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My first official grade abroad (drum roll please…)

It’s an A! Wahoo!

Now lets just hope the other two papers I’m supposed to be writing right now are A’s too!

I leave on Saturday for Istanbul! I’m so excited! And my teacher leading the trip is awesome so I’m excited to be going with her. Then I get home Thursday night and leave Friday morning for Amsterdam! Too bad with all of this excitement coming up it’s hard to focus on the work I have due this week. Wish me luck!

In other news, the other day I opened my lunch box to find my host mom had cut up a potato and put it on rye bread. Welcome to Denmark! (it was delicious by the way)

My Blog Sucks…

I’m sorry I’m such a failure. I have good intentions, I swear I do. I have all of these ideas as to what to blog about I just don’t follow through. Here’s a couple of tidbits instead of a full post:

  • It was thundering and lightning the other day (Wednesday) and Danes were still out on their bikes.
  • I am officially done booking planes/hostels for the second travel break! I will be in London, Brussels, and Dublin (I will be seeing HWS friends in both Brussels and Dublin =])
  • I am almost done with the flights for travel break 3. I’m going first to Geneva Switzerland, which is super exciting because I didn’t think I would have time to go and it turns out I’m actually saving money! Then to Barcelona and then to Bella Roma where I will see another of my HWS friends. The only flight I am missing is the one that brings me home.
  • I have officially been here for over a month. I can’t believe it. Where is time going??
  • A week from today (!!!!) I leave for Istanbul, where I am going with my Core Course. I’m so excited!! I’ll be home Thursday and then me and two of my friends are meeting up in Amsterdam. We still haven’t figured out lodging though (I hate travel planning) and we need to book tickets for the Anne Frank House!!!! 
  • Did I mention how much i hate travel planning? It’s seriously the bane of my existence right now.
  • Today is my host brother’s birthday (he turns 12!) So we had breakfast together this morning and he opened presents and we sang happy birthday to him as well as the Danish Birthday song. To say happy birthday in Danish you say “Godt Fødselsdag”! Since then, me and my host mom have made dinner rolls, butter (on accident, but they go with the rolls) and two rather strange but delicious cakes. I cannot wait to eat! My host aunt and my older host brother and his family are coming so it will be a full house! Party!
  • It’s very difficult to focus on schoolwork…

Well, that’s about all for the moment. I have a couple of stories to tell you that I want to dedicate whole posts and pictures to so I’ll try to do that ASAP!

Thanks for still loving me!

Tre, to, et, nul!

So we just learned to count to one hundred in Danish this week and part of my homework is to practice before class on Tuesday. This morning when I woke up I was feeling lazy so I proceeded to put on Netflix (The Lucky One because Danish Netflix fulfills my sappy chick-flick desires) and practice my Danish as procrastination from other homework.

My Host mom is having a loppemarked this weekend (in English a flea market or yard sale). So after I had exhausted my non-reading homework I went outside to see how the sales were going. There were customers perusing (she admittedly has some great stuff out there) and asking prices. So they started to talk about costs and what they wanted to pay. And I understood a lot of what they were saying!!!! It was a great way to practice my numbers, and made me really excited to be learning Danish =]

To be….or not to be….

the story of last Saturday (lørdag, 9/7).

Me and two of my friends (Olivia and Anola) decided to go north of the city to Helsingør to see Kronborg Slot, better known as Hamlet’s Castle. That’s right, I walked the hallowed halls of Shakespeare’s fictitious, haunted prince.

If we’re being completely honest, I’ve never actually read Hamlet. I have, however, been alive for 20 years and have therefore been privy to enough references to have a decent understanding of the story line. That being said, how could I come to Denmark and not visit Hamlet’s Castle? If only just to say that I have!

Saturday dawned beautiful, the sun was shining as me and Olivia made our way to CPH central station to meet Anola. Since Olivia and I have all zones passes (the perks of living far away) we didn’t have to worry about paying extra for transportation. We did have to help Anola figure out what to do however.

Somehow we managed, and in no time we were on the train headed north ward. It was about an hour train ride, but when we exited the station we were positively awed by the beauty of the day. Helsingør is right on the ocean and we could look out and see Sweden.

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We meandered To the castle, and easy task, and proceeded to take lots of pictures of the beautiful grounds. it was at this point in time when I realized I forgot my camera at home (I had been charging it). Needless to say, I was sufficiently angry, but I still had my iPhone, which worked well enough.

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We went of a tour of the castle, but succeeded in paying for a youth ticket (30 kr) instead of an adult ticket (75 kr) by lying and saying we were 17. I promise we have morals. We had all heard the inside of the castle was rather disappointing, and honestly it was. But we still wanted to see for ourselves. it just wasn’t even set up how it would have been back in the day, so there wasn’t much to see.

