Christian Values | We survived another winter … I think

I met an old friend the other day and we shared an intense emotional moment. We hadn’t seen each other since August, and as we met once again we embraced, looked at each other and nodded to one another knowingly.

We had experienced hardship, he and I, and shared that sort of unmistakable bond that is forged between two people who endure a traumatic experience together. We couldn’t believe it. Was it really true? Yes, it was. We’d survived another Danish winter.

There is something a little bit more special about springtime in Denmark than the other places I’ve lived in the world. It’s not only due to the end of the continuous darkness and gloom – how we leave for work when it’s dark and return home when it’s dark – although that certainly contributes.

You really savour springtime here, and so many aspects of life seem to blossom in unison with the vintergækker (snowbells) that herald the arrival of spring.

For starters, and believe me this does make a difference to us men, it really helps when women come out of their winter hibernation like bears appearing from their annual slumber. Shedding the layers of clothing that have hidden and concealed them for several months does absolute wonders for the psyche of us primitive beasts.

People begin to return to the streets and cafés, and you can really feel the city peeling off the morose skin that has enveloped it over the past months. People even, dare I say, become slightly friendly … at times. A smile here. A giggle there. A more gentle push in the supermarket. A tak for holding the door for someone. It’s as if the sun and warmth act as some sort of enabler for social response.

Copenhagen transforms into a green city when the trees, foliage and birds decide to make their return. Kongens Have, Frederiksberg Have, Fælledparken, Østre Anlæg, Ørstedsparken and Kastellet are just a few of the parks and green areas that dot the central area of the city. A quaint little weekend stroll or a feeble attempt to jog off the winter pounds is always much more enjoyable amongst the greenery and lakes. It almost makes me forget about the horrendous bouts of hay fever I’ll be enjoying in the near future. Almost.

Another major issue is the lack of football, as a player and as a fan. Most amateur leagues here end in October and don’t start up again until the following March or April. That’s nearly six months! At the same time, the professionals halt play for nearly four months. Granted, you can always count on English football carrying you through the cold months, but I yearn for a stadium and a live match come February. You know you’re desperate for some football when you get excited about watching FC Midtjylland take on mighty Sønderjyske in the spring opener. Yes, it was a dark time for me.

And I can’t help but feel that the end of winter brings with it new life in spheres other than nature. Last week, after ten gruelling months of waiting, my missus finally received her work permit from Immigration Service. I was half expecting the papacy in Rome to approve it as an official miracle, but then I remembered that a new pope hasn’t been selected yet so I deemed it unlikely. I’m sure, however, that for a great many others, immigration and visa applications continue to remain in the unrelenting throes of winter, and probably will for some time. It’s always winter at immigration ‘service’.

But for now, get out there and enjoy the spring. And you newbies should take full advantage of this potentially dazzling time of year in Denmark, because as many of the hardened veterans will tell you, it’s more than likely to piss down all summer. In fact, the way things looked when I was finishing this column, winter could have returned in full force by the time this goes to print.