Not only am I in Sweden right now for my second to last traveling experience during my travel abroad semester, but I have been thinking more and more about what I am going to do with the rest of my life. I realize these are two very different things, but they are both roaming my thoughts, so I thought I would address both in this blog. Also, I realize that the title of this blog is very…well, let’s say it can lead you in the wrong direction. My apologies.

Let’s start by saying some random facts about Sweden:

  • The Swedish maternity and paternity leave is one of the longest and most generous in the world, allowing the the father and mother to take a shared total of 480 days (16 months) off at 77.6% of their salary.
  • Swedish people have the second lowest income inequality in Europe (after Denmark), with a Gini index of 25 in 2000.
  • Sweden has given the world some of the greatest pop bands and singers, including Abba, The Cardigans, Roxette, Ace of Base, Carola Häggkvist, Army of Lovers, Robyn, A*Teens, Europe and Alcazar.
  • The world-famous discount furniture chain IKEA was founded in Sweden in 1943.
  • Karen told me that in 1967  Sweden passed a law that made it so people would have to drive on the right side of the road instead of the left. So one day at midnight the cars on the road drove to the opposite side of the street and continued on their way. Here is a picture:

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I thought that was really cool. I’m not really sure why the law was past, but Karen told me that even though they drive on the right side, there is still a “left side” mentality. They will walk on the left side instead of the right, for example.
Also, Karen told me that pennants  are really popular in Sweden…as in these kind –

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So when we were at the grocery store this morning we saw some fun spring one’s and she got them for me! It was super sweet of her and I am really excited about hanging them up!!

What I have seen so far of Stockholm is extremely beautiful. There is this unique balance between urban and nature, but when you see it, it just makes sense. I don’t know how else to describe it.  Even thought it is muddy season to the max right now, it is still lovely here and I can’t wait to see more! (Don’t worry, I’ll put pictures up when I get back to my host-home.)

Now to some more serious stuff: The rest of my life.

Holy cow.

This is my face right now:

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What the heck am I going to do with my life? After this semester I am going to have the summer of a life time. I have no doubts about that. Three of my favorite people in the whole world are going to be living with me and spending the summer making great memories with me. I smile just thinking about it. Once summer is over and the new school year starts, I will be a senior in college. Let me state that again. I will be a senior in college. What the heck?! When in the world did this happen?? This summer I have to figure out what I am going to do after college because even though I know what career path I want to head in, I have no idea how I want to get there. Do I go to graduate school? Do I take a year off from school and just work somewhere? Live in some new place? Do I head into a teachers program? My head spins when I think about it too hard. My friends are there to support me, as well as my family, but the idea of having to make that decision is really starting to hit me. I’m not a little kid anymore. For goodness sakes, I am in Europe right now. I’m 21 and soon I will hopefully have my own apartment somewhere, taking care of my own bills, buying food, scheduling spring cleaning, and a bunch of other things that I don’t really do all that often right now. I’ll have to buy dishes. I think it will really hit me the day I get dishes.

I don’t know why I have been thinking about this a lot lately, but I have. I want to get to a place in my life where I can be happy. I know that for sure. Two of my best friend here at DIS (Jen and Jackie) and I had a great conversation together before we all left for our travels. We talked about what we were taking back to the states with us. We talked about how DIS had changed us for the better. Something we talked about was how we really just want to be in a place in our lives were we are truly and deeply happy. It isn’t about what we have, where we are, or anything like that. It is about being happy with ourselves, our place in life, and mentally/emotionally/physically happy. I may not make a lot of money or live in the greatest apartment in the world. I can actually tell you now that I will probably be super poor for the first few years that I am on my own and you know what? I’m looking forward to it. Being here in Europe has taught me to relax. Go with the flow. Look at things with more positive eyes.  I’d like to think I have gained more confidence, but I will learn that when I am back in the states. I can already tell that I am more relaxed though and it just feels fantastic.

