Saying goodbye to hygge, denim-on-denim, and blonde hair
Right now I am on my way to London to catch my flight to Toronto. In an attempt to distract myself from turbulence, I decided that it would be a good time to blog about my last day in Denmark. All of my emotional progress was thrown out the window when I woke up on Monday June 20th with a lump in my throat. My first goodbye was to Anders– my good Danish friend who I was lucky enough to have as my neighbour. Whether he was giving me cleaning products, iPod chargers, bike pumps, or helpful advice, I relied on Anders for something at least once a day. I knew we were very close when I had a bit too much to drink and was demanding for a pillow and blanket. Although he called me pathetic, he was over the next day with coffee to have some laughs about my ridiculous behavior. I hate goodbyes, especially to people that I know will be my friends forever. Since I didn’t want to be emotional, I said a quick goodbye, but was left feeling so strange that it could be years before I see my friend Annas.
Things went downhill from there. I got a text message and a facebook message from Nicole and Frauke, the two rays of sunshine in the International Class– they were heading to Sweden, so I wasn’t going to be able to have a final goodbye. Luckily I got to say goodbye before, but I didn’t think it would be the last time. Maybe it’s better that way.
After checking out my room and finding out I had to scrub the oven (UGH), I had my last latte with Clementine, my French friend who also lives in Gruntdvigs. We tried to not get emotional, while focusing on making our coffee extra- foamy. Like always, she provided me with comfort about flying (although she is too scared to fly herself), and told me how she knew that we would for sure cross paths again soon. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye for good, so I let her study for her final exam while I continued on my goodbye journey.
I went downtown Aarhus for the last time with Tatiana, another lovely Dane who I wouldn’t have survived Denmark without. When I was robbed and too scared to sleep in my apartment, she opened her doors (and bed) to me. We’ve shared many laughs over sleepovers and lots of 18 kroner wine. We said a casual goodbye because we planned to meet up later that night for a quick bite or at least to say a real goodbye. Our trip downtown consisted of me closing my Danish bank account (there was absolutely no point of me opening one in the first place), doing some last minute shopping (SO MANY SALES right as I need to cut down on clothes), and browsing at things too expensive for us to ever buy.
From downtown, after picking up a Danish flag and a few things I needed for my flight, I took the bus to see Delphine, another friend of mine from France. I knew that this would be an emotional goodbye. We spent too much time being aquantainces, until we realized (too late) how compatible we are. In just a month we have grown so close, from her amazing sense of humor to her ability to talk me through anything I am feeling upset about. I got to her house, and we drank tea and cried like babies, gossiped like the “beaches” that we are, (French people cannot determine a difference from the word “Bitch” and “Beach”), and laughed to stop ourselves from crying. SItting at the bus stop we cried and cried, and I cried the entire way home. Every bus driver in Aarhus has seen my cry this week. I will miss Delphine so much.
After some last minute cleaning and another unnecessary breakdown, Tatiana joined me again at my apartment to go and meet on Damo’s floor to have our last night together. We of course got some cheap wine and champagne, and had some lovely hygge as always. Thomas the Kiwi-Dane, the lovely man that he is, bought Damo, Caroline and I matching shot glasses, so we can have skype dates and do shots. (Note to my mother: I will NOT do this!) Terry, another international on Damo’s floor from Singapore bought us boxes of chocolates– so sweet. We ate delicious brownies and coconut chocolate balls until we felt sick, when we finally decided to head to bed. Four people in Damo’s room is a little crowded. I was lucky enough to get to sleep in Damo’s bed opposed to the floor, however, he is not the most accommodating and I was left shivering with no blankets or pillow. I was so happy, around 3 am, when I heard Caroline say “Emildine?”… I had been hoping she was awake. We started talking, which turned to giggling, which turned to waking up Damo and Tatiana to watch youtube videos until 5 am. This was the perfect night to sum up the semester that we spent exclusively together.
