København is an introverted city

March 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

A pleasant few days:

Monday: I bought a bike! I got it on DBA (the Danish version of craigslist). It’s not the best bike in the world (a bit rusty) but it does have two baskets. (Having a wicker basket is a main life goal, but wire will suffice for the next few months.) I also bought a helmet, which was last years model and on sale for 200DKK (40 dollars), compared to 500+DKK (100+ dollars) for this years models. The helmet is black and says “I love my brain” on the back (true) but then has an eight ball on the front, which seems to say, “I love looking like an  8 ball/idiot” (false). But for sixty dollars cheaper, I’ll take it. (Also, apparently only 5% of bikers in Denmark use a helmet… the reason for this that I could find was biking is considered such a normal activity that no “extra”  apparel is required. But hey, I *love* my brain too much for that.)

Tuesday: I had an interview with a professor about doing research. Went well. The interview was at a medical building that also functions as a hospital or clinic of some type. The weird thing is this statue that was outside the building. It was of a man peeing. Not joking. Don’t know how well this picture captures it:

After this, I went to Statens Museum for Kunst, a large art museum by the city center. There was actually an exhibit of Bob Dylan’s paintings at the museum (first time they’ve been exhibited). That was interesting as a fan of Dylan, less so from an art perspective (albeit the paintings were better than I expected). The museum was also very nice and different from any art museum I’ve been to: some of the rooms were several stories tall and had paintings all along the walls, vertically and horizontally, and close together (as opposed to most museums where the paintings are in a horizontal row on the wall, with ample space between them). Since Tuesday seemed to be the day of weird urine related “art,” I’ll share with you the weirdest thing I saw at the museum, which was of course in the modern art section… it was just this amateurishly shot video of a woman stripping and swaying/dancing, and then she peed into a wine glass (the most pee I’ve ever seen, I could never fill a wine glass), and then she drank it. Noms….

In post-bike-buying-excitement, I also biked 19 miles on Tuesday.

Wednesday: Went to class then went to a panel discussion about differences in culture between the US and Denmark. The event was sponsored by DIS, which is a study abroad organization where you take classes in Denmark with all other international students. The vast majority of DIS students are American… so two DIS classes required their students to come to this panel, and, as a result, the room was filled with maybe 100 American students. After having not been around a huge number of Americans since December… I could already feel the reverse culture shock. I don’t even know how to describe what is so different. They are just so loud and abrasive compared to Danes. As my American friend aptly put it “Americans like to take up all the available space.” Ugggg.

København really is an introverted city which values quietness and privacy. It is very rare to hear a person talking loudly about intimate details on their cellphone on the train. It is more common to have to strain to hear someone speak than to be bombarded with loudness. People don’t talk to hear themselves talk. There is a certain calmness that accompanies this that I am very fond of…

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