Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Warning: Rant to follow

I just thought I would say Hi and tell my blog that I haven't forgotten about her. (I've decided that my blog is of the female gender.) The thing is, I've got a few things swirling in my head that are getting in the way of posting: homework for Danish class, searching and applying for jobs, and studying for my Danish driver's license.  I can't gripe too much about the homework although it does suck when you're 37 and long finished with school.  As for the job part, well, it really sucks.  I've applied for so many, everything from being a school janitor to working in corporate communications.  Those are the extremes one goes to when living abroad and hoping to find something.  Anything.

Yesterday I met with a man about delivering newspapers M-F from approximately 3:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.  The job involves going to the Shell station and loading your car with papers, driving around to all the houses on your route, sticking papers in mailboxes, and checking each delivery off on a list.  The pay is just over 4000 kroner a month, or about $800.  I was seriously considering it until I had a lengthy discussion with Alan who did the math and said that the weekly gas consumption combined with the wear and tear on our (1999 Citroen Berlingo) isn't worth the pay.  And then there's the getting up at 3:30 in the morning part.  Sometimes it annoys me, but it's times like these when I really appreciate Alan's practical and critical thinking skills.

A few weeks ago I spent five hours of work editing a Danish friend's company website, which contains all English text.  I didn't earn much (just over the equivalent of $300), but I enjoyed it and would like to find more jobs along these lines.  But first I need to do the research and identify which companies with English websites to approach.  The key is finding companies with sites with poorly written content and/or typos and other mistakes.

Okay, here is where the bitching really ramps up.  If you are one of the lucky souls to come from an EU country or the exempted countries of England, Japan, and Russia (what?!) you get off scott free and can drive in Denmark legally.  For all of us unlucky Americans and Canadians (and others outside of the EU), we have to take both the written exam and driving test --IN DANISH!  You are allowed to use a translator for the exam but at your expense.  And it's not cheap.  What's more, the municipality "strongly recommends" that you take driving lessons.  This is where I lose it, friends.  I. Know. How. To. Drive.  I have been driving for, dare I say it?, 20 years!  Also, the roads and rules in Denmark are nearly identical to those in the U.S.  But never mind.  There is no way around this rule, unfortunately.  I've tried.  So at this point, I am floating by with my temporary permit and reading the driving manual; I was lucky enough to find a copy in the library system that I could get on interlibrary loan that's in English.  But the test won't be.  Hence, the translator.  Did I mention that they also make you surrender your home country driver's license as soon as you get the Danish card?

Sorry.  I realize this is a blog about food, not about driver's licenses, unemployment, or homework.  But sometimes, it really helps to have a rant and get it off your chest.  At least it helps me, so I guess I'm thankful for my blog for giving me an outlet to complain from time to time.  At the very least, I'm "educating" all of you prospective Danish citizens out there.  Because I'm sure there are a ton.

By the way, I know what it might look like, but the turtles are actually sunning themselves.  They live in a tank at our local library.


  1. Well said! We all need a place to vent. Can you take the drivers' test once without the translator and see if you can do it? If it's like here, you do the written and then the driving. I noticed on our written test (when we moved to Oregon) that the longest answer was always the right one. Also, any answer that had the word "safely" in it was always the right one. Knowing a few key phrases might be all you need to pass it... Or at least you would know how hard it is before you hire a translator and take driving lessons.

    Also, I know sometimes we need to rant for the sake of ranting and don't want a solution, but if it makes you feel better, you have to give up your old license when you get a new one here, too...

    And I love your idea about the websites - they probably really need it. (And thank God you are not going to be delivering papers at 4 AM!) Can you ask your friend if she/he knows other companies that could use your services?

    And the turtles are hilarious.

    The End.

  2. Thanks for the ideas, Alissa! Yes, there must be some tricks to the Danish test, too! Happy Belated Birthday, friend!

  3. Okay, I honestly didn't come here to promote my own blog, but now that you've brought up the topic of the driver's license, I just have to have you go read this!

    Feel free to ask me about that darn test - I took it 3 times so I'm quite familiar with it!