Oh December, you were good to us. We left for Denmark on 11th and spent two wonderful weeks enjoying friends and family in Copenhagen and on Bornholm. This is the plus side of both being unemployed – being able to leave whenever you feel like it!
Leaving so early also meant we didn’t put up any Christmas decorations this year and I was surprisingly ok with that. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the commercialism this year – maybe something to do with having to suddenly write wish lists for my daughter and wanting to yell “she’s 6 months! she doesn’t need anything but my boobs!” Still, I did feel suitably festive wandering through the gorgeousness that is Tivoli at Christmas.
This month I’ve been mostly…
The Tiger’s Wife, by Téa Obreht. It’s our January book club read and so I got started on it early. I really enjoyed it. This novel reads more like a set of stories of people in an Eastern European country, with one modern day narrative tentatively connecting the whole thing. If you have to have a strong plot to enjoy a book, this is not for you. But if you enjoy beautiful writing and thoughtful (sometimes contradictory) ponderings on how we relate to life, war and death, then I’d recommend it.
Now I’m half way through The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd. (Actually this was our book club’s read back in May I think but being heavily pregnant, I had other things on my mind and never got around to it then). I am really loving it so far and intrigued to see where it goes.
I love the On Being podcast. As well as new episodes, I have a massive back catalogue of episodes to devour. And podcasts are the best friend of a baby-mama. This month I’ve especially enjoyed the interviews with James Martin, a Jesuit priest, and Joanna Macy.
In the search for good children’s music, I remembered Rain for Roots, who sing lovely non-annoying Christian songs that I would be happy for Kaya to learn. I sing to Kaya a lot – amazingly, it seems to calm her and cheer her – and the songs that have been coming to my mind are often old Sunday School choruses. Their simple truths are still so enjoyable for me to sing and I would love if one day Kaya has the same experience with her children…
We finished watching Elementary together this month. And then we watched the first episode of Miranda. Rasmus’comment: “It seems all English comedy is just about awkwardness.” Yes. That’s about right. We’re all just terribly awkward. It helps to laugh about it.
Copenhagen is one of my favourite cities in the world and I love that I get to explore a little more of it with each trip back. We stayed on Amager, to be in walking distance from friends, and enjoyed brunch (my favourite thing to do in Copenhagen) at two great cafes there: Mad Manifesten (mad means food) and Cafe Under Elmene.
We also went to the National Museum and spent a rainy afternoon exploring the ancient Denmark section – full of Vikings and old boats and crazy horn instruments. It was completely fascinating.
Our last day before heading to Bornholm we caught the train north to Hillerød, with its beautiful castle (deserted on a wet cold afternoon) and good friends to stay with. I often complain that when we visit Denmark we only ever go to Copenhagen and Bornholm, so it was fun to add another spot to this list.
We’d borrowed one of those “umbrella” folding buggies from a friend to take with us on the plane, and it was brilliant to have with us. Only we felt like we had the smart car of pushchairs alongside all those monster-truck Danish prams!
Kaya’s bedtime falls right when I used to enjoy unwinding with a glass of wine while cooking dinner. Now that time is spent coaxing a sleepy girl to actually, you know, sleep. In the meantime, Rasmus is doing a great job of cooking all the new recipes I’d planned to. Like this Stuffed Aubergine with lamb and pine nuts (we used beef, minced lamb being impossible to find here) from my favourite Ottolenghi cook book, Jerusalem. Or these Sriracha Seared Salmon Cakes, which were yummy.
I do still use nap times to bake when I can though. This month that included my favourite Gingersnap Cookies from Smitten Kitchen, and these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars, which I am eating right now and are oh so good…
small church. I was scheduled to preach on 28th December. A combination of it being the awkward Sunday in between Christmas and New Year in an expat church (read: everyone flies home or goes travelling), and a surprise heavy snow fall, meant the second service had a massive seven people show up. There were more of us there in serving roles than in the congregation. So we threw the schedule out the window, gathered everyone on the stage and had the cosiest, loveliest service I’ve experienced in a long time.
speaking Danish. I loved having a whole two weeks of immersion again. It’s fun to realise by the end of the holiday how much more I am understanding. Rasmus and I speak more Danish at home since Kaya was born (he speaks just Danish to her) but English is still the dominant language. It was nice to turn that upside down for a few weeks.
gentle new years. We saw in the new year snacking on samosas and doing jigsaw puzzles with a few good friends while Kaya slept through the fireworks in the next room. Perfect.
Linking up as always with the lovely Leigh Kramer (who has more great podcast recommendations that I am taking this month…)