It's a small world after all

One of my favorite things about Roskilde is Saturday morning, downtown.  Rain or shine, the farmer's market sets up shop by the commune, lining up white tents that harbor colorful produce and foliage, antiques, and hand-made goods.  The cafes turn out their tables and chairs, and people sit with their wine and cigarettes, having a three-hour brunch while listening to bands play on street corners and watching the locals shop.  There are small children everywhere, and parents who are pushing prams and walking enormous dogs and eating ice cream cones even when the weather is cold.  They have bicycles and umbrellas, and buy wildflowers wrapped in paper, freshly baked loaves of bread, and locally-caught fish.  The air smells like candied nuts, compliments of an elderly gentleman who wears a wool hat and gloves year-round and roasts the almonds outdoors.  He wraps them in little red-and-white paper sacks and sells them in sets of three for fifty danish crowns.

On these mornings, you will overhear dozens of different languages and accents.  If you're like me, it will make you feel as if you have traveled very far, and at the same time - not so far at all.

I read once that our world is really just a small town, something that crops up in strange new ways when you are far from home.  It's in the familiar way people interact with each other, in the expressions you recognize on their faces, and in smells that remind you of your past.  You feel it when you meet someone with similar interests, or when you realize they have the same yen for travel that brought you to this foreign country in the first place.  You hear it in voices everywhere you go, even when the language is not your own.

It may not always be a welcome feeling, like when the traveling group of clog dancers visited Roskilde this summer and brought their bluegrass music with them.  I felt as if they'd followed us all the way from that familiar podunk town where the editor of the newspaper can't spell, the kkk petitions for highway clean-up, and there is an annual Green Bean Festival.  (No, really, there is.)  As much as I miss my family, I don't always miss that town.

On the other hand, it can be just what you need.  When I was in Germany last month, I overheard a worship song I recognized being played in an independent church.  I couldn't remember the words in English, but I knew the melody, and I suddenly got this feeling like I'd been to this church before - in a different country, of course, but it was still the same  ... if that makes any sense.

Come to think of it, it's what we've been singing about since we were kids, right?  Disney knew all along.


  1. You really bring that scene to life for us in the first. What a wonderful sight and event to take part of.


  2. I love reading your posts. You do bring out a scene. It must be the writer in you.

  3. this is stunning. like the other commenters said, you made me feel like I was right there, experiencing all of it. so charming.


( hippies always welcome )