Sunday, February 21, 2010

Asparagus = Laura, Carrot = Marcella....

Definitely had an intense night last night after having just planning on turning in early after the crazy incident with the couch surfers! As usual I have met lots of Australians (though soe really sweet English girls and kiwi girl joined us later), and allow me to tell you a few things about the night while I have seven minutes of internet. 1- this pub that our hostel is a part of has AMAZING AND CHEAP FOOD AND BEER, also amazing music playing right now that I just cannot remember the name of even though I've listened to this song a good forty times...but also, it's an amazing atmosphere! Marcella and I got a burger and some chips (and ended up eating these Asians chips that were sitting next to us but we thought they came with our burgers...anyways...we keep getting free stuff here for no reason!)...then an Australian came up with lovely Carlsberg gifts, invited us to come sit with them, we finished and thought, oh that'll be nice before we go and sleep, sitting turns into games, lots of drinks, lots of people, until its 3 am and we are all standing in a circle doing the fruit salad game, where you have to basically not show your teeth or else you drink, but you have to pick a fruit or vegetable and be a motion for it, and it's maybe the funniest thing I have ever seen/played in my life. A really good end of the night game, especially when you have an insane gum-spitting 'pretending to be a raspberry''s so good to have nights where you just laugh till you cry :) And then go upstairs and pass out because you were too tired to stay up at all!

Anyways, times about to go up, we will now go find our tickets for the film festival!

Tcues...or something... :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

hahahahaha...I LOVE BERLIN

Thought I might give a quick update on my recent travel to Berlin I am still on with Marcella :) We are already having QUITE an adventure, wanted to try some couchsurfing because it was free, end up being so freaked out by these particular Germans the first night that we literally spent all day on our AWESOME alternative art tour (the BERLIN WALL IS AMAZING) secretly planning our escape, and now we have arrived at an amazing hostel called St. Christopher's that I highly reccomend to annyone planning on coming here and feel so relieved! Free things are nice, yes, but when you leave a place and you feel like you are escaping, you know it's not good to stay there :) So basically we have been having a good laugh and just...really in love with this city! Soooooo much history I will have wayyyy to much to say about it (as usual) but... mm :) Just adding up the life experiences! I'm sure couch surfing can go very well for some people but just....whew, good to be here :) The pub food here smells amazing too, think we might have to get some of that soon...

I have a few moments I suppose, might as well use all this internet we paid for, we have tried some legit German Absynth (I feel like there is an I that should be in there, but also foreign keyboards are really weird so I am just going to keep going...), it tasted like it was murdering my insides (as it probably should), did the flamming sugar with it too. And did the thing where you pour water in it and it goes all white, definitely the type of drink that you need to eat food immidiately and drink something after it...Have seen tons of amazing buildings but so far the Berlin wall really just...gets you. And the graffiti everywhere! And this other building called....Tashnele...thats probably entirely wrong. Amanda you know German I need you here! haha...oh I have three minutes. Better go. Haha.

But go to Berlin, its amazing :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Oh crap...I'm pretty sure we're in Sweden now..."

Oh the joys of Europe, only here could you accidentally end up in another country by mistake! Granted our end goal was to go to Sweden for the day, (Malmö is about 20 minutes away by train from my flat), but we planned on taking the train to the central station, then getting a ticket to Sweden, and then going there. Instead we ended up getting on the train already on it's way past the central station, therefore not purchasing a ticket, and suddenly were under water and our ears are popping, and then we are going very fast over the sea, and we were just like...uhh...we didn't pay for this! Haha, so yes Dad, my life of crime continues :) The most innocent crime though! Marcella and I were super worried too, because earlier a lady had been checking peoples tickets, so we were holding out our passes, ready for it all, and the lady was even kicking other people off the train because they didn't seem to have tickets (and then you get huge fines so we always want to have our tickets here)...and then suddenly it was too late...and every step we heard past us we thought would be someone else checking tickets...haha. And we were trying not to look up and around and be suspicious but ahh, finally we got there and ran off. We even debated getting off at the first Sweden stop which was before the city center just to be safe but it was all industrial so we just kept going...

