Friday, December 25, 2009

Almost a week and merry Christmas!

Well, a week ago this time I was keeping myself awake all night to catch the 5:45am train out of Copenhagen to the airport on Saturday morning. After a bitter and miserable 21 hours of travel, I arrived at the international terminal of O'Hare to my wonderful parents and sister holding a Welcome Home sign (aww).

Since then, I've basically been hibernating.

I cut off all my hair (almost).

Saw some mediocre improv on Christmas Eve Eve with lovely old friends.

Caught a cold and slept for three days.

And woke up Christmas morning to basically everything I wanted. (Two books of poetry, the novel People of Paper, cute dresses, chocolate, House Season 5 on DVD, and an email that I got into a Creative Writing workshop at Oberlin for the spring-- one I'd been applying to and rejected from for two years-- AND into a single room in my old dorm. WIN.) The year is ending on a high note. I feel pretty lucky, as always.

Haven't missed Copenhagen too much, at least not consciously, but the last few nights have found myself dreaming about it. It's like my brain's way of getting used to the familiarity of home, to dream about the old. The glamorous, sparkling four months I spent away.

Friday, December 18, 2009

50th post!

This will probably be my last blog entry, since I'm leaving for the airport in approximately 8 hours and, hopefully, after 18 hours of travel, will be back in my homeland safe and sound. If I can avoid delays, storms, strikes, and swine flus, this will have been a completely successful journey.

I can't believe I'm leaving Denmark, though! As I remarked to my mother via the wonders of Skype, I was looking forward to going home so much the past couple of weeks that I kind of forgot it also meant I was leaving this beautiful city behind. I can be short-sighted like that.

Which is absolutely not to say that I wasted my time here or took my last days for granted! Quite the opposite. I enjoyed my last Danish today (the pastry) with the requisite gusto and went to all the DIS-sponsored goodbye events. (A blog award was given, which I did not win. It probably wasn't even close. You can read the winner's blog here: if you're interested in how "Christmassy" Copenhagen is right now.)

Saying goodbye to the group of friends I'd made was hard, especially because I have difficulty letting go and always assume everyone will stay in contact until that assumption is proven horribly wrong, usually with accompanying bouts of sadness and regret. What can I say? It's how I roll. Knowing this doesn't really enable me to prevent it, but I think it helps to say your goodbyes well, a talent I have yet to master but at which I get better every time. This is probably a life skill in development.

Tonight is all about throwing away the detritus of my life and trying to cram every material evidence of the last four months into two suitcases, a messenger bag, and a camera case. I'm bringing loads of Danish food and a few souvenirs home, too. I could spend all night and all eighteen hours of travel tomorrow imagining the happy reunions waiting for me at the end of the day Saturday. For now, though, I ought to finish packing and cleaning.

Tak for reading!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It was a good week, all around. A little too much work, a few too many finals, but altogether a nice week. A good last week.

On Tuesday night, I went to the free Gogol Bordello concert out in the middle of the town hall square (Radhuspladsen). There are already a bunch of videos from the evening on the internet. Here's a good one, if you're interested:

Yes, Copenhagen has been "Hopenhagen" for going on ten or eleven days now, due to COP15 optimism.

I had finals on Monday and Wednesday, and on Wednesday night was double-booked: a movie night with friends in Osterbro (East Bridge Borough) and a viewing of the BBC's "Bleak House" with my Literary London class out in the suburb of Gentofte.

At some point in the evening, it started snowing, hard, and by the time I arrived in the unfamiliar Hellerup, the buses had stopped running and the beautiful, big houses were covered. My teacher suggested I take a cab, which of course I tried to avoid doing, but ultimately had no choice other than to hail one. The driver spoke Danish and English but was pretty clearly not a native. He asked me where I was from first. "The States, actually," I said, which for some reason is the way I've been responding to that question recently, as though it ought to surprise everyone. He replied, when I asked, that he was from Afghanistan. I quickly and awkwardly apologized for the EIGHT YEAR WAR our country has needlessly, illegally waged there. He shrugged. "Everywhere. You know. It is messed up everywhere. I lost my family in the Soviet regime there. Then the Taliban. The whole world. Now the world is different. Still all problems."