Here are things I know right now:

  1. I want to bring the idea of Hygge back to the states with me. For those who don’t know what that is, it is a Danish word/concept that doesn’t really have a literal translation, but it kind of means being cozy, comfortable, and just being. It involves mood lighting and candles. Lots and lots of candles.
  2. Those dishes I was talking about? I really hope they are square. Square dishes are the bomb diggity.
  3. Maybe I’ll have a pet of my own wherever I am?
  4. I want to have an apartment with some character.
  5. I only have one cooking pot to my name when it comes to kitchen supplies.
  6. I’ll probably have to get a car at some point because America sucks at the whole bike culture thing.
  7. I want to do a huge detox after college and get rid of a bunch of my junk.
  8. I’m really going to miss the friends, both Danish and American, that I have made while I have been in Europe.
  9. I don’t know that I will ever have an experience like this again in my life.
  10. I’m open to possibilities.

I don’t know where I’m going. That is the bottom line. And while the idea is a little stressful, it is also a little invigorating.  I’m sure it will become more stressful this summer, but at the moment I’m just living with this weird feeling of inbetweenness. I know that I am physically and technically an adult, but it hasn’t hit me completely yet. I’m betting it will when I graduate. Until that time, I am going to live. I am going to take opportunities and experiment with ideas. I’m going to become more comfortable in my new skin and learn more about myself. I’m going to make mistakes and I’m going to laugh at myself. Most of all, I’m going to take it all one step at a time. Today is today and tomorrow is another day.

Until then.

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I want to take the time to apologize for those who read my blog (yes, family, I mean you mostly) for not writing so often lately. I haven’t had the chance to really sit down and write a blog. It’s becoming crunch time. Time is running out for me here in Denmark. I only have 6 more weeks in Europe and 5 of those weeks are in Denmark. Not only does this mean that I have to squeeze time in for all the things I still haven’t done in Copenhagen, but it also means that my teachers are shoving as much as they can in the next 5 weeks. Papers. Presentations. Finals. Ughhhhhh.

Despite all the stress that I’m sure I will be swimming in, I am still having a good time and making sure to stay positive. It’s a must. This past weekend was one of the best weekends I have had since I have been in Copenhagen. Hands down. Let me guide you through my weekend:

Friday.

My roommate Christina left for Amsterdam at 2 in the morning on Friday. She is a crazy lady! But she came back Sunday and told me she had a great time, which is good to hear. However, this was my friends 21st birthday! It was very last minute but we made plans to go out with a fabulous group of people. Let me name them and tell you how we know them. You will be happy to know that half of them are Danes! Okay so, it was me, the birthday girl Liz and her boyfriend, Christopher Tito (who always makes me laugh), Katelyn (who is a crazy dancer!) Jackie (love youuuuu!) Jennifer (one of my favorite people here!! She is in my core course), Jen’s host brother Anas (sp?) and his best friend Christoffer (with whom we have been out with before), Martin and two of his friends (Danes who I had never met before, but Liz and Jenn have known for a while). It was a full house, so to speak, but we had the most fun together! We met at the Studenterhuset, which is the student cafe for the University of Copenhagen. Then we all went to a place called Night Fever. This is a disco that plays 80’s and 90’s music with a few current songs mixed in. It has to be the most amazing place on the face of the planet to dance at!! Here is a picture of some of us with our stamps:

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Needless to say, it had one of those light up dance floors and the group we were hanging out with was the best group to be dancing with. 

–> I just want to take a moment to discuss the difference between a club in the States and a club in Denmark. Two completely different worlds/vibes/cultures. In the States clubs have been reduced to dirty dancing (if you go to your average club) and people who really just need to get a room. It is just not pleasant. You are weird if you don’t go with someone to dance with. It’s just annoying. However, here in Denmark it is absolutely wonderful. Everything about it!! You go with your friends and you all dance and have a great time. There is no need to feel like you have to be on top of each other (unless the place in extremely crowded and then you can’t help it), you can be a crazy/weird/awkward/fantastic/bad dancer and no one cares. Everyone just looks for having a good time. Boys in the US, take a lesson from the Danes. They like dancing here, they have a good time, they don’t awkwardly lean against a wall and watch everyone else have fun, and they don’t feel the need to always grind up on girls. Not only do you have more fun, but you can dance with a boy/girl without being dirty. It is possible. I promise. <–

We left at 4:30 in the morning. Nuts. When I was biking home around 5:15 (cause we had to go get food, obviously) the sky was starting to light up. It was amazing. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. 

