Sunday, November 14, 2010

Haldana


By Brittany
Etsy shop

Earlier this year I spent some time in Copenhagen, Denmark (I wrote about some of my experiences in my most recent zine if you're interested in reading about it), so I was excited to read this zine about an American living in the city.

Brittany's experiences in Copenhagen are pretty different from mine, and they should as a tourist won't see or do the same things as a local. They really reminded me of my time spent in South Korea: the sense of loneliness, the isolation, not knowing the culture, not being able to connect to anyone, interacting with other foreigners who for the most part you would never talk to if you were in another situation. Damn, sometimes living in another country sucks.

Brittany moved to Denark so she could be with the person she loved, and this zine deals with the problems she faces living in a country where she doesn't speak the language. Sure, most people do speak English, but not everyone does, and finding a job, or even going shopping, becomes extra difficult. Brittany talks about the bureaucracy she has to deal with, her experiences with the people that live in Copenhagen (both local and foreign born), and dealing with not living the life others expect from you.

Some of the stuff that Brittany writes about seem really odd to me. She can't cook without written translations of recipes from your partner? Had she never cooked anything before? She couldn't order an English language cookbook? She couldn't find any recipes on the internet? I mean, I couldn't cook much in Korea, but that was more due to the fact that I didn't really have access to the ingredients that I wanted, rather than any other problem. Maybe my constant moves over the last few years have made me appreciate what I do have access to instead of what I can't get.

I wonder if one of the issues Brittany has is a refusal to allow the possibility of staying in Denmark. She says a few times throughout the zine that she wants to move back to the USA, and that way of acting probably puts some people on the defensive in regards to interactions with her. (People are usually at least somewhat nationalistic, even if it's just "Why isn't our country good enough for you?") Also: Many Americans' obsession with Obama weirds me out.

Overall, I found Brittany's experiences of being an outsider looking in on another culture interesting, even if I couldn't always understand all of her decisions. Worth reading if you're interested in immigration, the idea of being an outsider, or Denmark.

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