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My last stop: Copenhagen. The flight from Lisbon was good, TAP air was comfortable; always nice to get a free glass of wine.
I figured out how to take the train out of the city to where I was meeting my Aunt’s friends. I looked so silly trying to get into the small cafe by the station with my big bags, with all the Danes chillin. I hate being such an obvious tourist! I was picked up after a short while, with slight difficulty finding each other, but it worked out, and Soren was super nice. These were people my aunt had known in Evanston. They had a boy my cousin’s age, Jonas, as well as a 7 year old girl, Maya. Soren welcomed me into their little country home and we chatted for a bit and prepared the potatoes while we waited for kamille to get home. (When he said we had to get the potatoes ready, I totally misunderstood him and thought we had to go get them from the backyard like dig them up. I have no idea why I thought this, but I did. Turns out he just meant take the potatoes from the bag and put them in the bowl.) I took a shower and then kamille got home and we had dinner. She was excited because it was a recipe she got from a chef who presented at the primary school where she teaches. It was really good, even though we had to wait for the potatoes to be done because they were in the wrong oven at first. … they have two smaller ovens right on top of each other. We chatted for a bit about politics and my travels and my family, and the differences bw Chicago and Copenhagen.
I was sleeping in Maya’s bed on a lofted top bunk, so it felt a little like a hostel, funnily enough. Maya was so sweet and gave me a hug right away. Jonas reminded me so much of Matt, just a Danish version.
I planned to go with kamille in the morning to her school and then go into the city with her 6th grade class because they were going on a field trip to the natural history museum. I had breakfast of oats and yogurt and fruit as the kids had their oats and milk and raisins, typical for Denmark. Kamille made me a to-go lunch with a sandwich of their special dark Danish rye bread :). I rode with kamille through the dark morning and we went through the wet countryside to school. It was pretty flat so it wasn’t that difficult and it wasn’t that far. We got there and took off our shoes, because everybody walks around in their socks or slippers, and went to the morning assembly. We sang some songs from a hymn book and there were a few announcements from random kids, it was adorable. (“I lost my shoes”, “please take care of the books”, etc). We filed out and went to various classrooms, passing by lovely artwork that kamille explained was part of a new art teacher’s curriculum that varied medias and subjects. The school is not a public school, but more independent and is just as interested in teaching how to be a good person as they educate.
The kids were shy to talk to me, naturally, but it was fun to be around them. Kamille explained that they use ‘fuck’ a lot more casually, it’s like darn, so it’s normal for the kids to say it. That was funny to be around. We took the train into the city and then went our separate ways. I wandered up the round tower and around the city and canals up to the little mermaid and back, (the most tourists in one area). I took a cheap canal tour and then wandered around some more. I walked to the other side of the canal to Christiana (but I found out later I walked right by the free town and didn’t realize it, confused about why it looked normal). I got up to the area where I was meeting kamille and fam; a huge warehouse of different street foods. It was really cool. We met up and we all got something different; I enjoyed a pulled duck burger, and I got some good ipas for me and Soren.
We stopped at the grocery store and I carried Maya around and we taught each other new food vocabulary in English and Danish. We drove home and chilled out, chatting some more before we headed to bed. The bunk was a little small, but it was okay and I thought Maya so sweet for giving up her bed.
We had breakfast in the morning and packed my bags to go into Copenhagen and stay with some of their friends who had a spare bed close to downtown. We toured the super old town of Roskilde with their old church and Viking ships. We played on the playground for a little bit, too, all four of us jumping around playing tag. I said goodbye to them at the station and it took me awhile to buy a ticket, and then I had to ask a lady about which train to take, but finally made it. I found their system quite confusing and expensive. But at least everyone’s nice and I had another girl offer to help me once I got downtown, and then more people offered to help once I got into the neighborhood. I finally found the house and got acquainted with Laust. He let me use their bike and I was so excited to ride around. I rode through the Christiana Freetown this time and immediately understood that I had just missed it the day before, and was like ohhh ok. It’s like a little hippie set up with shacks and tents and simple houses. It was crawling with tourists but it was cool. I felt a bit alone and wished I had a friend to experience this weird little neighborhood with. I was too weirded out to try to smoke anything tho, and just had a beer and a burger and called my sister. She had called me earlier and was a little bit upset about her life in Africa, that it was really hard work and such. I consoled her and we bonded about being away from home and doing new and crazy things. I watched the sunset and then rode around downtown through the Christmas lighted pedestrian streets and found a brewery and had a beer. I rode by and into the hostel I considered staying at, because it’s also a bar, but I didn’t see any good beer so I stood outside for a minute while the rain stopped. I was feeling good about not spending money on accommodation and being over the hostel life a bit. It’s fun, but sometimes you have the same conversations, and I was detaching myself already, with the thought of going home more on my mind, and wanting more to share my trip with friends rather than more strangers. Some English boys from Birmingham were getting really stoned before their flight and we were chatting briefly so they gave me the rest of their stash and tobacco. Talk about right place right time. I was just feeling a little lonely, was out of tobacco, and was just around weed but couldn’t get any, and then got gifted with this?! Whoa. I decided to ride back kinda early so as not to be rude to my hosts by coming in too late. I got paranoid and lost on my way back, but I finally found it and Laust offered me some soup and bread and glogg as we chatted about things. We talked very easily and it was fun. I went to bed nice and stoned and happy, feeling lucky as usual.
The feeling lucky part kept going, with some yummy bread and coffee to start the day, and then I just biked around. I rode around in circles at first, but finally got out of the neighborhood and went through Christiana again to the other side of the canal with the Christmas market and got some glogg. Two people asked me questions as if I was Danish. I watched the changing of the guards just by happenstance, rode around their manmade looking lakes, and up to the huge garden. I got lost some more and stopped in somewhere to have a beer.
It got dark so quickly! I was supposed to do things today, like climb up a tower, but it was closed due to high winds, and go to a museum, but I never found wifi to find it. I looked at my map for awhile so I could get back to my host more easily. I figured out how to get back into a recognized location. Copenhagen is a lot smaller than Chicago so it wasn’t that big of a deal to be lost. And I felt right at home, riding around, but at least they have proper bike lanes and signaling and everyone respects that there are bikes. On the flip side, I got yelled at like twice for riding somewhere I shouldn’t, so it’s nice that there’s a community of bikers, but with a big population comes more rules and expectations to follow them…
I picked up some beer for my hosts and I and wandered back. Found it much easier this time after being so confused the night before. Laust’s wife was home and made me some soup and I told her my story. She was so supportive and so sweet to talk to. We chatted about the schools in Denmark, teaching, and learning languages and how important it is to learn a language in order to truly understand the meaning of some words and phrases. She was even cooler than Laust and we shared a rosemary ipa and it was really nice to unwind from the weekend and my trip that way.
This weekend has been a nice transition to thinking about being home though. I’m ready to go home because I’m sick of these clothes, living out of a suitcase, and not having a proper space of my own to like, walk around naked if I want to. So I’m looking forward to getting home and back to my room and my stuff.
I’ve also been without coconut oil for way too long.
And I’m excited to see my friends and get back to work to make some money. I also wrote a list today of things I want to do soon/in the future and feel motivated to get working on it. I want to learn Spanish and German, plan a trip to New Orleans, research grad schools, plan a biking beer tour to give this spring to tourists around Chicago, among a bunch of other things. I could keep traveling, sure, but I need to recharge; nurture my relationships at home, write to those abroad, and enjoy being back in a routine of working out, going to work, grocery shopping, and lounging around my apartment. And going out and about Chicago, enjoying MY city again. SWEET HOME CHICAGO HERE I COME.