Good Last Day

Today was a really good, relaxing, shopping-with-dad day. We went to several shops so that Dad could buy to his heart’s content Danish gifts and souvenirs. It’s been good, but depressing as I start to say goodbye to many of the things and places I’ve been.

Now, onto what I really just want to say. I need to be back home, like now. My roommate has been getting terrible service with trying to set things up and paper work is just disappearing, causing havoc for her on top of working and unpacking. I’d like to get things cleared away with the mess that is that apartment, and I can only do that once I have my phone back up and working again. If I could help her out at all right now, I would.

Super frustrating for me, but mentally debilitating for her. I want to help with the apartment now. Ugh. Feel so bad about all the stuff she’s been going through alone.

Anyway, now that I’m going back tomorrow, I’ll just share some of the highlights of my trip during my next few posts ending this blog. I will be blogging tomorrow and have a bit more time to share highlights that are more specific then this.

Major items:

Made new friend(s): Sarah from first session, Mette my lovely SRA, and a couple of girls from my Kollegium.

Seen sites: Been to Roskilde, Møns Klint, Kronborg, and many more castles.
Been to Churches, museums, parks, and places of relaxation.

Countries: Been in Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and Iceland. Adding on from Britain, Spain, and France from last summer.

Learned a lot: talked about architecture, art, vikings, history, urban planning, world views, and much more.

I’ve learned more about myself: growing from classmates, professors, sticky situations, perverts on trains, having fun while drinking, getting lost in a city, taking in beautiful scenery.

What will I do with what I have done here? Will I be able to go back to USA with something? What kind of life will I get to experience? Will I help those that I come in contact with? What am I doing with my photos? How am I going to feel once I’m back?

Wait!

Just because my study abroad is done, doesn’t mean I’m done with this blog. It’s called 10/11 because I have ten weeks of classes, but an added week abroad. Guess what? This is that extra week. I’m still blogging until I get home next weekend!

What does that mean for today? Did I do anything? What am I going to be talking about later then? Well, for starters, of course I’m still doing things. The biggest difference is that I have no classes or school work to worry about. I get to spend a week with my dad and having him around to do the touristy things with. You all get to hear now about tourist attractions, lucky you.

We have already done quite a bit, even though we didn’t start our day until 11:45 am. It was great! We ate sushi, then relaxed for a moment before splitting. I still had to grab my bike from my old (how odd to think this!) Kollegium so that I could return it to the rental shop on Monday. My metro pass expires after today, thus I figured grabbing my bike and going would be in my best interest. It was, it’s just that it rained off and on my entire bike ride back. Stopping every ten minutes or so to let the rain pass by without getting soaked through.

Then, at six, dad and I walked all of the pedestrian walkway in central Copenhagen. I showed him the famous canal, the streets where my classes were, several churches in the area, and even Copenhagen University’s main building. We eventually ate dinner.

Fun fact: Dad officially realized that Denmark is an expensive place to stay via eating. 80$ lunch. 100$ dinner. how crazy. Here I was, trying to make sure I wasn’t spending more than 200$ a week, and we blow the weekly budget in a day. Yikes.

Four trips On the Circle Tour

We started the day by going Horseback riding on Icelandic horses which are bred them to be the exact same way the Vikings who brought them over looked. We spent an hour and a half going in the surrounding lava fields. My horse was a complete butt and kept trying to cut in front of all the other horses in line. One of my classmates was getting really annoyed with my horse getting along the side, but her horse also kept stopping and slowing down because it was so not going to go fast. I still have saddle soreness from it.

In the afternoon, we had an amazing time going on a golden circle tour where we stopped at four big must-see areas of Iceland. We started Thingvellir where the law rock of the democratic parliament of Vikings, the Althing. Several of my classmates discussed their topics of Geography and Law of the land. The sight was gorgeous, but we were unable to go down more of the trails surrounding the area, as we had to get back to the bus to move on to the next stop.

Our second stop, aka dinner stop, was cool because we were able to see the Geysir – The Great Geyser that gave its name to the geological phenomena. I was able to get a short video of one of the eruptions of the ‘smaller’ cousin to the Great Geyser called Strokkur. Strokkur erupts every 5-9 minutes and is surprisingly the only one that now erupts as the original has stopped for quite a while. Fun Fact: it actually ‘spittled’ a bit early this year, the first time in over three years apparently. After watching it erupt four times, we had dinner at the Hotel Geysir Restaurant – delicious food, succulent chicken and mushrooms and a lovely citrus gelatin.

