Archives for the month of: January, 2013

There are a few things that I need to mention before I get to some pretty interesting information. One of them is that today is Simon’s – my host brother – birthday! He turns 21 today and while that may not be a big deal in Denmark’s culture, Christina and I were still excited. Habit, probably, since 21 is so big at home. A cool fact though: when Christina and I got home tonight there was a mini Danish flag sitting on the table. When we asked about it our host parents said that when you have a birthday in Denmark you put out a flag and have tons of flag stuff (they had flag napkins). That is just the tradition. They have the flag up during most holiday’s here, like on their Christmas tree’s, for example. I thought that was cool since the only times we really bring out the American flag is during the 4th or July and Memorial Day. Anyway…Happy Birthday, Simon! We made him a card with some funny Danish inside and I drew a paintball gun because he is super into that. Then we made a fun little box with a note on the inside saying that we owe him a dessert! He seemed pretty pumped about that. Who wouldn’t, right??

Ok, on a very different matter, look at this:

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All the places I will be/ might possibly be going to! On that list is: Denmark (home base), Turkey, Sweden, Germany, and (possibly) Belgium if it works out. I was really happy to see all those little flags on the map in my room. I’d say I am getting around Europe quite well during my time over here.

Also, look at this little ham:

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I mean, really?? How can you resist such a little hamlet?? So cute. We are bringing the puppies out of their little box a little bit more and while they cry almost the whole time, they will have to get used to it eventually. I also noticed while I was taking pictures that I took my first picture of my host parents without really thinking about it….so in this picture is my host mom on the floor trying to get a good picture of the puppies and my host father on the couch:

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I’m starting to really love living in this house with them. Not that it was ever bad living here, but lately I have felt as if I am fitting in with the family more. Like tonight for example, Bjarne (host father), Linda (host mother), Simon (host brother), Christina, and I were all in the living room talking and joking around and telling stories. It is so nice to finally feel like part of the family. I was telling Linda that I was going to the Free Market tomorrow (which is a place DIS opens and has free clothing you can have from students in the past who couldn’t or didn’t want to take these clothes home. Pretty awesome) looking for a better coat. She said that in the past she had given students coats to wear, since she had so many and she instantly went on this huge hunt for a coat that I could use. She wasn’t able to find one around the house for me, but she told me if I don’t find one at the Free Market to tell her because she has plenty of friends who have too many coats. It was great to feel looked after. 

Okay, enough of the sentimental for now and on to more Danish things. I had a field study today for my Danish language class to a place in Copenhagen called Christiania. And here is a picture of a friend and I at the entrance:

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We had a guided tour of the place, which was interesting given the kind of place this is, and I learned quiet a bit. Here is a bit of info on Christiania. This little district type area is a little spot in the middle of Copenhagen. Here is a map to show you the region that it takes up:

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All the darker parts of the map are Christiania. It is an interesting little community that first began in the 1970’s when a group of hippies were trying to escape from the political stuff going on in Denmark. They wanted to live in harmony with nature as well as peace and love and all that, but they also just needed a place to live in general. Well there was an old military base that no one was living in and so these hippies moved into the empty military houses and storage buildings. The beginning of the community now known as Christiania. There are about 900 people living in this community, compared to the original 100 or more people. This community is so strange because in the state of Denmark you are not allowed to have drugs, but within the limits of Christiania you can by pot right on the street. To understand how they are able to do that even though in Denmark drugs are illegal you need some more background.

They are a self governing community that is based on the idea of a Democratic consensus. They have meetings to go over what should be done in the town and the people can veto an idea or movement. They have a few basic rules a few being no hard drugs, no guns, no cars, no selling of firecrackers, and no wearing biker colors. The idea behind allowing pot is that if they allow that then there will be less problems arising because of hard drugs, which they had had problems in the past with when the community was first coming together. You might wonder about the bike colors rule and this is in regards to gangs. There was a big gang problem a while ago and in hopes of not having those gangs coming into Christiania and causing violence, which is completely not allowed, people are not allowed to wear colors or clothes that are associated with those gangs. There is a street called Pusher Street, also known as the Green Light District, and right on the street you can by pot from a vender You are also not allowed to take pictures on pusher street. You can guess why.

