This is my 9th and final week in Odense and, as expected, my feelings are very mixed… I have LOVED my time here and have learned things, both professionally and personally, that I don’t feel I could have achieved at home in the UK. I LOVE my job here and have felt so welcomed by my team and residents. I also LOVE the city of Odense, with its vibrant culture and national pride. I am, without doubt, going to miss my life here. However, I am eager to get back home to my boys, 2 legged and 4 legged alike, and cannot wait to smother them in hugs and kisses (sorry, but not sorry boys).
I will spend my last days absorbing as much as I can of this beautiful county, reflecting on all the wonderful things I have experienced and will most definitely shed a few tears as I wave goodbye to the people, city and culture I have fallen in love with. But one thing is certain, I WILL be back!
Gone, for now, but NEVER forgotten…
This has been an interesting week for me. I feel that I becoming more independent in my work with our residents and feel more able to initiate engagement than I was at the beginning of my journey. This is obviously natural progression and I knew that this would be the case, but I still feel that it is a wonderful step forward and really enjoying the freedom of ‘independent’ working.
Conversely, I recognize that I am now coming to the end of my time here in beautiful Odense and do feel regret that it is coming to a close so quickly and that I simply do not have enough time to do all I want to do at the pace I want to do it.
I will be making the most of the time I have left and will most definitely continue to embrace any and all new experiences that come my way.
Total Nerd Fest! There were props form so many films I love I felt like a kid in a candy store and everything was free. My Danish buddy was a diamond and endured all the geeking out in good humour and took random pics when I asked.
I got to be the Queen of Herts for a moment.
And got to shake hands with Sonny form iRobot, which as it turns out, I wasn’t meant to do… So we left the area pretty quickly!
Highly recommend any nerd buff to have a visit if they come to Odense.
We also popped into the Odense library and discovered that they loan a great deal of things I had never thought would be associated with a library. The architecture of the building is a real sight to see as well. This is a picture of the view you get when looking up from the lobby through to the roof…
I must find out if our libraries rent out vinyl’s, art, EA Sport equip PC’s, music booths, instruments and a whole load of other things!
After 4 weeks in Denmark I feel that I have started to settle into a rhythm here: cycle most days; enjoy the journey; build a little more rapport with residents; feel like I am doing some good; study; reflect. I feel that I have adapted well to this part of my journey and continue to enjoy the calm and quiet I have found here, but I do miss my boys and madam… which is the price of being a mother with ambition I suppose.
I still feel that I am not fully reaching my full potential in placement, but I think I may have placed unrealistic expectations upon myself, as usual. Of course, I know that I cannot be as involved and independent as I usually am, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to be. However, I definitely feel that I am gaining insight into the complexities of effective communication and tools to help traverse the barriers that we face trying to convey clear and meaningful messages. It is these lessons alone make my frustration worth tolerating, and happily.
As I enter my 5th week, the crest of my Danish experience, I feel a sense of ‘not enough’ creeping into my thoughts. I wonder if 2 months is really enough time for me to learn all I want to absorb and explore the unwalked paths I have only glimpsed… I also question why this has to my only adventure… The world is vast and the seemingly innumerable cultures rooted within it are vivid tapestries I think I want to explore further. Just how to achieve this while supporting my family; building upon my skills and cultivate my career is the challenge here.
I have such a positive day today. Why I hear you ask! Well, let me tell you…
Today was the first day I was able to spend the whole day interacting with our residents AND engage in some meaningful therapeutic work. I was able to do this by utilising a variety of skills, such as:
- active listening shills
- motivational interviewing by accepting each residents level of readiness to change and evolve and exploring the potential challenges, risks and results of their actions and goals in a non-judgmental and non-confrontational environment.
- positive reinforcement by recognising their efforts and achievements.
- mindfulness by helping residents to remain in the present and avoid an overreaction or becoming overwhelmed.
I then had a fantastic reflective session with my wonderful mentor where we discussed my progress so far. I was also informed that the team was very happy to have me on board; that they felt I was a good student and that they would be happy to consider me should I decide to join the team (with the condition that I learn Danish, of course).
This was so reassuring to hear and really helped me to resolve my concerns that I was not achieving my full potential due to the language barrier.
Cherry on the cake
But, the cherry on the cake was when a resident sought me out just as I was about to get on my bike to go home. This resident decided to share that they felt I had really helped them to manage their anxiety today; felt that I had also been helping them to move forward with their goals and appreciated the work we were doing together.
Happy Bunny Indeed
Despite the howling head on winds, I was grinning like the Cheshire cat my whole ride home.
Here’s to more days like this one!
I was introduced to a speciality cake that is unique to the island of Funen called Brunsviger. It is composed of a fluffy sponge that generously covered in a brown sugar sauce. Simple but LUSH!
There is also a birthday cake version called Lagkage, made with cream instead of brown sugar, that I would like to try before I go home.
Sadly, it is one of those things where you take a little piece of every time you walk past it, then suddenly it’s all gone!
This is definitely something I am going to try and make for my boys when I get home.
It seems the last of the summer warmth is finally starting to leave Odense and the leaves are falling thick and fast, but the days remain sunny and my bike rides treat me to new sights and experiences regularly.
I continue to learn a little more about the Danish health care system with each shift and find it is more similar to the UK that it first appeared to be, which I had expected. My mentor and colleagues continue to be wonderful guides and I am starting to form good rapport with some of the residents as they become more confident talking with me in English. The language barrier here continues to be a challenge but I am learning a great deal about alternative forms of communication which I don’t think I could have done at home.