Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Final Hours

This blog was posted 31. okt 2008 at 06.29. I have, now, officially only 17½ hours left of english. As suggested by a viewer, I will make little mini posts in danish and y'all can attempt to read them.

Why in the world are you quitting english? Interesting question. Native english speakers have the hardest time with danish because everyone here speaks english as a second language. Usually people start to get things around christmas time. They say that if you haven't 'gotten it' by christmas time, there is no hope for you. I refuse to be one of thoes people who goes home after a year in denmark with no ability to speak danish. I just won't have it!

How are you going to accomplish this monterious task? Well, my first step is to completely quit all english for at least 3 weeks. I'm talking no leters, calls, instant messages, text messages, general conversation, of any kind in english. My only exception to this is English class and my diving class (my text book is in english).

You've gone mad haven't you? Honestly?, I think so. There are times when I have to question my judgement and what I was thinking when I did something, but I think that is all apart of being an exchange student. I think it's a little mad to quit english, but I also think it is necessary to force myself to speak danish. I know that once I start to speak it all the time the muscles in the back of my throat will develop more and I will start to understand the language a lot more. It's all a process.

Oh, and I just realized that it is Halloween today. Wow, completely forgot.


The Thannings

(left to right: Jeppe, Anne Theresa, Gert, Laurits, and Bente)

Okay, the post you have been waiting weeks on end for. It's finally here. Now everyone can get some real sleep. (Okay, so you haven't been having restless nights over this,,, but that's not the point.)

As you all know I have moved to a knew host family. This time I'm living with the Thannings (there is no 'th' sound in danish - it is pronounced with a regular english 't'). We are now six in number. Of course you know me, but there is also Gert (father), Bente (mother), Anne Theresa (18 year old daughter), Jeppe (16 year old son), and Laurits (12 year old son). Our charming home is situated in the suburbs of Vejle in an are called Mølholm. (Don't have my new address? Please email me for it at

So what went wrong with the other family? Nothing went wrong so to speak - we just didn't match. Looking back it is actually very hard to believe that I did spend my first two months there. I know that here is where I'm suppose to be.

Three other kids... are these people mad? Well, my thought exactly. Who wants to have four teenagers especially one who doesn't speak their native language fluently. It turns out that the Thannings did and things have been going well. I think the biggest reason is because we are much more alike.

So who are these people? Funny question, I've been asking myself the same thing. The hard this is that you can't just figure out a family in a few weeks. Here is what I have so far. Gert is a caretaker of a boarding school north of here. He's funny and pretty caring. He has worked with young people for many years so he understands us, if that's possible. Bente is a judge in a city court all the way in south Fyn (long commute). She is pretty much the backbone of the family - does all the paper work and cooking. She also corrects my danish assignments and puts all the commas in the right places (they use their commas differently here). Anne Theresa has just returned from a year in the states as an exchange student and attends the first year like me, but in another gymnasium. Her english is fantastic (duh...) and loves to speak english. Very unlike her older borther I might add. The middle child is Jeppe (pronounced Yeppa). He plays handball and pretty much is into anything sport oriented including American Football. His hates english and languages in general, but I don't mind correcting is homework because that just means he owes me :D The youngest is Laurits. He is apart of a club like thing called FDF. It's a lot like boy scouts, just not. He also enjoys playing on the computer, a lot.

I have it really well here and think my new family is great. Though I probably don't know much about them now, I plan on spending the next 8 months figureing it out.

FYI: Come the first of November I will officially stop speaking english. I'm going to experiment with the first 3 weeks of absolute NO english. This means for a full 3 weeks there will be no blog entries, no emails, no phone calls, no instant messaging to any of you unless you suddenly learned how to speak danish. It's harsh, but its for my own good.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tyskland --> Germany

When I say I didn't do too much this past weekend I mean that the trip down to Germany on saturday wasn't too much and that on the seventh day I rested. Now your probably thinking "Germany! That's not nothing!" And in which case I would have to say, "Straight up it's not nothing!" but when in Rome do as the Romans.

It was explained to me once that to the Danes, Germany is two things. One, Germany is just a country you have to go through to get to the other countries. Two, Germany is were we buy all of our cola and beer. Because of the extremely high taxes here, many people living in Danmark make day trips down to the German boarder stores to stock up on things such as beer, wine, cola, and anything else unhealthy. When I say stock up, we're talking about the mother of all hens going to Cosco to buy toilet paper and paper towels saying that the two packs of 24 rolls is absolutely necessary. I saw people walking out with cart fulls of what has to be somewere around 100 cans of something. It's insane!

