If my grandmother had been an architect, which as a young bricklayer’s apprentice she aspired to be, until my grandfather got other plans for her future within the four walls of the home, Copenhagen would have been a different city today and "architect" more than a capsized word in her mouth. If my mother had been employed as a receptionist at the desk of Hotel Trouville in Hornbæk guests from all over the world would have received the best service, which did not happen, because my father found a better solution a brand new baby which would be cared for within the four wings of the farm. - "Is home not good enough for you, then?” Letters from my mother reached me in a straight bird-line – No matter how many wing-beats, I was gone. Like that I felt at home wherever I arrived. White envelopes with her unmistakable, circular handwriting scrutinized and deciphered in many countries letters about my brother, my father and sister and all her cats "Your father has sown the field to the east and I have been to the hairdresser’s." I slit the letters open and out poured out the sun. – “Take me with you,” they said between the lines to me who was involved in seeing how others lived, seeing icebergs in Greenland, sniffing around in Hanoi’s little shops, sending my tentacles out in Bogotá, confronting myself with Australia's wildlife but quite often encountering beggars, robbers, swindlers and those who were worse, men who asked: – “Do you want to get married?” I said no, because I was married, at least on paper. – “What are you doing here, then? Go home and look after your children!” How could people in other cultures understand my desire to travel? What was I doing in the West Bank? Or why was it important to cross Chicago's no-man's land? Who ever had a grandmother who taught one to travel even though one was running a fever? A picnic was cancelled because I was ill instead, with my sister and me she wandered up and down the moss-green carpet in the passage, told us of all the gnarled trees in the woods, of the mushrooms we were going to pick until at last we flopped down with the filled basket and held a picnic on the grass.
translated from Danish by David McDuff