Grapefruit Cake

So I’m sure every time you come onto this blog, you’re thinking “This is not a food blog.” Yup, I said it. But guess what? You no longer have to think that. Because I’m making the all-important fusion between food and travel blogs! Today’s recipe, my first recipe, is actually one that has been on my radar for several years now. While only a few of you know of my passionate love for grapefruits, I will defend that they are the grape-est and great-est of fruits. And so I made Pastry Affair’s Grapefruit Cake with Grapefruit Buttercream.

First, I halved the recipe (even though I was recently told to NEVER do that? What? When have you ever baked before, I ask this person?!) Because it’s supposed to be a two-layer cake, but my host family has only 1 circular cake pan. So be it. I also changed the recipe into the METRIC system, because of cultural immersion or something like that. If you want it in “American” just go to my link to A Pastry Affair. If you want to convert your recipes to the metric system (so then I can make them and won’t have to convert them myself) I have come to use the conversions at TraditionalOven.com because they recognize that a cup of butter does not weigh the same as a cup of flour and they have a great selection of conversions. Very user friendly (No, they did not pay me to say that)

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Grapefruit Cake HALF RECIPE
Adapted from Joy the Baker, and Pastry Affair

50 g granulated sugar
Zest of .5 grapefruit*
1 large eggs
123 g plain non-fat Greek yogurt (I used buttermilk, because Greek yogurt doesn’t exist here, despite its relative proximity to Greece. I also just used 123 g anyway, even though that wouldn’t be an even conversion. We didn’t have yogurt, which is what this conversion is for)
40 ml light olive oil (I eye-balled half of a third of a cup?)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (They don’t use vanilla extract here, but vanilla powder. So I tasted it, then eyeballed)
40 ml + 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice*
125 g  cake flour (I didn’t have cake flour, so I used flour + 1 spoon cornstarch)
1/2 tablespoon baking powder (eyeballed)
pinch salt

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Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. My oven here preheats really quickly so I didn’t do this until I put the cake into the pan. Grease cake pan. I used a springform that I didn’t measure. I also papered the bottom, which is where you trace the bottom of the pan onto wax paper and cut it out. Then grease the pan as usual, put in the paper, and grease the paper. Extra insurance that it will come out of the pan.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together sugar and grapefruit zest with your fingers until the sugar pretty much turns orange (or the color of the zest). Beat in egg, mixing well. Mix in yogurt, olive oil, vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoon grapefruit juice (reserve the rest). Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt.

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So at this point, I poured the batter into my pan and it BARELY covered the bottom. No thanks to me for not measuring it. So I raced to make another half-batch. It seriously took me a quarter of the time as the first half-batch somehow.

Pour batter into cake pan(s) and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Clean up your mess. You can see mine in the background of this picture. That WAS on purpose. I feel like recipes written on blogs often leave out this step which ALWAYS exists, even in no-bake situations.

*It is hard to juice a citrus fruit that has already been grated. The juice tends to come out the pores on top that are not covered anymore by peel. It is also hard to grate a citrus fruit that has already been juiced. Holding a half, flat peel is really awkward, and it brings your finger uncomfortably close to the grater. So, pick your poison.*

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Using a pastry brush, brush remaining 1/3 cup grapefruit juice on top on the cake layers, allowing the juice to soak into the cake. I just eyeballed it, again, until the cake was moist and sticky to touch. Allow to cool to room temperature. For real though. Don’t even make the buttercream until it’s cool. I always do, then I regret it because I get anxious to frost it, then the frosting just melts off. While I was making this (between 4 and 6pm) my host dad asked what the time frame was, because, if you’ve read me before, this is usually cake time at my house. I said to him “No, no no. This is a dessert dessert.” He was disappointed. But wasn’t when he ate it at dessert time.

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Grapefruit Buttercream Halved
82 grams freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (I used the 160 g I had left over from juicing two grapefruits already, figuring I’ll just get a stronger grapefruity flavor than was intended. Also, 82 grams is a pretty small amount to boil without watching the WHOLE TIME. I ended up boiling it down to about 2.5 tbsp)
60 grams (quarter of a European stick, half of an American stick) butter, room temperature (!!!Muy importante!!)
Zest of 1 grapefruit (I did not have or halve this)
250 grams powdered sugar (EYEBALL)
Heavy cream (EYEBALL)

In a small saucepan, bring grapefruit juice to a boil and simmer until it reduces and thickens to about a third of what is was (originally from ¾ cup to ¼ ) cup. Cool to room temperature. Like I said, mine ended up reducing to about 2 and a half tablespoons. I’m an American and will never stop thinking in tablespoons.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and grapefruit zest until smooth (I didn’t have any zest left, so I skipped this step). Mix in thickened grapefruit juice. Gradually add powdered sugar until incorporated and smooth. Because the thickened grapefruit juice will vary in amount, add heavy cream one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved. I ended up adding quite a lot of sugar to make it enough to cover the whole cake.

