My 10 First Impressions About Denmark

(This entry was written on Tuesday, February 11, 2014)
So I have been here in Denmark for about 3 weeks now!
Time indeed flies faster than you want it to when you are in such a beautiful country like this!
I thought that it would be a great idea to share my thoughts/ first impressions about this country since I stepped out of the airport with you guys!

Time flies = เวลาผ่านไปอย่างรวดเร็ว
first impression (n.) = ความประทัปใจครั้งแรก
thought (n.) = ความคิด อ่านว่า ต๊อดท์

1. The Public Transportation here is AMAZING

I first arrived in Copenhagen on a Sunday night. The next morning I had to go to my university’s opening ceremony in downtown Copenhagen BY MYSELF. Well, let me tell yah this. I live with a host family in Birkerod, which is north of Copenhagen. It takes me about an hour everyday to go to Copenhagen by bus and train. I was totally afraid that I was going to get lost, but I made it to Copenhagen safely. Thanks to the amazing transportation system!

What’s so amazing about it? It’s that the trains & buses actually run on schedule!!!!
This would never ever ever EVER happen in Thailand in a million years! In Denmark, you can get a schedule for any public transportation at the train station or at 7-11. Each bus line has its own schedule and it comes and goes relatively on time. I’m talking about +/- 5 minutes from the actual schedule!

Another really cool thing is that they kind of coordinate different modes of transportations in the system! So when I get off my bus at the train station, I only have to wait for about 10 mins for my train to come! It might not seem to be a big deal to you, but in a cold place like Northern Europe, not having to wait for the bus/train forever really improves your overall experience! You also use the same pass/ ticket for the bus, train, and metro. I think this is similar to what they have in New York City.
I totally LOVE it!!

Transportation (n.) = ยานพาหนะ
Public transportation (n.) = ขนส่งมวลชน
Opening ceremony (n.) = พิธีเปิด
Schedule (n., v.) = ตารางเวลา, ทำตารางเวลา อ่านว่า สะ-เก๊-ดูล
Relatively (adv.) = ค่อนข้าง
Coordinate (v.) = ทำงานไปพร้อมกัน ประสานกัน อ่านอ่าน โค-ออร์-ดิ-เหนด
System (n.) = ระบบ
Improve (v.) = พัฒนา
overall (adj.) = ทั้งหมด
similar (adj.) = คล้ายคลึง

S-Train at Copenhagen Central Station

2. Danes are quiet

Okay, this just sounds like I am making an assumption here. Of course, not all Danes are quiet. However, I do think that they are generally quieter than Americans, especially in public spaces. My first time on the train was so nice and calming because everyone was just minding their own business whether that’s reading today’s newspaper, playing a new game on their mobile devices or just napping.
My professor from Danish language class explained that it is because Danes do not like to encroach upon (v. รุกล้ำ) each other’s space…. hmm I guess that makes sense.

Dane/ Danes (n.) =  ชาวเดนมาร์ก คนเดนมาร์ก
Assumption (n.) = สมมติฐาน
Especially (adj.) = โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่ง
Mind your own business = สนใจแต่เรื่องของตัวเอง ไม่ยุ่งกับคนอื่น
Nap (v.) = งีบหลับ
explain (v.) = อธิบาย
Encroach (v.) = ละเมิดสิทธิ
Space (n.) = พื้นที่

3. The WIND is killing mehhhhh!!

Guys, seriously! The wind here is really crazy! It made the situation in winter much much worse than what I have anticipated. I have been to Chicago AKA the windy city of America, but it was nothing like Denmark! I think part of the deal is because Denmark is consisted of several islands and Copenhagen is basically right next to the sea. Also, there are not that many tall buildings here in Copenhagen at all. So I guess the wind is just able to blow freely anywhere without any physical block.

Before coming to Copenhagen, I was in Wisconsin while they were having one of the coldest winter in decades. Regardless of my past experience, I felt colder here in Denmark. Why? Because the wind just goes through every layers that you piled on your body. It is quite fascinating to see how much of a difference it makes. I guess that is part of the reason why everyone here love BIG BIG SCARF!

situation (n.) = สถานการณ์
Anticipate (v.) = คาดหวัง คาดการณ์
AKA = Also known as = หรือที่รู้จักกันในนาม…..
decade (n.) = ศตวรรต
regardless = โดยไม่คำนึงถึง, ทั้งๆที่
experience (n.) = ประสบการณ์
pile (v.) = กอง
fascinating (adj.) = น่าหลงใหล จับตา

4. It’s cold outside and it’s still cold inside… It’s just cold everywhere… Orz

I don’t really mind cold weather as long as I know that I can go inside and be warm as quickly as I can.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, that is not the case in Denmark….. unfortunately.

