30 June 2009

tirsdag - tuesday

i guess i still haven't adjusted to the time change yet, because i've still been waking up every morning between 3 and 4 a.m. i don't know why, because that's around noon in california, and that is not wake-up time. but it probably has something to do with the light. the incredible, unforgettable light. every time the light shifts here - which it does often - i reach for my camera. i've seen some of the most unbelievable clouds, sunsets, and sihouettes in the past several days.

however, this is at dusk, not dawn.

my room is finally starting to look like someone actually lives in it. today i finally bought a comforter, comforter cover, pillowcase, and what i thought was a sheet set. well, not only did it not turn out to be a sheet set but just a single sheet, but i bought the wrong size. so that's another thing i have to resolve tomorrow, in addition to fixing my phone, which still won't let me send text messages. i hate texting, but everyone here does it.

i really like living here at tietgen. i feel comfortable here, my room is nice, and i'm really glad to live somewhere where i get to practice danish every day. last night there was an informal get-together on the canal outside of my building where everyone brought a bottle of wine and a glass and tried each others' wine. it was really nice and i met a lot of people that way. as a side note, everyone here seems older than me. i'm the youngest on my hall and probably the youngest person i've met here.

my building, sixteen. seksten. pronounced sice-ten. the first part rhymes with "slice".

the courtyard.


så här ska man ha det, när man har det som sämst. in other words, this is how things should be at their worst.

looking down from my room.

today i went to islands brygge again, a sort of park on a canal, and this time i took some pictures. though it was overcast for part of the afternoon, it was really a nice day. there's not much better than spending an afternoon in the sun with friends, strawberries, ice cream, and a beer or two (or pear cider). plus, we jumped into the water off of the big wood platform in the picture below. the water is only cold enough to be refreshing, as their air temperature has been hovering around 80 degrees fahrenheit.

i have lots of small bug bites. it's not something you expect when travelling to a nordic country, but there is a lot of water here. and one good thing about summer not lasting long here is that soon the bugs will be gone.

i'm finally getting to know some danes. my hallmates (i have my own room, but share a kitchen with eleven other people) are really kind, considerate, and fun, and have helped me out a lot by showing me where the cleaning stuff is, how the kitchen works, how the (very futuristic) laundry room works, and more. i can't imagine living on my own in a single flat here.

in the last couple of days, i've ordered food, set up my voicemail, and gone shopping and told the cashier i don't need a bag - entirely in danish. i'm thrilled to understand the amount that i do. knowing swedish helps. a lot.

and that's it for today.

28 June 2009


on friday i went to lund (sweden) to visit my friend patch from my exchange year in sweden and see ratatat. the train ride over went smoothly enough until my cell phone stopped working when we left denmark. at first i thought i just didn't have any service, but i didn't get it back, and hence couldn't get ahold of patch to tell him to meet me at the train station in malmö. well, it was fine; he came eventually with his friend einar. until them i had some time to myself to explore malmö, where i had never been before.

malmö is alright. it's actually really cute (like most of sweden and all of copenhagen). being in sweden, even only for a day, was really relaxing. after a week of living in a city where i don't understand the language or know my way around, it was great to come "home" to sweden where i can understand the language as well as the cultural norms. i walked around malmö a bit and found a square with a huge t.v. set up surrounded by football fans chanting for sweden and screaming "go sweden!" i guess there was a big match against england in malmö on friday.

the concert was actually at a theme park in malmö, which was really fun. the first part (karl blau) was outside, which was nice because even at 10 when he started playing it wasn't quite dark. ratatat played inside (at debaser, the club in folkets park) and they were well worth the two-hour wait between sets. they really put on a great show and surprisingly enough for an electronic band, played their instruments.

on saturday the three of us biked to the beach from lund, about 10 kilometers on a tandem bike in the hot sun. by the time we got to the beach, nothing sounded better than jumping in the water. you'd think that since we were in sweden, the beach would suck and the water would be freezing, but it was completely the opposite. the sand was fine and the water was much warmer than it is in california this time of year. also, the drop-off is really gradual and you could walk a hundred feet out and still not be in over your head.

coffee and kanelbullar - i must be in sweden.

if that wasn't enough, here are the flags to prove it.

einar, patch, and i at folkets park in malmö.



tandem-biking. i can't believe the chain didn't fall off.

skåne is FLAT.

on the bike path.

really a very nice beach, despite the lack of surf.