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End result: A moist, butter free (didn’tcha notice?) cake, with a soft but not particularly sweet grapefruit flavor. That added with the very tangy and sweet frosting was a good choice, but I could imagine it frosting-free with maybe a drizzled plain icing in a more breakfasty setting. The frosting was what made it really strong grapefruit flavor. I could imagine duplicating this recipe with any citrus fruit. And the family liked it (I really liked this picture across the dinner table of the cake and Ole eating his). The color was more orangey than I expected, not quite as yellow as you see in this picture, definitely more of a soft pink-y orange. I really liked that the reduced grapefruit juice did that, no food coloring necessary. Hooray!

Best of luck to you, bakers and travelers. May your eyeballing always take you further than your measurements.

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What Does Cactus Even Taste Like?

My week in review. It’s been another long week, with me posting once already, and I have another post about a certain dessert item that may or may not make it to the interwebs before this one. Stay tuned.

I have this journal, which is something I’ve never really done consistently before, but was inspired by the coincidence of seeing this post on Pinterest around the same time I got a journal for Christmas from my cousins Mike and Nicole (Hi Nicole!). So since December 23, 2012, I’ve written a sentence about every day. Just a sentence of the highlights. I’ve never missed a day, and I’m pretty proud of that. I also picked a good year to start because I got to write about seeing my Gram in a casual way right up to when she died. So that’s something that’s nice. ANYWHO, I sometimes use it to see what I did in a week, but the problem is that I sometimes have boring days and then I have nothing to write and have no idea what happened that day, when I look back.

For example:

Saturday Sept 14: “Made brownies and watched Dr. Who with Maria.” Here are some pictures. To all those who have told me to watch Dr. Who over the years, you were right. Love love love.

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From those slutty brownies I said I’d make

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How they ended up looking. Oops, the brownies crushed the cookies, making it more like a cookie crust. Also, yum!

Sunday Sept 15: “Lazed around, went into Copenhagen, and did some creative writing.” I’m actually pretty happy with the writing I did last Sunday. So that’s good, right? I won’t post it here, though. Not for a while.

Monday Sept 16: “A humdrum rainy day featuring good food and a walk with Gabby” (hi!) But seriously, what did I do all day? I bought a luggage/locker lock for my upcoming trip to Rome and Barcelona! That’s all I can recall.

Tuesday Sept 17: “Finished The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done [by Sandra Newman] and met with HopeNow.” I wouldn’t say it was the only good thing anyone has ever done, but it was good. I would definitely recommend it to a creative writing professor or student. There were some BEAUTIFUL sentences. Sentences I read and reread. Wow. HopeNow is an anti-trafficking organization based here in Copenhagen which I’m working with with my advertising class to give them a communication campaign, as basic as they may be. They do really good work.

Wednesday Sept 18: “Got a book out of the library, went to the Louisiana, and ate a butt-ton of food.”  First, yes, I wrote butt-ton in my journal. When I look back on this when I’m old (or next year) it will seem so embarrassing hilarious that I ever though that way. The book was Jodi Piccoult’s Handle with Care. As I write this on Saturday, I have read 400 pages. That’s approx. 100 pages per day. I mean, it is the standard formula Jodi Piccoult, tugging on heartstrings in a New England courtroom, but I can’t put it down. I went to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art again to see YOKO ONO: HALF-A-WIND SHOW and write about it for my art history class. It’s actually very interesting to read about her, and realize that she’s not just some artist who got famous because her husband was (John Lennon, for those of you who live in a pop culture-free hole somewhere) but is actually an artist in her own right. Who happens to take advantage of her husband’s influence, name, face, and money. 🙂

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We are all water.

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A slide to get into the show. Also, my classmate Sasha’s face.

