Yesterday, as on all Thursdays at lunch, someone said, “Who’s got fika tomorrow?” Then, the glances go to the fika list on the door. And someone said, “Helen”. And I’m like, no way, José, I would know when I have fika. I would prepare days in advance. I would feel the fika coming up. But no! They were right – I have become a fika neglector. But Emily came to my rescue, providing me with a rather delicious pumpkin bread. I can recommend baking it, it feels healthy and has lots of autumny spices. So by standing in the kitchen until 10.30 pm yesterday, I saved my own fika pride.
The rest of my free time I have mostly spent trying to rebuild my wallet. I know have a preliminary ID card that looks like some fake Chinese passport (my co-worker says) and I should soon have some other cards being sent home to me.I waited an hour at the police station to make a report and when I was told it would take two more hours, I left.
I also started watching Borgen for the third time and I am beginning to be concerned by my own obsession. But the most important news I have to share today is maybe that I, Helen the active pensioner, now own a drill. My very own drill. That I can use as much as I like in the privacy of my own home. I can also lend it to others. I can drill in the ceiling and the walls. I could probably even drill inte the floor. So many new possibilities in my life now!
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Du ogillar henne men ändå ska du träffa henne? – Ja. Jag är svensk.
Du är en magnet för sexuella saker.
En av dem skulle jag vilja träffa… – På din sängkant?
Linkedin är som vuxengodis!
The funny thing is that even though Copenhagen tried to make a bad impression on me with the wallet theft, it still hasn’t suceeded to become a real turn off to me. And it even rained all the time!
My reaction to Denmark is very peculiar. My brain is constantly trying to reconcile the fact that I can read most things and I can pick up some, but not really. It’s like my head is having a crisis meeting all the time, “Why don’t we understand this? It looks almost like Swedish!” That’s both slightly irritating and intriguing, the entire Danish experience for me is a close-to-the-mark-happening. It’s Scandinavian in its cultural practices but has its own eccentricities (hygge!), the weather is almost like in Sweden, some shop chains are the same, some food is similar but not quite, they say hei, which is almost hej, but at the same not at all the same pronounciation. Close, but no cigar.
Of course that spurs my ambition to improve my Danish knowledge and grasp of their culture. But really, I get so confused being with a German-Swedish-English crowd as my friends that I can’t even get my four words, hello, thank you, excuse me, goodbye in order in Danish but keep falling into Swedish. When I tried to read signs, it just sounded like I was making fun of Danish.
Copenhagen is somehow like a mixture of Stockholm and Amsterdam to me, maybe a tiny little bit less pretty but the people speaking Danish around oneself make up for it. (I love listening to Danish.) Something that I noticed particularily was that in all the cafés, restaurants and shops we were in, they played really nice music that exactly catered to my taste, a rather rare phenomenon. We stayed in a hostel that had the highly euphemistic name “Sleep in Heaven” and offered the charms of a prison cell. (Their bathrooms were quite okay, though.) After their beds, my bed at home felt like a five-star-hotel.
Here’s a collection of interesting things I observed in the Danish capital:
Of course I also had to go to Borgen! You can hardly have missed my obsession with this brilliant TV show that is all about what happens in Christiansborg, short Borgen, the center of Danish politics. We took a short walk there on the way to the Black Diamond.
PRESS RELEASE – On October 22, the government of Denmark signed an agreement with the Farmers Union of Sweden to grant further support to the dairy farming industry.
The agreement states that the Danish government will from now on sponsor the Swedish dairy industry in order to lessen the financial burden on the Swedish state. Danish Prime Minister Helen and Farmer Union Leader Malin signed the agreement at Christiansborg.
World leaders welcomed the news from Christiansborg, Denmark. “We appreciate the Nordics solving their issues without European financial support”, Jean-Marie Ducart, spokesman of the EU parliament said. “Today’s signing marks a significant development in the two Öresund nations’ collaborative efforts.”
Yes, we had some fun playing politics! The next fun, or rather impressive, stop was the so-called Black Diamond. It’s the Royal Library of Denmark and they chose to house it in a magnificent new building, the Black Diamond. Talk about appreciating literature!
I was also recommended to look at Copenhagen’s Notre Dame, their cathedral. Man, these Danes sure have fancy churches! Their benches were luxuriously padded and they had small speakers at every seat. Some benches were even in communicative setting, facing each other instead of facing the altar.
Opposite the church were lots of to-die-for interior design stores. I was recently asked if I was “one of those interior design girls” and I guess I am? But who does not get excited when a store sells super pretty small boxes, adorable stickers or original clocks and cozy plaids?
On Sunday, we went to a Escape Room Game. I’ve always wanted to try that and it was smart that I tried it with my friends because I would never have gotten out of that room again. The game was a lesson for me in how bad I am at solving puzzles. But it was still quite fun! You get locked in a room and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles and escape within a set time limit. The room usually consists of a locked door, objects to manipulate, and hidden clues or secret compartments. The players must use the objects to interact with other items in the room to reveal a way to escape. In our case, we were in a monk’s room and the monk had disappeared. It was in a basement and I was busy being scared by the noises while my friends elegantly solved one mystery after the other. I was impressed! Once we had gotten out (it took us 57,5 minutes and the guide said we were not bad), our minds were set on finding codes and keys to open locks as you can see on the photo above where we inspect the love locks at Nyhavn.
