Although I don't deny that I love looking at the windmills that spot the landscape in Jylland....
Yes, some of the decisions made by the Danish government make me SICK to my stomach, but because I am not a citizen, I cannot vote and try to make changes through the democratic system. (So I have 2 choices-- complain because I am not able to vote and change what I hate..... or find another way in....)
So I choose to go in from a different angle. I work to change the way that the Danish government and the Danish society SEE THE IMMIGRANT. Everything I do in my life (personally, professionally and as a volunteer) are about leaving my world better than how I found it.
That is not some new age philosophy I took up when I moved to Denmark. It is the way I live my life. It is not some systematic plot to make other immigrants look bad. It is just who I am and what I do.
If I, as an immigrant, can do something in my local community of Herning, Denmark to leave this place a little better each day for all of us, then that is how I, PERSONALLY, CAN WORK TO UNDO some of the damage done by those things in the Danish government that make my stomach turn.
Some of these things are BIG...some of these things are small and seemingly inconsequential, but all of them are things that PUT ME IN the community in which I live.
I get out of my house.
I talk to people.
I look them in the eye.
I smile at them.
I work FOR them and WITH them.
I talk to them about who I am as a Cajun and as a Texan.
I feed them foods that are from my culture.
I bake them desserts to say thank you for something they have done.
I write them notes of appreciation.
I ask them questions about their families and their children.
I bless them when they sneeze.
And I stop and pet their dogs as Albert stops to say hello....
And you know sometimes I receive NOTHING IN RETURN.
No smiles back.
No eye contact returned.
No interest in who I am or where I come from.
No acknowledgement of the note received.
Only quizzical looks when I say "bless you".
And sometimes I get no real answers when I ask questions about their personal lives because they find it a bit odd that I am asking.
But you see, I don't do those things to GET SOMETHING BACK.
I do them because that is WHO I am and HOW I am as a girl raised in the southern United States. And I do them because THAT is how I see myself IN Denmark....being a part of the daily life.
And when I leave my house and INSERT MYSELF into the society, I am working inch by inch (or centimeter by centimeter) to change the perception so many of them have about foreigners. I am FIGHTING AGAINST the image that the Søren Pinds and Pia Ks of the world are creating for them.
So THAT is how I see Denmark-- I see it with ME IN IT. And if I can see it that way, maybe someday all the anti-udlændinger folks will start to see it that way too. But IT STARTS WITH ME and MY ATTITUDE.
|June 18, 2008. The day I moved into my new home in Herning, Denmark.|