Besides the state rules that they are getting away with (for the most part. About once a week the police go through Christiania and clear them out, just for the sake of clearing them out), there is a lot of really great things happening in the community. There are a lot of house, made by the people living in the houses, that are made with all recycled materials for sustainable living. They have a whole wear hose full of recycled stuff that you can buy such as furniture, doors ready to be installed, lamps, glass for windows, and other such things for cheaper than buying the stuff brand new. It is so great how into recycling and sustainability the community is. They recycle 15 of the 17 recyclable materials Denmark is able to recycle. It’s amazing. Also the tour guide (who has been living in Christiania since the very beginning in the 70’s) showed us a house called “The Banana House”. It is a place that German carpenters built to live in that is literally the shape of a Banana:

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(Sorry this isn’t my picture. I didn’t bring my camera because it was raining this morning. I will be going back to take pictures, but this works until then.)

This is a house for German carpenters that come through Denmark and is open for them to live in while they are in Copenhagen because they have done a lot of things to help fix Christiania and the community is really fond of them. This house is so cool to see in real life…it’s hard to think something like this actually exists until you see it in person.

It was really fun to walk around the town, hear about the history, and how the town runs in conjunction to Copenhagen and the state laws. There is so much more I could tell you about this town, but we would be here a while and I think I have stolen a good portion of your time already.

Until next time… 

Wow.

Today was so cool! Before I talk about how awesome the Rosenberg Castle is, I thought you all might like to see some Danish money. Denmark has Kroner and the exchange rate is about 5.7 kroner for 1 dollar. Just to give you a little taste of what that looks like 20 dollars is equal to about 113 Kroner, or DKK. Pretty crazy right?? And coins here, unlike in the US, are pretty valuable. In coins there are, 50 øre (1/2 a Kroner), 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 Kroner. In paper bills there are 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 Kroner. They all look something like this:

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Also, It’s snowing like crazy outside right now…I tried to take a picture to show you all, but the picture did not do the snowfall justice.

Due to lack of snow picture I will just tell you about the castle I went to today!

This is what It looks like (with me in front of it):

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The castle was built in 1606 by King Christian the 4th as a private home. (This was one of the many buildings he commissioned during his reign as king that put the country into major debt.) The castle hasn’t really been used for living since the early 1700’s except for, I think, twice in emergencies. Everything that is in the castle is still property of the current queen of Denmark, the castle, however, is property of the state and only functions as a museum. On all the buildings that Christian the 4th built there is a symbol that you can find on the building to show that he was the reason for the building (it is like that with other kings as well):

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The first room we went into was the kings version of a living room, which looked like this:

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If you look closely, the symbol for Christian the 4th is above the mantel. The bust that you see is of Christian the 4th. If you can see it looks more the a Greek or Roman bust (with the toga and leafy crown) and this is because Christian wanted to make himself look like Caesar. This was his version of propaganda because he wanted to look powerful and respected and grand. Here is another picture of him:

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He was really big into expanding Denmark and the way to expand is to get into wars. So, during one of the wars (I’m not sure who they were fighting against), Christian was standing next to a cannon that accidentally fired and there was shrapnel that hit him in the head and eye. He survived the blows and this is what he was wearing when that happened (you can see on the collar the discoloring from his blood):

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When they took the pieces out of his head, Christian told them not to get rid of the piece and he actually had the bits made into earrings for his mistress, which was another show of how strong he was and how he could carry on after such a wound, showing the Denmark could do the same.
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We were able to go into the main ballroom/gathering room while we were there and it was very pretty. It had the thrones of the King and Queen as well as the largest collection of pure-silver furniture in the world. Even though silver was very expensive, they favored silver furniture because it would reflect more that 95% of light, which was very useful at night when they were just using candles. (Fun Fact: Denmark is the biggest buyer of candles because of something called Hygge, which is the feeling of being cozy, relaxed, and comfortable.) 

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(The chair on the left is the King’s and the Queen’s is on the right.)