To those who were there: Can we please do that again soon?????

Saturday.

This day wasn’t necessarily the biggest highlight, but I went to Liesje’s house and slept over and that was really fun. I met her host mom who is really nice! We had a good night talking about housing for senior year/summer and just your general girl talk. We even watched Grease! I haven’t seen that movie in a long time so it was fun to see again.

Sunday.

This day. This day…was wonderful. All of it. Liesje’s host mom took us on an Island Tour. This consisted of us driving to the 6 southern islands of Denmark (7 if you include Zealand which is the island Copenhagen is on and that we all live on). It was so cool to hear all kinds of history about the islands (Eva – Liesje’s host mom – used to be a history teacher and knows everythinggggggg) and even hear some of what is going on today with the people living on the islands. We made stops at two churches, a great spot next to some water to eat lunch, at a little kiosk to see the bridge we crossed, some castle ruins, and we stopped at one of her relatives house’s for dinner. They were a lovely couple, extremely smart. They loved to talk, that’s for sure! Here are some pictures from the day:

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That last picture is also a castle we saw…had to be the smallest castle I have ever seen haha!

I got home around 11pm and I was feeling really good. My weekend might have been over but I had made new friends, learned a lot, and felt content. Also, I finished a book, which always makes me feel accomplished. 

What can I say? Some habits die hard.

 

My trip to Germany started a little…rough. I got to the airport and made my way to Berlin. I had to change planes once I got to Berlin and I thought I was going to miss my next plane. I got to the gate though and we ended up waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Only to find that the flight was delayed three hours. Okay. So I waited and when I was finally able to get on the plane, it was a bit of a rough flight. I guess what happened was that the plane had originally got to Frankfurt and they found something wrong with it, so they had to get a whole new plane and find a new crew. Either way, I got to Frankfurt in one piece…but my luggage didn’t. I had a terrible feeling that might happen. I can’t explain how ridiculous it all was. I was still waiting by the baggage claim when everyone else was gone and one of the workers came over and helped me fill out all the paper work for lost luggage. She told me my stuff was probably on the next flight from Berlin.

My bags still haven’t showed up. 

I really hope it comes soon because (an for those of you that know me really well, this will mean more to you) my pillow was in my suitcase. I don’t care about anything else in that bag, but if my pillow is lost forever…there will be a problem on Airberlin’s hands. Mark my words. Julia has been great though, letting me borrow some of her clothes so that I’m not wearing the same thing over and over again. We are also going shopping tomorrow, so I can get a thing or two while we are out. 

I’m staying positive! It will come eventually!

Yesterday I had a lot of fun with Julia and her boyfriend Marlon. They took me to an ice hockey game in Mannheim and we had so much fun!

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We enjoyed ourselves and were really tired by the time we got home. We watched Skyfall during dinner, but I fell asleep during the middle of it. I’ll have to try watching it again sometime!

Today we went to a cathedral that is pretty old and it was really cool. I haven’t put the pictures on my computer yet or I would show you all what it looked like. We rented an audio thing that told us information as we went through the cathedral. It was nice to hear some of the history and learn more than what we could just by looking. 

It was also Hans’ birthday today so we went and had coffee and cake. I love this family! They are all so wonderful and nice to be around. It’s great to see how they joke around with each other and laugh together. I love that I am here!

Can’t wait to see what else we will do!

