I never feel safe

2015 has not been a good year for me. I had to relocate because the house my apartment was in had to be renovated. So I moved to Glostrup. Of course that meant that I had to commute which in Denmark very much is impossible if the distance is more than 10 kilometers. I had not quiet that distance but it was still a lot of my time whick were taken by transport. There was a direct bus but busses in Denmark is only something you take if you hit rock bottom in your life. So I biked to a train station and had to change trains to make matter worse.

Well in the end I found a new job in a supermarket for the same company. Now I am happy again and have some surplus to deal with something which has bothered me since my stay at my mother.

I lost the ability to sleep all night through.

I always wake up like 3 in the morning. Is someone comming into my room? Will I be dragged out and away from safety and my comfort zone? Will my life be put at risk again?

Since the transporters came to collect me for the wilderness program I have not been able to sleep al way through to the morning. I also tend to be alert. I can to sleep early and still not feel entirely reloaded in the morning. My doctor tells me that I don’t “sleep deep” as he put it. I am on alert. The diagnose is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder but i don’t care what the name is. I just want to sleep and rest, so I am 100 percent fresh in the morning.

I am seeing a therapist but I doubt that I will ever heal.

Mother:

  • Why did you hire these persons?
  • Why did you allow them in your house and let shackle me?
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About the time you were on the run

I know that you are down with the flu, so I will comment the next chapter of your book.

Do you know where in the United States Denmark have embassies and consulates? No, I didn’t either. That was maybe the part of my plan which was the weakest part. The freight train took a path east and it took a long time before it arrived at Minneapolis. I don’t know what I was thinking back then. I don’t know how I found the courage to jump on a train going 30 kilometers per hour. It not only sounds dangerous it is dangerous. What if the speed increased and I fell off? I could have been killed.

Because the train went so slow I had a plan. First I wanted to get to Minneapolis. I was not that good when it came to geography. I guess you could compare it with people from the United States believing that Denmark is the capital in Sweden. Around Minneapolis there is a lot of forest where you can hide. I jumped off the train when it went slow shortly before the town. I drank from a small lake. It tasted awful. I made it to a place where could mail to Denmark. I sent mails both to John and my father. John answered back and advised me to go back to my mother while he talked to my father. I declined because I felt betrayed by my mother. I would rather sleep on the streets and stay on the run rather than going back.

Over the next couple of days I worked my way into the city. There was a kind of university campus with students from many countries – also European countries. There were a couple of places where they fed the homeless but I had no knowledge of what kind of system my mother must have put in operation to search for me so I avoided them mostly. After some days I found a group of teenagers hanging out down at the bus terminal. They let me join them. Properly they were just curious about learning something about Denmark. It was not totally fun. They also had some demanding rituals about sharing girls in the group but everything has its price – also freedom.

It took some days before I got a mail from my father. I demanded that he saw to that I would get back to Denmark at once which he accepted. He just had to get my passport from my mother, which he regarded as a formality. I asked him to wire some cash and he replied with a mail giving me direction to a bank where the money could be collected. However as I turned up a policeman was waiting for me. I was arrested.

I was held on charges of having left my home without parental permission, which is regarded as a status offence. I had never heard of such nonsense as it in Denmark is no crime at all but strictly a task for the social services. I tried to tell them that it was my father who had custody of me but I wasn’t even given a lawyer. On the homepage of the court everyone can read:

Your child has the right to have an attorney represent them in delinquency cases. A court appointed attorney will be provided if the level of the offense is higher than a petty misdemeanor, and if under the poverty guidelines you qualify to have one appointed.

So my crime wasn’t serious enough for me to have legal representation. I was given the choice choosing between going to juvenile hall or home with my mother. I did choose to go home with my mother.

When we returned home my uncle and aunt were there. Now I was a prisoner in my mother’s house and they were three persons to watch after me.

It has been some years but I remembered how I felt when I saw Dr. Phil back in December. A mother and her daughter were the guests and the daughter had run away several times. I almost cried from relief when Dr. Phil offered the mother that the daughter should go to “Center for Discovery”. I know from Websleuths I used with you ran that she even ran from “Center for Discovery” just like you – SPOILER – did from the wilderness program.

When I first read your book I was surprised of your nativity getting together with such a group of teenagers living on the streets. They could have raped you or killed you. I don’t know how runaways are handled in Denmark but here we prioritize the safety of minors before anything else. I could have left you into the custody of the juvenile detention center until you would be shipped to Denmark had I chosen not to try to help you. I believed that I had your father’s approval. The accept from him to follow the recommendations of the educational consultant I hired the minute you ran away, came from his email.

