Arriving at Los Angeles Airport, all I knew about the United States I had seen in American movies, read about in the media and heard about from other travelers. I was not quite sure what to expect from the country of the cheeseburgers, Coca Cola and the orange president.
Like I have told you in some of my other columns, a lot of things have surprised me about the United States after moving here that are both positive and negative. Denmark and the United States are like day and night and comparing the two countries is almost not fair.
Denmark is a small country with only six million people, and the United States is 50 states with a 323 million population. In Denmark, you are allowed to be naked at the beach and in the United States you can go to prison for peeing in public. In Denmark, it is a norm not to talk to strangers and in the United States it is normal to ask strangers how they are doing.
Being a Dane living in San Diego has been very exciting, and at some points, a little challenging. Americans and Danes have different traditions, different norms, different rules and different ways to do things, and being from non conservative Scandinavia, moving to a little more conservative America has resulted in some challenges along the road.
But at the same time, moving to another country that is so different from your home country also makes you put things into perspective, and I think Danes can learn a lot of things from the Americans and the American culture.
One of the things I was most surprised about moving to the United States, was that Americans are so forthcoming and helpful towards people they don’t know, and I think that is something Danes in general could be better at.
Besides the relaxed and chill Californian culture, and dressing California casual, there are a lot of things that I am going to bring home with me to Denmark. Just taking one day at a time and enjoying life.
My time in the United States has been a six-month-long adventure, and moving to San Diego has, without doubt, been one of the best choices I have made in my 24 years of life. I fell in love with San Diego the first day I arrived, and I am still deep in the honeymoon phase.
I am going to miss always waking up to a blue sky, being able to go to the beach every day, the beautiful San Diego people, the Californian vibe, being able to go out every day of the week, enjoying the amazing nature and, of course, all the ridiculous cheap candy.
But I am going to fly home to Denmark with a suitcase filled with unforgettable memories, funny stories, amazing adventures, educational and culture shocking experiences, countless new friends and a camera filled with beautiful Instagram-worthy photos.
Thank you for having me San Diego. Hopefully, I will see you again soon!
Mathilde Rousseau Bjerregaard was an editorial intern with San Diego Community Newspaper Group. She is from Aarhus, Denmark. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.