But anyways we got there and it was so lovely! AND CHEAPER! The vibe was totally different somehow, and so were the buildings, not like ... Samoa to Denmark different, but different just the same. With how close it was Marcella and I were both sort of expecting it to be the same, or really close. The Swedish language also sounds prettier than Danish, and I thought everyone there would be even blonder but actually we saw so many dark haired people. It's just really cool how you can accidentally end up in another country before you can even turn around :)

We mostly just walked around, went there without a plan, just to spend a nice Saturday seeing what's going on over there. This nice mall called 'Entre' had some pretty cheap shops, and also the food court on we had the best food in the entire world. I may upload a photo of both of our meals at the end. I had salmon, of course I had no idea what I was getting because I was just trying to go off the Swedish names on the pictures, but when the guy said 'you know that's salmon' I was very happy. AND IT WAS THE BEST EVER. Both meals were around 10 USD, and you don't tip anywhere here, so awesome :) Though apparently you can tip if you get amazingly good service and that's not abnormal. Being on a budget it's going to have to be 'massage and free dessert' nice service before I think 'oh time to tip!'

We almost went to see Valentine's Day too, mostly because going to the theatre is something we can't afford in Copenhagen, and it was much better in Sweden, so went back and planned on getting tickets, turns out you get tickets on a little machine and have to pick your seat, and as we couldn't sit together we just decided to head back. Cost to get back to Denmark? 14.51 USD. :) Cost to get to Sweden? Priceless :) I know, lame, but Mastercard commercials just drill it in there don't they!

I'm trying to think of there was anything else eventful Sweden related that I should put in here....I put up a lot of photos on facebook already, oh, I wanted to illustrate how cheap it was there. Amazing food + lots of Swedish chocolate + the first cheap noodles I've found (a cup of noodles in Denmark is about 4 USD, and maybe what, 30 cents at home, I can't do that!), + a swimsuit, + bandaids (I managed to irritate my foot with my shoes walking, didn't even notice I was bleeding until I went to adjust my sock, gross right? Yay for the numbing effect of snow), anyways all of that was less than 40 bucks so I was pretttty impressed. And Swedish money is pretty :) I'll definitely be going back sometime, especially since it's so close. It might even be cheaper to go grocery shopping there, at least for some things!

Other amusing things we saw - A fancy guys clothes store that had a "Michigan, maker of Carhartt' shirt and a "I'm from Cali' sad...So far Scandinavia is sooooo fashionable, everyone is, and Carhartt? Haha, if I saw anyone wearing Carhartt anything I would be CRAZY AMAZED. So much amazing looking food there I wanted, will be nice to go back when there is not snow everywhere :) see what it looks like green and alive!

Anyways, suppose I will sleep soon, actually have a real class tomorrow! Danish language was supposed to be today but somehow that didn't pan out, we showed up but no professor so...maybe next week haha. Actually have been having a pretty productive day too! Lets see if I can get some photos on here...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Is it in English? No...English? No...ENGLISH!!!

I really don't watch much TV at all. Especially as it's alllll the way in the basement. Here however in my lovely apartment it has become much more convenient and so...interesting! It's always surprising what you will find that you can actually, you know, understand. We sit here and flip through the few channels we have, around 10 maybe, and just stop on anything that's English. So far generally ONE channel has English, though sometimes two do. And well if you want to watch TV you just watch whatever you can. And what programs are on Danish television? (not cable though we're getting the cheapest stuff I'd imagine...)

