On our third morning in Copenhagen, as I filed into the toasty line in the hostel Eatery, there was nothing on my mind beyond the smell of the warm bread in front of me and the coffee cisterns over my left shoulder. Toasties are the Danish version of a croque monsieur or panini-pressed ham and cheese. Because there were four or five panini presses for the guests to use, many guests shared their presses when their turn came. The little toasties wrapped up in their brown paper blankets would emerge just a few minutes later in a state of salty, melty goodness. So, when the guy in front of me offered to share the panini press, I smile "thanks" and there we stood, both waiting for our toasties.
While we were waiting, he asked where I was from and I returned the question. While we waited, I learned he was from Canada but studying abroad for political science in Reims at the same university my prof référent's daughter attends, he was 21, and had just arrived in Copenhagen last night before heading to Spain a couple days later. Now, it's important to say that while hostels are supposed to be a place where you can make new friends and travel around with them for the days while you're there, I am always pretty aware when meeting new people in any context, probably more so than I should be, but Victor seemed to be an all-around solid buddy traveller and North American living in France. I asked if he was by himself and instantly threw in a "have you met Ted" moment with "one of my fiends I'm with majored in political science! Y'all should be friends!" A few seconds later, our toasties were ready and he weaved through the Eatery morning crowd to our table and we all hit it off.
His plans for the day ended up being similar to ours, and even though we were behind our schedule for the morning, we waited until everyone was ready and headed off for the viking museum.
This makes the travel journal because I honestly think I laughed more this day than I had since I left the States three months earlier. There's something special about meeting anyone in your same situation with a certain level of commonalities but no knowledge of each other. This was true for everyone in our group and we all had overlapping interests yet with very different personalities, but our predominantly shared quality was curiosity. Thus we found ourselves in a day-long crash course for AP Canada.
I don't remember probably all I should about Canada from that day, but I do remember laughing unreasonably hard until I cried at Kaitlin's questions about Canada, how many litres of maple syrup are consumed per year, and city life. Chloe's questions about Trudeau, how the government is still part of Britain but it's also independent, health care,and why there seemed to be three heads of state for the northern USA neighbour. made a new friend story about toasties and victor and new friends showed Victor's political science knowledge of his home country to be quite impressive and kickstarted some truly fascinating conversations.
Victor, best of luck with Canada, your cross-country career, your family vineyard and meetings with the Wales', and all your studies. Thanks for sharing the toasty press.
Days like these, I think, are why people get the travel bug and keep going back for more; at least it is for me.