Thursday, August 30, 2007


Now, let's be clear and acknowledge that every single country has its share of numbskulls. They're all over the planet, and I've certainly done a little time myself starting many sentences with, "huh?" (Like, in high school? And stuff?)


This is excruciating. And funny. And sad. And very, very, very, very telling. Do watch the entire clip (though I had a hard time getting through it all in one go). I'm pretty sure they're not actors. Just regular ol' Amerrrrrrrricans.

We need to start taking education real serious!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Morning Post

Just a regular Wednesday morning at our apartment...

Saturday Night Crazy

Sophie came to visit us last weekend from Cambridge, and we pulled out all the stops for her. We even ordered up a li'l Americana to tug at her heartstrings.

It still mystifies me how monstrously popular LINE DANCING is here in southern Denmark. Like, crazyhuge. This group was the first of many to shake it in one of the public squares that night; there were loads of off-duty line-dancers strutting around in chaps, black ten-gallon (2.64-liter?) hats and cowboy boots, thumbs hooked into beltloops accordingly. I guess it is actually just like how in the states we wear aprons and braids and go clogging to alphorn music, right?

(How many of you got that this picture is DUTCH, and not DANISH? People commonly ask me how my Dutch is coming along. In a word, terribly.)

More Wedding Happy!

Our friends, Rebekka and John, got married last Saturday on the grounds of our neighborhood castle. It was gray and cold that day, really grim. At 2:58pm, John and the wedding guests promenaded to the wedding site, and the clouds actually parted.

The sun shone for about 15 minutes, and then, back to clouds. But, the bride and groom were rays of sunshine!

This was THE most mind-blowing wedding cake EVER -- dense dark chocolate base covered with a blanket of heavenly raspberry cream and fresh berries on top. I ate three pieces. Slowly. Silently. My eyeballs very likely rolled to the back of my head.

As it got colder, the guests boarded a three-masted sailing ship for a cruise around the sound. Don and I stayed behind and waved from the shore. Gale-force winds and icy ocean spray in a short dress and heels ain't often my thang.

Besides, there was leftover cake to be cleaned up.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Tillykke med fødselsdagen!

It's very, very difficult to fool me around my birthday, due to my infinitely vast intellect -- I *always* uncover surprises. (Yes, I really am this much fun!!!) But, this year, Don got me. He used the time-tested "do it the day BEFORE the actual birthday plan." AHA!

He left very early this morning to go practice at the music hall. (That should have been my first tip off -- waking up just past daybreak on his day off to go play the trombone? Um, no.) He split, and then I smelled coffee. Don doesn't drink coffee, let alone know how to make it. I got up to find many coffee mugs set out, along with a spread of fresh fruit, bread, yogurt, etc.

Then the door buzzed... which quickly followed by a lively and very loud brass choir outside (click on the pic to enlarge):

(L to R: Bo on trumpet, John on trumpet, Jeppe on French horn, Søren on bass trombone, and the magical and lovely Don on tenor trombone. Also making a special appearance to the right is Jeppe's wife and my friend Jorunn with baby Victor.)

Note the stunned sailboat inhabitants in the background who were jarred out of their slumber by this fantastic concert, still in sleepshirts. (I especially love the guy peaking out of the porthole in the upper right corner. "WHAT THE...???") There were actually quite a few who grabbed their cameras and snapped away.

And here is the audio/video version (turn up your speakers!):

I should add that this is something of a Danish tradition on special occasions, to hire a brass quintet or a whole band to play very early in the morning outside of your house with all of your friends gathered there, and then you have to have them inside for breakfast before everybody heads off for work, which is what happened this morning. So always make sure you have lots of coffee and breakfastings on hand the day before your birthday or anniversary! (And make sure you're wearing some kind of pajamas, too. I'm just sayin'.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Little Language Learnings

Don and I have certainly picked up little sayings or utterances (in English) from hearing them so often here in Denmark. For example, you can frequently hear us say "okay, okay" and "yeah, yeah" and "no, no" sprinkled in our conversation, rather like "uh huh." Also, from hearing it several million times from Danes, now we say, "o-KAAAAAY" (emphasis on the drawn-out second syllable). See? We're pretty much totally Danish now. (The last 5% of that crossover is eating herring.)

Another observation we've made is that virtually all Danes switch the English words "fun" and "funny," or usually just use "funny" to cover all those happy bases. So, you'll frequently hear something like: "Ugh, I had to wait in line at City Hall for twenty minutes! It was not very funny!" Or: "We took our kids to the beach today and they had a funny time."

Fortunately, it looks like we'll be starting our evening Danish classes in early September (FINALLY), and then we'll be sounding like enthusiastic morons... ("Hello lady! I liking to have the big very bread at me, if you happy for it! I thank you very!")

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen

Last week I had the pleasure of catching a ride to Copenhagen with my friend, Rebekka, who was going there to pick up her wedding dress and take care of last-minute pre-wedding details. It was a four-hour drive each way, which was great as it allowed us to talk and talk and talk. She asked me the zinger question: "Do you consider yourself patriotic?" Good thing we had four hours.

We crossed one of the longest suspension bridges on the planet. Who knew Denmark has so many islands?

It was incredibly hot that day, probably in the 90s (F), but no one seemed cranky. Some street scenes...

A Danish parking lot...

Apparently it's Fashion Week in Copenhagen. I know this because there was a giant telecom truck parked in the middle of a square with an even gianter television screen perched on top. Anyone within a few blocks was "treated" to a repeating reel of interviews with various Danish designers and clips of fashion shows. Mildy interesting to me, but these four gals, visiting from Akron or Duluth or Indianapolis, found it pretty funny. They especially enjoyed the glittering-silver-silk-hoodie-jacket-as-buttock-grazing-dress look. They were far more entertaining than the models.

After a full day, we headed home to our little town. Copenhagen says, "hej hej!"

Monday, August 13, 2007

Wedding Belle and Beau

I just love weddings, don't you? Especially when they're mine!

Yes, by the power invested in our Justice of the Peace by the State of Washington, we are legally wed! A fantastic, fantastic, triple fantastic day and night for us and our guests, seriously perfect. Thanks to everyone who could make it on such short notice! To quote my dear new sister-in-law: "WOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Friday, August 03, 2007

A Ghost in the Machine

Denmark is a very concise place. Things happen on time, and with great consistency. It's nice. However, amid this niceness, I have developed a new hobby. It goes a little like this:

Call Ministry of Immigration. Ask a caseworker how long they estimate my residency visa will take. Note results. Hang up.

Here's the tally so far...
July 22: "You will be fast-tracked, so, one month, tops. I'll make a little note about this in your file."
July 27: "We don't have anything called 'fast-track.' Three months."
August 3: "IF you can follow the directions and have sent in EVERYTHING in PERFECT, UNQUESTIONABLE condition, then you will be fast-tracked for three months. But if ANYTHING is missing or strange or if we don't like the way the stamp was positioned on your envelope, then seven months."

At least I got to talk to a real, live human being. That is quite a benefit.