Will and Grace, Gilmore Girls, Dharma and Greg, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, The Daily Show, Friends...these are all really common. Then you get realllly random movies, like 'Sleeping with the Enemy' and I wish I could remember the other one but I can' had that cool guy with the accent in the new Batman who...trained him in the mountains...and he was a closet homosexual I believe...but yeah. 'Tattoo Hunter' was something else...but when you get something, oh and Family guy of course! When you finally get that English show after Danish sports, news, soaps, etc, you just LOVE IT. Will and Grace = amazing for the first time in my life...haha. Even other really bizarre shows, if we're in here just hanging out making food or something, we're so into it. Just because we know what they are saying haha.

Now for the Danish television...let me just start with this. When I first woke up here after a 7 hour nap whilst I was living in the lounge, it was about 1 am. What can I do but maybe watch some TV right? Turn it on...and it's a show where people are SLEEPING. Just zooms in and out of focus on different scenes of maybe 15 or so different characters sleeping, and I mean characters like crazy fake sleepers with makeup, or puppet-face masks on, or giant bears with hooked arms sleeping...A giant frog....its really weird. A clock ticks the whole time and it says in Danish at the top 'We will wake up in...however much time". It goes for 9 hours, one time I caught the beginning when the giant bear was going to bed. Apparently it's a new show here for kids on the kids channel, and it's been a huge hit. The characters are all apparently hosts of the different kids shows on that day....and man you see some weird stuff on that kids channel. Some of the weirdest cartoons..and this weird ...'giant foam-clothed druggedout looking people pretending to be kids at a primary school' show...everythings in Danish too. When I first saw the sleeping show too I thought that it would be something that would scare me...nope! haha so weird...

So, now for the other show we (myself, Marcella and Kate), recently saw....and this is 6 you'll see this is pretty sketch stuff to be on at 6 pm....

Scenario - woman is doing the dirty with a guy in a car, and you just see her hair right, so we're like, what! how is this on! then she gets off him and shes like...just nasty looking, older and way way tanned/wrinkled with this super bleached hair and just a hard face, the guy is gross and angry looking, she gets out of the car and he drives away, she goes to her little yellow one and then is suddenly in her heels, same outfit, showing people a house like a real estate agent through the mud...and THEN out of nowhere it's like the show stops. And there is suddenly this barn with GIANT eggs in it, with heat lamps over it. Asians are then born out of the eggs, they crack and everything, super weird. Then suddenly this old nasty man is raping a newborn Asian woman with freaky eyes who is just lying there and you think she's dead, and THEN this other guy is teaching her how to FISH. WHAT IN THE WORLD and then the show is OVER. So, naturally, we were just like....very how this is a show. Doesn't help when it's all in Danish you know? Though maybe we don't want to know what anyones saying...

Amazingly I managed to catch this show again the other night, saw a bit more this time. The blonde girl seemed to get fired from her job as a real estate agent, she was very angry, then she went off to meet up with that man and they fought too and she was very sad. Then news reporters were at the farm with the eggs, where another was born. The man who took the Asian woman fishing took her shopping and taught her how to push a shopping cart. He brings her back and they are having ice cream. Old rapist man is very angry and comes to beat up the other guy, Asian woman from the egg drops her ice cream, falling on the ground in what seems to be a seizure. AND THE SHOW IS OVER. But I found out it was called Bingoland, and you can look that up but the site's all in Danish, you can even watch a bit of one too, 30 minutes! Good idea I think if you want a little Danish television experience, apparently it's a satire but I'm not really getting it...

I think that's about it, a discovery show about...some boats was just on but neither me nor Liz, one of my flatmates (she is awesome, from Korean/Canadian, cooks up some of the best smelling food I've ever been around), are watching it. But it is in English :) Oh I want to learn Danish! But anyways, while I feel like I'm accomplishing something, writing everything down even if it's just so I can remember it, I must go to bed, catching a train to Sweden tomorrow to check it out there, apparently things are cheaper yay! A show about who shot Kennedy is on now...oo and so was that US 93...the 911 movie, that was on. I don't know how people could ever feel really homesick from the US, just turn on the radio or the TV, walk into the booksale thing right in front of Bilka's (and part of Bilka's) and see an autobiography by McCain, I mean US stuff is everywhere. :) And you can always go to McDonalds, Burger King, or KFC!