Thursday Sept 19: “Read a lot and watched Rent– also there was a guest speaker about Sophie Calle.” Like I said, I read about 100 pages per day, so… yeah. I also watched Rent for the first time since high school and cried quite a bit at Angel’s funeral and burial and at the end. It’s like seeing old friends… die. SAD. In my art history class (Women, Art, and Identity), a program assistant at DIS came in and spoke about Sophie Calle, an AMAZING French “surveillance artist” look her up, she’s the coolest. Her show “Take Care of Yourself” and her book “The Address Book” are especially impressive and creepy. Take a google at them. I might be purchasing The Address Book later, when I get back to the states, if I can’t find it at a library first. SO COOL LOOK IT UP.

Friday Sept 20: “Saw some great bands at Hillerod Kultur Nat with Breanna.” Says it all. Me and Breanna (a third friend from Smith. Seriously, maybe I should have gone to Smith. kidding. kind of.) walked around Hillerod and saw

A gospel choir: They were fun and I’m thinking about joining them. It was hilariously obvious that English was their second language, unlike in the other groups we saw.

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A “Rock Choir” singing Coldplay, among other things. A women’s chorus called “Hot Notes” singing classical Danish music. And this nice view of the castle (plus me, wearing this new vest/leather jacket combo I just discovered doesn’t look stupid)

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The MOST AMAZING SWING BAND EVER. They’re called Overjive, and they were attractive and Danish but sang in English (because swing/big band is in English mostly). People danced. People here can dance, I say, dance! I took a video of people’s feet at one point, but wordpress won’t let me upload. Remind me to show you sometime.

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Cute, right???

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All cleaned up! (The other pic was from their sound check. We were a little early)

A pop band singing American and Danish pop music called The Donut Brothers. Cuteness in bowties.

I ate this perfect sandwich (and I know how to order in Danish “Jeg vil gerne have en vegetar sandwich” SO THERE!)

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And we bought these beautiful apple ciders with a hint of CACTUS, of all things. “But what does a cactus even taste like?” we asked ourselves and each other.

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Today: I have yet to write in my journal, as I always do it before bed. I wrote part of my Yoko Ono paper and baked. There will be a post about the latter.

A week in the life. Do not expect a post from me next weekend, because I’m going to 1) English: Rome 2) Italian: Roma 3) Danish: Rom ON SATURDAY and then 1) English/Spanish/Danish: Barcelona ON WEDNESDAY and then I’ll be coming back and be sleeping and doing incredible amounts of homework next weekend. Just saying,it might be a while.

Why Danes are Happy, Part I

Now presenting, Part one of the multiple-part series, “Why Danes Are Happy”

So, the Danes are the happiest people in the world. Not sure if you missed that, but right now my host sisters are sitting next to each other, drawing on each other, and giggling. And they’re 17 and 18. So the Danes are doing something right. There are even official reports to back this up, it’s not from the giggling. Here’s the link to the World Happiness Report from 2013.

There are the obvious reasons (I haven’t read the report, as it is 152 pages. But go for it!). The Danes get major financial struggles paid for by the government. While us Americans are wondering what the heck we would do if we were in college and also needed to go the the ER (personal experience) and you’re just so in debt to the world. BUT NOT DANES! Free doctors, free college (they even get paid to go, $1000 per MONTH). But I’ve been observing some other trends too.

1. Their kids are well-behaved (and well-dressed):

I have NEVER seen a child in Denmark have a fit, yell at a parent, run from a parent, or hit their parents/siblings. I consider these behaviors to be pretty normal things you would see if you sat in the DC metro for an hour or two. In Denmark the kids hold their parent’s hand WHILE THEY RIDE THEIR BIKES and smile and hold hands with their parents and friends and it’s adorable. They also dress like tiny adults (H&M kids IS a thing) so they’re approx. 43978 times more fashionable than me. These kids aren’t (necessarily) Danish, but they are indicative of what I’m talking about.

From Lovelyish.com, I think

I tried to find kids who actually looked like kids I would see, versus obvious catalog models. I think these two fit the bill.