But they do that and I even participated in the ritual. Though I didn't buy any beer, cola, or wine, I did manage to get away with 2350 g of candy for only 100 kr. For all of you Americans, that's just over 5 lbs of sugary goodness for just under 20 USD. Seriously a good deal. Besides going to the stores we stoped by a place called Dannevirke. I can't remember if that's the danish of the german, but I think it's the danish. Anyway... It is like a museum of sorts. It is an area that tells a lot about the Danish and Germany history.

Over the years the boarder between the neighboring countries has done a lot of hopping. At some points it's germany and at others danmark. There is also a wall of sorts there ment to be like a fortification. I don't quite understand all of it because low 'n behold - no english. The wall is, by the way, the picture to the right.

On our way back home we stopped by this town in very southern Jylland. It's name alludes me, but it is home to the crown prince's brother, the corn prince. He lives here and thrives on a very good farming like industry. We were able to see his mansion, through the gates of course. Though I'm still barrowing a rather dated camera, I was able to get a fantastic picture if I might say so myself.

All in all, even if the Danes think a quick trip down to Germany every three or four months is nothing, it was just short of awesome for me. It's another country checked off my list, but quite frankly, I can't wait to go back. Besides, I never even got a postcard - of course I will have to go back.

FYI: Come the first of November I will officially stop speaking english. I'm going to experiment with the first 3 weeks of absolute NO english. This means for a full 3 weeks there will be no blog entries, no emails, no phone calls, no instant messaging to any of you unless you suddenly learned how to speak danish. It's harsh, but its for my own good.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Trip to Fredericia

Fredericia is a city south of me. It has a major train hub in the area. Leaving from my city, Vejle, to any place south of me means I will have to stop in Fredericia. Well, that is if I choose to go by train. This time, though, I wasn't going anywhere else and really wasn't going to sight see. No, this time I was visiting a friend.

Alana is what we call an Oldie. Basically she has been here since January and knows a few more ropes then we do. Her birthday was monday so to do something we speed it up to the saturday before. She invited some people over to her house for a 'party' in honor of her birthday. As it turns out only two of the people she invited were able to come - Saai and I. (sounds cool doesn't it?? Saai and I....) Anyway, it was just Saai and I coming so it wasn't a party, it was more along the lines of a "party".

Saai and I started off at the Vejle Station buying about 200 g of candy, our tickets electronically, and then hopping on the train south. It takes off skirting around the fjord then under the bridge and off into the country side. We were in the front of the train and had the compartment to ourselves, which is extremely lovely.

The fredericia train station is smaller than that in Vejle, but has more trains so technically looking around the platforms is much more interesting and fun. Alana was there to pick us up since we had no idea where she lived. From there my pictures went down with the sun. Darkness and an older camera mixed with three exchange students walking through a city usually comes to some odd and non-visible photos.

The "party" as actually a lot of fun. Alana has like her own apartment at the top of the house. All that she is missing is a refridgerator and her own bathroom. We staid up until 3 a.m. watching chick flicks with wedding themes and eating junk food and cola.

The morning after we took a walk to the waterfront to get a view of Fyn (one of the islands). It was raining and cold so really it wasn't too enjoyable but I was able to get a really great view and some decent pictures. I didn't get a chance to see the rest of the town and some more of the historical sights (lots and lots of history in Fredericia). Of course that only means that I will have to return.

(Saai [Thailand] and Alana [Austrailia] by the beach. You can see Fyn in the background)
Happy Birthday Alana!

P.S. I will get something up on my new family. Really, I will. I'll take some picutres of the house and my family members once the weather starts to look decent.

The Box

Today I got my first care package. Its really great to get something from time to time. Who doesn't like to get mail?? In honor of the wonderful American holiday of Halloween (okay, so its not American but the way we exploit it, it might as well be one) my box contained some Halloween M&Ms and some Halloween socks. I also recieved a new bathing suit, which I seriously needed, and some goggles, which I also needed along with some other basic things like the nice shampoo and conditionor that I use back home. It's not that Danmark is some hick country without shampoo and conditioner it's just that things here are soooo expensive that I've turned into a el-cheapo here. I buy the cheapest stuff I can find that won't completely kill my hair and I don't buy conditioner. This is a treat!

