Monday, October 30, 2006

What I See

I'm early (first time for everything) to meet my friend, Jen, for a tapas snackysnack, but the restaurant in closed for another 15 minutes. Sitting in the car to keep warm, I'm a tad bored. How to keep myself entertained? Whip out my laptop and digital camera, snap a couple of pics, skive someone's wireless internet from the street -- BLOG IT! Neat, huh? And this from a gal who refused to believe computers would ever overtake typewriters. Here's what I see right now:

I'm on Capitol Hill, Boren & Pine, watching another fine, fine Seattle sunset filter through downtown buildings. It will be hard to leave here Friday, but also nice to return to the normalcy of a foreign language, structure-free days and pedestrian transport.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Back in Seattle

Visiting Seattle this fall is like eating a cheese sandwich with half a pound of smoked cheddar and a good thick spread of mayo on it -- all of your favorite things in great quantities, so good but so much that you feel like you should stop eating it because you must look like a pig but you keep on snarfing it down anyway, swearing that you won't buy anymore expensive cheese and fatty, fatty mayo, but then you do end up buying it and quickly and shamefully shoveling it into your gullet once again. What I'm trying to say here, folks, is that I miss Seattle something terrible, even though I know I should be loving my new life in Europe more. I'm crazy to want to squat in this gray city when I have a jolly little village at my feet abroad, right? SIGH. I *want* to love Sonderborg more than I do, and I sure as hell want to miss Seattle less. The leaves here are glowing, sparking golds and ultraviolet oranges. It's almost too much, and yet I can't look away. I actually have been scolding myself as I marvel at Seattle's beauty, feeling like I'm cheating on the cobblestones and water view "back home." I remind myself that I'm not giving Denmark enough of a chance, knowing that I'd probably happily and quickly re-pack my boxes and do an about-face if the right opportunity to move back arose. When I was twelve, after years of begging my parents, I got to go to camp on the mainland for a summer. I think I had been reading a lot of pre-teen "novels" and/or watching too many ABC After School Specials where kids went away to camp, and I REEEEEEEEALLY wanted to go. It looked fun, everyone was best friends, and they ate hot dogs that they had cooked on sticks over an actual fire. I wanted that. So, I got to go for four weeks. On my third or fourth day at Camp Chippewa Trail, I sent my parents the saddest, most tortured letter home, a la "Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda." My mom remembers that letter well -- it started with this sentence: "WHY DID YOU SEND ME HERE???" I seem to recollect that I actually dripped some water on the page and wrote an arrow pointing to it, labeled "tears," for extra added effect. Anyway, two decades later, whenever I've whined about not liking something that I'd pined for, my mom always says to me, "WHY DID YOU SEND ME HERE???" And she's right. Within a week or so, you could not have ripped me away from the archery pitch, my groovy little slanted cabin, the canoes, the campfire circle, the horses, my new best-friends-forever (Liz? Tracy? I think...). THE POINT's going to get better, and I know I will soon love it. Leaves change color in Denmark, too.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Up, up and awaaa-haaay...

WE'RE OFF!! Taking advantage of the four weeks of paid symphony leave here to pop back to the States for a few weeks of R&R (kind of) for me, workworkwork for Don. I'm quite excited to get back to a land where I understand things. I'll probably make a clarifying, inquiring phone call or two to a restaurant or dry cleaners -- "what time do you close?" "do you serve ham?" "are you wheelchair accessible?" "do you have Jack Daniels in a bottle?"-- just because I can. It will be nice, though, to return to the tranquility of village life after a few weeks, I'm sure. Here's a little tableau from the other morning: sheet music (still waiting for Don's music stands, in cargo), sail boat, candles. Aaah.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Here fishy, fishy, fishy!

The Scandinavian work ethic cannot be beat. These guys are on vacation CONSTANTLY. Come back from one, prepare for the next. I love it.

There are two fresh meat places in town -- one for meat (duh), and one for fish. Everything else is grocery store frozen. The meat place is pretty swank, all chrome and track lighting and cool black uniforms for the staff. My favorite thing about that place is the name -- Slaughter Frank's. I'm Frank, and I'd like to slaughter you some meat today. Right on.

