28 March 2010

daylight savings time begins; it's called "summer time" in danish

Amagerturen, or, The Walk of Hearts

There is a grey way that bisects the island. At one end
it is boxed in by the urban elements: the university, gas stations,
railroads, streetlights, specialty shops and offices, all
right angles vying for city-limited space. At the other
Amager Fælledvej is defined by loose dogs, one-wheeled
bicycles, weary rushes, a stray swamp—paradigmatic
of the season—neon-clad Saturday evening joggers
and kids out for candy and pizza with bubbles on their lips.
Walking parallel to this road, you find yourself
on the path of heart rocks. When the concrete gives way
to thirty meters of dirt, look closely for the stones
beneath your toes. Some are firmly rooted in the mud—
to look at, not to touch—but others you can pick up
with a loose hand and keen eye, put in your pocket,
and bring home to show your boyfriend. When the
footpath is replaced by concrete—don’t step on the cracks;
you’ll break your mother’s back—the pothole you stumble into
will be in the shape of a heart, as if an obstinate child
had come around last Valentine’s day and uprooted the shape
from the unset muck to share with her best friend
over glittering chocolates. When the single-family homes appear,
keep walking past the mailboxes and numbered gates,
parallel to the hedges and kitty-corner to the towering Solvang Centret
sign taller than any nearby tree. In the ground-floor window
of a brick two-story, you might spy one white porcelain
heart-shaped bowl nestled inside its greater companion: yours
for thirty crowns, but only Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday
between the hours of noon and half-past five. When you turn
the corner, passing the ice cream maker’s, walking down
Landehjælpvej, and continuing by the rotten yellow cottage
with gaping wounds for windows, you
’ll emerge
on a manicured pedestrian path. This is where you’ll encounter
—ready or not, here it comes—the heart-formed oil stain,
token of trespassing, within a stone’s throw of a clutch of neighbors’
collective good intentions. It doesn’t stop there. You continue, now,
picking up the pace, through a stampede of olive and copper
leaves fallen like autumn, and are reminded of the impending spring.
With a lilt to your step, you lift your eyes to the horizon—
not a hill in sight to obstruct your view—and then lower them
where they are met with the earthworms beneath your feet,
one of them curled, among the o’s and w’s, in its own perfect heart.

i don't really know that much outside of copenhagen. i was surprised yesterday when i went for a walk straight out on amager towards the airport how quickly the city gave way to suburbia, sprinkled with combination kebab/hamburger joints, row houses, apartments with inhumanely (and incredibly un-danish) small windows, and fenced-in yards populated by bicycles and dogs. i'm going to have to go back to a camera. people looked at me funny in my yellow pants, which don't garner a second glance in the city. i think it's so typical that i live right on the edge, not really belonging to either.

things i do have pictures of to share, however, include a city moment just outside of rundetårn and my kitchen's "tour des chambres" party, in which everyone (there are thirteen of us) has a different theme and drink in their room and you go around from room to room drinking and generally making a ruckus. we started with a cozy dinner all together in the kitchen and things escalated (or went downhill?) from there.

each room had a game or activity to keep us busy while we got drunk. here nina is going to have to sing along to a song she may or may not know.

michael and johan are amused.

but drinking out of the bowl is awfully entertaining in and of itself.

pigs and irishmen and tigers, oh my!

a seventh-grader, an owl, a participant from a skanky t.v. show (paradise hotel, anyone?), and a painter, among others.

big blue tongues. andreas and i are stoked.

things got a little blurry by the time we made it to lena's room.

rundetårn (the round tower) is way cool, and totally worth the climb and the entrance fee.

and this is a good place to be when it suddenly starts to rain.

in other news, i have acquired a new bookshelf.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I came to your blog through the KU website, as I'm also thinking of doing a year-long exchange there. Just to say- I really like the writing and the photos, you're doing a great job with the blogging :) Like you I spent a year in Europe with AFS, and lots of your reflection-y posts- on culture, language, ideas of fitting in and being at home, are things that come up in my life a lot I guess. Wish you a great rest of stay in Denmark, and enjoy the spring :) Kys, Sophie

maya said...

hey sophie, thanks for the comment and reading! where were you with AFS? enjoy denmark if you decide to come here. :)

Adrienne said...

ahhhhhhh. i love the bookshelf. i wish i had more space in my room for some improvised furniture. but i maybe see some tree branches in the future...

geneviève said...

YOU ARE JUST THE CUTEST THING EVER.