“You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose!” ~ Dr. Suess
– Nyhavn, photo cred. Kevin D. –
1. A Visit to the Zoology Museum
↗ The not specific description of things – “A Summer Day Somewhere in Denmark” was a label on many of the diagrams
↗ The mix of art and quotes and culture
↗ It was so interactive! We were encouraged to take pictures, touch any of the skeletons, lift up the skulls and the bones
↗ Seeing so many different diagrams and animals! There were cabinets and cabinets just crammed with stuffed animals of all kinds. It was so strange to see them locked up in cabinets in the back research rooms of the museum.
↗ Hearing about the different research on the skulls and what that research has revealed for scientists regarding toxic metal levels in aquatic environments over the years.
– Inside the zoology museum archives! –
↘ Not having enough time
↘ Climbing every staircase ever to get to the museum (it was on the top floor)
↘ Not really knowing any exact dates on any of the displays (everything was a tad ambiguous)
↘ Seeing all the stuffed animals locked away in cabinets – not many people could see them
↘ Not hearing about the specifics of the research – how it was done, etc.
↘ No light or windows in any of the rooms!
↘ All the couples walking around on dates, and all the PDA in front of the diagrams. Excuse me, I’m trying to get a picture. I’m sorry, but in front of the stuffed Woolly Mammoth diagram taken from “somewhere in Denmark” is not a romantic place to kiss.
2. The Actual Zoo
↗ Most everything about it
↗ Such an amazing environment for all the animals! New eco-friendly habitats: think LED lights, gathering and reusing rainwater, and a central heating system that is “solar-powered” (but, the sun? It never comes out?)
↗ So interactive! A big petting zoo, and you can even go inside with these tiny little adorable goats, and just pet them. My friend wanted to take one home, and she probably could have if her backpack was just slightly bigger. So if you see the headline, “American Student Flees Denmark, Goat in Tow,” you didn’t hear it from me first.
↘ The cold. Oh, it was so cold. This is probably why all the animals were so active. They were trying to stay warm.
↘ Not enough time as per the usual. We almost missed our next class because we wanted to stay and see the goats for a bit longer. This resulted in us SPRINTING to a bus, onto the metro, up a billion flights of stairs, onto another bus, and through every street in central Copenhagen. But we made it. Our next class was a hospital, which was actually a good thing considering both of us were ready to pass out on the sidewalk.
↘ My lab partner*
*who will remain anonymous, but let’s just say, this
has been especially relevant.
3. Parfaits and Practice Sessions
↗ This recent discovery of a fruit parfait that is my new favorite thing
Pear and ginger and lemon with strawberry rhubarb vanilla yogurt
Chopped hazelnuts, brazil nuts, almonds
½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/8 cup granola
Strawberry yoghurt drink
Directions: Mix all together in a huge bowl. Eat in one sitting when taking a “break” from practicing.
*All I had on hand – doesn’t have to be specifically 8 raisins or anything like that.
↘ I made this for my friend Kevin, and he said that the ginger was “too much.” So the ginger is optional. But it’s good for you! And I like it, so I add it. Also because in the grocery store, they only sell huge packages of ginger, not individual pieces that I could break off myself. I had to buy the whole thing, and when am I ever going to use that much ginger?? So I’ve been adding it to everything imaginable. Yoghurt. Ramen Noodles. Eggs. In the morning, with warm water and lemon (this is a good detox drink I’ve heard? I also gave this to my friend Kevin, but he said that he “didn’t need to be detoxed because he wasn’t ‘toxed’ in the first place.” I’ve been pushing my ginger on everyone. This is probably why my neighbors haven’t come over in a bit – they’re always telling me to come over, and NOT BRING ANYTHING. Ugh. So much ginger. What to do with it?)
4. Meeting a “Real-Life Viking” in a Bar in Nørrebro and Getting Scolded
– Quiz night at the Student House by DIS! We won exactly zero things, but we learned a lot of random facts that I’ve already pretty much forgotten –
↗ We all wanted to go out on Friday and find a place to hang out and talk. My friend Brady knew of a jazz concert at a bar called Charlie Scott’s nearby DIS. The jazz group was really good – an all-women’s group from Malmö, Sweden. They played about 2 sets, an hour each, of a mix of old and new songs.