2. They love each other (a lot)

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this once (or twice) before, but it’s just still really hard for me to ignore when people are soo in love here, because it means they’re making out a) on the train platform b) in the train c) in a museum d) in the middle of the pedestrian street e) other. Or they’re holding hands. People young and old hold hands here, like a 30 year old woman and her 60 year old mom might hold hands on the street, or a 25 year old couple might hold hands while they ride their bikes next to each other (I witnessed this today and was baffled)

from ellengoesdutch.blogspot.com

3. They eat carbs

Do they ever. Those Danes aren’t shying away from a meal that is ONLY potatoes (I ate that this week), and I eat a fair share of wienerbrød (which is their word for Danishes, it means bread from Vienna!), but I don’t think I’m alone in my eating of excessive pastry. They have SO many pastry shops. I would say it’s comparable to how many coffee shops we have in the U.S., but I think it’s more. Maybe the same amount as coffee shops if you include Dunkin Donuts and then imagine Boston, pastry-filled.

from traveljapanblog

I’m fairly certain I’ve been to this pastry shop, but it’s VERY standard looking. So many pastries in the window 🙂

5. They work less

An average workweek in Denmark is 37 hours, and they get 6 weeks of paid vacation per year. So good. Really. This is really apparent when you go to get on a train between 3:30 and 6. Because that’s rush hour, not 5-7/8. Even at 5, things are lightening up.

6. They’re (all) law-abiding

This is most apparent in the fact that they WILL NOT jay walk. Like, there might be a crowd of 20 on each side of a crosswalk, waiting for the light to change, then 1 person might run across, but no one will follow. They’re patient and wait for the lights, because I guess there’s a big fine for jay-walking. Also, without jaywalking, cycling becomes a lot safer. Think about it.

Fun fact, a life sentence (as in, maximum sentence) in a Danish court is 12 YEARS. 12!

from speigel.de

7. Their feet don’t hurt.

       True life, everyone wears sneakers. This is not New York, where if you’re trying to fit in as a tourist you bring your highest heels (I mean, you don’t, but you think about it). If you’ve got a pair of black Nikes or white Converse (this applies to men or women, though I think women a little more) or even a pair of cheaper, less stylish running shoes, you’ll fit in just fine. Just make sure you pair it with not running clothes. No one runs here. Because of the cobblestones on literally every street and sidewalk, it makes much more sense than stilettos or flimsy flats. A good wedge boot is pretty common too.from Clothedmuch.com

This picture is pretty indicative, though no one is wearing black sneakers. The rest of the clothing looks very Danish too.

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I could go on forever, but I thought I’d save it for another post.

Coming up next time:

8. They’re sexy and they know it

9. School is less stressful

10. They don’t binge drink (as much)

11. They travel

… AND MORE

Also, as a part of this series: “Why Danes Aren’t Happy” featuring

1. The weather

2. Taxes

… there may be more but I’m not sure yet

We now return to regularly scheduled posting

Less Ironically Good, More Actually Good

What can I say about this week? I feel like the week kicked my butt, but I also kicked its butt. Butts were kicked all around.

My goal is to have a shorter post than weeks past. Let’s do just the highlights reel, shall we? With lots o’ pics and vids? AAANNNDDD GO!

Monday: Started with a splash booking hostels for Rome and Barcelona with Bonnie! We read reviews, looked at prices, and tried to figure out logistics for our trip. E.g. (one of my favorite abbreviations right there) How will we call the hostel and tell them we’re going to check in later than expected if neither of us have working phones? Is a question we asked ourselves. But it’s all booked. So now we just need to pack, plan museums and stuff, and GO! Also, this other girl from Smith (Bonnie’s from Smith too) is meeting us in Barcelona! Yay friends.

Tuesday: I discovered a quiet part of the large square near DIS. The square is called Gammeltorv, which translates to Old Square. Nytorv also exists (New Square!) I journaled, read, listened to music, and had lunch. It was really nice because the area around school is SO touristy with a lot of stores, so it was nice to find something quieter and outside.

In my Danish class, we ALWAYS watch Danish music videos. We watched this VERY popular *in 2007* song called “Lægger”, (which means “Delicious”) by a “famous” Danish rap group, Nik and Jay. We translated the chorus. Here goes:

“Excuse me baby, I’ve seen you before, somewhere in Copenhagen? And excuse me baby, allow me to ask, who are you? And what is your name? Because you’re delicious” (repeat word approx 100x)

After class, Chelsea and I went to Magasin, that amazing store that I went into for a little bit last week. On  our way, we saw the most mind-blowing street performers. HOW?

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Once in Magasin, the setup of the store is like this, by floor:

0 (Basement): Snack stands, magazines, and a little grocery store. There’s also the entrance to the Metro. Endlessly handy.

1 (Street Level): Cosmetics, gifts, jewelry, accessories, shoes, lingerie.

