I spent the previous year in Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia. I’ve spent the last 8 months in Copenhagen, Denmark and enough time has passed for me to start feeling a little homesick, however my homesickness is a mixture of many homes. It’s a soft kind of homesickness that motivates me to search for anything related to Virginia/the US, Mexico, Ecuador, or anything Central or South American. It’s easy to find food and activities
related to the US here. Grocery stores often have an “American food” section and chains like Starbucks are found across the city. However, finding anything related to Latin America is much more difficult.
When it comes to food, I’ve had very little success. Most of the time when you see the words “Authentic Mexican”, it will be Tex-Mex. Although I enjoy a huge plate of Tex-Mex food, I haven’t had anything impressive. There have been two instances where I’ve been close to finding something close to Mexican food. The first was at a taco stand at Papirøen (a indoor food market) where I ordered two quesadillas. The two guys working the stand were from Mexico and one guy grew up in Coyoacan, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Mexico City. The guys were friendly but their friendliness didn’t make up for the terrible quesadillas. They were small and overpriced and I’m sure they knew it too because they
gave me a discount without me even asking for one. I’m sure their tacos and quesadillas are great for Danes, however I was not pleased. A few weeks later I came across a little food truck spot where there was a truck selling tacos and sopes. I decided to try a sope because I figured it would be impossible to ruin one. Well, I was wrong. I sat down at a bench and took a bite. The sope was as hard as a rock! I bit so hard that all the toppings fell off. I ate what I could and hurried out of there.
I haven’t found any Ecuadoran, Peruvian, or any other Latin American food. However there is a Latin American market every first Sunday of a month and I’ll try and make my way to one of them. Although I’m not an impressive cook, I rather get a hold of some ingredients and cook some dishes myself.
Where I definitely have found some success in in the music scene. Copenhagen boasts an impressively diverse music scene for such a small city. Not too long ago I saw Sonido Gallo Negro perform at a venue down the street from where I live. I also had the chance to see them in 2014 in Mexico City. Dengue Dengue Dengue also came recently and their concert was sold out before I could get tickets! Bomba Estereo has even played in Copenhagen for free at an outdoor concert. They, along with Ana Tijoux, will be in Denmark in July to play at a well known festival called Roskilde. Also, I’ve heard reggaeton and bachata being blasted out of boomboxes once in a while. There are several salsa clubs but I’m an awful salsa dancer so I’ve stayed away. I’m sure there will be plenty more opportunities to hear some great music during the summer months.
But what I miss the most is the friendliness and hospitality I saw while I was in Latin America. There were many instances where I was lost and instead of just getting help I got a great conversation and heard good stories. The openness and friendliness is what attracted me the most because I’m a shy person but being in such an environment helps me loosen-up. Danes are friendly but they aren’t open. They rarely initiate conversations and they stick to themselves. If you want to befriend a Dane, you’ll have to put in a lot of work. It is a little exhausting and it makes me miss being in a place where people’s social skills are much better than mine.
Overall when it comes to food I’m a little homesick here. When it comes to music I’m pretty content. I think Danes aren’t really aware of what Latin America is or has to offer. I’ve met a several Danes who have traveled around Latin America and while they’ve enjoyed their travels, it hasn’t translated into a broader understanding of the complex continent’s culture.