Vi ses, Danmark

It’s Friday, my second to last day in Denmark. It’s unbelievable how much time has flown. Right now I’m checking things off of my pre-departure to-do list before meeting up with some friends to complete some things on our Copenhagen bucket lists. I’m not going to post this until Sunday, though, because I want it to be my goodbye post to Fredensborg, Copenhagen, and the Svendsen and Lippert family.

Does anyone else ever really feel the fight or flight response in action when they’re about to go somewhere? Like, I start to feel super-nauseous, like my body just wants to get rid of the food in my system and bolt. I’m trying to calm my nerves at every second of the day. It’s not that I’m actually that nervous, it’s just a lot of nervous energy shooting around my body. I can’t sit still and everything smells like ramen (that’s not a normal response?)

I’m listening to the song “Home” by Philip Philips, and even watching the music video (shot like a road trip) is making me carsick. I feel like this place has been a real home for me. And it’s okay that I don’t idealize it, and I don’t want to live here for the rest of my life, because that’s also how I feel about small town Massachusetts and about the city of Boston. It’ll always be a home and a home city for me, filled with memories, good times and bad, even if I don’t want to stay forever.

I guess I’ve really been coming to terms with that this semester. I’ve had the problem where I really want to want to stay, and it has made my trip hard. The pressure has always been there, whether it’s just in my head or if my classmates are gushing about how much they’ve found a place here. That pressure has made it harder to just live in the moment and take things as they come. Maybe I’ve been pulling a total American tourist move and expecting too much.

I do want to express my eternal gratitude to my AMAZING host family. Some people have found families that they’ve felt like a daughter, which I can’t say that I totally have because my upbringing was so different from the way they treat their kids and me in my family. It has been so peaceful here. I can always count on a smile, a chat, some jokes, some amazing food, and just general support. I’ve never been in a situation before where I was sure that I was never going to disagree with people. They’ve treated me better than I ever could have hoped for or imagined, better than I treated my hosted sisters certainly, when I hosted in high school. They have encouraged me but never pushed me into anything. They have offered me everything but never asked anything in return. And in that way I idealize Denmark in immense ways. This family dynamic is so unreal in its trust, happiness, and hands-off approach to hosting and parenting. Thank you so so much to Jytte and Ole, if you ever read this. I love you guys so much. I also want to thank Maria and Linea, for always being kind to me and being able to share YouTube videos and complaining about school and making fun of Jytte and Ole. You are both inspirational in how smart and driven you are, and I know you’ll both be able to do whatever you want to do and have the best support while you do it. Thank you to Gitte and Lasse, and your families, your sisters are so blessed to have such positive, loving role models. Though I only met you a few times, you were always kind and friendly to me. Gitte, you were the first Dane to hug me, and it really made an impact.

After writing this, instead of feeling sick I’m crying all over my keyboard. The sad music isn’t helping much.

So, I’m not sure if it’s grammatically correct, but I do want to say Vi ses Danmark, meaning see you later, Denmark. I know I’ll be back, if only to make you another Tuesday night dinner and chill in the sitting room and watch movies with Linea.

Advertisements

Who Can Say? The short version of two crazy weekends

HI WORLD. It has been a crazy week. Just a week ago, I’d just thrown Rachael on a train and another train and plane to go home to Madrid. So. There’s that part, then the boring school part, then the this weekend part.

So, Rachael got into Copenhagen from Madrid on Thursday evening (Rachael’s my roommate from last year and a dear dear friend for my rare reader who doesn’t already know that). Unfortunately, her flight was really testing the public transportation system by being so late. Because trains kind of wimp out after midnight on a weekday. In that way, they’re a lot like me and Rachael. But we did get home, we just had to take a rather pricey taxi. Which Rachael kindly and unnecessarily paid for.

Then on Friday morning, set out to do Copenhagen, but first did a walk through Fredensborg Slotspark, which is the park behind the castle near my house. I know a fair amount about the royal family and the grounds so it was fun to see that and be a tour guide. It was actually pretty great being a tour guide all weekend. In Copenhagen, there were just some things we HAD to do, like see Strøget (Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping street) which also included a venture to Magasin (see my post “Less Ironically Good, More Actually Good”); a Danish interior design store I’d meant to hit up, Illums Bolighus; went to a very old, amazing bakery near DIS called Sankt Peders Bageri (I’ll bet you can translate that); The Round Tower (but our picture at the top has inexplicably disappeared from my camera), went to a Christmas Market; rode the water bus (great, free experience); The Black Diamond Royal Library; The København Bibliotek (main branch); Nyhavn; saw Amalienborg Palace and the Opera House from across the harbor; got super-lost, and ate some Chinese-ish food. It was a busy, busy day. And then we went home and had dinner with the host fam. Who loved Rachael, obvi.  I hate saying and then, and then, and then. But… I have to. We do a lot. What can I say. After dinner, we skyped Elana (a mutual friend and my future roommate) and watched Michael Cera’s masterpiece “Youth in Revolt.” A great movie, but we were really tired. Did we finish? Who can say?

