Transscripts of the Julekalender

Here are transscripts of all 24 episodes of the Julekalender posted on the Embassy Facebook page in December 2016.

 


Transscripts

Hej! Glædelig første december!

As we all know, December is holiday season. And you know that so many religions around the world celebrate their holidays in this month. In this spirit, we’ve decided this year – my final Christmas in Denmark – we’ve decided to do a ”Julekalender”.

Now frankly, if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, there’s lots of negative stories out there. But I believe that the holiday season should be about a spirit of positivity and giving back. So what you are gonna hear from our Julekalender every day for the next 24 days are positive stories, happy stories, things that are happening around the world that are making people’s lives just a little bit better. We hope you enjoy!

Today is December 1st, and as we have celebrated in years past, today is World AIDS Day. And just as we remember the millions of men and women all over the world that we lost far too young, we have good news to report today.

Since 2009 the rate of new infections of HIV has declined 60 % in the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that have been most impacted by this disease. And we are on the cusp of the first AIDS free generation in the world. There is still work to do, there are still fights to be fought, but we also have to acknowledge the tremendous, tremendous progress the global community has made in fighting this terrible, terrible disease.

Obama:
What ones seemed like an impossible dream – the dream of an AIDS free generation – is within our grasp.

Ambassador Gifford:
Happy December 1st and check back in with us tomorrow for more information from around the world.

As we all know, December is holiday season. This year – my final Christmas in Denmark – we’ve decided to do a ”Julekalender”.

Now frankly, if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, there’s lots of negative stories out there. But I believe that the holiday season should be about a spirit of positivity and giving back. So what you are gonna hear from our Julekalender are positive stories, happy stories, things that are happening around the world that are making people’s lives just a little bit better. We hope you enjoy!

Today is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. Now, I think so many of us think slavery in its traditional form is a thing of the past – and largely that is true. There is still a particular type of slavery that is still an enormous, enormous problem in the world, and that is something that Embassies around the world, governments around the world, and the NGO community around the world are helping continue to fight. That is human trafficking.

Now again I can say that we are making progress here! Since 2001 the United States has allocated more than 200 million dollars to help prevent human trafficking, protect the victims, and prosecute the perpetrators.

Happy December 2nd and come back tomorrow for more information from around the world.

As we all know, December is holiday season. This year – my final Christmas in Denmark – we’ve decided to do a ”Julekalender”.

Now frankly, if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, there’s lots of negative stories out there. But I believe that the holiday season should be about a spirit of positivity and giving back. So what you are gonna hear from our Julekalender are positive stories, happy stories, things that are happening around the world that are making people’s lives just a little bit better. We hope you enjoy!

Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. In 1990 former president George H.W. Bush signed into law the “Americans with Disabilities Act”. This ensured all the disabled Americans better conditions at work, better access to transportation, better access to public spaces, and we can’t overstate the impact a law like this has on people’s lives.

Disabled man in documentary:
If I’m just given the opportunity, the lot more I can do.

Ambassador Gifford:
I think that the role of governments around the world are to ensure full equality regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and disability as well. And the ADA was one giant leap towards ensuring equality.

 

As we all know, December is holiday season. This year – my final Christmas in Denmark – we’ve decided to do a ”Julekalender”.

Now frankly, if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, there’s lots of negative stories out there. But I believe that the holiday season should be about a spirit of positivity and giving back. So what you are gonna hear from our Julekalender are positive stories, happy stories, things that are happening around the world that are making people’s lives just a little bit better. We hope you enjoy!

Today I’m just gonna tell a story about my first Danish “julefrokost”. So this was lunch time on a Friday just a few years ago, and I thought we were walking into just a traditional lunch. But what I didn’t know, was that I would be drinking “snaps”, I would be drinking beer instead of water, and I’d be eating more food than I could’ve possible imagined. And while I was a little afraid and frankly a little bit skeptical going in, because this was a Friday and I needed to go back to work, I actually ended up loving it. And I have gone to so many more ever since. And every single time I toast with some “snaps”, I eat some “flæskesteg”, I eat some “risalamande” or some “æbleskiver” or all of it, I love it. And I love the singing too. Why? Because I think that in some ways, American Christmas traditions are much more diverse, we don’t have the same sort of unified Christmas traditions. So when I eat at a “julefrokost”, you really get a rich sense for Danish culture. And this year will be the first year that Stephen and I will be spending Christmas here, so we might just dance around the Christmas tree.

