Week One Summary

Yes I am actually in Copenhagen! 
As you can see below, I finally took some pictures and successfully posted them to this blog. YAY! Today DIS took us to Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød, a town north of Copenhagen. The castle is now a museum but used to be the palace and home of the Danish Royalty. Figures. But it had a moat! OK the palace itself is actually built on three islands but the water functions like a moat. Exciting. The rooms were so elaborate and ornate and teeming with Danish history. In the chapel some Danish kids were singing gospel songs in English with a hilarious accent. I wanted to join. Overall, it was a lovely trip despite the foggy and extremely chilly weather that unfortunately permeated the entire castle. But yay pictures!

This week has been very long and very jammed packed with activities. I was glad to just relax today and Saturday. On Wednesday between Survival Danish and program orientation, Tom and I found this fantastic cafe called Robert’s cafe by DIS that had the most delicious latte I’ve ever had. And I’ve had a lot of lattes in my lifetime. Here’s a picture!

Tom and I realized that while we may have 5 or 6 classes, the work is relatively easy. It’s about one quarter of the reading I would usually have at Bowdoin. However, I do have several projects and papers due but also a couple of field trips to museums and such that even include dinner at our professor’s houses! Class started Thursday and all my classes seem really interesting and I get to travel to really amazing places, especially Prague March 23rd!

Here’s a list of my classes:

1. Memory & Identity-Prague (Thrs 8:30-9:50)
2. Gender Body and Sexuality in Scandinavia (Mon,Thrs 10:05-11:25)
3. Muslims in the West (Tue,Fri 10:05-11:25)
4. Contemporary European Film (Tue,Fri 11:40-1)
5. Nordic Mythology (Tue,Fri 1:15-2:35)
6. Lost In Translation (Thrs 11:40-2:35)

In general, I have class from 10-2:30 every day and have Wednesdays off for my short trips with my classes. I have film showings Monday nights and International Club every once in a while for some good food and movies. I might get involved with a community choir that rehearses once a week, which would be so fun and I could meet some Danes. My Lost in Translation class is also part of the University of Copenhagen (KU) and our Danish classmates throw some gatherings and invite us to KU events at the Studenterhuset such as International Night every Wednesday and Super Bowl Night next Sunday. Go Tampa!

For now I’m getting my minuscule amount of work done and hanging out with my host family. It’s great to be able to chill with them instead of being a typical American student in Europe like the other DIS kids and going out to bars every single night of the week and disrupting class and talking about how drunk they were and where they can go to get the most alcohol for their buck on a Sunday night. SO OVER IT. I can understand why foreigners hate Americans. We are obnoxious. I did go out to Luux club Friday night for the DIS welcome party and had a deliciously free Karlsberg beer but went home early. So far I am not impressed with the nightlife. It’s not my thing. I can see myself going to a bar maybe once a week and having a beer and then going home. It’s cheap and fun. I’m not lame, just sensible haha.

aaaaaanddddd ALEXI IS VISITING COPENHAGEN IN 6 WEEKS!!!! I am so incredibly excited! Thank you Alex, I am so grateful to you. Tak! I did not expect this to happen at all. What an amazing turn of events. Speechless… and happy :).

Hej hej!

It takes getting lost to find your way

This week just keeps getting more and more interesting.

From getting lost en route to the train station, searching for authentic Danish smørrebrød, arriving to survival Danish an hour late after alarm failure, riding a bike home with about 50 pounds of books, failing to lock my awesome yellow bike, watching Obama’s inauguration with a multitude of Americans in a foreign country, to eating unidentifiable meat and paste… I’ve had a blast.

At first I didn’t believe the people at orientation who went on and on about the great stories from being lost and somehow finding their way. I was sure a freak-out would ensue on my part. However, yesterday night after leaving Megan’s sweet apartment about 2 minutes from DIS and confident in the direction I was headed, I found myself dreadfully lost. Unable to read the map and street signs of names that are ridiculously long and very similar to each other, I was confused. Instead of crying, calling Megan, freaking out, and hiding in a corner, I sauntered through the shopping district as the light slowly drained from the day, bustling like the Danes with confidence and ease through the streets. It was not terrifying at all.

I asked two very nice Danes how to find the Nørreport station, got vague directions, searched the map fruitlessly, and had a nice evening walk through the medieval quarter of Copenhagen. No fancy, thrilling story. But it made me realize how comfortable I feel here and how much I’ve matured in a way. I am so thrilled to be here, it is new and exciting, and friendly. And I can’t wait to explore and see what this city has to offer. And if I get lost again, so be it. I can handle it. After about an hour and finally heading down a street as instructed by a nice old man, I came upon the station and boarded the train that whisked me out of Copenhagen and into Herlev.