Nyhavn (pronouced Nu-haun)

IMG_4408

The Opera House from across the Harbor

IMG_4410

Day two was day of castles! We went up to Helsingør (translates to Elsinore in English) and saw Kronborg, Hamlet’s Castle. It was a very quaint little town but a scary and forboding castle, and we walked around and hit up the gift shop and some shops around it. We also both enjoyed some laks (smoked salmon) sandwiches at KulturHus in Helsingør. We headed back south to Hillerød to see Frederiksborg Slot, which is crazy pretty, but sadly was closed. There was a wedding happening in the church there and we could hear a choir and saw a beautiful car to come pick up the happy couple. It was great, but would have been a little greater if we could have gone in!

This strange but cool shiny boy statue (Hamlet? Is that you?) and Kronborg in the background.

IMG_4416

Kronborg with a model of Kronborg in front of it.

IMG_4420

This picture came out cool (well, the car is in focus and the back isn’t, say what you will, it was an accident). A great wedding day for some people!

IMG_4431

Some call us RachaEleanor.

Some call us Ghost Cat.

Some call us crazy.

IMG_4430

It came to be snack-time, and we went to a cafe that advertised cake and coffee for around $10. Which sounds like a lot, but is actually a great deal in Denmark. We went in and asked the waitress for whatever that special was, and she looked at us with a dumb stare. She even went outside because I guess she’d never seen the sign before? Even the manager was confused. I guess no one had ever asked…? Anywho, we ended up getting it and then going home to a big family dinner and eating some chocolates Rachael brought from Spain. We then watched similarly stellar film “Me and You and Everyone We Know” by Miranda July. She’s a genius. It’s so funny and so real. That’s all I’m going to say about it. And this: ))<>(( Rachael got on a late train and and early plane and before I knew it was back in the land of Espana. Sad. But it was a great time. Rachael brings out the goofy in me in a way that few do.

Then there was school blah blah blah no one cares. Except I did see a great exhibition of Barbara Probst at the Black Diamond Royal Library. She’s very talented and has a great conceptual mind. Look her up.

Then this weekend, weekend of culture!

On Friday, I got a cheap ticket to a ballet called “Come Fly Away” which was a lot like the music of Sinatra set to the dancing from Guys and Dolls. It was good but not the best dancing, costumes, or music. It didn’t blow me away (though there were a few sets of abs in the cast that DID blow me away).

View from the nosebleeds (I could touch the ceiling while sitting)

IMG_4435

Saturday was the Hunger Games: Catching Fire with Bonnie. The movie was really fantastic, and at $20, it was the most I’ve ever paid for a movie ticket. The theatre was the biggest I’ve ever been to, also. And clean. And in Danish movie theaters you buy your specific seats. We had great ones. I’m team Peeta, and Jennifer Lawrence can do no wrong. That’s what I have to say about the Hunger Games. I’m ready to see it again.

Sunday SUNDAY (today) was the Royal Opera with an old buddy who I haven’t seen since September (sad). We went out to this kind of famous restaurant called Grød (pronounced kind of like gruel) which is a new nordic cuisine restaurant specializing in porridge! I got rice porridge with tarragon sugar, toasted hazelnuts, and Asian pears. I like to eat things I’ve never eaten before because I know I won’t hate it. It was beautiful and interesting, which are great words for a lot of things, but not the highest compliment to pay towards food items, if you get what I’m saying.

The green stuff is sugar.

IMG_4437

Then we booked it across the city to the opera where we saw Verdi’s Macbeth (in Italian with Danish subtitles).

That opera house from before but sunny and close-up. Sunny-side up?

Apparently Danes think it looks like the grill on an American car. Huh.

 

IMG_4439

These beautiful lights.

IMG_4446

There were only maybe 4 people in the cast of 50 who I actually knew who they were (the characters, I mean.), but the show was conceptually very strong, innovatively (that’s a word, right?) executed, and haunting. Lady Macbeth was a stunning soprano (side note, her name is Anne Margrethe Dahl, she’s Norwegian, and she’s 53!!! An incredible lady). She stole the show, but then again, so did the sets and costumes. To see it all, here’s the link. Really though, go look. The only bad part was an inexplicable topless pole-dancer at the beginning of the 2nd act. Wait. Another bad part was that someone took my scarf home with them. It wasn’t there when I got up to leave the theatre. It was probably a cheap scarf, but I got it from my mom at a really hard point in my life and it was special. Hopefully it will turn up but I doubt it.

