Denmark Journal #1
I find Denmark refreshing in its literal approach to life. The people take things at face value and are unguarded in offering friendship. But they are also self-contained and unobtrusive. They will not easily make eye contact with one as she passes. But if one—namely me—speaks, they will light up and smile. It is a “privacy” thing in the culture. But in the same way, they are rude in the public places, bustling past you with a bump or a swipe and rarely saying excuse me” though they have a word for it “undskyld.” They reach across you and over you in stores and at the table. They give no ground in passing on the street. It annoys me but when taken on the whole, I am inspired by these people.
They live between old values and new technologies. The old values assume a certain sturdiness. For example, there are stairways or “trappenen” everywhere in public and private buildings:movie theatres, the train station, churches. Not simple three step or 5 step stairways but 20 or more steps. Elevators–where in use–are “ud af drift” out of order. Unlike at home in the USA, Denmark posts no signs that say “Watch your step” nor is there any assumption that it will be the stair owner’s negligence in any slip, fall, or exhaustion. In Denmark, as far as I can tell, there are no attorneys’ standing ready for a complaint about the city’s negligence. It’s as if the understanding is “fend for yourself; watch your own feet , if you can’t climb–send somebody else, and don’t bother anyone with your troubles. We’re all in this together as one time Vikings.” Vivi (my new spouse) says the Danes are “relaxed” about many things that we Americans sue each other about. “Relaxed?” What a word!
I am told by my love that Danes work cooperatively toward a mutual win-win solution in most settings. This is apparent to me in watching the workings of the Immigration service office, the “Udlaendingestyrelsen”. The office opens at 8:00 A.M., but they announce that it is okay to start to line up at 7:30. They have an information line, 13 windows of service, an electronic counter, and a “voiced” electronic bulletin board that announces what’s what and how in several languages. That is also supported by the welcome of a living person in Danish and English, at the opening of all windows of service. The bulletin board runs a ticker scrawl that states how many persons (“mennesker”) they have served in the past and in what amount time;they report how many theyhave sewrved since opening that very day–this they do reliably and cheerfully. They take the time needful with everyone. They tend not to become indifferent or annoyed or weighed down by the crowds. My love says, “We are civilized. We are practical. We keep it simple and fair.” Yes, so it seems where service is concerned.
At the Immigration office in particular, the people seeking services come from everywhere. Romania, Turkey, Israel, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Pakistan, Frances, and so many more, including, as in my case, the USA. They wait their turns calmly and patiently, largely because the State provides vending machines with hot and cold drinks and sandwiches, a free daily paper. Everyone can sit at a four -seat coffee shop style table. Some are those elevated bar seat tables and chairs. So the feel is as if one is in a cafe or restaurant. While all wait, right at the opening of the windows, an employee who goes from one table to line to the other in order to get an idea of what are the concerns of those waiting and to direct them. It works like clock-work. There is this homey feel to the service in a highly technical environment partly fostered by the plainly and ordinarily dressed employees.
I am also impressed with the timeliness of the buses and trains. One needs no car in Copenhagen. It is not a huge city, and the country while divided into areas such as Soulland (Sjaelland) Jylland, Bon Holme , so many people travel by public transportation or bike. I will talk about this in future blog journal entries. Since I want to hear from my fans and family, loved ones and associates, I write lots of cards and letters, but it takes between 6 and 10 days to get a letter to the USA and viceversa. The mail service leaves a lot to be desired in pick times, delivery and postal costs. A letter can go at the “A” speed or “B” speed with a stamp or “frimaerke” to indicate when it will be sent along. Postage for a letter is 14.50 Danish crowns (or” kroner”). Converted to American that’s about $2.53 American to mail. But here at is almost 2/3 of a twenty kroner coin. And 20’s are the coin of the realm as our $20.00 bill is. Post card are 12 kroner. So I figure I’d better get this blog going if I intend to keep connected with you all.
I have decided to use my former name as a pen name–SDiane Adamz-Bogus so as not to loswe those who know my former writing and that which is to come. I am Shariananda Adamz and that is how I am known in Danmark. I feel brand new, born freshly and now that the spring is finally here, I am ready to blossom and leap forth. You will want to know so much about the differences and the commonalities between the USA and Denmark. Many things suprise me and many dumbfound me. For example how the doors open opposite those in America, and how the toilets flush by pull lever or push down button. I hope you will follow my journey here on Word Press. You may contact me at this address: Handvaerkerhaven 23, 2 TV 2400 Copenhagen,NV Denmark (postage $1.05).
You may also contact me on line through Facebook as Shariananda Adamz-Bogus or my email:Shariananda@gmail.com.
Anyway, I find Denmark fascinating. The written language, the dress, the time-telling, the spoken word, the beauty, the way people dress and interact, so so much. So I begin.