28 June 2010

looking not back but down

i am not in copenhagen anymore and i am still writing in this blog. in this blog i am writing about things that are and things that i think may be.

yet for the most part recently i have not been writing in this blog or doing anything on the internet at all. this is because i've been busy doing things like surfing (learning how to stand-up paddle), sanding furniture, hopping out of the car on the side of the freeway to take pictures because of light too good to pass up, talking to strangers twice my age for hours, making new friends, decorating my trailer, visiting family, and relying on amtrak and being surprisingly impressed that the american train company could get me home not only on time, but five minutes early.


this summer i am living in a trailer at my parents' house. it is an airstream from the early 1970s that they have redone with bamboo floors; i've hung aprons for curtains. it is a good place to be for a few months of sun. i have been wanting to just hang out here and be creative while digesting the past year and transitioning from it into this one and proper summer, but the solstice was already a week ago and i have yet to make a single sketch of the chickens.

but that doesn't mean i've been up to no good. this weekend i was in berkeley to see my dear friend genevieve who, although she is from california, i know from copenhagen. i like the bay area and i like her very much. it was a good weekend


filled with cute shoes, coffee, and cava. i took the train home after she dropped me off at the station in oakland - a surprisingly modern and functional station, i thought, for an american one - and the trip wasn't too long. the coast starlight was old-fashioned and charming, with a dining car and an observation car. all down the central valley i watched fields of baby carrots and cabbage give way to oil fields which gave way to the salinas river which wound us all the way down to the city of oaks. in berkeley there were elms and beeches and it felt not so distant from scandinavia at all.

22 June 2010

coming home

well, here i am now, in the dark, with the heater buzzing beside me and only the roof over my head dividing me from the milky way. the biggest culture shock i have experienced thus far in returning to california from denmark has been the transition from the always-on city (sirens, dogs on leashes, apartment complexes, the metro, exhaust, exhausting) to the feral country (cows in my yard, mountain lion? poop on my driveway, thistles between my toes, a low-lying lake, sun slowly slipping between trees) where, if i want to go somewhere, i have to ditch my hilltop and drive a car to wherever i want to go. it's strange to drive again after so long.
 
i've been busy just making my house (er, trailer) into a home

and hanging out with my dog.

not to mention going to the beach, seeing family and friends, working, unpacking, and running errands. at the store, the selection of pasta sauces is overwhelming. not to mention the variety of cereals, dishsoaps, and paper towels. i remember, now, why i never made pasta sauce from scratch before living in denmark. it's a shame.

 california lunch - artichokes and sun

our avocados are to die for. in fact, i just might have gone to heaven. each one perfectly ripe and glowing green around the bulbous pit inside. and not only the avocados, but the heirloom tomatoes, the local apricots, and the blueberries straight from the farm. i am grateful for these things.


i missed farmers' market.

i've only been surfing once in the week i've been back. the surf's been really shitty with an offshore wind blowing and virtually no waves. this is the worst time of year. but it's also the best time. it's summer at long last. i'm willing to wait through the fog and the afternoon chill breezes for the santa anas and indian summer. when i'm in the water, all is in equilibrium.

denmark doesn't feel so far away.


it's only a fourteen-hour flight, even if the trip demands twenty-four hours of travel. it's close to me in my mind. i already miss hearing and speaking danish constantly. it's a surprise when everyone on the street knows what i'm saying when i'm speaking english. i don't have any verbal privacy. i miss my friends, too... but i'm still doing spontaneous yoga all the time.

13 June 2010

i've been walking around in a fog

i feel like a bobble-head dog.

my head is disproportionately swollen and heavy in relation to my body but, because it's held on by a strong, flexible spring, instead of falling off, it just wobbles around.

i'm trying to stay sharp and aware but it's hard.

i'm so grateful for this year. i've learned, seen, and done so much and met so many unforgettable people. i've gained self-confidence and trust and become more curious about "the rest of the world", especially the world beyond the west.

i think the main reason why i am so critical of denmark is because they already have so much stuff figured out. there is so much that their society is already doing right and it just works (within the context of the society, anyway). i don't need to extoll the good things - the picture-perfect four-part families that stroll through the plentiful public green spaces, the bike culture, the local fixation with (preferably organic) ice cream and burgeoning interest in raw and "bio" foods - because they are a given; all i'm left with to consider is what doesn't work - in the eyes of an outsider, of course.

i'm going to miss living in a country where the spotting of a particular bird in the southern provices makes the news because there's nothing more significant going on, where elementary school kids walk home alone in the capital city, and where healthcare and access to high-speed internet are seen as fundamental human rights.

but i will be back!

