It’s snowing here on Bainbridge Island and I’m sitting on my parents’ couch wearing a heating pad, drinking a cup of Earl Grey, and doing Duolingo in Danish. So far I can say, “I am a boy.” I can also say, “I am a boy and you are a girl.”
But wait, you say, weren’t you going to Germany to chase the wunderkind that is Christian Pulisic, the 19 year old who plays for Borussia Dortmund and is currently captivating the retinas and cerebellums of soccer fans all over the world? Yes, that was the plan. But then I saw it would cost $282 dollar just to use miles with British Airways and said, “There’s no way I’m doing that.” So like a division 3 quarterback leading his team to victory against the Mount Union Purple Raiders I called an audible and decided to use cash and save my miles for when I really need them, like Christmas, or when I’m trapped in New Delhi begging on the streets because I started this trip with way too little money and moreover started in Scandinavia where buying a gas station hotdog costs $12.
The question then became, “Where can I go in Europe for the least amount of money that’s the coolest?” I could get to London for $235 on Norwegian Airlines (a steal), or Copenhagen for $301. And since I’ve never been to Denmark, and since I love Scandinavia, and since my favorite author in the world (Karl Ove Knausgaard) lives in Sweden, and since Sweden (Malmö) is just across the water from Copenhagen, and since Karl Ove Knausgaard lived in Malmö and talks about it in his books, and since he also lived in Stockholm and Book 2 of My Struggle takes place there almost entirely, and since I would rather hitchhike in Scandinavia than other places in Europe, and since Copenhagen is apparently “the cool kid” (according to Lonely Planet) of Scandinavian cities, and since I have a friend there with whom I can stay a couple nights, and since I’m 25% obsessed with the Danish concept of hygge, and since a legitimate goal of mine is to visit every country in the world and Denmark would be my 52nd or 53rd and I need to get cracking now if I’m actually going to do it, and since Copenhagen has direct flights to Kangerlussuak, Greenland, and since Greenland is one of my dream destinations even though I probably won’t go on there on this trip, and since I’d be flying on a 787 Dreamliner even though since I bought the cheap fare I don’t get meals and I don’t get to choose my seat and will probably be stuck in a middle seat between two water buffalo-like creatures who have a penchant for armrest aggression, and since, well, Copenhagen just seems cool, I bought the ticket.
This is not to say I won’t still go to Dortmund at some point, or that my interest in Christian Pulisic has waned. In fact, if anything, it’s stronger than ever. Last night I lay in bed for what felt like several hours, listening to a podcast all about Borussia Dortmund and “Der Klassiker,” the famed game against Bayern Munich tomorrow. And the weird thing was, I wasn’t even listening to the podcast to hear about Christian Pulisic. I was just listening to it because I’m a semi-legitimate Dortmund fan now and I’m excited about the game tomorrow. But also, one of the main reasons I wanted to be in Germany for an extended period of time was to study German intensively, not so much because I want to study German but because I want to study intensively, and I’ve missed the start date for the last programs before Christmas.
So that’s where things currently stand. I leave for Copenhagen on Monday at 1:35pm Seattle time and arrive on Tuesday sometime around noon. The weather in Copenhagen will not be glorious, but it won’t be wretched. It will be more or less how it is in Seattle right now, i.e. cold and gloomy. But from Copenhagen one has the ability to move in a variety of directions that speak of the exotic (at least for the American), like Gothenburg, Stockholm, Berlin, a ferry to Estonia, a ferry to Poland, etc etc. I don’t know what it is about the name “Gothenburg” that’s tremendously enticing. I probably won’t go there on this trip, but I might just wander around saying the word “Gothenburg.” I certainly will wander around Copenhagen trying to speak some Danish and trying to get at least a little taste of the hygge lifestyle. I can picture it now, me sitting in a cafe, a blanket draped around my shoulders, a crackling fire at my feet, a mug of hot chocolate in my hands, and me saying, in lilting but broken Danish, “I am a boy, and you are a girl.”