 

As we all know, December is holiday season. This year – my final Christmas in Denmark – we’ve decided to do a ”Julekalender”.

Now frankly, if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, there’s lots of negative stories out there. But I believe that the holiday season should be about a spirit of positivity and giving back. So what you are gonna hear from our Julekalender are positive stories, happy stories, things that are happening around the world that are making people’s lives just a little bit better. We hope you enjoy!

Today we are celebrating what would have been the 115th birthday of an American icon. A guy that you’ve probably heard of named Walt Disney. Now before I came here – of course – Disney was a big part of my life. I remember the first time I went to Disneyworld and thinking I had found Nirvana. I remember Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and virtually every single movie that I loved growing up somehow was connected to Disney.

But after I moved to Denmark, I actually increased my appreciation of this American icon. Why? Because he got some of his inspiration from Denmark! And I loved that! I learned that Tivoli Gardens offered him the inspiration for his Disneyland, and movies like The Little Mermaid and Frozen are actually based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytales. So in some ways Walt Disney and Hans Christian Andersen were maybe some of the first cultural diplomats.

Come back tomorrow for more interesting stories!

As we all know, December is holiday season. This year – my final Christmas in Denmark – we’ve decided to do a ”Julekalender”.

Now frankly, if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, there’s lots of negative stories out there. But I believe that the holiday season should be about a spirit of positivity and giving back. So what you are gonna hear from our Julekalender are positive stories, happy stories, things that are happening around the world that are making people’s lives just a little bit better. We hope you enjoy!

Hi! Today I’m gonna talk about a critically important issue, which is reducing and eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. Now, you would never know it if you read the headlines,  but did you know, that actually – since 1990 – the rate of people worldwide who are living in extreme poverty has fallen by more than half, and the rate of people living in extremely malnourished conditions has fallen by roughly the same amount in the same time period.

So yes, we should have those goals – what we call the Sustainable Development Goals or the Global Goals – where we fully eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, but you can’t take away from the fact that enormous, enormous progress has been made worldwide to help fight this serious problem.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more news from around the world!

 

As we all know, December is holiday season. This year – my final Christmas in Denmark – we’ve decided to do a ”Julekalender”.

Now frankly, if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, there’s lots of negative stories out there. But I believe that the holiday season should be about a spirit of positivity and giving back. So what you are gonna hear from our Julekalender are positive stories, happy stories, things that are happening around the world that are making people’s lives just a little bit better. We hope you enjoy!

So – as you might be able to tell from my tie, today we are going to talk about American Christmas traditions. Now, last Sunday I talked a little bit about Danish Christmas traditions, which, from an American perspective, are really wonderful, largely because the entire country sort of does roughly the same thing.

In the United States it actually is very, very different. So, in my family for example; what we ate on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day could vary year after year depending on what we wanted. Stephen’s family actually just repeated Thanksgiving Dinner on Christmas Night – and we grew up just a few miles away from each other with enormously different traditions.

But one thing most Americans all do is on Christmas Eve Night we’ll hang our stockings somewhere in front of the fireplace near the Christmas tree, and then we go to bed, and Santa comes sometime in the middle of the night – of course after the kids go to sleep -, we leave out milk and cookies, and we as kids left out carrots for the reindeer, and in the morning, of course, the kids woke op – I always used to wake up at 4’o’clock in the morning far earlier than we’d ever wake up any other day of the year – and we’d see the cookies eaten, the milk drank, the carrots eaten, and out stockings full of presents and more presents around the tree. It was just complete magic!

Stay tuned tomorrow for more news from around the world!

 

As we all know, December is holiday season. This year – my final Christmas in Denmark – we’ve decided to do a ”Julekalender”.

