I think I am pretty integrated. I really do. I have learned as much as I can about Danish society; I participate in as many Danish events as possible; some of my favorite music artists only sing in Danish and I know the words to their songs; and I try, try, try to speak Danish to every person in the community that I meet. However, after living in Denmark for a little more than 2 years, I have admitted to myself that I will never win the award for #1 Immigrant because there are just some things I cannot (or will not, I guess) do.
Most of these are things I have tried for the last two years. Really, I have.
But at the end of each day, you have to come to terms with the fact that at the age of 40, some habits are just too hard to change.
So here is the Top 5 list of things that are going to keep me from getting the IMMIGRANT ACADEMY AWARD should the Danes every decide to give one:
1. When I make a list of things used for TRANSPORTATION, I do not write "bike" on my list. (I have not owned a bike since I was a little girl and although I have one here, I use it for exercise and fun... not for transport. Sorry. Just C-A-N-N-O-T do it.)
2. I eat with my fork in my right hand. And I only pick up my knife when I need to cut something. I have TRIED...SERIOUSLY...to eat with "the fork in the left hand, knife in the right hand, Danish way"...but I starve. I cannot keep the food on the fork and I see all those Emily Post lessons as a young girl flashing before my eyes...you know the ones that say, "you only pick up your knife to cut your meat and you only cut one piece at a time...and then you PUT IT DOWN." Old habits die hard and although I am mesmerized every time I see a Dane eat (and keep the food on his fork!), I cannot learn it!
3. I have ICE in all my cold drinks. Well, with the exception of BEER, of course! Thank goodness my Viking is also now addicted to ice in his drinks because he bought us an ice machine. It does not matter how cold the can is. I want ice in my coke. And when I ask the girl at Burger King to give me extra ice in my soda, that does not mean increasing it from 3 cubes to 6.... Fill it up, sister!
4. You know that Danish mantra of: "There is no such thing as bad weather; just people who do not know how to dress correctly"? Well, I have repeated it over and over, but I am sorry. It is just a lie... There IS such thing as bad weather! And I experience it quite often in Denmark! I love Denmark, but I do NOT love Danish weather.
5. (I blame the American educational system for this one!) I CANNOT FIGURE OUT THE METRIC SYSTEM! Yes, I know kilometers per hour and I know how much 350F is in a Danish oven, but if you tell me someone just had a baby and it weighs 3000 grams, I am going to have no clue if it is huge or a preemie! I am 5'8" but please do not ask me how many centimeters that is because I do not know. I think it is a HUGE disservice that we do not teach our kids in the US both ways (or hell, just switch to the metrics since the ENTIRE WORLD uses it!) because a 40 year old linguist who HATES math does not stand a chance of ever really learning it now!
However, remember I do have a tattoo of the Danish flag on the back of my neck so MAYBE that will allow me to claim exemption from one of the above-mentioned items should the #1 Immigrant Award ever be created!