06 August 2009

i don't think i had finished writing about iceland yet, but august is hurtling onwards and i've already been back here in copenhagen for nearly a week. it's been a rough week, shifting out of vacation stop-and-touch-and-smell-and-taste-everything-that-piques-your-interest mode and back into the routine of learning danish. additionally, i was sick for the first half of this week, delirious with a fever, dreaming sweaty dreams. coming back to danish now, it feels like i've hit that point in language-learning where i know something, but not nearly enough. it will be a long time before i consider myself competent in this language.

two things i love about danish, denmark, and danes, however:
1. you can say, "you speak pretty danish." isn't that nice? it's a compliment, a way to tell someone they speak well, and i think it goes beyond saying that someone can manage a mouthful of words: it's more like saying they manage the mouthful of words with some degree of grace. i don't know if this is true or not, but i feel very, very flattered anytime anyone tells me i "taler flot dansk".
2. hygge. "hygge" is to denmark what "lagom" is to sweden: a concept that exists nowhere else in the world and is absolutely integral to the country's culture. "hygge" is both a verb and a noun. you have hygge when you are comfortable (you've probably lit some candles), either by yourself or with friends. the other night i lit candles, read, drank tea, and hyggede mig (made myself cozy, basically).

yesterday i went to the beach here on my island of amager. it's a nice beach, albeit man-made. it was crowded and i had one of those moments - how is it that i ended up in the mediterranean of the north, or whatever (i think a dozen places have given themselves that nickname) all the way from a tiny california beach town that no one's ever heard of but everyone's driven past? the ocean water is really warm here though, probably at least 65 degrees fahrenheit.

today i went to statens museum for kunst, or the danish national gallery here in copenhagen. it has the largest collection of works spanning over 700 years in denmark, or something like it. i was mostly excited to see all the colorful modernist stuff after all the drab portraits of kings and aristocratic families. i also saw a painting by edvard munch (not the scream, though), some stuff by matisse that made me giggle, and something by picasso, although i don't remember what it looked like. there was some crazy danish surrealism too. i definitely recommend the place: it's gigantic and free.

i've discovered that i don't know how to comment on my own blog, let alone anyone else's on blogger (blogspot?). why is it that even when i'm logged in, i'm not logged in when i go to comment?

okay, it's 10:11 p.m. (klokken 22.11) and already dark. this is kind of freaking me out.

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