Tag Archives: Copenhagen

January 13

I’m happy to announce Kat and I are the happy owners of a car. Might not be a big thing for you, but for us this is proper grown up stuff, especially in Copenhagen, where Christiania bikes are normally the ultimate embodiment of adulthood.

You could argue is unnecessary to have a car in a city like this, where bike lanes have been perfectly laid out for our enjoyment and convenience, but I have to admit that the process of getting a car we can call our own has been a genuinely exciting experience.

Kat had to learn how to drive from scratch, go through dozen of classes and a few tests (both theoretical and practical) and finally hunt for the right car, one that was both within the budget her Dad had allocated for it and our personal needs: not too big so that is easy to park but not too small so that we can still fit stuff in the boot if we need to; not too old so that it’s not too expensive to insure but not too worn so that it can last a few years before it starts giving us troubles; not too powerful so that it doesn’t consume too much petrol but with an engine big enough to drive around without problem. You get the picture.

Luckily for us, we managed to find a really nice Mazda 2 (year 2003) at a good price and in great condition. The car is compact, powerful and very spacious, just what we were looking for. Last night, after picking it up from the car dealer, we went for a little celebratory lap around our neighborhood, smiling and looking at each other in disbelief.

– Holy shit, we own a car!
– I know!

(High five)

Now I just need to swap my Venezuelan driving license for a Danish one, a painful process that involves paying to have my current license translated (which I already did), paying to get a health certificate (which I will do next week), and paying to submit my application (which I’ll do the week after). That alone can take up to six months because the Danish authorities need to check with the Venezuelan police to verify my documents and make sure my license is legit, but at least I get a temporary license while they do that, so it’s not that bad.

In the meantime, Kat and I will need to settle on a name for the car; she wants to call it “AziZ” (lame) and I would like to name it “Lemmy” (awesome). Either way, we now have a car!

Pretty cool, huh?

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January 4

It’s freezing in Copenhagen. After spending a wonderful week in Madrid with Kat, catching up with friends and eating our own weight in food and sweets, we flew back last night and arrived to a very cold Denmark.

Kat’s dad picked us up at the airport, which is always very kind of him, and after a short ride he dropped us home and waved goodbye. We took a shower, unpacked half of our suitcases, order Indian takeaway, and sat in front of the telly in our freshly new furry bathrobes to watch the first two episodes of The Shield.

Despite the chilling temperatures, it was good to be back; not because we didn’t enjoy our time in Madrid (we had a blast!) but maybe because it’s always nice for us to return to the familiarity of our own space. After all, we have spent a good amount of time and money making that place our home.

However, there was something strange about this holiday. For the second time in my life, I spent both Christmas and New Year’s Eve far from my family in Venezuela (the first time ever was in 2010 and it affected me in more ways I could have imagined), the only difference was this time around I had Kat in my life and her company made the situation remarkably better.

Knowing we wouldn’t be able to make it to Venezuela to see my family, she bought us flight tickets to Madrid to see some of my closest friends, many of whom I consider an extended family of sorts. Even though I have known them for just a few years, they welcomed us in their homes like long-time friends would, and for that I’m very grateful.

Kat and her family also went out of their way to make my first Christmas in Denmark very special, one filled with delicious food and lovely presents and the fuzzy warmth that comes with blood ties. I was sad to not have been able to see the beautiful faces of my family, sad of not being able to hug them and tell them how much I love them, but finding myself in that situation also made me realize how lucky I am to have friends around me and Kat on my side.

Unlike 2012 (bloody fucking tyrant!), 2015 was fantastic. The highlights are too long to list but you must know that I loved and laughed and was happier that I have ever been in a long while. As we kickoff 2016, the fears that haunt me on the outset of every new year inevitably sink in, but so does an equally powerful desire to give 2015 a little run for its money.

I will try to be better and happier, and although there is no guarantee I will succeed, I sure will give it my best shot.

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April 15

I have spent most of the last three days working on a pitch for a local charity and, although exciting as a creative challenge, the subject of the brief was very depressing. We had to address the issue of “berøringsangst,” a Danish term which, in the context of the brief, refers to the fear of talking about death; that sense of awkwardness and anxiety that sometimes prevents us from reaching out, especially to grieving children and adolescents, just because we are afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing.

Turns out that for people who are dealing with a loss, or that are fighting a serious illness, one of the hardest parts of their experience is seeing their friends and family paralysed by fear and going silent, distant and withdrawn. Contrary to what most of us believe, and as Geo eloquently explains in the video below, the worst we can do in this situations is not doing anything at all.

