29 June, 2016

Two-year Update: We Still Live In Denmark, and I Finish Language School

I've always wanted to learn a language other than English. After four successful years of high school Spanish with Señora Skagerberg, I thought Spanish would be the language. I dreamed of visiting Spain and of continuing the mastery of Spanish, but then I went to university--and took Japanese. Then I moved to Asia. My marriage to a Dane was the final seal on the fate of learning Spanish. 


DU-3, June 2016
Now after two years of classes, two location moves, six different teachers, countless hours of study (including quite a bit of talking aloud to myself), and numerous tests, I have a piece of paper that proves I can speak Danish, reality notwithstanding. I started knowing everything and finished knowing nothing. I started as a stranger here and finished with six lovely friends from Hungary, Ukraine, Romania, and Israel. DU-3, class of June 2016, we did it. 

Two years ago, I wrote the following


We moved to Denmark [...]. It's windy and cold. People are nice but reserved. I ride a bike and am still trying to figure out what life here is all about. 

Two years on, nothing has changed. Nothing. It's almost July, and I'm wearing a sweater. My feet are freezing. I'm about to put on rain gear to get Monkey from the kindergarten on my bike. I will smile at people who may or may not make eye contact with me. Tonight I will contemplate what life after sprogskole is all about. Check back in June 2018 to see if I've cracked the code. 

Reminiscing: School field trip, June 2014

06 November, 2015

Questionable English and Killer Drops

I spend a lot of time using the online dictionary for translation. It's convenient, current, and has good pronunciation clips. Every once in awhile I run across a translation or an example that causes me to raise an eyebrow, and I've started jotting them down for the sake of amusement. Here are a few I've collected:
  • She is wearing some intriguing underwear.
  • Their quarrel ended in a fight.
  • He elevated his eyebrows in disbelief.
  • She glared admiringly at him.
  • She glanced at it for hours.
  • Excuse me, but you are standing on the hem of my frock.
  • Sight lies in the eyes of the beholder. 

Anyway. 

I went into the drugstore the other day to inquire about a product that comes in both drop and spray form. I selected a bottle and asked if it was 'drops'. BUT instead of saying dråber, I said dræber. Dråber means 'drops'. Dræber means 'murderer'. Need I say more? 

And so my language learning progresses.

29 May, 2015

I Am an Obsolete Child

Thirty-five short years ago
This is the first year in more years than I can even remember that I've been home on my birthday, and aside from a few minor details such as the fact that my mom now bakes with oddly named flours and strangely textured sugars, if she uses sugar at all, and the fact that the obligatory cake-holding pictures no longer have the long striped brown and tan curtains in the background, things were pretty much just as I remember, though I'm no longer the youngest one around. 

That said, I still feel remarkably juvenile for having been alive for half of seventy years, if quite forgetful, absent-minded, and generally crotchety. People are usually quite willing to forgive the aged these offenses, but being in your mid-thirties doesn't seem to garner the same sympathy as one twice your age when it comes such traits, which in my case happen to run in the family.

My dad, who for a week now has now been alive for the whole of seventy years, has been losing things, forgetting things, and grousing about things for years. As far as I know, he has been in a perpetual state of looking for his keys/phone/wallet/dark glasses, of entering a room and looking mildly surprised to find himself there, of leaving the house only to promptly return to retrieve a forgotten item (see above), or of stalking around while muttering incomprehensibly about some injustice or another since the mid-eighties. Already being dangerously skilled in this particular routine myself, one can only guess what my state will be in another thirty-five years.

A very considerate birthday gift to my dad helpfully pointed out that You're Only Old Once! and concluded with the parting thought 'you're in pretty good shape for the shape you are in.' If I can be in half as good of shape at seventy as my dad is, then I don't mind getting older. To another thirty-five years!

16 May, 2015

Hamburg, Copenhagen, Good Weather, and I Pass Another Test

Looking good at 31km
Viking Man recently tucked another marathon under his belt. We took a quick two day trip down to Hamburg at the end of April so he could run, and while we didn't have a lot of time to look around, it was still fun to leave the Monkey with the in-laws for the night and visit a new city--and country, for that matter, because we all know that airports don't count.

De Kongelige Repræsentationslokaler
Nyhavn
I also took a field trip to Copenhagen with Sprogcentret last week. Copenhagen is a nice city, so even though I had seen some of what was on the itinerary, I enjoyed the day's program, especially De Kongelige Repræsentationslokaler. We had to slog through rain for a good part of the day, but by the time we took our canal tour, the weather had cleared, and our parting photos at Nyhavn had us squinting into the setting sun. Home just past midnight, it was a long but good day.

video

I could complain more about the weather and temperature here, as I am wont to do, but instead I will make note of some very nice, albeit brisk, weather we had on Mother's Day. Our little street of seven houses voted to build a zip line in the forest opposite the houses, and Mother's Day was the work day for that project. VM's mother came and brought Monkey's cousin. Someone pulled a garden table and chairs into the street. There were cinnamon rolls and tea and coffee. At one point, a grill appeared. By the end of the day, the kids were zipping happily down the line. Monkey didn't hesitate for a second and surprised everyone by sailing fearlessly down the line by herself. 'Zip line' is now part of her vocabulary.

Speaking of vocabulary, I suppose my Danish is progressing. VM and I are taking our summer vacation early this year, and as a result, I will miss taking the next module test with the rest of my class. Not wanting to fall behind, I asked if I could take the test a month early, which I did just this past Wednesday.

There were four reading comprehension elements and two writing tasks. The reading comprehension was pretty straightforward. I either understood or I didn't. The writing felt more ambiguous. Did I write to a high enough standard? Was I too ambitious? Did I even make any sense whatsoever? Anyway, I passed, so now I have to look forward to the Module 4 test which comprises reading, writing, listening, and oral components. Three down, three to go.

We leave for the US on Tuesday. It's been two years, and I am really looking forward to seeing family, driving our Corvair, celebrating birthdays, camping, and hopefully some warm weather!