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At Rosenberg they also keep the family jewels! We were able to see some pretty wonderful glitters! Our tour guide told us that even though everything was behind some pretty think glass, the alarms are pretty sensitive, therefore “if we want to see our parents and the US ever again, we won’t touch anything”. We all laughed, but we still didn’t know if he was just joking with us or telling us the truth. Either way there was some awesome stuff in there!

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This was Christian the 4th Crown from when he was crowned.

Then for the coronation these were the crowns for the king and queen:

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And the rest of the coronation goodies.

There was a lot of other jewelry and sparkly things that the current queen can still take out and wear when she likes. It was a very fun trip, but we didn’t see everything, so we will have to go back and explore the rest of the castle! 

I am actually being a tourist this weekend! It’s very exciting and needs to happen more, I’ve decided. Today I went to the National Denmark Museum. It was super fun and we (Christina, Liesje, and I) didn’t actually get through it all! It was so cool to go through and learn more about the history of the place we are living. Here is what the building looks like:

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It was huge! You wouldn’t notice just by looking on the outside, or just looking at the entrance hall either, but there is a lot more to this building than you think. 

Here is just a nice little taste of what I saw:

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Pretty cool, huh?? And, like I said, we weren’t even able to see everything at the museum because we got hungry around and hour and a half into the museum. So we decided that we would have to go back again and pick up where we left off (which was in room 20, in case I forget later and have to look at the blog to remind myself). 

We walked around and tried to find somewhere to sit inside and have some lunch. On the way we ran into this cool boat just chillin’ in the frozen water:Image

 

Also we saw this house that was just a little be off kilter:

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When we finally found somewhere to escape the cold and eat, we went to this place called Anytime Deliways, that has a 10% discount for students. It was really nice and small. Plus the food was super yummy! I had a chicken sandwich:

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And a very nice man from Scottsdale took a picture for us because we were obviously tourists:

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He was a very nice man, indeed.

When Christina and I were on our way home we stopped at the grocery store (Førtex) to get some snacks and chocolate milk and I thought you might like to see what the store looks like:

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Fun fact: Their yogurt comes in cartons like milk does:

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The little containers are not yogurt…they are filled with a rice pudding that you can mix with the fruit it comes with….kind of like “fruit-on-the-bottom” that we are used to in the US. 

Another fun fact: When I went to look at the shampoo and conditioner area, I noticed that the bottles were a lot smaller than in the US and Christina pointed out that it is probably because they don’t shower as often. I’m not sure if that is 100% true, but it makes a lot of sense to me!

Random, but in Denmark right now the stakes are high in the game of Handball. If you aren’t sure what Handball is I’ll let you know!

This is how Wiki describes it: two teams of seven players each (six outfield players and a goalkeeper on each team) pass a ball to throw it into the goal of the other team. A standard match consists of two periods of 30 minutes, and the team with more goals scored wins. It is played indoors and Denmark’s team is really, really good. This is what the court looks like:

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All in all Denmark is really intense, for the most part, about their team:

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It is a very national sport and a big deal that their team is good because to find such good players is hard in such a small country (the size of Maine). The reason I am talking about Handball is because Denmark is in the semifinals! If they win the next game they are the champions of Handball and Denmark will go crazy! I hope they win so that I can experience what it is like here when that happens. This video is kind of long, but you can see how it is played, and how good Denmark is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZG8G0TvMcc 

Be ready for my blog tomorrow because I am off to my first castle tomorrow!

I’m sorry if this is a shorter blog, but I really have a lot of reading to do for my classes on Friday. Why not read tomorrow, you ask? Don’t you worry, I will. I just won’t have a ton of time during the day, so I want to make sure I can get everything done before my classes Friday.

What a good dooby, right?

