Internet, don't change too muchwithout me.
It's incredi-lonely out here without my laptop. My beloved PowerBook bit its last byte on Sunday night. I found it the next morning frozen, unable to make it past start-up mode, blinking a few life blinks. All that remains is a bright blue screen and a perfectly functional mouse that no longer has anything to open, highlight or drag. Of course this happens when I'm overseas and the Apple store is only open for five minutes a day. Meanwhile I have papers to write, plane tickets and hostels to book, e-mails to send, facebook profiles to check, entries to post and so much more. All gone. The laptops at DIS are dumb. All of the letters and symbols are moved around. They are also unforgivably slow. My little lappy was fast and shiny.
There was a "blizzard" today, my only fully free day of the work week, and I got on the train to take my little toppy to Vesterbrogade. I got to the mac store and almost went blind from the whiteness. I found the Servicekasse and the doughy man behind the counter had to go through four other pathetic customers before me. I could tell that each of their problems was stupid, so by the time he got to me he was pretty much predisposed to dismiss me. He immediately took points off when I spoke English, more when he realized I had no paperwork with me. He hit some keys, grunted and grimaced, annoyed as Nick Burns on a bad day. He took my information, unable to spell my name correctly despite my attempts to spell out the letters in both English and Danish. He took my address. He said they'd "send me a letter." IN THE MAIL. He smelled really bad.
Still, I'm probably jumping the gun. My computer is probably salvageable. I will pray, but it will be a long, hard, lonely 10-15 business days.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Internet, don't change too muchwithout me.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
It is a mystery to me how my body chooses to play its emotional chords. In a stunning turn of mood, I have been prone lately to bouts of irrational happiness, such as when I was watching The Deer Hunter yesterday at Dagmar in Vesterbro in a living room-sized theatre for 85kr. I was sharing a big bucket of popcorn with three other people, arriving at some kind of rhythm between reaching for the kernels and eating them from a stuffed fist. I sipped from a cup of black, black coffee and got to the sugar-dense bottom just as the lights dimmed and the movie started, shown in an exquisite print, throwing gorgeous, saturated colors on the screen. I love green street lights and red headbands. The muffled soundtrack made me strain to hear and kept me rapt for every click of the gun.
And the pastries, my God, the pastries. Chocolate croissants with Elizabeth on a bench in Strøget, fresh Kringles at Illum, 9kr. almond and toasted sesame Tebirkes at Sankt Peters Bageren. And 20kr. mystery hot dogs! The kind consumed while walking intoxicated in heels in bitter cold in heels in bitter cold on cold cobblestone streets in heels with clumsy frozen hands like blocks! And my delicious flødeboller, a chocolate covered dome filled with whipped marshmallow and sprinkled with coconut, that I ate while walking in Christianshavn and looking at the yachts in the canal. The marshmallow that got all over my face and the fortuitous turn down a street that led us to the architecture museum and an exhibit on sustainable urban planning for China. Justin said that everything looked like the future, to which I actually responded, "The future is now."
On Friday night I had the most awkward of awkward conversations. I ran to the train station only to find that I'd missed my train and would have to wait 20 minutes for the next one. I had my headphones on and was huddling with my music inside the station. I saw a dashing young man run up the escalator to the platform and sulk over to a spot inside near where I was standing. I looked at his face and recognized him as Anders, my rommate's boyfriend. Anders and I had talked before, though only under brief, introductory circumstances. The rest of the time, whenever he's over, which is all the time, I hide in my room until he and Elizabeth decide to close their door. I'm naturally shy, but manly men (or in his case, manly boys) really seem to bring out this quality in me. I thought I'd go over and say hello, but he seemed worried and was pacing by himself. I pretended I was off in my own little iPod world, pulled my hood down over the majority of my face, turned my head up so that my nose was pointed in the air, and did little dancey moves like I was having so much fun and didn't care if anyone saw. I played games with myself and walked in complex patterns over the station's dull tile. The whole time he just stood there. I figured if he at least recognized me, he would come over. But we just kept pacing, perpendicular to each other.