27 June 2009

one week and a million impressions

today i've been living in this beautiful city for a week, and i've already done a lot. mostly i've just been going to class, getting myself situated, and finding my way around the city, but i've also made some new friends, ridden my new bike, and gone swimming at islands brygge. here are some pictures from my first few days here.

the view from my room: a canal and more student housing.

view from my room in a different direction. the humanities department of the university is in the foreground, and that tall building is a hotel a ways away. christiania, denmark's "free state", is also in that direction.

on wednesday i went on an epic mission to find a bike which took me all over the city - on foot. eventually i found a bike right in my own neighborhood, but the walk helped me learn my way around a lot. i don't know what that big building with the towers is, though.

more walking, more seeing pretty things. this is one of copenhagen's lakes; the picture is taken from nørre søgade, or north sea-street.

international night at the student house, a bar run by and for students. julie and anna.

candy. i don't really want to eat it, but it sure is cute!

danish coins. i didn't have a 20-, but the ones shown are worth 10, 5, and 2 kroner, except for the little copper one which is worth 50 øre. the 10 kroner coin is worth about $1.80.

trains, trains, trains.

amager strand, the beach on amager (the island where i live). those are windmills out in the ocean. this photo was taken around 9:00 p.m.

sankt hans aften is when the danes gather to burn effigies of witches to... ward evil spirits away? well, i guess i didn't ever find out the "why" of the holiday. but it sure is fun! basically a ton of people just gather in different places, hang out, and enjoy each others' company. i went with some other international students.

you can't really tell if it's sunrise or sunset, but it's sunset (probably around 10 or 10:30 p.m.).

i finally (more or less) know how to use the metro, although i'm hoping not to need to ride it often since i have a bike now. maybe just when it's freezing, wet, windy, and/or snowy later on.

danish strawberries - yum!

bike parking at tietgenkollegiet. it just doesn't make sense to cart your bike up to the fourth floor, even when the only way up is an elevator. my bike is the one with the basket.

me with my bike on the metro!

in some ways it's hard to believe that i've already been here for a week. it's gone really fast, but it also feels like i've been here for months. copenhagen really isn't that large of a city, and it's very navigable. i still haven't cooked anything here (i've been eating lots of open-faced sandwiches, salads, and musli), but i get really excited when i find a new shortcut to a place i already know.

25 June 2009

velkommen til danmark

i guess it's always a strange thing to discover that you are, in fact, in a new country, especially when it's something you've been thinking about for a long time. after nine months of planning, paperwork, searching for plane tickets, and more paperwork, my plane finally touched down at copenhagen airport (kastrup) at 1:20 p.m. local time on sunday, june 21, 2009.

SAS isn't bad. in fact, i really like flying with them, but i still didn't sleep at all during the flight. in fact, i don't think i slept more than three hours altogether in my first 48 hours here. that made for a difficult first couple days of classes, but making new friends right off the bat made things a lot easier.

i'm spending the summer studying danish at københavns universitet (university of copenhagen) on the island of amager in copenhagen. at the moment, the weather is shifting from overcast to sunny. it's been warmer here for the last few days than it was when i left california. it would be hard to believe i'm so far north except for the fact that the sun doesn't set until 9:30 here (it doesn't get dark until about midnight) and comes up again around 4:30 (meaning it's light again by 3 a.m.). this has proved difficult to get used to when it comes to sleeping (i keep waking up at strange times thinking i've missed my alarm) but is otherwise inexplicably wonderful. the fact that the sun shines on you for about 17 hours a day makes it hard to be frustrated, sad, or unhappy.

the danes, obviously, understand this better than anyone else (except for maybe the swedes) and take full advantage of the summer light. every day, it seems like the entire city is outside: sitting by canals and lakes or on beaches or balconies, drinking beers with their friends and listening to music. i'm glad i arrived here when i did; it will make the transition into winter a lot easier.

everyone in denmark bikes. you can even take your bike on the trains and metro, and there are special bike parking lots and racks all over copenhagen. naturally, one of my first missions here was to get a bike, which i am happy to say i have accomplished (even if denmark is ridiculously expensive). it's a seafoam (or maybe sage) green van der falk women's three-speed, and riding it is like driving a mercedes: slow to start with, but smooth and powerful.

o'hare - chicago

takeoff. and this is why i love SAS.

my first dawn in denmark - 4.30 a.m.

and last but not least, tietgenkollegiet, where i'll be living for the next year.