Meeting the Danes - Fo Real


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August 30th 2009
Published: August 30th 2009
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Today was truly a Danish cultural immersion. I woke up hoping to get some reading done for Monday classes...I've got about half of it done and couldn't be happier.

I started the morning by venturing to the Kvickly (aka Danish K-Mart) in town and deciphering which laundry detergent to purchase. One thing about shopping completely in Danish is that you rely on pictures A LOT. The Snuggle bear was my savior.

In the afternoon, I was heading back from doing an architecture assignment (an upcoming blog!) and I met my friends and spotted the Royal Rolls Royce. Then in fifteen minutes the Queen exited the church we were near after appointing some lucky clergyman to Bishop. And of course just as I was going to snap a picture of the Queen, a city bus slowed down right in front of me. Figures.

What's more interesting to note, however, is that the total entourage of the Queen, the Crown Prince and Princess was four royal police and two drivers. There was a crowd of no more than a 100 that just happened to walk by as the Queen left. No big hassle, no big security. The Queen of Denmark, what's not to love, ya?

My friends and I then headed to the FC Kopenhavn vs. Brondby soccer match. The stadium Parken was packed for this big rivalry match. Every other advertisement was Carlsberg (brewery) and cheering blue and yellow was everywhere. The match was awesome, soccer being much more entertaining than baseball for the spectator.

When we returned to Grundtvigs Hojskole, our Danes had arrived! Their school year starts on Monday so we have been here about a week before them. Their arrival came as quite a convenience, my Danish homework due tomorrow requires an interview of a Dane. In order to not seem too stalkerish, I had the internet translate a couple sentences asking them if I could interview them...I thought this a better method than going up to an unsuspecting Dane and immediately asking him for his birth date.

I stumbled through the translated sentences with terrible pronunciation (there are 28 vowel sounds in Danish). Then I showed my Dane the sentences and he understood haha. I proceeded with my interview with Emil from Odense which good success. My first Danish conversation! Ballin.

I returned to my lounge and continued to read about the French revolution with my American comrades. After a while they had all gone off to bed and I was left alone reading as Danes trickled in to play fuzbol. After a while, several Danes approached me with perfect English and I politely replied "Jeg hedder Zach". One of 5 phrases possible for me. For two hours I had an intense learning experience from the Hungarian, two Danes, and an Englishman.

The Danes didn't understand how we could let people on our streets die of disease without helping them, why we didn't provide them healthcare. That's a hard question to answer. I know the real answer but it makes one wonder why we honestly allow that to happen.

We discussed how different countries handle driving. The United States is by far the easiest and the cheapest. Danes pay about $2,000 for a driver's license with 24 mandatory class hours. It's also expensive in Britain. The typical age of a car in Denmark is also twice that of Germany (relatively low). There is a 180% sales tax on cars in Denmark...you don't buy one often. They were shocked that Americans typically buy a new car every 3-5 years.

All American produced movies are shown in English in Denmark with Danish subtitles. Thus the Danes impeccable English...they are taught English early in school and have many outlets to practice it.

And now I MUST finish my readings. The next blog should be something fun and interactive (and if it isn't just deal).


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31st August 2009

Sounds like you had a fun day....reading, soccer, interview, and the "real" mixing it up with Danes! Good deal. We are getting our passports applied for on Wed 9/3. The girls are missing practice and I'm leaving work. We want to get this rolling. I found plane tickets today for $710 and $634 depending on when we leave! Getting cheaper....

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