Danish class, music appreciation, and more.

August 28th

PASSED DANISH! I had my oral portion of my exam on Tuesday and it really didn’t go all that well. I was given a story to talk about that I really didn’t remember but hey, I only needed to pass. My teacher said I did really well on the written portion and that my oral score brought my score down to a 7/12 (Like maybe a B or B- in American grades? Maybe higher?) but my writing portion was a 10/12 (like a B+, A- maybe). But I passed! I can honestly say the class helped me a lot. I feel a lot more confident walking around the streets and being able to pronounce street signs and at least tell locals that I can only speak English (in Danish) “Jeg kan kun tale engelsk”

Here’s a picture of (most) of my class and my teacher, Jørgen (he’s the one who looks like Justin Vernon in the front row)

9 different countries are represented here! (USA, Australia, Spain, Holland, Austria, Germany, Singapore, Poland, Denmark) and 2 students from South Korea and Switzerland are missing. Such a diverse class.

Note: all of the German speaking students did really really well. Because, and I quote, “Danish is just like drunk German”. Good to know.

After the test, I decided I didn’t want to be lazy and sit at home so I met up with Kevin and we went to the National Gallery of Art for about an hour. Their modern art exhibits are…weird. Like really weird. Weirder than the ones I saw at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in Montreal. There was a video of a horse sacrifice somewhere near the Arctic Circle…set to music…and then the parts were put on display…I don’t even…

Later that night, I met up with my classmates at a really small bar near the Christianshavn metro stop that our teacher recommended. It was really cheap and it was definitely a place to just sit and relax and chat with friends. He even joined us after a concert he went to! It’s really interesting to compare academia in Denmark to academia back home. A lot of social activities with your classmates and teachers involve “hygge”/bars of some sort. It’s a cool way to be more connected. I can’t even imagine a teacher recommending a bar to his students and then hanging out with them until 3am happening back at UCSB.

August 29th

Wednesday was the orientation for the faculty of SCIENCE. Honestly, I thought it was somewhat of a waste of time. The presentations were mainly geared towards students that had only just arrived and knew nothing about the e-mail system and such. They even had a 20 minute presentation on culture shock…I went through pretty much all of that information either before I arrived in Denmark or at the International Office orientation back in the beginning of August. Oh well, we got delicious free food out of it (which is very rare here in Copenhagen – definitely took advantage of that). I left before the tour of campus because I’ve already walked around a fair portion of it and I already know how to find my classes. They made us count off into groups like kinder-gardeners so I took that as my cue to leave.
After orientation, I went home and finally started to reorganize my flat. I’ve been spending very little time at my place just because it’s so far from everything so it got verrrry messy. Finally did all of my laundry! Except I finally have my first laundry casualty of a new country. My favorite $1 thrift store sweater from Jet Rag in LA. It got horribly stretched out. And pink. I almost cried. What am I supposed to wear in the winter now?!

my poor poor sweater.

I finished my adventure with trying to be domestic and do laundry/dishes and went to a concert at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. There were no seats for the first half so Kevin and I decided to just walk around and kill time. We saw a car that had an Obama sticker on it! So bizarre! He would definitely be considered a conservative here.

The concert was really good (I’m turning into such a cultured Dane. I’ve been to so many music events in the past few weeks! First the classic Jazz at Bartof, then Malmo, then a couple of times at Mojo’s blues bar). I was even able to understand some of the notes in the program about the violin player! Yeah Danish! We went back to Cafe Retro after that (a nonprofit cafe that plays awesome music and has a hammock swing seat thing. Seriously so hipster). We ended our night with a cross town trek to find shawarma (alright, my shawarma addiction is just getting excessive). Kevin and I both decided that we never want to leave Denmark. Everyday, I’m blown away by something. I love it here.

A few notes:

– diet Coke (or Coca-Cola light) is so much better here.
– I told a story to some Danes about being scared to call an ambulance when I got in my bike accident back in SB because I was worried about how much it would cost and they were absolutely shocked. They didn’t understand why I wouldn’t call an ambulance if I was hurt. They’ve never even thought about avoiding a certain medical procedure because of how much it would cost.
– I’ve seen more dads pushing around “prams” here than moms. It seems that parents spend equal time with their kids – Paid leave is “52 weeks. 18 to be taken by the mother, 2 weeks by the father, the rest as they see fit.” And the pay is 100% of your original paycheck. Unreal.
– Yes, this is a caricature of Danish culture but it’s surprisingly pretty accurate –> http://copenhannah.tumblr.com/post/14228929903/how-to-look-like-a-dane
– Denmark has a fat and sugar tax which means McDonald’s is actually pricey and Ben&Jerry’s pints are 65 kr. ($11). Explains why everyone is skinny.
– I never ever ever ever want to leave this place.

This must be a record for how much of updated this blog! Life will probably get less exciting as the weeks progress and the “honeymoon” stage of culture shock wears off.

Hej hej! (Danish for goodbye)

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