Øland Craft moves to Denmark
A year has gone since I moved from Brasstown, NC to Hundested, Denmark. In March 2009, I sold the house and all buildings and half the acreage of Bidstrup Acres. It was a difficult decision but one that I wanted to make. My 48 years of being part of and caretaker of Bidstrup Acres have been a fantastic experience and I have loved every moment of it. The first part being with Marguerite Bidstrup, co-founder of the Folk School and taking care of her needs. Then the middle part working with my husband Knud and starting Øland Craft till he passed away, and then bringing up our daughter Helen and getting her started on her adult life, all in the midst of this our special piece of heaven.
It was sad to leave but also exciting to realize that I was afforded yet another opportunity to try something new. Not until it actually sold did I decide that I wanted to try to go back to Denmark, it was a big decision after all one does change a bit over the years and could I adapt to life in Denmark, granted I had a bit of an advantage I knew the language and had family both on Knud’s side and my side, but still I would be leaving my favorite and only daughter, Helen, in Atlanta.
Helen and I went in March to see how it felt, and to look for yet another “piece of heaven”, we did not find it. We went back to Brasstown, we had sold the place, so we packed up the house and shop and 2500 Kg of good North Carolina woods. 2 containers loaded to the brim and shipped it all off to Denmark. Then we went back to Denmark landed the 4th of May, rented a car and started looking. From the day we landed we looked at 3-5 properties a day, we eliminated many by just driving by. My first thinking was something with a fair amount of land, with a good building for a shop and preferably something that was ready to be moved into right away. First we looked south and west of Copenhagen but found nothing. We were lucky, we stayed in my sister and brother-in -laws home. We then moved to Helen’s sister Bodil’s summer house near the ocean in northern Zealand, the more we drove around up north of Copenhagen, the more we realized that we had to find a place with a view of the water as an exchange for the 6-7 mountain ranges we had viewed every day at Bidstrup Acres. I had one other dream or weakness, a thatched roof old farm building, how perfect that would be. On the 24th of May Helen saw a property advertised for sale in Hundested, it looked good had the thatched roof and from 1886, but only half of an acre, not really big enough we thought. The following day Sunday the 25 we saw it twice, first outside and then inside. It was perfect it was so nice and quiet each time we went back; one draw back it had neighbors on all sides. But the view of the water and the inside which was ready to move in to, and besides we had had the notice that the containers would arrive in Copenhagen harbor around the 28th of May. We made an offer 3 days after we saw it with the request of renting it for the month of June. So on Sunday June 7 we mover our suitcases in and the following Friday the containers arrived. The containers arrived in Hundested during a terrible storm lots of rain and wind but the movers managed to get all the furniture in without damage and on Saturday the container with the shop and wood was unloaded in to the garage which would be the new shop. The following week we managed to get everything placed in its new spot and it all fit in and with the white walls as background the furniture really took on a new life, it almost felt as if they liked their new home. Both Helen and I felt right at home from the beginning. Without Helen’s help it would have been a very difficult undertaking she got a very generous 3 months leave of absence from her job with Apple.
When we came back in May I had a return ticket as it was cheaper. All ready when I arrived in March had I applied for an extended stay as a former citizen of Denmark. Otherwise I could only stay 3 months, so days after I arrived in May I got the notice I had been granted a one year stay and at the same time the national health card arrived, I was in the system and given free medical care. Shortly after we moved in we registered at the county service and I asked about getting my drivers license exchanged to a Danish. Well no exchange, I had to take a mandatory course in both a technical and practical drivers course. Once a week for 2 and a half hours for 10 weeks, and around $800. I was a little put out, but after having gone through and finally passed I am pleased, I now feel more comfortable driving as I know the signs and the rules.
After Helen reluctantly left to go back to work in Atlanta I started getting the shop ready. Had to get the motors fixed to the new current and also the garage painted. I got help from Bodil and today the shop is very comfortable and all the machines running. Not even a month after I arrived, was I invited to have an exhibit at a local gallery and again in October. It has been a fantastic experience to be able to make this move. There was a nice open storage on the side of the garage so all the NC woods went there. It has been amazing how everything has found its place, we fit right in and it is a good feeling
It was wonderful to experience the summer and the light long evenings, the beach was within walking distance. Also the town is within walking distance so I have a small cart and try my best not to use the car, that way I am sure to get some exercise. The fall felt short I did miss the fantastic NC fall colors. It has been interesting to experience the short days it would get light around 8 or so and dark around 4 so very short days I have used a lot of votive lights so that has made up for the darkness. I was told when I contemplated buying this place that the winters were very light almost nothing....... well this was the coldest winter since 1996 and the most snow likewise...... I now am the owner of a sidewalk so I have gotten extra exercise clearing that several times. The weather folks even predict more cold and snow. It has been beautiful and the house is nice and warm so the first summer, fall and winter have all been good. I am now looking forward to the first spring.
I will try to update this along the way so you can see what goes on in 2010