The Rollercoaster Ride that was 2013

It’s been one year since I started this blog and found out I was going to Greenland! Exciting, but not always easy. To wrap up the year, I’ve filled-in-some-blanks and highlighted one blog per month that readers enjoyed following!

January was the craziest month, with all my friends and family in Australia bewildered about where I was going. Not least because everyone (including myself) thought I was moving to Denmark on a one-way ticket. We found out that my Danish visa application got rejected which was a huge teary bummer. Then about 3 weeks before I was supposed to fly to Denmark, J got a job in Greenland and our fates turned in another direction.

Post: Greenland: deal me in?

My colleagues from UTS make a facebook page of a joke about me going to a land of ice without knowing how to skate very well =)

February was the month we got engaged! All parents were happy, but mine were probably also relieved =) J left for Greenland early on the 14 February, Valentines Day. I played tourist in Europe a bit longer so that I would be able to attend his sister’s wedding solo the following month. I was lucky enough to kill the time by visiting friends around Europe. This post below is me realising what I’m getting into when I received the most unwished for (but thoughtful) birthday presents in the world…

March was the month of couch-surfing, travelling through Paris, London and Brighton to visit friends I made in Kunming, China! I made it back for beautiful Tine’s wedding and then two days later entered a brave new world of icebergs, multicoloured houses and looming mountains.

Those magical icebergs… though this really anything to those living in the North!

April was the month reality hit me: I had moved to a strange place friendless and jobless! Who really knows where to start when you’re in that position? I made a very sensible list about how to make the most of the situation, did a lot of different things like teach a bunch of high schoolers about the Chinese Cultural Revolution and attend a Faroese business seminar. At this point I had also found out that I potentially had a job offer, just that I needed to wait for my damn visa application to go through.

May was the month we decided to take things into our own hands. Life was uncertain. There was still no word from the Immigration service about our visa application (for Greenland) this time. So we got married.

After the wedding ceremony, with our winter jackets back on. Hanne is throwing rice at us.

June was supposed to welcome in summer. I’m not sure if it ever got technically warm, but we went out and saw the beauty of the Nuuk surrounds.

Post: A sailing adventure to the abandoned fishing village of Kangeq

Fishing village of Kangeq

July was the month of crashing. Jonas went to Iceland for a project with his work partner, but invited me to crash their gig. So it became our pseudo-honeymoon (plus one). I was the third-wheel 😉

Oh, and I found out that the communication between Denmark and Greenland’s immigration service was completely *&^%d up had crashed. They lost our visa application and no one was taking responsibility for it. An easy case ended up taking nearly 6 months to process. And they only approved me after months of follow-up phone calls and emails. To anyone who is in the same situation as me, I give this advice: you need to keep following up on your case because the immigration people give wildly different answers depending on who you talk to. So try everyone until you reach the right person and record everything down in writing if you can. It is stressful, annoying and seemingly pointless, but don’t give up. It is your life on hold, after all. At this time I was too angry to write about anything about visa applications…

August was the month I was legally allowed to start working! Woohoo! I started a three-month contract working to set up the structures and processes for an international office for the only university in Greenland. Kinda ironic after all the professional jokes everyone made about working in Greenland (ice cutter and whale blubber collector were my faves). It was also the time when I thought more about the concept of belonging.

Greenland National Day raised questions about belonging.

Post: Expats and migrants: at what point is life here home?

September was the month life got into a routine. About time! You cannot believe how nice it was to have to complain about going to work at 8am everyday. On the weekends, fun things like the Vestnorden Travel Mart and seeing the beautiful scenery of Greenland from a helicopter kept me on my toes.

A beautiful clear day for a fly in the sky.

October started with a taste of being a reality TV star. A television crew from the series House Hunters International came to film our move to Greenland. I was so impressed by Jonas’ ability to be natural in front of a camera. Me, never! The episode should air the first half of next year and we’re a bit nervous but also excited to see how it will turn out!

Post: Moved by moving to Greenland: House Hunters International

November was the month I realised I was emancipated – I mentioned in my blog that for the first time in all these years, I didn’t miss Jonas when being away from him. My friends weren’t very impressed with me. Nor was he. =) But it was meant in a good way.

Warmer days in Spain!

December is now and I feel like life in Greenland is just beginning. It’s been 9 months since we started living in this fishbowl community with a radius of less than 5 kilometres. I’m grateful for the opportunities and new experiences living here has brought us, but I also hope that I can get to know Greenland and Greenlanders more personally. The next post highlights some face-value and deeper assumptions I learnt quickly during my first few months of living here.

Well, that was the year in a post. I also realised how much I miss my family and friends in Australia (and Denmark). I hope we will have a chance to visit next year.

You might be surprised which is the most popular article of the year: It’s 6 winter clothing brands I’ve learned to love. I didn’t expect this to be it, but it makes sense, since Greenland is not on everyone’s radar and this is relevant to all people who live in cold regions!

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and thanks for joining me in my adventures! For my fellow bloggers out there – it’s been great following yours!

My question is: what’s your tip on surviving / making the most of next year?



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