According to my professor (yes, the same one as above), Danes LOVE fresh air.
What does that really mean? Well, it means that they like to open their windows in the house or in the restroom even when it’s 0c outside! You know,  just to let the air goes through the house. My Danish professor also occasionally open the classroom windows during breaks just to get some fresh air. It is so crazy that I even once saw someone opened the small window on the train!!!!!! That was totally one of my cultural shock moments!

In the US, it is cold. In some parts of the country, it might be even colder than Denmark. However, once you are inside, you are good. You will be nice and warm and cozy and there’s no need to keep your 5 layers on. I think the typical indoor temperature is about 75F or 24C in Winter. So even though it’s -30 with windchill outside, you can practically come home and put on your shorts! Well, not in Denmark though…

mind (v.) = รังเกียจ
weather (n.) = สภาพอากาศ
unfortunately = น่าเสียดาย โชคไม่ดี
according to … = ตามที่ …
layer (n.) = เลเยอร์ คือเป็นชั้นๆ ในที่นี้หมายถึงการใส้เสื้อหลายชั้น
typical (adj.) = ทั่วๆไป
practically (adv.) = ในเชิงปฏิบัติ

5. Bikes…bikes… BIKES EVERYWHERE!

Copenhagen, bike heaven for cyclists…. yeah yeah yeah I have heard about that, but it was NOTHING compared to the number of bikes I see everyday on the street. I totally did not see this coming! All Danes literally own a bike. Like everyone has one even though they might not use it as their main mode of transportation. The biking culture is so amazing that foreigners who want to bike in Copenhagen even have to learn their biking body language, like how do you make a gesture that indicates other bikers that you are about to stop/ turn so that you won’t cause a massive bike accident.

The biking lanes here are really amazing and everyone seems to respect that space. This allows Danes to bike in any weather condition. I was extremely surprised to see a lot of people still biking on the road while they have a relatively thick layer of snows on the ground. Apparently the city also made it a priority to shovel the snow on bike lanes first because biking is such an important mode of transportation for so many people. I was really impressed!

heaven (n.) = สวรรค์
cyclist (n.) = นักปั่นจักรยาน
hear (v.) = ได้ยิน
literally (adv.) = อย่างแท้จริง
culture (n.) = วัฒนธรรม
foreigner (n.) = ชาวต่างชาติ
gesture (n.) = การแสดงท่าทาง อิรอยาบถ
indicate (v.) = ชี้ให้เก็นถึง แสดงให้เห้น
massive (adj.) = ใหญ่
lane (n.) = เลนเหมือนเลนรถวิ่ง
respect (v.) = ให้เกียรติ
apparently = ชัดเจน  ทนโท่
priority (n.) = สิทธิพิเศษ มาก่อน สิ่งที่ได้รับความสนใจมากกว่า
shovel (v.) = โกยหิมะ
important (adj.) = สำคัญ
impress (v.) = ประทัปใจ

 

6. There are sooo many kinds of bikes

Generally, when you think of bikes, what comes into your mind?
Two wheels with a thin handle and maybe a small basket right in front?
Yeah… that’s what I thought!!

Well, it is also common in Denmark to get a cargo bike instead of getting a car!
So what happen when you have small children? Well, this cuteness happen!

 

How about three generation cuteness? 😀

7. Danish pastries… you are giving me diabetes!!

Danish pastries are sooooooooo yummy! I am a dessert junkie and I absolutely love every single bakery that I have visited. Well, in Copenhagen, there are a LOT of bakeries. I think that it might even be possible for me to go to a different bakery everyday within 3 months. The most amazing part is that you will never get disappointed. It’s not like you have to go to Yelp or TripAdviser to check out which bakery in town is good, pretty much all of them are good lol I guess a smart thing to do is probably to ask the seller for recommendations.. like what’s their most popular pastries and just try that!

