Sunday, August 28, 2011

Oh, Denmark!

We went on a big walk today as a family. Sometimes, long rambling walks make the very best days. We stopped for brunch at the Laundromat Cafe where we met some other Americans, walked by the cruise ships, took Riley to his new favorite playground and saw a BMX bike stunt competition. A very successful day in Copenhagen. We only got rained on briefly twice and otherwise enjoyed nice weather. (Imagine!) On our walk we came across a bookstore which had a hilarious sign that you would not see in the US. As best I could tell, this was a normal used bookstore. I do not know why this is the sign they chose... but here it is (see right). 
The bookstore sign and all of it's busty glory reminded me of a restaurant experience we had earlier this summer when Riley looked up at the ceiling at a restaurant during a meal and began saying "Mom, mom mom mom". I was very excited until I looked up a the ceiling and saw what he was referring to as mom. A topless mermaid. Embarrassing! (see left) Denmark does love its topless women. Beaches are top optional all over the country - boobs just aren't taboo at all. 

Also less taboo are things like English bad words and rude gestures. See the Party Now, Apologize Later billboard for a lovely middle finger display. Also interesting about this sign is the roll of American cash as if all we Americans do is carry big wads of money, wear gold bling, drink and flip people off. Hmm.  I am not entirely sure what they are selling here, but I know I don't want my kid seeing imagery like that and thinking it's cool. 
Along those lines, Riley and I have been rocking out to the radio in the mornings. We have a radio in our bedroom and Riley seems to think it is a magical box. The pop station has mostly English language songs and most of them are American, so often I know the songs and Riley and I dance to them while I am getting ready in the morning. A couple weeks ago a song came on with a woman talking and she says something like "When I went to Spain and I saw the people party, I looked at my friend and said, What the fuck?" Then, "What the fuck" repeats many times like a record is skipping. When I heard this broadcast on the radio in the middle of the day, I thought, "What the fuck??!!!" and promptly turned the radio off. Since then I have heard this song at a shopping mall and in the grocery store. Awesome. I hope Riley doesn't notice.
Moving on to random misappropriations of English. The word for lunch in Danish is Frokost. Danes also love brunch (which is something I love about Danes). I recently saw this sign on a downtown restaurant and had to laugh. I think that whoever wrote it didn't realize that Brunch is already a combination of Breakfast and Lunch. Now they have come up with Frunch which is a combo of Lunch (Frokost) and Brunch - which really makes this meal ... this Frunch, two parts lunch and only one part breakfast right?

                                                                                                                                                                  And finally, from a mall food court where we went to seek shelter from another rainy day in Denmark. The coffee shop is called Kong and the quick place to grab pre-made food is Kong Venience. Oy.

Summer - Was it ever here?

It is nearly September and I am pretty sure I missed summer all together. We had a few hot days. In fact, I remember two days when I came home in the afternoon with Riley and put him in a onsie and we both sat by the windows trying to get a breeze. On these two days I wondered why Copenhagen didn't have air conditioning anywhere. But I do not wonder that now as I sit in my apartment shivering in long pants and a longsleeved shirt.

When we moved here in January after our seven hour flight with our seven month old and two dogs, we emerged to go through customs. The Danish customs agent asked why we were in the country and Neil and I both proudly said "We're moving here" practically in unison. The customs agent scoffed, "You're moving here?" he said. "Well, I hope you like our two winters. We have a white winter and a green winter. Most people prefer the white winter because that is when we turn the heat on in our homes and get comfortable."

At the time, I was deliriously tired and didn't really get what he was saying. I was more hung up on why he wouldn't be nicer to people moving to his country than I was on what he was trying to tell us. But now I get it. We did have gloriously long and sunny days which are getting shorter and shorter. And it was beautiful and green all over the city, but brrrrr.

We had all kinds of wonderful visitors this summer including our friend Lia, my parents, our friends Jeff and Shannon, my Aunt and her friend, and my cousin Lisa. (I hope I am not forgetting anyone.) We also went on a fantastic trip to the Baltics (Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania). Many blog-worthy things happened, but I didn't get around to blogging about many of them. Hopefully fall and the white winter that's coming up will provide me with a bit more time for introspection. Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pippi Longstocking

As some of your may know, I am prone to wearing my hair in two braids a la Heidi or many 10-year-old girls. I realize the style doesn't lend itself to a great deal of sophistication, but I have never been too concerned with making other people believe I am sophisticated based on my appearance. My hair braids easily and when it's humid or windy, two braids are preferable to a head of frizz. So, I have been parading around as a little girl quite a bit this summer.

Recently, Riley and I went to the zoo with some friends. When we arrived, the babies were hungry for lunch so we sat at a cafe on the outdoor patio. When we sat down and parked the strollers, a little girl at the table next to us got very excited and began yammering to her mom in Danish. I thought it was cute that she was so thrilled to be sitting by two babies and moved on with getting settled and giving the boys snacks while my friend Daniella went in to get food. The little girl kept up her frantic chatter and finally her mom looked at me and apologized.

"I'm very sorry," she said. "It's just that she thinks you are Pipi Longstocking."

I looked down and saw now that the little girl was looking at me and my two braids with complete wonder and awe.

"Oh my goodness, I said. That is so funny. I guess not many grown women wear their hair in two braids."

The little girl's mom of course agreed that not many grown women do choose the hairstyle.

I said hi to the little girl and she blushed.

A little later I turned around in my seat to see her peaking over the back of her chair at me and then ducking to hide when I saw her. This caused me to giggle a little and her mom apologized again.

"It's just that she thinks she's just met her idol," she said.

Then they packed up and headed away from the cafe, but not before the girl said "Hi Hi Pipi!" to which I replied, "Hi Hi".

It made my day to be mistaken for Pipi Longstocking. Apparently, she's pretty popular here in Denmark. There is a whole line of Pipi toys at all the toy stores here and I am guessing there is a TV show, but I'm not certain.

Just in case you were wondering, no my braids were not sticking out on the sides, but apparently, just having two braids was enough to let my little fan know I was Pipi.

Death Defying Sunbathing

Dear Neighbor Who Sunbathes On The Top Floor On Top Of Your Window Box With No Balcony Below,

I miss seeing you sunbathe on sunny days. I am very sorry if my entire family photographing you both times you were performing your death defying stunt was a bit of a deterrant from future sunbathing. Should you decide to try your hand at it again, I promise to be more subtle with my photography.