We took a chance. And we are so very happy that we did.
This past week we have had a Danish family of four – Mom Jeanette, Dad Jonas, Marvin 5 years, and little baby Dexter 8 months – living with us. We had never met them before they arrived here – at least not in real life – so it was a bit of a gamble if having them here would be a success or a complete disaster.
Jeanette runs the Danish blog Little Huge Love and we have found each other on Instagram some months ago in connection with her planning her family’s trip to Australia and me being a Dane already living here. In August they moved to Canberra for three months in connection with Jonas’ job and are now doing a bit of a Down Under round trip. Their first stop was: Our house in Wollongong.
To be honest I was a little bit worried about how this would all turn out. I mean, what if we had nothing to talk about? What if the kids couldn’t connect? What if it got too intense for us to have strangers living in our home? What if? What if? What if?
I love being social but I also need my own space. And I can actually quite easily get mentally overwhelmed if I have to be around people I don’t feel 100% comfortable with. It drains me to be ‘ON’ – especially when I’m tired and pregnant. So, to say ‘yes’ to a whole family of strangers to live with us for a week was quite daunting for me.
But I did it. And I have no regrets. Neither has Josh. And the girls have had the best time.
Children are so damn cool.
The kids have played extremely well together. There has literally been less than five conflicts between them all week. Even the language barrier, that I was actually a bit worried about beforehand, was no real issue. Abby, of course, understood everything Marvin said, since she understands Danish perfectly. The problem with her and other Danish children normally is that she doesn’t speak the language fluently. She answers them in Australian and that can create some major communication problems and even frustrations and conflicts.
But the fact that Marvin has lived three months in Canberra, where he got used to the Australian language and even learned some words and phrases, helped a lot. He actually understood most of what Abby said and I also think he enjoyed that she understood everything he said, since the children he played with in Canberra most likely didn’t.
They quickly found each other and not only did Marvin learn some more Australian, Abby’s Danish language has also developed tremendously this past week just by hanging out with her new friend. Even Billie has started to say some words in Danish now. I love it. I hope we can maintain and maybe even expand the Danish vocabulary they have build up. At least I now know that they have the ability to speak Danish build into their growing, little brains and it’s not hiding too deep inside. Hurra!
Friendships truly were formed in our home during this past week. Hey, today I spent half an hour comforting Abby and Billie because they ‘already miss their friends!’
Actually, I got a little bit emotional too. I thought I would be relieved to have our home to ourselves again, but I didn’t really feel that. Instead I felt a bit numb.
Of course, it’s always a bit sad to say goodbye to friends leaving, even if they are new friends, but the fact that they are Danish plays a huge role for me. It felt really, really nice to have someone here that understands where I’m coming from, understands the issues I’m dealing with, and shares the same deeply rooted Danish values. And also, just to be able to speak my own language for a bit. And hear my children speak it too. It all felt very natural and pretty relaxed most of the time, something that isn’t always a given for us down here.
Hey, it was also quite practical to have some extra persons living here! When we were preparing the girls’ birthday party on Saturday they helped out heaps(!) Had it not been for Jeanette there would probably have been no homemade caramel slices, strawberry tarts or chocolate cupcakes to serve, and if it hadn’t been for Jonas our grass would not have been freshly mowed when the guests started arriving.
We owe them a HUGE thanks for the help – and we hope that we have been good hosts and given them a nice start to their wonderful holiday in Australia and Fiji. We did manage to show them around Wollongong a bit and took them on a day-trip up to the Blue Mountains, so there is no doubt that we have had a really nice week ourselves. Lots of good times and lots of good company. We cannot complain.
We can only encourage others to open their homes to “strangers”. It’s definitely a ‘seeeee ya, later’ to the Mortensen’s and we are already looking forward to welcoming other friends into our home someday soon – old or new.
But for now Josh will enjoy that he doesn’t need to wear clothes(!) around the house all the time and lets see if we can manage to get back into a normal daily routine before Christmas. I doubt it.
Have a happy Monday everyone!