Seriously, bakeries are EVERYWHERE and I have been eating the pastries non-stop. I do not regret eating so much, but I do regret spending so much money on it! These little delicacies are quite pricey if you converted in to Dollars, even more expensive if you converted the price to Baht. For one little pastry e.g. a croissant or a cinnamon bun, it would cost you about 7-15 Danish Kroner. That is about $1.5-$3 for a three bite size dessert. Now if you want to eat it with a cup of coffee, then you have to pay maybe 15-30 in addition to that. So I guess you can imagine how quickly all these costs can pile up if you are not watching your budget….

diabetes (n.) = โรคเบาหวาน
dessert (n.) = ของหวาน
disappoint (v.) = ผิดหวัง
smart (adj.) = ฉลาด
probably = น่าจะเป็นไปได้
recommendation (n.) = คำแนะนำ
popular (adj.) = เป็นที่นิยม
regret (v.) = เสียใจ ผิดหวัง
spend (v.) = ใช้ (เงินหรือเวลา)
delicacy (n.) = ความละเอียดอ่อน อาหารราคาแพง
pricey (adj.) = แพง = expensive
convert (v.) = เปลี่ยนเป็น แปลงหน่อยวัด ในที่นี้คือเปลี่ยนจากเงินโครนมาเป้นดลล่า มาเป็นเงินบาท
in addition to = นอกจากนั้น ยิ่งไปกว่านั้น
guess = เดา
imagine (v.) = จินตนาการ
cost (n., v.) = ราคา มีมูลค่า มีราคาแพง
budget (n.) = งบประมาณ

 



8. 7-11 It’s everywhere!

And they sell pastries and train tickets there as well!!!
ticket = ตั๋ว

9. No one really talks about the royal family

 

Coming from a country with parliamentary constitutional monarchy, I expected Danes to talk about the royal family a lot, just like how it is in Thailand. The situation seems to be quite different here. The royal family is more of a symbol in the society and you don’t really hear about them from the Danes, but you do see them on newspapers or tabloid occasionally. I thought that was really interesting. I am still confused about the role of monarchy in such an egalitarian society.

royal (aj.) = กก. ราชวงศ์
parliament (n.) = รัฐสภา
expect (v.)  = คาดหวัง
symbol (n.) = สัญลักษณ์
society (n.) = สังคม
tabloid (n.) = แทบลอยด์
monarchy (n.) = การปกครองโดยมีพระมหากษัตริย์เป็นประมุข
egalitarian (adj.) =  กก. ความเสมอภาคอย่างเท่าเทียมกัน

10. The Welfare State: everyone is equal and should have equal access to basic needs

I guess I have to admit that I did not know much about Denmark before I came here.
I intentionally did not do any research on the country because I want to learn everything HERE on the ground, with my fellow students from America, and from Danes. So I did not want to come with pre-assumptions of how things should work here.  Well, I have heard about the welfare model, of course. It is one of the basic thing that sets Denmark apart. However, I did not know how it actually works and I was completely surprised when I found out!

So basically, the idea is that the government plays a crucial role in the protection of economic and social welfare of its citizens. In Denmark, that means you get free education up until master degree, get free healthcare, and also you get money from the government if you are unemployed! How could they do that? Well, those who work has to pay a very high rate of income tax to the government. Denmark actually rank among the top on the world personal income taxes list. I can’t remember the exact number, but I think it is something like 40-60% of what you make!

The most surprising thing for me is that I also get the same (or quite similar) benefits as the Danes! Since I will be here for several months as a student, I got a temporary resident permit as well as a healthcare card! So if I get sick, everything is covered by the Danish government!!! This is soooo amazing! I seriously cannot wrap my mind around it! Free healthcare anywhere anytime? oh yes!

welfare state (n.) =  ระบบสวัสดิการต่างๆที่รัฐมีให้ประชาชน
equal (adj.) = เท่าเทียม
basic needs (n.) = ความต้องการขั้นพื้นฐาน
admit (v.) = ยอมรับ
pre-assumtion (n.) = สมมติฐานที่คิดมาก่อนแล้ว
government (n.) = รัฐบาล
tax (n.) = ภาษี
income tax (n.) = ภาษีรายได้
rank (v.) = จัดอับดับ
exact = เป๊ะๆ
benefit (n., v.) = ผลประโยชน์ ได้รับประโยชน์
temporary (adj.) = ชั่วคราว
residence (n.) = การอยู่อาศัย
permit (n.) = ในอนุญาติ
healthcare (n.) = ประกันสุขภาพ

Advertisements