Sunday, August 26, 2012

Party after Party after Party

Wednesday was one of the longest days ever...and I didn't take any pictures.  Maybe I can pull a few from others.

We started the day with a couple of hours of our English class.  No I am not learning how to speak English!  Ha.  I am learning how to teach it as a second language.  During the middle of the class, at least half of us had to leave to go and hand in our paper work for our residency permit.  Oh man, many of us were terrified of this moment because we didn't have our EU health card.  I never got one because I thought I couldn't as I was living in the States.  Would this be the thing that would send some of us home?  Quiver.  Panic.  Smoke a cig.  Anything to get through the fear.

We entered the room and there was a lady sitting at the end of the long table with a line of students doing their papers.  We inched up one by one to see if we were going to jump this hurdle.  Finally, it was my turn.  I slid my papers across the table to her and smiled....a lot.  I asked her questions about the blanks in the form that I hadn't been sure of.  She took the paper and my little photo and looked at my school letter.  I asked her if we had everything covered.  She smiled and said yes.  That was it.  Done.  Finito.  No questions about insurance papers at all.  Yes!

After class we had another team building event.  They really really like team building events here.  The place we were going was off in a park that was a preserve.  We had arranged to share with those who had cars to get out there, which was great as many of us had neither cars nor bikes.  It was also one of those days where the weather was not going to stay the same from one minute to the next.

We arrived and got all our gear arranged, included raincoat.  I left my camera in the trunk of the car because I had no idea what we would be doing but I had been given the impression that it would be physical.  I could also see that it might be wet.  We arranged ourselves by group and listened to some intro, in Danish of course and then we were off on a course.  While we were on the course, we also had to create a song with choreography to be presented at the end.  Yikes!

Our first stop was a set up where we would go one by one to a box hiding a creation made of Duplo and we had to come back and, one brick per person, recreate it.  All the time, we had to be presenting ourselves as great cheerleaders showing team spirit.  We were then graded upon the task and the spirit.  We didn't do so well on the first one.

We then went the wrong way and had to double back for the next task.  In teams, we had to carry a balloon a distance not using our hands and then break it.  We were better at the yelling and screaming that was expected of us.

We had another task where we had to get our bodies through ropes that were intertwined between trees not using our hands and never using the same hole twice.  The challenge was to get a bike through also.  We did pretty good on that one.  While we were waiting for another group to clear so that we could do this task, it positively dumped rain on us.  I was so grateful that I had brought my raincoat.

Then there was one with a bucket that we had to fill with water from the lake but we could only use our hands, shoes, or hats.  We couldn't submerge the bucket.  Then we had to take it back to a circle and drag it out without spilling it and we couldn't enter a large circle around it delineated by another rope.  We managed it but they felt we broke a rule so we had to do a challenge.  Three people had to agree to jump in the water.  Three of our guys agreed to it.  Courageous!

We then had to climb a steep hill and head back to the starting area, play a game of people sized tic-tac-toe, running to throw down our markers and beat the others.  We had to all stand on a row of milk crates and move the crates in order to get to a building without our feet touching the ground.  We had to build and A out of logs so that one person could get on and then others guide it like stilts to walk.  We didn't do very well at that one.

Finally it was back to the start to present our songs and then get our grades.  Our team came in fourth.  That wasn't too bad.  I honestly can't say that I was totally into it.  I had to do a lot of faking it in terms of acting like I had spirit.  I did enjoy the tasks though.  They were very interesting.

After all of this we had a party at the Fredagscafeen for a celebration.  We drank and laughed.  Then there were more activities.  We all had to go outside all compete at yelling.  There were a couple of drinking games.  One of the games was to guess the songs that someone was humming while that had headphones on.  Seems like these games are just huge here.  I think we may be running into a bit of a cultural difference.  I suppose it is a way to train you to be communal.  I don't know.

There was big stump inside the bar with some nails in it in one corner.  I wondered what it was.  Eventually a group came over to it.  One person had nails in their hand.  They tapped them into the stump just far enough to stand up.  Then they got around the log with a hammer and started taking turns pounding their nail in.  Apparently the loser had to buy all other players a beer.  At one point, they tried to get me to play the game but I was having none of it.  Can you imagine me with no depth perception?  I would be the one buying the beers for sure.  It strikes me as a bit odd for a drinking game.   Nails, stump, hammer and drunks.  What could go wrong?   The German name for the game is hammerschlagen.

