Coming Home


Clear sky in Copenhagen.

Coming home from a trip to Europe and seeing my house after two weeks away gives me some much needed objectivity. It’s more than just coming back to my house, it’s coming back to my life, and it provides a fresh look at what I’m doing – what works and what doesn’t. It also makes me think more about what kind of place I want to live in when I finish this house-simplification project.

What is it that looks so different around home?  First: it’s so BIG.

After two weeks of hotel rooms and living out of our suitcases, a whole house seems just …wrong. I’m not going to expand on how self indulgent I feel coming home to not only a car in my garage, but my 20+ year old pickup too.  Ecologically, it’s not a pretty comparison to all the bicycles in Copenhagen.

IMG_3599 It’s not only the house that seems big. Sam and I both loved Copenhagen, but we both like our coffee. And we’re frugal. So imagine two frugal coffee drinkers keeling over in horror at their first sight of the price of a cup of coffee in Denmark, especially when we were jet lagged and really needed caffeine. Our stopover in Reykjavik was expensive too (more about Iceland in a future post).

Then we spent a couple of days in New York on the way home. The first morning, we went to breakfast at the little shop across the street from our NYC hotel, and I was shocked again – this time by the size of what now seemed like a vast bucket of American coffee. It was the same size I usually get when I go out for coffee here in the States, but I hadn’t quite realized before how huge it was, or that it was good, as coffee goes, but not delicious. Those Danish cups were expensive, but they were flavorful, and I have to admit, a small one was enough.

By the way, the breads and pastries were yummy too.

Copenhagen breakfast breads, Hotel Opera

Just one of the tables at breakfast, Hotel Opera.

OK, move along past the pastries folks, nothing more to see here …

Second difference: this house is complicated!

Big brings complexity, and complexity can be a waste of time. I want something easier to take care of. 

I want my home to be like the coffee in Copenhagen — small and delicious and enough.

What else do I see differently now that I’m back home? I see I’ve been slowing down lately. I’m hoping this new objectivity lasts long enough to help me ramp up my speed at letting go of stuff. Last spring I wrote about having too many plants. Yes, I gave some away, but now it’s autumn and time to bring the houseplants back inside. Guess what: apparently they have expanded over the summer. I still have way too many. And the books… I haven’t sorted any more books since I pledged to finish five more boxes by the end of the year. I see that blogging has a way of keeping me honest.

OK: enough thinking about it – back to work!

Does your house look different when you come home from a trip?

Synchronicity & related articles:  Word Spy: “Copenhagenization”


4 thoughts on “Coming Home

  1. We are very glad you enjoyed your trip. A busy weekend then a couple of quiet days at the beginning of next week and we will be home. Our “house” feels like a mansion when we come home. All 1300 square feet of it. We were at dinner at the home of our cycling friends in Normandy and they had invited another couple who in the course of the evening asked us if our home was big. I said it wasn’t and our friend Brigitte answered that it was enormous. Even though our friend’s house is much bigger, they have added a room so they can accommodate a foreign student each spring semester, they think our condominium is big. I think the luxury of having two bathrooms gives this impression. We don’t really need two bathrooms but it makes it much easier to host people and we seem to be doing a lot of that lately.

    I always have thoughts for you when you talk about going through the books. I was very lucky in this regard, after I made the decision that they had to go I just kept the dozen or so that really meant something to me and let the rest go without even looking at them again. I’m a little sad that I did that with my vinyl records but I have no way to play them now so they would just be sitting around.

    Some time in Europe is very good motivation, just keep thinking of that delicious Danish coffee.

    • Funny, I just told a friend that I’m still trying to get back my taste for American coffee. (It isn’t working, I may have to switch to tea) On vinyl records: I gave away 3 boxes of them just before we left on the trip. A friend’s niece is a collector, so I gave them to her. I still seem to be hung up on getting things to good homes. I enjoyed all your comments on operas. I’m wondering if you’ve tried the Met’s last minute $25. tickets?

    • We just had our “fall back” daylight-saving time change so gained an hour yesterday — my favorite day of the year. That’s another inspiration for me. I feel like I’m back on track now. I hope you had a good trip too, and here’s to inspiration!

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