Once dinner finished, we rushed to the bus to get to Gullfoss, the golden waterfall that falls 32 meters in two stages coming from the glacial river Hvita. The view was stunning and had a marvelous trail down to the cliff hanging close to the water. The mist was refreshing, yet made the rock slippery. It cast a full rainbow across the waterfall as the sun lowered slowly. I can’t really describe the way it truly was because pictures cannot so there is no way I ever could.

Finally, at around 10 we arrived at the final stop, Skaholt, the center of learning for over 700 years. It’s a cathedral which started the Vikings change of religion in Iceland. An 18th century earthquake wiped out the original cathedral. It was rebuilt using funds and materials donated by the Scandinavian countries.

We did not get back to the hotel until 11:30 and I still had to put some final changes on my presentation, but otherwise, it was a completely exhausting, gorgeous day.

AN: Post wifi didn’t want me to post earlier

Nail day

Today I had my first and only exam in class. I spent two minutes tops on the multiple choice section, 15 minutes on the short answer section, and 20 on the essay. It wasn’t bad at all actually. I may get some points off for not being detailed enough, but she did specify being as short to the point, so I think I’ll be fine.

When I got back from the break, I found that our schedule for our presentations was posted. I go on Tuesday, no powerpoint, no physical guide, just me and my knowledge. I have tonight, tomorrow night, and Thursday night to do this. Otherwise, I am getting no sleep for a few days. Topic of Runes without Runes? Will be so much fun.

So when I got back to my room, I found that I didn’t have to do much until the morning at 9 am, so I decided to go to the kitchen. I made too many fries and cheese dip and then shared with those who came into the kitchen. Apparently, Cheesy fries are not a thing in Denmark. The Danes gave me a few weird looks.

Mette came down and was trying to practice putting nail polish on others in order for her to do her sister’s nails. She said that I have well shaped nails, and that ‘wine’ is a good color on me. She wants to try with a few other colors later in the week, which means I could get pastels. Looking forward to that, actually.

When all was said and done, we went on a bike ride and I cannot actually describe the amazing view of the wonders of the world of nature. I wanted to paint the sky or write stories, or poetry, or some schmooze-y something about it. I also wanted others to share the moment with me. If someone could look into my mind and see the molten sunset drifting down through a soft spattering of clouds, or the luscious vegetation swaying in the evening breeze, or the blue sheen of the sky reflecting off the streams running through the flat lands, I think I would be happy. I couldn’t take a picture that could do it justice, even if I had the sharpest camera. Truly breath taking.

Tomorrow, when I get back from the Viking Ship museum, I think I’ll go back out again and spend the day with the cows on the pastures.

Vesterbro

The meat packing district of Copenhagen is well known for its entertainment status. With the red light district being such a large part of its history, gentrification has been prevalent in its changes. Much of the area has been reclaimed to either be reestablished as a way to reconnect with the people living in the area or to bring in a different demographic to a renewed space. The green space in this neighborhood was gorgeous and taking quick sketches of the area proved to be fun even though it was an assignment.

I spent the time looking around to see that I will definitely be going back to take a closer look at the shops and various eateries. However, I made sure not to eat anything for the all you can eat sushi place! Loved it so much! It was very expensive, but worth it for a one time thing. Great time and day to be alive to have such great quality sushi. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up going to the beach today because it rained! That’s okay though because I’m going to a beach this weekend with some friends. I’m sure it will be gorgeous weather for that.

Some friends were going out tonight to the Bastard’s cafe (see my post about my first time going!) where I was going to join. I realized that after my day, I couldn’t go out. Not only did I spend the last three days drinking before bed, but I couldn’t stomach the thought of going out without talking to my family about my dog.

I know you guys are probably tired of hearing about this, but Chewy, my family’s 12 year-old black-lab, has had a rather aggressive mouth cancer. He’s been suffering from a leaky mouth, intense jaw pain, unable to chewy due to this, being hand fed by my mother the last couple of weeks, his body is super shaky when he moves, and overall he can only really sleep most of the time now anyway. I’m told the house smells of disease and the couch, where Chewy lays, is disgusting.

