The End

I’ve been putting off this post since forever. Or at least since I got back. I want to synthesize all the experiences and feel ready for it to be over and feel totally settled in my life back in the US. But you know what? Life doesn’t work quite like that. Though the semester has started, and with it, good things and bad, a new place to live, revisiting an old city of mine, old friends, old places, it feels new and like a return at the same time.

I did so much in Europe, and now that I’m back, I’m not going to say that I feel like a whole new person, but I do feel like I’ve entered a new part of my life. In which I’m more of an adult, a little more confident, a little more sure of what I want. An emphasis on “a little” but still, it makes a difference. I understand more about how I want to be treated, what kinds of people I want to meet, and what kinds of people I can laugh about and not take too seriously. I learned a hell of a lot about people on this trip.

And also about places. I’ll never watch a movie set in Paris or Rome or wherever and not look for the places I’ve been. How it feels to walk on the street alone in London and how it’s different from Copenhagen or Barcelona. How I love cities but I love countries too. The crisp air in Bath, the dampness of the Czech mountains and caves, and riding my bike in the driving rain or wind or sun or dark in Fredensborg. And I’ll try my best to cherish it all.

And before I do a photomontage, I just wanted to thank my loyal readers and my drop-by-once-in-a-while readers. This blog made me feel really good about my writing, made me want to put off this last post. Which is why soon enough I’ll be starting another blog. Because Wanderlust was only ever going to be my abroad journal, for me and for you. Here’s a little map of where my readers come from– this map makes me happy. Thanks to my abroad friends for helping this map be a little more colorful. And thanks also to the abroad strangers who did the same thing. And thanks to my non-abroad friends and family for making the US such a standout.

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START THE PHOTO MONTAGE: The best of Wanderlust! (stay tuned, there’s a little something at the end)

IMG_1989Grafton, MA, USA

IMG_2211Humlebaek, Denmark

IMG_2532Odense, Denmark

IMG_2742Fredensborg, Denmark

IMG_2755Ugerloese, Denmark

IMG_3259Rome, Italy

IMG_3284Barcelona, Spain

IMG_3375Barcelona, Spain

IMG_3783Wiltshire, England

IMG_4252Cesky Raj, Czech Republic

IMG_4430Hilleroed, Denmark

IMG_4537Fredensborg, Denmark

IMG_4628Fredensborg, Denmark

IMG_4653Berlin, Germany

IMG_4796Berlin, Germany

IMG_4842Essen, Germany

IMG_4909Dortmund, Germany

IMG_4914Paris, France

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Thank you to everyone I met, everyone I re-met, everyone who gave me a chance or taught me something or extended a hand or supported me. Thanks to people who smiled, who were concerned, who were patient, who played cards, who shared a beer or a laugh, who asked me for directions or who gave me directions or who showed me something wonderful. Thank you to people who ate the food I made, who made food for me, or who shared their company over a meal or who shared their company on a train or plane or platform or waiting room or airport terminal or theatre or their home. Thank you to the people who shared their children, their parents, their brothers and sisters and their grandchildren and grandparents or their friends. Thank you to the people who I visited, the people who I’ll revisit, the people who will come visit me, and to the people who I met who I’ll never meet again.

It was one hell of a ride. Thank you.

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.

And Then My Stomach Burst

God I just want to tell everyone everything but not actually write a post. That may be a bad sign.

Things. All of the things. I guess I’ll number them. The things I remember since my last post. You may be able to tell I’m rather tired.

1) I went to Tivoli with Amanda and Gabrielle last Wednesday, to see the Christmas markets and the amazing decorations. As with any time you go to Tivoli, we were not disappointed. We saw reindeer, drank some gløgg (hot spiced red wine) and ate some æbleskiver (think spherical pancake) with strawberry jam and confectioner’s sugar. It was a good time, and I bought some small souvenirs for some people back home.

The entrance to Tivoli

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Hotel and giant white peacock. There were live, real peacocks just strolling the park, too.

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Carousel in the Russian-themed area

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THE WORST PRIZE EVER (or maybe the best one?)

