Sunday, October 14, 2012

Application for 25 hour days


Good lord, I’ve been busy!  Of course, other bloggers who are just as busy as I, or even busier (although it’s hard to imagine that it’s physically possible, I commute by ferry boat, damn it, surely that counts for something!), still manage to write posts.  Even if the posts are really short!  Surely I can write a short post!!  I can be brief and succinct!!!

Bwahahahaha!  Oh, it hurts, it hurts! 

I really shouldn’t compare myself to them, obviously.  They didn’t spend two days last week living in a caravan and getting up at four in the morning, dressing in the cold and dark, sneaking out to the car without waking husband and child, all in order to milk cows and spread hay and stack tires for six and a half hours.

Why yes, that *is* a pity banjo you hear me playing!

Actually, I really enjoyed my hard labor.  I just wish there were a few more hours in the day so I could nap, get my own chores done AND write a blog post every now and again.  I’ve got so much to talk about and instead I need to write two reports on my past two practical assignments on farms, two days on one pig farm and two days on one dairy farm. *  In Danish.  Balls.

I suck at writing Danish.  I suck because I write Danish in the same way that I write English, but alas, you cannot directly translate English to Danish (professional translators are laughing at me right now and pointing out that this is why they earn the big bucks).

Shakespeare’s “’Tis better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all,” for example, does not directly translate because you cannot use the word “better” when comparing two bad things.  You can say one is “worser” than the other or one is “less bad,” but never can you use the word “better.”

So back when I was in Danish class, I wrote a rhetorical question in an essay, asking if it was better to have higher unemployment than fewer hospitals, and the response was “You cannot say this, these are the same things.”  Which led to a hilarious debate on the welfare state and Danish stupidity - possibly not the best when trying to argue for a higher grade, but THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING AT ALL!  I finally got the Danish Boy to explain later that night.  It took him a while as well, because he didn’t know what was wrong with the sentence or why, just that it was fundamentally wrong, and we had a good debate going (if by “good debate” you mean one person crying and the other looking like his head is about to explode), because he could completely understand me IN ENGLISH, but NOT IN DANISH.  Then, I demanded, “WHICH OF THESE IS THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS FOR FUCK’S SAKE!?”  Because nothing solves an argument like yelling biblical quotations and swearing.  And suddenly he had an epiphany.  “It’s BETTER!” he cried.  “I BEG YOUR PARDON!!” I shouted, now ready to set fire to Copenhagen and declare Danish to be an outlawed language of a subservient peoples who would cater to my every whim, mostly by NOT SPEAKING DANISH IN MY PRESENCE.  “You can’t use the word ‘better’.  You have to say ‘worser’ or less bad,” he explained.  “THAT’S STUPID!”  I replied, calm as ever, envisioning the high energy explosive that I would set under the Little Mermaid’s ass.  THAT’LL TEACH ‘EM!  “I didn’t make up this language,” he pointed out.  Damn him, he’s right.  Maybe I’ll hunt that particular asshole down and give him a carbonic acid enema.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I got a 2 on the written Danish portion of my language exam.  A 2, by the way is just passing.  As in “we understand that you wrote a series of Danish words that by themselves are fine enough, it’s just that the arrangement is incomprehensible because we have rules that we made up on a whim and deviation creates chaos in our little brains and besides which, you made 7 basic grammar mistakes in your email to your Canadian friend who wouldn’t understand Danish anyway, but we’re sick bastards who make you write emails to foreigners in our damn language because, as we previously pointed out we’re sick bastards.”

By the way, that paragraph?  Probably doesn’t translate into Danish directly either.  Danish: a language as inflexible as the rye bread they want you eat for lunch, day after day after day.

So it’s a good thing that I didn’t want to go to university anyway.  Even if the program would be taught in English.  Because my Danish is just not good enough to get into the “upper level” Danish class to prepare me for taking the exam that would qualify me for college level classes.   That’s like not doing well enough in junior high and therefore not being allowed to take high school and therefore not allowed to go to college.  Denmark wants us to be “educated” but not to a high degree, apparently. 

Anyway, ranting aside and back on the farm….

As I was standing on the retaining wall, waiting for the next load of tires to be delivered unto me (goddesses of modern agriculture demand offerings of tires), I was looking out over the rolling hills.  The some of the fields were golden with ripe corn, others the dark, earthy brown of freshly tilled soil, others still were bright green with clover.  On the clover covered fields were happy black and white dairy cows, munching away and lowing to one another.  Towering overhead were three very white modern windmills, powering away in the wind.  The sky was bright blue and punctuated with swiftly moving, puffy, white clouds that brought sudden downpours.  One particular cloud was busily pouring rain on what I suspect is Germany.  Because of the angle of the sun, a rainbow suddenly developed right then and there, arching across the sky, from one hilltop to another.  It was glorious.  I really could have used a camera.  But who the hell brings a camera when doing farm labor?  This is why I need a really awesome phone, just sayin’.

But it was one of those moments where you go, yup, this is what it’s all about and this is why this shit is awesome.

*Okay, I may not have to write some essays.  Some say I do, some say I don’t.  I’m going to have to figure this out before I spend an evening trying for subject-verb agreement.  Because otherwise, balls to THAT!

7 comments:

  1. Hmm.. Have I ever mentioned the "Letter of Complaint" that I had to write in my Danish exam about fellow students skipping classes, yapping n their mobiles, and whatnot... and even though the language was quite good, I got marked WAY down because I "sounded angry" and "didn't sound friendly enough" or "offer any solutions". Unfortunately (being on maternity leave) I missed the class where in DANISH "Letters of Complaint" you're not supposed to sound too pissed off, or complain too much.. you know.. a la ENGlish "Letter of Complaint".. SMDH

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  2. I don't believe you've mentioned it - but I also had a helluva time in that portion of class. "Stop being funny" was the constant refrain. I'm sorry, but if you haven't noticed, I stand just to this side of hyperbole and CAN'T HELP IT. Besides, I think "the beds were adequate... for midgets with back problems" an accurate description of the summer house I was complaining about. I can't help it if other people happen to find it funny. I mean, maybe there ARE midgets out there with back problems and this particular summer house is just what they need? Do Danes think that the spinal problems of people of short stature FUNNY? Some people, man, some people.

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  3. You actually WROTE that?? Bwahahahaaa!!

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  4. Anonymous11:05 PM

    Had a discussion years ago with the Danishother½ about how to translate 'a pregnant silence...' into Danish I'm still standing here waiting for an answer - it doesn't I don't think, translate, that is, not on the Danish curriculum.

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  5. I'm always curious about whether my love of English grammar would make it harder or easier to learn another language. I did take Spanish and a whole month of German, and the grammar rules were the best part to me. I should try learning another language, but there are books to read, research on Tudor England (for fun) to do, and episodes of Sons of Anarchy and Game of Thrones to watch. Who has time to learn a new language?

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  6. Anonymous7:47 PM

    Pregnant silence: En larmende tavshed

    *nodnod*

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  7. Anonymous7:48 PM

    (and it's an oxymoron, too, for extra credit :) )

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Keep it clean, don't be mean....