My flight leaves in less than an hour.
Things I loved about my trip:
1. Riding a roller coaster then being within 20 yards of a herd of deer all in one afternoon.
2. Walking through so many parks. One of my favorites had built in trampolines for kids. And adults who wanted to be kids. Uh, me.
3. Breathing in the crisp air every morning. And Copenhagen definitely smells different than Cambridge. Copenhagen smelled, to me, like a horse. Which sounds like it could be a negative, but it was not at all.
4. The conversations.
5. Hot chocolate.
6. Hot chocolate.
7. Hot chocolate.
8. Learning about the history of a country far far older than the US.
9. Time with Kim and Jess. Family. And of course, Smudge.
10. Is it wrong to list hot chocolate before my friends?
11. Hot chocolate.
12. Running, biking, walking, eating in an unfamiliar city was invigorating. Especially the eating part. Did I mention the hot chocolate?
There is so much more rambling about in my head, that I know I would prioritize differently if I wasn’t boarding a plane in a few minutes. And if I wasn’t so damn tired from having such an awesome time. But my memory will hopefully stay fresh for another post, with more perspective, so please forgive me until then.
All I can say in this moment, before I hit the lights and fade into a certain snore, is that I am grateful for all the nourishment of these past six days, in the form of some very tasty pastries, and more meaningfully, in the beauty and art that surrounded me as I traveled on foot and on wheels. Let me emphasize the wheels. The people of Copenhagen have a long enduring relationship with the bicycle. The city is designed for it, with clear bike lanes on every street, and rush hour means twice as many bikes than cars whipping by. There are bikes and bike racks everywhere.
A few years ago, I gave my bike away to a friend. It had been sitting in the basement for years. This week was the first time I’d ridden a bike in probably more than five years. Copenhagen reminded me how amazing it is to experience a city on a bike. Now that Boston and Cambridge have the hub bike program, maybe I’ll go test my renewed relationship, get my fanny back on the seat and bring the romance from Copenhagen to the streets of my hometown. It might be a long shot, but maybe even Boston will embrace this mode of transportation more and we can work towards leaving less of a carbon footprint. By putting my foot down on a bike pedal instead of a gas one, I could do my part.
At a cafe in the Copenhagen hood called Norrebro, I ordered a chai. In English. He surmised from my resonating accent, that I was American. What can I say, part of my charm.
B: Where are you from?
Me: Oh. Yes. Thank you.
B: That was horrible. Very sorry.
People around the world. We all feel pain. We can be united. If we choose to see our humanity above all else. Thank you, Norrebro Barista. For the gift of yours.
The best way to get to know a place, in my opinion, is by walking. One of the best ways I have gotten to know myself, is by walking. We have walked many miles since I’ve arrived in Copenhagen. Covering miles amongst a new city, has made me feel alive and grateful. It also is a familiar reminder that whenever I feel stuck and unsettled, the best thing for me to do is go for a walk. If I just keep moving, whatever is blocking me in, will eventually, move out of the way. If I have patience enough.
We went for a run this morning. The sky was a blue that made my eyes water. We ran through a park with a stadium that the night before held a Justin Beiber concert. No, that didn’t inspire me to run with my running pants at half mast.
We ran in Kastellet park, where a giant old windmill stood. We ran to get our photo taken with the Little Mermaid, in between tour groups flooding off their buses. We ran past the Queen’s garden and The Royal Theatre. The sun warmed the backs of our necks. The swans awoke and stretched theirs. I felt the sea air rush into my lungs. As each foot maneuvered around the cobble stones, I felt fluid and energized.
This afternoon, as we had a late brunch with Kim and Jess’s small group of friends, from Germany, Iran, Spain, and Greece, we talked about the hours old events in Boston, my home. They were all interested in everything that had unfolded. I burst into tears. It seemed to come out of nowhere. But I know I had been holding it in, close to my chest. Being so far from home when my spouse and all my loved ones were locked inside their homes waiting…for, who knows what to happen, created this ball of emotion in me that tightened every muscle in between my ears and my armpits.
This morning, running under that brilliant blue sky, my feet pounding the centuries old pavement, pushed my emotions to a millimeter beneath my skin.
Sharing the horror that took place steps outside my home, to give voice to that reality, while being on vacation thousands of miles away, made me feel like in some way, I had abandoned my spouse, loved ones and my city and all I could do in that moment, was cry.
Maybe tomorrow, or the next day, I will go running again. Maybe more emotions will rise to the surface. I may be thousands of miles from Boston, but in my heart, I am always home.
When you accidentally bump into someone, in Denmark that is, the proper thing to say is “undskyld.” It sounds slightly like a cross between unskilled and unschooled.
Today we bumped into a lot of things. On purpose. By choice. And it was awesome. I did two things I haven’t done in a long time, ride a bike and ride on a roller coaster. Both before lunch. Which was a good move. Especially with the roller coaster.
After lunch, we strolled through the deer park, where we marveled at the herds, and I mean several large herds, of deer moving across the soft green landscape.
Today, I truly bumped into life, and I did it without apology. Or without saying undskyld.
On the flight to Iceland last night, I sat next to an oncology nurse from BI, where I and my Mom were treated during our dance with cancer. She asked me what I thought about cancer. I didn’t know how to answer. I can certainly say I wouldn’t recommend it.