Though the world still views Danes as tall, blonde bundles of genetic perfection (their hair doesn't even get messed up when they're biking!), Denmark is developing a more international face. It's impossible to identify Danish speakers just by looking at them. As you can imagine, my first two weeks here were spent trying to navigate my new Pseudo-Danish identity through interactions with people who expected me to be as Danish as they were. My attempts at dealing ran through several stages, which I will name as follows:
1. Dumb Dane
People talk to me. I say, "huh?" and sound like a prepubescent boy because I have a stuffy nose.
2. Bitchy Dane
This phase lasted for, like, two weeks. I would speak a little Danish to the kool kids (Danish and international) in my kollegium, and then they'd try to talk to me later and I wouldn't respond. Why? Because this is what I heard:
tyg tye hugy grig se aeaea*
I mean, you should only speak like that to someone you know. I thought he was talking to the guy next to me. He wasn't.
The next week, I dropped a potato on someone's foot (therefore inadvertently marking my territory if we go by the cucumber story). I said, "oh, sorry" and he said, "where are you from?" When I told him New York, he goes, "That explains a lot."
And from then on, everyone was really chummy with me. In fact, I did a shot of whisky with the guys last night. We're developing a ritual that consists of bad 80's movies and alcohol (the latter consumed more by them than by me, I can assure you. Never EVER try to outdrink a Dane). It's kind of nice and reminds me of my guy friends back at home--except these guys are ALL tall, blond, and gorgeous.
This morning, I finally got to know the girls, who are a bit more reserved than the guys (at least on my hall). We made--er, they made and I watched--pancakes with caramel ice cream. They made me eat with them--yes, poor poor me--even though I hadn't helped them in any way because I didn't think I'd be asked to partake. They chatted in Danish for the most part, but occasionally stopped to summarize in English to my great relief. And then I ate lentils.
Tonight, we're all going out to celebrate the birthday of Mari, who's from Norway! I'll keep you posted.
*obviously not real Danish, but seriously, this is what it sounds like. There's a lot of choking sounds involved. I'm afraid someone will cough up a hairball one of these days.