Now frankly, if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, there’s lots of negative stories out there. But I believe that the holiday season should be about a spirit of positivity and giving back. So what you are gonna hear from our Julekalender are positive stories, happy stories, things that are happening around the world that are making people’s lives just a little bit better. We hope you enjoy!

So today I’m going to talk about all the religious holidays that are celebrated over the course of the month of December. Now, there are real challenges that we see occur between various religions from around the world, but I’m not gonna talk about that. I’m going to talk about what we have in common.

Now, I come from the United States, even though we are majority Christian, we have every religion represented from around the globe. And in the month of December, just as Christians are celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25th, Muslims are celebrating the birth of Muhammad, Buddha’s are celebrating the enlightenment of Buddha, Jews are celebrating Hanukkah or “the festival of light”.

So just as we can talk about the real division that occur in our societies, let’s also think about what we have in common.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more news from around the world!

As we all know, December is holiday season. This year – my final Christmas in Denmark – we’ve decided to do a ”Julekalender”.

Now frankly, if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, there’s lots of negative stories out there. But I believe that the holiday season should be about a spirit of positivity and giving back. So what you are gonna hear from our Julekalender are positive stories, happy stories, things that are happening around the world that are making people’s lives just a little bit better. We hope you enjoy!

Now, I bet you didn’t know this… today is International Anti-Corruption Day! Now, I know that might not sound very sexy, and, you know, sitting in the United States or Denmark, which is where probably all of you are sitting right now, you probably don’t understand that this is all that much of a problem. But worldwide issues like corruption and nepotism are actually taking down democracies or continue to be a real threat to democracy. So we have to do all we can on a government level to ensure that clean elections, fair play are front and center in each one of our democracies.

Now, a lot of Ambassadors actually do a lot of work in their host countries to fight corruption. But, you know, here in Denmark that is actually a bit of a challenge. Why? Because you here in Denmark were actually rated as even less corrupt than the United States, and in fact Denmark was rated as the least corrupt country on earth. Very impressive – very impressive!

Stay tuned tomorrow for more stout news from around the world!

As we all know, December is holiday season. This year – my final Christmas in Denmark – we’ve decided to do a ”Julekalender”.

Now frankly, if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, there’s lots of negative stories out there. But I believe that the holiday season should be about a spirit of positivity and giving back. So what you are gonna hear from our Julekalender are positive stories, happy stories, things that are happening around the world that are making people’s lives just a little bit better. We hope you enjoy!

So, today is International Human Rights Day, and I’m gonna spend it talking about an issue that’s incredible important to me personally and important to the U.S. Government. That is gender equality.

Now, if you think about the progress the world has made on this issue, it is profound. There are more women and girls being educated, and there are more women and girls in the labour force than we have ever seen before in world history. That is great progress!

But I’d also like to point your attention to more progress that we need to make here at home, and that is both in places like the United States and places like Denmark. The percentage of women in top management positions or CEOs are still far, far, far too low. And women still tend to make less money than men do.

So! Have we made great progress towards gender equality globally? Absolutely! But there’s still a lot more work to do.

Thanks so much for listening, and stay tuned tomorrow for more news from around the globe!

 

As we all know, December is holiday season. This year – my final Christmas in Denmark – we’ve decided to do a ”Julekalender”.

Now frankly, if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, there’s lots of negative stories out there. But I believe that the holiday season should be about a spirit of positivity and giving back. So what you are gonna hear from our Julekalender are positive stories, happy stories, things that are happening around the world that are making people’s lives just a little bit better. We hope you enjoy!

So today in the U.S. State Department we are celebrating a pretty special birthday. So, you may know that I have two bosses; the first one being Barack Obama whose birthday is the day before mine in August. But the second one is Secretary of State John Kerry, who turns 73 years old today.

Now, John Kerry is from my home state of Massachusetts, we actually went to the same high school – he graduated a few years before I did –, and after high school went to go serve in Vietnam after which he was rewarded the Bronze Star, The Silver Star and Purple Heart. He then became a United States Senator before becoming Secretary of State in 2013.