Oh another weird show - for about 30 minutes this girl was filmed just sitting at her computer listening to music or something, sort of bobbing around, and it was like the camera was behind some plants really secretive. She even had a friend stop by and they chatted though you couldn't hear anything and random music was just playing. No idea what that was about either.

Hmm one more thing you never think about, even the shows that have English speakers on it, like say a travel show, when they go travel around and speak to people in different countries, that's not translated into English! it's just subtitled in Danish and then you're like, oh CRAP it doesn't even matter that this is in English I'm missing so much!

ALSO, (haha I just keep going on and on, me+blog=horrible idea), I keep finding myself really in to Danish commercials, which look like they are HILARIOUS but man sometimes you don't know...but I'll be watching something, and even with some flatmates we do the same thing...and once this really informative commercial was on, some guy just talking and talking and taking a train or metro somewhere, sounded so important and we are just leaning off the couch entranced, and then we were like, wait we have no idea what this is about! ah but it sounds so important! That type of thing happens a lot...suddenly you're just like, oh wait, Danish. Aww :(

What I'm hoping for is that if I hear enough of it suddenly it will just CLICK and I'll understand everything, like in Gulliver's Travels! Great book if you haven't read it. Ok, betime!

A Tribute to my Mistakes :)

So amazingly here I've managed to botch up some things, basically because I don't speak Danish, and thought I'd share a few of them. First of all after the amazingly hectic journey of getting here, I managed to almost get a train ticket to Sweden instead of the island of Amager in Copenhagen, just because I cannot pronounce Ørestad at all apparently, though these nice Norwegian folks on the plan coached me on how to say it exactly. I still am not totally sure how to say it...but anyways, I managed to find my way here without any real...idea of what I was doing. And it was amazing. And then I slept for a very very long time. :)

Upon my...walking around and discovery of the part of Copenhagen I'm in (for the record, you say 'Ama' instead of 'Amager', who makes half of a word silent, I was always calling it Amager too, "Oh I live on the island of Amager' and people just go...what? never heard of it)...anyways, I often go grocery shopping at Bilka's right near here. And apparently I stole like 5 bags from there at least, I had no idea you had to PAY FOR THE SHOPPING BAGS. My first time I had seen this other guy just reach behind and grab a few bags while he was bagging his stuff, so I always did the same right. I did notice they had barcodes on them but thought maybe that was a production thing for the...bag-makers. So maybe my 5th or so trip, I saw this lady putting bags on top of her groceries on the conveyor belt and...the woman SCANNED THEM. Oh I felt awful. Then the people right behind me started pulling old bags out of their purses but I just never knew! And they aren't that much, about 2.5 krone for the nice yellow one with better handles, and to find that in USD just divide by 5 and whatever it is it's a bit cheaper than that, yay dollar for strenghening! Oh knock on wood can't have that go back down...but yeah. So now I buy bags and also save them. Also you always take ANY bags whenever they are offered, or maybe I'm just becoming overly frugal...haha...but it's not like at home where you go 'ah no I don't need a bag for that', here I'm like, what, bag, YES PLEASE. Haha, but everyone does it :)

