"To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom....Since our office is with moments, let us husband them."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Biking Adventure (x2)

So today I thought I would be very Danish, and bike into DIS. I made sure I was thoroughly prepared with directions and the like, so as to make the trip as easy as possible. The other thing you need to understand is that the Danes love, love, their bikes. It makes sense as biking is the cheapest and fastest way to commute into Copenhagen. Anyways, I leave the house this morning and start on my way, feeling out how fast people go, and the little nuances of etiquette that I wasn't previously told. Then problems started to happen. First, in Denmark, the street signs aren't like they are in the states. They just use a small sign that is on the side of a building, which is absolutely fine, except when I'm zooming by on a bike, with other bikes completely surrounding me. Needless to say, I missed my turn. So I pulled over and stopped, and consulted my map, and didn't really gain any insight, because I wasn't really sure where I was. I just continued to go straight hoping that would lead me somewhere useful. I even stopped again, and looked at my map again, but still couldn't figure anything out. Right when I was getting fed up, and close to becoming late to my meeting, and planning on asking a random Dane, I saw a building I recognized. This gave me hope! And after two lucky turns I was at DIS.

After the day's events I was off to soccer practice. Since I biked in, I had to bike there; however, this was pretty straight-forward as I was following a DIS employee who also plays for the club. It was rather uneventful, minus the two bikes behind me with DIS students that crashed together when one didn't realize we were stopping.

It just happened that my host brother, Marc, also happened to be having soccer practice at relatively the same time as I did, so he hung around for a little bit, and we rode our bikes back to the house. He took the "shortcut", which I swear was anything but short. Irregardless, as we were heading back Marc found a group of his friends, and stopped to briefly talk to them, while he told me to go on ahead (straight-ahead). I did as I was told and continued down the street, which curved in a new direction. The only problem with this was that I was supposed to go "straight-ahead", which meant leaving the road, and going on a dirt path. This led to about 20 minutes of phone calls trying to figure out where each other was. I had managed to get myself very close to home, and could have made it back, but Marc insisted that I meet up with him. He didn't want to lose me, and I can't really blame him. So after all of this I won't be biking for a day at least (although that has more to do with receiving my books more than anything else).

The other interesting tidbit I heard on the ride home was Marc's views on immigrants. With my help every now and then with filling in words to actually understand what he was saying, he was expressing himself pretty well. His views are also very interesting, although not that shocking as I had read about the concept before in a book and Danish culture and etiquette. Pretty much he was arguing against the immigrants because of their lack of desire to integrate with the rest of the Danish population. Instead they live together, and do not work (living off of government benefits), and harass the Danes (as he told me multiple stories of having things thrown at him and being chased, from 12 year olds to 25 year olds. In reality his whole point was to warn me to avoid them if I'm ever alone after dark, but nonetheless, it was very interesting to hear his opinions. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the conversation was when he told me that one way the government is talking about dealing with this issue is to not allow immigrants to live together in communities, therefore almost forcing them to integrate, or so the thinking goes.

Now about the soccer itself, it went fine. I'm out of shape. Badly. And it was evident. I was one of the best DIS players for the first 30-45 minutes that we practiced, but after that my legs were gone, and I couldn't do anything. It was a lengthy practice, both in time on the field (2+ hours), and time in general (I left DIS around 4:40, and didn't get back to my house until 9:30+). Because of those two things, and the amount of effort it would take me to put into it, I'm totally undecided if I'll keep doing it or not. I think a large factor will be how much work I have to do for my classes, as that could limit my time. We'll see.

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