It’s crazy just thinking that I’ve been living and working in Copenhagen, Denmark for more than a year! I had heard about the great work-life balance and sustainability culture here from news, books (Meik Wiking’s The Little Book of Lykke), and even a Danish friend. As silly as it sounds to most Singaporeans, I knew for a fact that I wanted to dedicate more time to personal development (i.e. my hobbies), so the idea of moving really appealed to me. Earlier this year, Singapore Global Network approached me to write about my story, linked via here if you’re curious.
Even though it was difficult leaving the comforts of banking in Singapore, after selling tech funds to clients I too was curious about life in tech. So when the opportunity to work in SaaS with Queue-it came, I packed up and moved across the world 😀
And so, the past year has been wonderful! Working in a vibrant Danish-founded scale-up filled with 50+ nationalities, that still celebrates its traditional Danish roots through festivities, has made integrating into Danish culture a lot less difficult. I’m extremely grateful for great teammates, and an understanding and supportive management team. Oftentimes, it is your management who sets the tone, and I’ve not forgotten the times especially during earlier Queue-it days where they have told me to head home at 4.30pm or not to work/message on public holidays/weekends. Now I have more vacation leaves than ever, time for hobbies, DIY work, and adulting in general. The fact that my office lies in trendy Meatpacking District / Kødbyen, in the heart of charming Copenhagen, also makes it better. Honestly, it’s been ages since I’ve had the dreaded “Sunday scaries” or “Monday blues” :’)
Outside of work, I love that I get to stay active all the time, just like how the Danes are an active bunch too. I bike to/fro work/around Copenhagen, am in a Sports Club where I get to play football weekly, participate in beach volleyball/water sports in summer (and practice Danish in the process), and that the gym is just a minute from my apartment.
Learning a new language is never easy, but I’m slowly starting to feel the sense of satisfaction people talk about when you can finally understand (and even respond to) Danish. Passing Module 2 (out of 5) as part of free Danish language education in June was extra special, as it coincided with my birthday and work anniversary. Having the epiphany whilst hiking in Norway that I could read Norwegian was a bonus cherry-on-top!
It has also been extremely insightful learning more about sustainability in Denmark and within Scandinavia/the broader EU area. Being able to discover thought leaders here has led to a continuous expansion of my interest in this space, and I’m very excited to learn even more! In my own little ways, I can see that my habits have changed for the better, really like that I learnt about Denmark’s PANT recycling program, and can witness how the country walks-the-talk with sustainability.
As part of the promise to myself to continuously build my way towards a well-lived, joyful life, I am grateful that I get to spend more time in nature. I’ve been told “I have never met anyone else as in love with hiking as you” more than a handful of times already haha! Being able to develop my passions (hiking and adventure photography) and projects (this site!) has been amazing. Since moving over, I’ve hiked in the French and Swiss Alps (I wrote about my experience on the Walker’s Haute Route here), Ireland, Norway; camped around Denmark; and skied in Sweden. I plan to embark on the Alta Via 1 thru-hike in the Italian Dolomites later this summer. Well I don’t know what they put in nature, but it sure is addictive… 😛
Last year I checked off visiting famous European Christmas markets and drank mulled wine in the cold winter. Unashamedly, I finally lived through the 1st spring of my life!
There were many more experiences in the past year that has left me with feelings of “hygge” (Danish for “cozyness”). Ofcourse in all these highlights, there have also been not-so-nice times. Initially confident that my happy-go-lucky personality and network of friends would endow me immunity to winter’s depression, I had only realised that it hit me coming out of winter in Feb/Mar this year when a friend pointed it out. I was describing to her things like struggling to wake up to get to the gym, being overwhelmed by self-sabotaging thoughts, being frustrated with things that never bothered me in the past, home sickness, and even contemplating moving away from Denmark. To cope with the darkness and home sickness, I’ve now learnt keep close to friends, stay active indoors, and improve my subpar cooking skills!
The learning lesson as an always-summer individual after having gone through all the seasons is that there is no perfect place, nor a perfect society. A cliché for its underlying truth perhaps – is probably to embrace the 90/10 principle – life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
If you read my little celebratory blogpost until here, I just wanted to express my heartfelt appreciation. Thank you for being in my life, and I wish you all the best in your life journey too! Till next time 🙂