September 5, 1999 Traveling Alan Joseson
Hej from Sweden!
I finally made it to Fredrik's house so I'm well into
Scandanvia. That's what the Joseson is about... up until about 100 years ago in this
area (and still to this day in Iceland), your last name would be the first name of your
father plus son or daughter... Thomson, Anderson, Thomsdaughter, Andersdaughter, etc. So
I'd be Alan Joseson.
Well it's nice to be in people's houses and out of the hostels,
I finally got to sleep in and rest... but not in Berlin. I ended up having a very
busy day there. I went to a soccer game with Nadine's brother, Patrick (das Wunderkind).
Berlin vs. Bremen in the Olympic Stadium what Hitler built! It was my first
soccer game and actually ended up being pretty interesting for me. I got to cheer
Berlin on to a stunning 1-1 tie... ties are a pretty foreign concept in American sports,
but it was a decent game. I was hoping everyone would get all rowdy and hooligans
would start a big brawl, but I guess that's only in England... oh well. :)
So after that I failed miserably to communicate in German at
Tami's party and only had an OK time, and I didn't get home until pretty late. I had
time to pack, a couple hours of sleep, then I was off again.
My next stop was the village of Weisenbach in Southern Germany
(near Stuttgart and Karlsruhe). It's a small place, population 3000... so it was
finally time to relax. I went there to visit a friend of mine, Katja. Her father
started working in the States, so she had to move over too. That's how I met her,
when we realized we'd be in Europe at the same time (she went back to her home town to
visit with her friends) we figured we'd have to hang out... so we did. I stayed with
her at her best friend Carmen's house. Thankfully, there's not tons to do there. So
I hung out with Katja, Carmen, and their friends, ate lots of tasty German food (Carmen's
mom is a brilliant cook), and caught up on sleep. Weisenbach was a nice little
town... very stereotypically German in appearance, but it wasn't a town full of bumpkin
farmers or anything like that, it's totally modern, just small.
After that, it was a hectic day of travel to reach Copenhagen.
I was under the impression that there would be a night train going there from
Cologne, but I got there and it did not exist. So I took a look at the big, famous,
cathedral there, and headed for Hamburg in the hopes that I could get to Copenhagen from
there. I arrived in Hamburg at midnight and the first train left at 7:30. I
only managed a couple hours of sleep in the train station, so it wasn't the greatest of
I was tired and a little bit dirty when I finally reached
Copenhagen... but what a place. My spirits lifted right away because I was just
happy to be at my destination and Copenhagen looked like such a happy town. I got
totally lost, but I didn't care... I was there. I felt like Hans Christian Anderson
ready to write a million fairy tales.
According to plan, I met up with Camilla at 2:00pm in the Town
Square. She's the girl I met on Corfu who I danced with (like a dork). She was
an angel of a host. She took real good care of me... fed me, showed me around, the
whole 9 yards... we had good laughs. I was going to Copenhagen anyway on my way here
to Sweden, so it just worked out so well. I couldn't thank her enough.
Copenhagen is a very compact city, so we travelled exclusively
by bike. I've never seen so much bike traffic! I managed OK, but I think I
pissed a couple people off by failing to follow proper bicycle etiquette. So we
checked out the Little Mermaid statue, the Carlsberg Brerwery (which included a two beer
free sample), and other points of interest.
There's an area in Copenhagen called Christiania which is quite
fascinating. Apparently, in 1971 a group of desitute people decided they were going
to live in some abanonded milliary barrackes in town, and with a little bit of
persistance, the Danish government allowed it. So Christiania is basically a giant
squatter community. I think it's a good place... I guess the Danes figured they
either had to make a place like that or make more prisons. Some of the houses there
were really unique and colorful, the whole place was quite beautiful actually.
Camilla is currently working as an intern/student teacher and
this gave me a unique oppurtunity. She is friends with some of the teachers at her
school and so the English teacher asked me to come speak to his class. They had been
studying America, so it was perfect to have a real, live, American come in there. They
were only in 10th grade, but their English was already quite good. So yeah, I taught
in a Danish school... I talked for 45 minutes about myself and life in America/L.A. They
asked me lots of questions as well. They had been studying Martin Luther King and
the Columbine shootings, so they asked me about them too. I explained that there
weren't any guns at my school while I was there. I think they had a pretty violent
pictue of L.A. I hope I set them straight. So I was a big celebrity there.
It was really fun, and how many people can say they've taught in a Danish school?
So I had a great time in Copenhagen with Camilla and her
friends (one of her friends looked like a cross between my stepmom Sandra and her daughter
Siobahn), the Danes are great: super friendly with fluent English, so we all got along
famously. Yes, I have appeased the vikings. I can safely say that Los Angeles
never need fear a raid from the Danes.
And now I'm in Sweden at Fredrik's work, and he sends his
regards to those of you he knows. I guess Fredrik needs some explanation too.
He's a Stockholm native who was working in the States for about a year and ended up at my
church. He's such a hillarious guy I knew I wanted to make it up there, so here I
So today we just hung around mostly... we got some competition
going... the US (me) humiliated Sweden (him) in a game of 1 on 1 basketball... 11-3!
But Fredrik got sweet (Swede?) revenge on Playstation video soccer, beating me 3-2
and then beating me again in the rematch.
So that's about it for now. I'll be with Fredrik for a
week or so here, mostly in Stockholm, but we're also going to visit a friend of his in
Finnland for 2 or 3 days.