The one part of the ticket which was definitely worth the cost was getting to go into the basement (“case mates”) of the castle. I had been curious as to why they sold flashlights and I found out when we got down there. There were all kinds of rooms and tunnels and a number of them weren’t lit at all. It was another point on the trip where my iPhone definitely came in handy. It was a little scary down there, but definitely really fun to explore.

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After we left the castle, we went in search of food. We ended up buying this delicious (and alcoholic) cider and some hotdogs. We then boarded the train back to CPH. On the train there was a bachelorette party (apparently Sept. 7th, is a lucky day for Danes: instead of knocking on wood they say 7/9/13, so there were a lot of weddings going on) and a woman came up to us and asked us if we had anything she could trade for this little kids movie. Conveniently, Olivia had a condom in here purse from the Pride Parade, so she traded that. It was a pretty funny situation.

Once in the city, we decided we wanted to take advantage of our transportation passes and the beautiful weather and take the harbor bus (a boat that taxi’s you down the harbor). Because the weather was so nice, the teeny tiny outdoor deck on the “bus” was crowded with people and we ended up getting off two stops later at Nyhavn canal. Our main purpose in going to Nyhavn was to take the most stereotypical “I’m in Denmark” picture:

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After that, we walked down the harbor (drinking our ciders) to find the sidewalk in which there are trampolines. Once one of the trampolines opened up, we turned into the true 17 year olds we apparently are and thoroughly enjoyed bouncing.

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It was so much fun but super tiring and afterwards we were giddy from the sun. We walked back to the train station, detouring through the gardens behind Christiansborg Slot (palace), acting as though we had consumed much more alcohol than we actually had.

All in all it was a truly fantastic day and it was fun to see a part of the country I hadn’t seen before. The weather was beautiful and I had a great day with two great friends =]

Procrastinating

I am currently listening to Imagine Dragons on Spotify (I’m supposed to be doing hw) because I need to educate myself on their music since I have a ticket to their concert! In Copenhagen!!

And my ears are loving this song (Demons) so I just had to share my excitement =D

Visiting the Little Mermaid!

First Adventures in the city =]

Things I’ve Learned About Denmark….

  • Most Danes only where clothes on the color palate of black, white, grey, and browns. Maybe they’ll throw a pop of color in here or there, but that’s about it.
  • I had heard that converses were in style here but I didn’t realize how true it was until I was sitting on the bus one day and almost every pair of feet I saw was wearing them.
  • Sneakers of all kinds are the footwear of choice, and they are usually where the pop of color comes from.
  • Apparently Danes are always cold. I’m supposed to think it’s cold, yet on days when it’s above 70 and I’m wearing shorts they are all in long pants and heavy jackets.
  • Leather jackets and leggings are all the rage.
  • Danes somehow all seem to have the same fashion sense and look beautifully disheveled all of the time.
  • You can ride a bike in any weather, in any outfit: I’ve literally seen a woman in a body-con skirt and heels on a bike!
  • If you don’t drink coffee you will go thirsty. Alright, so that’s an exaggeration, but they practically breathe the stuff here. Not good for my preexisting addiction…(or maybe fabulous, depending on how you’re looking at it).
  • 7-11 is everywhere
  • They have preschools/kindergartens where children literally just run around in the woods all day.
  • Sustainability is very important to most Danish people.
  • Drinking fountains don’t exist: apparently everywhere you go the water is clean enough to drink.
  • Trying to tell people where I live is almost pointless because I have to say it like 4 times before they understand: and then the repeat exactly what I just said. I get so confused because I think I’m saying it right.
  • You waste as little food as possible.

Well, I think that’s all I have for the moment. I’ll share more soon.

Oops

I’m Back!!!!!

This time, I’m going to try to be back for good.

I’m sorry, i really truly did mean to be better at this blogging thing. I think that I’ve been very discouraged because I did not get the position as official DIS blogger =[ But that doesn’t mean I should stop blogging!!! I’ve been overwhelmed and been feeling like I haven’t had time but no more! I’ve missed far too many valuable opportunities to write about what I’ve been up to. From now on, I am a blogger, through and through.

I’m going to try to post some stories for you soon (I’m actually supposed to be writing a paper right now)

Skål to blogging!! (Cheers!)

Picture perfect

I had my first real “I’m actually here, in Europe” moment today. I had a couple of hours between orientation activities where my friends were in meetings that I had already gone to, so I took the opportunity to wander around the streets near the DIS buildings. I was wandering down numerous picturesque Copenhagen streets when I started to hear the faint whispers of a violin. As I got closer to the violinist and the music grew louder, this feeling of overwhelming perfection built up inside of me. It was like something out of a movie, I was so blissfully happy and at peace with everything around me. I finally had the feeling that I had been waiting for: I’m in Denmark! Alas, as I continued on my way down the street, the music began to fade, and with it this surreal, magical feeling.

