It was everywhere that winter I arrived in Aarhus. In stores, in bars, on the radio, and finally it got stuck in my head as well. At least the melody did. It wasn’t until much later that the text started to make sense to me. In the beginning, the only thing I understood was the title of the song Millionær. The rest was one big mush of overlapping words. I had no clue where one word ended and the next one began. But whenever I heard it, I just had to hum along. After a while the humming turned into singing, to the dismay of my dear family members, who claim that I sing out of tune. They are right. In all modesty, I can say that singing is not one of my many qualities. But that first winter I really needed something to cheer me up!
It was a long, dark and bitter cold winter. For weeks and weeks it was minus 15 and because we didn’t have a car yet, I braved the cold. I cycled up and down the hills, two freezing little girls behind me in the cycle carriage. Their brand new snowsuits could not keep them from shivering, nor could the many fleece blankets I had thrown over them. Their børnehave was far away. I didn’t know all the short cuts yet and sometimes I got lost. I didn’t know all about Danish traffic rules yet and sometimes I got frustrated. In an attempt to keep my spirit up (and to not to hear my little girls whining), I sang my Millionær song.
I had only been living in Denmark for a few months, so I had no idea what I was singing about (of course I didn’t!) and I had no idea if I pronounced the words correctly (of course I didn’t!). I am not very good at being bad at things. I am a bit of a perfectionist, I’m afraid. On top of that, I can’t stand it when I don’t understand what people say (or sing) to me and I get upset when I can’t make myself understandable.
I saw only one solution: buying the CD and listening to it a million times. And that’s exactly what I did, once more to the dismay of my dear family members, who not all share my musical taste.
Months passed by and spring arrived. Cycling became fun again. I had learned all songs by heart and while I sang along with them, I had gotten better at distinguishing the words and pronouncing their sounds. My singing had not only helped me to understand the language better, but also to appreciate it more. Where I only noticed the hard sounds and the unfriendly tone in the beginning, I was now also able to see a more poetical side of the Danish language.
Thanks Rasmus, for showing me the beauty of your language. Thanks for teaching me many new words. Without you, I would have never known what a fattigrøv is or what it means to få en sjus. It might come in handy some day. You never know… And last but not least, thanks for getting me through that first long winter!