Alright, my day. Today I decided that, because I had no Field Studies, I would get my souvenir shopping done so that I’m not scrambling around at the end of my stay here looking for gifts for my family. I came out on top, just so you know. I think I went into about 5 or 6 different shops that had Copenhagen/Denmark stuff to pick from. (I was especially proud of what I got my Aunt Amy, because it is absolutely perfect for her and I stumbled upon it by accident…so, watch out, Aunt Amy!) I even got myself a little something:

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I may not go to the University of Copenhagen, but it is a super awesome sweatshirt and it’s still from Copenhagen. It works for me. Plus it’s really comfy.The day was made extra wonderful because I went shopping with my lovely lady Liesje and we had a fun time looking through things for our families. Much needed time together, for sure. When we were done, we stopped at the Saint Peter’s Bakery for a really big and tasty cinnamon roll…

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….Oh, yeah. You know you want that pastry. I almost couldn’t finish it, it was so big.

After Liesje left to go home, I stayed behind and Debbie found me so we waited around for the Climate Seminars that DIS puts on. We met up with Christina and our friend Ingrid. It was a very cool seminar! The guy giving the lecture was a CEO for Copenhagenize which is an organization that is trying to work toward creating better bike infrastructure for cities and looking at how much faster and safer it is to bike in cities. It was a very cool talk. If you want to look into it here are some websites to look at:

 http://www.copenhagenize.com/

http://www.copenhagenize.eu/

Check it out if you’d like. I really enjoyed listening to this CEO guy talk about all of this bike stuff (especially because I just rented a bike) and how passionate he was about it. 

That was pretty much my day today. It went by pretty quickly! Just a week ago today I was doing the somewhat-dreadful “Amazing Race”, but it feels like I did that such a long time ago! Either way, it was a good Wednesday and I would say my mission was accomplished. 

 

Sorry about the title. I couldn’t think of a good one.

The video that I have put with this blog is just a little bit about the bike culture in Copenhagen. Christina and I got our bikes and we have been trying to figure out the “rules of the road”, if you will. There is a certain bike etiquette that we really need to learn. For example, you have you turn on the lights on your bike when the street lights come on or you will get a ticket.

For those of you with Spotify, this will be a fun little tid-bit for you. A lot of my commercials are in Danish now. The first time it happened I was completely thrown off, but I’m getting used to it.

I did laundry the other day and felt ridiculous because I didn’t understand how to use the washing machine. My host mom had to walk me through it step by step. It was weird to have to be taught something that I have been doing for years! Haha

Christina and I made our first dinner for our host parents! We made bean enchiladas which turned out to be pretty dang good, if I do say so myself. Here’s a picture of our yummy dinner:

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It was pretty good and we had fun making it!

Also, while I was studying on Sunday I had a little friend with me:

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Later Sunday night there was a random fireworks display right outside my window:

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Christina and I decided that our neighbors were giving us a proper welcoming to Denmark.

My classes are going pretty well so far, but I will have to get used to the schedule differences between DIS and Denison. At Denisn (and I think most colleges) Classes are either Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday. At DIS classes are Monday, Thursday or Tuesday, Friday. Wednesday’s are a day where professors can assign Field Studies, which are fun trips around Copenhagen that are related to the class in some way. It is a way for us to use Copenhagen as a classroom, which is really awesome. However, if you don’t have any Field Studies scheduled for a Wednesday, you get the day off with no classes, which is also really awesome. Besides the weird schedule differences, my classes are good. There is a lot more reading than I am used to and less grades, but I think I will get used to that fairly quickly. 

I found out why Denmark is the “happiest country in the world” from one of my professors today. She said it is because Danes have low expectations, which allows them to not get let down so often if things don’t go they way they want. I thought that was very interesting. 

Money is really confusing to me. I keep thinking that I don’t want to spend tons of money, and I’m not, surprisingly, but I keep thinking that 100 Kroner is the same as 100 Dollars. And they aren’t the same at all. So I feel like I am spending tons of money on a hot chocolate, when actually it’s just 4 or 5 dollars (which is still expensive in relation to what I would normally spend for a hot chocolate in America, but Denmark isn’t cheap). 

Also, when you get sick in a foreign country, you need to understand that medicine is not the same everywhere. I have a stomach bug at the moment and I would kill for some tums or pepto. Denmark doesn’t have tums or pepto. It’s a very sad situation. I hope that with my free day tomorrow I will take it easy and rest up. I’m sure the cold and bike riding aren’t helping very much. 

