Today was the first day I’ve truly deserved my pastry.
Last night, after dinner, I spent some time memorizing the Danish numbers, from 1-100, in preparation for a few rounds of bingo, on the agenda for my Danish Language and Culture class today.
This morning, while squished between two Danish kindergartners dressed in brightly colored snowsuits, I continued to recite the numbers in my head, all while avoiding stares from the mini Danes with blonde hair and blue eyes. I was determined to show off my newly acquired pronunciation skills by winning the game during class. Unfortunately, my partner and I weren’t the first to shout BANKO!, but in retrospect, I’m glad we didn’t win because the prize was a bag of licorice candy–which seems more like punishment to me.
After learning that my third class of the day was canceled, I decided to take a detour to Sct. Peder’s Bageri before heading home on the train. I had intended to get what I call a “Danish Pop-Tart” (actually called Hindbær Snitters) but was thrown for a loop after walking through the crowded doorway to discover that there weren’t any icing and sprinkled covered biscuits waiting for me in the window. A chocolate croissant would have to do. I went up to the counter and before I knew it…Danish was coming out of my mouth!
Here was my exchange with the very Danish looking cashier:
Cashier: Hej. Hvad skal du have?
Me aka the greatest Danish student ever: Hej. Jeg vil gerne have en chokolade croissant.
Cashier: (Smiles) Godt! Det koster femten (15) kroner. Noget andet?
Me: Nej tak!
Cashier: God dag!
I walked out of the bakery beaming–satisfied with my spontaneous use of Danish. I think my chocolate croissant honestly tasted better because of it. Buttery, flaky, and smothered with chocolate. All probably 750 calories of it was well deserved (in my opinion).
It’s comical that something as simple as learning numbers in a foreign language can feel so rewarding. Numbers are one of the first things you learn as an infant, but I’m currently 20 years old and probably a little too proud of myself for learning them. I now officially know how to count from 1-100. While I have practiced my Danish in public before with my Danish Language and Culture class, this time it wasn’t mandatory. The next time I go to a bakery I’ll be confident that I’m ordering en (1) pastry instead of nioghalvfems (99).
A few other things I’ve learned to say so far:
Hvad hedder du? Jeg hedder Caroline.
- What is your name? My name is Caroline.
Hvor kommer du fra? Jeg kommer fra USA.
- Where do you come from? I come from the USA.
Hvad studerer du? Jeg studerer økonomi og medievidenskab.
- What do you study? I study economics and media studies.
Hvor bor du i Danmark? Jeg bor i Hareskov hos en dansk familie.
- Where do you live in Denmark? I live in Hareskovby with a Danish family.
Hvordan kommer du til universitetet? I Danmark tager jeg toget til København og går til DIS.
- How do you get to the university? In Denmark, I take the train to Copenhagen and walk to DIS.
Hvor gammel er du? Jeg er tyve år gammel.
- How old are you? I am twenty years old.
Hvad skal du have? Jeg vil gerne have en sandwich med kylling. Jeg skal også have en øl.
- What would you like? I would like a sandwich with chicken. I would also like a beer.
- See you!
This weekend I’ll be heading to Berlin with my friend Emilie from UVA to begin my first week of traveling outside of Denmark. Following Berlin, I’ll be exploring Prague, Brussels, and Bruges.