Copenhagen 2012: That Time When…

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Some of my favorite recent Facebook updates have been “that time when…” statements.

“That time when my mom found me with a bottle of wine and a jumbo box of Oreos.” Nice.

“That time when I realized I was walking around all day with bird sh*t on my jacket.” Classic.

“That time when the cleaning lady saw me doing the walk of shame.” You go girl.
 
I like these updates because they remind us to laugh at ourselves and to roll with the punches. The point, of course, is to act like you’re telling the story of this terrible incident at a later point when doing so doesn’t make you weep.
 
Right now, I’m just about six weeks into my semester abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. And this forward-thinking trend has been extra enjoyable because lately I’ve been doing a lot of punch rolling of my own. Misery loves company, and here are some examples:
 
1.) That time when I got off at the wrong Metro stop and received a 750 Kronor fine…
2.) …followed by the time I cried to the ticket inspector.
3.) That time I tried Danish Zumba and realized my hips do lie.
4.) That time I ate the “maxi” bag of M&M’s in 24 hours.
5.) That time I missed the train, and the Metro, and the bus, and class.
6.) That time when I owed twice as much in tuition as I thought I did when I left the country.
 
Things like this aren’t fun at home, and they’re definitely not fun when you’re thousands of miles away and a little linguistically isolated and more than a phone call away from your support system.
 
Studying abroad is a fabulous opportunity, and I won’t try to say that I’m not having the time of my life. This is the epitome of a first world problem. But there are times when life just knocks you down. Even in Denmark.
 
So at times like this, I try to focus on the small things. First I look up at the early modern and medieval and renaissance buildings all mixed together on my walk to class. I try to appreciate the fact that the sky is blue today, and that my down coat is finally getting too warm to wear out of the house.
 
Then I look around at the parents toting two kids to school on their bicycles and the pastry shop that gets foggy windows around this time every morning.
 
I remember this is a cool thing that I’m doing. This is a neat place to be. It’s not easy every day, but it is worth it. When it’s not mind blowing and awesome and fast-paced, I think about these small things, and I am thankful. And I remind myself that one day, because of this experience, I’ll have too many “that time when” statements to count.
 
Photo at http://www.skepticnorth.com/2010/09/skeptic-fails-and-wins-this-week-29/

Claire Wiseman

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