Szczecin, Poland

“You can learn a lot about culture by watching it shop for groceries. It’s like sneaking into a nation’s house and rifling through the fridge.”
– Peter Jon  Lindberg

I spent some time wandering the mall next to my hotel (I explored the one down the street yesterday – hello starbucks). I spent a good chunk of time in the grocery store, because… holy hell, a grocery store the day before a big holiday is a zoo! The grocery stores here are much bigger than the ones in Denmark. Even comparing the food section of a store like Bilka, the ones here are bigger. What caught my attention the most was the self-serve sauerkraut. What I didn’t get a photo of was the older man jabbing his grubby fingers in for a taste.

So far so good with the experience of the dentist here. Only it isn’t as simple as needing a crown. Basically it comes down to the fact that my bite is beyond effed up (dear genetics, no love, me) and if she puts a porcelain crown on my lower molars, I will likely shatter it because the only place where my teeth actually touch is the four molars in the back so they are getting all the pressure when eat/chew. So she fixed my tooth in the back, fixed some smaller cavities and gave me a good cleaning. Then told me to look into fixing my bite before we do something like a crown. Argh.

Tonight is my massage – for reals, my shoulders tremble at the idea. A blissful hour of my muscles having the shit beat out of them. I’m hoping that it’ll give me a bit better range of motion. I know I need to see the chiropractor when I get home, but for now this’ll be great, I’m sure. I’ve also had a long soak in the tub with skin softening bath stuff from Sephora. I’m *not* thinking about coming home or anything stressful, and had a great nights sleep on a super comfy, super big bed last night.

Tomorrow is All Saints Day – a major holiday here in Poland, so everything will be closed. I plan on taking my camera for a spin around the city and hopefully to the cemetery where the rest of the city will be.

At first I was disappointed that I would lose a day of things being opened, but then I thought… some of my most favorite photos are from cemeteries.

I will hold on hope.

“Spare me your judgements and spare me your dreams
Cause recently mine have been tearing my seams
I sit alone in this winter clarity which clouds my mind”

— Momford & Sons.

First… That awkward moment when you had a long, and awesome post all typed out, and then firefox freezes and you have to rethink/type what you already said, but it doesn’t seem half as awesome as before.

*Deep breath*

Since I’ve made the decision to go home (which I don’t regret), I’ve been trying to figure out some sort of plan or outlook for life for what I need to do to get where I need to be – if that makes sense. And it hasn’t been easy going. Quite honestly, I have the feeling that between coming home and Christmas – I plan to spend much of my time curled up with the dog, licking my wounds and resting my weary head. A month of headaches (which have been much less frequent, thank you) have left me with little energy to do much of anything and I am already fighting the urge to spend all day curled up in bed – not that I don’t spend a lot of time in comfy pants, but I made it out every day, even if it’s just a few miles around the neighborhood. And it’s funny the certain comfort items that I miss – and it isn’t just a pumpkin spice latte on these dreary, almost-winter days.

Since I’ve made my decision to go home, I’ve gotten all kinds of responses, from “wow, tough choice, but good for you for being able to follow through with what you feel is right” to “what’s next?” to “Well then, what else can you do? You aren’t getting any younger…” — which, thank you, I’m reminded of this fact every time I log on facebook and see that someone else from high school is engaged/married/having a kid. I’d like to think I’ll get there eventually, but I’m not clouded enough in my judgement to think that I’m ready for that. I like kids (hell, I’ve worked with them for the past 6’ish years and I certainly miss my little buddy Jake), but I also know that I have things that I still want to do for me, and that I’m too selfish to put someone else’s needs before mine on a regular basis (not even joking, “Aww, you want a new toy? Tough shit, mommy wants a new pair of shoes/camera/vacation”). It doesn’t bode well for a change in relationship status either considering my biggest life goal at the moment is to spend 3-4 months driving around the country again, discovering small town America (I’m convinced there is a best seller in that – I just need to get the funds and get out there). And quite frankly, I don’t want company. I of course look forward to meeting up with friends here/there along the way, but some of the most eye opening and memorable experiences were while I was alone. I want that again, I almost crave it. The anonymity of being somewhere new where no one knows you – no expectations, no judgements. I don’t know what it is, but it’s hard to explain.

And to those who say ‘it won’t happen’… I say ‘watch me’.

And don’t expect no #$%& postcard.

So what is my path? I have no clue. Is is naïve of me to think that I’m meant to do something different, something special? This isn’t the same pre-9/11 world I grew up in where we were told we could do anything. Now it seems like the country – hell the rest of the world has gone to shit. How can I still think that I’m not meant for a regular job when so many people having to take on menial jobs just to put basic food on the table? Why am I so unwilling to accept that this is what life is for us post-9/11. I believe the country can be great again, but at this point, it’s up to the people to figure it out because the government clearly isn’t doing much. I’m not pointing any fingers, because I feel there is fault on both sides (thought we all know what side of the fence I stand on) and actually, all of congress can pack up and go home for all I care – all their bickering like 7th grade girls.

Ok, this post is quickly ‘jumping the shark’ — damn you wordpress for deleting my first, more awesome post. But anyway, basically… yeah, I quit grad school one semester in. But fuck it, I will make something of myself. Just wait and see.

Side note: Why is it that my deepest, ‘meaning of life’ type posts come to me while at the airport*?

*Yes, at Starbucks.

Good Eats!

I took a tour through the new Torvehallerne in Copenhagen today. It’s a small inside market – two long halls, one with meats, cheese and fish and the other with baked goods, fruits/veggies, desserts and take-away food such as sandwiches and sushi.

