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.