22 September 2009

the equinox

on the second and last day of the year when day and night are approximately equal in length, it is only appropriate that it should be raining. at last i am ecstatic to be living here in copenhagen. this is difficult to explain: i've been in the adjusting-myself-to-this-new-and-on-some-counts-bizarre-culture phase of my exchange for the last month or so, and struggling with missing my friends, family, and pets, chickens included. but suddenly this doesn't matter anymore. i am here: a little speck in this small box in this famous donut-shaped building in a remarkable city in a miniscule country on the singular earth in this exclusive solar system...

today is not only the first day of fall - about which i am delighted; the chilly seasons make so much sense in scandinavia - but also marks the fact that a quarter of my stay in copenhagen (københavn, köpenhamn, copenhague - names alone are enough to limit me to studying only one language at any given time) has already elapsed. summer is always a happy time for me. i come alive in sunshine and saltwater. but i'm glad that it's over, because i'm entering a new phase here in denmark. slowly i am starting to make friends, form habits, even develop a personality in danish! i think the hardest thing about learning a new language isn't lacking vocabulary or not knowing how to use the grammar correctly (both of which are extremely important, and difficult in their own rights), but not having an established personality in that language; that is, not being able to express yourself in exactly the way you want to. not knowing the idioms, slang, and cadences of your new language means it's really difficult to be sarcastic, or ironic, or empathizing, or only slightly amused. it's like the grey scale of communication disappears and you're left with only black and white, only being able to say, "that's cool," or "that's bad." although i am perfectly conversational in danish, i still can't say, "man, that's a bummer."

but the cool thing is, yesterday i met a danish girl who had lived in france for some time and we were able to talk about these things - yes, in danish. and forming that connection inspired me, as does knowing that not only do i understand someone, but they also understand me. also yesterday, i got kicked in the foot at capoeira. capoeira involves a lot of kicking, so it was understandable, but still not super cool. but at least i just have a lovely bruise, and no broken bones.

it's clementine season (wait, does that exist?) here. apple season, too. somehow all the danes seem to know these things: it's common knowledge what fruits come when. i was surprised by this; i think that because i'm from california, where we have all sorts of fruits and veggies all the time, i've never really paid attention to the seasons before. in santa cruz, only foodies and farmers really know the seasons. but it's rational enough that fruits should be available when they naturally fruit.

and i'll leave you with this: the danish word for "fall" is "efterår" - "after-year." the part of the year that's after the rest of it.

2 comments:

becky said...

i know fruit and vegetable seasons! it's fig season here! and the beginning of gourd season! and the end of stone fruit season! and soon to be persimmons! but then again, i work at a grocery store.

maya said...

that makes me happy. you can be my season-sage.