December 17, 2011

Greetings:

This year, we've decided to include a small selection of the 2,676 pictures we've taken on our digital camera, so hope it gives you a flavour of 2011 the way we saw it.


Louise is very proud of our front garden. Brian heading off to work one snowy morning.
 
Repainting the fence on Hvidovrevej. In our living room, with our friend Lars.
 
Part of the Copenhagen skyline in the winter. Louise on a sunny spring afternoon.

2011 brought a big change in Brian's work. In January, an opportunity came up with the Maersk Shipping Company in downtown Copenhagen, so I started work as Documentation Coordinator on March 1st.

On Brian's last day at Nangate. Maersk is the world's biggest company in shipping containers, and the biggest company in Denmark.

I work in the IT department with a team of 80 people who are redoing the company's web-based ordering and billing system. My role doesn't involve any technical writing, but I act as the custodian of programmers' information. My coworkers come from many countries, so English is used exclusively. I now take the train to work (35 minutes door to door) instead of riding my bicycle through the freezing cold winter. It has taken me much of the year to adjust to new responsibilities and expectations, working for a much bigger enterprise in the city centre, and being surrounded by people all day long. The job is working out well, and I appreciate the improved pay and benefits.


Maersk headquarters in downtown Copenhagen.



Brian is still leading the Allcanuck club for Canadian expats in Denmark. A graphic design student volunteered to create a new logo (right), and our enhanced web site and presence on FaceBook has attracted many new members. Besides celebrating Canada Day, the club marked Canadian Thanksgiving with a pot-luck dinner party (53 people present, including the Canadian Ambassador and his family).

We spend most of our time in Copenhagen, and undertake excursions to local museums or art galleries most weekends. We toured Malmo, Sweden on a lovely Saturday in May, and hiked in a big park on the north coast of our island in October. We are coping without a car, relying on the bus, train or bikes instead. Our friend Lars took us on a couple of motoring excursions to the Danish countryside, but he has moved to Vancouver, B.C and we visited him there (more about that trip later).


On Easter weekend, we flew to the historic port city of Genoa, Italy. That's where Christopher Columbus set sail. We got our fill of art galleries in historic mansions, walked around the touristy sea port, and had a day's outing by train to Rapallo, a seaside resort. You can see a few of our pictures in a PDF file at this link.



We spent a week at the end of May in England. We visited Guildford and Maidenhead, went to a theatre-organ concert on the south coast, then linked up with Louise's Canadian girlfriend Heather. The picture (right) shows them on a scenic hike through rural Dorset. The finale of our trip was a 3-day stay on Louise's cousin's farm in Wiltshire.



Our big trip of the year featured a week-long stay in Vancouver (our first visit in 25 years). We were pleased to attend the wedding of our friends Gary and Debbie (left) and renewed our friendships with several former residents of Copenhagen who now live in lotus land.

We then landed in on Louise's brother Joe and wife Lynn in Toronto, so took advantage of the beautiful July weather for some lake swims. Brian's 27 first cousins had their first reunion in many years, so it was great to see them again, all looking very young and fit.



At the Keith family reunion, Brian's brother Murray and wife Wanda (back row), sister Sandra and mom Margaret. We were really glad to be there!

The Ontario town of Goderich, where Brian's mom, sister, brother and niece live, was devastated by a tornado in late August. Their homes had only a little damage, but it was an upsetting experience for everyone in "Canada's prettiest town".



Louise had a "quality" visit with her mom Ann in Toronto.

The day we left for our holiday in Canada, there was a record-setting rainstorm (6 inches of rain) in Copenhagen. Businesses downtown (including Maersk) are still coping with the aftermath of flooded basements. We suffered disappointing weather for much of August - then warmer temperatures in September and October. We hope this winter will not be as long and severe as last winter!

Many months passed before our next holiday. In November, we took the train and ferry to Hamburg, Germany, for a 3-day city break. We walked all over the downtown, taking in the historical port area, lots of museums and the Christmas market.

In more mundane domestic news, we got our dining-room chairs reupholstered (after 33 years of daily use), and bought a new mattress for our bed. Both of us underwent expensive dental procedures. Brian had long complained of a painful left hip, so with medical coverage from Maersk, consulted a physiotherapist who prescribed special exercises. Those are paying off, with no more pain.

Louise has become a huge fan of the American TV series, "Hoarders", which is shown on Danish TV. Our apartment in Guildford is still rented out, but required investments in new windows and a new gas furnace. So life goes on with inevitable ups and downs along the way.

We hope you have a memorable Christmas and a fulfilling New Year!

Brian & Louise Keith

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