When one of the coordinators asked me to participate, I was really not sure what the day would entail. We talked about how people would receive the name "Denmark for Dummies" and I, as an immigrant in DK, told her I thought it was a great way to not only capture people's attention, but to borrow the ever-popular title of those books that we buy to get better at something...
Well, since our motivation was to "get better in our knowledge about DK and the Danes", the title seemed perfect!
Like I said, I was one of two speakers....the other being Dennis Nørmark, a "famous-ish" Danish ethnographer who has done a great deal of professional research in the area of the relationship between Danes and foreigners. (oh and I did I mention he is on Wikipedia?!) Yeah, Dennis Nørmark and ME!
Here is what I called my presentation:
because my goal was to share with people (specifically foreigners living in DK) strategies that they could use as they strive to make Denmark their home.
The day was WONDERFUL!
Besides the presentations from Dennis (the famous Wikipedia entry) and myself, we also had an activity called "Borrow a Dane" (sort of like when you "borrow a library book")... the idea was that you could go up to several Danes (who were part of a panel) and ask them any questions you had about Danes or Denmark. It was awesome to watch!
We also had folks from the Herning music school there to teach us some traditional Danish songs and dances.... I know there were photos taken of that part of the night and I am hoping I never see them! :-)
The presentations and "learning" part of the night ended with a visit from Hans Christian Andersen just before dinner!
After he said a few words to all of us, a Danish dinner buffet was rolled out with EVERY SINGLE DANISH FOOD you can imagine! The idea was to allow the foreigners to try it all! From frikadeller to flæskesteg to smørrebrød to tarteletter! Plus of course for dessert we had rød grød med fløde.....so we could taste that AWFUL PHRASE the Danes try to get us to pronounce! No one left that night hungry!
Throughout the night I had a chance to visit with so many of the attendees (there were about 65 in all). One had been in Denmark 20 years while another had just arrived the Tuesday before this night! But regardless of how long they had been here, they all said the same thing as we spoke.... That they could not believe that our kommune (county) was doing something like this for the foreigners. They said how lucky they felt to have moved into this particular area of Denmark.....
.... and I completely agree with them!