It feels like a mini version of the market at Granville Island in Vancouver B.C. but give it some time to fill up (there were a few empty stalls) and possibly expand, and I think it could become something bit for the city. The fish looked fresh, and the various cheese and salami samples I tried were fantastic. The prices weren’t outrageous (esp. for Danish standards) and everyone was very friendly, even if all I did was say that I was just browsing.

I could have done without seeing the chickens with their heads (and head feathers) still on — but actually, can I get one of those for my hair? But the ducks were the worst… their flat little beaks. Gah! Makes me think of my little babies and how Petri (yes, I had pet Ducks – 6 to be exact) would follow me everywhere.

I wish Kirkland or Bellevue would have something like this year round. I mean, PCC and whole foods have a lot of stuff, but I like the small stalls (like at the farmers market). Things stay a little more competitive. But hey… I guess it’s like Pike Place Market. Which I love, but parking is a bitch, and I don’t bus in Seattle (sorry – 3 strikes and you’re out king county metro).


“Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it.” — Danny Kaye

I know it’s been a bit since I’ve had anything to say, and really… that’s just it. I, for once in my life, don’t have much to say. I flip flop between feeling at ease with my decision – knowing it won’t be easy, but it’s the right thing. And on the other side of that, complete and utter panic and inner chaos. Some days I don’t think it would take much for me to lay in bed drinking wine all day. Oh, wait…

Actually, tonight’s mix is calimocho – red wine/coke. Coke as in soda, coca-cola… not… sniffsniff. It’s a true drink, I promise. Mostly because I was being frugal and judging cheap wine on awesome looking labels. It worked for the french riesling last week. This week… not so much. But it wasn’t a hassle to stop by netto after my 4mile jaunt around town this afternoon to pick up a two liter of coke to help wash it down – we needed TP anyway. Rule number 1.5 (on Gibbs’ list of rules, of this I am certain), you don’t waste wine.

I’m trying to look forward, one thing at a time. I have two trips coming up – the one to the UK is cemented. The one to Poland should be soon. Otherwise I’m trying to figure out what exactly I need to take home with me, and what I can toss/donate. I know I can’t fit everything back in my suitcases, most I can, but i had some books here that need to come back and I don’t think they’ll make it in, weight-wise. So I need to figure out if it’ll be cheaper to spend $100 for a third suitcase, or if I can get the stuff shipped home for cheaper. All comes down to what it weighs.

In an effort to keep myself… happy, not drunk all day, busy… I’ve taken to wandering the streets of Copenhagen (or Søborg), usually with my camera in tow. I’ve been trying to capture the small things I see, the things I want to remember about living here.  So… here you are (same as on facebook if you’ve already looked there):

“If you want to forget all your other troubles, wear tight shoes.”

It’s no secret the last few weeks have been rough. Between stressful doctor visits to figure out why I’ve been feeling so run-down (nope, no answers yet), three needle pokes (which is funny, because I’m going to acupuncture voluntarily tomorrow), and a school program that’s left me less than motivated… I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the headache I’ve been sporting the past 2 weeks is purely stress related.

BUT — Thursday I went to a seminar at DIIS about migrant worker and deportation and it was a pretty eye opening experience. Not for the facts that they gave us, but rather they way they gave them. The first three presenters talked about their ‘research’ and how they worked with this policy and that policy and I almost fell asleep. The fourth person, however, had actually gone to North Africa and found some people smugglers and got to know their story and how they joined the business. He knew their names and had photographs. Basically, it was real people he worked with, not just a policy that theoretically should work with/for people.

I think a light-bulb of sorts went off over my head. I don’t think this program is right for me.

I want hands-on, I want creativity (ok, that doesn’t really have much to do with global studies) and most importantly – I want to write. Back in school, we were always told to read what we had written out loud. You catch more mistakes that way, and it helps you learn. In talking to my mom and essentially ‘reading it out loud’ I was sort of slapped across the face with the whole ‘holy shizz-nits, I don’t want to be here, I want to write’ idea. I think I’ve been toying with the idea for awhile, but until I really got it out there, it’s just been hanging in the back of my mind. So I was a mess and I was up until 2am because I could sleep (and it made me sleep past the 4am Sounders game – but that’s okay because they lost), but when I woke up, I was oddly at peace with the idea that maybe RUC just isn’t the place for me this time around.

If I stay for two years, I’ll have a masters degree in Global Studies, and that’s about it. My sanity will probably be ripped to shreds, I’ll likely be no closer to an actual career, but then again, I’ll have the shiny, new degree smell. Kinda like a new car, but without the wheels to make it drive anywhere.

But my new plan consists of going home and taking some courses in journalism, creative writing and photography and working on finding an internship somewhere. Something to get my foot in the door all while I work on my own creative writing. I want people to say, “oh, have you seen Hanne’s new article, book, NCIS script?” (only kinda kidding on the TV script). I wanted that before, but now I want it bad.

I think my biggest issue is… well, I have two. The first is dealing with the idea that I’ve wasted 6months. I know that I haven’t – you don’t learn if you don’t try, but at the same time… 6 months is 6 months. And the second is that I know when I leave Denmark this time, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be back to live here. I will visit (lots and often, I hope), but I don’t really see myself coming back to live here. I used to think I would at one point, but I don’t know. Just a feeling, I guess. The last two years I was home, I had that option to go to Denmark. I had things stored at my cousins house, so moving wasn’t that hard. But this time…

So it sucks. And it’s hard. But I think I’ve made my decision. And it’s time to take off the damn-tight shoes.