The Danes

Before coming to Copenhagen, I was told that the Danes were hard to get to know and not very friendly. And while, like in every country, you run across the occasional rude person, the majority of Danes I have met have proved this stereotype very wrong.

The other day I was on the bus coming home from school. It was packed like a can of disgruntled sardines because the metro from Nørreport had broken down. Every person in Copenhagen seems to have their routine: they either utilize the metro or the bus for their commute. I myself am a metro gal. But today, everyone had to take the bus, which ruined the whole city’s routine. At each stop more people were pouring on than were getting off.

When we got to my stop, I was trying to squeeze my way between people on the bus so I could get off when the doors started to shut. It was like fighting against a current to keep from missing my stop. I was moving in slow motion but the doors were closing at normal speed. And I lost. The doors shut. And because I didn’t know the Danish words to ask the driver to reopen the doors (I do now, though! Vent vengligst!), I froze. I was so close to making it off at my stop, yet so far. I felt like Estragon or Vladimir waiting for Godot.

But before I could even give it a second thought, it seemed like everyone on the bus chimed in, yelling up to the bus driver to reopen the doors for me. It felt like one of those movie scenes where someone gives a dramatic speech and, at first, the audience just sits there silently but then, slowly, the crowd stands to their feet and starts applauding to show their support. It may sound silly, and they didn’t actually applaud me as much as I hate to admit it, but this little gesture made me feel a little less like a foreigner despite the fact that I don’t know the language. I might still be the stupid American who can’t use the bus, but they supported me anyway. So thank you, dear strangers in Denmark, for helping an American sista out.