Christiansborg Palace
     Hej fra Danmark! I've finally taken proper advantage of not having Friday classes and hopped a plane (and then another plane) to Copenhagen, Denmark to visit some friends from Gettysburg College. Is there anything more satisfying than running into the arms of a friend you haven't seen in months in a foreign country? Well, yes, but it still felt really great. I realize that this blog is lacking in pictures so I made it a point to snap some today during my wanderings. Bear with me though, I never owned a camera before and I wasn't about to shell out the money for one now. I've been using my handy-dandy iPhone 4 and the quality is surprisingly good! So, I will be sharing what I've seen so far. I'm here until Sunday and have tons more to see.
     I'm really excited to see the mermaid statue just outside of the city. The Little Mermaid was my favorite movie as a child. I loved the ocean so much that my mom had trouble getting me out of the water before I turned into a prune and even after I would splash around in hopes of making some fishy friends. It wasn't until I read the original story by Hans Christian Andersen (to whom I refer in the title of this post) that my obsession ended and fear of sea foam began. Anyone who knows how the story ends understands what I mean. I plan on taking a good number of pictures of and with the statue so you can't say I didn't warn you. 

  Tonight I'm getting my first glimpse of Danish nightlife, which I'm interested in seeing. I ate my first Danish pastry today- I unfortunately have no idea what it was called and it didn't occur to me to take a picture until after I snapped it down my gullet. I know living in France gives me loads of opportunities to eat many delicious things, particularly pastries, but this was just so good. No, it wasn't a Danish (which are called wienerbrød here) but it had chocolate and possibly almonds.
     Another surprising first, for me at least, was being in a country where I didn't at least know the basics of the language. Growing up speaking Spanish, then learning English and now learning French, I am pretty much set anywhere. I can even navigate Italian without getting too much of a headache but Danish? It's different from any other language I've ever encountered. And I took ancient Latin in high school; I can recite the Our Father in Latin (thanks, Catholic school!) But this Danish stuff I cannot get. Even the three word sentence in the beginning of this post took more time to figure out than I'm willing to admit. It means "Hello from Denmark!" Yeah, it's an interesting looking language. Almost everyone I've encountered speaks English remarkably well though. The education system here must be excellent considering that's where most people pick up the language, in addition to exposure to American pop culture through TV, movies, music, books, etc. I feel a little ashamed that I can't speak French quite as well but, hey, I'll get there. 
     I think the most disconcerting thing that's happened to me since I've been in Europe, let alone Denmark, happened today. I have three more months on this glorious continent so I'm sure something else will happen but let me just share. Waiting for my friends to get out of class (not everyone can be as blessed as to not have Friday classes) I decided to take a lap around the block where I was meeting them. I was literally just walking down the street when someone, in the middle of the otherwise empty road, stopped, looked at me and exclaimed, "Oh! You're American!" 

Part of me hopes these trendy Danes didn't plan this.
    I took great offense to this- I thought I was blending in so well! Before I could even raise an eyebrow, my accuser gave a friendly smile and continued on his way. Literally the only thing I can think of that would single me out is my hair. A lot of the women here have beautiful straight, blonde hair. I have curly, brown hair. That is the only thing I can think of. I was (am) wearing jeans, brown boots and a black trench coat. I didn't even make eye contact with him! Or have my map out! I'll probably be brooding about this for the rest of the weekend. I really thought I was doing a good job not obviating my American-ness. People ask me, in French, for directions in Aix all the time. Only when I open my mouth and stammer out awkward French do people realize that I am not Aixois. I'm stumped. 
     Tonight I explore another part of Copenhagen with some friends- Christiania. It's a rather bohemian borough of Copenhagen and I've only seen the busy center city part, so I'm excited for the change of pace. 
     Right now though I have to go because my friend's host brother is bumpin' some Justin Timberlake and I need to compliment him on his music choice. 



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