Saturday, March 3, 2012

the fjord and beyond...

it's been a beautiful couple of days here in denmark, defying my, apparently mistaken belief that if it starts out clear and sunny in the morning, it will end cloudy and drizzling, or, if the day begins on a gray note, you have only to give it a few hours before the sun decides to come out and clear things up. the last two days have been consistently sunny, if not warm... because the one constant in this country seems to be the wind. and in early march, it's a cold wind. we went on our first bike ride today and the wind was so cold it made my forehead hurt. i can only imagine how my ears would have been aching had i not worn ear mufflers under my helmet.

yesterday afternoon, after i'd finally convinced william to give up on his indoor toys and come adventuring outside, we walked (both boys in burley) down our street, østre (east) kirkevej, in a northwesterly direction onto vestre (west) kirkevej, a steep downhill walk in that direction, which deposited us directly to a beach on the roskilde fjord, which leads, eventually, to the North Sea. as we neared the beach, along which i thought we'd continue upon our walk, william was already getting out of the burley before i knew to stop. he was excited and ambitious. climbing down the large rocks toward the sand carefully, because he is a careful child despite his ambitions, he was exclaiming about how wasn't it so great that we found a beach? and picking up sand and taking it and throwing it into the fjord. then shells, but collecting those and exclaiming, aren't they so beautiful, mama? and going back and putting them in the burley for us to take home. and then looking at tiny dead fish along the beach and saying something about how a person could put them in his pocket and take them home for dinner. and then throwing rocks into the water and asking me to tell him the distance that each rock had been thrown. and me, holding henry's hand while he stumbled along in the sand, and walked up to the water and put his free hand in and exclaimed busily in his own language about this exciting adventure we were on.

and when we'd had a good amount of fresh air we walked back (up this time) vestre kirkevej toward home, because we had our very first dinner plans scheduled for six o'clock that evening. and on our way greg rode up on his bike behind us, riding home from his second official day at work. (this week being so confusing, him starting on a thursday, that i mislabeled my last post, thinking wednesday was sunday and thursday was monday.) and we all went home together, three of us smelling distinctly of a beach with a small tide, to get cleaned up and looking our least scruffiest, to meet the friend of our landlord who had eagerly agreed to be a resource for us and to show us that danes really are friendly and, in addition, pleased to meet new people (my landlord's words, not mine). as we walked the few blocks to her house, i lamented at how scruffy we still looked, despite our best attempts not to. it's just that danes are so fashionable in general and we are not. it makes the gap feel wider when it really matters. but of course, it didn't matter too much. her husband was in jeans and a t-shirt, and not even the expensive looking designer jeans men are wearing here. and they were so welcoming and brought out every single one of the legos their children had ever used for william to play with, and there were many-- so many that when henry, as his character would naturally dictate, walked all over the top of them, fell in, jon (pronounced yon-- the husband in blue jeans) remarked that it was like a lego bath.

it was so, so, so nice to be able to sit down and have a relaxed conversation with people who were so, so, so nice and easy to get along with, that in the bathroom getting ready for bed that night, i said to myself in the mirror, can't we be friends with them, oh can't we? i think i'm feeling a bit like william-- craving company.

as you're reading this, you may be wondering what a danish family feeds a family who has recently arrived in denmark. well, we were wondering that very same thing on our walk over. what will they feed us? what do the danish eat? probably seafood-- my guess. maybe nothing-- food is so expensive. greg guessed that maybe they'd serve us bacon cheeseburgers and french fries to make us feel at home. and as we parked the burley in the front of their house, william perked up his nose and said, "i smell bacon." and you will never guess what they served us.

jon said later they could have served us a traditional danish meal, but if they did, they wouldn't have wanted to eat it either. perhaps my quest to find out what the danes eat is going to lead me right to america. hmmm.

this morning, greg and william woke up early to meet jon and persille (the wife) and their two kids and a whole group of others at the church next door to go for a 5 kilometer run. this is an informal ritual done every saturday. there is a 5k group and a 10k group. greg ran with william in the burley. william suggested he and greg do it again tomorrow, and so they will. after greg returned, i left with one of greg's co-workers and his wife, who'd come to pick me up to take me on their weekly grocery-shopping ritual. first to the aldi, then to the fotex, then to the roskilde bazaar, or the turkish grocery store, as they referred to it. once again, such easy conversation and enjoyable company. they are not danish, but russian, but have lived here for nearly a decade, after having lived in germany and oregon. i spent plenty of money stocking up on things, but in the end, it wasn't much more than we'd have spent at a large trip to our co-op back at home. though the fare i purchased was different.

after i got home, we packed up the guys and went on that first bike ride i mentioned. henry was fussy about wearing a helmet, so eventually we took it off him. is this equivalent to putting a one year old in a car face forward in a booster seat with only a seat belt to keep him from sliding completely out onto the floor of the backseat? i'm not sure, but it seemed safe enough. we rode over to trekroner where most of the co-housing is located in this area. it would be an idyllic area to live. the houses are uniform and modern looking. okay. but there are long-haired, horned cows lazing about, and sheep in fields, with baby lambs (i cannot believe i contemplated buying lamb at the halal butcher at the bazaar. did i forget that a lamb is a cute baby sheep???!!!) bike paths, instead of roads. kids out playing everywhere. friendly adults who do not just give you an obligatory nod if they do look at you, but actually smile and say hi (hej). i want to live there. maybe we will, but there is always a waiting list for the co-housing neighborhoods, so our chances of getting a spot at the time we need a house seem slim. the prospect of searching for a new home and moving again seems like too much trouble right now. at least we have a few months before we must do it. this is still just the beginning, so much adjusting still to be made. and i am still finding myself bewildered and amazed that we are living in another country. i'll just be going along, doing whatever it is, and suddenly think, what am i doing here?? this is so strange. that i should be living here and not there. that we thought this was a good idea-- it is just so impractical! but at the same time i'm thinking that, i'm not really believing it. well, i believe that it is impractical for sure, but it was a good idea. i'm feeling incredibly thankful and lucky that i could have this opportunity, but a hundred times more, i'm so thankful that william and henry could have this opportunity. it makes me want to move to sweden after this (a remote (or not?) possibility with greg's job), and after that to anywhere else where they can learn another language and another culture. they won't be like me. from an early age, they will be worldly. that is a satisfying thought.

the guys and me. i didn't have any pictures of the fjord or the lego bath or anything, unfortunately.

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