Today, he’s going to be free from these pains for the last time. At 5:30 Central time, less than an hour, he will be eternally dreaming about chasing rabbits and being with my family. I’m so blessed to have had him in my life and it is so hard to adjust to the fact he will not be there to greet me when I get back. He’s lived a long and happy life, and I wish for him the best as he leaves this world for the next. I love you Chewy and will miss you greatly.

…okay.

On another note, I’ve had a few people ask me about Brexit and how it is in Europe compared to the States. My number one comment to make is that everyone I’ve heard mention anything about it has talked about what all of the UK will be doing. Will North Ireland and Scotland leave completely? Will there be another vote over splitting like in 2014? How does Britain expect to deal with the loss of regulatory rights and international relations/travel through the rest of Europe? The only thing people have actually agreed on is that this will end very poorly for the Brits.

If you have read through all of this, thanks for putting up with me!

Absolute Amazement

What can I even say to describe the day I just experienced? How can I even begin to say how grateful I am to my family? Where do I even start… hmm. Well, I woke up this morning and grabbed a shower, quickly getting my backpack packed, so I could meet my family for the first time at 9:30. I waited outside no more than a minute when this sturdy little car pulled up outside my building. Three people stepped out of the car, Jørgen, his wife Maria, and their son, Wictor (for those who do not know, w’s and v’s are strongly entwined in northern European languages).

I was immediately welcomed by hugs and handshakes, big smiles and comfortable company. Our blood relation is far, several cousins twice removed or something like all that jazz, but I have never been so comfortable with a family other than my own for a long, long time. They are all very sweet, and I cannot tell you how much I have eaten today because they are so concerned about me being fed.

Anyway, we headed towards Louisiana straight from my living area, taking a short detour to Jørgen’s work. I learned a lot about recycling, helping the future, and following your passions from him as he showed me his recycle drop off, explaining processes on the way. It was cool to hear about the way things worked with his passion. All the things we have dug up can all be reused and refurbished into so much more than the one time use that everyone seems to think works. It amazed me that he has found a way to recycle almost everything in our day to day life.

Once the tour was complete, we finished the extra meters to get to Louisiana. I was in complete awe about most of the art work there. If I could figure out a way to show multiple pictures on here at once, I would be flooding this blog with all the pictures I took. Luckily, you get one of the bests for my featured Image. Sarah, my friend from session one, told me to get a picture of Kusama’s work, and it did not disappoint in being everything she said it would be. I would love to have the time and ability to share with you more about my visit, but there is just so much more I want to talk about.

We finished Louisiana around 1300 or so and headed to this restaurant next to the sea. I tried 3 herrings, plus the follow up dish of shrimp, pork, cheese, and more – a very traditional meal in Denmark – and kicked it back with a 40 or so percent alcohol shot of some amazing drink. I am very happy I tried this dish, but I will probably not have it again for a long time. Capers are really delicious with red onions, by the way. We sat around for a bit more and I had a coffee with them. One of the blessings of family is that I didn’t have to pay a kroner for my meal (beyond grateful for this awesome family!).

The next thing we did was travel to Tegner’s Museum full of busts and statues in certain stages of the busting process. I saw a lot of large and monstrous statues, plus I got to listen to a lovely Danish acapella choir. Jørgen told me more about the process of busting as we left the performance to transverse through the outdoor part of the place, seeing the final versions of some of the statues. We completely finished at around 1800 and decided that we should go to Sweden. You know, just casually go to another country via a ferry the size of a small cruise ship. And stop for ice cream where Carry Grant once ate at before boarding said ferry.

It was a really cool trip to make as Sweden is just so close to Denmark in Helsinger. We got to see one of Sweden’s oldest castles just along the boarder. Let me tell you, there were so many stairs that I thought I would die. I mean, not really, but it was a really steep climb up at least. We came back after spending time in the park around the castle and decided to grab dinner around the area at a chinese restaurant. The food was great, but I had eaten so much food and drank so much water and other liquids that I was full really early on in the meal. The soup was delicious and their muscles were pretty good, too.

At the end of it all, we came to their house and I met two gorgeous dogs, a golden retriever and a black lab. They are super jumpy but very sweet. We hung out for a little before I confessed to being extremely tired, which I honestly am and have no idea how I have stayed awake so long to write this. All three of them were very kind and told me that I am more than welcome to just treat the place as if it were my own. If I was hungry or thirsty or needed anything, I simply could just take it from the kitchen, or ask them for anything. I couldn’t be more amazed by the princess like treatment I am receiving from them. I really, truly appreciate all that they have done so far and look forward to tomorrow.

