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Go, See, Do: A Travelogue

Catching a Moment - What's That Sticker?

DENMARK | Tuesday, 16 April 2013 | Views [145] | Scholarship Entry

“Hey Dan, where’d you get that sticker?”

I looked up from my computer at Jonathan, one of my Danish hall-mates in my Copenhagen dorm building. I had been in Denmark for about a month, and through living on a floor with 23 Danish students, I was beginning to feel a bit more ingratiated into Danish culture.

Having enjoyed a lunch of frikadeller (large, juicy meatballs that can be eaten without sauce) and a dinner of leverpostej (an open-faced sandwich of liver paste on rye bread) I was quite proud of my attempts to live a Danish lifestyle, if only for one short semester.

“It’s just the name of this sneaker store back in Boston where my friend works,” I said, taking a glance at the tattered sticker on the back of my computer. Jonathan was still looking at me quizzically, so I asked, “have you been there, by any chance?”

Jonathan chuckled. “No, but that makes more sense now—we were wondering why someone would have a sticker like that on their computer. In Danish the word is slang for a sketchy bar, some place that you wouldn’t go unless you had a few friends with you to make sure you’d be alright.”

I laughed, slightly embarrassed at my cluelessness. “Ah, well I’m glad I’ve made such a good first impression on everyone,” I said.

“No worries,” Jonathan said, “I’m sure everyone will have a good laugh at dinner tonight.”

My floor had a Dinner Club, which meant that we each took turns cooking dinner one night a week for whomever was around on that night. It was my turn to cook, so I made a pesto pasta with vegetables and Caesar salad. My Danish friends would always joke that they were amazed that the American in the group wasn’t making hot dogs or hamburgers for dinner every night.

Everyone did enjoy hearing about how Jonathan had solved the mystery of the computer sticker, and my friends enjoyed the non-typical American dinner. Although this experience wasn’t a flashy, television-worthy moment, it is one which has stuck with me from my time in Denmark.

Part of the fun of traveling to a new place is seeing the highlights—landmarks, tourist destinations, cultural features that are unique to a certain location. But just as important, and harder to seek out, are the seemingly routine conversations that one has which help two people realize that their worldviews really aren’t so different after all. I still have the sticker on my laptop, and I’m glad that Denmark helped give it some new meaning.

Tags: Travel Writing Scholarship 2013

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