Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Danish Lessons, Chapter 3

I have a free Saturday evening, and since the night is young--but a baby, at 7:50pm CPH time--and the rain is falling freely at the moment, here are more Danish lessons. In English.

1. If one of your new friends hosts a dessert (sans dinner!) party, feel free to be a grown-up and have cake for dinner. And brownies, and handfuls of M&Ms, and another kind of cake, and homemade ice cream, and some magical concoction known as a "scab cookie." It's fine. I'm sure all the food groups are in there somehow. Are sprinkles not a fruit/vegetable yet?

2. Take note of the amount of lost shoes littering the streets, particularly noticeable on Sunday mornings. Ponder how they got there. Make a story. Or just snap a picture and post it on Facebook, because your friends definitely want to see someone else's misplaced boot lying on a nondescript slab of pavement.

3. Perhaps you are not so good at sewing pointe shoes, and you knot the end of the thread on the inside of the shoe at the very specific point where it chafes against the skin of your feet. Please suck it up and start wearing tights inside your shoes. Do not let your feet end up looking like Jack Torrance had at them.

4. Knitting helps pass the time at the theatre. If you are not at the point where you can whip out a nice complicated cable-knit sweater, just start a project. It will most likely end up as something simple--say, a scarf, a potholder, a legwarmer, a beer cozy--but that doesn't matter.

5. Be careful when riding your bike, especially if you're not an expert at walking yet. Tooling helter-skelter down a near-empty Strædet is fine, but once you hit a point where you have to make a sharp right turn, please mind the sidewalk. And consider lightening the load in your handbag, because that's probably what will tip you over in the end. Then you will stand up looking like a 6-year-old who just learned how to ride a two-wheeler, complete with gravel burn on your hands and a very impressive artistic contusion on your kneecap.

6. Let's say that despite your clear lack of a green thumb (or ability to keep flowery things alive for a respectable amount of time, cacti included) you purchased an orchid your first or second week here. And let's say that two months or so later, it is still alive. Feel free to celebrate.

7. There are certain things you will find you love very much and will wonder why you never realized it before. Things like pourable yogurt mixed with chocolate granola; riding your new bike and finally remembering your lights, thus eliminating any Politi panic; the combination of peanuts and beer; galoshes; Shawarma at a very late hour; sleeping in on your day off; condiments.

8. It is okay to cry here. Over big things like a bike fall, medium things like your newly slashed feet, or small things like spilt milk. Especially if that milk is Mathilde chocolate.

9. If you are ever in a lockdown situation at a large opera house from 10:30am-9pm, you will discover new heights (or depths) of creativity. Having a small breakdown will kill about 20 minutes. Enjoying nearly every aspect of the Kantine will eat up (no pun intended) sizable amounts of time. Finding a costume rack on wheels, sitting on it with a friend, and paddling around the hallway is a quite enjoyable way to pass a good ten minutes. However, attempting to chat with one of the watchmen posted on the balcony will not use up much time at all, since those possible giants are not very talkative and all into their binoculars.

10. Oprah might come see one of your performances one day. Do not expect a Kindle.

11. Sometimes, on a Friday night with your friends, you will be feeling very milkmaid-ish, or very 7-years-oldish, and wear a donut buns sort of hairstyle. That's perfectly fine here, or it was for this expatriate.

12. It is okay to feel very girly and pretty (albeit dead and bitter) in your practice tutu for Wilis. It is also okay to be uncertain about the spelling of this role.

13. You will find that as the weather gets nippier, you dress more and more like an onion: in layers. And despite the rather unattractive side effects of this whipping wintry weather--which include, but are not limited to, dry skin, chapped lips, and bad cuticles--you might find yourself rather enjoying the crisp sensation of autumn.

14. If you perform West Side Story, you will find that fishnets are perhaps the most flattering legwear ever invented. Not the classiest or most attractive, per se, but you love them. It's fine.

15. Even if you are just this side of cray cray (or use phrases like "cray cray"), you will find that people here are generally wonderful. You'll also start to figure out what hyggeligt means, despite the fact that there is no direct translation in your native tongue. It's a lovely sort of feeling.

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