Now, John Kerry has logged more miles travelling around the world than any Secretary of State in world history. And under his watch we’ve seen things like the COP21 agreement, Our Oceans Conference, the Iran Deal, modernization of relations with Cuba. So when you think about some of the most influential Secretaries of State in American history, I think John Kerry is gonna be right at the top of the list.

Happy birthday Secretary Kerry!

Hi! Today the Marines have taken over the “Julekalender” to tell you about two great things we do every year in Denmark and around the world.

 

Exactly one month ago we celebrated our corps’ birthday with a few hundred Danish friends of the United States. It’s a great tradition, a great party and a great way for many of us at the Embassy to say thank you to many of our friends. This event is a testament to the special relationship between our two countries.

 

I also wanted to mention another event we do every Christmas called Toys for Tots. United States Marines in the US, Denmark and around the world collect toys and give them to those in need. This year we’re helping kids from the local community in Copenhagen. Over the years, Toys for Tots has helped millions of kids and their families have the Christmas they deserve.

 

We wish everyone happy holidays.

Santa Lucia procession – no speaking.

As we all know, December is holiday season. This year – my final Christmas in Denmark – we’ve decided to do a ”Julekalender”.

Now frankly, if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, there’s lots of negative stories out there. But I believe that the holiday season should be about a spirit of positivity and giving back. So what you are gonna hear from our Julekalender are positive stories, happy stories, things that are happening around the world that are making people’s lives just a little bit better. We hope you enjoy!

Laura Lochman:
Hi, I’m Laura Lochman. I’m the Deputy here at the US Embassy in Copenhagen.

Today, I wanna talk to you about reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. These are also Sustainable Development Goals. Everybody is someone’s child or parent. Everybody! So this affects all of us. There is great news to share:

 

First of all, the global under-five mortality rate has declined by more than half between 1990 and 2015. In 2013, about 84% of children worldwide received at least one dose of measles vaccine up from just 73% in 2000. This is a great development, and we need to make sure that it keeps on going the right way.

 

Since 1990, the maternal mortality ratio has declined by 45% worldwide. Most of this reduction has occurred since 2000 and comes as a result of the fact that more than 71% of births around the world were assisted by skilled health professionals in 2014.

Since 2008 alone, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID, ed.) efforts have saved the lives of 4.6 million children and around 200.000 women. For that, I am grateful.

 

To all of you out there, especially the parents and children – yes that would be, again, everybody – Happy 14th of December!

 

As we all know, December is holiday season. This year – my final Christmas in Denmark – we’ve decided to do a ”Julekalender”.

Now frankly, if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, there’s lots of negative stories out there. But I believe that the holiday season should be about a spirit of positivity and giving back. So what you are gonna hear from our Julekalender are positive stories, happy stories, things that are happening around the world that are making people’s lives just a little bit better. We hope you enjoy!

Laura Lochman:
Hi, I’m Laura Lochman. I’m the number two at the US Embassy here in Copenhagen.

Previously, we’ve talked about the Sustainable Development Goals. Another really important one is making sure everybody everybody goes to school. Everywhere!

 

The number of out-of-school children of primary school age worldwide has fallen by almost half since the start of this millennium. In 2000 there were 100 million out-of-school children of primary school age. In 2015 there were 57 million. This, of course, is still way too much, but we’re heading the right direction, and we need to keep up the good work!

Not only are more children now in school, the literacy rate among young people aged 15 to 24 has increased globally the last 25 years from 83% to 91% . This amazing development might be one of the best holiday gifts I could imagine. There’s definitely reason to hope for the best!

Happy December 15th, and stay tuned for more uplifting stories!

As we all know, December is holiday season. This year – my final Christmas in Denmark – we’ve decided to do a ”Julekalender”.

Now frankly, if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, there’s lots of negative stories out there. But I believe that the holiday season should be about a spirit of positivity and giving back. So what you are gonna hear from our Julekalender are positive stories, happy stories, things that are happening around the world that are making people’s lives just a little bit better. We hope you enjoy!

So, one of the reasons why you haven’t seen me the last few days in our Julekalender is because I’ve actually been in the U.S. And one of the things I did when I was in Washington DC is go to the White House.

