Last week when my son was at home sick I made the mistake of entering into a discussion on an expat forum here. Admittedly the discussion was lighthearted but it gave me something of a window into the expat psyche that I usually avoid – by chance or design, I am not sure.
I think these forums should be a place of help and support but they often simply seem to be a place to breed negativity about life in Copenhagen. Things are too expensive, tax is too high, you can’t get a gammon steak, the supermarkets don’t sell self raising flour, the Danes are unfriendly and so by definition life in your home country is so much better (but is it really or does it just seem that way from a distance?).
For someone new to a country these forums are one of the first places they find on line and they can really scare people about their new home. I met a recent expat who found herself in tears about living here simply from reading the forums. I spoke to some friends about my forum experience (a Canadian and an American) and the first thing they said was ‘don’t engage’ and they went on to share their own bad experiences and how easy it can be to be sucked into the negative frame of mind.
I wonder about people who immerse themselves in this negative cycle of life. If you only look on the dark side of life you will always feel discontented. I know this from personal experience, I struggled with settling in Berlin but after some dark months I got my butt in gear and got out, explored and created the strongest bubble I could around myself and my family. That was my way of fighting the inward negativity and the toughness of that city. We all have ways of coping but a positive frame of mind is always the way to a happier outlook.
I hope my blog is part of the fight against negativity, it is certainly my place to count my blessings, and that it helps some new expats see that life here in Copenhagen can be wonderful at lot of the time. After all the Danes are time and time again declared as the happiest people on the planet, there must be some good things here.
What do you think? Am I missing the good, positive forums?