I know how to say some Danish Sentences!

Hej, jeg hedder Miaja. Jeg kommer fra USA. Jeg studerer politik (spelling for that word is probably not right). Jeg bor i Albertslund hos en Dansk familie. Hej, hej!

Can you guess what I said there??

I said: Hi, My name is Miaja. I come from the USA. I study politics (I don’t really but we haven’t learned what teacher is in Danish yet). I live in Albertlund with a host family. Bye, bye! 

Yay, Danish!

That’s all for now, folks.

I just want to let everyone know that sugar is not universal. By this I mean that it is not going to be a white granular kind of substance. This morning I was putting what I thought was sugar into my tea and my host mom came over and said not to use it. She pulled down a little bottle of what looked like pills out of the cabinet and said to use those instead. The little pills are actually sugar and cost less than what I was putting into my tea, which was a Danish version of splenda. My host mom then showed me where the real sugar is and it is in brown cubes in a little dish. She started joking around that I shouldn’t put sugar in my tea anyway because there is sugar in bread and yogurt, so if I eat too much sugar I would have to go running with Christina. Ha! It made us all laugh and since I don’t mind running (even though I’m trying to not run with my knees all weird) I thought I would take my chances.

The past couple days have been really fun! But before I get to recapping, I thought I might touch upon a few things first.

I have not bought a new pair of gloves, for those of you who are curious. I brought two pairs to Copenhagen so I am still good in the glove department. By far, my best buy as of yet was fleece lined tights. They will be soooo wonderful to wear under jeans! Yesterday, I was wearing tights and leggings under my jeans (of which I had a lot of compliments for being able to fit those layers under my jeans). Still cold. There is no escaping it.

Christina and I are going to be renting bikes for the semester tomorrow. We have thought about it and talked with a lot of people and we decided we should do it. The way it turns out is about $30 a month for the bike which is a really good deal because a lot of people rent a bike here for way more than that. By having the bike, it will make getting to the S-train station a lot faster and easier, it will make getting around Albertslund (the town we live in) a lot easier, and it will make it so that we can just explore more of Copenhagen easier. When it gets warmer we will just ride into Copenhagen, which is about 8 miles or something like that. Plussss it will be interesting to be a part of the culture when it comes to bikes. I think on average more people own a bike than the amount of people that own a car. (Probably because Denmark has a 180% tax rate on cars, and gas is SUPER expensive.) So, we are getting bikes. Pictures to come.

This is a picture of the ever popular Snee:
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Isn’t she a peach?! She is just a big goof ball with an evil little grin that is so hard to resist. Taking pictures of her was a little hard, even though when you show her the pictures she loves to look at herself.

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Those are my leg, by the way.

I forgot to mention in earlier posts that DIS had an immersion fair for us that had things such as sports and clubs that we could sign up for to get more involved with the Danish culture and I signed up for the International Choir that the U. of Copenhagen has. It is going to be super fun! They don’t make you audition or anything like that and we will sing all kinds of cool stuff such as Danish classics as well as more modern stuff like Gotye and Micheal Jackson. When I signed up I told the woman that I wasn’t even sure that I had a good voice and she said that it doesn’t matter! A choir was the best place for a person like me (when I don’t know if I can actually sing haha). So, we will see how that goes. They meet once a week and they have some pretty good concerts, I guess.

Now to my weekend.

On Friday, Christina and I went out with a great group of people! We went to the Studenterhuset (the student union for U. of Copenhagen) because they sell pretty cheap alcohol in comparison to bars and clubs in Copenhagen. We had such a huge group by the time we left that our table looked like a drunker-ed had been sitting at the table:

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Good times.