Today, as the wind blows cold snow all over and chills my toes, I am missing my ukulele. I know why I didn’t bring it here with me, but I am wishing I had. There is something so wonderful about being about to pick up the uke and just play. Play and sing and goof around with your friends. I have a good friend I met here (Jen Sellers) and she is also a uke player. We have talked about how much we miss our babes. So, this post is dedicated to my lonely uke back home. I’ll be home soon for a jam session!

We celebrated my birthday yesterday! 

I had 13 girls come to my house in Albertslund and we had so much fun! Luckily everyone found the house. I thought I was going to have to go get some lost ladies! We set up the table and obviously there were Danish flags involved!
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Who doesn’t love the Danish flag??

We had the opportunity to hang out before having dinner, which was cool because there was such a mix of people and a lot of people met at least one person they didn’t know. Always good to meet new people!

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Plus everyone got to me the illustrious Snee!
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She was good little helper.

We all sat around the table and had some delicious pizza homemade by my host father!
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And then I got to open some presents, which was really fun. My friends know me really well:

ImageMy face when I opened my Kindereggs.

After opening my gifts, we had some yummy Lage Kage (layer cake, said laya  kaay):

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After we had dinner and cake and coffee/tea, a few people went home, but some of us also went to a place called the Happy Pig. It is a bar and we originally went for the dancing upstairs, but a band was playing in the back downstairs that we super awesome!! My friend Jennifer (the sneak that she is) asked him during a break to sing happy birthday to me. It was really fun and after the show we got his email so that he could tell us when his band is playing again. So much fun!

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The night was so fun! Thanks for making my birthday great, lady friends!

 

When I think of all the places in the world I have wanted to travel to, Turkey was never on my list. Call me crazy, but I thought of the places everyone goes to: Rome, Paris, or even Dublin. But that’s not where I was heading. I was on a plane to Istanbul. A place I had always thought of as the desert, a place where people ride camels and have giant turbans on their heads. A terrible stereotype that I’m sure many young people have in the US. I knew I was going to have fun with my classmates. I was going to make this trip as much fun as I possibly could. I mean, what could be waiting for me when I touched ground that was actually that exciting?

 

Speechless. That’s what I was. My roommate and I stared fixated tout our hotel window, in absolute awe of our view. Istanbul at night is beautiful. There was life and vitality pumping throughout the streets and the idea that 16 million people lived in this city was amazing. We could see a mosque in every direction we looked, hear car horns blasting from the street six stories below us. Lights were shining, golden, creating a halo-like effect on the horizon line. I had never seen anything as lovely as my view from the Grand Halic Hotel.

 

It was 6:00 in the morning. I woke up to the most interesting sounds. A man singing right outside my window. It was way to early in the morning for this kind of nonsense. Who in the world thinks it’s a good idea to blast their voice to the world? At 6:00. In. The. Morning. Doesn’t this man know that I didn’t get to bed until about one? Doesn’t he know that I have trouble sleeping the first night at any new place? The quiet is vital to make sure my brain is not a ball of mush when I try to function today. 

Then it dawned on me. The call to prayer. Five times a day the call to prayer was supposed to go off all over Istanbul. But couldn’t they make an exception? I thought to myself with a groan as I pulled the plush white covers over my head.

 

After a long day of visiting schools on the Asia side of Istanbul, we decided that we wanted to go to the Turkish bath. It was explained to us by our guide, Koray, that the baths are great. We could choose what kind of service we got, and it was a supposed to be a time where we relaxed. A time when we let go of our stresses and simply drifted away for a while. We were told about the “Turkish mamma’s” who would take good care of us while we were at the baths.

“There will be a slab that you lay on,” Koray said. “It will feel good on the skin and you will simply let the mamma scrub and massage you.” 