On Sunday morning, we had some time and while the others went to see the Little Mermaid (Tabea: “I’ve heard so much about how disappointingly small it is so I actually had such low expectations that I did not get disappointed!”), I took to the Swedish Church. You have to take the few opportunities you get! It was very interesting because I’ve only attended mass in Swedish Churches in Germany and Sweden and it was a bit different here in Denmark. It was much more traditional and Catholic, but at the same time the pastor (the oldest female pastor I’ve encountered) had a Lion-King-simile in her sermon and explicitly welcomed the noisy children (“The children may be heard, we will manage that.”).
Closing comment: I wouldn’t mind if one of my friends moved to Copenhagen and I had to regularily visit.
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Snart kommer julsångarna.
– Jag har redan börjat!
Det finns inget normalt läge med dig när det gäller sång. Det är inte det här, nu börjar vi sakta kicka igång julstämningen. Det är fullt ös medvetslös direkt!
Egentligen är vi som ett band ihop. Du är jukeboxen och jag är dansaren!
I am a little worried my co-workers will soon forbid me to talk about it. I am not even sure when it started but it hasn’t been long. It has led to very unexpected consequences in my behavior.
Are you wondering what I am talking about? Borgen, of course. I’ve briefly mentioned the Danish series before in a post, trying downplay my addiction by naming it in a parenthesis, but let’s face it: I am under the Danish spell. I’ve watched 30 episodes in two weeks and told everyone in my environment that they have to start watching. I try to explain to my co-workers that they need to see it so we can talk about it in order to strengthen our team relationship. I have started to love the Danish language and most uncommon for me started re-watching the entire show just two days after seeing the last episode. I never watch things twice.
Borgen is the story about Birgitte Nyborg Christensen who unexpectedly becomes Denmark’s first female prime minister. The series won numerous prizes and has been sold to tons of countries; Britain is even showing it in Danish. (In Germany, of course, we dubbed it horribly and showed it on the intellectual channel arte…) Critics have reviewed Borgen as part of the Scandinavian Cultural Imperialism that had several brilliant Scandi-series being exported to the world (and I suppose the fact that Swede Max Martin writes every hit song in the pop music world adds to the Cultural Imperialism.)
Played by the wonderful Sidse Babett Knudsen, Prime Minister Birgitte is an idealistic woman who “always does the right thing” as my co-worker (the one who’s watched it) put it. She is married to a man any modern woman would want to be married to (when she gains weight and can’t fit into her dress, he tells her the dry cleaner shrunk it and buys her a new in a bigger size, handing it to her conveniently when she is super stressed about a TV apperance, and of course he wraps the Christmas presents for the kids). Principled Birgitte is faced with all the typical issues of politics during her term (from dictator state visits to prostitution laws) and maneuvers the Danish coalition politics gracefully but not stress-free. På köpet you get stunning views of Copenhagen and rooms all styled in Danish design.
Even though I certainly am interested in politics, the actual appeal for me is the interplay between statsministern and the media. Birgitte has a skilled spin doctor who helps her to handle the media and the media is portrayed by his ex-girlfriend Katrine (played by superb Birgitte Hjort Sorensen) who is an ambitious reporter. It’s all about how to communicate what and when, what not to say and how to avoid scandal. The storyline is actually so real that in my second Borgen week, when our German vice chancellor claimed on the news that he had signed a bill that had been changed afterwards, I was briefly confused about what was reality and what was Borgen.
“Borgen makes it clear that even a virtuous politician can’t be as decent as she’d like. Birgitte backs proposals she doesn’t quite believe in to enact bigger policies that she does. She works with ministers she’d like to fire but keeps on because it would cost her too much to can them”, NPR writes. “And, she’s loyal to her old friends … until she has to sacrifice them when they’ve become a liability. Borgen reminds us what it’s easy to forget in these polarized times — that no political decision is ever pure or simple, and that it’s childish to think otherwise”. A study conducted by the Copenhagen Business School even found that the series had stimulated political debate in Denmark and combatted Danish voter apathy.
Today, I am enjoying a luxury. That is to say it is ten to three in the afternoon and I am sitting on my sofa, with the sun shining in, with a cup of tea and I have just finished watching an episode of my new superfavorite TV series Borgen. (A Danish show about a female prime minister and politics interplay with media. Made for me. The big plus is that they speak Danish which both fascinates and amuses me.Thanks to my stepdad’s birthday present I now even own a real screen to watch it in all its glory.)
The luxury in all this is that it is a regular Thursday and I am not sick. There may be some annoying things with my job but one of the really good parts is that I get to take time off when I’ve worked overtime. So this morning I worked from home (which also is a privilege not granted at any workplace) and this afternoon I am free. It’s nice being free a Friday or a Monday as well but Thursday is such an out of the ordinary, no one will be at the supermarket kind of free.
Of course, I have lots of stuff to do anyway. There are still three large moving boxes haunting me in my bedroom (which on the whole looks like a messy storage). Not to speak of the preparations for Saturday (which include counting my bed sheets).
One location tried to win me over by calling their menu suggestion “Swedish Berlin”
These past days, I’ve been busying myself with buying a new bike because my old one was stolen in front of my door while being locked to the bicycle stand, hosting my first dinner at the Blue Table feat. Domizil Lux, and at work, I’ve been looking into good locations for our big event in November. We also kicked off the planning for the junior jubilee – such fun! I had a brainstorming with my comittees and the day after, with my co-workers and we came up with some really good ideas. I’m still working on getting my two co-workers to write an anthem for our junior organization and to perform it with me at the jubilee. Our brilliant student assistant suggested masking ourselves as Crown Princess and go on stage as The Three Victorias. Frankly, I think that it a great band name.
Well, now I should get going to make use of my free hours before the working people hit the supermarkets…!