Orientation week! (Or: That Time I Tried to Buy a Bike)
Mark dropped me off at campus on the morning of Monday, August 24th. He was airport bound, I was college campus bound. His destination: California; home. My destination: a brand new Copenhagen-shaped chapter of my life; a new home.
Starting with this exquisitely modern and angular place. University of Copenhagen, Amager. Or: Københavns Universitet Amager. Or: KUA (“Koo-uh,” cause the Danes like to pronounce their acronyms as words.) The home of the Faculty of Humanities, and home to my Master’s program, Cognition & Communication.
Monday was the start of a weeklong orientation program for all the international master’s degree students. 5 days of a grueling 9-4 schedule, filled to the brim with lessons on the University, academic expectations, life in Denmark, bike culture, drinking culture, safety, Danish healthcare, the insane Copenhagen housing market (many incoming students were still living in hostels, trying to find a place to live), etc.
Talk about information OVERLOAD.
And to top things off…RAIN. Yeah, do not let those previous blue sky pictures fool you. All it takes is 15 minutes and suddenly it’s full on wind, black clouds, and rainrainrain.
My first weekend in Copenhagen was absolutely beautiful, weather-wise. Sunny and warm, and not a cloud in sight. My first week in Copenhagen? The exact opposite. It was freezing, and rained EVERY DAY. You’d think it would be kind of exciting for a Los Angeles native, right? Wrong. Ok, yes, it was scenic and moody and novel. I was loving the rain while I was sitting in a classroom, watching it from my cozy seat inside. But then 4 o’clock came, and orientation let out for the day, and it was STILL RAINING.
Remember: I got dropped me off with naught but a backpack and decidedly un-waterproof clothing before he made his way to CPH Airport. The original plan was for me to buy a bike after class, and use that to get back to my apartment (about a 25 minute ride away). The closest bike shop to campus was half a mile-ish, no big deal. Well, let me tell you, it becomes a big deal in a downpour. I tried to wait it out, chill in the library or something, but it just would not stop. I tried to find an umbrella somewhere, but no luck.
So, I braced myself and just made the walk. It’s just water! *tries to convince self*
And look at that! It all worked out, easy peasy.
Just kidding. It was a nightmare. Turns out the bike shop didn’t take credit card, only cash or “Dankort” (Danish-issued debit card). Of course they didn’t tell me that until I had picked out a bike and was ready to pay. Temporary solution was putting down a deposit on the bike with the cash I had on hand, getting a loaner/rental bike, and then coming back the next day after a visit to the ATM. Ai yai yai.
In the end it was all ok, and I was proud bike mama to this cutie. Denmark is a bicycle nation, first and foremost, so having my own two-wheeler made me feel like slightly less of a crazy American outsider.
So, this was the view from my bedroom window every morning that week. Rain, you’re kind of an asshole when I have to bike 30 minutes to campus in your downpour. But you’re super awesome when I get to snuggle under the covers and just listen to your pitter patter.
Cue: Netflix and hot chocolate.
I mean, that’s really what I came to Copenhagen for anyway.