Let’s go on pretending the light is never ending…

May 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

First, today’s addition of things-I-bike-past-and-love:

And today’s addition of views-out-my-window:

What’s new this week…

Monday was, sadly, my last birthday breakfast in Denmark, as no other people in my block at Tietgen have birthdays while I’m still here. The breakfast was at 7am, so I woke up, stuffed my face with two different types of rolls, pancakes, cheese, fruit, eggs, and sausage, and then went back to bed until 1pm… ’cause I’m cool like that. In contrast to last week, this week has been super rainy so it wasn’t like I was wasting a great day. Singing happy birthday (hurrah hurrah hurrah!):

I spent Monday working on some scholarship essays, and then I went to a meeting about one of the scholarships. Immediately upon returning to my apartment, I got a text from Nadine, Katy, and Lis asking if I wanted to get schwarma to celebrate them finishing their Danish exam. Despite that I had just eaten dinner, I of course obliged. It would have been great fun except I was biking back to exactly where I came from, and it also started POURING rain. <sob story> I was in heavy jeans and slip on canvas shoes, and I got completely soaked. So even though the schwarma was delicious, I was freezing and miserable. </sob story>

I had made an appointment on Tuesday to get my hair cut. When I was getting ready to leave, it started to pour. Having learned from Monday night, I opted to take the metro for the first time in months. The haircut was actually really good, I would definitely go back to him again. After the haircut, since I didn’t have my bike, I opted to walk around for an hour or so back to central Copenhagen. I walked along the lakes (although I hesitate to call them that– having grown up along Lake Michigan, these are more ponds), and at one point saw over 40 swans. That was pretty cool (picture does not do it justice, but if you click the picture to enlarge it, you can see a bunch of white specks in the back; those were also swans. You can also see how big this thing is they call a lake)

Then I went back to my apartment, worked a little more on my scholarship essays, and then met Lis and we biked to Nørrebro for dinner at a community kitchen. I figure since my gig cooking ended, I should branch out and try some other community kitchens. This one was good, but the place was SO crowded you couldn’t move around. Also, they made about as much food as we would make at the kitchen I cook at, but there were maybe 100 people at this kitchen, versus the 15 that show up where I would cook. Lis and I then went to cycle home, and on the way talked about how much weight we were gaining while in Denmark… but that conversation didn’t last long, because we cycled past a Danish ice cream shop that we just had to try. So we did. No regrets. I then met up with some other friends at Cafe Oscar, and cycled home at around 10:30 without needing my bike lights.

Wednesday… got up, worked some more on my scholarship essays, then went to Lis’s place where we (mostly she) made cherry ricotta muffins. (I forgot to write that on Sunday I made scones and cinnamon bread… I think I have a baking problem)

I then left and met up with three other friends, Brittany (US), Fiona (Ireland), and Tiina (Finland), in Nørrebro to go to another community kitchen. I’d been to this one once before but usually couldn’t go as I would normally cook on Wednesdays. The food this week was Pakistani-inspired and super delicious, and the company wasn’t too shabby either. As we were leaving, we saw a big group of people gathered in Blågårdsplads, the square right outside where the dinner was. I inquired of one of the people what the demonstration was for, and found out it was commemorating May 18th, 1993 when there was a protest against the EU and many people got shot (that’s the simple version). I had to get home to go shopping with my apartment-mate for common dinner, so I didn’t stick around. That night, I read some articles in the newspaper, including this one (I obviously translated it, did not read it in Danish), which basically said that at the demonstration, the police approached and demanded to search people, and when they refused to be searched, 65 people were arrested and at least one person got bitten by a police dog (again, simple version). Parts of Nørrebro are what they call visitation zones, which means you can get searched any time without probable cause or a warrant. I know I wrote about this before but it just baffles my mind that this is allowed or considered acceptable.

After dinner we also stopped at a little produce shop and I bought a some vegetables, including a bunch of rhubarb (which I was very excited about, love the stuff) that I balanced precariously in my bike basket. On the ride home, I was going downhill and hit a bump, and out flew the rhubarb. Since, as I said, I was going pretty quickly downhill, I couldn’t stop for quite a few meters (hey, metric system), and then had to run back and get the rhubarb. Brittany, who bought a bag of 10 apples, told me her bag broke also when she was biking home and all her apples went everywhere!

Anyway, today it was actually sunny outside. I have a list of a whole bunch of things I want to do in the next four weeks, and one of them was to see Assistens Kirkegården (Assistens Cemetery) during late spring. (I had visited it during the beginning of April but there were no leaves on the trees yet). I cycled over around 12:30 and I was so happy I did. I cannot adequately describe this cemetery except to say it reminds me very much of how I imagined the garden in The Secret Garden, which was one of my favorite books as a child. Even the air smelled like earth and flowers.

