Heather and I have finally moved into our “permanent” apartment, which is just northwest of the University in an area called Skejby, though our postal code says we live in Risskov and I think technically all of this is still Aarhus. I do not understand Danish toponymy.
The apartment is much larger than our temporary place on Ny Munkegade. Indeed, I’m fairly confident that the living room here is larger than our entire place over there, which is great! It’s almost like being back in the states. And it’s fully furnished, so we’ve been able to settle in quickly. This morning we made a quick run – or walk rather – to IKEA, which lies about a mile (or should I say a kilometer or so) north of our apartment. Danish transportation design showing its good form, there are sidewalks that lead directly from here to there with only the need to cross one major-ish road. Some day when we have bikes, there are also really nice bike paths that appear to lead everywhere.
The trip to IKEA was, as any such trip is, identical to all previous trips to IKEA I have ever made before. We picked up our big yellow bag, stuffed in with a bunch of miscellany that was either missing or in need of replacement from the “furnished” part of our apartment. We stopped for kødboller med kartoffelmos, as is obligatory. Having received my Danish debit card earlier this week, we were able to sort of pass as locals by not using cash, which is essentially non-existent here. That meal plus a coffee and soda put us back a cool 70 crowns, or about $14.
Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables[/caption]With some cooking equipment in hand, we were able to make our first real cooked meal in our new apartment (pictured). A chicken plus root vegetables. Chicken came pre-seasoned, so I can’t really take credit for that, but it was a nice simple meal with some delicious (hopefully Danish) rodfrugt. We’re going to follow this up with a really fantastic chocolate cake we bought at the grocery store. My American hesitance to trust grocery store bakery goods is quickly being overcome with some really successful purchases we’ve made lately of croissants, breads, and this cake.
But, to get to the headline of this post…our apartment here is where our official Danish address is, so we’ve been eagerly awaiting some mail that has been set to arrive since we registered our existence with Aarhus municipality. So our big move-in present to ourselves was opening all of the mail from our bank, from the government, etc. that contained essentials like the debit card already mentioned, our health insurance cards and government-assigned doctor’s name, and some other stuff. Among that stuff was perhaps the most ironic letter I’ve ever received. It came from Jobcenter Aarhus, which helps people find work. In the envelope was a letter – in Danish – and a very official looking certificate. I immediately recognized it as our permission letter to take government-subsidized Danish lessons here in Aarhus. What little Danish I can already read clued me in that this was explaining when and for how long we would be allowed to take classes and thankfully for us the internet and Google Translate exist so we were able to decipher the rest, but I can’t get past the pure insanity of sending a letter in Danish to someone whom you know does not speak Danish about their future ability to learn Danish. The classes are free, so I guess I can’t complain.
The weather has been really odd here this week, as it allegedly is all the time. I woke up Friday to one of the most picturesque sunrises I’ve ever witnessed over the Aarhus harbor, only to have that decay slowly into an on-and-off mix of sleet, snow, wind, and clear skies over the past two days. The weather didn’t hold us back, though, from venturing out last night to see Skyfall (yes, we’re very behind the times) in the movie theater downtown. 250 crowns for two tickets and a soda made for one of the most enjoyable $50 movies I’ve ever seen!
I think Heather will be adding more soon about a couple of other fun adventures we’ve been having in our process of adjusting to Denmark, but that’s all I have for now.