I am home. I sit on my dad’s balcony with a glass of wine in my hand. This is where I live now. My hair’s bleached almost pure white to get rid of the excess green. I have a job in telemarketing that I hate. My friends have been scattered around the country, making it harder to see them spontaneously, but like my family, they’re a lot closer now than they have been for the past few years. My plans to go back to school have been compromised by new laws, so I’m back to square one. Here I am, just trying to make a life for myself in a country that is home, yet seems so foreign to me after a long time on the road. I’m standing still, but constantly moving.
I don’t have much time to be bored, though. I have barely put down my backpack before I find out that one of my favourite rock bands, KISS, is playing next week. After aggressively spending Terese’s birthday weekend convincing her to go, she surprises me by getting the tickets for us. We head to Forum, where we share seats with people from a generation where sitting still and with your arms crossed is the only acceptable behavior at a rock concert. Our dancing and singing along (to songs we don’t really know) makes them get up and head to different seats. Our local pride, Pretty Maids is the warm-up for KISS and to my disappointment, they don’t play Please Don’t Leave Me. Then KISS takes the stage and it’s a rather tame show, but a great experience nonetheless. I just wish they had played Christine Sixteen.
I get to visit Albulena, who now lives in Flensburg, Germany. We go food and wine shopping and have a nice lunch. After getting day drunk, we go to the city center for dinner and cocktails, and I end up throwing up in the bathroom at the restaurant like the class act that I am, and then we go back and pass out. It’s nice to see her new home and meet her fiancée Dardan for the first time. It’s convenient we finally meet, as I’m heading to Kosovo for their wedding very soon.
As soon as the opportunity arises, Aga, Terese and I take a little road trip to get a change of scenery. Sure, it’s only for a day, and it’s no further than Western Jutland, but we need it. We start out in Ribe, Denmark’s oldest town and a must-see for tourists who appreciate history, coziness and Vikings. Its pretty little streets and old buildings are not only Instagram-worthy, but also brimming with history. We do cartwheels down the cobblestone pavement, visit the churches that are open for Ascension Day, and walk along the running river. We are too cheap and indecisive when it comes to picking a place for lunch, so we end up at… *drum roll* …Burger King!
After we’ve chowed down, we drive to Rømø, a small island that’s part of The Wadden Sea National Park. We sit on a couple of old cannons on top of a hill and have a lukewarm beer, before heading to the beach. Either there’s a kite festival that we haven’t heard about happening today, or otherwise people here just love their kites. We kick our shoes off and dip our feet in the Wadden Sea. Then it’s time for a quiet little hike in the lush forest until we reach Spidsbjerg, where we get an amazing view over the landscape. Eventually, we make our way back to East Jutland and have a BBQ, before we embarrass ourselves at the Australian Bar beer pong tournament. We don’t win, but at least the drinks are cheap!
We also go to Prison Ink, a tattoo festival/convention at the famous prison in Horsens, with my sister and Marlle, her new boyfriend. We met when I invited them over for Cinco de Mayo, where we got too drunk on Sangria and ate a bunch of tacos while Mexican music was playing in the background. Back at Prison Ink, we walk around with a beer in hand, checking out the stalls, before grabbing an amazing burger from Oksen and another beer that we have on a bench in the sun, while listening to live music. We even meet my cousin, who’s working at the convention and I am drunk and making an ass out of myself and wooing at the bands – we all think the bass player Ronnie is super cute. Unfortunately, it’s the lead singer that thinks I’m cute too.
Work life is dull, especially when all you do is stare at a computer and get yelled at on the phone all day. Terese, Aga and I grab some burgers at Aarhus Street Food one day after work where I am particularly hangry, and then we go to Tivoli Friheden for an afternoon concert featuring many Danish acts, like Gulddreng and Johnny Deluxe. We drink a few beers, befriend a transgender in the long que to the bathroom, dance and sing along to old tunes, and then we go back to Aga’s and triple-spoon.
Albulena and I also take the burgers and beers route when we head to the race track in Aarhus, where I’ve spent many days with my dad as a kid. Fortunately, this time we’re not here to look at horses, but at Justin Bieber repeatedly grabbing his crotch and lipsynch (poorly). We stand in line outside of the grounds for nearly two hours in old food and dirt left behind by people spending the night to get first in line. It’s smelly and disgusting, but the festival-like vibe that we are met with makes up for it. It’s a warm and sunny day and we find a nice spot in the grass to eat our hearts out – and then we finish off with a cone of churros with soft serve and chocolate sauce. Sick and a bit tipsy, we dive into the crowd of Purpose-shirt-wearing teenage girls and wait for the party to start. Even though I am pleasantly surprised by his punctuality, something I wasn’t expecting, it’s a very underwhelming show. Thank God for Baby!