We have had our share of dreary, damp days lately, but the past 3 Fridays have been gloriously sunny. The reason I know this is because I have a fairly consistent routine on Fridays. This usually begins with a bit of exercise, which means I’ve either cycled the kids to school or have gone for a run, then I walk into the apartment to find sun streaming through the windows and suddenly feel claustrophobically hot, so I go around and turn down all the radiators and open the windows. Since the sunshine causes the dust in the apartment to suddenly twinkle like glitter, I frantically begin cleaning. Today I even mopped the floor! Getting out of the shower I realized that the apartment is FREEZING, so I run around closing all the windows and turn the heat back on. Today I also put the kettle on, as I had a friend over for coffee. We had such fun chatting about cultural differences surrounding everything from birthday parties, education, social skills, fashion and of course, language. She is Danish, lived in Australia for 12 years and is now back in Denmark, raising a little girl at the same international school that our girls attend. Oh, the laughs that can be had surrounding these topics. The other day, I was going through an area that had been restricted by the police, due to a car accident. As I walked past a police officer, he said “Pas på”, which means “be careful”, but I suddenly stopped, frozen, because I thought he had asked me for my passport. I was so confused, but he gave me a smile and little shove, which clearly meant for me to continue walking. As I walked on, I translated what he had said and had quite a chuckle to myself as I continued on my way.
In the grocery store the other day, an elderly woman had mistakenly left an apple in her basket as she went through the check-out line. Since many elderly people in Denmark don’t speak English, this was the perfect time to practice my Danish, so I held up the fruit and quite confidently said, “Undskyld, er det din Appelsin?” Several people looked very confused. I had just held up an apple and said, “Excuse me, is this your orange?” Shoot! Æble, æble…I know that an apple is called an “æble”, why did I say appelsin? Maybe because it looks like it has the word APPLE in it?! Now, why an orange is called an “appelsin” is beyond me. Whoever created the Danish language thought, “Ah, ha! We now have a secret language that nobody will be able to speak or understand!” Even the Queen of Denmark is given Danish subtitles under her speeches because people feel her Danish is rather poor. Doesn’t she find that insulting, I wonder? Probably not, since the Danes will be the first to admit that they speak as if they have potatoes in their mouth.
Do you see the baby carriage on the balcony? There is undoubtedly a wee one napping in there on this crisp winter afternoon. Why? Because babies sleep better in the cold. Didn’t you know? I love this article on parenting wisdom from Scandinavia. Worth a read.
We have been living in Copenhagen for just over 6 months now. I still have so much to learn about this country, this culture, the language (ugh!) and it’s people. But I love it. I really do. I am fascinated by all of it and carry a little bit of adventure throughout every day. Had I not been meeting a friend for coffee today, I would have taken the bike down a new road. It was a road I pass every day, that suddenly looked so inviting and mysterious. I enjoy the wonder of not knowing exactly where a road will lead and often have the desire to turn a monotonous ride into a spontaneous outing. Of course this sometimes back-fires on me. Last night I decided to take a different way home from ballet. (I should have known better, as something about Matea’s ballet class brings out my navigationally-challenged-side.) I rode down unfamiliar streets, unable to read the street signs in the dark, the blinking red and white lights of my bicycle flashed in puddles of rainwater as two little voices asked, “where are we?” and “are we lost?” I’m thinking the girls are probably tired and hungry and about to have a meltdown at any moment. As panic began to set in, I pulled over and looked at my GPS (I freakin’ love my smart phone!) I hear one of those little voices say to the other, “look at that church, it’s so beautiful.” And it really was. I looked up from my phone to see lights shining on a tall, pointed steeple, a crescent moon in the twilight blue sky. It was one of those moment. I’m not sure how to describe it, except that it is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. The kind that comes at the most unexpected times, in through small eyes and finds it’s way straight to my heart.