Robyn and Joel's Blog: Chronicling our Copenhagen Adventures

Yes, we're that interesting.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Silas in CPH

My father arrived in Copenhagen early in the morning on Wednesday, May 14. He stayed with us for several days before heading over to Ljungby, Sweden, where he's now teaching seminary students from the Lutheran Confessional Church of Sweden and Norway.

We made the most of my father's brief stop in Denmark. We've said before that Copenhagen is truly a wonderful walking city. We enjoyed a number of leisurely strolls through our neighborhood, now green and lush after a long winter's hibernation, as well as through some of our favorite spots down near the city center. It's been amazing to see the city literally "reborn" throughout this spring season. We also savored several Danish-style homecooked meals, skillfully prepared by Robyn (I supplied the beer, thankyouverymuch). We've made some wonderful friends during our time here; two days after my father's arrival, we enjoyed a lovely dinner with several of them: our gracious hosts, Michael and Rebekah (as well as their young boys, "Big" John and "Bigger-by-the-day" James), as well as our other American friends, Adam and Melanie.

Earlier in the day, Rebekah and Adam joined the three of us for a tour of the Carlsberg ("Probably the best beer in town") Brewery ( The tour itself is (relatively) interesting. But the real point of feigning interest in rooms full of half-rusted brewing machinery from the last century is to get to the "prize" at the end of the tour: a sleek, well-lit bar where one can sample different beers from Carlsberg's extensive selection of brews. And sample we did.

Here are some pictures from my father's visit:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Staying connected through laundry

I remember buying my first washer and dryer. Joel and I were just married and we used our “wedding money” to purchase our modest but elegant Kenmore washer and dryer. I was so proud. And, when our house in Carbondale flooded during a terrible storm, it was my washer and dryer that I guarded with layers and layers of towels. I wasn’t going to give up my washer and dryer without a fight.

Our little flat here in Copenhagen is not big enough for a washer and dryer. We use the laundry mat around the corner. It is quite nice and very convenient, but I do miss my washer. Wait, what did I just say? Just my washer? Yep… just my washer. I don’t use dryers anymore!

Actually, many people in Copenhagen don't use dryers. Almost every home has a rather large and elaborate drying rack and there are often clotheslines behind apartment buildings. So, winter, spring, summer and fall, we dry out clothes the old-fashioned way… by hanging them up. And, to my surprise, I love it. Sure, it is better for the environment (a lot better, actually, check the energy use on your home dryer – scary!), and easier on your clothes, but I like hanging my clothes outside because it reminds me of the women in my family. I have only a few very fuzzy memories of family-related laundry events, but I sort-of remember the clothesline outside our first house in Indiana… and a long line of white diapers hanging on it. And, I know that my great-grandmothers and grandmother had to hang their laundry outside to dry… and no, it was never glamorous or fun. In fact, it is a bit ironic: my great-grandmothers, grandmothers, and mother (and the men in my family too) worked very hard so I could one day not have to hang my laundry outside. But, now I have the choice. I can use the dryers (and before I sound too self-righteous, I have to admit I do use them from time to time) or hang our clothes outside. I am happy to choose to dry my clothes outside or on our rack. And, for the few moments I am alone hanging the laundry, I enjoy imagining all the women (and men) before me who took the time to hang laundry and I feel connected. A lot changes from generation to generation… but is nice to know some things stay the same. Things like laundry.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

A Very Special Mothers' Day Wish to our very special mothers! We love you!

Consciousness in Tucson and Vilnius

Not much blogging of late. It's been a busy month: traveling and conferences, increased activity at work, a number of church-related functions...and spending as much time as possible outside, savoring the uncharacteristically warm and sunny weather. The past two weeks in particular have shown Copenhagen at its finest; even the locals concede that it's been unusually lovely. More on that in a future post, however.

Last month I traveled to Tucson, AZ, for the "Towards a Science of Consciousness" conference held biannually at the University of Arizona. It's a massive, colorful "all things related to consciousness" conference that I always look forward to very much. There aren't many conferences where you can begin the morning by listening to a talk on two-dimensionalism and the knowledge argument, hop on over to an adjacent session to hear a discussion of autism and social cognition, and then bounce over to yet another session to catch up with the latest research in transpersonal phenomenological parameters of human sexual experience (those are all bits of real titles, by the way). Fun stuff all around. And this year's conference didn't disappoint. I gave a talk on empathy and moral perception--which is rather a pedestrian topic, alas, in constrast to transpersonal phenomenology and sexual experience. Perhaps next time I will include some saucy power point images in my talk to spice things up a bit.

While I enjoyed the academic portion of my trip very much, seeing family was the real highlight. My parents, along with Travis and Kelly, came over from California to stay in Tucson during my visit. We all stayed at my grandmother's house. It was a great visit. We had the chance to spend lots of early-morning time simply sitting around in our pajamas, sippping coffee and chatting about all sorts of things. Due to my skipping across multiple time zones, I enjoyed the unaccustomed luxury of starting my day at 5:30AM with my grandmother! I've posted some pictures from the visit at this link:

A few weeks later, I traveled to Vilnius, Lithuania, to attend the meeting of the "Nordic Society for Phenomenology". I gave a paper on music perception. This conference, too, was very enjoyable. I wasn't able to see as much of Vilnius as I would have liked, but I've posted some pictures from the trip here:

Be sure to look closely at the picture of the toilet!