Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Home is Where...?

Do we feel more or less at home in different places because of the specific characteristics of a place?

Or do we just feel at home in some places more than others, and then start pointing to the things we like about it as justification?

I lean towards the former, mostly because I generally prefer to put concrete answers to things if I can.  But the truth is, I don't know.

We have been staying at a hotel in Rhode Island during the week while my fiance works on a project here.  Having me here means that he doesn't have to commute back to Boston every night to see me.  It's been a huge stress relief for both of us.  Yesterday, though, I drove back up to our apartment to pick up a few things, and was reminded of something I've always felt about the Boston area...

I've always felt like a visitor there.

When I mentioned this to my fiance, he commented on how quickly I seemed to settle in at the hotel.  And it's true.  For whatever reason, I do feel more at home here than in Boston.  Not that I would want to stay here.  We have yet to find a restaurant in the area that isn't a chain, and there's really nothing to do outside the hotel besides go to malls or movies.  Or chain restaurants.

Nowhere that I've lived or visited has ever made me feel more uncomfortable in my own skin than Boston.  I've met great people in Boston, had lots of fun times, found plenty of places that I like to hang out.  And yet... it's just never been right.

I think I knew, from the moment I moved here in 2008, that I wouldn't be staying.

Though, I never could have predicted that I'd be moving to Denmark.  I have a good feeling about it.  I hope it feels like home.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Leave You, Leave You, How Could I Leave You?

What's this?!  Another post?!

Yup.  I'm feeling prolific.

Maybe this happens in other countries as well.  There is this funny assumption that we Americans have that once a foreigner spends some time in the U.S., they'll inevitably want to stay.  Folks often assume that since my fiance came here temporarily for work and then met an American girl to marry, we'll obviously be staying here.  In fact, people are generally surprised to hear that he's moving back to Denmark and taking me with him.  They're even more surprised to find out that I'm thrilled at the prospect, and that he's not just dragging me along.

That's not to say that there aren't things about America that I will miss.

We were having a discussion just now about the little things he thought he'd miss when he left England for Denmark originally, and whether he was right or not.  For the most part, he does indeed miss things like good quality English curry, readily available stilton cheese, great pubs within walking distance.

What am I going to miss about America?

The first thing I thought of was pizza.  New York style, thin crust pizza.  Just thinking about it has made me decide to order pizza for dinner.

And Buffalo wings.  Though, the fiance's gotten pretty good at making them, so I won't miss out too much.

And, strangely enough, I think I'll miss Target.  Lots of fairly decent stuff for cheap, and all in one big room.  I don't think Denmark has anything like it, but I'll be on the lookout.

Danish Lessons - Rosetta Stone, Entry #4

I don't remember if I learned numbers using number blocks when I was a kid, but that's how I'm learning them now.

Technically, I supposed I started learning Danish numbers in the informal class I took this past fall, but I definitely prefer the Rosetta Stone method.  When I was taking that class, I found myself trying like hell to cram and memorize those numbers before each class, leaving me with barely any time to even look at everything else he'd tried to teach us.  Rosetta Stone makes the basics far more intuitive.

Here's the thing: I get that repetition is part of the method, but maybe three quarters of the way through each lesson, I find myself distracted.  And since I already basically know one through ten in Danish, I even found my eyes drifting up to the TV... which was showing "Honey" on mute in the background.

"Honey" of all things...

I'm going to try to move through numbers as quickly as I can, and hope that the next unit keeps my attention a bit better.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Small Business Euphoria

Hey, remember how I was having fairly regular career-induced hives?

As it turns out, I thought of the solution almost 3 years ago.  I'd just forgotten.

Back in 2009, I had an idea.  It was, in fact, the idea that had me rushing out to buy PVC and moving blankets to build The Pod (1.0).  People have brilliant ideas all the time, and sometimes the only thing holding them back from making those ideas a reality... is a job that keeps them busy 40+ hours a week.

That, and insecurity.

Well, now that I'm free of the radio grind, and I've got my lovely fiance rooting me on, I'm going for it.  More details will follow soon enough, but I'm spending much of my time these days looking into the details of starting my own business.  A business that I can do from anywhere in the world.

Funny how some of the smallest details of starting a business seem so daunting in the beginning.  Just coming up with a company name with a corresponding (and available) web domain name was surprisingly stressful.

I'm beyond excited to get this whole thing moving, and equally excited to share it with everyone (once all of the details are hammered out).

I've also already got a plan for The Pod 3.0.  It looks like this:

And it's portable!

Also, in case you're worried that I'm slacking on my Danish... I sort of am.  But, I have a fabulous to-do list that my fiance worked up that includes working on my Rosetta Stone three times this week.  One session down, two to go.

