2010 Trip to Struer, Denmark

In 2010, Ericsson decided to close the office in Struer, Denmark, and move those jobs to Italy and Beijing. I was one of the job receivers from Beijing, and I stayed in Struer for two and a half months together with my Chinese and Italian colleagues.

Most people probably never heard about Struer, but you probably heard about Bang & Olufsen or B&O, which makes luxurious speakers and home theatre systems. Their global headquarter is in Struer, a city with a population of only 10,000 people.

Most of the Chinese engineers were from my former team, in which I was the technical leader. We stayed in the Grand Hotel of Struer, which was the only hotel in that small city. The owner of the hotel turned one of the rooms into a simple kitchen, so we could cook our meals there. We had so much fun cooking, playing card games, and traveling together (in our spare time of course), etc. In fact, we have been talking about going back to Struer some time for a reunion, but I doubt if that will happen.

I was so impressed by the professionalism of those Danish colleagues. Before we arrived there, we were expecting to see cold faces on frustrated Danish colleagues, as they were going to lose their jobs. However, they were all very friendly and positive, and did all they could to ensure a smooth transition of the jobs. Nobody seemed to be unhappy being laid off. My Danish counterpart was actually very happy about it, as he found a new job as a Math teacher in a local high school. He said he always wanted to be a teacher, and his dream finally came true. His name was “Per Fack”, and I always tried not to say his last name as it was a little embarrassing…

Some people may remember the volcano eruptions in Iceland in 2010. And yes, that happened right when I was in Struer. One of my colleagues was on a flight from Beijing to Copenhagen, and she was told they had to land in Warsaw, Poland instead. The Polish president Lech Kaczyński was just killed in a plane crash in Russia, so my colleague arrived during the state funeral of the president. She was later sent from Warsaw to Copenhagen all the way by bus, and then took a five hours’ train ride to Struer. When she finally arrived, we all joked and called her “the Polish girl”. It was supposed to be a three-day business trip for her, but as all flights were cancelled, she was stuck there for weeks. During the same time, our Italian colleagues had to rent a bus to travel between Denmark and Italy on weekends (12 hours each way…).

Two and a half months went by fast, and we had to return to China. However, we lost a person in our team. One of the girls fell in love with a Danish guy during this trip, and stayed there permanently. But it is also a big accomplishment, isn’t it?

You may ask if I met any gay friends during this trip, and of course I did. One of them was Kai, who was a little strange, but a very nice person. He lived in a nearby city named Skive, and I took the train to meet him there. The first trip just lasted a few of hours. He showed me around by his car, which was really nice. When I was on the train to go back to Struer, he was standing on the railway platform and started crying like his long time friend is leaving forever… A couple of weeks later, I visited him again, and this time, he asked me to visit his boyfriend’s family and stay overnight. Before going there, we stayed in his house for a short time. After him showing me the house, we sat down in the living room and started chatting. I was so shocked when he asked if I wanted to watch some gay porn with him, but I was glad he didn’t turn it on after I told him no… Later, we were at his boyfriend’s house, and we had a nice dinner with his boyfriend and his teenage daughter and son. When it was bed time, I was expecting there would be a guest bedroom for me, but they said no and asked me to sleep on the same bed with them… I had no choice but to accept it. Then they said it would be impolite to let a guest to sleep on the side, so I squeezed in the middle of the bed, between two Danish guys… Not to my surprise, the two guys started stripping and making out on the bed… I had never been in such awkward situation, and I yelled out “Guys! Sorry to interrupt you, but please, do you have some extra blanket? I want to sleep on the floor…” Kai looked at me innocently, and said “It’s not good sleeping on the floor. Are you sure you can’t sleep like this?” “Not with a shaking bed!” I said. I finally got to sleep on the floor, but still having nightmares of being “sandwich meat”…


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