Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Keeping in touch

Right now we've still got to figure out communication logistics. Apparently NOBODY has landlines in Denmark. So we're pretty much going to have to get a cellphones (which I swore I'd never get)¨and only use internet at school. We'll have to see how common things like MSN are on public computers. Getting TV is pretty much out of the question since prices here are astronomical (which I don't really mind anyway since I'm not really a huge TV watcher in the first place).

Anyway, we were hoping to get all of our friend's addresses (even though they're probably temporary. We're signed up with that "keeping-in-touch" website Bebo (http://www.bebo.com/invite/5452460a1026617b) so it'd be awesome if you signed up your address too. If you really have something against using "yet-another-keeping-in-touch" website, just email us your mailing address. An incentive for either signing up your address or emailing it to us? You'll get a lovely postcard all the way from Danmark. Hope to hear from you.


Going back to Christinia, for those of who don't know, it's a self-governed state within the City of København (well according to Christianians anyway). It was founded in 1971 by a bunch of hippies who were fed up with the Danish government. It has it's own governing body, set of rules, budget and even it's own school system (for more info go to http://www.christiania.org/). I didn't get to see a lot of it since it looked like it was going to rain, but I'll definitely be going back.

Our Town

The town we live in, Gentofte, is pretty cute. It has all basic amenities plus it's only a 15 minute bike ride to school for Anthony and a 5 minute walk to the train station for me. My school is 30km from København (Copenhagen) so it'll be about a 50 minute commute to school by train for me each way. Yesterday we rode our bikes to downtown København to get some ethnic groceries (Danish grocery stores are definitely not as multicultural as we're used to) and to go to Christinia. It was only a 30 minute bike ride each way along the bike paths that follow ALL the roads. For those of you who have never been to the Netherlands or Denmark, these bike paths are amazing. They are separate asphalt strips that lie between the road and the sidewalk, plus there are entire sets of traffic lights just for bikes. They definitely put the Canadian so-called bike paths to shame.

Our Apartment

Besides the language barrier, we're having an awesome time. We couldn't have lucked out more with out apartment. First off, it's absolutely humungous! It's 140m2 (or about 1500 ft2 for those who can't visualize metric area) , despite the fact that we share it with an 18 year-old Danish girl named Frederikke (who is super nice and very mature for her age). As it turns out the apartment used to belong to Frederikke's grandmother. Frederikke was supposed to eventually inherit the apartment but her grandmother passed away this past year. Frederikke is still in high school, so she's only living in the apartment part-time (so we pretty much have our own apartment - something that's hard to come by in Denmark!). Her parents have been wonderful. The apartment came only partially furnished, so we expected to have to buy a bed. It turned out that the family not only had a futon for us, but a computer monitor and spare bikes (which are a necessity in Denmark).

The Language Barrier

For some reason, the Danes assume that I'm Danish (despite my lack of blond hair and blue eyes) and proceed to speak to me in very rapid Danish. Even if one had taken a few Danish language lessons, the language is said to be one of the more difficult in Europe, as it is a) spoken extremely quickly and b) the last half of every word is simply chopped off... So even trying to understand that the little old lady in line behind me in the grocery store is asking for the time is a daunting task. Danish lessons can't come soon enough....We apparently start them on September 8th.


So...After months of anticipation we are now in Denmark. Anthony started his orientation week at DTU (Danmarks Tekniske Universitet) last Tuesday. I, on the other hand, only start this Thursday at RUC (Roskilde Universitetscenter). This has allowed me plenty of opportunity to explore the area and well, generally make a fool of myself.