Sunday, October 21, 2012

First Holiday Week "Efterårsferie"

On Thursday the 10th, I took my first Danish test in order to pass level 3.1.  I was cool as a cucumber about the whole thing, that is until I was standing outside the door waiting to go in.  We went in to the test in pairs although we didn't actually test together.  I guess they think that it gives you moral support to have someone that you know in there with you.  Or maybe it is just about not having only two people in a room with a closed door.  Who knows.  Anyway.  I went first.  I had to talk about some subject.  I ended up talking about "My Day" and I stumbled all over the place but I got through it somehow.  Then my partner did her subject.

 Then it was my turn again.  This time we had a picture that we were supposed to do something with but I didn't understand the directions so the examiner had my partner go first.  She did great and then it was back to me.  Now I knew what I was supposed to do.  I had to make all kinds of random questions about the picture and the examiner would give me some made up answer for each one.  I did okay but I felt like a simpleton compared to her.

After we were done the tester gave me some comments about paying attention to my pronunciation and working on something.  I started to immediately get teary eyed.  I felt so awful that I hadn't done better and I just didn't know where I could find too many more hours a day to work on my Danish.  I would have to have no fun time whatsoever.  So I had a big moment of feeling bad.  I made my way through it and moved on.  And I passed.  There is no grade.  You either pass or you don't.

Last Friday, we had a big football game with many different teams from the schools different classes.  It was all just for fun and each match was very short.  There were teams that came in some sort of costume to show they were a team.  One team came as chickens, another came in throw away painter coveralls that had grass in all the pockets.  It was a lot of fun and it was also super cold.

The chicken team

The grass in the pockets of coveralls team.

He doesn't want to start any problems, does he?

Football action shot!

I thought that I had dressed warmly enough but the wind felt like it was blowing off of the glaciers in the North.  My teeth were chattering like a pair of castanets.  I was wiggling my legs back and forth at the speed of light trying to stay warm but it wasn't working.  So I decided to buy a beer and let the alcohol warm me up.  Then I bought a second one to try and get a little warmer.  It did work a little bit.  But then I had to go pee so badly that it hurt and there wasn't a bathroom near the field.  There was no way that I would be able to walk two kilometers home so I decided to go across the street to use the one at Fredagscafeen.

Oh what a relief that was but then I ended up staying at Fredagscafeen for a while.  I learned a dice game that the Danes were playing.  It was a blast.  After that I headed home but I neglected to use the bathroom before going so by the time that I was half way up the hill, I was in trouble again.  I made it home but not before being in pain again.  Yikes.

I settled in for a nice quite rest of the evening, planning to go to bed at a normal time.  I heard a knocking on my door and went to see who it was.  It was one of my neighbors who came to invite me to join her and a couple of other people for a drink.  I thought about it for about three seconds and said okay.

We had a rip roaring evening being silly and having so much fun.  We played a funny smart phone game where you had to drink if you had done the thing that came up on the screen.  I knew that I would be in trouble so I made sure to take very tiny sips for every answer.   As soon as I felt like my consumption had gone beyond comfortable, I made my exit.  Fortunately for me, my apartment is half a building away.

And that was the beginning of my week off of school.  It is called "efterårsferie" and it was much needed.  I thought that my brain was going to pop and then a whole week off.  Does Colleen actually take a week off though?  Noooo.  I have a pile of Danish books to read and a small stack of movies in Danish to go through.  It was all about Danish all week for me.

A selection of reading and movies in Danish.

Well not totally.

I retaught myself how to knit and started on a scarf.  It took some work and a little bit of tearing the work apart and starting again but I got it started.  Thank goodness for youtube.  I was able to find videos that showed me how to cast on and how to do both the knit and purl stitch.  Awesome!

On Monday night the natives were restless around here.  It was decided that we must have a karaoke night that night.  Everyone gathered at a neighbors.  Eventually there were 7 of us in the tiny kitchen.  We had a laptop on with a couple of speakers plugged into it and we happily plugged away at various songs.  Some songs we tortured.  Some we did quite nicely on.  At first, I wasn't even going to go.  I was chickening out because I figured it would be all these songs that I had never heard of and also because I get super nervous about singing in front of people.  In the end, it was a blast though.

Then it was back to more Danish studies.

Finally on Friday, four of us decided that it was time to actually get out of Haderslev for a minute.  But we couldn't afford to go crazy as we all are living off of a finite amount of money and have to make it stretch as far as possible.  I, for one, am so jealous that the Danes get to have a stipend every month.  Even if it isn't a large sum of money, it is enough to know that you can make it to the next month and some more money will come.  I wish that they had a way to help foreigners who are going to school here with the intention of staying here and becoming part of the system, paying taxes and all.  I would be willing to sign a contract saying that I would stay here for x-number of years to make up for it.

Inside the courtyard of Koldinghus.

A mobile version of bowling.

Koldinghus palace chapel learning swordsmanship.

So we went to the nearest and next biggest town called Kolding.  It is a 30-45 minute bus ride away and it has a castle.  Yeah!  We all packed lunches so that we wouldn't have to pay for restaurant food.  The weather promised to be great.  It was supposed to go up to 16˚C which was crazy.  It had been around 11-12˚C just before that.

An interesting conjunction of modern lighting and ruins.

Old bicycle as part of the museum exhibits.

Beautiful staircase inside of the ruins of Koldinghus.

The castle is called "Koldinghus" and it was a total ruin at the end of the 19th C.  It has since been rebuilt but the cool thing is that they didn't try to hide the repairs.  The new parts are obviously new and you can still see the ruins.  It has been turned into a museum.  We were really lucky because there were special events for the holiday week with live performers playing the parts of the old medieval people

Actors playing the roles of the era.

Costume actor in the courtyard of Koldinghus.

We went for a walk around a little bit of the town after we were done with the castle and had had our lunches.  We found a very cool park that was built for kids and some great old 16th C. buildings.

Copper clad house in Kolding.

One of the miniature golf stations at the Lejeparken.

Kids playing on the carts at Lejeparken.

The cart course at Lejeparken.

A tree full of pacifiers at Lejeparken.  I would love to know the story that goes with this.

A very odd bike in Kolding.

Kolding house from 1589.

Kolding house from 1589.

More great views in Kolding.

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