Gevork Babayan

Before I got Danish citizenship, I had no citizenship at all. It was a very strange feeling being stateless. So to put it briefly, I would say that I am 90 percent Danish. When I traveled to Armenia to visit my wife, I felt like an outsider. As soon as I opened my mouth and spoke Armenian, people could instantly tell that I was not from there. I loved being there, but I was an outsider.

In my spare time I do a lot of martial arts and fitness, and I carve stones, paint and play music. I also write a book about the six years I lived at an asylum centre in Aalborg. The book ends when I get citizenship, because my entire journey is now complete.

I taught myself Danish. At the asylum centre I was not allowed to receive tuition, but I had a Danish friend who lent me his library card. In the beginning I borrowed children's books, such as Winnie the Pooh, and used a Danish-Armenian dictionary, but I could quickly do away with that. After a year and a half I read Nordkraft, The Three Musketeers and the Count of Monte Cristo in Danish.

In my book I try to write as objectively and honestly as possible. It intimidates me, so the process is slow. Some days I only manage to write one sentence. I've been writing it on and off for four years now, and I've written 49 pages. Going back to the time at the asylum center, is like moving into a dark room where I can’t stay for long. But my book is also a success story, because the last 5-6 years everything has gone uphill for me. The book is called "INDLÆNDING" (combination of native and foreigner) because I am no longer a foreigner. No one uses that word, so I will try to have it patented.

34 / male / married / radiographer at Bornholm Hospital / Rønne / from Armenia / came to Denmark in 1999 / residence permit in 2013 / became a Danish citizen in 2018