Archives for the month of: April, 2013

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.

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.