My Feet Hurt….

But it was totally worth it!!

Today was positively fantastic in pretty much every way! I was hoping to give you a proper post today, but I’m afraid it will have to wait because I’m utterly exhausted!

He’s a picture thought to keep you waiting for more!

A Continuation: Orientation and First Impressions

Okay, before I talk about today’s arrival workshop (orientation) activities, I’ll first mention some of the things I’ve been thinking about as I’ve learned more about Denmark. First, I don’t know if this is true everywhere, but in Køge all of the houses in the residential area have privacy hedges and/or fences to keep their yards separate from each other. I like it a lot because even though we are in a more populated area than I am used to, there is still privacy. Second, despite this privacy, my host family seems to be very familiar with their neighbors and quite good friends which I like (I don’t really have neighbors). Third, I’m quite enjoying the food. Even though some of the things my host family has been cooking, primarily those containing vegetables, I wouldn’t normally eat at home, I’ve been eating them here and enjoying everything. I’m trying to step out of my comfort zone with food, and it’s not a terribly difficult thing to do. Also, Danes seem to love taking bread, smothering butter on it, and then putting whatever toppings they feel like on top: my kind of food! Fourth, as much as I’ve heard about Danish architecture and interior design, I don’t think I realized I would notice it as much as I have already. From the houses lining the streets, to the beautiful yards, to the elegant, winding circular staircase I walk up to get to my room, it really is prevalent and beautiful. Fifth, Danes love their coffee, and I know that I sure love mine.

I think that that’s all I’ve got for the moment, so now I’ll tell you about my day =]

My host father (Bent) drive me and Olivia (the girl who lives down the street) into the city center today. It was very nice of him to help us bypass figuring out public transportation on our first visit. We then walked to the Tivoli Hotel (unfortunately not in Tivoli, which is the second oldest amusement park in the world and part of the inspiration for Disney Land) where our opening ceremony took place, string orchestra and all. After they welcomed us, we were split into predetermined groups and sent out to complete various orientation activities. When this happened, however, they lead us through the streets to where the actual DIS buildings are located and I felt bad for all the native Copenhageners because we were so obviously in the way.

We arrived at DIS before my next workshop, a housing information session, and so we had the opportunity to grab some food. The next street over from the street most of DIS is on is the heart of the city. Its a pedestrian shopping district (no cars allowed on the road) and we wandered over there. I bought a delicious croissant and a latte (I had thought I would have the opportunity to buy coffee earlier and was hurting) at a nice cafe, busy with DIS students.I also exchanged 50 US dollars into kroner, which was exciting.

After the housing session was over me and Olivia braved the public transportation system. We successfully managed to get on the correct train and then on the correct bus. I knew the name of the bus station to get off at so we had no problems at all. I was quite proud of myself.

Later, after Olivia had napped for a couple of hours, we went for a bike ride. We ended up riding down towards the train station. We then turned back down a different road than that we had come on and ended up winding through a park before coming back to the train station. From there we more or less followed the bus stops and made our way home. It was a very nice and quite successful trip and once again I was proud of us for not getting lost. Not that we knew where we were, but we weren’t lost.

To make the day even better, I got to talk on the phone (via Viber) with my boyfriend for a little bit. This was really nice because I have been missing him terribly. He is the center of my comfort zone so I reach for him when I feel uncomfortable. So that made me very happy.

Overall, it was really a wonderful day that has me thirsty to further explore Copenhagen. I also want to bike in the the heart of Køge and explore there further.

Another exciting and eventful day lies in store for tomorrow!! I look forward to sharing with you!

A whole new world!

A new fantastic point of view!

Anyway. Okay so here it is: my first ever post from Denmark! I probably should have posted last night, but so much was going on and there was so much to take in that I didn’t even want to attempt to put it into words. Sorry about that. So I guess now here it goes!

As far as the flight goes, all went well. It really didn’t seem that long, and I got to watch X-men first class so that was a major bonus. My layover (in Reykjavik, Iceland) ended up being about and hour and a half longer than expected because the second plane was delayed, but it all worked out well, I had the opportunity to grab a bite to eat and get to know a few girls who were also on their way to DIS. As far as sleep goes, I didn’t get much. Maybe one hour of solid sleep, tops. But I think that, while it did make for an incredibly long day, it will be an advantage in helping to conquer jet lag. 

Once we arrived in the Copenhagen airport it was rather hectic. Luckily my baggage wasn’t lost or damaged at all, but after retrieving it there was a chaotic walk to the Hilton Hotel right across from the airport. Picture one hundred (or close to it) DIS students struggling to cart their luggage up and down elevators and escalators and through tunnels, through the airport and into the lobby of a hotel. It was quite the sight.

