Saturday, 19 March 2016

I'm Dansking, who's asking?

I spent this morning in Copenhagen.

 It came about after I found a decent, free language app about a week ago and, inspired by my love of all things Scandinavian, I have been learning Danish everyday since. I'm a long way off fluency, the app itself tells me I am only 2% mastered but I've always found languages exciting and intriguing.
Foreign languages are more than just a code which needs deciphering, they offer a wealth of untapped potential. The otherworldly sounds, letters and punctuation entice the mind to think of all the places they are spoken, the sights and sounds of memories yet unlived, smells of cooking and sun dusty streets. Each new word a story.

While my middle school friends swooned over Take That (the first time round), I was captivated by Ace of Base. They came from somewhere so much more mysterious than the usual offerings on Top of The Pops and the only clues I had to go on in the age before the internet was a Collins Atlas to see where Scandinavia was and an Abba cassette tape my brother gave me when I told him about my newfound fascination.For hours, I would sit in the darkness of my parents dining room with either Ace of Base or Abba playing in my Walkman, imagining what it would be like when I went there as a proper grown up at 18. (I thought I would have my own house and car and probably be married by then because 18 was really old and sensible).

As the years went by, I kept a love for languages but my love of mischief won and I stopped doing anything at school. Like showing up. Somehow I managed to pass all my GCSEs without any revision or handing in any coursework. None at all. My lowest grade was a D in Drama which I secured by not turning up for one of the two exams. Despite my results, the Grammar School I went to seized its opportunity to cut loose and didn't allow me back for Sixth Form.  I had no idea what I was going to do but my parents were certain I wasn't going to sit around at home and insisted I went out to work.

So I became Dental Nurse and very soon realised I knew nothing about how the real world worked and that I hated people's mouths. Thankfully our town had two grammar schools girls could go to and so I mounted a letter and phone call campaign for a whole year until the other took me in to do A levels. It was there I once again became fascinated with language, reading and learning in general. It's thanks to that school I went abroad for the first time and saw the land of the Myths firsthand.

Anyway, I've digressed. Since my days of flipping through the Collins Atlas and imagining all the places I would see as a very grown up grown up with a proper grown up job and a house and a car, I've been fortunate enough to have travelled a little bit. But never longhaul and never to Scandinavia.

So this morning as I laid in bed feeling awful for yet another day with this silly chest infection, I took myself to Copenhagen, courtesy of the internet. I have been on virtual tours, watched sightseeing videos on YouTube, everything and anything I could to get my fix. Then this afternoon I explored one of my favourite pondering sites, BBCiWonder because nothing distracts my mind better than big ideas. I followed it up with a free online course in scriptwriting and I can tell you that despite feeling ill I feel really happy.

I've decided I'm going to travel anywhere in the world I want to while I'm resting up and who knows,  I might just make it there in real life one day, complete with dog-eared phrase book in hand.

1 comment:

Stuart said...

I came back to languages late in life. After visiting Germany for work and realising quite how lazy the English are with language (plus a relationship with a German may have spurred me on) I started to work on it. I'd done OK at school but it didn't fascinate me as much as engineering and art did, a strange mix but there it is. Now I can just about get by. The relationship came and went, although a friendship remains.

Enjoy the virtual exploring. Soon you'll be able to do it for real and Denmark is wonderful.