Also on the to-do list?  Three trips to this hotel's hot tub.  He's a slave driver, that fiance of mine.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Pod 2.0, and Other News

I'll be totally up front with you here...  Until today, it'd been over a week since I fired up the Rosetta Stone.  But I have a good reason, I swear!  Or, I have a reason at least.

Monday of last week was my last day as a traffic reporter, and I've been working on getting my bearings in a brave new world that doesn't involve the constant grogginess of split shifts.

Okay, to be honest, I was giving myself a bit of a vacation.

For years, I just figured I was kind of a sleepy person.  Turns out it was the working and sleeping in shifts that never let me out of that early-morning haze that most people only have... in the morning.

So, back to the grind.  I spent Sunday of this week re-building The Pod.

The Pod is my little home-made recording studio.  It used to be a free-standing thing in my kitchen made of PVC pipes and moving blankets.  It looked like this:

And inside, was this:

The PVC pipes are long gone now, but the moving blankets now blanket the walls of a closet in our apartment.  I call it The Pod 2.0

I've got a career plan, and it involves talking to myself in a padded room.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I did work on the Rosetta Stone today.  Still on colors.  I had lunch with a friend yesterday, and he asked me what I could say in Danish.  And the truth is... not much.  I can recognize plenty of words and phrases, but I just don't trust myself to speak the language yet.

I'll let the Danes teach me pronunciation once we get to Copenhagen.

P.S. - If you haven't already, and would like to follow this blog on Facebook, click here and then click "like."

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Healthy Housewife

It's amazing how you can live a certain way for so long and not realize how unhealthy it was until things change.

I spent 6 years waking up before dawn to do morning radio.  For more than half of that time, I also worked a split shift, going back to work in the afternoon.

After less than a week out of that life, I already feel more normal.  I don't have that just-woke-up feeling all day from getting up so early, and napping between shifts.  My mood has improved.  Even my metabolism seems to be normalizing a bit.

I'm entering a new chapter in my life, in preparation for the big move.  Focusing on getting freelance voiceover jobs, and looking for some temporary office work.  I'm feeling really positive about the changes so far, and the support my friends and family have shown.

It doesn't hurt that I've gotten to spend the past week relaxing in a hotel room with my fiance, who has been working out-of-state.  Playing housewife for a few days isn't so bad when you have hotel staff to clean your room.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Like this blog? "Like" this blog!

Just a quick note to let you know that you can now "like" this blog on Facebook. This way, you can be updated whenever I've put up a new post.

Just go here!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Danish Lessons - Rosetta Stone, Entry #3

Learning colors is hard work.

And the bizarre thing about it is that while I'm going through these lessons, I'm thinking to myself, "This is far too simple.  I can't possibly be learning anything."  Yet, at the end of each lesson, I have more vocabulary floating around in my head that wasn't there before.

And it must not be as simple as the program makes it seem, because I still find myself ready for a nap when I'm done.

I'm sure that eventually I will find that version 2 of Rosetta Stone's lack of explanation of grammatical rules frustrating, but for now I'm just glad to have the vocabulary.  Every once in a while my fiance will come in while I'm working on a lesson, and he'll try to explain slight grammatical differences in the phrases I'm learning.  Most of the time, I have a hard time processing it, because my brain is in vocabulary mode, and not grammar mode.

This constantly gets me re-thinking this post.  Some days I agree with myself, and other days I'm not so sure.  But for now I'm grateful to have a few more Danish words floating around in my head.

My fiance has suggested that I give the formal informal Danish classes another try... the classes that I attempted this past fall...

I'm not sure that I'm ready to jump back into that.  I think actual formal Danish classes in Denmark will be much less of an emotional roller coaster, especially if I manage to make it through Rosetta Stone by the time we get to Copenhagen.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Danish Lessons - Rosetta Stone, Entry #2

I'm trying to do one exercise with the Rosetta Stone every day.  I've just finished exercise 3 (of 5) in lesson 2 (of... I'm not sure how many).

Lesson 2 is all about verbs, so I've been learning all about how to talk about men, women, children, fish, birds, bulls, and airplanes doing various things.  Running, jumping, swimming, reading, flying, falling...

I'm not going to lie, the repetition gets a bit tedious.  Each exercise in a lesson has all the same pictures and phrases as the previous exercise, but learned in a different way.  Whether it be learning to read the text, or recognize it aurally, it's all the same stuff.  I'm not going to complain about it, though.  Tedious as it is, it does help to solidify the information in my mind.  Unfortunately, a side effect is that my eyes start to blur a bit by the end.

And when I'm done, I'm usually ready to take a nap.  Just one exercise, and I'm mentally exhausted.

I'm glad to be learning it this way for now, though, so that this mental exhaustion doesn't get the better of me when I'm sitting in Danish classes in Copenhagen.