I was ready. This was going to be an adventure. It was going to be me, a Turkish mamma, a hot stone to lay on, and a drifting sensation. But that wasn’t was I got, exactly. There were about 25 or 30 of us that decided we wanted to go to the baths. I was in the last group that paid. For the full service, thank you very much. If I was doing this, I was going all out. No halfsies on this one. There were six of us in the last group. A man took us out of the building we were in and brought us around the corner to the woman’s part of the bath. We walked up some mosaic tiled stairs and came to a room that had a desk and little compartment rooms lining the back wall. One of the Turkish mamma’s aggressively guided myself and two other girls into one of the little cubby rooms…where you are supposed to get naked. She gave us wraps and left us to it.

the two girls I was with were great, laughing and making jokes to brush away fsp me of the awkward of the situation. For example, one of the girls, Haley Mae, noticed my bird tattoo on my right shoulder blade and said, “Hey! I have a bird tattoo, too! But if I tried to show it to you right now you would get a load of a whole bunch of lady parts.” Needless to say these girls were pretty awesome considering our first real social interaction involved us stripping down to our birthday suits. 

When we walked out of our little cubby room the mamma pushed the six of us through a door that went into a bathroom area with toilets and sinks running the length of either side of the room. We were then pushed through another door and I immediately gripped my wrap a little tighter to my body. All I saw was a sea of my bare naked classmates. All of them. Stripped naked sitting all around the room facing toward the middle where the hot slaps was located. My first thought was, absolutely not. This was not Happening. Koray did not say we were all going to be in the same huge room together, where four people were being served at the same time! This was where my thoughts were as I walked over to a free spot around the room, when suddenly my wrap was taken away from me! The Turkish mamma took away my wrap without giving me any chance to tell her no way Jose.

There is not a single DIS long study tour that got as close as mine did in Istanbul, Turkey. 

 

Being in an old building is like being in a part of something really special. There is so much history in old buildings such as the Hagia Sophia or the Blue Mosque. There is a feeling that washes over you  you think about how many people before you were walking in the same spot you were, seeing what you were seeing. I thought about that when Koray said that the Hagia Sophia was built 50 generations ago. What a way to put the building in prospective. It is breathtaking, really. 

 

I have been in towers before and the Galata Tower didn’t seems like anything that impressive in comparison to what I had already seen in Istanbul. It was around sunset, the time recommended to us to go up into the tower. We bought our tickets, 13 Lyra each, and then we went up. At the top, we gazed upon the whole of Istanbul. It was gorgeous, watching the sun set over this incredible city. You could see the city pulse with life and you could feel the glowing aura around the city. It was in possible not to sigh at such a gorgeous sight. I thought we had hit the jackpot when my friend suggested we stay up in the tower long enough to hear the call to prayer go off. Brilliant idea! So we waited, and I personally grew impatient as the sun continued to set with no prayer. But then…the call to prayer started at one mosque, reaching high into the brisk night air. I smiled, loving the sound of the man singing the prayer, when another mosque joined in, adding a sort of echo effect. Soon another mosque went off, and another. There was a chorus of voices sing the call to prayer, mixing and melting together.it was captivating, like seeing the world for the first time after not being able to see for 20 years. It was like a magic spell, reaching its hands out toward me and gripping my attention  entirely. Never before had I been able to witness something so extraordinary. And I don’t think I will ever again.

Once the sun comes out in Copenhagen, the population suddenly all leave their homes. I have never seen so many people outside in Copenhagen as I did yesterday! Today is the fourth day in a row that I have seen the sun and I really hope it’s here to stay! It is so great to use sunglasses again and actually feel warmth outside. A few friends and I even had our lunch outside on Wednesday! Here is proof that we had sun:

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We should have no class when days are as beautiful and sunny as that/this! Or at least have class outside. Great day to go for a run or a bike ride, that’s for sure!

Tomorrow is the big day: I leave with my class to go to Istanbul, Turkey! It feels a little bit like a dream instead of real life, but alas! It is completely real! *wistful sigh* We are all going to have so much fun together and learn so much about the culture in this different part of the world. I’m sure some of you might be a little sick of hearing about Istanbul…well, you don’t have to read my blog (but really, I like that you are reading!). 

