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tirsdag, februar 12

Saturday morning early morning I took a train to Esbjerg to see a friend named Forest. The train was nearly full, so I found a place next to a girl chatting on her cellphone and smoking a cigarette and pulled out "Zen + the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence" to read the last part. It's amazing how many people on the train are connived into looking out the window and gazing at the "scenery" (a joke we know too well). I have always tried to busy myself to the point that I end up with the book in my lap and my head against the window.

After unloading my crap at his house, we sat around for a few hours and made pasta. Then, we went to catch the bus to his friend's house in Novrup. In looking at the schedule, Forest figured out that there weren't any busses past 15:00 on a Saturday. We had our pockets filled up with pilsner, and so we decided to walk those 6 km. It was a pleasant walk, an hour long walk, and a rainy walk. By the time we stepped into the "bachelor pad," the skin was literally falling off the back of my right foot. I had gotten the blister from hell!

The night was not a crazy one. The boys were all playing Tony Hawk's skateboarding game, or making up songs like, "åh, dog!" on their geetars. We took a taxi back at around midnight.

The next day Forest and I took to Fanø, a little island off the coast where the recording studio was located. We met up with Jan, his connection to this whole gig. By this time, I had Forest's sandals on because the shoes I was wearing were 2 days old and I didn't want to bleed all over myself. Erwkgk.. so we recorded. The situation was described as a bit "hostile" by Forest, but I think that I would describe it with the word,"strange." I recorded my first song by playing guitar on one track, and then listening to the guitar through headphones and singing. I was a little nervous because it's never any fun to be the only one singing in a room.

The song turned out all right though, even though I smashed up my fingers by playing too hard. Ah war scars! The people in Esbjerg have an unmistakable accent. Towards the end I grew a bit jealous of Forest, because here he had a multitude of musicians at his school, access to free recording + cool people, and opportunities to get the cool sønderjysk accent. The town reminded me a little of Arcata, California. Just the fact that it was misty the whole time I was there, was close to the ocean, and had an all around chill atmosphere.

That night Forest and I went to the assorted establishments on a quiet Sunday night, and proceeded to be connosieurs of fine øl. We revelled in our second and last night together in the by that is supposed to smell like fish, but didn't. I wondered how much the ferry to England cost, and hoped I would get over there someday + somehow, preferably this year.

I thought I should describe that trip before I busted over to Prague today and forgot about all its cool nuances. If there is anyone still reading this, please e-mail me and tell me what's going on with you. Excuse me while I go pack. Take CARE! Kærlighed fra den anden side af havet, Emily!

tirsdag, februar 5

I didn't even know the dude before I went on a trip with his family. He would come up to me every few days and give me updated information on our departure to the skiing metropolis of South Sweden... Ulricehamn. But the only thing I knew about him was that his girlfriend is one of my host sister's friends. This is a small town and everyone is engaged or enraged with each other. The two cliques are divided into Jægerspris, the western side of the bridge out on the peninsula called Hornsherred, and Frederikssund, the one that I have (up until now) identified with. Theirs is a tale of love across the bridge.

Fast forward through a 5 hour drive, and waning heads into laps listening to new mix tapes. We passed lakes and drove through endless evergreen forests. I felt that little thing that had been lacking in my life coming back to me all of a sudden: nature. The thing that surprised me most during the drive up was that every single house had lamps in the windows. It made for a very pleasant ride up, just admiring the little differences between Denmark and a place that was called Denmark at one time. It may have been called Denmark but it does not have the same air, or the same fixations.

We went night skiing that night, in rainy weather. All 2 of the ski resorts runs and pull lifts were lit up with glaring orange lights. But it somehow offered a protection not usually seen during the day. I was scared to get on those pull lifts. I didn't know that the little majigger went behind your ass and not in your hands, desperately trying to hold on. Nevertheless, I didn't fall off (until later.).

I was a little nervous about my skiing abilities. I hadn't skied since two years ago at NorthStar, and knew that compared to all the parallell lines that their skis were making, mine would me the "stem-christy," a word I think my father invented for my nasty habits. But it went well, and I didn't fall. The rain was coming down by then, and the snow was rapidly disappearing. There were brown patches all down the mountain, but these feisty people who drove 5 hours to do this, persevered.

I made the mistake of skiing in front of a cameraman taping a race, and he proceeded to yell with a high-pitched Swedish grunt. Languageless: "UghaaaaaaagghhhhhhhhhhhhauhoululualaaaaaHGHG!" I sheepishly retired to my group, and we were on our last run when I fell off the pull lift and had them stop the lift. He he hehehehehe... the half-drunk (as ever) Swedes began to scream, and I wondered how it felt to be suspended in a horizontal position against a hill. Nevertheless, I made it out alive. If I didn't I wouldn't be sitting here writing to this fucking log after so so long.

We went skiing again on Saturday, but I only took four runs through the half ice, half dirt snow. I remained in the warm and crowded hot-cocoa and expensive food bar, and read my book The Promise, by Chaim Potok. We went back to the hotel speaking our funny little swedish accents. "Yi truu at dett varr mooky bra!" That night we had a full out dinner, with the long row of silverware and Emily in the same clothes she had been wearing the whole time (as I am a fan of packing light hehe.) The whole room was a little bit tipsy, and the boy that I was with eyed the hamburgers all the "children" recieved with envy as he refused to eat his laks.

Later in the night, a man came up to me with the opening statement of, "What was the effect of the power crisis on California?" And I proceeded to try and remember what the hell that big dilemma was all about. In California (perhaps everywhere, I'm not sure), there is always a dilemma that half the people are serious about, and half the people joke about. One year it was El Niño, another year it was the drought, another it was earthquakes. Living on the "frontier" does this to people sometimes. We can live behind grave arguments, or nervous laughter. Either way the reality is that we live on a fault, have inadequate pipelines and too many people. We built too fast and too furiously, trying to hide the fact that we aren't used to our britches yet.

The man proceeded to explain what a legal advisor did, and that's all I caught. I sat for about 20 minutes trying to figure out where to nod my head and say, "Jo, jo....." But in the end he gave me 3 contacts in Italy and Switzerland, so I was a happy girl and a little surprised too.

Last night Birte (my 4th host mother, but real Danish mother), talked for an hour and a half about travelling and exchange student life. Her questions were different because I think she really wanted to know. Her daughter is abroad, so it's easy for her to understand why I do some of the things I do. Why I can spend 2 hours on the computer and still come away with no real proof I used them well. But she knows that it is important for me. One thing about this family is that they don't invade, and they don't make me feel guilty about wanting to go out. My host father may ask the most annoying questions in the world, as in "Are you sure you don't want cola? Are you sure? But you are American... are you sure????" I wouldn't describe them as the most "real" people I have lived with, but maybe the most personable.

On the 9th of February, I will have been in Denmark seven months. The new exchange student comes today or tomorrow, and I am looking forward to watching her grow into her environment in her own little way, as I did. Our form of working may not involve set hours, homework assignments, and a report card in their tangible forms. But we do have a certain amount of time to accomplish a few big things, and our report card is not letters or numbers or even ARROWS on a page, but the people we got to know and the things we discovered. That's the senior year I wanted.

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