July Currently

READING the headlines in the New York Times. I don't have time for much more these days.

WATCHING the Danish version of The Killing. We finishes season 1 and are waiting to watch season 2 until the first settles in a bit!

ANTICIPATING a trip to Seattle next month. I'm anxious about it triggering a terrible bout of homesickness. We're doing really well here in Denmark. Our new apartment is great, work is challenging, Cal is a happy man, Scott and I are doing good and having fun. It's been a lot of work to get to this point, and I don't want to derail it by being "home" in the best, sunniest month of the year!

LISTENING to Scott put Calvin down in the other room. It's been a rough day. We think he's come down with a little something, or is teething and drooling so much that it makes him cough. Either way, rough night last night and rough day today and rough going at the moment with putting him down. Overall I have to take heart that we've come leaps and bounds since arriving in Denmark. Really. I think we have, anyway!

EATING spaghetti. We've been cooking at home much more often here in Denmark, in part due to the high prices at restaurants, but also because it just feels good and settling. Tonight we had spaghetti... fresh noodles, spruced up sauce from a jar, bread from the local bakery, and wine that we picked out with our new neighbor friend, who is an aficionado. Delicious, if I do say so myself.

WORKING ON unpacking the last bits, mostly in our office/craft room, which is a humongous mess right now! We have two desks coming on Monday, which will help in this endeavor. 

WANTING nothing.

LEARNING how to make hummus, and I guess I lied in the section above, it's kind of making me want a food processor. I haven't found a decent hummus in the stores here... it's all very grainy and flavor-less.

Like Sister Like Sister

Another digital layout! As I started to put this together, I was remembering elements of layouts I'd seen before... all of them were made by Heather, of course! You could say, like sister, like sister. A huge benefit of going digital is being able to trace back what supplies others use, and snag them for myself!

Here's how my layout turned out. This is about our new, temporary apartment here in CPH. It's basic, and it's home for now!

Play All Day by SparklingAllison | Supplies: Hopscotch by One Little Bird, Pronuncial by Just Jaimee

Play All Day by SparklingAllison | Supplies: Hopscotch by One Little Bird, Pronuncial by Just Jaimee

Desperately Digital

Since all of our stuff, including my scrapbooking stash, is currently crossing the Atlantic, I decided to try my hand at digital scrapbooking. This is my first page!

Play All Day by SparklingAllison | Supplies: Hopscotch by One Little Bird

Play All Day by SparklingAllison | Supplies: Hopscotch by One Little Bird

Let me tell you, it was FUN and seriously easy to put together. The look of it is "digital" to me... which isn't necessarily bad, just different. The shadows don't feel quite right, and without the page being something I can touch, it doesn't feel as personal or complete. Almost like it was too easy

I noticed right away that the infinite options you have with digital layouts is daunting. I spent maybe 20 minutes tinkering with the size of each element on the page, which in the end didn't make that much of a difference!

All of the papers and elements are from One Little Bird's Hopscotch kit. I loved my sister's layout in our recent Scrapping Two by Two challenge, so naturally went and bought the same kit she used! 

I used Photoshop Elements to put the page together. I downloaded the free trial of it and was impressed at how suited it is for digital scrapbooking. I have the full verison of Photoshop on my desktop computer, which is also currently on the boat, but have been using it less and less in lieu of Lightroom. Given this experience with PSE, I may drop it altogether!

Will I become a digital scrapbooker? I don't know... the convenience of it is really nice, but I do also really like paper! I won't have access to paper supplies in the same way over here in Copenhagen though, so having digital as an option is fun for the time being!

Landed!

We finally made it to Copenhagen and have been spending the week adjusting to the time zone change. All in all, CSB has been great with it. We've gone from a 4am bedtime to a midnight bedtime over the last four nights, so that's progress.

To stave off sleep and keep ourselves occupied, we've been on a tour of Copenhagen parks. There are so many to explore, and the weather has been amazing.

Tomorrow we move in to our temporary apartment, where we'll likely be for a few months. We stopped by the building today and I'm excited about the neighborhood. There's a particularly charming day care very close by... if we remain in the area, I'd love to see CSB there!

It is not all wonderful. I have thought to myself, probably twice, "Why are we doing this?" The thought comes when I'm feeling particularly unsettled and unproductive, so I know it'll pass as life becomes more real and every day.

My favorite moment so far was renting a bike from our hotel and riding it to meet CSB and Scott who were sleeping in a park. The bike riding experience was so easy and made me really want a Copenhagen-style bike. (I'm on the lookout for a used one... they're spendy here!) And then coming upon CSB and Scott sleeping, surrounded by Danes and sunshine just made me super happy.

Grand and Great

We're here in North Carolina on the last leg of our "Adios America" tour, visiting Scott's Dad and Ellen. While the last few weeks have been really great, I'm feeling ready to be settled again! From here, we land in CPH and are in a hotel for about 5 days before moving into our temporary housing where we'll be for a couple of months. "Settled" is relative, I suppose! Being able to unpack for more than a week will be nice.

Seeing CSB with his grandparents and great grandparents on our tour has been just special. He's really taken to all of them really easily. Before we left we were seeing some signs of stranger anxiety... we haven't noticed any of it during the trip. CSB is just happy and seems to understand that these people are special. They're family!

April Currently

Brought to you from our RV in Moab, Utah.

