Haunted by the Duolingo Owl

Less than 10 days to go. Is anybody else on a constant stream of panic?

Just kidding – mostly. With practically only one week left before I uproot myself and move to Copenhagen, everything suddenly seems more real. Suitcases start to lie open in front of me, asking to be filled with all of the clothes I intend to wear during the next four months. Issues like phone plans, credit cards, and time differences start to appear, things I’ve never really had to worry about considering I’ve lived either in Small Town Tennessee or on my college campus for the last 20 years.

Plus, at least twice a day a notification pops up on my screen – DON’T FORGET TO REACH YOUR DAILY GOAL, yells the tiny green owl that represents Duolingo, the language learning app.

Even though I’ll be taking introductory Danish during my time at DIS, the thought of entering a new country with absolutely ZERO knowledge of the language heightened my already peaking anxiety even more. Thus, I’ve been doing daily work on Duolingo to try and learn some Danish. And that little owl haunts my every waking moment. It reminds me how little I know, and that frightens me.

But then I breathe. And I remind myself that no one is expecting me to speak fluent Danish straight off the 8 hour flight. And then I remember how excited I am for my classes, how sweet my host mother has already been to me, and how beautiful just the PICTURES of Copenhagen are, let alone how beautiful it will be in person.

I won’t be able to speak Danish when I arrive in Copenhagen. If I’m not too exhausted, I will at least know how to say a simple “Hello!” or “Thank you!” . But I will go to a welcoming home with freshly-baked bread and a blind dog named Miko (not going to lie, the promise of Miko is really getting me through this last stretch of anxiety). And I will meet other DIS students who also don’t know how to speak Danish, and we will become friends as we navigate this new country, new schedule, new learning environment, and new home.

Because that’s what I’m entering. A new home. For the next four months, Copenhagen will be where I live, not just where I visit. By the end of the next four months, I will know where the best place to buy coffee is and where I can take my parents to dinner and where I feel comfortable, welcome, and loved.

And, I promise to you right now, I will speak at least a little bit of Danish.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s