Janice's journey

This biography is made based on the diary of a young woman who lived in many years in Denmark before she went on a holiday at her birthmother’s county. Her values and morale is based on her upbringing in Denmark which some might consider offending. However in order to truly understand how she experienced her stay in the United States the cultural influences has to be considered a major contributor to her choices both before, under and after her stay.

Second the names of individual youth transport firms, wilderness programs and boarding schools are not mentioned. It is not a question about being for or against various companies offering emotional growth. It is strictly a story about how Janice as she has chosen to call herself experienced a number of incidents which left life changing marks on her adult life.

This biography is co-authored because Janice wanted to have her story published in both Danish and English.


4. It was supposed to be a holiday

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.

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