READING AAA travel books on Southern Utah. My mom is a member and we picked them up for our trip. Surprisingly good. They cover everything with just a little detail, which is just enough for me.

WATCHING the light and shadows across the red rock landscape throughout the day. They are constantly changing and so gorgeous.

ANTICIPATING our arrival in CPH in a few weeks... although, it's a very fleeting thought.

LISTENING to This American Life. A favorite for long drives.

EATING basics. Whatever we can make in our little kitchenette, which for two nights has been spaghetti and meatballs. Sandwiches for lunch. Eggs and pancakes for breakfast. Let me tell you that it's glorious to have a fridge stocked with cold beverages when we get back from hiking or are deep into a long drive.

WORKING ON finding our next RV site for Thursday and Friday nights! We spent the last few at the Moab Valley RV Resort, which I got because it has a pool but didn't end up swimming!

WANTING nothing.

LEARNING about salt, silt and erosion.

CSB and the RV.

We picked up our RV yesterday and drove straight to the most beautiful place on earth... Southern Utah. CSB is a total fan. He loves the bed and windows in the back, which let him bounce around and look outside at a scene that changes every time we stop. I'm serious, he loves it. Every time. (He also loves his sponge.)

We spent today in Arches National Park. If you have never been, I implore you to go. GO! It is so unbelievably gorgeous. We lucked out with moderate, but warm weather. And we couldn't have picked a better form of transportation for visiting with a 9-month-old. Whenever CSB needed to nap today, we slipped him into the car seat and hopped from viewpoint to viewpoint, taking turns getting out of the rig when we stopped. Whenever CSB was awake, we got out to hike around together. We had meals and snacks with us at all times. It was a lovely day.

Not quite on vacation.

We're in Utah right now... not quite on vacation, not quite at home. Although Edward Sharpe's lyrics "Home is whenever I'm with you" have come to mind many times!

It's been really nice to have furniture and home-cooked meals. The weather has been amazing. And it is especially nice to have CSB get some more time with his grandparents! We've been here a lot this year and I'm sad that we won't be able to come as often going forward.

CSB always seems to be learning something new when he's here... this week it is, I kid you not, walking. Assisted walking, but walking nonetheless. This guy is a mover and a shaker and cannot be stopped!

A letter, a snapshot.

I write letters to CSB every once in a while and I wanted to share this one here.

Dear CSB,

The movers came today and hoovered everything out of our condo that wasn't cordoned off with blue tape. We'd been working furiously to get ready, sorting and sifting our possessions into three categories: get rid of it, move it, take it with us. I felt prepared enough when the movers arrived this morning... Of course, the first question from the movers was, "Do you guys need more boxes?" We were very confused because none of our stuff was in boxes. We expected the movers to be packing everything for us! After a little heart attack, everything was sorted out, and the movers indeed spent the majority of the day packing up our things into boxes they provided!

You spent the day with Katie. It's your last week together, and everybody is very sad about that. Over the last few weeks, your mood seemed to match Katie's (and mine and Scott's)... very melancholy and generally sad. She talked about long, teary rocking sessions during your naps. And generally clingy, chill play times together. You can't possibly know what is going on right now, but you have absolutely picked up on the mood. Perceptive, and a reminder of our connection with each other.

With the final week finally here, you and Katie are both in better spirits though and have spent the time celebrating and having fun. (I can't say the same for myself, as it's been really stressful.) Yesterday you spent over an hour at Volunteer Park, watching the older kids play and eating mulch (much to Katie's dismay!). You had big, big smiles while riding the swing! And it sounded like a ton of fun.

Katie's last day is tomorrow. We have plans for a takeout sushi dinner, picnic style in our empty condo, together after work. We bought Katie an iPad as a going away and thank you gift. And while I think she'll like it a lot, it doesn't make up for how sad everyone is about our arrangement ending. She's loved you so deeply and openly, and been such a trusted adviser and partner to me and Scott in our first months of parenthood. That's a relationship and moment that we will never have again... I'm so happy to have been able to experience it in the way that we did together.

While we prepped for the move today, our "take it with us" pile kept growing and growing with the realization that these few items would be our only worldly possessions for the next three months. We have a lot on our agenda -- from visiting relatives in suburbia, to frolicking in the red rock desert of Southern Utah, to attending business meetings in Europe. I'm sure I brought more clothes than is necessary, but it made me feel better to err on the side of excess. (Like a good American.) We also, of course, will have you in tow. You warrant your own suitcase and backpack! I've squirreled away some of your favorite toys over the last month, hoping to reintroduce them to you on our journey. I'm hoping that they are comforting and give you some grounding as our routine is not a routine and the landscape changes in front of our eyes from day to day. 

CSB, we had a great snuggle session last night. Scott stayed up late after I went to bed, and it was another night where he took one look at us sleeping and decided to sleep on the couch! Sometimes we get so comfy, we take up the entire bed. It was just one of those night where we felt very in sync. You woke a few times and wanted to nurse or just be pat back to sleep, which was easy. There wasn't a whole lot of fussing... And this morning, I could tell you were waking up, but also wanting to revel in the last moments of sleep. You smiled and stretched, eyes closed, snuggling closer. Sweet thing.

That's all for now, my love. 

Your mama. Allison

Copenhagen FAQ

USDenmarkFlags.jpg

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.

COPENHAGEN FAQ

Why Copenhagen?
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?