Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Mixed Bag Round-Up

I've been a bit distracted this month, so it's been a full 2 weeks since my last post.  But with April coming to a close, it seems like a good time for a quick round-up of recent events.

Let's go back to April 16th, which is the Danish queen's birthday.  It's traditional for her to step out onto the balcony at her palace here in Copenhagen on her birthday and wave at the gathered masses.  A girlfriend of mine who I met my first module of Danish classes wanted to go see, so she and I took my puppy, Wooster, and joined the celebration.  It was a perfect day for it:

That's the queen in the red jacket on the balcony.  Wooster was, as you might expect, quite impressed:

As far as Danish class goes, it's been a bit of a mixed bag.  One of the main issues this module is that the "textbook" that they're having us work from is what appears to be a not-yet-published version of a future textbook.  So we've been receiving each chapter as large stapled-together packets.  It's chock-full of errors and missing information and incorrect page numbers, making for a lot of confusion.  Not only that, but the DVD that they handed out to go along with the "textbook" was a burned DVD with a hand-written title, and which we were asked to download onto our computers and then return.  In addition, the track titles on said DVD don't match the names of the assignments in the book, so it's a bit of a guessing game to figure out which video to watch.

Our Monday/Wednesday teacher actually seems to have gotten his act together a bit.  Instead of just assigning a ton of homework and spending class time going over the answers to that homework, he's now having us work on more interesting, varied, helpful assignments during class.  He still hasn't prepared enough to actually know all of the correct answers, but at least he's moving in the right direction.

It seems, however, that we are going to have a mid-module teacher change.  The new course schedule came out this week, and it looks like our Monday/Wednesday guy is going to be replaced by a Monday/Wednesday/Friday guy (with Thursdays remaining with our other teacher) when we move to module 4.2.  We've been told that this new guy has been teaching Danish for a long time and is very good.

And finally, today is my birthday.

The big 3-2.

Happy birthday to me.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Watching Tragedy Unfold on Facebook

Social media is never more powerful than when something horrible happens.  To be able to watch people come together with the common cause of disseminating important information as quickly as possible and to as many people as possible, and to cut through the chaos to try to pass on the facts as they become available... It's heartwarming in the midst of tragedy.

I watched yesterday's news of the explosions at the Boston Marathon break on Facebook as it was happening by friends who live and work in the area, and it was almost impossible to wrap my head around it.

I lived in Boston and Cambridge for the 5 years before moving here to Copenhagen, and was lucky enough to work with some really fantastic radio producers and reporters.  Watching them spring into action from across an ocean to pass on as much information by as many social media networks as possible was truly impressive.

For all the criticism that people have for social media and how it can bring out the worst in people, yesterday was a perfect example of how it can also act as someone's only lifeline when disaster strikes and the phone lines are too jammed to check in on loved ones.

It makes me think about 12 years ago.  At 20-years-old, I was living in New York City and taking night classes.  On 9/11, my mother spent hours trying to call to make sure I was safe, but the phone lines were jammed.  It was after 11am when she was finally able to call.

A little peace of mind in the midst of tragedy can go a long way, and I was relieved to be able to check in on friends in the Boston area all the way from here in Denmark.

Everyone I know in Boston is safe.  I hope the same for you and your friends and family as well.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Results Are In...

You may be asking, "What results?"

If so, you can catch up by reading this post (and the post linked to in said post).

Got the call from Rigshospitalet a little while ago, and...

No terribly, horrible, no good, very bad gene mutation for me!

Not sure how one celebrates news like that, but...


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Studieskolen - Module 4.1, Correcting Teacher

Started module 4 yesterday.

Meet the new teachers, same as the old teachers.

Indeed, I have the same two teachers as I had for module 3, and things with our Monday/Wednesday teacher have begun in style.

And by style, I mean with me having to explain the difference between past tense and present perfect tense to the teacher, after he gave us the wrong answer on an assignment during class.

To be fair (sort of), he seemed to be much more prepared prepared for the start of module 4 than he was for the start of module 3.  Then again, he didn't even know he was teaching on Mondays at the start of module 3, and showed up more than half an hour late.

You can't see it, but I'm rolling my eyes.

We also worked on an assignment in which we had to figure out where the "stød" (or glottal stop) was in each of the seasons and months of the year.  If you've been reading my posts for a while, you know my feelings on "stød."  Now, I've come around a little bit on the idea.  A very little bit.  For example, on words that sound almost exactly the same, sometimes the stød and the context of the surrounding sentence are the only way to know which word is being used.  However, insisting that we listen for something that is both difficult (and often impossible) to hear and usually unnecessary for the sake of being understood... feels like a waste of time.  Time that we could be using to learn useful things like... words and grammar.

Not to mention that stød is generally the least of people's problems when it comes to Danish pronunciation.

The good news is, our Thursday/Friday teacher is also the same as well, and I find her knowledgeable, easy to understand, and downright delightful.