Thursday, 16 June 2011

This other time, in Denmark...

How is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person? ~François Duc de La Rochefoucauld

I feel like yesterday’s post was too sad, and I really didn’t mean to make anyone feel bad. I guess it was just the first time it really hit me that I’m almost going home, and I was feeling really really sad. But I got a good night sleep and am feeling a lot better, so I’ve decided to write a fun post today.

A few months back I did a post called, This one time in Denmark, about all the quirky little things that make Denmark, Denmark. Well, since then I have expanded my list, so this post will part two of that post.

Money: When I first got here Danish money confused me so much! They have 50 øre coins, which are worth 9 Canadian cents, are pretty much useless. A 1 kroner coin is 18 cents, and can buy you…uh, nothing! A 2 kr coin is 37 cents, and that plus a 1kr coin can you a small pack of Moam candy. 5kr coins are worth 94 cents and can again, buy you nothing. 10kr is $1.87, and with that you can buy a cinnamon bun in my schools canteen. Or you can buy a hamburger off the 10kr menu at McDonalds. 20kr coins are worth $3.75, and you can buy a small bag of candy. And when I say small, I mean, SMALL. Now we move into bills. 50kr bills are worth $9.37, and this is roughly what I would hand over for a coffee and a muffin. Or in many cases, just the coffee. 100kr bills are worth $18.74. Sometimes if I’m lucky I can buy two shirts at H&M with this. Although more times than not it only buys me one. There are also 200 and 500 bills. And maybe 1000, but I don’t know. Let’s be honest, I never have more than 100kr cash on me. In fact, at the moment, I have an amazing 2 and half kroner in my wallet. Having coins be worth “so much” confused me at first. One of my first days I bought ice cream for me and Simone, and I payed with a 100kr bill. The guy gave me back a handful of coins, and I was so sure he ripped me off, and I went and made Simone count it for me. Now though, Danish money is so normal. I can recognize the difference between a 1, 2 and 5kr coin right away.

Bikes: For many people, bikes are a primary means of transportation here. Especially for kids under 18. At my school in Canada, the parking lot was full of cars and the bike racks maybe had one or two bikes. Here though, the parking lot has a handful of cars, but the bike racks are ALWAYS full

(My school's bike racks)

(Even in the middle of winter they still all ride their bikes!)

Slut: Is the Danish for ‘end.’ So sometimes when a sale is ending at a store, there will be a sign in the window saying SLUT or SLUTTER. Or at the end of movies or presentations, it will say Slut. I don’t know why I felt the need to include this, but I guess it’s because it makes me giggle. Still. Eleven months later.

Co-ed Bathrooms: In a lot of places, including my school, bathrooms are open to both genders. So sometimes it can be kind of weird to walk into the bathroom and then see a guy walk out of the stall. It used to scare me at first that I went into the wrong bathroom.

Little kids on busses alone: Denmark doesn’t have school busses, so if a kid lives too far from their school to bike, or if the weather is bad, they will take the bus. Alone. And I’m talking kids under the age of ten. They look so mature, standing at the bus stop with their Spiderman or Barbie backpack, getting on the bus and buying a ticket, then sitting down. And even more than their maturity, they aren’t scared. It’s not like at home where putting your seven year old alone on a city bus is just ASKING for them to be kidnapped. It’s just a normal thing, like young kids walking or riding their bikes alone. People feel safe here, and I think that’s one of the things that make them happy.

Having elbows on the table: Is not considered rude here. The first time I saw it I was waiting for someone to say something, but slowly I began to notice that it’s okay. So if when I get home and I’m slouching all over the table, please give me a break. I’ve picked up some bad habits. Although, a funny thing is that Danes are SO polite when it comes to using forks and knives and all of that, so I think it’s so funny that they are so relaxed about leaning on the table.

I used to rave about how amazing the Danish transportation system was: But I’ve come to realize it has its issues. While the trains and busses make it so easy to get anywhere, they often seem to be running late…Lateness aside, I am still in love with the train systems. Whether I'm going two hours to Jutland, or 20 minutes to school, I always love being on the trains.

Sundays: I think it’s funny how for not being a religious country, everything shuts down on Sundays. Pretty much nothing at all is open. And even Monday-Saturday, everything is closed by 6, and even grocery stores aren’t open past 7 or 8. Definitely looking forward to 24 hour Wal Mart!

(The grocery store near my house. Monday-Friday it's open until 8, Saturdays until 7, and oh, what's that, no Sundays?)

So I think those are all for now. I hope this helped to lighten the mood after my last post.

Also sometime over the next few weeks before I leave I really want to sit down and write a reflection on Denmark being the happiest country in the world. That was a major reason why I wanted Denmark in the first place, so I feel like it only makes sense that now that I have been here for a year, to talk about, from an outsider’s perspective, the Danes and happiness.

Kærlig fra Danmark,



  1. hahah :) ditto pretty much all of this for norway! except the bikes.

    everything you wrote about money is EXACTLY the same...can't wait to buy cheap candy and coffee again

  2. Hey !

    It's so weird (but nice) to read about how you experience(?) Denmark. All those things seems normal to us:P