Tuesday, February 21, 2012


today (tuesday), greg had his 2nd unofficial half-day of work. william was up before 11 a.m., just as henry was going down for his morning nap. so before william woke up and henry went down, henry and i had some familiar time to ourselves in the morning. we listened to danish radio for awhile until i felt good enough about our danish immersion for the day and switched over to the computer for some BBC. i have been streaming wisconsin public radio and in the morning here, which is overnight in wisconsin, it's the BBC, which has always given me a sort of lonely feeling up until this week, because whenever i've heard it previously it's meant that i'm up when i should be asleep. the middle-of-the-night darkness with the lone british voice coming over the radio has been just too despairing. but now, hearing it for the last couple of days in the morning, i'm really enjoying it (especially "outlook"). i also thought i would feel sort of lonesome knowing that everyone i know is asleep while i'm starting the day, but that knowledge has been fun these past few days. it's like i've got a jumpstart on everyone! and, because we have no phone right now, and knowing that the danes would probably be the last people on earth to knock on my door for any reason, it's like this wonderful down time. i have responsibilities of course to william and henry, but... until we become a mite more integrated in this new land, no one is really expecting anything of me in the morning. it's freeing! i sometimes pick out the sound of my cell phone vibrating from other white noise in the house and glance around at it for a split second before remembering that no one is calling me. i'm sure i'll be weeping over that fact in next week's post, but this week, it is so very nice. which is not to say you shouldn't skype us after you wake up and i've had my little morning reprieve. we like to skype and i am not a total hermit.

after greg got home we quick got the guys ready and set off for the borgerservice-- as far as i can tell, sort of like the DMV. it was a couple of miles away, by the big roskilde domkirke (cathedral). (i write these danish words not because i know them so well and happen to slip into danish, but because i hope that by writing them i'll commit them to memory. i had to look up "big roskilde church" to get domkirke and ask greg where it was again that we went today to get borgerservice.)

anywho, we embarked on this walk along the fjord. that was nice.

look 'roskilde' up on google maps and you will see that we are on a fjord that eventually empties out into the north sea. there are big, fancy houses along it, which made me realize that not everyone in denmark lives in a small, quaint house. the space-saving mechanisms are pretty miraculous here such that having a large house seems way overdoing it. but i guess that's sort of the way in the u.s. too. not the space-saving but the space.

so we had to go to the borgerservice today so that we would officially exist in denmark. we will get a "cpr number" (analogous to a SSN?) and a yellow-colored health care card with our doctor's name on it. we got to pick between a male or a female family doctor (we chose the latter) and i suppose we will all have that same doctor. we will have to pay for our prescriptions so we are not allowed to get any illnesses requiring medicine and we can pick any dentist we want out of the phone book-- and pay for that service out of pocket-- so no cavities allowed either. that is a brief outline of how the health care system works in denmark. until we have our cpr numbers we cannot open a bank account, and until we open a bank account we cannot pick up our pallet's-worth of items we shipped over here, which, i believe, arrives tomorrow. the earliest we'll get our cpr numbers are on friday. our shipment comes into cophenhagen and greg's lab will arrange for it to get to our door, however we must be there in person to get it cleared through customs, so we will likely be making a trip to copenhagen early next week. that will be an adventure. bigger than the grocery store.

after the borgerservice we headed to the pedestrian street which is full of fancy shops. we stopped into a pastry shop and got some fancy looking pastries. they were good, but hard to describe. nothing bready about them and not really chocolaty, but looking chocolate-like. i think mostly sugar paste wrapped in a sugar coating. we ate them outside while henry, who'd been strapped in the ergo thus far, walked around. despite #5 from the important cultural article i read before coming here, henry got a number of smiles and even had two people stop to talk to him. we then went to the toy store to buy william and henry a couple of toys. greg had really been wanting to do this since the guys don't have many toys here right now and did give up at least half of the toys they owned back home. apparently on william's last day of school he told his class that his parents gave away all his toys. so today he got a small star wars lego kit and a playmobil guy with a cannon. henry got a huge tractor trailer that doubles as a toolbox and work bench, complete with tools. once again, greg strapped the loot to his backpack and i strapped henry to my back and we walked the two+ miles home.
to make the new toys doubly fun we ventured up the spiral stairs-- something that had been virtually off-limits since our arrival to dissuade henry from sure injury. upstairs is just my cup of tea. i will take a picture of it at some point and show you. it's a big loft area with a couple of scandinavian couches and chairs and plenty of skylights. i would like to spend more time up there, but the staircase is just too treacherous and henry too much of a danger mouse that i'm sure i will not ever find myself relaxing up there. nonetheless, william has embraced it as his own. after playing up there tonight, he told me that he never wants to leave this house because it is so neat. i sort of feel the same way.
dinner was brown rice and green lentils mixed with sauteed kale and a can of diced tomatoes, topped with sliced hard-boiled egg, carmelized onion, and greek yogurt (pretty much the way yogurt comes at the "super best" grocery store down the street). it was delicious! a combination of a couple of deborah madison, vegetarian cooking for everyone recipes. i think we are mainly going to be vegetarians here-- at least assuming greg's boss does not continue to buy us lox and spanish meats. the food is just so expensive, meat being no exception. an organic chicken was something like $30-- probably what it should cost, and a non-organic was about $15.
and now it's 11:35 and william is still awake. we tried and he could not fall asleep so we let him stay up. a mistake, but i'm determined that tomorrow i will get him up early and he will adapt to his new time zone.
for now-- a couple more pictures and goodnight--

greg and william by the domkirke

henry and me by it too. henry is sleeping.

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