So “How was Denmark”?

Photo Credits: Hana Afifi


Coming here still doesn’t feel like I’m back in my old life. It’s been a few weeks that i’ve been trying to put the past five months into words to no attain.

Since I got here I’ve been having this feeling like I’m here on a vacation and I’ll be back home in Aarhus with my family soon. It might be the defense mechanism I’ve chosen as to not miss them, or it might be that I truly believe I’ve found where I belong and Lebanon is not the place anymore.

The one thing I’ve been dreading since before I left Denmark is getting here and facing the question of “How was Denmark?”

This question came along in almost every conversation I’ve had since I’ve got here, however it wasn’t in the context I had in mind.

I’ve been listening to people’s past 5 months’ experiences for 3 days now and when they stop to catch their breath I hear “So how was Denmark?”

They grant me 5 seconds to answer with “great” before they move on to their next story.

When I was sitting in the plane planning out how I’m going to put my experiences in words, when I was on the bench in the airport wondering where to begin and where to end, I had no idea that the word “so” would signify that people were not really that interested anyway.

They’re all preoccupied with their life as I am with mine. We don’t listen to each other, we just talk hoping to get some kind of relief by sharing all our ventures.

But since this is my blog and I talk to no one and everyone at the same time, I will speak of Denmark.

Today I want to answer that question more than anything because only by sharing would I feel the reality of not going back but of moving forward, in a place I have outgrown.

“Good” – That would be an underestimation to all our amazing memories, to all the moments we shared, to all the nights we spent dancing and singing the songs only we could feel attached to.

Good – It would leave the question stripped of any enthusiasm, of any passion.

I won’t say Denmark was good. That’s not my answer.

“Amazing” – That would be a lie. The days I had to run errands for 8 till 8 only to get to bed too tired to do anything. The nights I spent working on a project that seemed endless. The moments I felt like maybe journalism wasn’t the right career path for me.

I can’t say it was amazing, because that would imply it was all butterflies. No, it wasn’t. It taught me things I never expected to learn about myself, about the world, about the people back home whom I thought were the closest to me.

It opened my eyes to truths I never wanted to know, and it did all this in the harshest way possible.

Denmark threw me in cold waters and only saved me when I accepted the reality of some situations I had painted pink.

So, what’s my reply going to be? I know I better find one word because people are only interested in a single word response.

They don’t want to know about the adventures, the people, the memories, the videos, the pictures. Then again, even if they did want to know.. Would they really understand?

Ask me how Denmark was, ask me what it meant to me, ask me to decribe it in one word.

It was an epiphany.

People talk about turning points in their lives which changed everything they believed in. This was Denmark to me.

Even now, I look at my keyboard and I find it hard to get through this blog post..

I feel sorry that I have outgrown my old life, my previous beliefs. Everyone around makes me feel stuck. I can not do better than “stuck” because it’s the perfect description of how I feel right now.

What do I say? How do I act? Where do I begin?

Everything seems so different yet the same since I’ve been away. As for me, I’m anything but the same.

I found myself, and I keep getting the feeling that I want to reintroduce myself to everyone around me. Every choice I’ve made, every word I’ve said before the past month in Denmark was not me. It was just a girl trying to somehow get a hint of who she wants to be. And by trying to acknowledge her existence, she fell into traps and the wrong laps.

But this girl now; me, she’s different. She’s assertive. She knows what she’s saying and she’s saying it with conviction.

With me right now there is no room for error, there is no room for being any person but myself. I won’t lose myself because I know the struggle I went through to find it.

I can never let go of this experience.

Where does it begin and where does it end?

This experience has no limits. To me, it has become infinite. No beginning and no end.

It is me.

I feel no tendency to make a structure out of it because it surpasses any and all sorts of absolution.

Those people I met are not just people. I don’t just say goodbye and move forward like anyone I’ve met before. These people are my personality traits:

Hana is the tenderness in me.

Amanda is the confidence in me.

Julen is the purity in me.

Nerea is the beauty in me.

Luc is the silliness in me.

Lisa is the positivity in me.

Bethan is the talent in me.

James is the brotherhood in me.

Cleo is the protectiveness in me.

Isabelle is the outspokenness in me.

Kristine is the happiness in me.

Marie Josee is the motivation in me.

O Gorman is the wildness in me.

Underwood is the knowledge in me.

Amel is the sweetness in me.

Sonny is the love in me.

Josephine is the glow in me.

Those people have become me. They have made me well-rounded. I love them and they make me love being myself.

Before you ask about Denmark, ask about how I am. To me, Denmark and the people in it were a bubble, a bubble beyond real life, memories beyond imagination, moments beyond actual events. Denmark was surreal.

I went as a girl called Rasha, I came back as Rasha.

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