"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

Thursday, August 30, 2007

So when was the first time you had sex?

An interesting title for this post, right? You'll have to read through to see why I chose it. But first, just wanted to let you know that I've uploaded a handful of pictures of my room and my house/yard. It is really awesome. And the more I hear people complain about their commutes the happier I am with my location (there will be a post about this in the near future).

Part of the whole housing process with DIS involves writing a letter of introduction to your host family prior to your placement. In it, I talked about my interests and personality, etc, but also included my interest in soccer. Upon reading this, my family decided it would be a good idea (and it certainly was!) to treat me to the FC Copenhagen vs. Benefica Champions League Qualifying Match last night all as part of my introduction to Denmark. Unforutnately, Michael, my host dad, had to work and could not come, so it was Marc (my older host brother), myself, one of Michael's best friends, Bo, and one of Bo's friends, Carsten. We all met at a Thai restaurant for dinner prior to the match.

First off, this Thai restaurant was straight from a scene in one of the Rush Hour movies. The owner, a Dane, was walking around in his snazzy suit, and the whole place just smelled of dirty money. I was later informed by Marc that indeed, the owner had a past in Freetown on the island of Christiana, where a commune of people squat/live on government property, which is called a social experiment. In addition to that, it is also a place where the drugs flow freely, so there's not much doubt where the money for the restaurant comes from.

Beyond that, however, it was a great atmosphere, with a ton of FC Copenhagen fans enjoying the buffet prior to the match. Carsten talked to me awhile about how great soccer is and the atmosphere at the stadium, even though I attempted multiple times to explain to him how knowledgeable I am. Eventually, I just let him run with it, as I quickly learned Carsten likes to talk, and likes to extrapolate to say the least. His first point was how wonderful a club FC Copenhagen is, primarily in regards to their financial situation, as he claimed it was one of the 5 richest clubs in the world. I let him run with this point (even though it is incorrect -- they aren't even in the top 20). I also tried to explain how in the English Premier League, where some Americans have recently bought teams, some view the situation as a positive due to the American owners' ability to make money off of their teams by running a business. Somehow, however, Carsten didn't agree with this point, but I'm still not quite sure why.

Before coming over I read a book on Danish culture and etiquette, which went over some stereotypes of Danes that the book made sure to say were stereotypes. Nonetheless, I found it amusing to see that Carsten fit many of them, including the belief that the Danes are the best at what they do (see above), as well as being very open about sexual relations. Case in point, as we were eating, and totally unrelated to any other parts of any conversation that was taking place Carsten just flat out asks, "So how old were you when you first had sex?". Keep in mind he asks this to the entire table. I wasn't too horribly shocked, as I had read about this, but was definitely thinking it was an awkward situation. Bo responded first with his answer, then stated that he really didn't want to hear the answer from his best friend's son. I quickly was lost in conversation with Bo, while I think Carsten still asked Marc in Danish. The question was then dropped, and I luckily did not have to respond at all.

The game itself was fun. The atmosphere was great and the quality of soccer high. Unfortunately, and unluckily, FC Copenhagen lost 1-0, and was knocked out of the qualifying for the group stage of the Champions League. It was still a great time, and the fans, while loud, were never obnoxious, and cheered on their team even when defeat was assured.

Marc and I were unable to take the bus back home afterwards due to the throngs of people ahead of us leaving the stadium (about 39,500 people attended the game). Marc's dad, Michael, had just gotten off of work, though, so Marc arranged a pick-up for us at the American Embassy. While we were waiting outside the embassy a group of 3 to 4 Danes, probably in their 20's, walk by and also stop in front of the embassy by the street. The night watchman, a Danish security guard, came up to them and told them to move. They gave him some lip and didn't really respond (keep in mind that it is around 11:30 p.m.). All of a sudden, a black American appears out of nowhere and asks, with some disdain in his voice, if he can help them. They then get into a "discussion" about what constitutes private vs. public property. Then, a car pulls up and another two people who looked like Danes get out. Turns out that the secret service, who I guess is in charge with embassy security (which I did not know, I figure it was the Marines), does not appreciate loiters late at night. While this was happening Marc and I continued to walk and watch from afar. We ended up stopping on what was probably still "American" soil and continue to wait there. About 10 minutes later, while still waiting, the secret service agent appears and asks quite gruffly if he can help us. I told him that we were waiting to be picked up, all with the intentions of chatting the guy up until Michael arrived. Luckily, Michael pulled up about 20 seconds later so I didn't get a chance to ask the guy's life ambitions -- maybe next time.

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