I am in Copenhagen. Scratch that. I am living in Copenhagen. Surreal doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Before I get into the details of life in my new home, let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start, as sung in “The Sound of Music.” (I know I’m not in Salzburg again, but that musical is always quotable.) Roughly 24 hours ago, I was driving through my small town with butterflies in my stomach, confusing ones that felt off, like my excitement was vibrating in opposition to my nerves causing the butterflies to flit about madly. I was ready. I thought I was ready at least, and I wasn’t about to question that belief, for doing so could make me crumble. I needed to ignore the dissonance, as well as the pesky images of my family flashing before my eyes. It was like some cheesy movie playing a golden-tinged montage of my brother hugging me, my dad making some remark using his classic dry humor, and my mom laughing and looking at him adoringly, as she always does. (She thinks she’s being subtle. She’s not.)
Past the town center, children that I used to be toddling along the paths I used to toddle along, watching the train go by from the green, as I used to do. Time moves at lightning speed, too fast for comfort, and there I was, a true adult, readying myself for four months in a foreign country, not to mention my first plane ride flying solo.
This worry was instantly replaced by a sense of calm as I stepped into the airport after hugging my brother and dad goodbye. My mom walked in with me and surprisingly kept the waterworks at bay as she hugged me tightly and requested that she take a departure photo of me in all my adult glory. (A photo I lamentably knew would end up on Facebook before I could check whether or not I looked like a awkward turtle, as my dad would say.)
I only look moderately awkward, so not too terrible.
Once I made it past security, I headed over to the Hudson News shop to purchase some much-needed water and some gum. The friendly cashier said he liked my rose (the cream colored flower in my hair, since I am rarely without one) and asked if that meant I was taken. I was taken…taken aback! I had never heard of flowers in one’s hair relating to their relationship status, but I was intrigued. I figured it was some sort of Hawaiian tradition, which after googling, I found out it was! Apparently, if a woman wears a flower behind her left ear she is taken, but if she wears it behind her right ear, she is essentially single and ready to mingle. The cashier almost got it right, but rather than taken, I was announcing to the world my lack of a boyfriend—and I’m unintentionally “announcing” it nearly every day. (Not that I truly mind.)
Skipping through my slightly delayed flight that consisted of reading, listening to my fantastic playlist https://open.spotify.com/user/ashleybrie/playlist/6xU2qK3EBuVsSMHNS6AvQf, (no modesty here), journaling, and sort-of-sleeping, I arrived in Denmark at around 7:30am. Since I am sometimes directionally challenged—only sometimes—I was relieved to find smiling people in DIS shirts at different checkpoints throughout the airport, there to welcome us and direct us to the proper location. That ended up being the hotel across the street from which we loaded onto busses (mine was Route 1, meaning it was first!) I sat next to Mariah (shocked that I remember her name since I am a chronic name-forgetter), and we chatted until we made it to the center of beautiful Copenhagen, charming even in its areas of less ornate architecture. My SRA and the SRA for the LLC above mine (mine is for creative writing) greeted us and took us to our spacious apartment of brick dressed to impress with green ivy.
I “nested” instantly, my usual explosion of color taking over, maybe too much in some spots, but it makes it feel like home.
The largest source of my apprehension was the people—would they be nice? Would we get along? Would it be awkward? I’ll tell you the answer to all of those million dollar questions. Yes times a million. Yes again. Not at all. Everyone is as friendly as can be, including those in the LLC above mine, with whom we ate lunch at a small sandwich and salad place a few meters away by a quintessential European square.
Post lunch and a lot of chatting, a few of us went exploring and ended up getting stuck in a mob of people watching the pride parade. Stuck usually has a negative connotation, but here it was a blessing in disguise because watching the parade was a blast. Music amped up, extravagant costumes, rainbow wigs, rainbow dresses, rainbow trucks and balloons. Rainbow everything. And everyone was happy, which is always infectious. We were sprinkled with shining confetti—yes, it was rainbow—and danced along to tunes such as the ever-jazzy YMCA.
Once the parade died down, we finally managed to cross the street and make our way to Tivoli Gardens (the place I’d been eagerly waiting to check out because I’m a tad obsessed with amusement parks). I know, I know, that’s so touristy of me, but I couldn’t help myself. Since the kind new friends with me were willing to wait a couple of minutes outside of the gates, I decided to jump the gun and buy a season pass, as I am certain I’ll be visiting Tivoli on multiple occasions, for the garden part, as well as the rides.
After Tivoli, we wandered towards what one of us hoped was the water, and he was right! We ended up at Pebble Lake (I think), which is nonsensically labeled as a lake, when it is clearly a canal. We walked along the boardwalk, enjoyed a waterside breeze, and admired the sights to see, such as kayakers, boaters, and intrepid swimmers, jumping in even in the colder weather. It was incredibly peaceful.
It is now 10:34pm and the celebration of pride has not ceased, raucous chanting and chatter slipping through the windows. We are on a street with bars a plenty, so I expected the noise, but since I have been awake for over 24 hours, I should probably try to get some sleep. To speedily sum up the rest of the day, I will give three main highlights: dinner as an LLC (which we walked to get so that we could figure out more about our surroundings), my awesome roommates (I lucked out big time!), and triumphantly figuring out how to work the shower. (It’s a process that involves button pressing as well as handle twisting.)
Tomorrow is scavenger hunt day, and we are all getting brunch together as an LLC, so many many more adventures to come. This is a dream come true!
*I’m jetlagged, so sorry for any grammatical errors or oddly worded sentences
Other sights of the day: