Saturday, February 13, 2010

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.


  1. You are hilarious! This was definitely a funny post. I can't imagine living in a place with a language barrier - it has to be challenging, but so much fun because of the adventure. I visited plenty of places, but living in it would be interesting to say the least. It sounds like you are handling things well by learning. The train incident is hysterical especially cause it hits close to home. I was with my sister in Germany and we had tickets for the train..this was my first train I've been on. We were in the 'first class' section without knowing it. Everyone was reading their newspapers and acting all rich - so we did the same and took pictures of each other acting fancy. We just thought that is the way it was on trains. We thought trains are awesome and really nice. But boy...we were wrong when the ticket guy came by - we got the boot quickly. It is even funnier that you didn't even have the right ticket for the train. Anyways, I'm glad you are taking everything with a positive attitude and enjoying it as you adapt. That's interesting credit cards are not widely used.

  2. Hahaha! I just laughed out loud multiple times reading that, I was so tempted to take a picture of the richness but then I knew I'd not fit in, hahaha...aww getting the boot, least it doesn't sound like you got fined :)