I’ll admit it: I’m a chronic overpacker. While most sane people, when faced with a camping trip, would content themselves with a book, their dog, and maybe a change of clothes, I would pack three board games, two notebooks, several books, and practically a complete kitchen, probably while forgetting something important like a toothbrush. I suppose that reflects my desire to make my surroundings conform to my ideas of home. To impose upon an alien landscape the familiar comforts and pastimes of home makes it less alien, more palatable. At nineteen, I’d like to think I’m capable of a little more flexibility. My imminent sojourn in Denmark will allow me the possibility of living differently, and I intend to take advantage of the opportunity by strategically underpacking.
Pop open my suitcase and you’ll find enough clothing to get by (but nothing fancy), toiletries, warm and rainproof clothing, an empty liquor flask, and my laptop and Euro power adapter. My climbing shoes and harness made it in there too- I’ve heard that Copenhagen has some dope climbing gyms, and I learned that my homestay buddy is also super into climbing (Thanks for that one, DIS). Rounding out the mix is my bright-orange knife roll (color inspiration credit to Otto Schwarm, the Orange Master himself). Aw, come on, you didn’t think I’d pack nothing related to my cooking hobby, did you? While it’s not my main focus in Denmark, I do plan on cooking at least a few times while I’m there, whether it be at my homestay or volunteering through studenterhuset.
My good friend Noah Wechter, Whitman 2019 and a DIS alum himself, informed me about studenterhuset, which is a student cafe run by volunteer students from many nations. Besides being the kind of cosmopolitan experience that makes the world of food special, I’ll also get discounts at the bar! Not bad for one shift a week. Truth be told, my only exposure to Danish culture to this point has been through their food. My favorite bakers rave about Denmark’s Smorrebrod, the colorful open-faced sandwiches whose name literally means “butter and bread,” and Rene Redzepi of Restaurant Noma (in Copenhagen!) is a name uttered in hushed tones throughout the culinary world. He gained fame through his unique culinary philosophy: create a unique Nordic cuisine using foraged and fermented ingredients.
I guess, in the end, I’m still bringing my home with me, for the kitchen represents home. It is my happy place, and I’m bringing it to Denmark. At least a small part of it.
PS: Enjoy this ten second clip explaining the meaning of Allon-y, featuring the one and only David Tennant.