That was my CRAZY week, and I have another one coming up with will culminate in Saturday Thanksgiving! Yup, not Thursday because I have school until late on Thursdays. Happy Thanksgiving team!

P.S. Enimen just came up on my “Upbeat Work Mix” on 8tracks. Um, no.

Cheeky and Posh: Winning London

What do torrential downpours, a bevy of charming accents, and the most confusingly wonderful department store in the world have in common? London. Obvi. It was a very easy question.

Day 1 (Sunday): Skipping the fluff, we arrived in London and headed over to Kensington for a bike tour. Our Australian tour guide was wonderful and we got to ride through the parks of London, seeing Kensington Palace (home of my favorite royals, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry), Buckingham Palace (Prince Andrew, snooze. The Queen apparently only lives there about 3 nights per month), Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey.

Fun fact, “Big Ben” is the name of the bell inside the clock tower.

IMG_3623

Not Notre Dame, but Westminster Abbey, home of royal weddings!

IMG_3614

Buckingham Palace and bikes!IMG_3601

Oh look!

IMG_3593

Less exciting, but more likely to be home of royals you love (Will, Kate, Harry, and formerly Princess Diana)

IMG_3583

Then the rain started. Pouring rain, worse than in Rome, torrential downpour for a solid 30 minutes, while we rode back. I was wearing a poncho, but my boots took three days to dry.

We were all supposed to go to the Churchill War Rooms, but people were miserable, so they made it optional. I went, which was a great choice: 1) The war rooms were really cool, and I learned a LOT about the war 2) I ran into my family’s closest family friend in the bathroom. I was thinking “that woman has an UNCANNY resemblance to Kay.” And then I said hi and we both started shrieking.

A happy pic in front of the Blitz made the guy taking the picture cringe.

IMG_3628

This was all followed by dinner at an English pub and drinks with our prof (the most awkward man in the world) and seeing 10 Downing Street.

Day 2 (Monday) : Started with a relatively routine site visit at Saxo Bank which is a pretty cool Danish bank, which, as far as I can tell, helps people trade stocks (but not like, professional stock traders) and went out to lunch, where our prof made fun of us when they served mac and cheese and we were all taken aback with shock and delight. Because Danes don’t like the best food? Idk.

In the afternoon we visited the BBC. The tour guide was amazing and from “the Midlands” which to me meant she sounded like the coolest British person (it’s not a “posh” accent). At the BBC they still have radio dramas, like I would imagine were only popular back before TV. But we got to perform one, it was pretty cool. I’m definitely going to try to find some radio drama podcasts.

British Broadcasting Company

IMG_3697

Europe’s largest newsroom

IMG_3702

Love me some Matt Smith

IMG_3699

That night I went to see Billy Elliot the musical by myself because no one in my class was cool enough interested in seeing it with me. I sat in the very last row, which meant the actors were pretty little, but I was so impressed. The songs were really great and the dancing was truly fantastic, with the cast about a 50/50 split between young girls and middle-aged men (it’s about ballet and a miners’ strike) plus a few young boys. The kid who played Billy was so wonderful (his name is Elliott Hanna), but Playbills are not free in London (in fact they’re about $13) so I went without. I highly recommend the show. There’s this song in it called “Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher” which seemed to make all the British people around me very uncomfortable, but is super catchy.

IMG_3714

Day 3 (Tuesday): We went to see PR firm Ketchum, which was international and nice and gave us tea and I ruined my shirt but nothing too special. I had been experiencing a lot of pain in my ear and a swollen and painful lymph node and just feeling really poopy, so this wasn’t my best day. After Ketchum, we had lunch and did some shopping at Spitalfields market (which I immediately recognized from ANTM) and I bought a Christmas present for a friend who I will see before Christmas and after Christmas but not at Christmas. So she might get it at her birthday, who cares if it’s nearly 5 months away…

Then we went to Wimbledon. It’s a tennis tournament I’ve watched before, but it wasn’t like the most exciting thing, going in, but I realized they are incredible at their company and branding and just being a fantastic place to play tennis. In the museum after, I watched clips from two GREAT tennis matches and realized I’d watched both with Harry (mon frere <–brother in French) and Gram (min bedstemor <–Grandma in Danish translates to “best mom” which is perfect). The matches were mens singles: Federer v. Nadal and women’s singles: Williams v. Williams. Some epic matchups right there. The tour guide there was very handsome and had a “posh” accent and so it was lovely.

Press room

IMG_3743

me and Wimbles

IMG_3759

These are the real thing. Even the winners only get to HOLD them

IMG_3750

Serena being sassy and classy

IMG_3754

They never changed the sign

IMG_3746

I got a good seat

IMG_3744

Then me and two girls from my class went to dinner in Picadilly Circus where NATALAY (aka Natalie Portman) and Chris Hemsworth were having the British premiere of Thor 2. But the girls I was with thought they were too cool for it, so I missed it, unfortunately. I could hear the screams of rabid fans from a few doors down the block where we were having dinner. Then we went to a mediocre comedy show, thanks to DIS.