Now, this time of year – the holiday season – is, I think, the most special time of year to visit the White House. There are trees in every room, there are decorations, there’s delicious food and of course there’s lots and lots of egg nogg and beautiful Christmas and holiday wishes from the president and First Lady.

So that’s my only message for today: I wanted to share with you some of the photos that I took during my various visits to the White House at Christmas time. Enjoy – and come back tomorrow for more news from around the world!

 

As we all know, December is holiday season. This year – my final Christmas in Denmark – we’ve decided to do a ”Julekalender”.

Now frankly, if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, there’s lots of negative stories out there. But I believe that the holiday season should be about a spirit of positivity and giving back. So what you are gonna hear from our Julekalender are positive stories, happy stories, things that are happening around the world that are making people’s lives just a little bit better. We hope you enjoy!

So, a couple of days ago I had a pretty remarkable experience. Now, over the course of my 3,5 years in Denmark I’ve spend a lot of really, really amazing times with the Danish military; I’ve flown with F-16’s with Danish pilots, I’ve done overnight missions with the frogmen, I’ve spent night in tents in -36 degrees with the Sirius Patrol.

But just a couple of days ago I was due to overcome my biggest fear, which is jumping out of an airplane with the Jaeger Core. There I was at 10,000 feet all strapped to my Jaeger partner, and I was given the 10 second warning by the jump master. I was right on the edge ready to jump – and he did this (formed an “X” with his arms, ed.), which meant that I was no longer allowed to jump because of weather. Now, I was very disappointed, but also maybe just a tiny bit relieved.

I tell this story because – this time of year in particular – we have to remember all of the men and women that are serving our countries overseas. We can’t say it enough, we can’t say it enough, we can’t say it enough, but especially during the holiday season. So to all of you men and women serving us overseas – Merry Christmas, happy holidays, we are thinking of you, you are in our thoughts.

Come back tomorrow for more positive stories from around the world!

 

As we all know, December is holiday season. This year – my final Christmas in Denmark – we’ve decided to do a ”Julekalender”.

Now frankly, if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, there’s lots of negative stories out there. But I believe that the holiday season should be about a spirit of positivity and giving back. So what you are gonna hear from our Julekalender are positive stories, happy stories, things that are happening around the world that are making people’s lives just a little bit better. We hope you enjoy!

So, I bet you did not know this: December 18th is International Migrants Day. Now, on the Statue of Liberty is written this quote: “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. Since our country was born – and even before it was born – we were a haven for immigrants fleeing persecution from countries around the world. Even my own ancestors came over on the Mayflower as Pilgrims were doing just that; fleeing persecution in their homeland.

And I think on a day like this, we have to send our thoughts and our prayers to those people who are hoping for and yearning for a better life in another land. We are thinking of you, and happy holidays to all of you!

Come back tomorrow for more positive stories from around the world!

 

Hello everybody! Today I’ve brought a special guest with me as well, and we’re taking the Julekalender on the road. Today and the next few days, actually, we’re gonna be delivering some quick Christmas gifts to people – Danes – whom we’ve met in unorthodox ways over the course of our 3,5 years here, who really touched us and impacted our time here, to thank them. So, we’re gonna head upstairs right know!

This afternoon Stephen and I are standing outside of the apartment of Ove and Ivan. In October of 2014 we got a message from a woman we had never met before, and she said: “Would you be willing to help celebrate the silver anniversary of two great friends of mine?” They were Ove and Ivan, and they were two of the very, very first same-sex couples to get marries in the entire world.

So Stephen and I showed up at the crack of dawn – you know how Danes celebrate silver anniversaries, you celebrate the couple with breakfast – so we came as complete strangers to celebrate this amazing, amazing couple and the ground breaking and historic nature of their relationship. And Stephen and I actually got married in the exact same place that Ove and Ivan got married in: Copenhagen City Hall. We’ve become friends over the years and have got to their house for dinner, they’ve come to events at our house, so we wanted to come and thank them and wish them a very Merry Christmas.

(Door opens)
Hi guys! Good to see you, good to see you!