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Gløgg og æbleskiver

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More holiday cuteness

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year at the most magical place on Earth

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2) Thursday was Thanksgiving, but since my core course final was from 4:30-6:30pm, there was no chance of even making anything special for dinner. But I did skype with my Dad, Harry, and Nicole (Harry’s gf) from my Dad’s house in Mass. It was really nice to see them, hear about their Thanksgivings and talk about stuff a little. Harry’s moving (has moved, now) to the Boston area, which he’s really pumped about. And I taught my dad how to say “gløgg is good” which is very easy “gløgg er godt.”

3) On Saturday, we did Thanksgiving at my house. I got up and started to cook– cranberry sauce, cranberry relish, apple sauce, and apple crisp. Then I cleaned my room and waited for Becky and Bonnie to arrive from the city. They did, and we had a hyggeligt time making mashed potatoes, roasted green beans, and butternut squash latkes (for me, baby’s first latke cooking experience, for them, baby’s first latke eating experience). Becky also brought a brussels sprouts and apples dish, which was nommy. We even had a lot of extra time and oranges, so we made what I’ll call a bittersweet orange compote, and chocolate cake with chocolate ganache. Gabrielle came and we made some incredible stuffing, before sitting down to  dinner at 6:35. It was a perfectly planned and executed meal if I do say so myself. I love Thanksgiving a lot and it made me feel so happy to have that holiday. I was seriously beaming all night and then my stomach burst from food and wine and like 4 hours of talking. The group of the four of us also went for a very dark walk in the Slotspark, which was a little creepy (bats abound and Becky told me that 90% of bats carry rabies. Ha! Now that fact is on you to struggle with). And then I got them on the train, came back, ran the dishwasher, wiped down the counters, and went to bed. It seems that the cleanup impressed the host fam even more than the food did. What can I say? My parents raised me right. (But the food was pretty damn good).

Latkes and Cranberry relish

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Green beans, brussels sprouts, and stuffing

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Round 1: My plateIMG_4539

An unfortunate light fixture (seriously, one step to the right would have solved this problem) but over all a cute pic of my and my short friends

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I realize I have NEVER BEFORE posted a pic with the host fam. That’s because this is the first one I’ve taken.

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Dessert (tastier than it looks)

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4) This movie happened with my class, designing communication campaigns. The process of making it was much too embarrassing for those involved to write about here, but we had a good time. I did next to nothing but am still really proud of how it came out. I’m the featured disembodied hand writing at the end. Wait. I actually can’t post it here until it’s on YouTube. Check in next week for the updated version!

While we were not working on the project, we played a lot of games with this whiteboard, including one where you stand against it and the two others write speech bubbles. Then you make a face having never read the bubbles. Then you take a picture. This one is incredibly me. (besides the incorrect grammar)

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5) Uhhh… I bought a bunch of souvenirs after a trip to the fabric store for my mama turned into a trip to the fabric store for me. That’s right, my mom sent me into a fabric store and expected me not to fall in love with yarn and beautiful, beautiful fabric. Not likely. Unfortunately, out of my relatively small reader-base, and there is an even smaller gifting-base. Stuff is pricey pricey pricey here, and I still need to finance another month!

6) Speaking of which, my ticker on the right tells me my time left in Europe is no longer at months, we’re at days!! It would actually make more sense to do weeks next, but whatever. On December 15th, I’m headed to Berlin for 5 days, then on the 20th, I’ll go west to Dortmund for Christmas, to spend with former host-sisters Lara and Lena, and their parents, as well as a teacher my mom hosted, Friederike! I’m really excited for that part of the trip. Then I’ll go on the 27th to my FINAL DESTINATION: PARIS and spend New Year’s there, hopefully living it up by myself, with my friend Nancy from DIS, and with new buddies from the hostel (just speculating). At the very least I’ll see the Louvre and walk by the Seine (swooning as we speak). Then home on January 2nd– Paris to London, London to Boston, Boston to Grafton. This trip is what’s keeping me going right now through an emotional finals season, the horrors of packing (haven’t happened yet), and a lot of homesickness. As much as I have love love loved seeing things and experiencing and living it up, there are few things I look forward to more than hugging my parents, seeing my cats, and baking cookies.