This is one of my more amusing mistakes and I wish I had gotten caught really because I don't think they would've charged me I looked so stupid - I had to go to the airport to see if I could at all find a US converter for our plugs to Danish plugs (had already looked everywhere in Copenhagen, really), so was taking the train which is about a 5 minute trip from the metro stop right near my place. Well, buying a ticket is all in Danish (ok I've been told some machines have an English button but I did not see this wonderful idea), and I have this metro/train/bus pass for 2 zones, which gets me everywhere basically in greater Copenhagen for 320 krone a month, however the airport is just one zone out of it unfortunately, so I had to get a ticket to take me further but I only needed one zone to be covered. Sorry it takes so much to explain this haha...but anyways, I was looking for something that just said '1' basically, on what I thought seemed like some good...train ticket machines (there are about three different ones). One seemed right but everything said 2 through 8, and one other machine had something with one, something like 'cyclebillet', no idea really, so I get that and it was 12 krone which would be about right. Get on the train and it's pretty cramped and these doors sort of just open up and there are all these nice seats in there and it's real quiet so I sit down too. No one else follows me, doors shut, people are looking at me though, and then I realize I'm in first class. Haha. There was another man just sleeping and he kind of woke up to look at me, and it was so crowded to go back and stand and I felt sort of foolish so I just sat there and tried to pretend I was rich...

Anyways, turns out the ticket was for me to bring a bike onto a bus, and I sat in first class. People here are really strict about tickets too, I've been checked twice so far and if you get caught with an unstamped ticket or none at all, or in a zone you didn't pay for, you get a 600 krone ticket immediately. Which sucks when that could be almost 2 months of a 2 zone pass you know? Haha but if someone had checked my ticket in first class and saw it was for a bike, maybe they just would've been sympathetic? haha...

Hmm those are really the only two main things that amused me besides my constant pronunciation problems, or me walking into a huge lecture that my class was going to be in cos I was there way too early apparently and everyone was speaking Danish and everyone stopped to look at me and I just stood there awkwardly long just...confused out of my mind. And then I ran away, hehe.

I have no problems asking questions either though it might seem like that, I am CONSTANTLY asking what something is, how do I say this, where is this place, but when you're going to live here for so long you sort of just need to learn stuff trial and error you know? And you do want to just do things yourself, like I could've easily asked someone what ticket I should buy but I just wanted to try to figure it out. Turns out I figured out nothing except what not to do but hey, that's still learning :)

A few tips before just...ever travelling that I had never thought of before now are -

Get a converter before you go. I have NEVER had an issue in Ireland or New Zealand with the plugs because there were tourist shops and such things everywhere, thought it'd be the same here. But you never know when your country apparently unapproved all US adapters, got rid of them all and still haven't gotten ANY into their country. Totally random but really puts you in a tight spot when you have a computer or a phone or just...anything that you need electricity for. So from now on I will get one beforehand, luckily my Gran and Pa sent me one and that is how any electronic usage so far is pretty much thanks to them and also the luck of Pernille, the lovely Danish girl I'm subleasing from, happening to have an old computer that had a charger that fit my computer. So lucky. But then she had to move so...yeah. And it's hard to even buy something like a computer charger here online because...everything really is in Danish and not all sites have a sweet 'English' button. So yeah, something I will always have covered before I take off. Plus, while looking up WAY too much about converters I found out that some countries have some WEIRD plugs, thought it was maybe just...Asia, Australasia, Europe, UK, US, and...maybe a South America type, WRONG. I think Israel even has their own weird plug or something...haha...

Really wouldn't hurt to maybe look up how to say things either, why I didn't realize that you can't look up a Danish word and pronounce it before is sad...haha. It is SO amazing to know English though, I think we are all truly lucky to have learned English as our native language because we have such a HUGE vocabulary and it takes soooooooo long to build it up just learning, but makes you really appreciate other people born in a country that speaks a VERY DIFFERENT SOUNDING LANGUAGE can just...tell you anything. Tonight when I was waiting in a line for the toilet this girl just went on to me in Danish and so I said "I'm sorry, just speak English" and she IMMEDIATELY just switches and says everything in English for me. And this girl is around my age! Ahh, so interesting this place!