Today, I've been packing and finishing up little bits of work yet to do. I met a friend who's here for the KlimaForum (alternative conference) from Uppsala, Sweden, but who normally goes to Oberlin with me back in The Old Country. Went to choir rehearsal, where we practiced "Don't Stop Believin'"-- which we're singing at the DIS closing ceremony tomorrow. What is there left to say? I can't think of much at the moment. Everything is going by in a very fast blur.

Let's have the Weepies say what I can't.

Left behind everything I knew
All the colors but bone-white and sky-blue
Hit the continent running

Engines were humming just to break through

Antarctica, my only living relative
Antarctica, I can't wait anymore
I can't wait anymore

And then there's morning
Each one feels like the first one
Ah, morning, so clean, so pure
Nothing so clear, now that I'm here

When I get back to the city
Everything's cluttered and pretty
I won't regret my return
I'll just remember the wind and the snow

And the howling so loud
That it alone drowns out the inside of me

Antarctica, my only living relative
Antarctica, I can't wait anymore
I can't wait anymore
I can't wait anymore

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I went to the COP15 global demonstration on Saturday. It was a little intense. I was very close to being arrested, due only to my proximity to a group of rowdy (but, in my firsthand experience, completely nonviolent) anarchists. I heard later that perhaps one of them had tossed a rock through a window, but in all honesty, it was an extremely peaceful walk from Christianborg to the Bella Center until seven or eight police vans drove up with dogs and riot gear and sectioned off a huge number of protesters right behind my friend Caitlin and I. As a fairly seasoned protester, I was a little disturbed by the number of callous people (none of whom were Danish) who showed a remarkable disrespect to the streets of Copenhagen and Danish law, which in my experience heretofore had been an extremely non-invasive presence. In all honesty, I think the Danish police were terrified and caught a bit off guard by the vastness of the protest.

I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I'm making five playlists for next weekend: "Leaving Copenhagen in the Morning," Take Off," "In Flight," "Landing," "Going Home."

Here are some songs from each:

(Something to Sing About - the Buffy musical)

(Transatlantique - Beirut)

(Move On - Sunday in the Park With George)

(Cathedrals - Jump Little Children)

(Leaves That Are Green - Simon & Garfunkel)

(Chasing Pavements - Adele)

(The Book of Love - Peter Gabriel)

(Auld Lang Syne - The "When Harry Met Sally" version gets me)

(Chicago - Sufjan Stevens)

(Canadian Railroad Trilogy - Gordon Lightfoot)

(Both Sides Now - Judy Collins)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I had to watch "The Hours" today for a film class. One of the most resonant parts was when the Meryl Streep-Mrs. Dalloway character recalled her past and realized, aloud, that the feeling of possibility, of being on the verge or at the beginning of something, was happiness. She had thought, at 18, that she was at the start of happiness, and the rest of life would follow through. Instead, that was the happiest she'd ever been.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

let's do this in a list

Currently listening to: "Postcards from Italy" - Beirut

Currrently planning:  My first week back home
[first night - reunions, Hanukkah, hopefully "A Muppets Christmas Carol"
Dec. 23 - iO with high school friends and sister
Dec. 26 - "Sherlock Holmes" with Jude Law and RDJ comes out
...and so it goes]

and Winter Term 2010 - I'm interning with the Strange Trees (theater company), donating art and journals to my friend Christina's junior art exhibition, and hopefully taking my driver's test for the first time...

Currently avoiding: my actual, legitimate DIS work
[three serious papers, two field trips, many films to catch up on, tests like crazy]

Currently recuperating from: the DIS Julefrokost (Christmas lunch) and a fabulously frenetic weekend with my friend Christina, who visited Thursday-Sunday

Currently waiting for: my pictures from the Sherlock Holmes Museum in London to be developed

Things to do tomorrow: send out last round of postcards and packages

Days left in Denmark: 12