29 August 2009

why i'm here

people are constantly asking me why i chose to come to denmark. a couple of days before i left, i was told by an old man in my hometown's library that "copenhagen is not denmark." it's true. copenhagen is very much a part of denmark, a watering hole, the place that all the country's roads lead to, but it is not, by any means, representative of the sum of all of denmark's parts. if it is, well, it's not exactly proportional representation.

what i mean is this: copenhagen plays host to the "new danes," the immigrants (usually not-so-favorably referred to as "foreigners"), copenhagen is where the fashion and design scenes are happening, copenhagen is where the overpriced designer stores - the same as you can find in any other metropolis - are, and copenhagen is where i live. i have to admit, i don't understand this lifestyle. i don't understand thousand-dollar bicycles, six-dollar cups of coffee, misunderstood workers, or suburban sprawl. but like a louis vuitton store, these phenomena can be found anywhere in the world. i guess what i mean to say is that i do not understand cities, at least not on a mainstream level.

so, really, i don't know what this "denmark" i am living in actually is. is it the farmers i see on t.v., or the pork i don't buy in the supermarket? the trains that efficiently slog from one end of the country to the other, two islands away? is it simply the danish flag, said to have descended on the danes in a battle against estonians in the 13th century? since i don't know what denmark is, it's hard for me to explain why i'm here. i chose to come here because i developed a crush on copenhagen from the moment i initially stepped out of the central train station on vesterbrogade over two years ago. so i came back. to what? to five-dollar ice cream, to eating cheese with every meal, and to the most gutteral language i've ever had the fortune to encounter.

1 comment:

Savay said...

Maya! Hey, I'm a fellow AFSer, we talked a bit on cultures-shocked a long time ago (I went to Iceland) and I followed your swedish blog. I somehow stumbled upon your blog today (small world). Love this post especially! Hope to keep reading more.