Before moving to Aarhus, Thomas and I had little idea what to expect from the social scene. Rumor had it the Danes social circles were hard to crack, but there seemed to be an international community that planned regular events. We expected to meet European expats, but didn’t expect many Americans. I’d have to say that I think we both have been pleasantly surprised by the diversity of people we’ve met and their willingness to help us adapt to a new country.
When we first arrived, we had to register our existence with the city, so we went to the International Citizen Services office. There, three or four other organizations are represented that provide services to foreigners. I learned about a spouse program that provides job seeking assistance to accompanying spouses. All of the events I have attend so far have been helpful and I’ve met people from France and Iran, to name a few. They also told us about the International Community, which organizes events, seminars, and networking events specifically for internationals in Aarhus. We decided to test the waters and went to one of their social events last week. The world started to feel a little bit smaller when the first person we spoke to at the event said she was originally from Hawaii. We also met people from Italy, Columbia, and Uzbekistan. I was impressed by the diversity and wondered how so many people had ended up in the second largest city of a country with a total population only slightly larger than the state of Minnesota.
The event was at a local cafe, called Café Smagløs, which in English means Cafe Tasteless. I’m not really sure what they were referring to when they decided on “tasteless” as a name. We didn’t have any food while we were there, but we are planning on returning for some eats. I’ll let you know if they live up to their name or not. Right before we left, I decided it would be a good idea to use the loo (few public restrooms). When I returned, Thomas was chatting with someone I would soon find out was a fellow Minnesotan who had earned a PhD in public health! She has been in Aarhus about a year working for the University. We exchanged numbers and had brunch with her yesterday. She recommended a great cafe called Langoff & Juul. We hadn’t tried it before, but turned out to be delicious (everything was also organic). Here is a link to their website and pictures of food: http://langhoffogjuul.dk/galleri/. I’m sure Thomas and/or I will blog about food in Denmark in the near future because there are some distinct differences worth noting.
Meeting a fellow Minnesotan who was generous in sharing her experiences in Denmark really put life here into perspective and I’m sure we will be seeing her again in the future. If I thought meeting one Minnesotan in Aarhus was lucky, Thomas also discovered another Minnesotan from Bloomington working in the Political Science department at the University. Although we didn’t expect to meet many Americans, let alone Minnesotans, it has been comforting to know that, at least in Denmark, it is a small world after all.