The other place is a fresh fish shop that has been closed due to VACATION since the week after we got here. Selling fish is tiring and stressful. Today, I saw that they were open for biz, which is fabulous, but also a bummer as Don and I head back to the U.S. tomorrow for 3 weeks. I'm sure they'll be in Tahiti or Paris or Knott's Berry Farm when we get back...

You see, I don't DO frozen smoked eels. Only fresh for me.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Don and I are fairly well recovered from our 3-day scoot to Hamburg. What an excellent city! We stayed in, apparently, a district bursting with drugs (no worries, Mom), but all of the purported dealers were super nice and welcoming. In a few words, Hamburg was clean, easy to get around, quiet, diverse, cozy, not overwhelming and...CHEAP. (After Denmark, ANYTHING is cheap.) (Okay...not CHEAP cheap...just CRAZY AFFORDABLE.)

Highlights: One mind-blowing Italian dinner next to the Musikhalle (didn't see the concert, though...DRAT); incredibly efficient underground (we bought a 3-day pass, then noticed that we ONCE saw anyone purchasing a ticket, and no one checked for them...?); a boat tour of the harbor narrated by a fellow who enjoyed repeating most English phrases four or five times in a row; St. Michael's church (up the tower in the elevator, down the tower via stairs to check out the clock and bells inside...THEY BIG); St. Nikolai's church (destroyed by bombs, the shell has been left as a monument for victims of war around the world); stumbling upon a heavenly Mongolian quartet in front of Town Hall (the Rathaus); the fabulous tap water (I KNOW!!); scrumptious falafel from a streetside kiosk; giving up the vegetarian ghost with a brat, a beer and french fries on a chilly afternoon...

Lowlights: 24/7 cigarette smoke (like having a full ashtray duct-taped to your chin); the worst tapas dinner EVER wherein the primary ingredient was tepid boiled potatoes; German "ketchup" (thin curry-flavored tomato-water); the Kunsthalle (art museum) where 2/3 of the exhibits were closed; choosing to wear boots with 4" heels for a full day and evening of walking...

We took a very comfy bus to Flensburg, Germany, and then a train to Hamburg...

(Apologies for the photo wonkiness. Terribly confusing. Click on any shot and it'll expand/zoom nicely.)

Rainy cycle

As my dear friend (and Don's sister), Deanna, congratulated me recently, I have learned how to ride a bike in Danish. And it feels GOOD.

It rains a lot in southern Denmark. Sad, but a true, true fact. I guess it makes me feel at home. ('Twould feel even homier with a Starbucks on every other corner along with the occasional aftershock, but I digress.) On Saturday afternoon, I felt a streak of confidence that I could beat the rain and gamble on a break in the incessant downpour. So, I hopped on my bike to do a wee bit of 'splorin', and this is what I saw.

These are from a bike path that I discovered while trying to take shelter from the rain, about 10 minutes from our apartment. There are TONS of paths like this, all sparkling clean and well-kept, meandering about the edge of town. I did not see any happy children in clogs and lederhosen with blond braids singing joyfully, but I know they're out there.

If you have not yet experienced Danish cheese -- blue or feta -- do not even shut down your computer but take your wallet and GO TO THE STORE RIGHT NOW AND BUY SOME AND PUT IT ALL IN YOUR MOUTH AT ONCE. You will thank me. And the cows. (I think they invented dairy here.)

It's super old-fashioned here. Like, all stoney and castley and stuff.

They sure don't call it SonderBEAUTIFUL for nothing!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Concert #3

Don's orchestra is currently playing "A Soldier's Tale" (Stravinsky), and I went to see them play the night before last. The concert was in a modern art museum in a small town about an hour and a half away. The piece is narrated, telling the story of a soldier returning home from war who meets the devil and is swindled out of his violin. The musicians did an excellent job, as did the narrator, a very well-known Danish opera singer. (But the trombone playing was the best.)

Sunshine on my rooftops looks so lovely...

And now for something pretty:

We had a tremendous thunderstorm last week, and then the sun blew it all away. The red rooftops were glowing. It was specTACK!!