Few life events garner the overflowing abundance of praise that is heaped upon a semester abroad. A coming of age ceremony characterized by valiant anecdotes of becoming lost on public transportation, courageous new dietary experiences, and a half-assed stab at a foreign language, the semester abroad is perhaps best described as one in which academics take a backseat to self-discovery. “Open new doors” was a theme I heard repeatedly pre-departure, referring to the multitude of new experiences that lay ahead. It sounded great, which should have made me suspicous from the get-go. By mid-May, Denmark, Scandinavia, and perhaps Europe as a whole could be familiar to me, its people and culture like second-nature. It was hard to not imagine a seamless transition into my future as a global traveller. It wasn’t long, though, before I encountered a serious problem in obtaining this fantasy:
Check out this door. How the heck was I supposed to open this thing? And get this: these sons-of-guns are all over this god forsaken country. The Vikings are gone, couldn’t they have taken their hideous turn-of-the-first-millennium technology with them? Let me explain the tediousness of the door you look upon. What you and I would call the handle is nothing of the sort. Rather, it is a entirely useless piece of metal designed to deceive the door-opener into thinking it is a helpful tool. It goes down and then up, as you would expect, but does little to assist in opening the door. You would never be able to figure this out otherwise, so I’ll spoil it for you now. The white button and small latch above the “handle” will unlatch the door.
As you may have guessed, much of my time in Denmark has been spent looking at a similar image to the one you see above, except with the added drama of reality and the fact that I must, at some point, pass through the door. Nine days in to this experience, I feel like I’m still deciding whether I want to use that tempting white button or the more sturdy latch. I wonder what is on the other side of this door and the many others I will pass through. Choices will be abundant, and I hope to capture the best of the best and the worst of the worst right here on this blog. Until next week, and enjoy the complimentary statue.