It’s been 15 years since I’ve experienced “Spring” as a season. I grew up in Philadelphia, where we had all 4 seasons, but I have lived in California since 2007. Last year, my husband and I made the personal decision to move our family to Denmark. He is from Denmark, grew up there, and moved away at the same age I moved away from home.
The move to Denmark was always a possibility from when we first started dating — “What would it look like to raise our kids in Denmark?” But, California created an alluring lifestyle for us, and the concept of moving became more aspirational with each passing year until Covid.
There were many considerations for the move. However, the most significant consideration was to be closer to family. We spent 6 months researching locations in Denmark and landed in a small rural community 3 hours west of Copenhagen and 2 hours east of my husband’s parents. We officially moved and flew out of the United States on July 4, 2021. It was a very mixed emotional independence day.
We’ve been in Denmark for eight months now. I genuinely have no significant complaints. Generally, for the entire family, the move has been smooth. The children have adjusted better than expected. They already spoke Danish, so there weren’t any issues with the language. Our decision to live in a small town has been the biggest plus. There are many families in our small village, and the kids enjoy being able to walk down the street to a friend’s home to play. Both my husband and I still work from home. Because our companies are US-based, we have mostly switched to a US east coast working schedule. Monday – Thursday are typically long days, but we had flexibility on Fridays to have day dates while the kids are at school.
Although the move has mostly leaned positive, there have been some challenges.
- I’m still lagging in my Danish language skills. And while most people here can speak English, it is largely not preferred in the area we live.
- It is also still complicated to pay a US citizen living abroad (not temporarily) working with a US company. I’m becoming an expert in international employment and payroll law. Oh, and also randomly becoming an expert in investing in EU companies that do not have a registered US Del Corp.
- The administration process for applying for residency/visa and requirements for staying in Denmark is A LOT. Huge financial requirements, ongoing language school, and tests, proof of citizen involvement (needed for when I apply for permanent residency)
- I often miss my community (my chosen family) in San Francisco.
Springtime in Denmark is a unique experience. I’ve noticed the buds of new flowers blooming at the base of trees that are still bare. And have appreciated the sun steadily extending the days as we approach the summer, which comes with ~4a sunrises and midnight sunsets. Spring is here, and every sign I see of its presence signifies the promise of something new.