University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Comment: Eating carrots and wearing black? I must be Dan-ified

At first she loved the snow and hated rye bread. But then she became Dane-ified. Ananya Roy writes about her immersion into Danish culture, climate and carrots

It was a cold winter morning when I first arrived in Denmark, dressed up in the warmest clothes that had been known to me then.

I looked almost child-like while I giggled and had a snow fight with my landlord’s lovely little boys. Who would’ve thought that the same snow could make me almost bawl like a baby a couple of years later and hate it with a vengeance? And that wasn’t the only thing that changed.

Rebelling against rugbrød

It wasn’t always snowball fights and fluffy coats. When I first moved here, I rebelled against almost anything and everything that was a Danish custom.

I mentally vowed never to eat rugbrød (rye bread, ed.), which not only then tasted disgusting but also reminded me of my doggie’s poo.

I fought my way through the metro station, the bus station and the train station, refusing to bike.

I hated carrots and I never got the point of them.

Fashionably late

Due to my brown – or what the Danes call my ‘tanned skin’ – I was taught to wear colours such as blue, yellow and green; you name it. It was an unwritten rule that black and white was for the dull and boring.

And, like the French, Indians caught on to being fashionably late.

I can’t say the same for work or school, however. Strict time schedules were mostly adhered to, but when it came to socialising, we often gave punctuality the slip.

Schedule, schedule, schedule

Today I got on to the metro and I cursed DSB for messing up my schedule for the day. The metro was four minutes late and I knew I would be late to class. Blasphemous!

I quickly took out my little black book (Don’t get ideas) and I wrote down dates for assignments, parties, work etc. I snapped it shut and I wondered when I had started loving things that were synonymous to schedule, routine, discipline.

I schedule parties two to three weeks in advance and I hastily told my best friend that I was very busy and we could only schedule our dinner on week 42.

Orange devils

I was appalled at what I was wearing! Could it be? I was wearing black tights, a big scarf bunched around my neck, my hair tied in a bun with funny clips and a white top: Nothing with the least amount of colour.

Occasionally, like the Danes, when I felt daring enough, I would cross over to the land of neon orange tops and flowery or polka dotted tights.

In class, I took out my lunch pack, it consisted of those bright orange devils that I used to previously hate but have since gotten around to accepting.

Yes, the infamous carrots. I made conversation while I munched on them.

What really took the cake however was the fact that after class I forced my tired legs to bike against the wind!


At the risk of completely digressing from the topic, the wind is a constant source of pain to every biker in the city.

Before I get on to my bike every morning, I say a little prayer along the lines of »Dear God, may the wind be with me and not against me, Amen«.

I got home and slapped some butter and cheese on my rugbrød (What I earlier dismissed as poo-like substance) and lit up some candles to make the place cozy.

I knew right then, that I had been Dan-ified.

Liquorice is the last straw

It was a slow and complicated process, but it had stealthily creeped up: Rugbrod, my little black book, the schedules, the lack of colourful clothes, the carrots, everything.

It had been well laid out, a time-consuming process. I shifted uncomfortably thinking of who I became, but I reasoned to myself that maybe the change isn’t all that bad.

Perhaps my loving mother will be happy about the addition of carrots to my diet. My father, a staunch believer of discipline, will surely be pleased.

Perhaps I had accepted and found solace in this cold but cozy place. After all, like they always say, when in Rome, behave like a Roman. Well, I’m in Denmark now, and it’s about time I behave like a Dane. Now all that’s left is a forced affinity for Lakrids… (liquorice, ed.)