Pretty powerful, isn’t it? I took Geo’s talk as a starting point and from there I started delving into every article I could find on the subject, as well as academic papers and self-help books. The more I read about it, the more I became anxious about my family’s mortality, something that has always haunted me ever since I moved to Europe almost five years ago. Reading stories of really young kids who lost their parents or siblings to an illness or a violent accident was heartbreaking and disturbing, it really made me think how lucky I am and how difficult it should be to confront such situations. The thought is terrifying.

And that was the hardest thing about this brief… having to put yourself on the shoes of those kids for a second, trying to understand what it must feel like to lose your parents at a young age in order to understand how berøringsangst could be addressed. Not an easy task, I tell you. How could I possibly imagine that? No matter how much I read about it, I always felt the ideas I was coming up with were only based in loose assumptions and I don’t think I got to fully discern all the nuances and implications of the issue. It didn’t help that we only had just a couple of days to research, decode that information, conceptualize and execute, but we did our best within our limitations and although I think we could have thought our concepts through a bit more, I also know that’s just the way things are sometimes. We’ll see what happens.

On a positive note, though, I went to Roskilde during the Easter break with Kat and her Dad. It was a lovely, sunny day that we spent looking at viking ships and walking around the Roskilde Cathedral, a beautiful Gothic building where many Danish monarchs are buried and that has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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We also spent a few days in the company of little Stevey Wonderful, who brought us hot cross buns and chocolate eggs, just enough calories to keep us walking around town, showing her the city views. It was so nice to see her and I hope she can make it back to Copenhagen in August as she promised.

To top it all off, Kat gave me a Instax Mini as a present! I have been planning to get that camera for a while but she just went ahead and got it for me first so we started using it right away :)

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We now have a little box where we’re storing our photos and I’m sure it won’t be long before we need to find a bigger one…

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March 6

A lot is happening at the moment and, despite knowing things are probably going to be okay, I can’t help but feeling slightly overwhelmed; my brain keeps sending my heart mixed signals, of both fear and hope, and the process of sorting those feelings out is difficult sometimes. I have also been listening to “Comfortably Numb,” which for some reason makes me both melancholic and delighted. No idea why.

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Last Friday, I finally met Dorte, one of Kat’s co-workers, who invited us for dinner at her place. Dorte is 65 and her husband is 72, yet they come across as a joyful, cheeky couple the moment you meet them. They are good fun and they know how to treat their guests.

On Saturday, Kat and I went to check out a Chocolate Festival that sounded much better than it actually was. The venue wasn’t very exciting, the way the stands were setup was a bit confusing, and there were lines of people everywhere. We couldn’t be bothered to stand in line to get tiny pieces of fancy chocolate for free so we decided to try the less crowded exhibitors instead. I had a couple of really nice nougat and milk chocolate bars, a passion-fruit and ginger filled chocolate that was very interesting, an okay tiramisú ice cream, a pretty decent chocolate brownie and took home a couple of chocolate spreads: one with olive oil (which was pretty disgusting) and one of dark, bitter chocolate that was acceptable but certainly nothing to write home about.

Later in the evening, we signed up for a free month of Netflix and started watching “House of Cards” from the beginning. Kat hadn’t seen a single episode and I thought it wouldn’t hurt to watch the first couple of seasons again before jumping into the new one so we stayed in and got five or six episodes out of the way in one sit. Kat likes the series so we will be binging on “House of Cards” for the next couple of weeks.

On Sunday, the weather was so nice that we decided to go for a walk around the Botanical Gardens, a beautiful place I hadn’t visited before. It was nice and quiet. We had a look around the greenhouse and then sat by the little lake for a while, taking up the sun. Copenhagen looks fantastic on days like these.

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We got a bit hungry around noon so decided to try some hotdogs we saw outside Torvehallerne. Now, I’m not a big fan of hot dogs but the “Red Devil” by Pølse Kompagniet is probably the best hotdog I have ever had in my life. Seriously, it was perfect. If you live in Copenhagen, go check it out for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

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In the evening, Kat and I went to see Hayseed Dixie play in a shithole, in Kødbyen. The tickets were cheap and we had listened to some of their AC/DC covers so we decided to go check them out, just for the fun of it. The audience was mostly old men with receding hairlines and prominent beer bellies, some teenage rockers, a few girls, and a kid that most have been about 10 years old. Altogether, we were about 200 people on a Sunday night in a shitty venue hidden in a trendy meatpacking district. The right setting for a southern bluegrass cover band to work their magic and win some hearts over with blazing banjo lines and witty, political jokes. It felt like a stand up comedy show by John Wheeler with a few musical intermissions in between, and that combination worked pretty well.

