Day 1: In Which We Found a Graveyard Banksy and Didn’t Kill My Mom

Midlife Sentence | Nyhavn Copenhagen Denmark

The good news is: we have our boy back. The big one. The one who’s been on exchange for almost a year.

The better news is: he appears to have actually taken the opportunity of his exchange to learn a decent amount of Danish. Most folks in this country are fluent in English, so if he’d wanted, he could have easily frittered the opportunity to expand that part of his brain.

The really exciting news is: there are about a bajillion new ways to annoy him by pronouncing Danish words incorrectly, and we don’t even have to try.

Pretty much the first day into this trip, I decided our primary goal was to give Jack’s eye rolling mechanism a workout by mispronouncing purt’near everything I can in Danish. It isn’t hard to do, and he’s mostly a good sport about it, BUT I haven’t broken out my Swedish Chef imitation yet, nor has Colin asked him how to say Fahrvergnügen in Dutch, so we have some cards left to play.

In all seriousness, it is really nice to have the band back together.

Midlife Sentence | Cophenhagen

My mom’s joining us for the first two thirds of the trip, and we tried to bring the foot travel down a notch to accommodate her. On the first day, it didn’t look like we’d succeeded.

I’d found a flat to rent in an old working class district (what Jack’s host sister calls the “hipster neighborhood”) of Copenhagen called Nørrebro. We liked that it was cool, and colorful, and inexpensive. It also turns out to be difficult to find an airbnb that can simultaneously accommodate five people, is anywhere near a metro station, and isn’t four floors up (with no elevator), but now, I’m thinking it would have been nice if we’d tried a little harder to do so.

Although the place we’ve found to stay for the first three days of our trip is pretty cool, it’s not very accessible. Thankfully, Mom and her recently rebuilt knees are troopers, despite all the climbing and the walking. And now that we’ve figured out the bus system as well as the metro, we’re in better shape for a day of exploring tomorrow.

Last night we had enough pep after our travel from home to stock up on groceries and then explore the park across from our building which adjoins the Assistens Kirkegård Cemetery, where some famous Danes like Hans Christian Andersen and Søren Kierkegaard are buried.

And then there was this guy: Andreas Morgenrødt.

Midlife Sentence | Assistens Kirkegård in Norrebro, Cophenhagen

The tombstone says “Time Travelers” 1996-2064, but the story of the stone isn’t as interesting as I’d have hoped. It’s a combination performance art/publicity stunt by poet Morten Søndergaard to publicize a book of poetry published last year called Death is a Part of My Name (the name on the tombstone is an anagram), which the cemetery caretakers found irreverent and playful enough to leave in place for now.

This morning we slept late and then Jack walked us to a bakery for the goods for what he calls a “proper Danish breakfast,” which included rolls with butter and chocolate, or cream with herbs and garlic.

Midlife Sentence | Bakery in Norrebro, Cophenhagen

Later we scoped out a little of downtown, enjoyed a traditional smørrebrød lunch (rye bread with a variety of toppings).

Then we took a train to Odense to visit with former exchange student Anna’s parents in the little town of Morud. They fed us well, and the train ride was scenic and involved far less walking than we’d put mom through to that point, so that was a hit.

Plus there were about a half-dozen train stations with names I had the opportunity to thoroughly butcher, resulting in Jack heaving the heaviest of sighs and rolling his eyes so far back I thought he’d tip over.

That, my friends, is a parent’s best gift of all.

Midlife Sentence | Cophenhagen

Dang, I missed this kid.

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