Driving through California and Nevada we experienced another culture shock. America is filled with colors everywhere. Los Angeles has the famous Paul Smith’s pink wall. San Francisco has the beautiful red Golden Gate Bridge and Las Vegas is almost an explosion of colors.
In Aarhus, where I live, almost all the houses, buildings, shops and stores are built with red or grey bricks and all the buildings in a special area have the same color. It is like the different areas have a special house dress code. They have the same shape, the same color and the same look.
When you are walking down Mission Beach Boulevard all the houses have different colors and different shapes and none of them look alike. You see beautiful murals everywhere and it makes the city look fun and happy.
All new houses in Denmark are built with grey, black or brown bricks. The Danish houses and buildings look really conservative and I don’t think you would become popular within your neighborhood if you painted your house pink or had a muralist paint a colorful mural on your wall.
Compared to houses in California, Danish houses are really boring to look at but instead of colorful houses, Denmark have colorful gardens. Every house in Denmark has a garden with grass, flowerbeds, trees, shrubs, herb gardens and a big terrace.
In Denmark, a normal building plot is 1,000 m2 and a normal house is 140 m2. The rest of the building plot is used as a garden. Even apartment complexes have gardens. Many apartment complexes in Denmark are shaped like a rectangle and in the middle of the rectangle there is a big garden. It looks a little like Central Park in New York from above.
When we first arrived in San Diego, we were wondering where peoples’ gardens were. Where do their kids play football? And where do they keep their herb gardens? In Denmark people spend a lot of time in their gardens playing with their kids, having barbecues or gardening.
But even though we have colorful gardens in Denmark, America is still more colorful, and not only the houses and building are filled with colors. Flowered dresses, yellow bikinis and pink skirts. Americans wear colorful clothes from top to toe and the clothing stores in California are filled with colorful clothes.
“How many black clothes do you have?” my roommate from Germany asked me the other day. There is not many colors, patterns or funny clothes in my wardrobe, and I must admit that most of my clothes are black.
In Denmark, all clothing stores are filled with black and grey clothes and girls from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden are actually known for only wearing black clothes – black dresses, black shirts, and black pants.
I think the climate in Scandinavia is one of the main reasons why people wear clothes in dark colors. Rain and snow doesn’t really call for pink dresses and yellow bikinis, but I think we could wear a little more colorful clothes than we do.
I think all the colorful houses and clothes make the community look more fun and happy, and I actually think the colors make you feel a little happier. I will make it goal to become more colorful the next four months.
Mathilde Rousseau Bjerregaard is an editorial intern with San Diego Community Newspaper Group, who is from Aarhus, Denmark. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.