Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hillerød: 55 days and counting

Funny thing about travel: you go some places (eg somewhere warm, somewhere developed, somewhere in Europe, or somewhere with beaches and drinks with umbrellas), and everyone wants to visit you; you go others, and everyone thinks you're nutty.

The majority response to learning I was spending the summer in Ghana, no matter who the respondent, was likely to be either (and I quote directly) "wtf? where?? ...why??" or, directed at my mother and/or step-father, "you let her do that?!" Answers, for anyone wondering: a.because I had the opportunity and it was a fantastic one, and b.as full financier (with the help of a Dickinson grant) and a legal - and somewhat independent-minded - adult, I was not "permitted" to do anything, though I did first win over their blessings. ...then promptly booked a non-refundable ticket.

As I plan for this coming summer in Hillerød, Denmark, however, two friends have already made plans to visit, with others claiming they wish they could. ..No one wanted to visit me in Ghana, eh? You don’t know what you’re missing out on by dismissing Africa, world. I miss that continent. Its people and languages, its culture and traditions, its landscape and markets, its kelewele and jollof, its fresh mango… aaah…

The less-than-welcomed insanity and occupied thoughts with the rest of life, however, have been pleasantly interjected with news of the coming summer: my own place just 1.5 miles from the office and downtown Hillerød; a stipend for food, travel, “cinema tickets,” and whatever other living expenses while there (the man actually listed cinema tickets.); a bike; and, almost exciting as the bike and the stipend, no office dress code. Then add to that the great opportunity in the internship for communications and IT to make a real difference in someone's life (eg helping with the summer program at the national center for blind and partially-sighted children), etc.... Score! Oh, right, and mustn’t forget: you can actually see Frederiksborg Slot from Sensus’ office in Hillerød. A castle. A castle built in the early 17th century by King Christian IV, no less. ...geesh.

55 days to Denmark is not soon enough. In the words of Paul Theroux, “travel is flight and pursuit in equal parts.”

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