How Copenhagen Reveals The Magic Of Coincidence
I am travelling a lot these days. I am sitting in a plane to Denmark right now, although I just came back from Asia last week. It felt so good to be back in Berlin for a few days. I needed to breathe in the dirty air. I needed to see this wild mixture of crazy people, great outfits, street dirt, hipsterism, made-up beauty, new trends, baroque architecture and grey buildings. I could dwell in that feeling of pure freedom.
I am looking out of the window. Why am I flying off to Scandinavia? It feels so random. Me? Now? How on earth did that happen?
I reminiscence about this journey. It started one year ago, precisely on Friday, June 2nd of 2017. I spontaneously decided to ditch my usual hair dresser and give another salon a try. Phone call done, appointment scheduled – and boom! My life path was changed! It is as simple as that. Why? Because during that appointment, I ran into the arms of a beautiful Danish hair stylist with an unusual excitement about my blonde hair, and with a smile that was full of passion, love and joy. That is how I met Katja. She came, saw and conquered my heart.
Our friendship immediately started on that day. From June 2nd onwards, we did creative stuff together and had coffee, rosé wine and tons of sushi rolls. Our relationship lasted although she would leave Berlin and go back to Copenhagen one day – and that is why I am sitting in this plane to Scandinavia right now. If I would have chosen my usual hair salon or would have come in another day, this journey would have never happened.
Denmark. Wow. The plane has landed. The air feels a bit colder than in Berlin, and when I’d describe the city in colors, I would say it is sea blue and white, mixed with brick stone red and a soft tone of forest green. What is the sound of Copenhagen? It is the noise of a hundred bicycles rushing past you and the crushing sound of waves that break down in a thousand shades of blue. Copenhagen is surrounded by water, and you can smell it everywhere in the city.
The Gin bar that tells unwritten stories
We stop by at a small gin bar and I fall in love with this shabby place. Imagine you leave the light blue streets of Copenhagen and take a few steps downstairs into the basement. You see a cozy bar with an intriguing vintage charm, because it smells like candlelight, late nights and unwritten stories in there. It’s one of those places that feel extremely comfortable and you cannot tell why. Although it is still empty in there, the air is flooded with endless loud conversations of late nights. With the smell of smoked cigarettes and too much alcohol. You can smell everything between those things.
I want to sink into the old damaged leather couches and put my glass on one of those vintage tables that lose their white coating and look kind of shabby. I am quiet for a while and realize what I have learned about Copenhagen so far: Danish people like the dark wood under the base color. They appreciate understatement, purism and honesty. Surfaces are not that important and nobody here seems to be a show-off. In Denmark it is rather about the peak chapter of a book and not so much about its cover.
Why am I so thrilled about this hidden bar somewhere in Copenhagen? This cozy place is the reason why Katja came to Berlin in the first place. It was in that hidden corner over there – framed in dark lights and gin bottles – where Katja met Phillip. Katja would move to Berlin one day only because she met Phillip here on a lucky day in 2015.
The girl that makes you chase your dreams
Now we are standing here and order a glass of gin. Katja tells me that she had never liked “boring blonde Danish guys with their stupid Ralph Lauren polo shirts”, and that she once spotted a bartender at that corner over there. With long brown locks, dark curious eyes and a non-conventional fashion style. I look at the corner and imagine both of them standing there, falling in love by coincidence at a random day in 2015. Actually, it was on Friday, 20th of November 2015.
I look at Phillip – he is the only reason why Katja moved to Berlin and came into my life. He is the only reason why I am in Copenhagen right now. It was in early 2017 when Phillip was signed by the American football team Berlin Rebels. Katja moved to Germany with him, started a new life and inspired him every day with her “Let-us-be-everything-but-normal” attitude. While they lived together, she spent a few hours in the morning to train with him. She collected his footballs during their trainings and cheered at him during important games on the weekend. I have to smile inside because he might marry that girl one day. Who knows.
I am amazed by these two Danish people sitting in front of me. Phillip spends his lifetime to kick footballs in front of thousands of people. It doesn’t matter if he slept badly or had a fight with his best friend. It might even be possible that thousands of people are BOOING at his team. He still has to kick the football and come as close to perfection as possible. There are only a few shots that determine the whole game. His whole game. His whole career. When you hear him talking about his position, you realize that he does not want to be a kicker. He LOVES to be a kicker.
I am still looking at him and realize how unpretentious and honest he is. Nowadays, Phillip is one of the best kickers in Europe. However, he is everything but a show-off, and he doesn’t care about the book cover at all. Above all, he has a loving girlfriend who is constantly pushing him to chase his dream. A girl that he randomly met in a bar on a lucky day in his life.
Your life is the consequence of a thousand small decisions
This is how it goes in life. We meet new people and start new jobs, we move to another apartment or to another city. People come into our life and they leave it at some point. Some of them might stay. However, it is rather unusual that we can name the exact date when a new change was induced, and when the seed was put into the ground. Even more: when it was given birth to. Most of the time, we just create small ripples with our actions, and this leads to another action, and this brings us to a certain place where we meet a random person, and another person, and then we suddenly end up with a life that we had never expected.
Have a look around you! Your life situation is a consequence of so many small decisions, of random rejections, strange encounters and coincidences in the smallest and most meaningless situations. Try to trace back your ripples and find out where they come from. It is almost impossible. Do you know when the seed was put into the ground? And when it was given birth to?
When Katja’s career took off
The three of us are taking a seat at one of those shabby tables. I am sipping on my gin tonic and I hear myself telling them: “This is why you guys are so harmonious and why you rarely fight: you are both dream-chasers.” I keep drinking because my smitten Danish friends look at each other with eyes full of love. They won’t say anything. I feel an emotion that captures two binary things at the same time: loving compassion for my dearest friends and an aching loneliness in my chest. I still don’t have anyone to kiss right now, so I keep drinking my gin tonic.
During the next day, I walk in the streets of Copenhagen and observe the people around me. Katja is off to work, she started her own business a few blocks away from here. I admire her because she left the safe path and had enough will power to chase her dreams. After a few weeks, she was making more money that most of my German friends who studied economics or law, and yes, even more than those who work their asses off in consulting firms. During the last two (free) days, she had mumbled every now and then that she misses her hair studio. Katja does not want to work, she LOVES to work.
It is a funny thought: Katja only moved to Berlin because she met this long-haired bartender in a bar in 2015. I only got to know her because I spontaneously made a random hair appointment in 2017.
God, who knows what will happen in Copenhagen!?
Am I planting a seed right here and right now? When one is aware of all the ripples that are created by small actions every day, it can be scary and amazing at the same time.
The ringtone that goes all around the globe
I walk back to our lovely apartment in Christianshavn. I am not a regular smoker, but I feel like taking a cigarette from the kitchen table and just light it up. Here I am – sitting at the kitchen window and blowing out grey clouds into the sky, watching tiny people on the street.
Suddenly I can hear an iPhone ringing. The sound goes all the way up to the 5th floor and it sounds so familiar. I used to wake up to this melody every morning a while ago... when was that? Where was I? What is this strong feeling about?
Ah. This was my wake-up call in Singapore for almost one and a half years. This melody reminds me intensively of my period in Asia and brings back a giant flush of memories. I have to think about a green-eyed guy that I randomly met in a Berlin bar in 2011. Accurately, it was the 1st of November 2011. That guy changed my life path and made me fly all around the globe to Asia.
I blow out another smoke cloud and look into the blue sky of Copenhagen. I might marry that guy one day. Who knows.
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