This post feels like it needs this:

Love, Eleanor

P.S. I wrote this post in about 20 minutes. If that’s not something to be proud of, I don’t know what is.

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)

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The Opera House from across the Harbor

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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.

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Kronborg with a model of Kronborg in front of it.

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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!

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Some call us RachaEleanor.

Some call us Ghost Cat.

Some call us crazy.

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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)

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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.

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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.

 

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These beautiful lights.

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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.

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

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Buckingham Palace and bikes!IMG_3601

Oh look!

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

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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.

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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

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Europe’s largest newsroom

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Love me some Matt Smith

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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.

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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

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me and Wimbles

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

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Serena being sassy and classy

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They never changed the sign

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I got a good seat

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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)

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

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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

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Me and the bath

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Mickey, Chris, et moi

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Another cathedral

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

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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.

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Not so real

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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!

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Finger sandwiches!

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Scones!

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Sweets!

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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

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Hehe

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Silly

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Kathleen, Kim, froyo, and me!

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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.

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

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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

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

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Me and the Tate

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Art, but I don’t remember whose.

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

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Really cool quilt against Thatcher for the Falklands war

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I recently got into Cy Twombly

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

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Robert Delaunay

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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!

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.

DANES. Different from AMERICANS.

So I wanted to make a post that was a little less adventure-oriented and a little more life-oriented. Because being that this is not actually a vacation, I actually have to do work and have a routine and stuff. I know, snooze. But it turns out, not so much.

I’ll start with my classes.

Women, Art, and Identity (the oxford comma’s not in the course title but heck if I’m not going to use it.): It’s basically art history with a focus on women’s art from the late 1800s to the present. I had to drop my 8:30 Danish Design course because getting up at 5:45 twice a week was super unrealistic. So, Women, Art, and Identity was my next (open) choice. So far so good. Every class has two field trips built in to the schedule, but this prof is awesome and so we get to do 5. I will see ALL the Danish art museums! Actually no, but a lot!

Designing Communications Campaigns: To give you an idea of this class, let me begin by saying it is co-taught by these two guys probably in their early thirties who met in high school when they were in a punk band together– the band’s name was “Baked Beans.” So, they’re a little ridiculous, but they know their stuff about advertising, which hopefully means soon I will too.

Strategic Communication: This is my core course, and we do a lot together. Next week we have core course week where we travel in Denmark (I’m going to the 2nd and 3rd biggest cities, Århus and Odense. Yes, there is a tiny circle on top of that A.) and then we’ll have a long study tour when we’re going to LONDON! AKA why I picked this course. So far, super easy. Like freshman year’s Understanding Media but less fun.

Danish Language and Culture: A very interesting and HARD class. If you’ve never heard Danish spoken, there are a plethora of unpronounced or weirdly pronounced letters in every word (Rachael, if you’re reading this— you would HATE it. @EveryoneElse– Rachael hates silent letters). For example, asking someone what their name is is spelled like “Hvor hidder du?” but is pronounced like “Veh heela du?” There is this thing called a soft D. It sounds like an L usually, but sometimes not. For example, I live in “Fredensborg” but it is pronounced like “Fre’ensboh.” Also, the train broke down and it took me 3 hours to get into the city yesterday, meaning I missed Danish class. Not good.

Food Systems: SO excited for this class. The most excited. So far, the prof is very Danish looking (i.e. tall, blonde, and attractive) the readings are great (lotsa Marion Nestle and such.) Fall freshman year I took food-themed college writing and it was the best, so I’m pretty much assuming this class will be the best too. I’m really interested in food. Plus– FARMS. WE WILL VISIT ONE. YAY.

Dats it. My classes.

Now onto culture:

Surprise– people live their lives differently here. No, really, this was surprising for me. I did a LOT of research before I came, but none of it really prepared me for a really different life than I’m used to. Not that my host family is really different or something– they pretty much are the functional, happy version of my family when it was a conventional mom, dad, kids set up. But DANES. They’re different from AMERICANS. You know, as a whole. And so to reflect that, DENMARK is different from the US. I hope the caps helped. They helped me.

