PEOPLE ON ISTEDAGE
This is Ulf. He’s 73 years old and lives at a nursing home just nearby Istedgade.
- How often do you come here?
- Every day, he says.
- To buy beer and cigarettes and to look at the people going up and down Istedgade.
Ulf and I welcome you to @istedgadefolket. Here you will meet people who live, work and walk at the street Istedgade. One of the most famous streets in Copenhagen, known for its’ resistance during World War II with the parole «Istedgade never surrenders». Today it’s known for its’ diversity and for being the most lively road in Copenhagen. It’s the street that never sleeps.
When Matt and his wife Lea moved from Chicago to Copenhagen, Lea informed Matt that their rental apartment was on a slightly sketchy street. «She warned me and said that Istedgade can be a little weird and scary. But now I’ve found that it isn’t that bad! You know, if somebody says that a street is "sketchy" in the US, we fear for our lives», Matt laughs.
Matt and Lea have known each other since they were babies, but they have only been in love the past 8 years. Their dads grew up together. Since Lea is both half Danish and half American, she would visit her Nana’s lake house every summer in Indiana, USA. There, she and Matt would hang out as friends. It wasn’t until they hit their early twenties that something more happened between them. «One hot summer we just fell for each other. I don’t know what was different. It just was. Suddenly it was just sexy», Lea says.
Even though both knew that they liked each other, none of them were ready to be exclusive the first two years. «We were so young, and life was just more appealing than love. We wanted to live our own lives before we lived it together. But we still wanted to see each other. It developed into an on-and-off-relationship, where we would travel back and forth between two countries, taking turns being vulnerable», Lea says.
Lea says that love can feel so perverse, because it's so overwhelming. She didn’t understand in the beginning that what she felt was love. Matt says Lea is the most loving person he has ever met. «She is just full of love, under the surface and above, and she loves to share it with others», he says. He always knew that Lea would be the perfect partner. «Lea's love is so pure. I knew that if we got together, our love would be pure as well», Matt says.
Even though they weren’t exclusive the first two years, they still consider the period absolutely fantastic. They both agree that you have to pick a partner that excites you. And they both did. They got married 1 1/2 years ago.
"I have struggled with both depression and anxiety, and for a long time I didn't know who I was. When I saw the job opening at the sex-shop 'Plan E' at Istedgade, I thought to myself: I need to challenge myself. Push my limits so that I can figure out who I am. And now, a little over a year after, I have found my second home", 23 year old Nadine says. She was a little nervous in the beginning. She had to get used to guiding customers in something so personal as buying sex toys. But it didn't take long before she felt that she had found herself through her work.
"It's a new kind of freedom to combine my personal knowledge with my work. I have never felt so confident in my whole life. It makes me so happy that all these customers, all these different people, feel safe when I help them. They are confident in my decisions, and that makes me feel very special", Nadine smiles.
Several weeks after Nadine showed me her recommendation for me, she wrote to me that she is no longer working at 'Plan E'. When I asked her why, she didn't respond. But something tells me that she is out there, finding a new way to grow as a person.
For more stories visit People on Istedgade on Instagram