‘Oh! The things which happened in that garden! If you have never had a garden you cannot understand, and if you have had a garden you will know that it would take a whole book to describe all that came to pass there. At first it seemed that green things would never cease pushing their way through the earth, in the grass, in the beds, even in the crevices of the walls. Then the green things began to show buds and the buds began to unfurl and show colour, every shade of blue, every shade of purple, every tint and hue of crimson. In its happy days flowers had been tucked away into every inch and hole and corner… Iris and white lilies rose out of the grass in sheaves, and the green alcoves filled themselves with amazing armies of the blue and white flower lances of tall delphiniums or columbines or campanulas. (Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden)

A specific description of the cemetery via s Swedish poet, circa 1827:

In order to enjoy another softer, quieter celebration, I walked out one evening through Nørre Port (the North Gate) to the so-called Assistens Cemetery. It is certainly one of the most beautiful graveyards in Europe. Leafy trees, dark paths, bright open flowery expanses, temples shaded by poplars, marble tombs overhung by weeping willows, and urns or crosses wrapped in swathes of roses, fragrance and bird song, all transform this place of death into a little paradise. (Karl August Nicander)

Pic spam ahead (as always, click for bigger)







As you see in the third to last picture, there were watering cans that you could use– you put in a coin, and you can use the can (kind of how they do shopping carts here as well). The last two pictures are of the favorite spot I found– it felt like I could be miles away from the civilization I was only minutes away from. It was there I decided to plop with my book and some Beach House on my ipod. (Click through to listen to a song– the mood of the music seemed to fit the atmosphere perfectly “Let’s go on pretending that the light is neverending.”)

I read for a bit then went to meet my friend Dubbi, who lives around the corner, and we walked around the cemetery and discussed, among other things, politics and my utter inability to pronounce both the r, the vowel sound, and the d in rød (red)… so basically the whole word. Yeah, told you, cool like that. (If you think you’re so good, you can hear it pronounced by clicking the speaker icon under rød on this page).

I headed home around 4:30pm because it was my night to cook common dinner, yay! I was cooking with Libuska, the other exchange student in my block, and, per my suggestion, we were making chicken pot pie. I couldn’t find premade pie crusts in the supermarket, so I had pizza crusts I was using instead, and it actually turned out perfectly. (I also only did a top crust because I felt the bottom was unnecessary.) Just so the luscious green isn’t the last thing you remember about this entry, here’s a picture of the baked pot pie, complete with sauce oozing out of it’s pores:

It got good reviews for all involved. My apartment-mates had also organized a game night for tonight, so after dinner, we played some games: First, we played Uno, which the Danes have some good twists on: for instance, if someone puts down a +2 card, the next person, instead of drawing two, can put down another +2 card, and then the next person has to draw four, or then can put down anther +2 card and then the next person has to draw six, and so on, so all the drawing can accumulate. The game of uno took literally an hour (there were four of us playing and there kept being epically long draws) but I eventually emerged victorious! We then played Yahtzee (which I lost at, and which, in Danish, is spelled Yahtzy, which means it must be pronounced Yahtzoo, because Y’s are pronounced like an “oo” sound). Finally, we played trivial pursuit, albeit it was the Danish version. We played in teams of two and Tanja and I won, even though I was kind of a liability since I obviously didn’t know any of the Danish history or culture questions. (I did, however, know that Joseph Conrad wrote Heart of Darkness, -pent is the Green prefix meaning five, the medical name for a broken nose, and a few other things I can’t remember).

Apparently tomorrow is also a Danish holiday (who knew?). According to wikipedia:

Store Bededag, translated literally as Great Prayer Day… is a Danish holiday celebrated on the 4th Friday after Easter…. The day was introduced in the Church of Denmark in 1686 by King Christian V as a consolidation of several minor (or local) Roman Catholic holidays which the Church observed that had survived since the Reformation… Another tradition on the evening before is to buy and eat ‘varme hveder’, a traditional bread. This comes from the fact that bakers were closed on holidays and people bought bread for the following day.

It’s funny because all my apartment mates had bough the bread (they are really like fluffy rolls) but no one knew why they ate it. I postulated it was like eating the wafer and the body of Jesus, but apparently not. Also, apparently all the stores are closed tomorrow. Hm. Anyway, while we were playing yahtzee we ate a bunch of these rolls with butter and jam and cheese. Picture of the roll (not my own picture):

Anyway, despite the rain, it’s been a great few days. I also have most likely found someone to tutor me in Danish over the summer, which will be super great! Maybe then I will learn how to pronounce rød. And hygge. And Strøget. And døgn… and all my friends’ names (awkward).


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