Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
One of those super cool, amazing friends was Rixa, who actually found out from the horse's mouth as she was my lovely guest during fashion week.
Charley and I met up with Rixa and her friends from Hamburg (which is only two-ish hours away making a trip to Copenhagen very easy. So easy in fact that I was surprised to learn she had never been there before!) to explore Christiania which is another one of those things that is hard to define exactly but is a kind of communal living space within Copenhagen with a small population of, for lack of a better word, hippies. There is probably a whole slew of things to say about the little town that are far more interesting than what I'm about to say, but this seems to be the number one talking point about the place- you can buy pot and its mostly tolerated by the authorities.
Whatever. So we met up and starting walking over there, but on the way we had to make a pit stop to find the Geo Cash. Which I didn't know what it was. But then I realized I misunderstood, its a Geocache. Okay- so I still didn't get what it was. I was told we were trying to find a Geocache which is a box left by some other intrepid traveler for other Geocachers to find and make their mark. Or something. It was clear I didn't get it all the way- BUT WE WERE ON A MISSION AND DAMN IT I WAS INTO IT.
So we walked down this very long road to a church at the end. The Geocache was in there, somewhere. But what does a Geocache look like? What are we looking for? Huh?
We got inside the church's entry way and according to Rixa's friend the Geocache was here. We didn't know what we were looking for and checked under surfaces, behind pamphlets, etc. BUT GUESS WHO FOUND IT!? That's right, gangsters, yours truly.
That plastic box is a Geocache. We wrote in the book (well I didn't because I'm not a Geocacher...yet) and took photos. It was then that I decided this was the coolest thing ever. But apparently you need a GPS thinger or something. So I lost interest, my phone doesn't even have photo texting much less the internet.
This is what Wikipedia has to say about Geocacheing- "Geocaching is an outdoor sporting activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook where the geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (tupperware or similar) or ammo boxes can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little value. Geocaching is often described as a "game of high-tech hide and seek," sharing many aspects with benchmarking, trigpointing, orienteering, treasure-hunting, letterboxing, and waymarking.
Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica. After 10 years of activity there are over 1.3 million active geocaches published on various websites. There are over 5 million geocachers worldwide."
Monday, April 18, 2011
No, really, I owe posts on a plethora of things, so I'm going to start with my most recent adventures and work backwards, and we'll see how that goes hey?
So did you know I went to Copenhagen? Because I did and it was one of the most amazing cities I have ever visited. There is really too much to talk about in one post so its gonna get a BREAKDOWN!
Have you ever been to Denmark? In the winter? No- I haven't- but apparently its cold like woah. I mean, New York is cold, Chicago was cold, Quebec, well-we don't even have to talk about that, so I can holler at the idea of wanting to stay in and bundle up. In Denmark this is a way of life for their short winter days and braving the weather to go out is just not going to happen. From this self imposed pseudo imprisonment emerged a way of life that seems to permeate how people live year round. Its called Hygge, and defining it is impossible as there is no translation into English and not one Dane could give me a solid interpretation of it. When they talked about it they seemed to get lost in their thoughts. Trying to tack it down and give it a rigid definition is, apparently, besides the point, and also impossible. However its one of the loveliest things and I'm going to do my darnedest to get it right.
We stayed in this very adorable apartment in Copenhagen for the first couple of nights, and the woman whose apartment it was made it clear that the lit candles (it was day time) on the silver platter on the dining table were for us to use so please use them, just make sure you blow them out when you are done. So every night we used them. And sometimes also at breakfast.
It should be known that I am not really a candles kind of lady, and if you get me soap or lotion I usually re-gift that to someone else. I'm not really a girly girl in this regard, but something about doing candles while we had our mini dinner parties every night seemed right. Just like taking that five minute walk to the bakery every morning was exactly what I had to do because that fresh rye baguette made the room smell great and made our fresh eggs and cheese taste that much better. Which is almost impossible.
Then we went up North to spend two nights with Anette and Morton, Blaine's host parents from many years ago. Phenomenal does not even begin to describe the kind of hosts they were. The food they prepared for us every night was just SO GOOD. And again, there was a tray with a few candles on the table which got me to thinking, "Well is this, like, a Danish thing?" I eat up authentic local activities like candy when I travel, so I had to know- are candles on a platter a thing? So I asked.
"Well, no, not just candles, this is hygge."
And then I got schooled.
Basically it goes like this-
Hey, we're stuck at home, but lets celebrate that. You invite your neighbors, family, et cetera and have dinner together, sitting together around a table. Douse the lights and get the candles going. Eat until you're past full, drink until you are warm. We have to be home but we're making it special.
In attempting to write this post I did a little research about hygge and found this which seemed to adequately surmise the Danish inability to define hygge exactly. "Luckily, we didn't have to use near-synonyms like coziness, fellowship, security, reassurance or well-being. They just don't add up to hygge. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. "
So making dinner together with the music playing and glasses of wine is hygge.
You can't tell from this photo but every night Anette folded the napkins differently to create a little bit-o-hygge. But its not like she was trying- its just how it is. This is their lifestyle.
In writing this post I now realize how hard it is to nail down hygge and why my Danish friends had such a tricky time explaining it to me. Because it doesn't sound any different from being a good host, but it somehow is- and isn't. Its health and wealth and living life very fully. You make things comfortable and homey and welcome. You light candles and fold napkins and make sure there is always cheese to snack on. And hope that your new American friends, who eat dinner in front of their computers and grab the exact same lunch day after day in plastic take away tubs will somehow get it.