11 June 2010

how to leave after a year

buy a plane ticket
sell your bike
give away the rest
empty the fridge
return your library books
close your bank account
sign out with the government
do yoga
adopt strange sleeping habits
take pictures
cancel your cell phone contract
drink water
drink coffee
drink wine
empty the trash
clean the bathroom, even the shower
do dinner
find your passport
say difficult goodbyes
print your boarding pass

and, at some point, go to the airport.

it shouldn't be this easy.

when i signed out with the "central person register" (you have to turn in a "departure from denmark" form - i don't know how i feel about that), the woman working was like, "well, that's boring." no kidding.

most things, however, are not boring.

proof:

dice's muffins

baijie's soup

lo-fi goodness in the form of girls of the gravitron

and cafe time with esther

despite the grey days.

what is this, summer?

09 June 2010

något av det bästa jag har varit med om

it's light until at least 11 p.m. here now so there is absolutely no rush in getting things done while its still light as winter demanded. now there is a surplus of daylight - it wakes us up panicking at 4 a.m. if we are not still awake from the nearly non-existent night - but these last few days have been marked by a haze. the wet air hangs heavy and biking through it it is hot, almost, and grey. it reflects perfectly how the inside of my head feels as well as the appearance of my bedroom. with all my photos and pictures taken down, the place feels a lot bigger and, well, empty.

last week i was in sweden to visit my host family and friends one last time. the days there were perfect, all full of sun. i even got burnt and now my freckles are back. i got to see a couple of dear friends graduate high school (a big deal and a big party, incomparable to what happens in the u.s.), eat lots of awesome food, swim in the ocean for the first time this year, wander the city, run through the town, and, best of all, spend quality time with quality people.


marie's graduation, in her schoolyard filled with students dressed in white and celebrating friends and family. a happy day!


the subsequent party: how we do in jörlanda.


karin graduated too! in sweden, graduates literally run out of the building after the ceremony and each class sings a song and basically rages briefly on a stage before dispersing to their respective receiving parties, who hold signs so they can find each other in the crowd. 


göteborg is really nice - and not unlike copenhagen.

 

where we swim. the water is relatively cold but still warmer than central california - about 15 degrees celsius/59 fahrenheit!


coffee with my swedish grandparents (hej mormor och morfar!), the lovely couple who kept me not only well-fed but also amused with local history throughout my year and sweden and never disappoint on my trips back. i love them.


and anna's rabarberkräm. yum.


on the boat with my swedish pappa, the captain, of course.


dreamscape. the west coast is the best coast...


especially with fresh vittles like this.

this time of year the land is so lush and the forest is vibrant with life. i was so relieved for the respite from the city but happy to come back to copenhagen on saturday for my going-away party and a weekend spent with lotten. it was so lovely to have so many people i care about collected in one room and even though i didn't say any "proper" goodbyes - a "see you later" suffices - i loved seeing everyone and was saturated with love (and raw chocolate! and wine! and pineapple!) in return. oh friends. i have gotten to know so many wonderful people here, people with brilliant ideas, who take action, who make things happen, who are changing the world. we like to think of our generation as aware.

i want to write about leaving.


lotten, ready to go.

about how simultaneously difficult and easy the act is, about how i feel about the idea of it, about being used to it. because i don't feel like i have comprehended, at all, that i "leave" on monday. it is simply too easy to get up and go and i have done it too many times to be bewildered by the act. instead - and knowing that i will be back, but uncertain of when - i feel a little bit numb or jaded. like, i am packing so slowly that it's almost like i am not packing at all. but in a few days i will be packed and seated on a plane. it comforts me that i felt almost identically when i was leaving to come here. the only difference is that at that time i didn't know anything about my destination and, this time, i am bound for a place all too familiar.

with that said, i have four days left here. and they are going to be awesome.


 as awesome as these last days - which are flowing together into a giant clump - have been. bjørn and the view from the top of vor frelsers kirke.


today when i was biking home from the city, i was met with a raised bridge. this was the first time i've seen any of the bridges up and i was stoked to happen upon it. it feels like some good closure.