FOR EXAMPLE:

      -PDA (public displays of affection) are TOTALLY normal here. It’s not unusual to see young people making out in the middle of the street or even middle-aged or old people showing their love on the subway, for example. Yup, it’s a little gross. I guess they didn’t originate from Puritans.
      -Similarly non-Puritan, people can drink (alcohol). ANYWHERE. Well, obviously not anywhere, but in public- go for it (as my host dad would say). Teenagers party on the streets even in my small town. There was a guy sharing a bottle of wine with himself next to the fountain near school. Totally normal.

-People eat with their knife in their right hand and fork in the left. They never put down their knife or switch hands, and they cut their food up one bite at a time. My left wrist pretty much hates me for this.

      -Oh. Just remembered another. There are no water fountains. This seems small, but you actually use them all the time. You just haven’t realized it yet.
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N’existe pas en Denmark.

      -On the note of public amenities, public bathrooms are SO different. The bathroom (always just called the toilet) is one room for both men and women, usually a tiny room with a sink. Attached are one or two “stalls” which are full rooms with full length doors which have a toilet (though not an industrial style one that I’m used to) and a sink. But don’t be fooled, you will probably be able to wash your hands WHILE sitting on the toilet. They’re SMALL.
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Small like this.

      -Ooh, something I really like. The doors on the train don’t all automatically open. You have to press button, whether on the inside or out, to get the door to open, and then when you get in, you’re in an airlock with seating on either side of you, but to get to the seating, press another button, and the doors will open. This means that the loud people or the making out people usually hang out in the airlocks, and also, it means that you won’t get a gust of cold air every time someone might step onto the train. GENIUS.
      -On the train, you don’t have to prove you have a ticket every time. Meaning you just get on, and they pretty much trust that you do. No scanning or swiping or showing. Sometimes they check, and when they do, watch out. On the S-tog (commuter rail) the ticket checkers generally are middle-aged people dressed in normal clothes and always wear a bag and earbuds. They look very normal. THEN they pull their S-tog badges out of their shirts and you show your ticket. If you don’t have one (or haven’t “checked in” to the train before you got on– different kinds of tickets) then you’ll be fined 7500dkk = $135
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The lovely S-tog. This car (with the bike on it) is the bike car. Yes, a car for bikes only. Danes ❤ bikes.

      -Taxes are SO high! The Danes complain about them, but they admit they love the system. Free education FOR EVERYONE FOREVER is amazing, as is free health insurance. My professor said “I could break my leg every day for the next ten years and never see a medical bill.” WOAH. AMERICA, GET ON THAT! People drive cars, sometimes here (my host family has two, but some families have none). Why, you ask? They love the environment, you ask? False, I tell you. Prices are sooo high. Tax on cars is.. wait for it…. 200%. That’s right, buy three cars, get one! You buy a $20,000 car? You pay $60,000. Seriously. And gas prices? Yesterday, I saw about 11,86dkk = $2.13. But you’re saying, that’s SO cheap. That is per liter, which is about a quarter of a gallon. So really, $8.52 per gallon. Yeah. And taxes are high on normal things too, but always are included in the price, so you don’t have to calculate it. Which is nice. Yesterday, I bought two postcards for 20dkk = $3.59. And, obviously, 5dkk = $0.90 of that was taxes. Whereas in Massachusetts if I bought two postcards for $3.59 (which would be pretty pricey for two postcards) at the register, they would add $0.22. Just a little food for thought.

Wow. I ended up writing a lot. I hope you’re not bored out of your mind. I thought it was fascinating. 🙂

OOOH– and I found a girl who may be interested in visiting Rome and Spain(?) with me at the end of September, so that’s something to look forward to. ALSO, I’m doing this thing called the Czech Trek which is a bunch of awesome adventchas in The Czech Republic with DIS folks. And it turns out three lovely people that I’ve met are also going and now we’re thinking of exploring the area post-trek. A few tidbits to get me through the first week yay!