Vacation Musings: American in Denmark
Hey beautiful people...If you follow me on IG, FB, or Whatsapp, you know I was recently on vacation in Denmark with my son. Sadly, my husband had to stay behind for work, but baby boy and I did well on our own and enjoyed some quality time with his side of the family. Please forgive me for being behind on my Handmaid's Tale recaps. Hulu can't be accessed outside of the States! So sad! However, I finally got a chance to catch up last night. Just in time for the new episode today.
Whenever I have a chance to travel internationally, it provides an opportunity to do an inventory check on my life. Sometimes we are so used to life automation, that we don't even recognize when we are just going through movements that are not actually propelling us forward
Here are a few thoughts while I was away:
- Being Black was not at the forefront of my mind. I was a lot more cognizant that I am American and a foreigner, than I was of being Black. I honestly never even thought this would ever be a possibility for me, but alas, it was. Initially, I spent a lot of time in Ålsgårde and Helsingor, with a little bit of time spent in Copenhagen. There are more diverse faces in Copenhagen, but nothing like back home. Perhaps, it was the general way that I have been received? Or maybe, I'm aware they don't have the same racial history that America has and therefore, people aren't predisposed to certain bias'. The reception was basically curious and welcoming. Helpful, when I have a question. I just didn't have the same feeling that I typically have at home in daily interactions that always carry racial undertones. You may know what I mean? You go into a store and you're followed for fear that you might steal something. Or you are ignored because the assumption is that you won't buy anything, anyway. These are two small examples, but the list certainly goes on. You know? Just another day of being Black in America. My phone only worked when wifi was available and when I get home in the evenings, so I was not reading the news alerts like I typically do. This also helped contribute to that sentiment immensely. I think the experience on ground, combined with the freedom from not being bombarded with racially embedded news on a daily basis, provided the rare freedom from thinking in concrete racial terms. This is an almost indescribable mental and emotional liberation.
- The Grind is real. I don't really think it's necessarily about economic class, because no matter how comfortable people get, they always seem to want more. I can't say I know very many people, personally, who aren't always hustling, working, trying to check something off of a perpetual never-ending accomplishment list. In fact, the people that I do know or know of, who aren't actively striving for something, are perceived as lazy and unambitious. While I do not knock wanting the most out of life, there is a fine line between being goal-oriented and never being content. Being on vacation in Denmark has placed my general anxiety about not achieving enough in one day, let alone my lifetime, up close and personal. There is a general attitude of doing what you can and not being stressed about those things that you don't get to. Of course "there is always tomorrow", but I believe this has more to do with everything coming in its due time and not beating yourself up about that which is not life-shattering. They also have a different social and economic model. They are taxed at a higher rate and therefore, enjoy universal healthcare, free education, and a luxurious six weeks of mandatory vacation! There are other benefits, but I feel this covers the essence of what we grind so hard for in America. A certain quality of life. A beautiful life. We are taught very early that if we work hard, then we too can live the most beautiful life, and when you grow up, you come to realize that this is only partially true. It really depends on what you are working towards, for and on. The point is that removing the desire to acquire more stuff and compete with others, by providing a few basic necessities that all humans should have, allows more time and opportunity for people to actually focus on enjoying their life. Again, this is true emotional and mental liberation.
- Mommy life is the life for me - All this one on one with my son made me realize that while I cherish my only child wholly and completely, I often am mentally preoccupied when I spend time with him or I take our time together for granted. I work for a certain level of material and general comfort, and quality time spent with my son is sometimes sacrificed as a result. I even tell myself often that "he needs too many things". The reality is that he just needs me. Our experiences. Our moments. Our quality time together has helped me to see that I really need to realign my priorities and re-evaluate what's important in life. My son will only be 3 one time, and is already growing far too quickly for me. I'm impressed with his growth and maturity, but I want to be available to savor my little boy. To the previous point, this vacation reminded me of all the joys of mommyhood and how pertinent it is to me not to miss them because I was too busy chasing coins.
- Wifelife - This sentiment spills over into my marriage. The grind affects all areas. As described above, life can be such a grind that you and your partner are so busy "chasing that paper", that you forget to chase after each other's hearts and this can create distance and drive an emotional wedge between the two of you. I missed my husband on this trip. Ironically, it was due to work that he was unable to join us. I also realized how easy it is to sacrifice couple time for your child and work. Sometimes marriage lends itself to taking your spouse for granted. I'm all about dating my hubs and getting in that quality time. Sometimes, it's just a simple tête-à-tête in the evening over a glass of wine, but it needs to be prioritized along with other things and not always pushed off for a "better" time.
I hope this has been insightful. I'd love to read comments about how travel may have changed your perspective. Please feel free to comment below or on social media. Love to hear from you always xo
Love x Light
Photography by Kait Ebinger