(In the living room)
So, what we’re doing here is – we wanted to celebrate Danes who we’ve met in strange ways in unordinary ways. That letter you sent, you sent me right before the Axgil – I was reading it again last night, because… it was just so beautiful, and it meant so much for us. We would not be able to do what we did just last year in October 2015 had it not been for what you all did so many years ago.

And you rode in the Gay Pride Parade in New York, you were honored in New York, right?

Ove/Ivan:
Yeah, yeah, it was special. But we met an American that day, and he said that he had been at our wedding at the City Hall just in order to see us. We met him at the Parade in New York.

Dr. Stephen DeVincent:
These are some Christmas cookies, and they are very…. they are very American. There’s Santa and some wrapped presents and, you know, things like that.

Ove/Ivan:
You have been busy in your kitchen!

Dr. Stephen DeVincent:
I have – extremely busy!

Ambassador Gifford:
He has not been busy!

Dr. Stephen DeVincent:
I am busy all the time!

Ove/Ivan:
He (the Ambassador, ed.) shouldn’t say that.

Ambassador Gifford:
I should not say a thing, no.

I also just wanted to give you one of my coins. So this is my… one of my Ambassador coins, which is – we just made 100 of them. Just wanted to give them to special friends.

Ove/Ivan:
Oh, thank you, thank you very much.

Ambassador Gifford:
You are so welcome, so welcome.

Dr. Stephen DeVincent:
I designed it!

Ambassador Gifford:
You did! Stephen did design them.

Ove/Ivan:
They’re beautiful.

Dr. Stephen DeVincent:
Thank you – Holger Danske!

Ambassador Gifford:
Haha, Holger Danske.

So hi everybody! As you can see, we are taking our Julekalender on the road once again. I am in Amager in Copenhagen, and again I just want to wish a Merry Christmas to some Danes who have really, really impacted my time here through their own personal stories. So – follow me!

So, it is December 20th, and I am standing here outside the apartment of a guy named Mark Peters. A few years ago, I went to… I was at “Folkemøde” on Bornholm and I went out to play wheelchair basketball with some veterans – Danish veterans – who have been wounded in battle. Mark I have had the true honor of swimming in the Copenhagen canals, running with, and all sorts of other things, and right now they are in the process of planning for a month long excursion going from Mestersvig to Daneborg on the east coast of Greenland in the month of March and April – and I’m actually gonna join them for the last couple of days, even though I won’t be Ambassador anymore.

But these guys, I have to say, for all that they have been through – and they have been through so much – every single time I see them, they are as enthusiastic and positive and smiling, and I gotta tell you that they are a as inspiring group of men that I have ever, ever in my life met. So there’s no better group that I can celebrate here today than Veterans in Motion and Mark Peters, so we’re gonna knock on the door.

 

(Door opens)
Ah – Mark! It is good to see you, good to see you. God jul!

Mark Peters:
Ja, I lige måde!

Ambassador Gifford:
So, I just wanna wish you Merry Christmas and thank you so much for the amazing opportunity, frankly, to have met you guys.

So they are training for this mission in Greenland. It’s gonna take you a month.

Mark Peters:
About a month, yeah. Maybe faster, but we never know.

Ambassador Gifford:
You know, I’m gonna join you for the last couple of days?

Mark Peters:
Well, somebody said that we were gonna get some VIP, but… we guessed it was you!

Ambassador Gifford:
Haha, so VIP is kind of low level if that’s me.

I wanted to make sure that you had one of my coins, one of my Ambassador coins.

Mark Peters:
Thank you!

Ambassador Gifford:
You’re so welcome, so welcome. And truly, you guys are awesome! And as when we swam in the Copenhagen canals together you swam two ???

Mark Peters:
Yeah! That’s not a problem!

Ambassador Gifford:
Not a problem – so you could do anything! And still smile and be enthusiastic every single step of the way.

Mark Peters:
Well, it was a great journey!

Ambassador Gifford:
I get so much of my positive energy and my spirit from you guys, because you’re just… you’re as badass as they come. You’re just fantastic, truly.

Mark Peters:
We’re just having fun – that is all we do!

