Keeping up with Copenhagen

First, a few things I learned in my most recent classes:

  • Did you know that venting actually does not help you suppress your anger later on?
  • It’s a myth that children become hyperactive when they eat sugar. What actually happens, according to research, is that parents assume that will be the case, and they treat their children with less patience, which may, in turn, cause misbehavior or hyperactivity.
  • People do not have one dominant learning style. Instead, different subjects can more easily be understood with various learning techniques. For example, learning a language requires a lot of auditory practice, while learning a modern dance technique would be almost impossible to learn without physically practicing it.
  • In Positive Psychology, we mostly discussed research methods, which is not the most exciting topic for someone who has already taken and TA’d a research methods class at school, but I know it’s an important baseline for a psychologically-based class.
  • I learned some new Danish phrases, such as “Unsklyd, jeg taler ikke dansk,” Sorry, I don’t speak Danish; “Jeg taler lidt dansk,” I speak a little Danish; “Tillykke med fodselsdagen,” Happy Birthday, and “Jeg fryser,” I am cold, which, let’s be honest, is pretty much always the case here.
  • During the culture section of Danish, we discussed dating and hook-up culture. We learned that the Danish rate of teen pregnancy is much lower than it is in other countries because Danes are so open to talking about sex and contraceptives.

My travel writing class met today at the Israel Square instead of our classroom. I have to say that although it was exciting and I enjoyed the change in scenery, it would have been nice to have advanced notice that we would be having class outside. I was not dressed appropriately to sit outside for an hour, and I was freezing. However, I did learn a lot. My teacher sent us away in the park for 40 minutes with the instructions to talk to a Danish person and “get his/her story.” We were in a populated area, but the square is just outside the city’s center, so it is not too touristy. Most of my classmates wandered into the Glass Market nearby, but I wanted to try something different. I actually was curious about the Danish custom of leaving babies outside in the cold, so I went up to a woman who was pushing one. She said she didn’t have time to talk to me. Oh, well. Then, I went up to someone fiddling with his phone near a bike rack. I figured I could ask him about biking in Denmark. He was in a rush, as well. After several tries of approaching people and getting turned down for whatever reason, I felt defeated. However, I knew I had to get a story to write on little postcards, which we would turn into the professor. I wandered into a building that bordered the square, which was filled with little kids running around. The door was locked, and I knocked, tentatively. A man poked his head through the door, and asked me something in Danish. I explained my assignment, and he welcomed me indoors, as long as I didn’t need to take any pictures. It was so much fun! I got to observe children participating in a daycare-environment; they ran around, made crafts, and played with toys. The adults were supervising, and when all the kids seemed happy at the moment, I asked the man who let me inside if I could ask him a few questions about his job. He was very sweet, and he said he was glad he could help with my assignment. It turns out that he had moved to Copenhagen when he was 19, for his gap year. Now 30, he loves his job too much to leave it. He told me about the daycare center and its services, and he explained a little bit about his job. It was perfect. I thanked him, and I was able to hand in a short narrative about this daycare worker.

After my long day of classes, Adina and I tried our first gym class with our new memberships. It was kickboxing—very intense. Danes take their workouts very seriously, and the teacher was extremely loud and fast. We did so many burpees! I have to say that I am enjoying my routine of going to the gym on Mondays and Thursdays after class, as sitting for seven hours with no breaks does make me very antsy. It is nice to know that I’ll usually have time to get my energy out. And, I was glad to have Adina’s company, as we were probably the only Americans in this class.

On Thursday night, I went with Adina and Goldie to a place called Bastard Cafe, which is a board games bar. We loved the atmosphere; we ordered frozen drinks and a LOT of popcorn, and we played Spot IT and caught up about our classes. Conveniently, this place is very close to our apartment, so the walk home was short.

I started my Friday with another gym class: TRX. The instructor was mainly coaching everyone in Danish, so I had to rely on copying what others around me were doing. He translated some things in English for me, but I can say for sure that now I know what “tre, to, en!” means. (“3,2,1!”) I’m having lunch today at the Glass Market with Adina and her friend from school who is visiting this weekend. Adhering to one of my goals about staying adventurous with food this semester, I am going to try food from another one of the delicious-looking counters. Hopefully, I’ll have a picture of it for my next post. 🙂

Tonight we are headed to another Kahal-sponsored Shabbat, this time at the Chabad house. It will be our last Friday in Denmark for a few weeks, so we are looking forward to it. Stay tuned for my next post at the end of the weekend, which will highlight my trip to Malmö, Sweden!



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