Thursday, March 26, 2009

This is me.... begging for pity.

I am not looking forward to this weekend. The christening... it approaches mercilessly. (And I just discovered that there is no such word as unmercilessly. Unmerciful. Yes. Mercilessly. Yes. Unmercilessly. Not a snowballs chance in hell. Sigh.)

We still have to buy a present, discussions (hostage negotiations?) are underway to determine
A) How many people are going to go in on a present?
B) How much does this mean we have to spend?
C) Who's going to buy the present?
D) Can someone just tell me what the hell we are giving BEFORE I arrive at the christening this time?

I'm praying that we don't have assigned seating. I don't feel like playing small talk. I don't want to hang out with exceedingly proper Danes who all know how to do things the "right" way and correct me when I'm wrong, like I'm a child. I have WAY better things to do with my time this weekend than eat boiled potatoes and pork. Is it too late to suddenly become Jewish?

I do not want to play "teach the American to speak Danish". I feel a rising tide of rudeness creeping up my body. By Saturday it's going to explode across the table. "I'm sorry, the American does not wish to speak Danish with people who are too stupid to understand her. It's not that I speak poor Danish, it's that you all are stupid. Stupid stupid stupid. So spise lort og dod, danske svine." Or something to that effect because I can't really spell Danish. Because if I have to show that, yes, in fact I am better at saying 'rød grød med fløde' than you thought I would be and Oh ho ho, yes, it is SO FREAKIN' FUNNY to talk about how no one can say it correctly, Ha Ha, yes, tell me another story about how you tried to get another foreigner to say it and they failed in such a funny way... I'm going to stab someone with a knife. I'm going to stand over their body, knife dripping blood, clutched in my fist, as I scream "you know why I can say 'rød grød med fløde'? Because EVERYONE ALWAYS ASKS ME TO!"

I'm going to have to shave. And my pelt was just getting soft and luxurious again.

I'm whining. I want pity. I'd throw a pity party for myself this weekend, except I have to go to a stupid christening.


  1. Top tip:

    Reply some gobbledegook back like "mit viskelaeder er paa klastrestativ" eller "ja, ja, det gor jeg naar jeg har kursus"
    People just sort of blink and never speak to you in Danish again.

    Trying to communicate is obviously a trap amongst these guys, subvert it for glory.

    Do you know any other languages? I know enough Welsh to put spanners in works too.
    "Beth ydy hwn yn Saesneg? O ble dwydy dod?" (sp??)

    Also, have some tongue twisters up your sleeve before you get sloshed and keep insisting they try. And then just laugh at them for failing.

    Then get drunk.

  2. Here's what bothers me about foreign language speakers: As Americans, we adore accents. We think it is charming when someone uses the wrong word, or puts words in the wrong order. We don't expect that people who use English as a second (or third, etc) language get it perfectly right, we simply enjoy that they made an effort. Foreign language speakers, however, seem to expect Americans to learn their language perfectly, down to copying the correct accent. Americans are so xenophobic about most things that you'd expect the obvious to be true, but we swoon over accents.

  3. Can you imagine EVER correcting someones table manners or pronunciation at a typical American gathering? To me it's unthinkably rude.

    Here's a tip: tell about the Danish newscaster who referred to the American annual sports contest as the "Super Bowel," or the Danish politician who said, with a straight face while he was at a conference "Here in Denmark we like to say 'early to bed and up with the cock'." That might shut them up.

  4. I shall vouchsafe my Danish formal gathering survival kit to you.

    In a word, booze.

    And when they ask why you don't speak Danish yet, or comment on anything about your Danish whatsoever, reply with "Why do you ask?" There's no comeback for that. Usually they'll tie themselves up in knots and start stuttering and go red as they realize that they're being ignorant boors. Or they'll say "Well, I just think you should speak Danish by now", at which point open season can begin.

  5. Fuzzy, have you heard of the Danish minister who called himself the "prick over the eye"? (prikket over i'et = icing on the cake) That's my fave. Hadn't heard "super bowel" before -- that's classic.

  6. cantcopenhagen Bwahaha! Oh, that one's good!

  7. Oh man....reading this makes me SO thankful for Peter's family!!! All they ever say when I speak Danish is encouraging things. They comment on how well I am learning, stuff like that. No one ever forces me to speak Danish just to laugh at me.

  8. You have my sympathies.

  9. Don't worry Jacki, his family doesn't force me to speak Danish just to laugh at me. Not once I learned to say "rød grød med fløde." In fact they don't laugh at all. They very patiently stop me and tell me the correct pronunciation. And then I have to repeat it and repeat it and repeat it until they say "det rightig". So a "conversation" goes like this:
    Me: Jeg gå...
    Them: Gå
    Me: Gå
    Them: Nej... gå.
    Me: That's what I said! Gå. Anyway, like I was saying...
    Them: Sprog igen. Gå.
    Me: Gå.
    Them: Det rigtig! Godt!
    Me: Jeg har tisser. (Flees)

  10. Thankfully, my husband also doesn't fit in with his father's family, so we tend to hold hands and give hugs to one another in the hallway. We also now keep the visits very short. Sunday will be only 8 hours. Hey, it's better than the three days we used to be asked to do. The down side is, I might have to drive. So much for my back up plan: drink until you don't care.

    Cantcopenhagen: they've already said to me, years ago, "You should be able to speak Danish by now." They hold my husband personally responsible for my failure. He should have been speaking to me in nothing but Danish from the beginning. I wish I could whip out the snappy comebacks at that point, but every time I am just SO shocked at how rude people can be. You'd think I'd get over it. The one I really want to whip out: "I think I'll learn enough to understand it, but I don't want to speak it. It's such an ugly language." And then walk away.

    Mind you, it doesn't bother me a bit to speak Danish with my husband's mother's family or his ex-stepfather's family. They never correct and when they ask questions about how things are in America they never make that face. You know that face. It's the one you would get if you were to explain to people why you decided never to wash or change your underwear ever again.

    Oh, and for a present we went with a charm from "Museums Kopi Stukker" uh or something.... they make replica jewelry, like the types found on excavations, especially graves, dating back to the Viking Age. MMMMMM. Graves.

  11. Oh sometimes when people correct me, I flap my arms and say "THAT'S WHAT I SAID" and power through to the next thing.


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