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

IMG_5234Paris, France

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.

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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.

What Does Cactus Even Taste Like?

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

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

For example:

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

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From those slutty brownies I said I’d make

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

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

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

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

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

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We are all water.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cute, right???

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exercise or a Nap was in Order

Good lord it has been a long week. And lord, if you exist and are reading this, keep ’em coming. It was really fun. (laughing at myself for writing that. As if God would read my blog?)

So, with that start, I think it would make the most sense to sum it up day by day because even though I posted Wednesday, it didn’t really encompass the epic-ness that was this week.

Monday: Normal day of classes. I had Women, Art, and Identity; Designing Communications Campaigns, and Strategic Comm. On the train on the way home, I ran into this guy who I had talked to on the train late late on Friday night, so I chatted with him for a bit. It was mostly awkward…

Tuesday: I got up and got on the 8:39 train as usual to get to my 10:05 Danish class. A very important class. I switched trains in Hillerød, when I change from the Lokalbanen to the S-tog. (Sounds so official, right?) Basically, when I change from the local train to the commuter rail, in America-speak. There are 12 stops between Hillerød and Nørreport, when I get off, not including those two stops. It’s kind of long. But between the 2nd stop and the third stop (Allerød and Birkerød) the train stopped. There were some announcements, but all in Danish. The only announcement they ever make in English is “The train will begin as soon as possible.” We waited in the train for about 25 minutes, and I texted my friend telling her I would probably be late for class. They finally let us off the train, but rumor had spread that a tree had fallen on a nearby electrical line, and we would need to be bussed to the next station, Holte, from which we would resume as usual to Copenhagen, and actually the train continues southwest past my stop 18 stops. So it was kind of important. I met up with about 10 DIS people waiting for the bus, all of us complaining loudly in English (the American way) about missing class, and we ended up waiting for the bus (with hundreds of other people, as the trains emptied at that stop) for over an hour. When we finally got to Holte, it was clear we were ALL going to miss class. I did have a nice long chat with a very nice Danish grad student getting ready to study abroad in Manchester, England, and a nice short chat with two Mormon missionaries who were very excited to meet other Americans in the land of gnomes and trolls (actually, that’s Norway. I hope some of you get that joke). I missed class, running up the stairs to find another class going on in the same room. Oof.

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I ride the purple line (just line home <3) coming from farther north than the northern-most train stop to Norreport (one of the stops that has a full rainbow)

But then I had lunch with my friend Emily at the Botanical Garden, and it was so pretty and nice and we are both going on this trip called the Czech Trek and we talked about post trip-travel. YAY Central Europe, maybe.

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These were at the botanical garden and so pretty. Called Amaranthus Caudatus (Mom? Any layman name for that?) [edit: as Kate pointed out, one of the names for this is “love lies bleeding” a super dramatic layman name, but I like it a lot]

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Beautiful sky and botanical garden greenhouses

Wednesday: We normally have field trips on Wednesdays, but I didn’t. So I tried to hang out with people, but it didn’t work. I hung out at my house in the morning, and had a quiet lunch with Jytte. But then I got a little cabin-fever and decided to seek out a larger cabin. Namely, a castle in Hillerød called Frederiksborg Slot. AND OMG BEST CHOICE EVER. First castle of my life, and it was beautiful. Downton Abbey, Harry Potter, The Buccaneers, and other castle-centric movies and shows prepared me a little, but it was totally different to walk around by myself, often alone in small, dark rooms filled with old art and furniture. But it was amazing, so I’ll put some pics here. Wow.

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Exterior of the castle. Woah, right?

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I hope some of you enjoy this: Possibly the strangest statue I have ever seen. Boobs.

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Stained glass in the palace church

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French tourists in the Great Hall. That’s actually the name.

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When this is your ceiling, who needs floors?

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Exemplary hallway.

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Other side of the castle, as seen from the garden. Yup. I went there. Soo pretty.

Thursday: My first class met at the Statens Museum of Kunst (that means art) with my art class. A beautiful, huge, free museum. I realize this post is getting mighty long and I’m not close to done. There was a ton of variety of the permanent collection, so I feel like I could go back at least two more times and still see new stuff, from early art to contemporary.

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The part where the old wing meets the new.

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Contemporary kunst.

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Even the cat glares at you. Love this.

Classes, classes. Then I met some people at this coffee shop/bar/hangout called Studenterhuset (student house) to talk about going to ITALY and SPAIN over our first travel break. It was very exciting, and I re-met someone I already knew who was down for Rome and Barcelona so we made plans to meet the next day to buy plane tickets. So real.

Friday: I made it to Danish! Hooray! But first, it was my host sister’s 17th birthday, so in Danish tradition, we all had to wake up before her, and barge into her room and start singing (first the English birthday song then a Danish version) then went downstairs where there was bread and chocolate and pastries and coffee and juice and presents! She got money for the computer she wants and some tights. Very practical.

Then I had Danish, then I met with Bonnie to buy tickets. We got some crazy cheap flights and it was great. I was very stressed out and we went to buy candy to de-stress, but she ended up with a donut, and I ended up with a chocolate iPhone (yes, that’s a thing) for Linea’s birthday. Then I had Strategic Comm, and we talked about what we’re doing on our short study tour (Monday-Wednesday next week). We’re spending 2 nights in Odense, the birthplace of Hans Christian Anderson, and a day in Århus. Still very curious about how that will work out. Then I bought a pleather jacket at the Red Cross thrift store dangerously close to the school. It was pretty cheap and made me feel Danish. I went home and made brownies for Linea’s birthday, and Ole made frikadeller, which are meatballs. Both were a success, and I ate a tiny bit of meatball. Which reminded me that I’m not vegetarian because I don’t like meat, but I’m going to continue to be vegetarian.

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Mm, brownies.

Saturday: Me and my friend Gabrielle from AU went into Copenhagen to explore and because of the unpredictable weather, we ended up back at the Botanical Gardens and SMK (that means art) then went walking down Strøget, the Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping street. We found a flea market in an alley (less sketchy than you would imagine), pizza, Lego Corporate offices, a store that sells American candy (and pancake mix, canned pumpkin, and peanut butter) and gelato. A great day… but not over yet.

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In the window at Lego, a lego mural of the Nyhavn area. Yes, that’s legos. And the reflection of a car…

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Strawberry chocolate sorbet and mint chocolate gelato. Noms.

When I got home, Jytte had made a ton of cake for a party tomorrow, and we ate some–banana, and a kind from her small town where she grew up. Kind of chocolate/coffee/plain cake. I don’t know how to describe it. What with all the dessert, I felt like exercise or a nap was in order. I hopped on my bike and ended up going on a 7 mile ride, and I rode past the beautiful lake near my house, a field of horses, a golf course, and I stopped to pick wild cherries. How Danish am I? (You are correct if you answered “maybe trying too hard”) Then I came home, had dinner, and now this post.

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Cherries swaddled in my new jacket in my bike basket.

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By the cherry tree, horses graze idyllically in the sun.

And what a week it was. Also, bless those who got through this long, vaguely religious themed post. May it not have been in vain.