Of course I don’t know anything about Vaerebro in Denmark but surely it cannot prepare you to live on the streets. Surely the teenagers in this Danish neighborhood cannot be compared with homeless teenagers living in Minneapolis. I fail to understand why you exposed yourself to such danger. I was sure that I would find you dead, you being a foreigner in unknown country. Fortunately you survived.

But even when you returned home I continued to be afraid. I knew that I had to do something. I knew that I couldn’t keep you in my house. I knew that I couldn’t find it in my heart to return you to Denmark just in order to throw your future away. That’s why I took what you consider extreme precautions but they are normal here.

I have no regrets. I would do it over once again and I hope that you will find it in your heart to forgive me.

Reply to “It was supposed to be a holiday”

The journey to Minnesota was long and hard. My father sent me to Newark from Copenhagen. My mother met me in the airport. We then had to make it across New York City to another airport called La Guardia. It took over an hour with a bus and the sight of Manhattan was impressive despite the fact that it was only Midtown we passed through.

Of course I received many photos of you while I was working. I have to tell you this. When we met in the Airport I was as I just left you the day before. There is a difference between photos and this new Skype-thing compared to meeting in person.

I believed that I this day had got my daughter back to keep. It brings tears to my eye thinking of all these years I didn’t see you caught up in my work. I have to repeat what I wrote in my previous post. When I received you in New York I was not thinking of forcing you to attend our local high school.

I still wonder how big the country is. It took 8 to 9 hours over the Atlantic and 4 hours more Minneapolis. You can travel very far in Europe when you fly for 4 hours. Minneapolis is a large city which has been going through tough times. Many moved away in the past when the economy was bad. When my mother was a child there were 150,000 more citizens in the city. A lot of the old part of the city has been torn down.

Minneapolis is a contrast to Clara City and they are only 200 kilometers apart. Everything is so slow in the hamlet. I felt that Clara City was a ghost time despite the blessings my mother gave the town. That’s why I was so happy when we drove back to Minneapolis so we could visit their local mall. And that is what everyone would call a mall. 500 shops! They even had a gigantic Lego shop like I never had seen before (and I have been in Legoland where the produce the bricks). We enjoyed the shopping and had a really fun day. Had I just known what would lie ahead?

Those days I cherish today. When you visited me this year I felt the distance between us. It makes me cry thinking that we never might have a real mother-daughter relationship before I are received by the Lord.

I was raised as a Dane and my upbringing did show. I remember when I asked for a beer after we had worked all day in her garden. I couldn’t know that even a normal beer with a percentage below the safe limit of 16.5 could be considered a crime to drink. In Denmark such beers are allowed to purchase once you turn 16 and I had been drinking alcohol legally since I was fourteen because it is allowed for adults to decide when their children are ready to drink alcohol. She saw me as an addict. We had a fight and it didn’t get better when she learned that I slept with John. She couldn’t believe that my father had accepted more than chaperoned dating.

It was the incident which triggered me to write your father. Drugs and alcohol leads to destruction. Alcohol is an adult matter which I by the way don’t enjoy. I understand that Denmark has a completely other culture regarding alcohol. I do feel it is wrong. Secondly if you combine it with the fact that you enjoyed an improper relationship with a boy who I could tell would be bad news for you in the end left me with no other impression that I had to intervene.

I believed back then that I had your fathers support for my action which I continue to believe was justified. I know that you disagree with me on this subject but I also believe that my actions – regardless that they in the end did not turn out as I expected provided you with the knowledge to live on despite your boyfriend’s betrayal.

A week later she took me to visit the cemetery in the northern part of the Hamlet. It was where surrounded by my deceased ancestors that I learned that she had decided that I should attend the local Maccray high school and she somehow had persuaded my father to let me stay in Minnesota for a full year to start with. My world fell apart. Their local high school may have had all kind of athletics but it was not what I wanted. I wanted to hang out with my friends drinking around fires in our local wood. How would I survive in this small Hamlet located far from any kind of civilization as I knew it?

I ran down to the river where sat down and cried. I remember this beautiful sunny day in June 2006 whenever I close my eyes and have a nightmare.

When I decided to intervene and after I got what I believed was your father’s approval, I spoke with our local high school. I believe had you accepted that it would have been a good year for you. I understand that there are teenagers in Denmark who would have accepted the opportunity despite the costs as you state them. I also spoke with an educational consultant whether our local High school would be the best offer. His advice was against our local high school. He believed you to be an at-risk teenager. He recommended wilderness therapy and possible later boarding school. At the time I was against it and hinsight I would have felt cheating now where I know that he was on commision by the wilderness program and the boarding school.