 

(In the living room)

Ambassador Gifford:
Mark has told me a story before, but it truly is one of the… it is just truly an amazing story, but I’ll let him tell it for a second.

Mark Peters:
I used to swim a lot before I got injured , and after I got injured, I wanted to learn to swim again, because the first time I hit the water, I felt like I’m gonna drown. So on a training camp that Rune organized he called a national coach or trainer to come and teach us, and he made adjustments to my stile an suddenly I was swimming like, yeah… I think I swam like…

Ambassador Gifford:
You beat me in the canals!

Mark Peters:
Yeah ha-ha…

Ambassador Gifford:
Did you compete in the Invictus Games this year too?

Mark Peters:
Yeah, I competed in basketball, rugby, city water ball, and power lifting.

Ambassador Gifford:
And the next big goal is Greenland.

Mark Peters:
Yeah!

Ambassador Gifford:
Well, my friend, you are awesome, truly! We’ll see you again soon. Thank you so much for your time today, Merry Christmas!

Mark Peters:
You’re welcome – I lige måde.

 

Okay, so today we are actually bringing our Julekalender for the first time to Rydhave, and we’ll be here for the next few days as well. And I’ve invited again a very, very special friend of mine, who has impacted my time in Denmark very, very much.

You may have heard me talk over the years about my time with the Sirius Patrol in Greenland and spending the night in –36 degree temperatures on the ice outside of Mestersvig. The guy who actually taught me everything that I ever have known about this work is a guy named Anders Kjærgaard, who was the Sirius team leader in Greenland when I was there. And we spent really one of the most amazing, amazing 48 hours together on the ice in Greenland. So – we invited him over, and he is on his way up the driveway right now!

 

(Door opens)

Anders Kjærgaard:
Hi Rufus!

Ambassador Gifford:
Welcome Anders! Welcome!

Anders Kjærgaard:
Thank you!

Ambassador Gifford:
So, thank you for coming! I was just telling everybody that you – my time with you in the tent in Greenland was truly one of the most remarkable 48 hours of my life ever, ever, ever.

Anders Kjærgaard:
Thank you.

Ambassador Gifford:
But you’ve been doing it… I did it for 12 – I did it for 24 hours at night and I barely survived, but you did it for four years!

Anders Kjærgaard:
Yeah, more or less.

Ambassador Gifford:
So, the way I talk about Sirius, because it’s the most amazing thing, you guys are some of the most badass soldiers I’ve ever come into contact with, but there’s something so amazing and kind of primitive about the way you do it. You are on wooden sleds with old riffles from 1917, so you use this (pointing to his head, ed.), you use your body and your mind – and your dogs, and not necessarily the modern technology.

Anders Kjærgaard:
True, we do it all by ourselves, that’s the most efficient way to do it in that environment.

Ambassador Gifford:
Yeah, that’s incredible! So we were… so, after we built the tent – and I really did virtually nothing, let’s be clear, Anders did everything – and we had the dogs outside and it was late at night, and he cooked pasta with beef turkey, which is – and peanuts! – which is a Sirius specialty; pasta, beef turkey and peanuts. And then we started to go to bed, and then the other guy who was with us, Sebastian, said that there was “en lille smule Nordlys”. And so we got outside and all of the sudden the Northern Lights start dancing across the sky and the dogs were there and the moon is out and I just – it was -36 and I’ve never been so cold in my life, but I’ve also never been so damn happy. It was just awesome.

So – thank you, Anders, thank you so much for honestly giving me one of the most remarkable  48 hours of my life.

Anders Kjærgaard:
It was a pleasure!

Ambassador Gifford:
And you guys truly… it’s an honor – true honor – to have seen what you guys do. It’s amazing.

Anders Kjærgaard:
Thank you!

 

(In the main hall?)

Ambassador Gifford:
And I just wanted to be sure to give you one of my Ambassador coins. We only made a hundred of them, so I just give them to special friends who have sincerely impacted our time here.

Anders Kjærgaard:
Thank you. I think I’ll give it to the patrol because they deserve it.

Ambassador Gifford:
I love that, I love that! Thank you my friend, thank you so much.