A train came and went and Anders ran out to meet it, returning alone. This time he caught my face and walked over to stand in front of me. I looked up and feigned surprise, mouthed an "Oh! It's you!" and pulled my headphones off. He smiled at me and asked if I was waiting for Elizabeth. I said I wasn't, that I was waiting to head downtown to meet some friends. I must have looked so nervous looking around and wrapping my headphones cord around and around my hand. He asked me how I liked Copenhagen and I said I liked it just fine, though I wish I had more time and energy to see everything. And then, because I was so flustered, I just started saying things that were blatantly untrue. I stuttered my way through a dissertation's-worth of words about the weather and how I'm not used to the cold, painting Washington, D.C. a balmy paradise, the whole while mentally stabbing myself in the belly button for sounding so obnoxiously daft. He was so tall and so angular and so pink from the cold that I couldn't look him in the eye. Eventually my train came in the middle of one of his sentences and I said, "Well, that's my train! See you later!" and ran away before he could finish.
I was determined to straighten this situation out. I thought I'd make more of an effort to be present in the apartment. Yesterday I did my chores out in the open when they were having dinner and had the door propped. Anders walked out of the room and said hello to me before entering the bathroom. When he emerged, he came back out and I smiled at him and then couldn't think of anything to say, so I just held the toothy asshole grin. He lingered expectantly for a brief moment in case I said something, but when I didn't, he looked confused and moved and then moved back and moved and left. I whispered, "Stupid, stupid!" to myself like in the movies.
I am determined to straighten this situation out. I am going to cook an amazing dinner for Elizabeth and Anders, the happy couple, and let them know it's okay to sit on each other's laps in front of me because I know what that's like and I know that they want to. (Answering my inquiry into their relationship story, Elizabeth said, "Only four months," adding, "It's very new.") I am going to say funny things that make wine come out of their noses and make them love me and scream things like, "Let's keep her!" I want them to want to pet me after every thoughtful and true thing I say.
Today I came home between classes to put away new groceries. Elizabeth was repairing the tile and had a drill and some special glue out on the counter. She ran in and asked me an urgent question: "What's the word when, like, you want to vote or something, but you can't do it, so you sign a paper so that somebody else can vote for you?" I thought for a moment and said, "...Proxy?" "How do you spell that?" "P-R-O-K, I mean X-Y." What a dumm I am. We were chatting about our days and she was gushing about her upcoming graduate scholarship interview with the University of Wisconsin-Madison when the phone rang. She said some things in Danish and hung up the phone. "Anders had a job interview today. He said he had a few hours before he needs to go back and asked if he could come over. Is that a good sign? Does it mean it went well? For me, when something goes badly, that's when I want to come over...what if it's bad?" I said that it's different with boys and that he probably just wanted to smooch her.
The buzzer rang and Elizabeth let him in. He was so tall and so angular and so pink from the cold. I was still mixing marmelade into my yoghurt, so I couldn't very well leave. Instead, I tried to converse, trying only a little to be funny and trying very hard to be a cool, confident member of the apartment. "How'd the interview go?" (Question accomplished, sense made.) He answered that it went very well and showed off his new official ID from Dansk Statistiks. Elizabeth and I ooh'd and ahh'd with wonder and jealousy. I told Elizabeth that Wisconsin would give her an ID, too, and she laughed. I sensed a shift in the room. Wisconsin meant she would leave in August for two years of study. Not in Denmark. Standing, she leaned back onto the counter where Anders was sitting, tall, angular and less pink. Still looking at me she reached behind her and held his hand in her hand, at which he stared. Only four months, very new. She said, "Yes, that's true." I'll make them dinner sometime soon.
