Returning home in Denmark sure has been hectic!
Between moving into the new but nicotine infested apartment and volunteering at no less than two festivals, I’ve haven’t really had the time to feel settled in Copenhagen yet. That is slowly starting though, which is why I’ve finally found the time and focus to write this blog post.
Something else that has actually helped me focus is the fact that my local Job Center has forced me on a two week ‘Activation’, as they call it, with compulsory attendance at an office for job searching from 8:30 to 15:00 every weekday. Although I honestly feel frustrated to be forced to use my summer days here involuntarily, then at least the fixed office hours has helped me sit down and concentrate on job searching as well as this blog.
I have of cause already worked on finding a job at home, but at this ‘Activation office’ there’s less interruptions than at home. There the renovation work needed on the flat is so apparent; while sitting in the flat working on a job application I might suddenly get distracted by the fact that most everything is still yellow and smelly from nicotine. In that respect sitting at an office all day has at least made it easier to stay focused for many hours in a row.
First: Last Days in Switzerland
Before returning home I had a few lovely days with my grandparents in Switzerland that I didn’t get to write about in the last post. Instead I will share a few photos with you now, before getting further into the story of my recent months home in Denmark.
One of the days we went to Lausanne and my bonus-grandfather and I had a lovely walk by the Geneva lake and then a lunch on a charming terrace overlooking the lake.
I haven’t found much time for sketching after arriving home, but I did for example do this sketch after a photo of my grandparents in front of the Fondation Gianadda art museum in Martigny:
First Days Home & Festivals
My first few days in Copenhagen where spend moving out of and into our new home. On my second day back we packed K’s apartment, on the third day we moved his things into the new flat, on the fourth day we cleaned the old flat for the new owners and the day after we took the train to the Danish Island Fyn to participate in the festival called Heartland.
There were some highlights from the beautiful festival located around a red brick castle, such as the first morning when a make-up artist gave me colorful eye make-up on:
Apart from lovely concerts, intellectual talks and some food events such as a butter tasting, we also saw a wild fire show one evening:
As we were volunteers, we stayed after the festival and help clean up. It was a long 12 hour shift and sadly I hurt my back. I actually have a bad back, namely Scoliosis in my lower back, but I haven’t been good at protecting myself. When they diagnosed me as a teenager they explained how I had to keep my back strong through exercise, and that my left leg was one centimeter shorter and so I needed to always have a cork heal in my left shoe.
Honestly I just didn’t take it that seriously, since you can’t really tell by looking at me that I have a ‘s’-shaped lower back and a shorter left leg. Besides, the pains were rare. Sadly getting older and then working hard physically for a whole day turned out to be much more than my body could take and I couldn’t really bend my back for four days after the work at Heartland.
I see the incident as a blessing in disguise though, since I now take my scoliosis a lot more seriously! I’ve started training regularly at a physiotherapy clinic and I’m now wearing heals in my left shoes.
Let the Renovation Begin!
Once back in Copenhagen, the renovation on the yellow flat officially began; that is with my participation in the work. K had already made sure our bedroom was almost ready; only the wood panels need fixing in there.
I’ve learned handy things during our renovation efforts that I never thought I would know off – such as how to remove wall paper, how to use a huge spatula on walls, sanding down and things like that. Its messy and time consuming work and it’s also progressing very slowly because we’re learning as we go along.
But at least we are learning – and not only about renovation but about each other. Luckily, since I love K even more the better I get to know him, and I can’t wait for us to have a lovely functional apartment where we can enjoy ourselves without the stress of living on a building site and have friends over for cozy dinners and such.
Only about a week after returning home from Heartland, we once again set off to a music festival – this time the huge Roskilde Festival with 130.000 participants this year.
We had a wonderful time exploring new bands as well as known ones. Just as with the previous festival we worked as volunteers for the festival; this time in a canteen making and serving food for the builders of the concert scenes and such. This time I stayed aware of my sore back and managed not to get severe back pains again = progress!
K in Berlin & Me in Hobro
Hardly a day after we returned home from Roskilde Festival, K took off to meet up with some friends in Berlin, and I went off to visit old friends for the weekend. They used to live on Zealand but now live near the town of Hobro in Jutland. There, among yellow fields way out in the Danish country sight, I reconnected with the couple J and S that has known me since I was a baby and that I knew well all during my childhood and most of my teenage years.
However, it had been about 10 years since we last saw each other, and I was excited to see how visiting after so long would pan out. Luckily it felt amazingly natural and we had a lovely time, working on their huge home that they are renovating, eating ice cream and watching movies in the evenings.
One day me and their daughter A, that I have also know since she was a baby, went to an open air Viking town museum. The weather was lovely and we had some nice talks with a local living and breathing Viking at the museum. He tried to convince us to become Vikings like him; if we had the right gear then the museums would let us stay in the historic villages for free which was a cheap holiday option, he explained.
Now I’m back in Copenhagen for the first time for a longer period and I’m really getting into the job searching full time. Being unemployed is hard work. I keep searching and searching and getting simultaneously rejected. I’ve been in this position before though and somehow made it through, so at least I know it’s possible to escape the heavy bureaucracy of the Danish unemployment system, that adds a huge pressure on me and regulates all my waking hours.
Currently I’m focusing my search on what they here at the job searching office call ‘bread jobs’; that is jobs that can cover the bills, while you look for other better more suited jobs for you. Using my experience as a barista I’m mainly searching café jobs.
Hopefully I get a job soon so I can get out of the rigid unemployment system that stresses and restricts me. Even though working a café job would leave me a lot less money each month than staying on the unemployment check, it would give me the calm mentally to focus part time on exploring my dream of using my art professionally, while still having the sort of job that grants me economic stability so I don’t have to stress about paying my bills. Working creatively and at the same time being financially secure is a complex ambition.
It’s lovely to be writing this blog again! It has been hard to find the time but these fixed office hours sure keep me busy. Another thing I’ve found the time to focus on while at this office, is to develop an online portfolio with my art – feel free to check it out: https://artbycillezimmermann.wordpress.com/
It’s both exciting and scary how my new existence in Copenhagen is still so filled with change and, honestly, uncertainty. What will I work with to pay the rent? How will I get to incorporate my art in my future career? How long will it take for the apartment to be non-yellow and non-smelly?
So many questions and so many ways it could pan out. I’m trying to stay optimistic! Up until now I haven’t found much time for sketching, which pains me. I got so used to sketching every day, that suddenly not doing so almost hurt physically. I did find some time for the following sketches though:
Once again, it’s lovely to have started the blog again! I plan to keep it up. I haven’t decided yet how often I will post, maybe not as often as before but possibly once or twice a month to begin with.
Until next time!