Monika Belal

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I feel less foreign than I used to, but still very foreign. Albeit not in an unpleasant way. If you ask Afghans, they will say I am very Danish. But among Danes, I do not feel so Danish. I have an international identity. Danish will always be a foreign language for me, and I will be a foreigner - and I am not very pleased about that.

In Denmark during the winter there is no time for anything. The days are so short and it's cold. I hate the Danish winter. It's dark when I hand over the kids, and it's dark when I pick them up again. It also gets cold in Afghanistan, but winter is longer here. When I first came to Denmark, I thought a lot about it: “Why do the Danes stay at home so much?” Now I understand it. I am actually afraid that I will get a depression when I get older. It's really depressing. But as soon as the sun is out, you get energy and want to do something. When it's bright outside, and the weather's nice, it becomes easier. Then the Danes come out.
I have always wondered about people who go to a summer cottage. What do they do there? Why pay money to stay at home? But last year I told my husband: “I want to go to a cottage instead of going abroad”. We rented one for a week. It was close to the sea, and we could watch the sunrise and sunset, and it was so lovely. I had lived here for 17 years and always found it ever so boring, but it was a good experience. You are closer to your family. Sometimes you have to experience it to understand it.

Monika Belal / 30 / married / children / civil engineer in production and business development / Herning / from Afghanistan / family reunification in 2001 / Danish citizen in 2009