Posted by M. Kirstin S. at 2:00 PM
Friday, February 9, 2007
Ballet & Modern Dance: A Concise History
Posted by M. Kirstin S. at 11:58 AM
Posted by M. Kirstin S. at 11:06 AM
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Posted by M. Kirstin S. at 3:43 AM
Monday, February 5, 2007
Last Wednesday I traveled with my "European News Media in Transition" class to the temporary headquarters of Berlingske Tidende, the oldest newspaper in Denmark. Our group entered the building and was taken into the cafeteria for our coffee talk. Accomplished Danish journalists dined alongside us. In my smart jacket and boots I fancied myself indistinguishable from the youthful, saavy regulars, but I was promptly put in my place when our host, Michael, politely informed us that we were not permitted to partake in the buffet. As soon as he said that, the colors and smells of the gourmet spread turned to high definition and I felt myself an Oliver in an orphanage, red-nosed and bottomlessly hungry. I asked some dumb questions about fact-checking and drooled myself two inches shorter in the quiet hum of the newsroom. I was disappointed that we didn't get to tour the archives, that branch of the human paper trail, but elated to be near people who wholeheartedly believe in the value of print and get deeply sad at the sight of a page three ad. Anyway, the free coffee was bountiful and Michael was so very handsome.
I guess I like my classes. Besides Intensive Danish and the aforementioned News Media class I'm taking Modern Scandinavian Literature and History of European Ballet. It's not that I don't enjoy going to class, it's just that in the last year or so I've realized just how much I've checked out of the classroom, how uninterested I've become in classroom procedure. I'm that butt in the second row sweating with a comment that never gets said. For me the space of thought is a sleepless bed and a train ride, places where I can word out praise, plan my next dinner party, leave my understanding of texts at the level of intuition and wonder, in light of recent weddings, if I was ever meant to be a young wife. Who thinks these things that isn't awake, in flames and in transit?
Saturday night I went to Det Kongelige Teater for a production of Svanesøen. The whole evening was beautiful from start to finish. My entire ballet class occupied the third row of the second balcony. High up, but there are no bad seats at the ballet. Everytime I go to some enlightening cultural event I get angry at my parents for not forcing me to be talented. In kindergarten I quit ballet after, I think, two months, and quit pretty much everything else I tried after that, from soccer to flute. When I have kids I am going to subscribe to a school of parenting that spawns a Lifetime movie about abusive gymnastics coaches and the slippery slope of discipline. But these thoughts only last a few seconds and the rest of the time I use my energy on being inspired. During Swan Lake I sat and wondered if only all stages of love could be denoted by the harp and why only the most beautiful things make you feel the loneliest.
I think the world runs on magnets. On Friday night I went out dancing with friends of mine. I wore a treasured necklace with something flowy that felt heavenly against my skin. We walked all over the city center looking for our nightclub destination and finally found it. We stumbled in just in time to catch the last part of a popular band's set. The act was some sort of Danish reggae outfit and the crowd was really into it. We slipped to the balcony and watched the men in neon jumpsuits from above. After they cleared the stage, Vega turned into the promised night club. Strobe lights and lasers took over, along with some positively boring house music. Three of us tried to dance but were discouraged first by the lack of other dancers and then by the occasional swarm of eager goons zeroing in on our circle. Since we were tired of dancing in an airtight triangle and the struggle not to make eye contact at any cost, we pooped out after a while and resigned to the smokey, well-lit bar. This gave me a chance to catch my breath, whip out my camera and take a look around at the buzzed and buzzing club-goers. I saw fresh, fun 'n flirty girls like swans talking to well-groomed (or not well-groomed) men. I saw people making out and older men like sharks at the bar, sensing prey and promising they're not creeps. I saw the people who look, the people who look back, the people who keep looking and looking back and the people who get up and walk over. I saw attraction and repulsion in layers and second thoughts. They all looked like gaping question marks. I guess it takes one to know one.
Generally what separates me from their questions is that they go to places like that to ask their questions and I stay home. Their Denmark is questions asked like strobe lights and lasers and my Denmark is whole plain yoghurt and candles and checking my e-mail. But on Friday night I was out there and the extra shimmer on my eyelids gave away that I was asking some questions of my own. I received a familiar answer. I think everyone wants to believe in the power of their own magnetism.
Posted by M. Kirstin S. at 5:04 PM