Today we had a scavenger hunt through the city and at the Black Diamond, Royal Palace, mall, Parliament, and other landmarks while finding many courtyards and interesting sites along the way. It was sunny, bright, and the first time we’d seen the sun since our arrival. The lighting was incredible, the walk long and satisfying. What a perfect day (besides my morning fiasco of missing half of survival to Danish, oops!). I took incredible pictures that definitely merited a blog posting. HOWEVER… I forget the cord to connected my Kodak camera to my computer at home. GAH! So distressing. At least I have the cord for my big Nikon. It takes better pictures but is a bit heavy. Oh well. I will take it along with me anyways. Who knows when the sun will be out again though… it’s supposed to be wintry mix tomorrow. Just like Maine! I miss you Maine. Sending you all my love.


Arrived! Happy and Exhausted.

I’m here! Currently sitting in my room at the Jeppesen’s house, thinking that this has been the longest day of my life. But so far so good. I already met some cool DIS people on the plane to Copenhagen and the hellish registration/check-in that lasted from 7am to noon. It was great to share our fears and concerns with each other, to realize that they are exactly the same. I have no doubt that I will make countless friends when I’m here, and be able to get out of my cozy home-stay lifestyle. Speaking of which, my host family is amazing. They are so nice and understanding, I feel at home here. It’s almost as though I’m not even in Europe right now.

I would love to go on and on about my first moments here in Denmark but honestly I’m too exhausted to think coherently enough to do so. Right now I need to get my butt out of my room and help the family cook. I think Nadja’s boyfriend is here. I don’t know if I can handle meeting more new people. Can I just sleep forever??

Hot and Cold

St. Pete, Florida: 57 degrees and sunny
Brunswick, Maine: 11 degrees, feels like -3, partly cloudy
Copenhagen: 36 degrees, feels like 26, mostly cloudy

Ok so a cold front has finally penetrated the grossly warm Florida winter. I was hoping for some warm sunshine on my last day to stock up on my supply of sun, Vitamin C, and skin color before heading across the Atlantic and up North. Very north. Oh well. At least Copenhagen is the lesser evil compared to Bowdoin right now. Feels like -3? No thank you. I’d rather not relive those horrid morning walks across the frigid, barren expanse of the Quad on the way to class. Caitlin can attest to how it made us want to die and fail out of Physics for the need to stay well-rested and warm freshman year. “Feels like 26″ is manageable. However, this could be slightly problematic when the Danes use Celsius instead of Fahrenheit and I can’t figure what the temperature is anyways. Ignorance is bliss. No personal weather-man and clothing adviser, aka Tana, this semester. Let’s hope I survive.

FINALLY, I leave tomorrow afternoon and arrive in Copenhagen at 7:30AM on Sunday. Immediately DIS takes me to an early run down on housing with host families and then the Jeppesen’s pick me up and take me to their home! For the rest of the week we have orientation, social gatherings, organized tours and whatnot. I cannot wait!

It seems like mostly everyone has arrived safely to their abroad locations and are already having a blast. I am eager to join the ranks. Kiddies returning to Bowdoin, I am jealous. Seriously. Please, stay warm all. “Cold hands, warm heart” :). I miss everyone already!

The Quad looks really inviting right now.

So deceptive but inviting all the same…

3 more days: Fashion crisis

Jeez, this week has been dragging by so slowly. I don’t know what to do with myself. So I haven’t been doing anything of course. Today is my preliminary packing day. Supposidely. However, I slept in till noon and have only managed to eat cereal, make a cup of coffee, bask in the wonderful sun with my dog, and organize some movies that I never watch. It is so easy to keep busy without actually doing anything productive. I have mastered unnecessary organization down to an art. Hopefully it will make packing easier, whenever I start.

Packing is one of those stressful tasks that always changes and has the knack of either keeping you awake at night as you construct outfits for each day of your trip, or making you feel like an idiot once you arrive at your destination and realize you forgot underwear. It’s also a question of style. Europeans are are very stylish. Put that together with the fact that the Danes are known as especially beautiful people, and we have a fashion crisis on our hands. How do you compete with beautiful, stylish, blond people? Obviously I can’t wear my Bowdoin sweats and stained Uggs to class. It’s a European city, not a small college campus in Maine (unfortunately). This means packing less sweats and more chic clothes that have never been worn before and must now get out there and face the world. Also, buying clothes in Copenhagen is a must. You understand the dilemma here. And my decision to blog about this problem instead of actually packing.

Mmmkay. Time to shove my life for the next 4 months into 2 (or maybe 3) suitcases. If only I could fit a scruffy Greek in there as well… sigh. Then my life would be complete.

Wish me luck!