There were some amazing dancers there that danced pretty much the entire time the band played! It must have been exhausting – I was tired just standing there. But they were doing elaborate dance moves and jazz routines. I don’t know where they were from, if they were part of a class or just knew how to jazz dance and came for the event, but they were amazing. It felt like we were in the Roaring 20’s for a little bit.
After the concert, we went to a smaller bar in Nørrebro, closer by to where we live, and the bar was packed full of people. So we weren’t sure we were going to stay, and we were just crowded around the bar trying to decide where to go next, when a middle-aged Danish man sitting at the bar started speaking Japanese and Chinese to my friends Claire and Melissa (who are Chinese and Vietnamese, but both don’t speak the languages). We were all a little confused and disoriented, and the man kept trying to talk to us in Japanese, until he realized that none of us spoke Japanese or Chinese. Then he asked where all of us were from. We couldn’t get a read on this guy – was he just being friendly? What did he want? After asking all of us where we were from, and then again clarifying that none of us were from Japan, he offered to buy all of us drinks. “This is my favorite bar,” he said, “and when I go to Japan, my Japanese friends always buy me drinks, so I’d like to do the same for you.” We weren’t really sure about this, seeing as: 1) None of us are Japanese 2) We didn’t know the guy 3) The drinks were pretty expensive, and there was no way that he was going to buy all 9 of us drinks.
But he did, and as we got to talking a bit more, we learned that he was born and raised in Denmark, and that his family had hosted 25 Japanese men when he was growing up. The Japanese men were in Denmark to learn boat craftsmanship, and as he got to know the men and hear of their stories from Japan, his curiosity about the Japanese culture grew. In his lifetime, he has made several trips to Japan and traveled all over the country, learning about the culture and history of the people. He loves Japan so much that he eventually wants to move there. Brady talked the most with the man, and I just kind of listened in for the most part – it was hard to hear in the bar, and the conversation seemed to jump from topic to topic. The Danish man kept going on different random tangents; first, he talked about his time in Japan, then he moved on to his Viking heritage. Danish food was covered, as was pretty much his entire family history. There was mention of a sword being built for him in a monastery somewhere, and apparently, he was in the midst of making a traditional Japanese bed for himself. I am still not sure how much of any of this was true, but it made for a really interesting night!
– All the beautiful flower stalls and bakeries in the city! And a picture with Melissa and Tahseen from my Kollegium! –
↘ About halfway through the conversation, the Danish man asked me about my family history and heritage, and he gave me a lot of grief for not speaking Chinese. “Shame on you,” he said, “for not speaking the language of your culture. You should be studying your family history and the history of your country of origin.” It was interesting point – I should know more about my family history and my culture. I guess that growing up in the States, I have felt more a part of the American culture that China seems “far away,” disconnected and remote. Sometimes, I forget that how others perceive me is different than how I see myself, that how I feel inside about my identity and culture is different than how others identify me.
In other words, I forget sometimes that I am Asian. I can tell that I am perceived differently here, not overtly, but in a stronger sense than other places; for instance, in Vancouver, Canada, I don’t “stand out” in the same way as I do here in Denmark. It’s just a feeling one has when walking the streets, or entering a restaurant, in the grocery store, or running errands. I’ve felt it less in bigger cities, more in places like Kansas and Montana, less in Canada, sometimes more in the States. There’s no genuine way to describe it – it’s a feeling, like a cloak you carry, or a shadow you only notice in certain lighting. It’s another aspect to factor into the context of a situation. But sometimes I think that the cloak is hard to carry, and why should I have to carry it at all? I need to reach the point where I can see it as a blessing in disguise because it provides another perspective that one wouldn’t necessarily have only experiencing one side.
– Exploring the Rosenburg Castle with Emma, view of Frederiksberg from the bus, the cutest store nearby my classroom where I wanted to buy one of each item, pomegranate cider! –