Other than that traveling is easy and great, and if you can just make sure you have a debit card (definitely need debits more than credit cards, I haven't even been able to use my credit card once here), and keep track of your passport, you will be fine no matter what. Even if you're in a place where no one speaks English you'll just have more of an adventure. Anyways you can still find a way to communicated, though if you don't have arms it be kind of hard, motions really can help, like in Children of Men where they have to find that boat and they just draw a picture of a boat on the wall with a stick. We just watched that last night.... :) Haha yeah my life is REALLY difficult over here, going out, watching movies, :) Love it! And yes, this photo is necessary, Clive Owen is AMAZING.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Yes, is it poltergeists or is it just modern architects..."

I know I know...just jumping right in there. This quote is pretty much the only thing I've written down from class so far...and it was from the creepiest noise I've ever heard as these giant shades were being drawn up electrically during my 'Danish Culture' course. Pretty easy class.

So! I've been in LOVELY Copenhagen (which I will call CPH from now on) for I don't know actually...since the 28th? Of January...and didn't think I'd actually do the blog thing because I thought 'who has time for that', but then I wrote down that quote and thought, if I have time for that I think I have time to write what I'm up to, maybe family or something will be bored and want to know what I'm up to maybe? :) Anyways its cold (not as cold as Purdue amazingly, what is up with Indiana!), and snow everywhere, amazing public transportation, amazing danishes and rolls (how unsurprising), and I feel TOTALLY WORTHLESS BECAUSE I AM NOT BILINGUAL. Seriously, everyone here can speak two languages at least, its sooo skillful, I desperately want to be bilingual someday. If Spanish doesn't work out...haha...we'll see how my Danish courses go that start next week.

Maybe I should put what I'm up meet lots of international students here, BUT I have actually managed to make Danish friends now, which is apparently something to be proud of :) So thats good, and everyone is SOO nice. I try to pretend I'm Danish. Most recent example - As I was taking the laundry down the elevator in my big basket the other girl probably said something to the effect of 'I'll open the door for you', and thankfully I had my key in my mouth so I wouldn't have to respond and could get away with a 'mmm' and a nod, then she did open the door, and I said Tak (thanks). Does she think I'm Danish? I hope so, its an awesome game. Often I take it too far and am going along smiling and pretending I know how much I'm supposed to be paying and then BAM a question that I have no idea what its about so I have to go what in English and the person looks shocked and then speaks to me in English, sometimes they laugh. *sigh*

Everything is IN Danish and everyone speaks it unless you are talking to them in English of course. The grocery store is a confusing place...awesome, but confusing. I live AMAZINGLY close to Bilka's and go there quite often as I am slowly stocking up on food so I don't feel like I'm spending as much money, also because you have to purchase the plastic bags therefore you save them and take them yourself, so can't get a whole lot. Anyways, I cannot read a single thing there. i think fadt or something like that is fat, sometimes you see a 1.5% fadt, but other than that I just use pictures. However, with things like, bread, ok I can see its white. or brown. or really dark. And that's as far as I can go, SO, I play the game of 'get what someone else is getting', where I sort of wait around and pretend to read things and when someone else buys something I just get that. I'm getting quite good at it. The other game (this one is only two days old) is my 'pronouncing Danish' game, and the rule is 'say it as weirdly as possible and sometimes opposite as you normally would'. Sadly this doesn't always work, sometimes the letters might make the same sound but often the don't seem to. It's really a toss up, you can pretty much do what you wish. I'm getting better at it I think, sometimes I'm quite close to the word. As I am overly in love with food, there will be much more talk of this in the future. On to more important




The shows we see should be on at 3 am if that, and it'll be on at 6 pm. It's hilarious though and I love it. You do have to flip quite often to find something in English. Actually I have so much more to say on this subject I should just cover this later too haha. This is already getting quite scarily long.

Time to go put laundry in the dryer and make some dinner :) I'll update my CPH life later :) There is lots to tell and its so tedious to write emails to everyone (hence I haven't written an email to anyone actually :(...pathetic of me), so this blog is actually a grand idea.

Come visit me!,
Laura :)