After that we tried to go to this one bar, but it was for people 21 and over (I asked my host father about this later because I didn’t understand why they would have 21 and over if people can drink at 18 here. He told me it is because they know the younger people won’t buy the alcohol, so there are some places that are 21 and even 25 years and over to enter). So, we went to a place that is close to where DIS is called The Drunken Flamingo. What a name, right?? It was pretty fun to see how Danes interact with others and what a place like The Drunken Flamingo is like. Christina and I left there at about 1:30am to head home and when we got to the station it said the train was coming in 1/2 a minute! We were so lucky to have caught the train because on the weekend it only runs ever 30 minutes and we would have had to wait for the next one! We were so happy and felt like luck was on our side when that happened. We did have to walk home from the Albertslund Station, which wasn’t too bad because we had our quick feet on and we got home pretty fast. It’s about a 10-15 walk.

Last night was pretty fun, too. My friend Valerie set up everything for a group of us to go to the bowling ally in her town, Glostrup, which is the town over from where I live. Val reserved the lanes for us for two hours and we had tons of fun!

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These bowling shoes were sooooo much better than the ones in the US! They were wider and more comfortable.

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Me and Valerie, the great lady who set the night up for us! She is in the same program as I am, so she and I will be hanging out a bit this semester :D

After we left the bowling ally, the girls wanted to look for a bar around Glostrup, and since Val lives there she knew where a couple were. We first went down the street to this one place, but it looked like it was more for our fathers…but we went in and suddenly could not breathe. The air was so full of cigarette smoke and the youngest person in that bar/billiards place was one of the bartenders and he looked to be about 27 or 28. We were not staying there. So, we moved on to the next one, which was considerably much better. It was very relaxed and in a cute little yellow house looking building. Inside there were nice tables to sit at and booths, plus and interesting mix of music (which we figured out was so strange because it was a jukebox that random people kept putting money into to pick songs.) So, we sat down at a table and just talked for a while.

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Me and Swetha, a friend of mine that lives about 4 or 5 minutes up the road from where I live.

Funny story time! We were sitting and talking and all of a sudden a man comes over who is much older than we are. He tells us that he has a friend who is too scared to come over and talk to us, so he decided to talk to us for his friend. He was very charming, but very drunk and he knew it. He even said, “Sorry, but I’m a bit drunk.” Haha! He left and eventually came back with his friend, who was 37. The older man said, “My friend doesn’t believe you are American because all American women are fat.” Bahahaa!! We laughed so hard! They were very nice though and said we were not fat, but very pretty. They welcomed us to Denmark and went back to their business. When we left, the younger one bowed to us and said it had been a pleasure to meet us, a bit over dramatic. It was funny, though, and makes for a great story! (I just talked to Christina and she said that when we left, one of the guys said “Catch you on the flip side!” hahaha! So funny!

I just want to let my Mom know, because I know she worries too much, that the guys were not creepy, but just silly. We didn’t feel uncomfortable or threatened in any way. They weren’t inappropriate. They were just drunk and silly. So stop worrying, Mom.

We made it home after a very cold walk and we made plans to hang out on Tuesday in the city with the same great group that we hung out with over the weekend! I think we will have some great friends by the time we leave and go home!

One more little bit….here are the puppies that my host family’s dog, Molly, had almost two weeks ago:

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So freaking cute! In Denmark you have to keep the puppies for 8 weeks or you can get in some serious trouble. They also have to bring the dog to the vet to get a chip put into the back of the dogs neck in order to track them if they are lost. It is also used so that if the police find a dog on the road they know where to bring them back to and that means you can’t just leave your dog somewhere and not take care of them. You can get into a lot of trouble if you do that.

Alright I think since this has been a super long blog, that I will leave it there and bring more for you tomorrow!

So, because I wrote this morning about yesterday I think this blog for my day today will be just a random card kind of blog. I’m going to fix some mistakes I made in previous blogs as well as tell some nice stories that I may have forgotten. Or maybe it will just be rambling. Who knows. You will find out soon!

Alright, I want to start by saying the the train is not the S-sog, which is what I think I said it was before. It is the S-tog. My bad.

I didn’t mention when I was blogging the way I woke up this morning. Snee (my host families grand-daughter) calls me Miaja as well as “girl”, which is “Pige” (pronounced Piah) in Danish when she is talking to me or talking about me. So, I woke up to her calling up the stairs in Danish, “Pigee!!!!!” What a way to greet the day! Just so you know, Snee means “snow” in Danish.