2: Men’s clothing and accessories. I’m looking for a really nice beautiful sweater, and that’s where I think I’ll find it. It is a bit awk, for me as a single woman to shop there by myself, but if I pretend it’s for my imaginary boyfriend… still awk.

3: Ladies clothing. We noticed that close to the escalator is like “Misses” whereas farther away is “Women” if that makes sense. It gets a little older.

4: Housewares! Also interior design type stuff. We found this wall of KitchenAids that I HAD to take a picture of. Chelsea and I share a deep love for KitchenAids. Also for shopping, though neither of us bought anything. We were happy to find shopping buddies.

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5: Toys and kids clothes and juniors clothes and Topshop. And a couple other young people stores. It was a weird combo, but we were loving it. Although I pretty much just gushed over sweaters and Chelsea shopped as a normal person does.

6: Another cafe, but it’s really nice and more like a cafeteria. Think like the IKEA food court, but better.

When we got out of the store we were really hungry and found these reasonably priced “pancake sticks” which were like long waffles, and mine was tipped in dark chocolate and rolled in hazelnuts. Chelsea ordered hers IN DANISH and did not get nuts. Look how beautiful and tasty.

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And I finally took a picture of this graffiti in the subway. I see it every day and I’m not a huge fan of it. But I translated it, and it means “Good Morning Angie! Remember to smile today.” So that’s nice. Classic Danes, using their graffiti for the good of Angie.

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Wednesday: I had a field study with my Food Systems class to this place called Christian Hansen. It’s a company that manufactures pro-biotics and is very hard to explain. Activia yogurt uses their products and is their most popular consumer product. But most of their products make corn easier to feed corn pigs and cows. Which is awful. Because they shouldn’t eat corn anyway. So, mixed feelings on that.

I wasn’t really sure how to get home from the place, but it was geographically close to my house, so I tried the bus. It ended up taking over an hour, but it was cool to see more of my area, as I always take the same train. I even got to go to Helsingør, which is where Hamlet’s castle is, and the coast.

Thursday: I started my work study job at the housing office. As I write this on Saturday morning, I have worked 5.25 hours. Which means $$! Hooray!

Bonnie came over for dinner, and we went on a short walk through Fredensborg Slotspark so she could see the castle. I’ve been there a few times before, but because I was alone, I wasn’t able to take a picture before. (Because I’m not going to take selfie in front of the queen, really). It was a nice, clear night. And c’mon. Lookit that castle. That’s pretty plain for Danish standards.

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Friday: A really great song in Danish, “Klar til Kærlighed”, which means “Ready for Love.” The artist is half Danish and half South-African, and the video was shot in NYC, in Danish. Soo, it’s actually really good. The video is a bit like “Same Love” by Macklemore, which means I love it. If you watched Lægger up at the top of this, change your mindset, because this is less ironically good, and more actually good.

Then because it had been the longest week, I went home after my day of work>school>work, and hung out, planned on making slutty brownies (cookie/brownie combo which usually also includes Oreos but won’t here) (they’re called slutty because they’re so easy, and no, I did not make up that term) for my host sister’s continued birthday celebrations, and watched The Bling Ring. It was a fantastic movie. Really, really well done.

There was my week. I think a little less verbiage than the last few weeks. I hope. It felt like less. Talk to y’all next week!

You may also begin seeing advertising on my blog. Which is yucky, but unless someone wants to pay for me to upgrade to ad-free wordpress, it’s a necessary evil.

It’s Not Like We Were Exploding

So. It seemed like the day by day thing went pretty well last week, so I’ll do an encore, and maybe it’ll become a thing (or maybe I’ll get more busy and you’ll never hear from me again!). OOh, and before I forget, I want to plug my AU friends’ blogs, all of whom are studying abroad and whose blogs I check on the daily (I could stand to be more busy): Rachael of “Tertiary My Dear Watson” (TeMyDeWa is a group blog and she posts one day a week), Kevin of “Kevin Visits Spain”, and Bekah of “Red Runs Madrid” are all in Madrid; Hannah of “My Semester Down Under” is in Sydney; Kim of “Winning London” is in London; Lizzy of “Lizzy in Kenya” and Val of “Valerie in Kenya” are both in Nairobi (surprise!); Paige of “My Study Abroad Adventures” is in Florence, and Gabrielle of “A Danish Adventure” is in Copenhagen with me! Yay buddies traveling! I’m not sure if my other friends abroad have blogs. Thanks to Hannah for this idea!

