Copenhagen has been an unreal experience. I’ll talk about some of the highlights in a bit, but first I think I need to mention how Copenhagen has thrown some shade at my ability to function as a person out in the world.
First and foremost, I’m terrible with directions. Terrible. You can ask any of my friends or family and they’ll most definitely explain just how bad I am at getting myself around in the world. Here in Copenhagen, without extensive data coverage or an ability to read a map proficiently, I’ve realized how vulnerable not knowing where I am (ever) makes me. You’re probably thinking, “Jocelyn, just pay attention to where you are – it’s not that hard.” False. I once got lost in a neighborhood I’ve visited upwards of 50 times and amused my friends by driving around aimlessly until one of them finally told me where the house is. I like to think I have a few skills, but navigation is assuredly not one of them.
What’s that got to do with this trip? Well, my lack of direction has forced me to rely on others for their ability to direct. It’s been a real practice of trust, allowing someone to lead me all around a foreign city without any concept of where I am. We’ve had a couple interesting experiences where we as a group have gotten lost, but I’ve been fortunate that we have some really navigation-savvy folks on this trip. That gets me thinking about how brains work and why certain people have skills that others don’t – but that’s a question for Christine or Brian or one of our other science people. All I know is that I’ve relied on friends to get me where I need to be.
The second thing Copenhagen made me realize I can’t do effectively is ride a bike. Yesterday Jacob, Sara and I rented bikes for a nice little ride around the city, which turned into an hour of me wobbling and struggling to avoid getting in a wreck with a car. Apparently I missed out the part of childhood where biking and navigation developed into skills, but I will tell you that they’re lying when they say riding a bike is something you never forget how to do.
Anyway, I digress. Copenhagen was amazing – definitely my favorite so far. I really felt like there was a distinct culture there that contrasted with my American upbringing, and I liked getting to experience that. I could honestly see myself adapting really well to that city, especially considering their more progressive approach to gender roles. I definitely liked the egalitarian aspect of their societies, and I think that’s something the US should move towards.
The Carlsberg Brewery was probably the highlight of the trip for me, as well as Papirøen. I’m looking forward to our third city on my #jexit.
More than just good food and solid Instagrams, this trip has taught me not to say no to things. At home, it’s really easy for me to back out of social engagements or other activities if I’m feeling tired or not particularly motivated. But on this trip I’ve been making a concious effort to say yes to new opportunities that are presented to me.
Another thing I’ve learned is to abandon preconceived judgments altogether. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been surprised in the past week and a half, be it someone on this trip acting differently than I expected or the culture of the country we’re visiting deviating from my conception of it. All around, I’ve learned a lot.
More to come – catch ya in Stockholm!