I believed I knew you better so you would conform if you had given it a chance. Had I known the result, I would have taken the wilderness program option right away despite the costs. I still believe that I did the right thing trying to get you to be here for a full year.

The next couple day we rarely talked. All I wanted was to go back to Denmark. One day I walked down to the rail tracks. A train freight train passed very slowly. To this day I don’t know what came into my mind. I jumped onto the train so I could run away. It was not quite the best prepared plan in the world but I was a desperate teenage girl robbed of everything I had planned in life. Little did I know that a runaway case is handled totally different in Minnesota than in Denmark where the police only locates the runaway and then let the social services mediate the family to a solution suitable for both parents and child.

You scared me. I have never been so afraid in my life.


Kathy

It was supposed to be a holiday

Thank you for your response. For years I have believed that the later events were planned and the holiday was a trick to lure me away from Dad and my then-boyfriend. Here is the next piece I wrote:

My mother lives in a small hamlet called Clara City. She lives there today and hasn’t moved since I visited her back in 2006. It is a city consisting of street lined out as they were made by a marker. A single train route passes through the city but I don’t know if there is passenger service.

The origins of my mother’s family are Danish. They left Denmark due to the second Schleswig War partly because they didn’t want to be German citizens and partly because the found religious freedom to support their way of life. The past of my mother’s family was the reason that she sought Copenhagen when her employers gave her the opportunity to be stationed abroad.

As I learned a lot of the people in Minnesota have Scandinavian origins but they no longer lived like we do as I was taught in such a rough way.

The journey to Minnesota was long and hard. My father sent me to Newark from Copenhagen. My mother met me in the airport. We then had to make it across New York City to another airport called La Guardia. It took over an hour with a bus and the sight of Manhattan was impressive despite the fact that it was only Midtown we passed through.

I still wonder how big the country is. It took 8 to 9 hours over the Atlantic and 4 hours more Minneapolis. You can travel very far in Europe when you fly for 4 hours. Minneapolis is a large city which has been going through tough times. Many moved away in the past when the economy was bad. When my mother was a child there were 150,000 more citizens in the city. A lot of the old part of the city has been torn down.

Minneapolis is a contrast to Clara City and they are only 200 kilometers apart. Everything is so slow in the hamlet. I felt that Clara City was a ghost time despite the blessings my mother gave the town. That’s why I was so happy when we drove back to Minneapolis so we could visit their local mall. And that is what everyone would call a mall. 500 shops! They even had a gigantic Lego shop like I never had seen before (and I have been in Legoland where the produce the bricks). We enjoyed the shopping and had a really fun day. Had I just known what would lie ahead?

I was raised as a Dane and my upbringing did show. I remember when I asked for a beer after we had worked all day in her garden. I couldn’t know that even a normal beer with a percentage below the safe limit of 16.5 could be considered a crime to drink. In Denmark such beers are allowed to purchase once you turn 16 and I had been drinking alcohol legally since I was fourteen because it is allowed for adults to decide when their children are ready to drink alcohol. She saw me as an addict. We had a fight and it didn’t get better when she learned that I slept with John. She couldn’t believe that my father had accepted more than chaperoned dating.

A week later she took me to visit the cemetery in the northern part of the Hamlet. It was where surrounded by my deceased ancestors that I learned that she had decided that I should attend the local Maccray high school and she somehow had persuaded my father to let me stay in Minnesota for a full year to start with. My world fell apart. Their local high school may have had all kind of athletics but it was not what I wanted. I wanted to hang out with my friends drinking around fires in our local wood. How would I survive in this small Hamlet located far from any kind of civilization as I knew it?

I ran down to the river where sat down and cried. I remember this beautiful sunny day in June 2006 whenever I close my eyes and have a nightmare.

The next couple day we rarely talked. All I wanted was to go back to Denmark. One day I walked down to the rail tracks. A train freight train passed very slowly. To this day I don’t know what came into my mind. I jumped onto the train so I could run away. It was not quite the best prepared plan in the world but I was a desperate teenage girl robbed of everything I had planned in life. Little did I know that a runaway case is handled totally different in Minnesota than in Denmark where the police only locates the runaway and then let the social services mediate the family to a solution suitable for both parents and child.


Janice

Reply to “The early years”

I was born in Denmark. My father is from Denmark and my mother from the United States. She came to Denmark because she got a good job at the former Sheraton Hotel in Copenhagen. They married and bought a house in the Danish town Hillerod north of Copenhagen. I remember the time as very good. I had very many friends in the Kindergarten and at the school.

