as the world outside is spinning

i made it! flying halfway around the world proved to be an incredible feat, but i am now coming to you live from aarhus, denmark. 

leaving texas/america seemed insignificant. there was nothing too exciting about leaving. the only time it struck me as real was when i was deciding what to buy for lunch/dinner in houston. i realized that this was a significant choice! last time i'm going to cram american fast food down my throat. decisions were made. panda express it was. doesn't get much more american than that, folks. 

i watched the sun sink through the floor-to-ceiling windows as i stood in line to board my plane. i guess that was then it seemed  really real [yes, more real than american imitations of chinese food]. i looked around and saw passports of every color, issued by hundreds of different countries. people were chattering in languages i didn't even recognize [and lets be honest, i recognize a lot of languages].

the flight was blissfully uneventful. i didn't sleep one bit, though we were on one of those massive airplanes--one where you can't even feel the wind tearing at the plane. i sat next to a married couple, the man-half of which went mixologist mode and conjured up a nauseating concoction of baileys, whiskey, and orange juice. i didn't mind though; it took him away from the even more nauseating makeout sessions they kept participating in. ick. 

we landed in amsterdam. i walked around the airport looking like a typical american fool, sporting my underarmour shorts and ugg knockoffs [i know, i know. 'are you hot or are you cold?' well i was too hot/uncomfortable in pants and i didn't have any more room in my suitcase for my boots so HUSH].

the amsterdam flight was even  more uneventful, although there were significantly less movie choice [read: none]. 

and then i was in denmark! i changed my money for the beautiful, somewhat medieval krones, and headed for the train.

please notice the pointed lack of stairs in this picture. this was a fully functioning escalator, more properly described as a ramp straight down to hell. i used my body weight and all the physics i know to keep my suitcase from taking off down the ramp and dragging me behind it. 

there i sat, in the train station, looking shabby and stupid in my american garb. it was cold and i was there half an hour early, which may seem excessive, but i have this thing, this irrational fear that trains [or other things with time tables and importance in my life] are going to show up 23 minutes early and i will miss it completely. 

it was in this half hour [and on the following three hour train ride] that i contemplated traveling, why people were so intimidated by it, why i am not. this is not arrogance, just the conclusion i came to, advice if you will; traveling [like most things, i suppose] is not hard if you don't psych yourself out about it. also, do this:

-observe other people. don't be creepy about it, but get out of your head and pay attention to what's going on around you. watch what buttons people push to open the train doors, who they give their ticket to, what side of the sidewalk is for walkers and what side is for bikers. go with the flow, follow the crowd, do what everyone else is doing. you know, all those lessons you've been taught since first grade. 
-act like you know what you're doing. this one is for safety & pride. don't act like a dumb lost puppy. people will take advantage of you or worse, laugh at you. walk confidently in the wrong direction. boldly give cashiers the wrong amount of money. fake it 'til you make it kind of thing. half the time you will figure things out just pretending you already know it. and the other half someone will help you. but please, for the love of passport holders everywhere, don't be so helpless. 
-ask questions when you really don't know. it's equally as stupid to proceed forever in the wrong direction. if you give it five tries [and i mean real tries with effort] and still can't figure out if you're at the right place, on the right train, headed the right direction, just ask. don't explain how lost you are, that you're traveling alone, where you're from or what your sob story is. just ask. if you're reading this blog, you speak english. people everywhere speak english. especially in places like airports. just keep asking around until you find someone that can get you where you're going.

the train ride was long. the highlight was definitely when a little boy, about 4 or 5, got on the train with his mom. they were both speaking dutch as they sat in the seats across the table from me. he excitedly whipped out his toy car, motorcycle, and airplane, chattering on in dutch. he'd play for a bit and then look at me with the bluest eyes and shout something, eagerly trying to include me in the joy of this imaginary world. i did my best to put on my excited face as his mom would explain [again] that i didn't speak dutch. the boy would only be the slightest bit crestfallen, more confused than anything, shake it off, and resume playing again. he would go for a few minutes and forget the whole ordeal, looking up and shouting at me in dutch again as his mom reminded him again of the bad news. he would just look at me, look at the cars, and i would know i was missing out by not speaking dutch.

i got off the train at the correct stop [another thing i frequently stress about missing], grabbed my huge suitcase, and started hauling it. let me paint this picture for you: i haven't slept in about 27 hours. i hadn't eaten in at least 15. it's about 30 degrees out and i'm wearing shorts. i am dirty, sweaty, and germy from three planes and one train. i don't think it can get any worse. it starts drizzling.

i lug my suitcase--no lie--uphill towards the place i'm going to be staying. people are giving me the.weirdest. looks. i'm dragging the suitcase across endless stretches of cobblestone, pausing only to stop and check the map on my phone [cross traffic be damned! i can't feel my fingers!]. despite my caution i pass the street where i was meant to turn and have to double back a few block. well dressed, coated & gloved citizens are looking at me with mild concern. i am not making eye contact, just powering through.

i finally, finally, arrived at the right building. only to be greeted by the most daunting four flights of stairs i've ever seen. i genuinely, sincerely contemplated my options. leave the fifty pound suitcase at the bottom? sleep down here on the floor for tonight? cry? i mustered up more determination than i had and hauled the massive piece up the stairs, cursing every item i thought necessary to bring to this god forsaken country [my thoughts then, not presently]. i unlocked the door to a warm and dry apartment. i would have given my right arm for a bowl of chicken noodle soup made by my mother [that's not saying a whole lot, as my right arm was useless from hauling the suitcase]. i wanted to die, sleep forever, eat everything in the world. instead i looked out the window. 

not too shabby, guys. not too shabby. 

with my body on overdrive/survival mode, i couldn't find a way to sleep. it was too cold to shower. and i had no food to eat. perhaps we should timeout here for a little information: i am one of the laziest, least driven people i know. i have always been this way. ask aria, whose one role in my life is to bring me cups of water. the fact that i'd made it this far and was pulling on pants and boots to leave again was blowing my mind. i felt like i was watching a movie of my alternate self. i basically rolled down the four flights of stairs and headed out to hunt. 

 i walked to the nearest store, armed with gloves, pants, and riding boots. i wandered aimlessly through the store, dying for any sort of convenience food that i could stick in the oven and have ready as i got out of the shower. big, big dreams. what i found instead were endless walls of cheese [i really don't like cheese] and things like this:


utterly defeated and finally getting tired, i picked up the few things i could recognize, gave the cashier some odd amount of odd money, and limped home. 

i trudged back to the apartment and up the stairs. that final flight alllllmost did me in. i sat on the floor, indian style, and quickly learned that neither neflix or hulu are licensed to stream in other countries. amazon instant video kept me company as i ate my oranges, baguette, and canned corn. 

laugh all you want. at that point in my life, it was the most delicious food i have ever, ever tasted. the shower was heavenly. i crawled into bed with my achy legs and relished in the feeling of a warm, soft bed, a full stomach, and a charger for my laptop. sometimes you just need those real housewives of orange county to keep you company, in america or not. stay tuned, one day i may leave this bed!

[title from even now by dashboard confessional]

1 comment:

  1. Hope this helps your no Netflix in Denmark dilemma:
    (although maybe it is better if it doesn't so you can explore more)