I can’t believe that the last time I was in Copenhagen was at the end of August.
I went for a last swim at Islands Brygge, enjoyed happy hour at a Friday bar and lost miserably at a board game in Bastard Cafe. In my calendar, I had a star on the 11th November, the day I was supposed to come back. I’d planned it weeks ago, before everything got so, so much worse. Denmark had done so well with the first wave that I thought the second wave would come and go with ease too.
Right now, I should be studying while at my favourite cafe, Grød, watching the world go by until I go back to my boyfriend’s place before it gets dark. We would make dinner based on whatever meat was cheapest at Netto, and then wrap up in blankets while drinking hot chocolate under the glow of the dim but warm light of his bedside lamp. Instead, we’re forced apart.
At the time of writing, I’m in a second national lockdown in the UK, where international travel is banned, and flights to my home away from home cost so much more than they used to. I can’t help but feel in despair at the whole situation, particularly with the holidays just around the corner.
Right now, I should be studying while at my favourite cafe, Grød, watching the world go by until I go back to my boyfriend’s place before it gets dark
This being said, the distance has its benefits. I’ve now had more time for myself, to develop good habits and a regular routine that will stick this time. I’ve actually taken up running, like I always told myself I would, and am somehow still sticking to it months down the line (even though it’s getting more difficult to motivate myself on -1°C, drizzly mornings).
I’m actually more comfortable being alone too, something I never thought would happen because it’s something I’ve always struggled with.
I also appreciate the time that we do get together much, much more now that we’re apart. We schedule weekly virtual dates where we dress up, watch a movie together and eat popcorn, and on other days, we play card games over call, and send photos of our days when we get the chance. Somewhat counter-intuitively, we’re more connected now than we ever have been.
Long-distance relationships are hard and require a lot of work, no matter how you spin it. But with the pandemic, it’s so much harder because so many things are out of your control. Rules change, often without warning, and it’s getting much more expensive too.
That’s why, for me at least, it’s important to invest in the relationship you have when you’re apart instead of just counting down the days when you’re together again. Actually write handwritten letters and mail them, for example, and carve out some regular time that is completely focused on doing something together without any distractions. Take every day as it comes, the good and the bad.
Frederiksberg Have, Gammel Kongevej, Kongens Lyngby – watch out, I’m coming for you
And please, don’t make the same mistakes I have and spend hours googling the latest restriction or rule change and how to deal with it. It never helps and only wastes your time. Just take a deep breath, count to 10, and step away from the internet. Trust me.
Hopefully, by the time you read this, I’ll be back in Denmark again (or will at least have flight tickets booked). But if not, that’s okay too.
No matter what comes in the next few months, I know I have a great relationship and a strong partner by my side, be it virtually or physically. One day soon, I’ll be able to enjoy Copenhagen and all of its lovable idiosyncrasies. Frederiksberg Have, Gammel Kongevej, Kongens Lyngby – watch out, I’m coming for you.