vrijdag 14 februari 2014

What's love got to do with it?

It took me Lærdansk, a friend and a Danish philosopher (Anne Marie Pahuus) to realise how much love enters in the equation that made us end up here in Denmark.

First Lærdansk.

Almost every foreigner ends up in Lærdansk in order to, well, learn Danish. One day, my fellow student Christine and I let our thoughts wander about various subjects, such as Danish integration policy, and why we are here - in Denmark, that is.

We concluded that we, and each and every one of our class mates, were here for love. Either because we fell in love with a Danish citizen, or with a partner we decided to follow, because this person's work required her or him to come here. Imagine that: a classroom full of love!

Then the philosopher, Anne Marie Pahuus.

She published a book on love in the 'Tænkepause' series of Aarhus University Press, and recently presented her work for an audience of expat partners in University International Club at Aarhus University (all this while holding her youngest daughter on her hip). She took us on a whirlwind tour of philosophy and literature, touching upon the works of philosophers like Plato and Kierkegaard and authors such as Milan Kundera.

In other words, it got really philosophical and up-in-the-air, and as she was talking, all of a sudden I fell to earth so to speak, and the conversation I had with Christine came to mind. Again I found myself sitting in a room full of love – expat partners who have ventured out with their loved ones, out into the unknown, and they were all gathered here, in a sterile-looking seminar room in Aarhus.

It struck me that love was represented as a sort of end product, but can that be true? As far as I am concerned, no. Something changes in the relationship when a couple moves to another country, something having to do with balance. Usually, the move is for the direct benefit of one of the partners, while the other one's benefits are not always that straightforward to describe. That does things with you – and with your loved one.

Also, the new circumstances make that the two of you develop yourselves. Sometimes in unforeseeable ways. That can be scary – let's be honest about that (I can be, eh, LOUD). But it can also be exhilarating, resulting in a giddy feeling of success, and a strengthening of the bond between you and your loved one.

So the choice for being an expat comes from love, and the choice itself influences the love that made it happen. That's scary, too...

Wait. Could it be that philosophy is contagious and I just wrote down something philosopical?!

I'll stop immediately and do something down-to-earth, like running away to buy my sweetheart some chocolate and roses. It's Valentine's Day anyway.

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