Sunday: I don’t usually post about Sundays, or haven’t the past two weeks, but it was an exceptional day. It started out with a brunch in celebration of my host dad’s grandson’s second birthday! The party was really big, with all four sets of grandparents of the birthday boy (yup, divorce on both sides), aunts, uncles, and cousins. And friends! (Me and my host sister’s boyfriend…) The brunch was outside, and over the course of the morning it was every kind of weather. It was all very happy and we had a shelter, but wow, I did not bring enough coats. There were a bunch of cute kids at the party, including Otto (birthday boy) and his three-month old brother Frede, and their cousins Emil, 7, and Isabel, 4. Isabel is the cutest and came wearing soo much eye-makeup, like a true Dane. Including a star out of eyeliner on her forehead. Her mom definitely was not the one with the pencil in hand…

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We got to the brunch around 10 and started eating breakfast stuff, so I filled up on homemade bread, cheese, jam, eggs, fruit, and tea. Then they brought out the “American” pancakes, which were conventionally shaped and served with mapley syrup, but weren’t actually American. Then they cleared the table and I though it was all done. Nope. They brought out two beautiful cakes.

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When they cleared the cakes they brought out beer, nuts, and cookies. I was so full (which actually is the word for drunk here. But drunk I was not, at 1pm on a Sunday, thankyouverymuch). When we got home, we left after putting on more layers, to go to a party for all of the host families, which was long and fun and I won’t go into much detail here. I met some peeps who hopefully I can hang out with later in the semester.

Monday: I got up super early (5:25) for my core course week short study trip. We hopped on a roomy coach bus (not sarcasm– 22 on a bus made for… 55? spacious) and went to Odense! We got a tour of a quaint area of town, part of Hans Christian Andersen’s life, as he is the most famous Dane and from Odense. We also visited TV2, which is a big news station here in Denmark. Our teacher, Christian, used to be a news anchor there, so we got a real behind-the-scenes look. This guy was literally introduced to us as the “hot weather man.”

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Then we went out to dinner at a local brewery and everyone got burgers, except the two vegetarians, who got a plate of veggies, and our drink of choice. Some people order wine at breweries (why?), but not I!

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After dinner, the class went to the local student union and caught a Danish band rocking outside on a Monday night. After, a lot of girls stuck around and had beers at the union, but were sitting in a circle as a group of loud Americans and it was not my scene at all. So me and my friend Mickey went back to the hostel, and during the trip back: 1) We stopped for candy and 2) A couple frantically asked us for directions to a bar. We didn’t know where it was, but we asked if we could join them. And we went with them to Dexter, a jazz club in Odense with no cover charge and band members who were young and attractive and playing instruments and looking very jazzy. We befriended the two German exchange students that the couple had been running to meet (the couple was Dutch exchange students) and hopefully we’ll meet up with them in Copenhagen later this semester. They were both grad students studying Middle Eastern Studies. Tres interessant.

Tuesday: We did a crash course in TV production, the 10 of us (half of our class) producing a 10 minute news segment in 5 hours (harder than it sounds). This was at a media museum called Brandts. Anywho, I was a journalist and camera-woman, filming for both the man-on the street segments and operating camera one during the studio shoot. It was really fun. Like, change majors and switch to broadcast journalism fun, maybe.

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Then we drove to Aarhus and went to this AMAZING design firm called DeisgnIt. They design everything: insulin pens, train cars, websites, advertising campaigns, and apps for banks. SO many creative people. Audi is their biggest customer, along with NovoNordisk, a huge pharmaceutical company. Also, their Paulo Alto office just got its first call from Google. So, big news to be in their HQ.

Wednesday: We went to Jyllands-Posten, a major newspaper in Denmark and one that was made famous in 2005 because of a very poorly thought out publishing of 12 cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. Google it. I’ll just say that the most infamous cartoon’s cartoonist is still under 24/7 security (because of death threats and murder attempts) and the newspaper building itself was super secure, more so than the Copenhagen airport. Afterwards, we went to the ARoS art museum, which is themed as Dante’s Heaven and Hell, with the most beautiful, heavenly art at the top, and the scariest at the bottom. It was super creepy (a lot of it) and so beautiful (a lot of it). The museum is famous for the spectrum of light/rainbow room installation on the roof.

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And for the statue “Big Boy”

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Then we went to Danske Commodities, an energy-trading firm, which was really cool and like a mini-stock market, and drove home.

