It was cold and windy when I arrived in Århus. It was September (2005) and autumn was picking up. I have been warned about the Danish weather, but nothing beats experiencing it firsthand. Expectedly, people were all covered and fully clothed. I then remember the “Visit Århus” magazine the university sent me and it was like seeing the pages come to life with the sights and sounds of the city. I thought it was cool to see people wearing coats, jackets, scarves, berets, hats, boots, etc. It was completely different from what can be seen in the Philippines. I must admit that I got excited to wear those kinds of clothes and accessories. However, wearing winter clothes also meant wearing layers of clothes underneath, and that is something I am not used to. It was odd the first few weeks but I got the hang of it. Later on, I took delight in shopping for new winter clothes, shoes and accessories. I think the joy was in the thought that I can wear the cool outfits that I do not have in my tropical country. Then snow came, but that is another story.
A summer like home
I spent the summer of 2006 in London. Back then, dressing up was not a problem as the season allowed me to wear the kinds of clothes I wore back home. It was also the time of the European heat wave and London was not spared. Strange, but it actually felt like the summers I had back home. For a start, it was a relief to finally shed off the layers of clothes I had to wear for winter. Then it was great to don sleeveless tops, baby tees, mini skirts and shorts, again! More importantly, it was a good excuse to laze in the parks with my books in tow. In between summer classes at IOE, I frequented Russell Square Park with some classmates and we would talk of almost anything under the sun, literally! I noticed that public parks are quite popular in the summer as I saw a lot of people doing all sorts of things inside the parks including sun bathing. Seeing half naked women was an ordinary sight those days. It surprised me at first but I got used to the scene. I realized that in the summer, (window) shopping in Oxford Street – in a mini skirt and a spaghetti-strapped blouse – was way a lot better and more comfy than doing it the previous season.
Shiella C. Balbutin
European Masters in Media, Communication and Cultural Studies (05-07)
London, UK/Århus, Denmark