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.

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5. On the run in Minnesota

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.

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