Leaving Home to Return Home

LIVE NEWS UPDATE: I have exactly six days left in this beautiful place they call Denmark. It doesn’t seem possible. I just communicating with the guy at grocery store, including oversized scarves with every outfit, and navigating my way around Copenhagen and its unpronounceable street names.

Things are becoming familiar. I can understand parts of people’s conversations on the street and have memorized the train schedule. I know the cheapest place to buy shoes and am beginning to grasp the concept of hygge. I feel like the folkehøjskole is my home and Helsingør my town. Did you every wonder how long it takes for you assimilate to a place? The same length of time to realize you now have to go home.

I went to the Danish Resistance Museum with my Danish class on Wednesday. We learned about the role of Denmark during German occupation in World War II. This interesting history lesson was followed by smødbrød and drinks. There were candles and good food. Our Danish teacher told us this story. It may sound familiar:

“A teacher comes into her 2nd grade class and has the children sit on the floor in the circle. She takes a large glass from her bag and places it in the center. “This glass represents your life,” she says. “And it is up to you to fill it.”

First she places large stones into the glass. “These represent your family and close friends. They are the largest, and most important things in your life. Is the glass full?” All the children agree that the glass is indeed full.

Next she adds smaller rocks to the glass. “These represent slightly less important things in your life: a good job, a comfortable income, good health. Now is the glass full?” The children nod their heads.

Last she takes a handful of sand and put it into the glass. “These represent the nice luxuries in life. They are cars, nice clothes, a summer house. Now is the glass finally full?” she asks. “Yes!” all the children shout in unison. The teacher smiles, opens a beer and pours the entire contents into the glass. “Remember no matter how full your life is, there is always room for a Carlsburg.”

A little Danish humor with a deeper reflection of the lifestyle of the Danes. If we all have time to fit a beer into our lives, to spend an hour catching up with an old friend, to wake up in time to see the sunrise, the world might be just that much better.

Snow in Helsingør