Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Settled in

Traveling is uncomfortable. There is nothing glamorous about wearing the same thing 5 times before you wash it, eating things you can’t pronounce and feeling sick the rest of the day, using body language as your main means of communicating with the people around you, or taking the wrong public transportation and spending hours finding your way back to the starting point. And yet, these are the things that make traveling exhilarating and liberating by breaking the bounds of the comfortable and routine. So what happens when you unpack the suitcase, stop needing a map, and get comfortable? For the first time in my history of traveling I am able to give some answers to that question.

The other day I was walking back from the gym and as I passed my favorite Shawarma shop, I realized that my days of walking through Copenhagen as a dumbstruck tourist are over. As in any city, there will always be new places to see, new things to learn, and secrets to be discovered. But I can now tell you how to get to the Norreport station (and pronounce it correctly); I know my favorite brand of yogurt in the grocery store; I can tell chicken from turkey just by reading the packages; and I can pick out my favorite street performers on Strøget. I may not know all the ins and outs of Danish transit but I know the rules of buying and using a ticket; I no longer need to convert everything from kroner to dollars; I know not to jay-walk; and I can use military time without my brain cramping up. I bring my own bags to the grocery store; I know where to return my bottles and cans; I no longer have to analyze my coins in order to hand over the correct change; and I am less afraid of getting hit by a bike. Of course, there is still plenty learn and lots to observe, but with 8 weeks behind me and 15 weeks to go I am happy to say that I am rather comfortable.

1 comment:

lynn said...

I'm still so amazed at how incredibly you write! And every time i read your blogs, I'm so envious. And all the traveling youre getting to do is great. I hope when you get home, you'll still take your own bags to the supermarkets! We're actually trying to get in the habit of doing that in LA now-and a couple places charge for bags now!! Its about time. Your time is going to be up before you know it-enjoy every minute, Shelby. Love, Lynn