I’m writing this on the plane from Vancouver to London. The lights are dimmed, I’m wearing a stuffy mask and I’ve already watched two movies (The Lost City was hilarious; Nightmare Alley was strange). Next to me, the middle seat is littered with my belongs and those of the girl in the aisle seat. Outside the oval window to my right, white clouds and blinding sunshine pass by.
From Heathrow, I’ll wait five hours (an uncomfortable layover, but doable, considering the very affordable cost of my Air Canada flights) before boarding a small SAS flight to Copenhagen, Denmark, where I’ll be picked up by my cousin Elisa.
I. Am. So. Excited.
By the time you’re reading this, I will have already explored Copenhagen for two days. After meeting my new cousins (Noah, 8, and Tidle, 4) and reuniting with my incredible family, I will spend the day in the city. We will walk almost 20,000 steps and cycle the city streets like true locals (albeit on bright orange rented bicycles). I’ll see The Little Mermaid, which I visited with my dad in 2007, wander through the rainbow-painted streets in Nyhavn, eat lunch and savour a cocktail from a food stand market, visit the wild world of Christiania, climb the winding passage to the top of the round tower, eat (again) at the circus-themed Pincho Nation and embrace the stunning, orange-roofed, block-coloured, bicycle-filled city I know and love.
The next day, I will visit Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød with Nina and Rene. This royal residence has been turned into a museum, and it features displays of costumes, old paintings, authentic furniture and ancient books showcasing 500 years of Danish history. I’ll remember seeing the ballroom when I was a young girl, only 11 years old on my first trip abroad, and be mesmerized once again by the names of important people etched onto the windows dating back to 1864. Together, we will eat a delicious cold lunch platter of smoked salmon, bread, cheese and chicken salad at Leonora. Later, we walk through the perfectly manicured gardens before stopping for a coffee at Cafe Havehuset.
I’ll try to speak a little bit of Danish, but feel relieved when my cousins can speak much better English. I’ll enjoy amazing weather, cool breezes and warm sunshine, the company of my cousin’s new puppy, Nellie, and really, really good food and drinks.
But most of all, I will feel at home thanks to the company of loved ones who are kind, generous, proud of their country, welcoming and familiar.
For now, it’s time to get ready for the plane’s decent. See you on the other side.