While I am talking about language, I learned the Danish version of “Head, Shoulders, knees, and toes” today at my DIS program’s social that we had at a place known as a culture house. A culture house is a place that, in this case, was an institution for those who were considered un-useful to the society, such as the blind or people with differences. When they got rid of the act of instituting people they wanted to tear down the building but the towns people didn’t want them to, so it is still standing (has been since 1870’s) and acts as the culture house. It is for the public’s use and they have a cafe on the inside that is usually cheaper than a normal coffee house. There are also events such as free concerts that play at culture houses. Pretty cool stuff!

Also, at this social there was cake. And with the cake there was a white substance in little bowls that you could scoop up with a spoon. I thought it was cream, so when I had it on my plate, I took a nice big lick of it off my fork. Not. Cream. It was sour cream. Let me tell you, when you are not expecting the taste of sour cream it can be a little bit off putting. But you are supposed to eat the cake with a bit of the sour cream on it…which turned out to be really good because Danish cake tastes a bit different from the cake we have in America. Note to self: double check to make sure the white stuff is what I think it is before getting too rambunctious with shoving a good sized dollop in my mouth.

I learned that if you want to lose weight or get fit, go to Europe. End of story. No tricks or gimmicks. GO TO EUROPE! Live with a family and walk everywhere. I have lost at least 7 pounds since I have been in Denmark and I am eating the same amount that I would at home. But they just eat better here and there really aren’t any snacks or anything like that unless it’s fruit. Or at least in the house I live in. And that’s okay because I never feel hungry until I get to the table or smell the food for dinner…or actually sit and think, wow it’s been a while since I ate last. It’s so weird. It makes sense though. I’m not eating because I’m bored and I’m eating really well because my host father was a chef in a past life. I’m just saying…the guy has a way in the kitchen. (Another random fact…most men in Denmark – that I can tell from talking to other people – cook more than the women do. When I brought my observation up to my host parents, my host father said that it is a bit more common, but there are still women that cook, too. My host mom said she doesn’t cook because she is busy doing everything else! haha She said Bjarne, my host dad, will only clean the toilet once or twice a year so he has to cook to make up for that! haha)

Random piece of information: When you are texting a Dane they use a lot of emoticons…like a lot. I heard a story where a girl in the DIS program started dating a Dane and when she got a text without an emoticon she was like. “Oh crap! He’s so mad!! What did I do??” Ha! I made sure to add a smiley when I texted my host mom that I was indeed going to be home for dinner…. :D

Hmmm what else? OH! I saw a guy get a ticket on the train today! He totally tried to run away from the conductor people who will randomly come to check that you can be on the train…busteddd! I felt like I was watching “Cops” in real life, which is a little lame but it was super exciting at the time.

I think that’s all I have for tonight. I feel like I rambled a lot, but who doesn’t love a good story now and then?

So, I was going to blog last night but I didn’t, which means that I will probably be blogging twice today, but we shall see what happens and how late I get home tonight. 

Yesterday was a little rough. I had to do something called “The Amazing Race”. It wasn’t all that amazing. Okay, it was pretty cool, but yesterday was, I am told,, record breaking cold. Perfect day to have to wonder all over the city and find places and get stamps on a piece of paper. Gr. At least I got some pretty great pictures out of it. Here are some:
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Pretty fun, right??

Well, while taking pictures is always a pleasure for me, that wasn’t the best part of the day. There were a few parts of the day that either made me laugh or made me hate the cold more that I already do. Allow me to present you with these now:

Yesterday morning I had gloves on, which is completely essential when it comes to being outside in Denmark when it is in the single digits or teens. So I had gloves. Christina and I got on the train to head to DIS and I took my gloves off when I got on the train. I bet you can see where this is going…I accidentally left them on the train and didn’t realize it until we had already made it up the stairs of the station. Figures. Coldest day by records and I lose my gloves. Later that day I had told this story to some of my new friends and one of them, Johna, told me he had seen a store that claimed it was the oldest glove store. 
Here is a picture:
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Funny, right? What are the odds? 