When we had successfully arrived at the Hilton, we were split up by housing and directed to where we would wait for transportation. I picked up my DIS ID and my transportation pass. the awesome thing about living where I do is that I get a pass that covers all zones (Copenhagen and it’s surrounding suburbs are divided into a large number of zones used for public transportation) so I never have to worry about whether or not I have to get an extra pass (or “klippekort”) when traveling with public transportation around the city.

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I wasn’t there long, due to my extended layover, before my host father and brothers arrived to pick me up. On the way back to the house, they detoured a little bit to the center of Køge so I could see it before going back to the house.

So much has happened since then and so many thoughts are floating through my head that it makes it difficult for me to express myself, so I apologize if this is a little all over the place from here on (and I also apologize for it’s length).

My host family is incredibly nice. They are quite talkative (very good at English) and seem very willing to help me out however they can. That being said, as much as I adore them, I think I’ve still been experiencing a bit of culture shock. It’s hard to put my finger on the things that were making me kind of uncomfortable yesterday now that I’m settling down, but a mixture of lack of sleep and being unfamiliar with my surroundings had me yearning for home and the familiar. That’s just kind of how I am though, I hate when things mess with my routine and it takes me a while to adjust.

One thing that really set me back a little bit in the comfort zone was showering. My host family really seems to think it’s best if I shower at night (there’s only one shower, so that bathroom is a high traffic zone in the morning) but that really doesn’t work for me. My morning shower is my way to wake up. Plus I have curly hair and so there’s no saving it when I sleep on it. That being said, I took a shower last night in part to appease them and in part because I was exhausted and knew I wouldn’t want to wake up early in the morning. Therefore, I was already uncomfortable when I walked into the bathroom to find that not only was it poorly lit, but it was also a hand held shower head. Needless to say, after taking a shower I was missing home quite a bit.

Anyway, for many small reasons I was second guessing my decision to come here, missing both my home and HWS. I know that’s just part of the experience though and I think that I’m feeling better today. Yesterday was still a great day, I had two delicious meals with my host family and unpacked my room and became familiar with the house, but I’m feeling much more comfortable today.

Another thing I started second guessing was my decision to live with a host family and not in a Kollegium (dorm). I had thought that adapting to live by myself in the city would be too difficult, but I never really thought about how difficult it would be to become a part of a family. For one, I’m used to a high degree of independence, my family rarely sits down to dinner at a table and we all kind of do our own thing in the house. I do hang out with my sister, but I usually am pretty much free to come and go as I please, I just tell my dad. I do still think I made the right decision, it will just take some adapting, but then again so would a Kollegium.

Yesterday evening was really pleasant which also helped me feel better. It turns out there is another DIS girl who lives right down the road (only like two or three houses down) so we went over there to have coffee. It was a wonderful night, sitting outside and talking, all girls (Olivia - the DIS student, her host mother and two host sisters, my host mother, and I). It feels great to know there is someone right down the road who is in the same boat as I am.

Oh I also talked to my dad yesterday. It was a really brief conversation but it was still nice to talk to him and tell him I was here and (more or less settled in).

I’m sorry this post is so long! I have so much more to say, I haven’t even touched on today yet, but I’ll stop here for now. I’ll post again soon! (within however long it takes me to type the next post hehe)

Roughly 23 hours until take off!!

Online check-in complete, boarding pass printed, I’m about ready to go. Well, I’m not sure I’m mentally prepared, but I don’t think I ever could be for something as life changing as spending 4 months abroad. All that’s left now is to finish packing my carry on, enjoy what’s left of my last day at home, and drive to the airport tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Status Update: the packing objective

I’m done!!! Not officially since my carry on is filled with things I use and need to charge, but as far as the bulk of my packing goes, I’m done.

So how did I do? Well, I’m happy to report I had several successes and no failures (at least that I’m aware of at the moment).

Success #1: I had enough room to pack my Bean Boots and pea coat!! That’s right, my winter gear is packed. I had been convinced my dad would have to mail them to me, but alas, it isn’t so. I am just that skilled a packer. I’m truly impressed with myself.

Success #2: I am only bringing one carry on. Technically I am allowed one carry on and one personal item, but I will not be abusing this privilege. I will carry my backpack on the plane and the bag I would have used as my carry on has been packed in my luggage. More room to bring back the purchases I I’ll make during the semester this way.

Success #3: Both of my suitcases weigh less than 50 lbs! I was really starting to worry that I would face the daunting task of rearranging my clothing and items to even out the weight distribution but it appears that that isn’t a problem after all. This is a major packing victory for me and it makes my life significantly easier.

What’s left now? Just to pack my back pack full of plane friendly entertainment. Oh, and to fill out my luggage tags, I’m struggling to decide which address to use. I can’t believe tomorrow is my last full day home. Is completely surreal. I’ll be spending the day with the boyfriend and the sister. I’ll be sure to check in soon!!! Who knows, maybe my next post will be from Copenhagen!!