Copping Out in Copenhagen (København), Day 6.5

The most blessed day (8.1.10). I don’t know if it’s a coincidence my best days have been Sundays. My most restful, joyous ones.

I returned to Christiania in the morning – and it wasn’t so hostile as before. I recognized Mathias immediately from his photo as I entered Morgan Stedet and when I sat down Mark, the Seattle busker from yesterday, just happened to walk in, giving me company and encouragement while I waited for Mathias to finish up. He was so generous – offering me free soup and bread and water, something I needed dearly as my diet had been sorely lacking in vegetables. It was a gorgeous soup, with squash and leafy greens and just the perfect hint of cilantro. The three of us chatted amiably about busking; I asked them how they dealt with the shitty days – and they said that’s just part of it, but kindly. Mark left to busk at the entrance and Mathias and I walked back to his place in Vesterbro.

Pusher Street, Christiania

My jotted notes on Christiania: “Sending me stumbling again. Reeling. It’s friendly here but… I shudder. I see the refuse and the deadbeats. I smell the sweet gross smoke of marijuana. Of wine and feces. And then the beautiful tiled Gaudi-esque parapets and the green spaces and the sun and the broken beautiful furniture. The generous people. The pushy weed sellers. The lazy with their glazed, bored eyes. The drugged: vacant and staring. The wonderful allure of squash soup wafting in oil and fresh cilantro. Bright colors, garish; muted and splendid. It’s the perfect metaphor not just for her but the world.”

Along the way he told me all about his ups and downs. It was so wonderful to speak with someone who understands – more than understands. How you can play an entire day and not get a tip. How you might have to go hungry or without a place to sleep. But how those really make the highs truly wonderful, when someone who you expect won’t help lends you a hand – gives you a berth, food, a tip… Now I don’t intend to get quite as low as he has (something he enjoyed, because it helped him see he had no limit of endurance). So encouraging.

We arrived at his little falling apart (yet beautiful) flat at three in the afternoon, exactly when service was to start at the Vineyard Church of København, which just happened to be around the corner from his flat. Worship, a perfect sermon, getting prayer… I even asked if I might sing at the end but they weren’t keen on it as they’d just closed the time.

I quickly gathered my things back at the hostel to move to Mathias’. I’d been told as long as I payed before 9:30 I would retain my reservation – so I could wait till then before I had to pay. When I went to the administration desk to check out, however, I was told there was a fee as I’d failed to check out before 3:30. They were a kind trio so I offered to play them a few songs as my fee and they acquiesced. Naturally they chose songs that somewhat undid my rest day – songs needing a lot of voice, Say and Sound of Silence. It was a nice vibe in that little room so after dropping my things off at Mathias’ I returned just to hang out. The workers even gave me a beautiful supper of two slices of quiche – salmon/spinach and ham. My densest, tastiest meal in quite some time.

And then I returned to Mathias’ just in time for his other couchsurfer, Julietta, to finish making dinner – a beautiful soup and a quinoa dish. By the end of it even I was full. I whiled away the rest of the night finishing a letter and playing every instrument in the flat – all three who live there busked together and there are all manner of stringed lute-like instruments hanging from every wall. I spent the most time on Mathias’ violin. Maybe an hour. We even spoke about art, shared my work, talked photography with his roommate Joachim… all the things I’d missed a little from school. Parting the next morning felt ever so bittersweet.

Song of the Day: Sound of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel

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