Wednesday, December 5, 2012

you can eat with him

i was back in copenhagen today observing the immigration attorney providing more free legal assistance.  a one man free legal clinic (at least on the first tuesday and wednesday of the month, but really more often than that).  i like this.  but it's sad there aren't more of him.  

before meeting with him, i met up with my friend, katie, and we walked around, to this christmas market actually, but it was closed... 

and also went into a year-round indoor market for lunch.  i did not eat one of these pigs, but pigs (made of chocolate, marzipan, pastry dough?, etc.) are apparently a big christmas tradition here in denmark.  
christmas pigs

i rode home from the train station and when i could not stop my bike without using my foot to stop myself-- and not because of the ice-- i decided it was time to take my bike to the shop for new brake pads (or whatever it is that i needed).  when the bike shop employee looked at each side of my front and back brakes he said, "this is bad. this is bad. this is bad. and this is bad."  and no kidding, because i was hurting my hands at times, squeezing on the brakes as hard as i could just to slow myself down.  when i asked him how long it would take, he told me i could have the bike back in the morning.  so i left it there, stopped at the grocery store, then walked to william and henry's school to pick them up.  (but before i'd even left their school, i had a text message telling me my bike was ready!  how's that for speedy service?) 

today william got to bring to school a secret item from home, hidden in a bag, to describe to his classmates, so they could guess what it was.  each child has his or her own day to bring something.  afterward, the teacher puts the description up on the wall along with the answer, hidden under a post-it note, for any parents who might want to take a guess, or, more likely, see what their own children had to say.  

william picked a beloved stuffed animal.  i can still remember his grandparents bringing it to him a couple years ago and he asked his grandmother what its name was.  she looked at the tag and said his name was "hal the moose."  and from that point on, he's been hal the moose to william, or just hal.  i put hal in a drawstring christmas bag one of his other grandmother's made, a little worried i would find it buried under snow and sand in the playground when i came to pick them up.  when i got there, william was outside, but hal and the christmas bag were sitting safely in his cubby.  only one side of the drawstring ribbon was accesible, but at least the ribbon was still there.  i looked at the message area to find william's description, written obviously in danish.  the part of the description i was able to understand-- 'he is brown.  he is yellow.  he is very sweet.  you can sleep with him and you can eat with him.'  i'm not sure why, but something about that last bit-- you can eat with him...  it was very endearing. 

and tonight we looked at a book of photos of him and his two best friends from madison.  he asked me to read one of the inscriptions: "we will miss you! here's lots of LOVE for you from your other families..." i looked over at him and he was blinking back tears.  

a sweet little guy...

with a goofy streak... and chuck berry in the background... 



nina said...

That photo of him with Hal says it all.

When I left Poland as a kid (I was seven and it was for six years) I didn't have such close friend attachments. So I didn't miss my pals. The hard part was returning. At thirteen, I was crushed to leave behind what I regarded as my world. And then, when I came back to the States at eighteen, I mourned the loss of my Polish friends deeply, all the time.

These days I tear up every time my younger girl returns to Chicago after a visit. So I'm sympathetic.

Might his American friends ever visit, or is that too remote?

greg|regan said...

Hi Nina,

Yes it does. He has two other really good stuffed animal friends and they've sort of all taken turns being the favorite.

Do you still keep in touch with any of the American friends from the first time around or any of the Polish friends from the last (?) time you left?

I don't know that William's friends would ever visit-- it's so expensive. But, we will surely return to Madison for a visit at some point, so they will see each other again. He skyped with one such friend just the other day!

nina said...

Childhood friends from New York -- that proved to be a tough one. I went to the UN International School so many came from distant corners of the world. Some of us have tracked each other down and we exchanged a few emails but nothing more than that.

Polish high school and university friends -- those are solid. A handful are always ready to party late into the night every time I return. In fact, I'll see them next week.