Nathanial Garrod

Deconstruction and Time Abroad (Denmark: Days 3-5)

Deconstruction is a literary theory originating with Derrida in the late 60s. Essentially, it advocates for a reader to examine the text by pulling it apart and looking at the pieces to find the meaning at the center. For some reason, I always conjure this memory of shredding boiled chicken when I think of Deconstruction.

On Monday morning there was a moment of free time and I used it to head to the Round Tower, an old tower used for astronomy that actually still houses a telescope. In the round tower, there is a space slightly off to the side for an art show, and the current show happens to be a fashion show. One of the explanation plates at the entrance explained that the designer liked to apply deconstruction to their clothing, and that that look conveys a certain sense of organized disheveled-ness. This is the look where clothing is torn or frayed, but strategically. Where things seem to not quite match, but really, they do.

So I continued to the comic shop and they had nothing I had not already seen in English. I’m not yet invested enough in this language to randomly pick a book based on its art and try to understand it. So I meandered a bit, partly making my way to the bus, partly looking for food. I understood none of the signs and most of the places I wanted to eat did not just have stuff out that I could point at.

The past few days have been incredible. On Sunday, I attended a church service for the church that is hosting us. Usually, there are four services in a Sunday, for a range of different languages and cultures. Once a month, they all come together for one giant service called SuperSunday. The place was packed and it was incredible to see so many people from so many geographic points coming together into once space for one purpose.

Monday, we helped out at the campus we are here to serve with, by doing a pop-up bike repair situation. A few of the folks that really knew a lot about the ins and outs of bike repair did not show up – so it was up to the event hosts (who knew quite a bit, because, yanno, bicycle city) and ourselves (who know a little) to get things done. It was raining, and we even had some thunder that manifested very close, yet I would say we had around 50 people come through in four hours.

Today, after going to the art museum to see the Impressionist art they had, we helped set up for a studiechille. A studiechille seems to contain more chill than studying. I was able to help grill hot dogs while students came to hang out with some music. It was a lot of fun.

When I think about applying deconstruction to my experiences here, when I look past the individual moments standing behind a grill, or listening to a well-known English church leader, or learning by experience how to fix bicycle brakes, or staring a a Van Gogh I have never seen before, I see a bigger picture. I see a whole world. I see hundreds of humans, each representing their own experience and background, coming from different countries and places, hoping that someone cares about them, in this space and in this time.

I think about my previous hesitance to go to other places to do things to care about people that I feel like I hardly do in the city I live in, and I wonder. I wonder what it would take to go to all of the cities in an effort to care about as many people in as many places as possible. I think about all the local efforts that need support, in all of the places, and I want to help in so many ways.

Because there always needs to be one more person that cares.

How will you?

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