Thank you all for reading if you got through all of this! (Tak family!!)

Let’s talk about this weather

EDIT: I’m warning, I went off on a couple of personal tangents here, so please take it in stride. Or skip it. Or don’t read this.

OKAY. So, I woke up today at, like, 8 for my class at 9:30 and saw that there was supposed to be light showers. I got all my backpack covered in a rain coat and I put on my jacket because I figured, a little rain wont hurt me, but it might soak my stuff. I ended up leaving my place at 8:40 (with the whole, commuter speed to class being 26 minutes and my speed being much slower, in mind), my stuff secured to my bike’s back basket. The first ten minutes, the weather was fine, a little drizzle like what was predicted. AT ISLANDS BRYGGE – TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR.

I rode blind, soaked through everything quite literally, and was just thankful my raincoat covered my backpack. I have never been so tired from one bike ride in my entire life. I honestly wished I had brought a spare pair of everything and some ice for my aching bones. It was chaos.

Low and behold, it didn’t do more than a sprinkle at the beginning of our bike tour. All the guys and gals that rode in were frustrated because we had to start the entire thing soaked. The good news is that most of it was dry by the time I got back to my place at FOUR IN THE AFTERNOON. So yeah.

Anyways (Tifa – If I could pop, I so would right now), My class rode through the “newer” part of Copenhagen in Nørrebro, across the canal, seeing sights and discussing urban spaces. I found out two things about myself – one, I find listening to people analyze the area fascinating, and two, when asked to do the same thing, I absolutely have no idea what I am doing and end up getting a conclusion that is in no way close to an actual correct assumption. Considering that is the basics of this class, I can tell I’m going to have a rather interesting time making it through.

I also found out that my professor performs in a drag troupe (Tifa – this is something I wanted to let you specifically know) every two months or so. Fun guy to learn from, interesting hobbies to hear about, always a funny story. I have found that learning about the subcultures here is very enlightening into how much the world is trying to standardize society and just how detrimental that is to humans as a whole. There is not one single person who is exactly like another and trying to make everyone fit a single standard forces so much of ourselves to be lost. Think of it like Photoshop. We take one person and “fix” them to match a literally impossible set of standards that only technology can warp, yet people are still expected to look like.

We got one break to eat lunch at around 1 and it was interesting eating legitimate (as can be in the area) ramen with all the toppings and broth to go with. It is also rather expensive. 110 kr for a single bowl? Yikes… I find that I have had a harder time trying to fit in with this new set of people than I originally thought I would. I was kind of like a lost puppy just following a group because I wanted to go eat the ramen, but I didn’t really want to find it. I was lucky to overhear that one group was going, so I tagged along in the back for a bit. I was hoping I could go unnoticed, but one of the boys spotted me when we were crossing the street. I find that I have a strong wish to be like others and be comfortable talking to people, but I have realized that I feel too forced to interact with them. I would like to be myself, there just isn’t enough time to do this though. Anyone of my friends knows that I don’t really get along with, aka get close and comfortable with, new people in short amounts of time. It takes a while for people to get used to me and I to them.

Sorry, I digress. Um, my class ended up seeing a local artist’s studio at 2 and it was rather strange seeing such an unusual space. There were plants and paint and mechanical hardware everywhere, plus a piano. I zeroed in on the piano and spent the entire hour or so itching to play something. However, I drew myself away, giving it a pitiful look as we left the studio. I should try to find a piano I will actually be allowed to play…

The bike ride back to my place was even worse than coming to class simply because I was so tired from biking for almost five hours. While the roads are mostly flat, there are some rather long inclines with just enough of an angle that I could feel the burn. When I got back to my place, I crashed for a nap and was very lucky to wake up just in time for a floor meeting about kitchen cleaning. We actually didn’t do much about making an actual schedule to clean, but we at least started on a major overhaul. Now, hopefully, the place wont be as cluttered and people will, for once, clean after themselves.

Okay, now that I have finished ranting and bemoaning, I realize that I still have 25 pages to read for tomorrow and I really just want to go to sleep. Hopefully I can get this done. Have a great night everyone (whoever you are… I don’t really know if anyone actually reads these but for like 5 people I don’t even know… Hello anyone I actually know! and thank you for those who I don’t!)