A couple months ago, Per (aka my glorious adviser, may his goatee never fall out) invited me to join a long-standing project to produce a new textbook on agricultural policy to be used internationally to train students and policy makers. It's some interesting, exciting stuff. Well, this week most of the collaborators, including yours truly, are meeting in Copenhagen to discuss progress to date and plan some new stuff.
So I'm writing this from the Hotel Opera directly next door to the Royal Theater of Copenhagen. I got here just in time to miss Hamlet. HAMLET! In DENMARK! Duuude! I may catch a ballet Wednesday night after work though, and there won't be a language problem then.
There practically isn't a language problem at all anyway. Danes are taught English as a second language from the second grade, and so far today I've been able to talk to any random person I met on the streets in a more fluent English than many people in New York, California, or Utah speak. Many of the signs are in Danish and English, and even if they weren't, Danish is sufficiently close to either English or German that I can muddle my way through most of the street signs and advertisements quite handily. I can alllllmost make out the occasional conversation I overhear - that is, I can catch 2-3 key words in a sentence, and that's just enough to make me strain to overhear and figure out the rest, but I don't know enough of the little words to be able to catch them when natives are speaking normal native speed. Oh well.
I ask people occasionally how to say certain important phrases, so I can now greet people in Danish by saying hej (pronounced: Hi) or, if I want to be formal, god dag (pronounced: Good Day). (honest!) manga tak (which I don't know how to spell) means thank you, just as it does in Norwegian, and the difficult one to say is excuse me: undskyld (neither of the vowel sounds are really used in English, but it's got a silent D at the end. How cool is that?)
I got in about 7am without any sleep on the plane (too hot), but chipper. After breakfast and a nap, I went out for a walk downtown for 2.5 hours to look and take pictures of anything interesting. Now the fun part will be to go back through the pictures and try to figure out what they are!