Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Last night, Mira (Danish roommate) invited me out to a Danish play with some of her Danish friends. Right. So we got there, and it was sold out, which was just as well, as I would have been able to understand roughly 3% of it, anyway.
But it ended up being a REALLY fun night! Mira has been so great, all along of course, but since I got back from Prague, she's invited me out twice with her friends. They've been the most immersive experiences so far, since when I'm in school, I'm with Americans, and my interactions with Danes on a regular basis is pretty much limited to, "May I have a cup of coffee and a pastry?" plus a silent nod or two.
Sunday night, Mira had an extra ticket to a concert at the architectural phenomenon of Amager's Koncert Huset (pronounced like "con-CERT hoozlth"). We saw a French band called Nouvelle Vague, who were pretty good, and it was a great way to spend a Sunday night.
So last night, instead of seeing this play, which was mystifyingly entitled "Texa$," Mira and I and a few of her theater school friends went to a cafe in Vesterbro and played pool and talked and watched as one of the students did fantastic magic tricks (I mean suave-- I couldn't figure them out at all: the best kind). The two questions I got the most were, "Why did you choose Copenhagen for study?" and "What do you miss the most?"
With regards to the second question, when they asked, her friends made sure to exclude "the obvious, friends, family, etc.-- what else?" What else, indeed?
It gets very cold and very dark very early in Copenhagen these days-- as I write this, the sun is halfway set and it's a chilly 40 degrees out already. I miss temperate autumn weather, but to be fair, Ohio and Chicago aren't exactly known for any kind of temperate weather themselves.
And aside from family and friends, what else is there to miss? Do I miss the insane consumerism of America, the disregard for workers rights, the lack of socialized healthcare, our massive homelessness epidemic? To be sure, these things don't exist here.
Copenhagen-- and Prague, for that matter-- offer low-key, intimate nightlife through cafe cultures and jazz bars. Do I miss Oberlin's Cat in the Cream, the one-room former gymnasium where Conservatory students cut their teeth and they serve weak, lukewarm coffee? Do I miss the four block radius my life consists of there? Knowing everyone I pass on the street?
Not yet I don't. I could see how more time here might make me yearn for Oberlin, but so far, so good. I miss the friendliness of the place and its altogether unabashedly off-kilter vibe, but I love being able to walk as far as I can in any direction and find myself somewhere, probably with a cafe in sight.
Is it lonely? Loneliness is only ever as deep as one lets it be. I could walk out of my apartment right now and go see a movie at the Film Center with a hundred other strangers, call a DIS student for a study party, or I could stay here in my warm, hyggeligt ("cozy") room and write postcards and upload photos and read great poetry and make myself dinner. That's a huge night for me. I can't be this self-sufficient at home or at Oberlin, because it's not a necessity. By December, I will be very ready to be taken care of, but for now, it's so good to know for sure I can do it myself.
There's a saying on the internet: "tl;dr." "Too long; didn't read." This post qualifies as one of the kind. Have some fantastic Danish music as recompense: