After a long wait…2017 is over…. and I have blogged again. I’ve been having internet problems. Yeah, that’s it. Internet problems for the last several months…..
I was going to post thing last week– in keeping with the year in review theme of the year’s outset– alas, computer problems.
In saying goodbye to 2017, I said goodbye to the very first place I called my home in Denmark and the place I met one of the most important people my Danish life brought me; I said good-bye to my student status and have gotten used to thes fact that #adulting is not just a hashtag. But with these finished chapters and the realisations they bring, I want to look back, not over the last year, but to almost four years ago, to the first four things I learned in my first four Danish weeks:
1. Packing one’s life into a suitcase is easy. How many pairs of socks is good for
forever, you think? How many pairs of underwear—assuming you change them
everyday and never forget? Don’t forget: the one in your hand luggage counts too.
It’s nice to be able to change if you get stuck somewhere overnight, mom said. It’s
nice to be able to change if you’re stuck somewhere. It’s nice if it’s only overnight.
It’s actually easy to pack it all away; boxes and bags hold memories that I decide
will not overwhelm me—they will not show their fangs, their toothy grins, their
green eyes, their tamely gained battle scars. But what to do with all the pieces that
shouldn’t get lost? In the clutter of my desk a favourite necklace sits in three
instead of one. It was a favourite but the last time I wore it was the night I met
him and the night I kissed him (I’m not exactly proud of that timeline) It was a
favourite and after tasting his taste of smoke and beer, and wiping the sleep and
dreamlessness away from my eyes it fell apart. Don’t worry about packing
toothpaste and floss, mom said, they have that over there. Are you sure? Have you
seen their teeth? It’s easy to smile at all the pieces of my life that clutter my desk
and fill spaces under my bed. I throw my mistake(s) into a box with books, old
perfume, and several locks and keys that do not fit together. Probable eternal loose
ends that are easy to push away because they have no place inside the military
precision that is my suitcase
2. The mosquitoes are assholes. Generally (see above for exception) the people are
not. A helping hand is at the ready for those who ask. Those who don’t suffer at
their own peril—which means that I am allowed to just be one of the many mice
furiously navigating the extremely bureaucratic maze. Sometimes a girl waiting for
a train is just waiting for a train. Speaking of trains, did you know that because I
have “reduced physical capabilities I get my transit for half price? Speaking of
half price: beer. Speaking of things that are delicious: strawberries that taste like
sunshine. Speaking of sunshine: there’s been a lot of it, which is weird. Speaking
of things that are weird: there are spiders and flies and wasps everywhere. My feet
are swollen from bites. The mosquitoes are assholes.
3. The best way to confuse a Danish person is to use a Canadian passport as
ID but speak Danish to the person receiving it. Yes, that is a maple leaf. Rødgrød
med fløde? Pretty tasty stuff. Commas go in front of hvad—I need to know, what
your name is. Hvor—and also, where you live. Hvornår—lastly, tell me, when you
came here. Hvordan—I just don’t understand, how you learned to speak so well.
Hvem—oh, thankyou. You want to now, who I am? As it turns out those marks are
optional, but, everybody, does, it. Grammatical peer pressure is alive and well. I
know, that you would like to know, who I am. How nice. If you figure it out by the
answers you jotted down on that piece of paper to be filed away under those 10
personal numbers I get to call all mine, let me know. It’s been a somewhat lengthy
process so some neat formula, x= would be nice.
4. Turns out that utter freedom (within the bars of the dollar $ign) is kind of
terrifying. Now I can pretend that I’m ke$ha and brush my teeth with a bottle of
jack. In theory. but that might actually be really gross. So much is good in theory. I
am plan-less. Plain lost. A bird let out of a cage with its wings oddly clipped.
Quicksand comfort zone, but at least a hyena fighting for its life knows what its
role is. A prisoner knows just how straight and narrow to walk. A wild bird doesn’t
even know not to eat the rice that makes it explode. But at least no one said I had
to land unscathed. Some marks, bumps and bruises are badges. They tell stories
and mark roads. Take the one lined by delicate flowers so that you can surpass
them and take the hard steps. A hard landing just means that your bruises beg you
to tread lightly. Good thing I don’t really tread. I don’t really think, because then I
might wonder better or worse. Safe and sorry. It’s hard enough to move that it’s
impossible to stop but that’s only good. Don’t hold back from handshakes; make
sure you’re firm when you return them. Meet eyes when you clink glasses. Smile
when they smile back. Let those hands, eyes, smiles collect you when you start to
unravel. Don’t worry too much about loose ends and loosing all sense. You’ll pick
more up along the way. Not all necklaces need mending, because then they lose
their charm. Not all kisses lead to happy endings, because some have to be toads.
Not all locks have keys, because how dull would that actually be. But chasing stray
threads as long as you keep your head can lead you down the best of roads.
I know that in the almost four years that have passed since I wrote these words, I have grown much more than I thought I could. The times that have passed have been far from roses and sunshine, but the road has been a good one, despite the rough patches, and as we look down a fresh stretch into a shiny and new year, I hope the best for all of you, my friends.