Sunday, June 29, 2014

Feeling comfortable (in London).

Fear not, dear readers, we have not dropped off the face of Denmark.  We have just momentarily dropped out of the blogging world.  Sorry about that.  So many things to do, but so little time to write about them.  (What a horrible problem, I know.)

If you go to London and don't take a picture,
with Big Ben, were you really there?
For instance, the day after we moved into our new apartment, (and this is where I make all you readers in the USA jealous) we took a quick little weekend trip to London.  Mike and Courtney, some friends from Colorado, were visiting London for a week, and we couldn't not meet up with them (it's so close!).

London is a HUGE city.  Normally, I like walking around a city because I think it helps you get to know a place.  But if we had walked everywhere in London, we wouldn't have had time to do anything else.  (And we wouldn't have had the entertaining but slightly unnerving experience of sitting in the front row on the top of a double decker bus where it seriously looks like the bus is about to hit pedestrians/bikers/other cars/anything in its way the entire time.)

Since we were only there for 2 days, of course, we couldn't see everything.  We mostly skipped the royalty-centric part of London in favor of free museums (the National Gallery, the British Museum, and the Tate Modern were the ones we visited) and sunny walks/boat rides along the River Thames.

We were all big fans of the Egyptian exhibit at the British Museum.  There's an actual human body still wrapped inside that box!


London's public transit system includes boats that run up and down the river which double as a cheap river cruise.  And the Thames river walk takes you past Shakespeare's Globe, the Tate Modern, the Millenium Bridge, and places to enjoy a Pimm's cup while watching the sun set.

Sunset over the Thames
Tower of London seen from the boat
Millenium Bridge
St. Paul's Cathedral

Millenium Bridge

We also saw a funny little play, Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, which happens to be the longest running play in London (we realized after that's why the tickets were so cheap...everyone else has already seen it!).

Besides all of the fun London tourist-y things, one highlight of visiting London...everything is in English!  This was something that I didn't think bothered me too much about Denmark.  I's Denmark...of course everything is in Danish.  Why wouldn't it be?  It takes a little while, but the official-looking things we get in the mail we can usually translate online.  The random billboards, advertisements, and signs around town we can mostly just ignore.  Grocery shopping took a little getting used to, but even there, lots of things are obvious and there are usually pictures on the boxes.  And being surrounded by Danish advertisements and Danish signs and Danish everything has actually helped me learn a lot of words.  When, after staring at it for entirely too long, I finally understand what some bus stop billboard actually says ("Start training today at Fresh Fitness!  Just 149 kroner per month!"), it kinda encourages me that I'm making progress in my language learning.  When I moved here, I expected to be surrounded by Danish and figured that I would just deal with it as best as I could.  But then in London... "New phone only 1 pound with 6 month subscription!" ... "This week only!  All sandals 20% off!" ... "Try our new chicken sandwich!" didn't matter that I didn't want any of those things, I could understand what was being offered and decide what I thought about it in a matter of milliseconds.  Every billboard didn't have to be opportunity to practice my language skills.  Literacy is amazing!  Like I said, I didn't think I was that bothered about being surrounded by Danish especially because English is very widely spoken so I can easily find someone to help me if I need it.  But I'll admit that I do often feel embarrassed, self-conscious, and sometimes just plain dumb when someone talks to me and I have to put a pitiful look on my face and apologize for not speaking Danish.  So I guess that I'm not surprised that after being in London just two days, it somehow felt quite comfortable to me.  And I think a big reason for that was the language.

Well, the language and the fact that we spent our two days there with two really awesome people who we've known for more than three months and who already know us and like us!  It's easy being with old friends.  It's comfortable; it's relaxing.  They already know your story and have already lived some of life with you.  And I look forward to getting to that place with people we've met in Aalborg (some of who read this blog...Hi Friends!).  But in the meantime, I am very thankful that we got to talk about nerdy engineering things over some beers with Mike while Courtney rolled her eyes and drank Diet Coke.  Thanks for a great weekend guys!

I believe this was when David and Mike were discussing
the construction of the Millenium Bridge while Courtney
and I tried to talk them into finding somewhere to eat.

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