Scott and I put together this FAQ for our going away party in hopes that it would thwart having to answer the same questions over-and-over and allow us to really say goodbye, thank you, and we love you to our people in Seattle.
We have been wanting to move to Scandinavia since the first Obama election in 2008. We were on vacation in Norway, Sweden and Denmark when Washington Mutual (where Allison was working at the time) crashed. With so much upheaval and uncertainty happening at home, the Scandinavian contrast was stark. We saw countries that are not (yet) operated by corporations, where the citizens take care of each other, where happy families are ubiquitous, and where religion just isn’t a big deal. Plus, Vikings. We vowed to live there at some point in the future. Allison needed to finish her MBA program first, and Scott started work at best-job-ever Bungie, which delayed us… We decided to pull the trigger now because (a) we both have strong work prospects and (b) we want CSB to grow up speaking multiple languages.
When do you leave?
Tomorrow! Monday we fly out to Salt Lake and spend time with Allison’s family for a week. Then we rent an RV and take our sweet time driving down to Phoenix to see her 91 year old grandmother, checking out some of the incredible southern Utah sights. Then we fly to Asheville NC to hang out with Scott’s dad and partner for a week. Then it’s adios muchachos and off to Copenhagen on April 27.
What are you doing with your condo?
We are renting it out using Windermere as our management company. We hope to retire there, so stay tuned for more Sangria Sundowners in 2035.
What are you doing with Chunk the Glorious Leader?
The Danish system of taxes and fees amounts to 180% of the car’s value. Many Danes think this is far too low – they really don’t want people driving. So Chunk got sold to a wholesaler. Sob! We miss him. And we’ll be going back to what life was like before Chunk, when we happily lived car-free for five years. Except this time, we’ll be in a place that really supports it. Only 30% of Copenhagen residents own a car, and most people commute by bike.
Is Luke going with you?
The Fatburger is going to stay with his uncle in Utah for the short term, while we find permanent housing and get settled. We’ll be back to pick him up later this year. CSB and Fatburger are BFF’s, so they can’t be kept apart for too long.
What will you be doing for work? How did you find your jobs?
Scott will be working at Unity (a video game tech company), and Allison has already started with GameAnalytics. Both are based in central Copenhagen. Scott’s known the Unity guys for a long time through the industry, and Allison made a bunch of contacts in Denmark during our trip there last spring. This pretty much what decided Copenhagen vs. Oslo or Stockholm.
What will Scott be working on at Unity?
No idea other than it’s probably going to require making like a dinosaur and writing C++. He starts work on May 1.
What’s Allison doing at GameAnalytics?
She’s Vice President of Product, so she’ll be presiding over several productive vices.
What are you doing for childcare for CSB?
Allison’s little sister is going to join us for a month while we get settled and figure out childcare. We’ll eventually be sending CSB to “nursery”, which is much like American daycare. He’ll be in a group of other children between the ages of 1 and 3. There’s a 6-month waiting list for most nurseries, however, so we’ll likely be starting with an in-home nanny or “daycare”, which in Denmark is actually care in someone else’s home with a smaller group of children.
Where are you going to live?
We will be in temporary housing for a couple of months as we look for a place to live. We plan to live in the city and are eyeing the neighborhoods (or “communes”) of Østerbro, Christianshavn and Vesterbro. Regardless, we’ll always be close to green space… “It is official municipal policy in Copenhagen that by 2015 all citizens must be able to reach a park or beach on foot in less than 15 minutes.”
What are you doing with all of your stuff?
We sold and purged a lot of it, then movers came last Wednesday to take everything else away and put it on a boat. (Yes, the Love Pod made the cut and will be meeting us over there!) The journey takes about 4-8 weeks.
How long are you going to stay in Copenhagen?
Could be a couple years, could be forever! Depends on how much we like it there. After five years, the nice expat tax break we get (flat 32%) expires, and then we’ll have to make a financial decision to stay or come back to America or go somewhere else!
When will you be back to visit Seattle?
We don’t know, but hopefully next year!
Are you going to learn Dutch?
We are going to learn Danish.
Isn’t Copenhagen cold? What’s it like there?
Copenhagen is about as far north as Northern British Columbia (55°41′N), so it is quite cold. Its metropolitan area has a population of 1.9M compared to Seattle’s 3.5M. Its urban population is denser however, with 1.2M compared to Seattle’s 635K.
What kind of food do they have?
Copenhagen is a fish and potatoes kind of place. They enjoy open sandwiches (smørrebrød) on rye bread and meatballs. Their national beers are Carlsberg and Tuborg, and akvavit is a popular hard liquor.
Aren’t taxes really high there?
Yes, but the money goes to good causes like health care, public transit, subsidized child care, and free education through college. The tax situation is very favorable for families. Denmark also doesn’t invade a lot of countries (anymore) so most of that money goes where it’s intended.
Can I come and visit?
YES! Please do. May through September are the best times! And don’t book hotels, it’s crazy expensive there. We will likely have a much bigger place than we do now, with plenty of room for guests.
OTHER THINGS TO TALK ABOUT
- What is your favorite memory of Scott, Allison, CSB and/or Luke?
- Your plans for world domination.
- What is your favorite place in America?
- What is your favorite place in Europe?