You might be wondering about the tentacles ..well it’s not a very long story but it is a story nonetheless. Last night my host parents wanted to make something specific for dinner and they wouldn’t tell us what they were making. When my host dad when out to go buy it, he came home saying that the stores didn’t have it anymore (it had been on-sale). So, he rummaged through the kitchen and came up with something else. We had green beans, pasta, and then a fish sauce type thing that went on the pasta. The fish sauce thing had scallops (I think that’s what they were) and then some other weird looking sea food and something with tentacles. Yes. Tentacles. Now, I’m sure you want to know whether I ate the thing with tentacles and I have to sadly say no. I did not. Why? Because I have a strict no tentacles policy, that’s why. That’s where I draw the line. I just couldn’t get my gag reflex past the idea. I wasn’t going to risk actually putting tentacles in my mouth. No way. No Fear Factor for me, thanks. Who just has that chillin’ in their fridge, anyway? 
 

This is a pretty short blog, but when I get back from my travels, I’m sure you will be hearing many fun stories!

Until then…

What a day! It is beautiful and sunny today! I’m pretty sure I was whistling on my bike ride home. This is me, wearing sunglasses, on the balcony outside my room:

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Also this is Molly, chillin’ with me the other day while I was blogging!
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I learned about my week in Turkey and let me be the first to tell you that it will be jam packed! Our tour guide should be quite the character, from what I am told. Very fun! This is a little run down on what my days will be like:

Starting on Sunday March 3rd

  • Be at Airport at 10:30
  • Plane leaves at 12:30
  • Staying at the Grand Halic Hotel
  • Group dinner (there are about 40 of us)

Monday, March 4th

  • Breakfast at Hotel
  • Head to the eastern part of Istanbul via awesome boat.
  • Go to Marmara University to the Department of Early Childhood Education
  • School Visit
  • Head back to western part of Istanbul/ dinner and rest of evening on own

Tuesday, March 5th (Ps. My birthday!!)

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • School visits (choice of two)
  • Cultural afternoon –> Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar, Spice Market
  • Group Dinner
  • Seeing a Dance Performance of traditional Turkish dance

Wednesday, March 6th

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Choice of going to 1 of 5 schools (Lunch with the group you go to school with)
  • Afternoon lecture from the head of UNICEF Turkey division.
  • Evening on own

Thursday, March 7th

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Cultural morning–> Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome
  • Lunch on Bosphorous Boat Cruise (!!!)
  • Group dinner

Friday, March 8th

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Academic wrap-up
  • Plane leaves at 3:10
  • Arrive back in CPH at 5:00pm (17:00)

Holy Mary mother of cows. Can you believe all that stuff??? It is going to be so much fun!! There is such a lovely group of people going on this trip too, so it will be even more fun. Also we are the first CDD (Child Diversity and Development) course to ever go to public schools in Turkey. For us to be able to visit public schools you have to go through the Ministry of National Education in Turkey and it took 2 years for them to get back to our professor. They said no, but thankfully our professor has tons of connections and she got us into a few publish schools! It pays to know the right people, that’s for sure.

Another thing: Have you ever been looking in a store and then, as if the fates have taken an interest in you personally, you spot something that is absolutely screaming your name? Some real stars aligned kind of stuff? That happened to me today. In the sales (udsalg, in Danish) area. Go figure. This is the little item:

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It was 50DKK (Kroner). Now you might be thinking, “Wow, that is a lot of money! Isn’t that a little expensive, Miaja?” Oh no, dear friends. That is cheap! 50DKK is 10 US dollars! Finding something worth 50DKK in a store is a miracle! It is like a sign from the gods telling me that this skirt was meant to be in my possession. I kid you not, it was talking to me. It said: “Miaja! Over here, girl! Look how colorful and fantastic I am. BUY ME, YOU IMPULSIVE BUYING SAPLING ” It was very convincing, I’ll have you know. I decided it will look great in Turkey because it will be in the 50’s when I go next week!

Alright, well I have said all I need to say. See you on the flip side!