But then my father experienced a work related accident which crippled him so he couldn’t continue with his old line of work. We had to move to an area closer to Copenhagen where the income needed for housing isn’t that high. It took its toll on my parents’ marriage and in the end they divorced. The hotel was sold to another chain and my mother decided to move back to the states. Because I have been living all my life in Denmark they decided to let me stay with my father.

I had difficulties adjusting to the life in what some would regard as social housing. My friends came from a totally different background and because I tried to fit in my behavior changed. Some might call it a sub-culture where everyone out there watched each other’s back against the police and the social services. It was tough times but not nearly as bad as today where criminal gangs have taken over and shootings and weapons are everyday life.

It brings back a difficult time for me. Of course I could have found another job in Copenhagen. It was before Denmark took such a hard stand on visas. Maybe I could have stayed but the marriage took a toll on me. I was tired of the fighting. Your father had a hard time accepting his condition after his accident. As I wrote in my previous post he became a difficult man to live with.

I often question my decision to leave you with him but in my heart I know that it would have killed him if I took you with me. And what kind of life could I offer? A year or two living at various places while I turned a hotel around? Then there were your grandparents and friends. I believed that you would continue to live in Hilleroed.

When I heard that you moved I had no idea that it was to a social housing project. It was never brought to my attention. Surely I would have stepped in securing you from I consider a damaging situation.

Years went by and I found myself being 15 years of age. The apartment where I was supposed to live was only a place for me to sleep. While we always were on good terms he had plenty of problems of his own to manage me. I had to take care of myself. After the seventh form it was clear that I would never make it through high school. The path laid out in front of me was business school and a job in a supermarket. I had no ambitions but just wanted to live from day to day.

My lack of goals in life and my grades in school was not something my mother was fond of. She really wanted me to take the High school exam. But school was of no interest for me. My life was filled with friends, parties and latest my boyfriend which I will choose to call John. We were together all the time and I often slept at his place which my father did choose to accept. When my mother learned of John she exploded. My father told her to forget it. He had the custody of me. She had elected to leave and he was in charge.

Then she offered that I could go to live with her and spend a year in a high school in her town. Due to the strict requirements to the curriculum in Danish Schools made by the Danish department of education I could not transfer credits back to Denmark but as she told me it would be a nice change for me to experience something new. I was tempted but it would mean that I would leave my boyfriend behind so I declined as politely as I could.

I have to assure you that I would have gone back at once demanding custody if I had learned sooner how you lived. I was shocked when I realized that you were very much on your own. I realized that there are many places here in the United States where children seem to have been born to live their adult life in prisons but I also believe that it is excuses. Everybody have their own future in their hand. Everyone can decide whether to turn right or left when they leave their house in the morning.

You were 15 when you told me in a letter about your boyfriend. It was then I decided to save you. I understood that your lack of motivation was result of your upbringing and the laidback approach to life Danes in general seem to suffer from. I believe that it is grossly error which could make your life kind of wasted. I believe that you should reach out for your full potential and I continue to believe it even now where I realize that I have no more saying in what you decide in life.

What I found very shocking was you lack of urge for adventure. When I was a child looking over fields as far as I could see I had this urge to see the world. This urge for adventure took me through high school and all over the world. Had I settled in Clara City I would never have been Europe, Asia other places in the States as I did. I don’t know how the Danish system managed to kill this in you. I don’t understand how you became raised to view this small country as the world. I believed that I granted you an opportunity with a year in our high school. I know that there are Danish families out there who save 10,000 dollars or more for such a year and I could give it to you for free.

However, I am no longer disappointed in what you have achieved. I feel resigned and somewhat that I have undergone a process of detachment. I don’t feel that I can do more for you and I am trying hard not to blame myself on past errors because none of us can go back.

Then she offered that I could spend the summer holidays at her place if I got good grades, which I accepted. I passed my exams with an average C – almost D. She sounded like she accepted that it was a good result.

So June 2006 I left for a holiday or at least so I believed.

When I offered you the holiday it was not a strategy where I intended to keep you. I can assure you that. I believed that I might be able to persuade you and you just needed to get away from your father. Of course it fits badly when I stated above that I decided to save you.

But I believed that you would change your mind once you came to Clara City and took a tour at our high school. They have so many activities after school and I believed that it was the step to take to bring you out of your comfort zone.

I am not entirely happy with the events which took place later but at the time I had not made other plans but to introduce you to the wonderful academically atmosphere we offer our high school students.