Wednesday: Dreams came true and I went to Stonehenge. Pictures ensued as I was baffled.

Stones as tall as giants, in a perfect circle (Children of Eden song reference)

IMG_3769

What’s the meaning of Stonehenge? (Ylvis song reference)

IMG_3783

Then we went to Bath, which is the home of the Roman baths at a hot spring when England was part of the Roman Empire. I walked around with Mickey and Chris, two cool people who also have not found Strat Comm to be a particularly hospitable community.

A nice cathedral

IMG_3800

Me and the bath

IMG_3831

Mickey, Chris, et moi

IMG_3836

Another cathedral

IMG_3844

BEANS ON TOAST BEANS ON TOAST (that put me off beans and toast for life)

IMG_3863

We went shopping and drank tea and ate pasties (THEY’RE PIES GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER). I bought some mittens.

Day 4 (Thursday): Small group site visit to Three Fish in a Tree, a small and cool graphic design firm. After the visit the group walked over to the London Bridge, and when a woman asked to read my map, the group ditched me. SO then I was free of them and hit up platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station (very different than I expected) and ate another pasty (If you need to be hasty, I recommend a tasty pasty) and went to Harrods, a giant an maze-like department store which I’ve read about before. I bought some more Christmas presents.

So real.

IMG_3871

Not so real

IMG_3876

Then it was time for a traditional afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason (like Harrods but more Christmas-themed). In business casual, I was very underdressed, but the food and atmosphere were magical. I can’t imagine how expensive it was (DIS paid) but I highly recommend it.

Tea!

IMG_3880

Finger sandwiches!

IMG_3884

Scones!

IMG_3883

Sweets!

IMG_3882

I met up with my friends from AU, Kim and Kathleen, and we went shopping for a few minutes at Fortnum & Mason before getting Chinese food and froyo (at a place cheekily named “Snog”) and caught up and it was so happy and nice to see them.

Snog mood lighting

IMG_3889

Hehe

IMG_3888

Silly

IMG_3890

Kathleen, Kim, froyo, and me!

IMG_3891

I then went to see “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” which is a play based on the book of the same name. It was a great play, with talented actors (Mike Noble starred), and innovative staging. It was one of the most captivating plays I’ve ever seen.

IMG_3887

The stage/set when I leaned forward in my partial-view seat. A grid blackboard with lights and projectors

IMG_3892

Day 5 (Friday): My last day in London (you must be happy, because this post is essay-length). After a visit to the Chelsea Football Club Stadium (a stadium roughly the size of a small college’s in the states and conveniently located 50 feet behind the hotel, I convinced Mickey to hang out with me. I was dead-set on my schedule so I was a little surprised and very happy she was up for joining me. We walked across the Millennium bridge (better known as the dementor bridge from Harry Potter) and visited the Tate Modern (aka one of my lifelong dreams) we spent a total of 2 hours which was about an hour less than I wish I’d spent, and several weeks less than I could have spent, but we had to get back to good ol’ Copenhagen. I got the last S-tog AND the last lokalbanen home from the airport, which if you live in Fredensborg (hi Linea!) you know how wonderful that is.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

IMG_3909

St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge as seen from the Tate

IMG_3923

Me and the Tate

IMG_3918

Art, but I don’t remember whose.

IMG_3927

Nefertiti Shades of Grey (Black Version) (a race commentary)

IMG_3929

Really cool quilt against Thatcher for the Falklands war

IMG_3940

I recently got into Cy Twombly

IMG_3935

I’m all about this (not joking). It’s a white paper octagon

IMG_3944

Robert Delaunay

IMG_3947

Well, that was London. I really liked it, as a British version of New York City. It was fun (cheeky), fast-paced, and obviously a world capital. I definitely will go back, and now I can watch movies set there and be so happy. If only I’d gone to Downton Abbey (next time!) Cheers!

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.

IMG_2653

From those slutty brownies I said I’d make

IMG_2658

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. 🙂

IMG_2665

We are all water.

IMG_2664

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.

IMG_2694

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)

IMG_2700

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.

IMG_2711

Cute, right???

IMG_2720

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!)

IMG_2724

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.

IMG_2727

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.

****

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?

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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…

IMG_2474

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.

IMG_2475

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.”

IMG_2496

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!

IMG_2524

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.

IMG_2532

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.

IMG_2589 IMG_2584 IMG_2581

And for the statue “Big Boy”

IMG_2599

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)

IMG_2623

(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!