I am so excited for Turkey! (The English translation of my title)

AHHH! I can’t believe it!! This time next week I will be in Turkey. It’s unbelievable how quickly time has passed. Very soon it will be March and I will have been here for two months. I have this weird feeling that I have been here so long, but sometimes I also feel like I have been here for only two weeks. I’m not sure how to explain it. But it’s weird.

(Ps. As I am writing this blog I have a puppy biting my chin. This is both cute and painful.)

I have been learning about the education system in Turkey, which is not in the greatest condition right now, and the more I learn the more I am interesting to see what the culture is like firsthand. I have heard so many different opinions, even from people on the street. Literally. We had to go up to people on the street outside of our classroom and ask them about Turkey. Very interesting assignment. People from Turkey are the biggest immigrant population here in Denmark. Think about the feelings toward the Mexican population in America, it is very similar in Denmark toward the Turkish population.

I will be getting a rundown of what my stay in Turkey will be like tomorrow. My professor, Maja (a different spelling of my name. Maja is actually a fairly popular name in Denmark. Said My-Ahh), grew up in Turkey as a child and even went to school there. I’m told by a student who went to Turkey with Maja last semester that she is a mother bear when it comes to her students visiting Turkey. She is uber protective. It will be nice to have someone there who knows the area pretty well and who knows the language.

Here are some things I might see when I am in Istanbul:

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It will be so different than what I am used to and I just can’t wait! (Sorry, Uncle Bruce. I know you don’t like that expression very much for some pretty great philosophical reasons, but it needs to be used here!) Also, I turn 21 in Turkey so that should be interesting.

I’m not exactly sure what I will be doing exactly while I am there, but it doesn’t really matter as long as I am there!

Just thought I would share some excitement with you all!

Enjoy your day/night!

I realized as I was looking through the blogs I have written that I have not done a blog about food! Isn’t that just preposterous? How could I be in a completely different part of the world and not talk about the food? Shame on me. I want to touch on three things when it comes to food.

One: There is something called “The fruit Bowl” in my house. My host father works with a company that delivers fruits and vegetables to markets, restaurants, and other such places. Therefore we usually have a very good selection of fruits and vegetables in the house at all times, i.e. The Fruit Bowl. It is one of the most fantastic parts about living with this host family (besides the fact that they are just amazing and wonderful people). Every time that bowl is full again, my heart warms. It is such a great sight to see when it is filled. I’ll show you what I mean:

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The Mecca of all fruit bowls. Makes me tear up a little bit.

Two: I thought it would be fun for everyone to know what a typical Danish meal is like. I figured I would go through each meal of the day and tell you what would be served. So, starting with breakfast (Note: I don’t have any of my own pictures of this meal because my host family doesn’t eat typical Danish breakfast, but I did have it at the hostels when I was on my Study Tour in western Denmark):

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Breakfast is usually made up of cheese, bread, meat, veggies, fruit, hard/soft boiled eggs, yogurt, Moslie (which is what they call cereal, but it’s granola), flakes (real cereal), coffee/Tea, and juice or milk. It is pretty big and it is very yummy! When I had this kind of breakfast at the hostles in Odense and Kolding, it was so delicious. The bread here is wonderful and you wouldn’t think eating veggies in the morning would be too appealing, but it is! It’s very easy to be full when this kind of spread is laid out before you. Take my word for it.

Lunch is a bit smaller, usually just a sandwich or salad. Most people, even in the work force, are bringing their lunch to work more than they used to because it is a lot cheaper to do so. Also I know that a lot of Danes will just take leftovers for lunch. My host brother does this whenever he can. However the traditional thing to have in Denmark for lunch is an open faced sandwich even if it is just bread (almost always rye bread) with some spread on the top. Examples of lunch:

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(Photo already posted on one of my blogs)

