It’s taken me ages to find the right words to tell this story. You could say that things got bad, but I prefer to describe them in a more positive spin and instead say that they got interesting. At this time of writing I am divorced, and I visit my daughter two to three times a week. I work two part time jobs – soon to be three part time jobs, whilst also studying part time. I think of myself as a part time father too, so right now everything in my life is a crazy jigsaw puzzle of part time everything!
In the last entry for this blog I had just started the equivalent of doing full time Danish high school qualifications. The course itself was ridiculously intensive, as it condensed a 3 year syllabus for native Danish teenagers into a 10 month intensive course for adult foreigners. Very early on in the course I got rejected for financial state support, which didn’t help things. The circumstances in my life created a perfect storm for an absolute catastrophe. I had:
- 30 hours of mandatory classes in Maths, Biology, Danish, English and History each week
- 15 hours of homework a week
- The pressure of job hunting and constantly sending out job applications
- Having no income at all, skipping meals because I couldn’t always afford lunch
- Looking after an infant daughter which meant broken sleep and having to drop her off and pick her up from her daycare
- Living in a monolingual town where people don’t really speak English and feeling isolated and alone.
By the middle of October I had to quit school because I was hopelessly overwhelmed, and by the beginning of November things had by then become so bad financially that we were about to lose our home. After months of having only one income into the house, my wife explained that she could no longer support me financially or emotionally and I agreed to move out of the home to at least lessen the financial strain. It was around this point that divorce proceedings began, and the rest as they say, is history.
Leaving my daughter behind was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. I had nowhere else to go, and no way to support myself, so I reluctantly bought a one way ticket back to the UK with what little money I had left.
Around this time I got the first piece of good news in a very long time: I was offered a place to crash by my brother in law, and I found myself living in a caravan that was parked in inner city Copenhagen. I moved into the caravan before spending a couple of weeks in the UK thinking really hard about my daughter and what I could do. I borrowed money for one way flight back to Denmark and decided to try one last time to make it work out here, this time left to my own devices.
With no money, no home, very little family, a handful of contacts and a prepaid student travel card valid until February 2017, I came back to Denmark and threw myself into the unknown and began the fight to rebuild my life from the ground up here, so that I could visit my daughter and still be a father to her. This might sound heroic, but to any parents reading this, I know you’d do the same in a heartbeat for your own child.
Seeing as this is a language blog afterall, I’ll document the fun and interesting things I’ve been doing with languages so far in 2017.
I began working as a cashier in a busy Thai restaurant in central Copenhagen. It is extremely difficult to speak Danish and Thai in this fast paced environment, but I can tell you that it has done wonders for my level of Danish! I speak to customers in Danish, and I speak to my colleagues in Thai. Sometimes I use English if there are tourists who come to the restaurant.
In January I also participated in a Tekken 7 preview tournament, where someone mistook me for a Dane! To be fair the venue was really noisy and I think most people were just happy to play the new Tekken game 6 months before the official release date. For those who are curious, I was one match away from being in the top 8 of the tournament – I’m proud of that seeing as I hadn’t played Tekken for a year or so beforehand!
I celebrated Chinese New Year at an invite only event which was hosted by the Chinese Embassy here in Copenhagen. It was really exciting show, but it made me painfully aware that my limited knowledge of mandarin has almost completely atrophied.
I attended my first Capoeira class in over 6 years! I love Capoeira, and it was fun to do this again after such a long time. As part of this class, I even played some instruments and did some singing in Portuguese!
For the Thai New Year, I decided to go to the Wat Pa Temple here in Copenhagen. I went to make merit and spoke to a monk who didn’t speak English or Danish, so I had to communicate with the little Thai that I had to explain that things in my life didn’t work out as planned but that I am starting over and trying to be a better person. He suggested that I begin meditating and listening to dhamma talks.
I passed my Samfundsfag (sociology/politics) exam with the second highest grade! I had been studying part time since January on a course aimed at native Danish speakers, and it was very challenging! I’m really proud of this achievement!
I went to Mundo Lingo Copenhagen to practice as many languages as possible. I ended up speaking mostly English, a bit of Danish and enjoying the relatively cheap beer. I hope to go to this event more in the future to practice more languages.
I started doing bodyweight interval training and switched to a vegetarian diet. I’m using an app for the dieting which has not been localised into Danish, so it has been really challenging to hunt down the ingredients here in Denmark!
I’m once again studying part time – this time I’m studying Danish as a second language to make things a little easier with the courses I plan to do in the future. I also have continued to volunteer at the Rak Thai community here in Copenhagen.
The rest of this year
I plan on resuming a regular posting schedule for this blog every Sunday, and soon I actually want to relaunch the entire thing on it’s own website instead of being hosted on this wordpress.com platform.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you very much for reading and I hope you enjoy my future updates here! See you next week.