I went home a little earlier than most of the people.  I went in to tell my fellow apartment dwellers that I was going, so they wouldn't worry.  Two of the boys decided that they would walk me home.  They are so young but they are such gentlemen!  We trucked on up the 2km stretch to home, laughing and joking.  All of a sudden, every single street light went out.  What?  What is going on here?  It isn't an electricity outage.  There are houses with lights.  Guess what?  They turn their street lights off after a certain hour.  This was a week night and I now know that they go out at midnight.  And a bonus?  This was a moonless night.   There is a big long stretch up the hill that is not much of anything so ridiculously dark.  The guys were using their cell phones from time to time to light the way.  Once we got onto our street we also had to go through the section where the trees are like a canopy over the road.  You just about can't get any darker than that.

The school kindly didn't schedule our day to start until 3PM on Thursday.  I can only assume that they were pretty sure that we all would be useless that morning.  

After our class they had arranged a "hygge" for us for dinner.  We were to experience Danish hot dogs.   ????  I thought that hot dogs were American. Aren't they the all-American food?  Well I guess the trick to making it Danish is to make it a specific way.  So we had a lesson in how to do that.  Here goes.

One hot dog bun, slice it open.
Put a squeeze of mustard on the bun.
Place the hot dog on top.
Now squeeze ketchup over top.
Put a healthy dose of remoulade on top of that.
Here is where it gets tricky........and this is where there is a great debate going on.
Place crispy onion bits on.
Place pickle slices on.

These last two could be in either order and everyone is sure that it is their way.  I tried both ways.  I have decided that the most sensible way is to put the onion bits on first and then the pickles because then the onion bits don't fall out so easily.  Hah!  Debate finished.

Then we had dessert too.  We finally got to experience the essence of the word that they torment us foreigners with.  Rødgrød med fløde.
Foreigners Trying to Say It
It turns out that it is a dessert made with something that tastes and feels a lot like jam and has whipped cream on top.  It is pretty good but super sweet and rich.

All gone!

After we had finished our food and while we were having nice conversations with different people, they started up with the games again.  Again they were games to get to know people.  Sadly I wanted to run out the door but I couldn't.  It felt very much like we were being treated like grade school kids again.  I was quite perturbed when I was trying to explain my answer to the game question to my counterpart and the "leader" came down upon me because I hadn't stopped talking when she said to.  Well my partner hadn't understood what I said as her English is not at a high level.  Should I just leave her not comprehending?  I don't know if they are practicing their teacher skills or what but I don't want it to be on me when we are supposed to be having an adult get together.  Other than this is what a great night though.  Don't get me wrong.

Friday, we had class early in the morning but were done by noon.  We had received an email that our residency papers were available at the International office so we booked over there as soon as we were done.  The "Kommune" would be closed at 1PM and we needed to get over there to get registered for our area.  This is a necessary step here. 

On our way home we went to the føtex store as they had a sale on a clothes drying rack.  I also needed some breakfast stuff.  We all went together.  Surprise of surprised, it rained again on our way home.  The boys used my dryer rack as an umbrella!


 We had a little singing, playing and synth drumming before the party.

First ever American style peanut butter and banana sandwich.  He didn't want to at first but was a changed man after his first bite!

After we got home we got ready for a party here in the common room at our complex.  I went to the grocery store and got a couple of things and three of those Black Bird beers to bring with me.  The party didn't even start until 10PM and the person throwing the party had a bunch of his German friends coming.  One of them turned out to be from Santa Barbara of all places.  Too funny.  Good times were had by all, some more so than others!

Singing Happy Birthday in German and English!

Going full Danish with bare feet!

Saturday, I spent a lot of time trying to get a handle on our classwork and Blackboard.  I got a lot done.  I could have gone out again to another party last night but I just needed to rest so badly.  I feel like I have been running a marathon of late.

We found a grocery store that is only fifteen minutes walking rather than the others that are at least a half hour each way.  Hurray!  It has pretty good prices, for Danish stores anyway.

Today, has been mostly resting, organizing, and cleaning to be ready for the week to come.  It has rained bucket loads today too so it was much more desirable to stay home.  

Can you see the rain?

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