Kathy

The early years

I wrote a blog and republished it as a e-book. Here is the first chapter:

I was born in Denmark. My father is from Denmark and my mother from the United States. She came to Denmark because she got a good job at the former Sheraton Hotel in Copenhagen. They married and bought a house in the Danish town Hillerod north of Copenhagen. I remember the time as very good. I had very many friends in the Kindergarten and at the school.

But then my father experienced a work related accident which crippled him so he couldn’t continue with his old line of work. We had to move to an area closer to Copenhagen where the income needed for housing isn’t that high. It took its toll on my parents’ marriage and in the end they divorced. The hotel was sold to another chain and my mother decided to move back to the states. Because I have been living all my life in Denmark they decided to let me stay with my father.

I had difficulties adjusting to the life in what some would regard as social housing. My friends came from a totally different background and because I tried to fit in my behavior changed. Some might call it a sub-culture where everyone out there watched each other’s back against the police and the social services. It was tough times but not nearly as bad as today where criminal gangs have taken over and shootings and weapons are everyday life.

Years went by and I found myself being 15 years of age. The apartment where I was supposed to live was only a place for me to sleep. While we always were on good terms he had plenty of problems of his own to manage me. I had to take care of myself. After the seventh form it was clear that I would never make it through high school. The path laid out in front of me was business school and a job in a supermarket. I had no ambitions but just wanted to live from day to day.

My lack of goals in life and my grades in school was not something my mother was fond of. She really wanted me to take the High school exam. But school was of no interest for me. My life was filled with friends, parties and latest my boyfriend which I will choose to call John. We were together all the time and I often slept at his place which my father did choose to accept. When my mother learned of John she exploded. My father told her to forget it. He had the custody of me. She had elected to leave and he was in charge.

Then she offered that I could go to live with her and spend a year in a high school in her town. Due to the strict requirements to the curriculum in Danish Schools made by the Danish department of education I could not transfer credits back to Denmark but as she told me it would be a nice change for me to experience something new. I was tempted but it would mean that I would leave my boyfriend behind so I declined as politely as I could.

Then she offered that I could spend the summer holidays at her place if I got good grades, which I accepted. I passed my exams with an average C – almost D. She sounded like she accepted that it was a good result.

So June 2006 I left for a holiday or at least so I believed.


Janice

About me

My name here on this blog is Kathy. It is what I have been called by my family all my life. My real name you might guess but due to my former professional life I prefer to be known here as Kathy as I don’t like newspapers to write about me after I am gone.

I was born in Minnesota not far from where I live now. Early in my life I decided to leave my hometown in order to make at career. I went into the Hotel business working as manager in many hotels around the world.

While I was stationed in Denmark I met my ex-husband. Let us call him Karl. We married. I was about to quit my job and find a more lasting position in Denmark when my ex got in a terrible accident at work.

It altered him as a person. It was no longer the man I got married with. While we adults didn’t get along he was a good father or so I believed when I left my daughter in his care.

I worked for 10 more years before my health forced me to retire. I took up a position as consultant for my old company working from distance from Minnesota while I found comfort surrounding me with family and old friends. I also tried to get closer to my daughter knowing that I might not have been the best mother in world prioritizing my career over her. Somewhere along the line my daughter has never been reaching out fulfilling her potential which I blame her father.

I realized that my daughter was about to throw her life away when I took contact with her and tried to offer her a second path toward success. To this very day I don’t understand why she took it this way so I have accepted her invitation to comment her experiences and defend my actions which I continue to believe was made with the best intentions.

I no longer have all the time in the world. I want to be with her when it is over for me.

Now Janice! The ball is yours.


Kathy

How to start

I am not quiet sure how to start this blog.

Let me present myself.

I am a young Danish woman who lived my entire life in Denmark.

My mother is from the United States. My parents divorced when I was 9. Because I had lived all my life in Denmark I grew up with my father. My mother went back to the States continuing working for her company.

Years later I accepted to visit my mother. She had retired from her work which took most of her time and sent her around the world working in various posts. She wanted to be closer to me.

I went. She decided that I was somehow neglected and sent me to a wilderness program and later a boarding school believing that she had my fathers accept to do that. My father had custody and managed to get me released in the end but not before I suffered emotional damage. Needless to say there have been some years without contact.

Lately my mother got diagnosed with cancer. We have tried to re-establish our connection with each other. It is a hard process so in order to do it without letting it result in word-calling we have decided to make this blog and write our sides of what took place and what our motivation was to do what we did.


Janice