, make sure you find Peter Jones



Leaving your life behind

Leaving your life behind is never an easy thing. I have only done it once before, back in 1998 when I started Uni. It wasn’t easy then, but I find it more complicated now. Back then, I didn’t have any things to carry (aside from my clothes) and I had no legal obligation. So I could (and indeed, did) just pack my clothes and leave.

But this time, I find it more difficult.. or at least, heaps more complicated. Of course, there are the usual moving related shenanigans such as notifying the real estate agent, utilities companies, and Internet provider. Australia Post actually has a very useful mover’s kit that not only redirect your mail to a new address, but also notify other government institutions of your change of address. Unfortunately this doesn’t really work if you’re going overseas.

After living for 8+ years (I lost track), I have accumulated a lot of books, movies, music, furniture, and other things. Most people are happy to throw away the books and movies, but not me. I don’t like throwing books away.

In the past few weeks, I have done the following (not necessarily in this order)

These don’t include the many queries I made about stuff such as the implication for having an overseas address for Australian bank accounts, implication of private health suspension to Medicare levy, and lodging tax returns at two different countries.

I do feel like I am being uprooted from my life in Australia. After this Sunday, I will no longer have a place I can call my home in Australia. Not as in I can’t call Australia home anymore, but in the sense that I will not have a ‘base’ in Australia. Nowhere to return home to. And that’s scary.

Of course, once I get to Copenhagen, I will have to do everything all over again. But this time in reverse. We’ll see how that goes. Probably in the next few posts.

One step closer

Look at what I found in my letterbox yesterday. Apparently the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment made their decision on 2 May, which was then forwarded to the Danish consulate general in Sydney. They then mailed it out to me on 6 May.

Work and residence permit Work and residence permit - zoomed

Now I have to coordinate with the University to organise my ticket and accommodation.

One step closer.

When am I flying back?

Someone was asking me the other day, “when are you coming back?”. Just like the previous question, the answer is “I don’t know”. But the reasons for this are different.

The job offer states that I will be in Denmark for 2 years. This will be a great opportunity for me to explore a bit of Europe. I can literally go to another country for a weekend. In fact, if I wanted to go and see Eurovision this year, I could take a 35 minute train ride from Copenhagen to Malmö (running every 10 minutes or so!), watch the show, and be back at work the following day.

It will make no sense for me to waste my vacation on a long plane trip to Australia or Indonesia. I want to go to places I haven’t been before. That’s why I wanted to catch up with as many people as possible before I go, just in case I won’t see them for 2 years (or more).

Having said that, while flying back on vacation is very unlikely at this stage, this does not mean I will not be back on work trip. The group has collaborators everywhere, including Australia. It is probably likely that I will be assigned on a collaborative project which allows me to travel back at the group’s expense.

Of course, everything is up in the air at the moment. After all, I have to fly off before I can fly back. But the bottom line is, I may be back before my 2 years is up. Rest assured, I will give people some advance notice, just in case they want to leave the City before I fly back.