me

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By Maia Bittner, 2011

I think I've decided who I want to be here! That might sound odd, but it's something that's been bothering me the last couple months (that is, who I want to be in Copenhagen) and it was particularly bothersome yesterday, as here I was, existing in Copenhagen before I had figured it out. Without a goal, I had no direction to aim myself in, nothing to work on, no way of gauging progress. Remember my last post on how I was sad to leave Boston when I didn't even have a reason for going to Copenhagen?

Questions running through my head...

Do I want to be really into school (socially & academically) and organize my life around that? I'm certainly not that way at home, but this might be a good opportunity to do something different. Do I want to meet and get to know as many different people as I can? It doesn't seem like hanging out with other exchange students would neccessarily be worse than Danish students, as they're all new and from different countries, and they're also more eager to speak English and make new friends. Should I make friends with Danes outside of school? Do I want to learn Danish language and culture? Or do I want to be a loner and just enjoy the city, accepting myself as an outsider here? (I'm pretty good at being a loner. I like books and sitting in my apartment with tea and candles on Friday nights.)

As I was hopping in the taxi to the airport in Boston, Bennett told me his motto while he studied away in France was profitez, the French word for 'taking advantage of' or 'making the most of'. I think he applied it in two ways: making the most of his experience in France by doing everything, even/especially things he'd normally decline, and taking something away from every thing he did. As I rode to the airport, I tried to digest this idea, but to be honest, it didn't really resonate with me.

My mission for today was to do my laundry. Not too lofty of a goal, it's practical, would make me feel accomplished, and I'd see more of the city. I found an awesome laundromat/cafe, packed up my dirty clothes into my rock climbing backpack, and headed over there. When I got there, standing in front of the washing machines, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how much it cost (which is odd, because it should have been a number, right?). So because I didn't know what to do and there were so many people watching me and I was anxious and worried about making a fool of myself, I left.

"I'll find another laundromat or something somewhere else", I thought.

As soon as I started walking down the street, it hit me, hard: this was not who I wanted to be.

A couple weeks ago, Bennett was telling me about a friend of his, whom he politely described as "a man about town". His friend had once told Bennett that he realized if he could enjoy having his advances rejected by girls and laugh at the absurdity of the whole situation, he'd always win, whether he 'got' the girl or not.

I had a philosophy I could get behind. I want to always win -- and I want to do that by being incredibly eager, come of that what may, and laughing at myself as I go.

So I turned around and marched back into the crowded cafe, and asked the woman at the register how much it was to do laundry. 38 DKK for the washer (about $7.50), plus 1 DKK/minute for the dryer. and soap was included in the machines, so don't put any in (good thing I asked!). I went into the laundry room, then, of course, had to come back out and ask the same woman for change. I confidently handed her 5 kroners, thinking it was 50. When she raised her eyebrows, I said "well, I'm working on it!" exuberantly, got the correct bill out, and laughed. She laughed along with me.

So what's my goal for the semester? I want to be a local, and speak Danish, and make friends here, and know where to go and how to get there and what to do. I know that's completely unobtainable, but I'm going to run as fast as I can towards that -- and trip a lot on the way.


This is a post from my personal blog.

1 Comment

You go, girl! Great post, and a wonderful philosophy for you to have during your time half way around the world.

We miss you, and love what you're doing!

Sally/PGP

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