17 September 2009

so long to summertime clothes

i know that in a lot of the northern hemisphere, the it's still summer; that at home the santa anas are probably rolling in, bringing with them good surf and a few last beers on the beach, but here, fall has definitely hit, albeit a week before the equinox. you can feel the chill on your cheeks (and even creeping up your legs, if you bike in a dress) in the mornings, and the light is quickly changing. but i am glad to be wearing long sleeves and boots again.

i might add that the sun now sets around a quarter to eight and rises around a quarter to seven. the decrease in the length of the days has been rapid and unsettling; at the same rate, i am really looking forward to winter. i think scandinavian winters are magical for the same reason as the summers: their extremity. (also, i am pretty close to the arctic circle, and there is an ever-so-slight chance that maybe i could go up there and see the northern lights, which i've been wanting to do for years.)

i know i've mentioned that everyone rides bikes here. additionally, everyone uses hand signals, and they're different from the ones we use in the u.s.: either hand raised at a 90-degree angle means "i'm stopping"; to indicate that you're turning, you simply point a hand (or a couple of fingers) in the direction you're turning.

i'm still figuring out the danish school system. compared to what i am used to in california, it seems kind of disjointed and, well, confusing. i never know where to go or who to ask when i have questions, as the university doesn't exactly have a "campus" or an "admissions department." rather, everything is organized through your academic department, which depends on which classes you're taking - or vice versa. so i'm in the departments of spanish and danish, but i'm only taking classes in the danish department; specifically, in the institute of nordic studies and languages, or something. anyway, in the humanties department (of which danish is a subset, and INSS a subset of that), you don't register for classes until they've begun, and you register for exams separately from the classes themselves. so although you might be enrolled in a class, if you don't sign up for the exam, you won't get any credit for it whatsoever. i was terrified i would forget to sign up for my classes or exams, but i've gotten it taken care of now and am now registered for a six-hour exam (!!?) in which i translate a text from english to danish sometime at the end of the winter term. i don't think i need to say that i am really nervous about it.

things that have been making me happy recently:
1. i smiled at an old woman when we passed each other walking alongside a canal the other day and she smiled back at me. smiles from strangers in copenhagen are so rare - everyone has their own lives, is in a hurry, is afraid of each other, whatever - that that made my day.
2. the common meals in my kitchen. i usually go three times a week, and it's always really nice and the food is always different and delicious.
3. i finished another painting.
4. finding new shortcuts on my bike through the city!

5. this oven, which has a newspaper in it.

6. the contrasts of this affluent city: the expensive (and very desirable) apartment buildings right next to the dump.

7. "next stop ... nirvana." this guy's on his way!
(i almost got run over by a very angry bicyclist trying to take this photo. he yelled "good morning!" at me.)

unrelated to "things that make me happy" is strøget, otherwise known as "the stroll" and denmark's largest walking and shopping street. it's impossible to bike down it; in fact, it's practically too crowded to actually walk down, and every once in a while a train drives down it. go figure.

also: just in case you forgot that i'm in denmark, here is a friendly reminder. not my bike.


Anonymous said...

it's still warm here, like eighty degrees every day, unless it's ridiculously foggy or raining. my neighborhood smells like pork, spiced apples and hot urine.

i miss you a lot. denmark looks sterile.

maya said...

you hit it precisely on the nose, my dear.