Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Amazing Race and High Taxes

How best to view the city and get a lay-out of the land? The Great Amazing Race! Of course St. Lawrence won... well who knows if we actually did but we made it to every destination and even had time for lunch before our first lecture! We traveled all over the city to four different destinations and one special place for a free marshmallow dessert treat, very delicious. Our destinations were Danish Parliament (Christianborg Slotplads), The King's Garden in front of his summer palace (Rosenborg Slot) since the five minute walk into downtown was too disgusting at the time, the Queen's palace (Amalienborg, she wasn't home but her two sons were in their own little palaces of their own right next door), and finally the New Harbor (Nyhavn). We stopped by The Student House (Studenterhuset) for our chocolate covered marshmallows on a graham-like cracker. There was no way to get to know the city better and ourselves... I learned that I am terrible at reading a map, who knew? After that and some wonderful folded pizza-to-go for lunch, we had our first lecture. Saying time flew by would be a great understatement. We spent an hour and a half talking about everything and only got half-way through the Power Point and we didn't even notice that five minutes had passed. In order to not take up so much of your time if you are hopefully reading this, here is a (short) list of everything we learned pretty condensed:

- Taxes are anywhere from 50-60% of one's income, and unlike the U.S. no one complains! Also, if you want to buy a car that'll be a lovely 180% tax on it... but it isn't like it matters since most people bike.

- For anyone watching Fox news and wants to throw out that U.S. curse word "socialists" the Danes are not that as they have a full-fledged market economy, but you might still use that word since the government helps a lot. It isn't only financially that they help out though but supportively too, for example new mothers get matched up with others to form a strong support system.

-Harold Bluetooth, a Viking that integrated his people into Christianity is the namesake of the Bluetooth phone systems we all know very well.

- EQUALITY- probably the best word to describe Denmark and what their whole system is based on and something that has been the focus throughout history especially through the Enlightenment period.

- The Danish Welfare State is mostly symbolized by a bonfire because there are a limit to how many people can be in the circle before one stops feeling the heat.

- Danish kids have it made! They get money to go to school and then some. Also, adults get payed for things like having kids (Bornepenge with a slash through the o, I apologize for not knowing how to do that).

- Minimum wage is about 110 kr. or about $20 per hour

- While this all seems great there are issues like the fact that one could get more money from the State by being unemployed than if they had a job.

- Also, there is the problem of having a hard time with other cultures assimilating.

So, enough of that, if you want to know more you should travel here yourself, it is definitely worth it!!!

To end it, the WORD OF THE DAY!!!!
Today's word is hygge which is togetherness/coziness, an important part of Danish culture. The Americans who run around and never eat a meal with their families could learn a thing or two from this. We might all be happier if we take the time to really be together, relish in our relationships.

Here's to more adventures getting intentionally lost,

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