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The band opened with “Hells Bells”, followed shortly after by “Ace of Spades” and “War Pigs.” Needless to say, they got me in their pockets right from the beginning. From there it only got better: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “Eye of the Tiger,” “Paranoid,” “Highway to Hell,” “Hotel California” and, surprisingly, a really nice version of “Clandestino” by Manu Chao.

If it wasn’t because I had to wake up relatively early today to go to work, I think we would have stayed after the show and buy the band some beers. They were unpretentious, funny, and truly friendly with their audience. You simply don’t get to see that very often…

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February 5

I’m down with a cold and I’m in the office, on a beautiful winter day, feeling sorry for myself.

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Yesterday, I came across a great blog post that drew similarities between moving (as in relocating from one place to another) and death, arguing that moving houses is like dying, but on a small scale; we are forced to leave behind some of our precious belongings, as if it was a rehearsal for when the time to leave EVERYTHING behind comes. The thought is daunting but, as someone who has relocated to a new city 6 times, I can totally empathize with the feeling.

I wish I could elaborate more on this, or at least include a link to the article here, but I can’t find the blog where I read it and I can’t be bothered to write anymore; my nose is leaking, my eyes feel heavy, and I still have a meeting to attend before going home.

I told you I was feeling sorry for myself, didn’t I?

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February 2

I have been having trouble sleeping lately, waking up three and four times during the night, for no reason at all. I just can’t seem to be able to get deep, uninterrupted sleep and it’s really pissing me off.

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Last Friday, Kat and I went on a date and had dinner at Lille Bror, a nice restaurant in the city centre. We had a lovely 3-course menu and a glass of wine, then went for a drink at The Living Room and then met with Carlos and Marisa in Balderdash and Strøm, before going back home around midnight.

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On Saturday, I went to pick up at the framing shop a couple of posters I got from my Mexican friend, Javier,; he bought them in a Lucha Libre match a year ago and sent them back to me with Klara, a girl who used to work at my favourite coffee shop here in Copenhagen, who had stayed with Javier during her visit to Mexico City. They look fantastic. I also went record shopping at Sound Station and got “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Help”, my first The Beatles vinyls, which I played as soon as I got home.

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On Sunday, Kat and went to check out a flea market in Nørrebro, had Turkish food for lunch, then went to Torverhallerne for coffee and then back home to hide from the cold. We somehow ended up watching an entire episode of “Ex on the Beach,” a reality show in which a group of British chavs (muscular guys and hottish girls, all sprayed tan and with terrible tattooes) hang out on the beach and anxiously await for their exes to randomly come out of the sea, usually bringing some sort of drama. It was hilarious.

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Taylor and I have a great taste for t-shirts…

We also kept watching “Banshee”, a series Kat recommended after a failed attempt to get me into “True Blood.” In case you haven’t heard of it, the series is about a thief that becomes the sheriff of a small town in the middle of nowhere (not gonna tell you how he does that, in case you want to see it) and spends his days fighting bad guys, fucking women, and trying to get his old girlfriend back. Despite the crap opening titles sequence, I really like it; it’s nicely directed, it’s exciting AND there’s plenty of exposed breasts. In fact, for a small town, Banshee has an impressive number of hot women, the greatest of all being a rebel girl named Rebecca, a character played by Lili Simmons, for whom I seem to have developed a massive crush.

If you don’t know her, Google her up. You’ll know what I’m talking about.

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Just got tickets to see Rom Zombie at VEGA in June. The ticket was reasonably priced and after seeing him played Roskilde last year, I’m really looking forward to see him in Copenhagen’s greatest music venue. Just watch this and you will get an idea…

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January 27

It just hit me last night… I have been in Denmark for two years already. Well, two years and two days, exactly. I remember flying out of London on January 25, in the late afternoon, and arriving to a very cold and dark Copenhagen in the evening, half excited about the idea of moving somewhere new and half scared at the possibility of failure in a place that was -and still is in a way- very different to anything I had experienced before; from the culture and the language to the scale of the city, the weather and the social dynamics, Denmark was so unfamiliar to me that, apart from expecting to be surrounded by beautiful blondes at all times (I was right), I don’t even remember having any concrete expectations at all.

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Two years and two days have passed since and, although there have certainly been some rough patches along the way, I have to say that moving to Copenhagen has been a fantastic experience, well worth of every single lonely night I spent at home, hiding from the cold, wishing I was back in London with my friends.

