Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Frequently Asked Questions From Danes

  • Why on Earth did you choose Denmark?
  • No really, why?
  • You are going to be here such a short time, why are you bothering to learn Danish?
  • You don't drink???????
  • What's a Baha'i?
  • Are you some kind of Muslim?
  • You're from Canada so you must be used to this weather, right?
  • Hey, do you know my cousin so-and-so in Vancouver?
  • How's it going with your new prime minister?
  • Why don't you speak French?
  • How do Canadians feel about Americans?
  • Do you remember that TV show about the Canadian ranger in America?
  • Can you say "aboot" for us?
  • You have to pay for university?
  • How did you end up with five different cultures in your blood?
  • How much tax do you have to pay in Canada?
  • Are you bored with Denmark?
  • How old are you?
  • When are you going home?
  • Would you like to stay here permanently?
  • Why not?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Few Interesting Things About Denmark

  • We are further North here so the days are longer in the summer. Right now the sun sets at about 10pm and there are still traces of blue in the sky at 11. Of course this also means that six months from now there will only be a few hours of daylight so the idea of staying for the winter isn't too exciting.
  • Danish people love flowers. There are flower shops all over the place and when you go into people's home there are usually fresh flowers on the table. There are also flowers growing all over the place...imagine daffodils growing in the ditch.
  • There are certain words that look a bit funny to English speakers. For example, on my first day here I was surprised to see "slutspurt" plastered all over store windows. (It means clearance.) Other words include afslut, b√•dfarten, fartplan and a town call Middlefart.
  • I was at one point offered candy and told that if I didn't like it I was allowed to spit it out. It was VERY salty and basically one of the worst things I've ever tasted. Danes love it.
  • Gluten-free diets are very common here. Every time I tell someone why I can't eat bread -which is even more common here- they always say, "Hey, I have a friend who can't eat gluten..."
  • There is no tipping waiters here. Service charges are included with the price of the meal and so it the 25% tax. The food is usually expensive to start with so by the time you have paid most people are swearing they'll never eat out again.
  • Denmark is one of the few countries in the EU not to switch to the euro. We have the good old krone. 1 Candian dollar = about 5 Danish kroner. It's neat when you get 100s from the bank machine and upsetting when you spend 15 on a cup of tea.
  • Gas for the car is about 10 kr/liter.
  • A Danish parking lot is a place to park your bicycle.
  • Over here peanut butter is viewed as a specialty food and only sold in little glass jars.
  • Even in the big city of Copenhagen most buildings are no more than 5 or 6 stories high. It makes things feel very hygge (cozy).
  • On a good day you can see over to Sweden.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Zoo

Danish people love dogs. Not everyone, of course, but the affection is widespread enough that nobody has ever bothered to create a pooper-scooper law.

At my house we have now taken the love of animals beyond the usual. Last week there was a dog and a few fish in a tank. When I got back from Fyn at the end of the weekend we had added three rabbits to the back yard and the population of the aquarium had more than doubled because the fish had had babies. The next three days I was left alone with all of them because the woman I live with was going out of town for work.