“ I love Denmark!”
I was having the worst time of my life working in Paris. I needed family and my free Danish baby*, so I went running for respite to my sister, her husband and best of all, my baby niece in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Amidst the ruins of a disastrous career move and a battered heart, I arranged to meet up with an old graduate school friend, R, who was also living in Copenhagen. My driver Andrei was a Romanian immigrant who did metal work by trade.
To clarify, Romania is part of the EU and Andrei had every right to live and work in Denmark, although some might dispute that in this zeitgeist of xenophobia and anti-immigration sentiment. Andrei’s first day there, he had been accosted by an aggressive man yelling at him to go home (among other obscenities.)
Despite all of that, Andrei loved Denmark.
“I love Denmark. This is a great country,” he proclaimed. “It is very good for me. Not like Romania.”
“The government in Romania–all thieves,” he declared. “Romanian people are good. But the government–they steal from the people. Not like here. Denmark is good!”
Andrei wanted to start a metalwork business in Denmark. He wanted to contribute to the Danish economy and create high-quality pieces that he could then offer to the Danish people at a more competitive rate. His goal was to live a prosperous life, pay his taxes, and have children.
In short, Andrei was the most patriotic man I had ever met, of a country he wasn’t a citizen of.
*I am to be the legal guardian of my niece, Emily, should anything (God forbid) happen to my sister or my brother-in-law. Ever since, I refer to Emily as my “free baby.”
About the artist
Pedro De Elizalde is 25, and a Concept Artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Check out more of his work on his Instagram: @pdeart