Tuesday, April 17, 2012

a tuesday post mostly about monday

i am writing this post early today because i have time now and i might not have it tonight.  also, at some point along the way i became... somewhat of a... procrastinator.  shame.  i should do my danish homework.  but instead, i will just write a little bit about danish class.

so yesterday of course was our first class.  having class at a danish national lab (greg's place of employment) is just a little less arduous than having it at the u.s. embassy.  i must stop in at security, show them an email which states i am enrolled in the class, and receive my guest pass.  then i must stop there on the way out and turn in my guest pass.  and i must do this every time.  i can't keep the guest pass and i can't not bring the email even though they made a photocopy of it.  i wonder if they'll make a photocopy of it every monday and wednesday...

the ride to the lab is mostly against a backdrop of farmland and, here... tall grasses and blue sky...

greg met me by the building and because we had a little bit of time, we met some of his co-workers (two of which are our fellow classmates) in the adjacent cafeteria where i took the opportunity to have a little pastry-- i almost always take the opportunity to have a little pastry when it arises-- which i wisely thought could be converted to energy for the ride back.

in class we were the only amerikaners (as in, OO-S-A).  there were two students from italy.  one from germany. one from poland. one from canada.  greg's co-workers from russia and turkey. a student from china. and a student from spain.  after class a guy from colombia registered and a friend of his, but i did not catch where he was from.  then the teacher, of course, a dane.  we practiced asking one another what our names were, where we came from, and what languages we did and did not speak.

we worked on pronunciation.  the written and the spoken danish might as well be two separate languages.  for example: you are writing an email to your friend and want to tell her that no, you can't do something.  well, you might write: Nej, det kan jeg ikke.  she's reading your email aloud.  she will get to that sentence and say something like: Nye, de-kay-yig.  apparently there has been a long and continuing linguistic evolution of subtracting (consonant sounds) and smooshing (everything together).  i think there's a common joke that if you have a lot of beer, you will be able to speak danish well.

we practiced vowel sounds and i hopelessly attempted to write down the phonetic spelling of the sounds. here is a bit of my efforts:

y = ew

u = oew

o = oo

e = eyh

ae = ay

there may have been more vowels which sounded like ew and ay, but i ran out of spelling variations.

as greg and i were leaving class the teacher asked us why our accents were so good.  "hmmm?" i thought.  "ah, are you asking why our american accents are so good?" i said to her, partly in jest.  no, she really was referring to our danish accents.  perhaps she says this to people she senses might be scared off by the danish language, in hopes they will continue coming to class.  but really, all of those exact same yet different vowel sounds notwithstanding, the class wasn't dispiriting.  it was just exciting to start learning and practicing.

on the way out we met the guy from colombia who said he'd lived in california for three years and that his wife was from california and would be moving here soon.  he seemed hopeful that she and i could hang out, so perhaps a new friend is on her way.

then greg went back to work and i returned my guest pass.  it was a not unusually windy day and on my way home, along a short stretch of the fjord, i had to slow my bike down as it felt like the wind was going to grab hold of the bottom of my tires, lift my bike into the air, and flip it over... a little like that wrestler's embrace, i thought.  but, we remained cordial.

i did not go home.  i pedaled past and went straight to the school to get the littlest guy.  the bigger one was content to stay and have his dad pick him up.  it was something he was looking forward to.  so that's how it was done yesterday.  today i told henry's teachers to call me when he wakes up.  i'm not quite sure if i should put him on a different schedule the three days a week i don't have class, or if i should let him settle into a routine where he learns that after he wakes up from his nap, i will come for him.  given that he's successfully napped there both days he's tried, i decided he could do it again today.  it was a good hour or so of heavy-heartedness as i left him this morning, but, well, it's part of the transition i suppose.

okay, now for homework as i wait for the call.

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