Thursday: We split into small groups and each interviewed a comm director at a major company or agency. My group went to Dyrenes Beskyttelse, which is the Danish version of the Humane Society. Then we had to write an article about it, and I ended up doing a feature about the fact that the agency is privately funded. It was more interesting than it sounds, I think. Also, I ate a poppyseed and marizpan pastry called Thebirkes. Which reminded me of The Berks, a place I will likely be living when I return to DC.

Then I went to the thrift store near school and made my second, third, and fourth purchases. I justify that by saying I under-packed. Which I totally did, I promise. I brought 4 t shirts for 4 months. WHO DOES THAT? Also, you can’t beat the prices. The Røde Kors Butik (Red Cross Boutique) is definitely my favorite store in Denmark. So far.

Friday: Site visits at NovoNordisk and F.L.Smidth, two huge Danish/international companies, where we talked to their heads of communications about corportate internal communications. Snooze fest. I ate a cookie called Chokorye, which was pretty much just a heavy rye bread bun with chocolate chips. Then we had a class social, which was fine, but what I was really looking forward to was my plans to go out with friends after their socials, which ended at 8. So I had two hours to kill. I found a bench on a busy pedestrian street and read and people-watched for a while, but then I got cold. So I ventured around, trying to find stores that were open (I’m passively shopping to replace a pair of boots that are totally wrecked). And I found the MOTHERLODE of stores. It’s called Magasin, which means store in French. It’s basically a department store, but it’s also kind of like a market… major clothing, accessory, book, cosmetic, etc… vendors have stalls which are individually staffed and I guess run indepedently of each other. This store is at least 4 floors in downtown Copenhagen and just amazing. Definitely going back.

When my friends showed up, we had some beers and listened to a cool electronic band at the student house, and we chatted about real things: gender pronouns, our generation’s drinking habits, and Israel. It was so nice to meet new peeps and have good convo. Also we had falafel. When I started home, it was around midnight, so I figured it would be 1:30 before I was home. When I got to Hillerod around 1:50, where I change trains, I realized it was too late for the train, so I would wait for the night bus. And so I waited, about an hour and 15 minutes for it. It was a situation in which I swore I would never go out without a coat again. A COAT. IN SEPTEMBER. I finally got home around 2:40.

Saturday: Slept in… kind of, until 10. My host family was hosting a big family party, so I knew cleaning was a top priority. Luckily my room here is small, so it didn’t take as long as it would have at home. Also, I have significantly less stuff. When I got up to have breakfast, my host dad told me he wanted me to bake a cake for the party. And I was all “Hell yeah, I’ll bake a cake” and went back to cleaning. I decided it would be a blueberry upside down cake, so I had to go out and buy blueberries. When I got back and started cooking at around 2:15, Ole told me the cake should be done around 3 when the guests arrived. UM, what? That simply was not feasible, and it was for dessert, right? Nope, I forgot Danes eat cake BEFORE the meal, like we drink and eat cheese and bread, and olives. My cake did end up out of the oven before the cake-eating time was over, but for the sake of my posts getting longer and longer, I’ll just list the courses of this beautiful dinner.

1. Coffee, licorice tea, and cake: strawberry creme cake, and blueberry upside down cake (Danes were fascinated by it)

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(then we went for a walk)

2.Chips, peanuts, white wine, and sparkling apple cider

3.Italian bread and zucchini stuffed with a mushroom cream filling.

4. Rice, green beans, sugar snap peas, red wine and a pork stew. For me it was a pork-free stew.

5. Fruit cup with white chocolate topping and port wine. The little kids and the older kids (aka me and my host sister) also roasted marshmallows over a fire.

I mean, it was a 6 hour dinner. So it’s not like we were exploding with that much food. What surprised me most is that Jytte, my host mom, made the whole dinner herself. I helped a lot because it’s really hard for me to sit in a room where no one is speaking English, and my sister Maria helped too. But in the U.S. (or at least in my house) there would be a point where guests would filter in and out of the kitchen, helping to open wine, fill up plate, chop veggies, and generally take direction. There was none of that, which I found really odd and a little sad. Jytte missed part of all the courses except the last two and didn’t come on the walk all because she was cooking. Another cultural difference, I guess.

And now it’s Sunday again! Holy moly. I thought of two ideas for future posts 1) Two posts per week. This one is so long but when when I edited, it all seemed really important to my life… 2) A food-dedicated post. I eat a lot and take pics.

See you next week, folks!