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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He’s big.IMG_2600

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!

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4 thoughts on “It’s Not Like We Were Exploding

  1. I just read through BOTH long week posts! Perfect reading for a rainy Sunday morning. Can you promise that next time we’re together for a family dinner, we’ll eat the same courses you mentioned above, and in that order? Sounds heavenly.

  2. Thanks for the shout out, you’re too kind. I like your blog much more than mine. So clean! So not-Blogger!

    I was just thinking about the fact that divorces lead to more grandparents– kind of a good problem to have for the grandkids that get lots of presents!! It’s nice that the family is on good enough terms to have a single birthday party for the grandson. What a beautiful cake (:

    I share your distaste for being plentiful, loud Americans. I went abroad to be ABROAD!! Leave the french fries and the American attitude at home, for god’s sake (except, pass the fries because I love fatty food). See, and if you had stuck with the US people, you wouldn’t have met that cool couple. Good for you! Proud of your outgoing badassery.

    THAT ART MUSUEM IS AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL WOW WOW. I have a deep love for stained glass that I can’t explain in rational terms. And cool statue, I think I saw something about that exhibit in NatGeo or somewhere similar.

    Cake AND sparkling apple cider? You may have discovered the secret to life itself. Had you napped in a hammock afterward, or taken a dip in a jacuzzi, I think (contrasting to your post title) my head would’ve exploded. The food sounds awesome and a themed post is most certainly in order. Congrats on living life awesomely, friend.

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