It has been tough -Denmark can really be a bitch sometimes- and every now and then I still miss parts of my life in England, but things are better than they have ever been in a good while and a sense of belonging is finally developing, after all these years. Yes, it has taken me a while to get here, broken bones and all, but that’s ok. You know what they say…

I might not be in a band but I sure feel like I’m rocking.

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January 16

Kat and I are off to London for the weekend, our first trip of 2015. We have already four more trips lined up for the first half of the year and to be honest, I’m really looking forward to every single one of them. I like to travel with Kat, she’s always fun to be around. Unlike our last trip to London, this time we are going without much plans other than catching up with as many of my friends, have a walk along the Southbank and maybe go see an sex exhibition at Wellcome Collection but that’s really not important. We just want to hang out and take it easy. A hard thing to do in London, I know, but we’ll give it a shot…

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I have been listening to Here Be Monsters lately, a nice podcast I recently discovered through the built-in Podcast iPhone app. As always, I’m arriving quite late to the party (there are 40 episodes of HBM already waiting for me) but that’s fine by me, I enjoy going through entire seasons of existing material at my own pace. I like knowing that I can listen/watch all the episodes in one go if I want to, or put them on hold if I want to take a break, without feeling like I’m missing out.

The only exception to this rule has possibly being 24, which I watched with my mum as it was broadcasted on TV, on a weekly basis. It was nerve-wracking and little bit annoying at times (wanting to watch more and having to wait an entire week for the next episode) but overall, I think it has been one of the most enjoyable family experiences of my life. Just sitting there every week in front of the telly with my mum, just wondering what the hell was going to happen next. Even after I moved to London, I would download each episode at the time and tried to watch it the same day my mum did, just so that we could talk about it afterwards on Skype. It was fucking great.

Anyway, back to HBM. I’m not a big fan of Jeff Emtman’s voice but the podcast is very well produced, the format is perfect for my Copenhagen commute and the topics are fascinating. I have only started it a few days ago so still have a long way to go but I recommend you to check it out, I’m sure you will find something interesting in there.

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January 12

Back in July last year, Kat and I moved in together but we never got to throw a proper housewarming party at the time so we decided to get that out of the way this weekend and invited some friends over for drinks at our place. I think it was the first time that some of Kat’s friends were together in the same room with some of mine, and despite a silly late-night drunken incident involving a DIY garlic bread, a great time was had by all.

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Some of our friends didn’t make it to the party, possibly because of the stupid transvestite storm that hit us over the weekend (it was given a female name on the first day and a male name on the second day – that’s progressive Denmark for you all), but those who made it to our home gave us flowers, a bottle of fine Cuban rum, a couple of bottles of wine, a pair of salt & pepper shakers we liked, and a picture framing fund to take care of some posters we have at home. All very nice. The next morning, after doing a quick clean up of the apartment, Kat and I went for coffee and pastries at a café in Nørrebro and then popped in El Giganten to get that new TV we had been talking about for the last couple of months.

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We figured that if we are spending so much time in front of the telly watching series on HBO most evenings, we might as well give ourselves an upgrade so, after much consideration, comparing features and prices and users reviews, we finally agreed on an LG 55-inch full HD LCD TV that might be just a little bit too big; its name is Alberto and it barely fits on the cabinet we used to have our old TV on. If it was one centimeter bigger, we probably would be looking at new cabinets as we speak.

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As with every piece of electronic equipment we buy, the set up process didn’t go as smoothly as it should have and we still haven’t been able to find out how to make the antenna signal work but we hook it up to my laptop and our surround sound and spent the rest of the day watching episodes of “Masters of Sex,” a series we liked at the beginning but that we’re feeling a bit meh about it now that we’re close to finish the second season. To be honest, if it wasn’t for all the exposed breasts featured throughout the series, I would have probably given up on it a while ago.

But with Alberto on our side, standing proud in our living room, we will power through and finish what we started. We will not give up and we will not surrender. Our time is now.

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I just came across a wonderful piece of wisdom, which I recommend you to read: “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck.” 

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Despite the loose use of the word “fuck,” which is featured 127 times throughout the article, the author makes a really valid point in an very amusing way and considering the new year has just begun, I’d suggest you to reconsider your fuck-giving policy and follow the advice of Mr. Mark Makson (whoever the fuck he is) and start reserving your fucks for the really fuckworthy situations in life.

After you read the article, I think you would agree with me that it’s indeed worth trying.

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