Hvordan går det? Greetings from an American posing as a Dane.

Kære allesammen. Translation: “Dear all,”

Jeg hedder Rebeca Hays. Jeg er amerikaner. Translation: “My name is Rebeca Hays. I am an American.”

Dette sprog, som du læser lige nu, er dansk. Translation: “This language, that you are currently reading, is Danish.”

Ikke så mange mennesker taler dansk, især ikke så mange merikanere. Translation: “Not too many people speak Danish, especially not too many Americans.”

Men det gør jeg. Translation: “But I do.”

Danish photo with Danish pastry called 'frøsnapper'

Danish photo with Danish pastry called ‘frøsnapper’

As mentioned above, I am not Danish; I am merely an American experiencing a cultural crisis. Ever since I was a little girl I thought being “American” was just plain boring. It didn’t matter that like many Americans I was a living-breathing hodgepodge of different cultural backgrounds and races. I mean, being half Mexican, a quarter Russian, and almost a quarter Irish with some snippets of Native American thrown into the Irish bit isn’t interesting enough, is it? Well at 16 I didn’t think so. I was convinced that I was going to become a compelling and sophisticated individual; I was going to become a European.

In order to become a European, I, obviously, had to live in Europe. So, I left my boring hometown in Arizona and became an exchange student through the Rotary International sponsored program called Rotary Youth Exchange. For one year, I was sponsored to live in any country of my choosing and a student from abroad would come live in my hometown…poor student. Anyhow, I choose Denmark, because it was the happiest country in the world, and because it was perfectly located in Western Europe. It was the perfect way for me to become a European; I would become a Dane. So off to Copenhagen, or København, I went, and for an entire year I lived with four different host families, attended a Danish high school, learned Danish, dressed like a Dane, ate like a Dane, and even partied like a Dane.

While the life I lead in Denmark was much like a dream, refined and glamourous as well as quaint and picturesque, I realized as much as I would love to be a European or a Dane it was never going to happen, I am always going to be the mutt from Arizona. But I have learned that being the miscellany of several different cultures has it perks, I am much more, in terms of heritage, interesting then just a homogenous Dane. I may not have the model-height of a Dane, nor the outrageously blonde hair, and the pale blue eyes, but I have the petite stature of my Mexican grandmother, I have the large brown eyes of my Russian-Jewish grandmother, I have the fiery drive of my Irish grandfather, and I have a captivating heritage that could only be created by the perfect concoction of mixed races and cultures. Although I no longer dream of being a European or a Dane, and even though my study abroad experience was almost four years ago, I cannot help but retain some of the habits I learned in Denmark, nor do I want to lose them; they have become party of my multi-cultural identity. I still have my phone set to Danish, I still become shamefully excited when I run into anyone that speaks Danish, and almost everyday I sport a blazer, and proudly wear my Georg Jensen’s Daisy earrings and ring (the Daisy jewelry collection is a must have for Danish girls as the Queen of Denmark, designed it herself). So while I don’t mind owning up to the fact that I am the multi-cultural girl from Arizona, I also don’t mind being the American that is posing as a Dane.

Well since this blog entry is suppose to be brief, I must now answer the question as to why I am taking this class. I could, very well, give a long answer to this question. I am particularly good at being long-winded, as the above paragraphs have demonstrated, but to keep the response on the “shorter side,” I will say that I am taking this course for the common curriculum. However, I did choose this course in particular because I am interested in becoming a film director. Again, I could babble about how it has been my lifelong dream to become a film director, but for the sake of time, I will just say that I have directed a few short films and because of my interest in film I am very taken with media in general. I am specifically interested in learning about the ways in which it effects our everyday lives. Further, I have always found notion of escapism through media fascinating. Therefore, I find the interpretations of media, as well as its criticisms, riveting. I cannot wait to learn more!

Venlig Hilsen, Translation: Sincerely.

Rebeca Hays

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