Monday, June 18, 2012

Copenhagen Marathon

Those who know me well, know I am not one to shy away from a challenge. I used to be a competitive swimmer, and chose long distance 5km open water swimming as my race of choice. But since losing interest in swimming ten years ago, I hadn't done anything sporty that was really challenging.

Until now...

In January 2012, I decided to do the Copenhagen Marathon. After all, I had the time to dedicate to training and Copenhagen offers a lovely flat course. But I admit there was another reason behind my decision - I am also fiercely competitive. J had decided to do a 300km bike ride around Sweden and I thought I needed to do something equally ambitious. So I downloaded an 18 week training program and began running...and running...and running.

The program was most definitely not easy to stick to, starting training in January meant that I was running in the snow and bitter cold. I did have a moment when I was running 16km in minus 10 degrees where I thought I was crazy to be doing this, but I kept going and I am really glad I did.

I am very happy to say that on May 20 2012 I completed my first Marathon. Here is the proof...

Before the start - very excited and nervous!

Getting ready and running the race

Wanting it to be over and then it was - at the finish.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Romanticising Home


My Home Town - Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Image courtesy of www.flightcentre.com 

I have written and re-written this post many times. The reason being is that I had this internal conflict between what I think I should feel and what I actually felt about my recent experience of going back home to Australia.

Before leaving, I envisioned that I would return and write a blog post about romanticising home - because let's be honest, we all have a tendency to do it. But I couldn't!

To say living here in Copenhagen has been a champagne and caviar experience would be a lie. It is cold here, really cold. I'm writing this in summer, it is hailing outside and below 10 degrees. Like most of Europe it has been hit hard by the financial crisis. It is extraordinarily expensive to live here, a coffee will set you back at least $7 AUD. And the job market continues to flow more and more rapidly down the drain.

Going back to Australia was like a slap in the face reminder to me about what I had left behind. As a coping mechanism, I was choosing not to focus on it, I was trying hard to enjoy life in Denmark. But I couldn't help seeing Australia as a beautiful, sunny, warm place, where I have great friends and family and a job that I loved. I have to admit that I struggled to see Copenhagen in the same way.

So when I returned I truly didn't feel as though I was romanticising home, because to me home had more to offer than Copenhagen did.

But what I do know is this is a normal part of the ups and downs you experience when you live abroad. What I do have in Copenhagen though and what brought me back is a wonderful, supportive partner who tries his best to see the experience from my perspective, which is all I can ask for.

I am also one to get over things pretty quickly, so when J sent me an email titled "Notes for Wives of Expatriates, 1970" it really made me reevaluate the way I was thinking and how I approached my time on post. After the humorous instructions on how to prepare the perfect dinner party and how to arrange your address book, making sure to separate out bachelors and spinsters so you can pick them out easily to balance a party, the writer offers some final advice:

“Relax and enjoy your posting. This is the final admonition and, perhaps, the most important. Anyone married to a man working in a profession that takes you overseas has the continual opportunity of learning a great deal about different people and different countries. It would be sad to think she did not take advantage of the opportunity.”

So that is what I am doing - I am enjoying it and taking advantage of it. Because I know home will always be there to enjoy (that is the best thing about it) but having the opportunity to live in Europe will not!

Miss H

P.S I am glad to say things are looking up :) So stay tuned!

Hobart Waterfront
Image courtesy of www.gourmettraveler.com