(A little side note, I have a little girl that is going though my things and wearing one of my slippers. Why one, you ask? She made me put on the other one.)

So, after I froze my fingers off, we did the race thing which wasn’t actually a race, but that’s cool. I got my first Danish out of it. When we got back and had to talk about the race and what we saw, we didn’t actually talk about our race very much. The professor that was there, when we first met him, we thought he was a cranky old man, but it turned out he was probably the most friendly person out there. He was so open about answering our random culture questions. In fact, he was so glad that we had so much to ask and that we were interested in learning. Here are some differences between America and Denmark that I learned:

The minimum wage is 110 Kroner, which is about 22 US dollars.

At any job, people are entitled to five weeks paid vacation.

Maternity leave in Denmark for a woman is about a year.

Men get about 10 week paternity leave.

Instead of calling children “Step-children”, they are called “bonus children”, to give the title a more positive connotation. 

The divorce rate is the same as in America, which surprised me. (The professor however, Morgens, says that he thinks it is because people don’t try hard enough anymore to make a relationship last. He said that in Denmark it is common that people live together for long periods of time and even have children before they get married. Marriage is more of a practical matter in case anything happens to one parent. Whatever may be the cause. he said that we can’t change people and we shouldn’t try. It is their differences that we like the best, so why would we change them. Who doesn’t love getting relationship advise from a professor? Haha!)

After that, and a lovely walk around the city with Christina and Liesje (who I found earlier in the day and met up with later) before we went to the Immersion fair with our nice group of friends on a double decker bus! Super awesome. It looked like we were hitting cars a buses every time we turned a corner.

After the fair and on the way home…we took the wrong bus to go home. So we had an extra 45 minutes on the bus before it stopped at our stop. So we got home late. But thankfully the house was warm, there was dinner waiting for us, and we know now to look for the bus that not only says “143” but says “143 to Ballrup st.”. Lessons learned. Won’t do that again. 

Hopefully.

I forgot.

For those of you who keep asking about my “sassy new haircut”, this is for you. I forgot to add it to my last post. My bad.

We were told that these first three days of out orientation are going to feel the longest and then after that the rest will fly by. So far, I believe them. Today was long and all I wanted most of the day was either food at odd hours or to sleep. I have a theory that maybe if I try to stay up later I will adapt to the time change better…I’m not sure how true my theory is. 
I got my books for my classes today. We got them pretty early so we had to lug our books around all day which doesn’t sound too bad at first…but it gets worse the longer you carry it around.
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All my books.

Also, I had my first meeting with the people who run my specific “core course” is what we call it and it was really great. (Fun fact: One of my teaches names is Maja…she pronounces her name the same way I do.) I met a couple of really nice girls and can’t wait to have classes with them. At the beginning we were offered water and apples and at the end there was a lot of apples left over, so they were really pushing us to take more…the cheap-o in me couldn’t say no:
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I got a few strange looks, but I would rather take these free apples then go out and by them if I want to take them for a snack. If you don’t know already, Denmark is really expensive to live. They have a tax on their hot water, so it isn’t unusual if Dane’s take one shower a week. They think it is weird that we (American’s) want to shower everyday. Also, I don’t know why this freaks me out because I’m sure they do it, but I haven’t seen a single person in my host family brush their teeth. Maybe they do it when I’m not around or before I wake up, but I don’t know what to think about that. 
It is getting easier and easier to use the public transportation (a picture of that to come). I have to take a bus to the train station (or the S-train, which is the regional train I believe, as opposed to the metro which takes you only to other stops within Copenhagen). Then we get off and walk about 10 minutes to the DIS buildings. The more we do it, the easier it gets, even though this is really only the second day we have been using the systems.
All in all today was a pretty good day, but I can’t keep my eyes open anymore, so that will have to hold you over until next time.

Also, This is part of my room now that I am a bit more settled in: 

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Ps. It was absolutely freezing today. When I took my boots off when I got home, my socks her a bit damps. Which I think says something because I have really good quality boots.