To all of you out there that want to know if I need/want anything from the states or aren't sure about gifts or whatever, I'll make it easier for you and just go on ahead and tell you.

  • Scarves (did I mention that I also got this wonderfully beautiful, soft and warm one)

  • Peanut Butter!!!!!! (small jars, nothing huge)

  • Smelly candels (Danes don't believe in having candels that smell... at all)

  • Money (It sounds petty, but things are very expensive here and what we use in Denmark isn't used or isn't fashionable in the States and I also want to take some trips which costs me train and bus fees)

  • Cards!!! Postcards!!! Post in general!!! (Don't have my address?? Please email me for it for security reasons. My email is

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


A: Hey, good to see you
B: Yeah, good to see you. How are
A: I'm doing well, and you?
B: Good, thanks. Hey I
have to go now, but we should catch up over a cup of coffee.
A: That
sounds great. How about tomorrow?
B: Tomorrow sounds great.
I know a great little coffee shop a few blocks for the train station. How
about we meet there?
A: Yeah, does meeting around 2 sound
B: Yep, 2-ish it is. See you tomorrow.
A: Bye

Pretty typical conversation right?? Nothing looks unusual or out of the ordinary, but if you take a closer look, the -ish kind of sticks out. What is -ish and why do we use it?

I've never paid much attention to this little add-on we English speaks use. Come to think of it I believe it is strickly American slang. The brits, to my knowledge, don't use it and the Danes certainly look at you funny if you use it.

-ish is an add-on that means about. If you were to say 2-ish a person would processes that as saying at two o'clock give or take five or so mintues. It's used any time we want to approcimate something. The carpet is a grayish colour. It's not exactly gray, but you can't really call it any other colour.

This is just another example of the odd language we use in day to day life without thinking about it. One of the joys of being in a foreign country is seeing and discovering these oh so obvious aberations of the American English language.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Host Families

I'll just flat out say it - I've changed families. Why you may ask? Because things just weren't working out. I can't exactly explain it. There are times when you just know that you fit and I just didn't. It wasn't actually me who thought there was a problem. The host family came to me and said there was. After not being able to fix it we decided it would be best to switch families. We parted on Tuesday 7. Oktober and since then I have been living with my latest host family, the Thanning's.

There will be a lot more on the Thannings come my next post. There has been a change of address also. I will get that out as soon as possible. If you haven't heard the new address please email me at and I will give it to you.

AFS Autumn Camp

AFS does many camps. Last weekend there was the autumn camp. Basically its just a camp for AFS to make sure everything is going okay with the students and their family. Mine was south of me and included all of south Jutland which was about 30 of us. It was a lot of fun though boring at times. Getting there was fun....

We recieved an invintation in the mail and I read it wrong. Go figure. So I ended up showing up 2 hours earlier than everyone else. Me being me wanted to go on my own instead of going with someone else. Again, me being me, I had to go a different way. So instead of going by bus like the rest of the population, I went by train. Boy was that an experience! By the time I had gotten to the school (the camp was being held at a school) I had taken two buses and two trains, been yelled at by a driver, and riden a train without a ticket.

Because I arrived 2 hours before anyone else I had to help set everything up which wasn't really that bad. Once everyone arrived it was just one social mass of people. Multiple languages and hundreds of pictures equals a group of exchange students. That is one thing that will always be an exchange student thing - pictures.

In an effort to entertain us they decided to have a party. Well, more like a 'party.' Honestly I thought it was a little boring but the best part is just socializing. Talking with everyone and learning new things is great. Usually the AFS parties have themes. This one was a PJ Party. And if we learned anything its that guys don't wear pj's to sleep. Naturally none of the guys had anything decent to wear. Luckily for the girl's eyes the camp leaders thought to bring lots of extra boxers. Kinda funny to see the guys look at one another with slight panic in their eyes when they heard they had to wear pjs.

My trip back was much more tame. In place of the two busses and two trains I got a ride with another exchange student. It was fun and nice to talk with the others.

P.S. - no pictures in this post because I'm too lazy but there is an album of over peoples pictures that I put up. Oh, and my mp3 has really died now.