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Dinner will obviously vary depending on the family, but I can tell you that traditionally, dinner is very heavy. It will consist of three things: meat, potatoes, and gravy. I have talked to other DIS students who live with host families and that is what they will eat almost every night. They will even wrap their meat in meat. Traditional dinner is not for the fainthearted in Denmark. My host parents are not traditional, as I have said, so their dinner is usually healthy, we have a salad at almost every dinner, and I haven’t seen a single pot of gravy made in this house. However, you have to watch out because they make a lot and they expect you to eat a lot. I can’t let my host mom scoop anything on to my plate anymore because she will scoop three times more than I am capable of eating and expect me to eat it all. Even when I’m making my own plate she will say things like, “Oh, no. More for you.” Or, “Do you not like it, why don’t you have more?” For those in America, think of the typical grandma that is always concerned that you are looking too thin, and multiply that by… I don’t know…five. When we have pizza night in this house they roll out what appears to be a normal sized pizza dough made for a few people to eat and tell you to make your pizza. Your. Pizza. They roll out the size of a 13-14 inch pizza and have you put your own toppings on with the expectation that you will eat the whole pizza. I can tell you, they eat their whole pizza every time. Here are some typical Danish dinners (again, not my personal pictures):

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Little side story: I have a friend who is in my core course who told me she had a girls night with her host mom and host sisters. They were gonna have dinner and watch movies together, without the boys in the house. A girly dinner was chicken, veggies, salad, and wine. Her host mom said that they have to eat this when her husband isn’t home because it is a girly dinner. Weird, right? Kinda funny in an odd way, though.

Three: This is where I talk about the title of this blog. Dumpster Diving. Initially you may think, “Now, what the heck is this girl about? She doesn’t actually mean that does she?” Oh yes, my compadres. I mean diving head first into big dumpsters full of uneaten gold. Let me give you a little background. Bakeries, grocery stores, and restaurants have to throw away perfectly good food at the end of the day. Grocery stores are a little different, but bakeries and restaurants just throw out everything that doesn’t get sold at the end of the day. They toss all that delicious, mind-numbing, toe-tingling food into black trash bags before throwing it into the dumpster. It is an honest to god crime. I would eat all of those pastries even if they were a day old. Are you with me, or what?

You might be wondering, “Is she off her rocker?” I’m not gonna lie, probably, but I’m not alone on the  subject. There is a dumpster diving culture, here in Denmark, as well as other European countries (I looked it up). It is not something that only the bum on the street is doing (although there are not a ton of bums in Denmark and the ones that are here are probably loving the dumpster), but ordinary people you walk by everyday on the way to work. Who wouldn’t want to take part in uneaten, totally-clean-because-they-are-put-into-separate-trash-bags-from-the-actual-garbage, free food? Most of which I am thinking of are Danish pastries.

I need to take part in this.

And don’t think it’s just me. Almost all of my friends here in Denmark want to take part in this great adventure! Even the lovely Liesje, (for those who know her, you know how insane this is).

Here are some examples of what can be found:

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Putting pastries in their own bag is not the way to stop people from diving in dumpster. Just sayin’. I have heard stories of whole DRC’s and Kolligeums (dorm type living for DIS students) having free breakfast for a few days because of dumpster diving. I’ll let you know when my day comes.

I’m sure you are a bit hungry, if you aren’t because of the dumpster discussion, I’m not sorry. If you have any specific questions involving food let me know!

I have gotten a question concerning the smores that I had taken part in at my friend Ingrid’s birthday party. They do basically eat smores like we think of in the US with the marshmallow, cookie of some kind, and chocolate, but it is a bit different. I don’t think they have graham crackers here, but they use this cookie type cracker that is on the thicker side and kind of has a vanilla taste to it. Plus they don’t use chocolate bars, they use this very thin sheet of chocolate that is even used on sandwiches. And the marshmallows are even different. They are smaller and are made of actual sugar. You could tell because instead of catching on fire, they would caramelize in the fire if you held it in the flame too long. Always good to know that what you are eating is real.

Alright, everyone. That was all about food! If you have any suggestions on topic you think I should blog about, let me know!

Have good days!