How did this happen to me? How did I get to this place without knowing a single soul let alone speak the language? Why did I get my heart broken, here of all places?
Questions with no answers scattered in the wind before me. Today, I let them go. It’s extraordinary sunny and I’ve been here long enough to appreciate it. Since the sheets of ice have melted on the beach and it’s been warm enough to ride my bike without wearing gloves, I’ve come here every day. I enjoy the wind haunting through my hair on the short ride and Finn has never disappointed me. Since I found her abandoned and rusty on the very path towards the beach, she has become a friend to me. I fixed her and now the bike’s aubergine-coloured body is lying next to me in the grass. Two lost souls that someone left behind. Today I feel free and I realize it’s been too long. I’m dozing off to the soothing sound of the waves and the rhythmic calls of the seagulls. I will miss them when I go home, but today I won’t think of that. If home is where my heart is, then this is also home. It’s funny, how I got to be another version of myself and be more myself than ever – in a foreign place, half the continent away from home. My home will be the world soon, for my friends here are slowly leaving one by one. It’s not time to be sad just yet, so I turn my head and look out to the North Sea. After what seemed a few minutes, I’m woken up by someone shouting after their dog. A glance at my watch tells me I’m running late, so I jump up and trust Finn to bring me home quickly.
By the time I arrive at the dorms, my lovely chimneys are waving at me from the window. They’ve become my family here, and there’s always one of them smoking at the window. I leave Finn outside and run up the stairs. They’re dressed already, so I have to hurry and get changed. My room is my ruined castle and it’s hard to find a skirt and some boots. I’m packing my small bag while getting dressed and I also take the camera. Memories can never be repeated, but pictures and songs make them tangible to the soul. Of course, I forget the small lights for the bike and I have to go back and fetch them. Everyone else is ready and swarming out on their bikes towards town. Ciders in the pub and good music with friends – my typical Danish weekend. It’s pub quiz night again and our little multinational group has gathered to conquer the prize. Our name tonight is “the smart Vikings”. Like every week, we wreck our minds and try to come up with answers to the most curious questions. During the course of the evening, I take a step back and watch my best guy friends fight over some question. I realize I haven’t thought sad things for some hours now. Realizing it makes me think of it again, but it hurts a little bit less than before.
The guys want to go to some other bar, so I join them and we dance and dance until the music stops. By the time we leave, it’s almost morning and we mount the bikes in the center where we left them. It’s harder to pedal up the hill now, but the streets are empty and the bright, orange street lights set the scene for a movie. My best friend and I are riding up the hill next to each other and discuss a few pub quiz questions again. Somehow, I always learn new things on Thursday nights. When we reach the big crossing, I can hear birds singing already and I see a dim light coming from the East. Summer in Esbjerg means it gets dark at midnight, and it gets light again at three o’clock in the morning. If I felt tired in the center, I feel wide awake now. My best friend says good night and bends a corner, but the singing birds follow me to my doorstep. I can still hear them by the time I go to bed and turn my back on the light coming through the window. In a few hours, I will enjoy my morning coffee with my girls and take a day at a time. They make me whole again and they like me for who I am. How did this happen to me?