We started the trek with Caroline’s things to the bus station. We weren’t entirely sure where it was but like most things, Caroline stumbled upon it. I can’t imagine ever going anywhere without her and her ability to instinctually know where the best tourist attractions are. We expected the bus at 5:50, but it came at 5:40. The shock of the bus there when we weren’t expecting it left us both weeping hysterically; watching Caroline wave from the bus window was so incredibly sad. Caroline and I have spent every single day together for the past five months. All of my best memories (and photos) have her right beside me, and although we live in different worlds, every time I have a happy thought about Denmark I’ll remember that she was right there with me, probably calming me down from a freakout or vice-versa.
I wiped my tears and bought a smoothie because Tatiana and I had work to do– My suitcase was about 10 kg overweight, and I had to deal with it, which meant parting with a lot of clothes. Tatiana and I had a “Sex and the City” style 6 am fashion show, me parting with my clothes that I love but I know will be more loved staying in Denmark. My tiredness from an all-nighter hit me, and I passed out for half an hour, waking to an incredibly sick and anxious feeling. I had to go and actually say goodbye to Clementine, and I had to do it right then as she had an exam. I went to her place, we said a casual goodbye, both agreeing we wouldn’t cry. It was seconds before we were both sobbing in each other’s arms. My favourite quality of Clem is how blunt she is– just the other day she told me to stop trying to speak French, jokingly of course. I really try but I just don’t understand their quick, southern-France accents. As I was leaving she told me she thought I was completely crazy when she first met me, and as she talked about me to Delphine, they realized they were spending a lot of time talking about me… maybe there was potential for a friendship. I’m so glad I was able to let go of my fear of language barrier (that barely exists now) and they saw past my insanity.
After weeping through my shower, I decided to pull myself together. Damo came over (after only an hour of sleep, I love him!) to help me with my suitcases. Him and Tatiana accompanied me to the airport bus. When it came, I didn’t really know what to say, as Damo isn’t one for emotional moments. We left with a quick bye, but they stood outside the bus window until it drove away. The second I lost sight of Damo’s face, I burst into tears (surprise surprise), but quickly passed out, waking up 50 minutes later at Aarhus Lufthavn. Damo deserves a lot of credit for dealing with me throughout the semester; many flights that he held my clammy hand despite being really grossed out, speaking Italian so I could do no thinking what so ever on our Italy trip, and just providing more laughs that imaginable. I have learned one important lesson from Damo, other than never be friends with Aussies because it’s too sad to say bye: “Not being in your bed is not an alternative to being in your bed.”
At the airport, things started looking up for me when I weighed my bags- the first one was only 16 kg (under the limit), but the second was 31 (8 kg over the limit). The super nice attendant didn’t charge me for an overweight bag. I almost hugged her. She asked me where I was traveling. I got a lump in my throat and said, “Toronto,” my voice shaking. I burst into tears. She came out from behind her desk, put her arm around me, and said “Come with me.” She asked me about how long I had been in Denmark, who brought me to the airport, as I told her through my sobs. She got me a huge comfy chair in her office, and brought me out a bun with butter, and tissues. I thanked her and told her I was starving, and she grabbed me another bun for later. She hugged me and told me to have an amazing flight (and life.) I was overwhelmed by how someone I don’t know and who has no reason to help someone didn’t know, could brighten my day. It was the best airport service I have ever received. Just one more reason why I am in love with Aarhus.
So it’s been 12 hours since I said bye to Caroline. It’s ten more hours until I am home. I know the transition is going to be hard, but for now, I just want to see my smiley family at the airport. It feels like yesterday they dropped me off.
This post is not to serve as a diary (although I do feel better after writing it) but to make all the people I spent the last 5 months with realize how much I love them. Every single person has changed me in some way. Whether we talked for five minutes, made gourmet meals and had sleepovers, or drank cheap South African wine every night together, I’m going to miss you all.
I have been out of Denmark for less than two hours, and there is a pit in my stomach. Or that could be from the plummet landing that we are starting. Love you all and never forget anyone….