Today marks the tenth day that I’m living in Denmark. And to celebrate, I thought I’d finally start this blog that I’ve been thinking of creating. I hope you guys enjoy reading it and can get a feel for the many adventures that, I’m certain, are to come.
And to start on the right foot, I thought I’d post ten things about Denmark. Things I’ve felt, seen, heard and experienced these first 10 days.
1. The city – Aarhus
Before arriving here, I had definitely been pronouncing the name of the city incorrectly, and had only realized it when I spoke to someone at the airport in Billund, the neighbor city where I had arrived, if Aarhus was close by. No one had a clue as to which city I was referring to, and they only understood me when I showed them a piece of paper with the name of the city written on it. I pronounced the aa (also written as å) like the first a in amazing. Silly me, because it’s actually pronounced like the awe in awesome. Well, now I know, I’m living in “Awe-whose”.
Oh, and I managed to get the answer, “Awe-whose” is a little over an hour away from Billund.
2. The beach
Those that know me know that I absolutely love the beach. So, when I found out that I would be living just a short walk from the ocean, I was ecstatic. Needless to say, the first opportunity I had I went to check it out. The view is incredible and the water is a jaw dropping blue. Since it has been extremely cold in these parts, I have not dared to touch the water to check the temperature, but I’m sure it’s freezing.
3. The wind
Since we are basically on an island, with no mountains and right next to the ocean, the wind here is, well, insane. It’s like an independent being, you can constantly hear it, rustling up the trees and feel it running across your face. It seems to drop the temperature about 5 degrees and it’s incredibly strong. I keep thinking it’s going to blow me away, but so far I’ve managed to stay grounded. My hair, on the other hand, has really taken a beating, I’ve never had so many knots in it before this.
4. The leaves
I guess because of the wind, there are leaves on the ground absolutely everywhere you go. The ones that manage to hold onto the branches are a beautiful orange-yellow. It makes for beautiful scenery.
5. The language
I haven’t started taking Danish classes just yet (I’ll start next Tuesday,) so I’m having quite a bit of trouble communicating with strangers. When I pick the kids up from school I greet the teachers (hi in Danish is written as hej, but it’s pronounced the same) and that’s about it. The rest of the time I’ve either spoken to people in English or just smiled, nodded and pretended I knew what they were saying as they made some remark in Danish. I’m not sure I fooled anyone though, they probably thought I was just crazy and happy (because of the smiling, you know?)
6. The alphabet
Apart from the obvious language barrier, there is also the alphabet. In addition to the 26 letters in the Roman alphabet, the Danish alphabet has an extra three letters: Æ Ø and Å. I’m not yet familiar with their sounds, only with the last one, remember? Århus (or “Awe-whose.”)
7. The bicycles
Here in Aarhus, bicycles are very popular, with virtually every age and it seems any weather. I haven’t yet mustered up the courage to ride a bike anywhere, but I’m just waiting for the weather to warm up a bit. At the kid’s school and downtown I noticed that many people use it as a means of transportation, it’s not just for a leisurely ride around the block. There’s even a traffic light for bicycles, can you believe it? But, more on that in a later post.
8. The heaters
Now, I’ve mentioned the wind and how cold it is here, but inside the houses, stores, even the bus, there is heating. Lifesaving, magnificent heating. The only trouble I’ve had with it is regulating the heater in my room. The first few nights it was either too hot or too cold and I would wake up in a sweat or looking for a sweater and a pair of socks. But, now I can get it just right and finally get a full night’s sleep.
9. The landscape
Now, I don’t know about all of Denmark, but Aarhus has a gorgeous landscape. I mean, everywhere I look, I’m in awe. Whether it is the ocean, the green fields, the skyline. Everything is just beautiful.
10. The people
Maybe it’s an Europe thing, maybe it’s a Denmark thing, or maybe it’s an Aarhus thing. But the impression that I’ve had is that the people here are much more carefree, happy, and, well, beautiful and stylish. Seriously, I feel like I should dress up just to take a walk outside. And they are incredibly friendly, often smiling as they walk, bike or drive to their destinations.
It looks as if Denmark will be an unforgetable experience. This is only the beginning.