Happy and lonely and lovely and new

“There is no penalty from failing except to get better or understand better and maybe become more beautiful humans.” ~ a letter from home, Jan. 17, 2015 

I’ve discovered something. I don’t very much like living on my own. I have a single here in Copenhagen. And it’s a really nice single, with a kitchen and a bathroom, and a cozy living room with a desk and the bed in a corner. There’s a great window that overlooks the bus stop right outside the building, and a pretty little green area beside the bus stop that I can see from the window. The evening light is nice in the living room, and I’ve pretty much moved in. There’s a lot of space. And there’s a funny little corner wall area that is filled with what seems to be a pretty random assortment of pictures and one ticket stub to a concert given in July. One of the pictures has a penguin pasted into a grand archway of a beautiful building somewhere, so that it appears as if the penguin is walking down the hallway and marveling at the architecture. I’m not really sure what the significance of that is, but maybe, if I had a roommate, we could discuss it, and that would be great. Because here’s the long and short of it. I’ve always had a roommate in the past, and I sure miss my roommate at Vandy, and so not having one here? Well, it’s just been quite lonely.
   Don’t get me wrong. I’ve met some wonderful people living on my hall, and we went out and had an adventure finding a grocery store! We also basically froze walking there because the sun sets here at around 4:30-5pm (or I should put it 16.30-17.00), and wow, does it get cold when the sun goes down. Or at least when it turns dark, because it seems that the sun doesn’t like showing its face that often this time of year. We found a Føtex, which looked to me like a Danish version of a Walmart or a bigger Kroger, and then we wandered the aisles starting with a little to a lot of confusion, calculating conversions and trying to translate the labels and carrying everything in our arms because we didn’t know where to get those neat little carts everyone else seemed to have no problem in finding.
Overall though, I’d say it was pretty successful – we found cereal, yogurt, cheese, bread, bananas, orange juice, eggs, and frozen veggies. We didn’t find: deli meat (seems like you have to cook all the meat – no pre-cooked stuff), bananas (for a while), and milk (packages were confusing. Is it yogurt? Is it milk? Is it creme fraiche? Is it cream?). Then we took a very long and cold walk back, and we talked and talked and got a bit lost and eventually made it to our new home. Other than our attempt to withdraw money from the postal service machine (a proud moment for us all when we realized the postal sign overhead and the options on the machine that said “send parcel” and “mail envelope” after we selected the English button), it was a good time! So meeting people has been lovely, and the dinner with all the DIS students living in these particular Kollegium buildings was really nice, but, it’s still been a tad lonely here in this single space. I suppose it will be a good learning experience, figuring out how to live on my own.
   But. Copenhagen is beautiful, despite the gray and dreary sky. Many of the buildings that we passed by on the way from the airport were painted yellow and white and purple and brown, and they had lots of little windows. Colorful, this city. And we passed by a most gorgeous park, right beside a school (which also happened to be an artsy stone building with many little windows). I tell you, if I went to school there, I would be so distracted. First with the beautiful building, and then with the beautiful park right outside!
The flights went surprisingly fast. A longer one to Frankfurt, a short layover, and then an hour to Copenhagen. I’d thought of Denmark as being so far removed from family and friends and the familiar, that the “shortness” of the trip felt like I had just said goodbye, stepped through a few doors, and become enveloped by an entirely different country. The reality of it, of course, is that it is a lot of miles away, and there is a time difference, and the people that I just said goodbye to are living a whole different other time of day, and I forget that because of how crazy it is to actually be here. Living here. It’s both very different and somehow achingly familiar. You prepare so much in your mind for what it might be like – a new city, new people, new country – that when you actually encounter it, it feels like you are in between places – familiar and unfamiliar. I suppose that’s the basis of transition.
  Before this gets much to long, I’m headed to bed – early day tomorrow! Going to try and sneak a run in before orientation starts. Maybe run off some of that “transition” feeling – we’ll see. I might freeze to the sidewalk. Until next time – good night!

 

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