Sunday, July 12, 2009

The New Vista Point

Ah, America - land of the free, home of the brave - where roads are paved with gold and dreams come true. So far, I have been back for just 13 days and in a way it seems more like 13 months and in others it seems like just 13 hours. As of yet, I can't quite say that I've experienced this so called reverse culture shock - well maybe not in the same way that those hours upon hours of group sessions with AFS made a difference (you AFSers know what I'm talking about). So far, I can just honestly say that I see things differently.

Let's take motorized vehicles for example. In America it is a commonality for a family to have two or more vehicles. It is common for said family to drive said vehicles daily to just about anywhere besides their next-door neighbors house. It is also common that said vehicles are large and usually quite fuel consuming. In Denmark, it is a commonality for a family to have one car, maybe even two per family. It is common for said family to drive their car if they are in need of transport to long distances or if they need to move the whole family. It is common for said vehicles to be on the smaller scale and to be quite used (meaning they don't exchange them every two or three years). It is also common for said vehicles to do okay to pretty good when it comes to using their fair share of petroleum.

With this established, we shall examine my pre-Denmark point of view on the ever debated motorized vehicle front. First and foremost, how would a family survive off of only one vehicle? It is common these days for both spouses in a family to work, so if there was only one vehicle how would both make it to their jobs on time? What about if they had kids or family close by? It really only makes sense to have more than one vehicle. In all reality, a good economical car and a large truck is most ideal - the car for day to day use to work, the grocery store, and to pick up the kids and the truck for moving and hulling big stuff around for the weekend project and backyard intervention.

Now let's look at my post-Denmark point of view of these metal boxes on wheels. Initial reaction: geez, why do we need such large vehicles? It seems pointless to have all of these SUVs and Jeep looking things because I bet you 100 kroner that they aren't using them to move things. This is just plain ridiculous. In fact, I think it might even just be our culture to have large and new vehicles. It's like a frenzy - the newer and the larger and the more enhanced the vehicle the better. American culture is the epitome of consumerism and materialism. We show our social status and financial success through the things we own and what better way to show the world how great we are then through our cars which we drive everywhere we go, no matter how close they are to our place of dwelling.

This is just one example of my year's doing. It is like, everything I use to know and use to think I know has gotten turned around and landed upside down in this whirlwind of cultural exchanges. And to think that this is just the beginning of the changes to be noticed. It takes time to notice them too because it's hard to see the change when you experience the evolution.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hello America

If Newark (or any international airport) is a foreigner's first impression of America I'd be looking for the next flight home - no joke. Being in lovely Denmark has made me completely gloss over the 'real' America. I've forgotten how rude Americans are and how big and uneccessary things are here in the US of A.

My day began at 05.30 Danmark time and ended at 03.30 Danmark time with sketchy hours of sleep on plans. I'm thorough convinced that no child under the age of ten should ever be allowed on an airplane. The flight from Cophenhagen to Newark went fairly smooth. The road got bumby after customs and pass check (which to my extreme surprise was cake). We were all scattered about trying to say goodbye and completely lost as to if AFS was suppose to meet us or not.

Nine became six past the exit point of Newark. Two were going to terminal C and the rest where to terminal A. One to terminal A was actually suppose to go to terminal B and another missed their flight. Over all it was a numbing experience. I don't think the fact that you may never see these people again really sinks in until you are home, sleeping in a familar bed. It is the next morning when you kind of come to the realization and to be frank, it sucks.

I can honestly say that all the while I waited at CPH (about five and a half hours) that all I wanted to do was go home and then that home wasn't America anymore. Hopefully America will grow on me more.

Friday, June 26, 2009


(my life as of 26. juni 2009 kl. 18.32)

Let me start of with saying that packing was and will always be the ultimate bitch of an exchange year. It was not so hard to pack to come because I could leave things behind. Not so much the other way around. One aquires so many things through their year that it is virtually impossible to come back with as much stuff as you came with (having not sent anything home via post).
After weeks of dealing with the mostrosity that was my room and probably around ten hours of packing (spread across two days - no joke) I was able to sufficiently reduce my life to two suitcases (near 23 kg), one duffle bag (about 6,5 kg), one bookbag (about 4 kg), and one box (13 kgs of books and papers). I am not exagerating when I say I probably packed everything about nine times, weighted each individual parcel no less than twenty times each, and ditched at least a fourth of my things. The real kicker in all of this is that I came with one suitcase at 22,7 kg and one bookbag at around 9 kg. Don't ask, because I don't have an answer.


Bittersweet Goodbye

(some of my classmates and I got together for a brunch like meal at a local café)

Saying goodbye to all of my friends here in Denmark has been the hardest thing I have had to do all year. Saying goodbye to my Danish friends is hard, but nothing is hard than saying goodbye to your exchange friends. Never will you get the year back, never again will you have what you have now. Sure, I can visit some of my exchange friends at their homelands, but never again will we all be together again, living in the harmony that was 2008/2009.

Not only am I saying goodbye to the people who I have come to know, but also the life I have created here. Going home means loosing my independence and freedom that I have gained here. I enjoy the lifestyle Denmark allows me to live. Sadly it is not a lifestyle that America supports.

Before you think I'm ready to never come home again, think again, because I am excited to come home. My exchange year has taught me more than amount of schooling could hope to learn me. I feel now, that though I am living, I'm still in a state of limpo. I'm ready to get home to apply everything that I know now. In a way, this has been a practical year long learning holiday. I feel like I have learned all I can learn and now it is time for me to get back and put all that hard earned knowledge to work. Plus, I miss the food. Oh, and my friends and family :P

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Wall - Revisited

Name: The Wall
Birthdate: 29. january 2009
Deathdate: 13. june 2009
Statistics: 5 pictures, 13 cards, 93 postcards

RIP min skat

Thank you to everyone who contributed to Project Wall!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Farewell Fest

My chapter held its farewell party today. We had the honor of making a powerpoint presentation for our year along with writing an essay on it. If you know me well, you know that I procrastinate. This was no different. I woke up at half eleven today in order to put the presentation together and write the essay.

In all it took me four hours to get it done. I had to sort through over 5.500 pictures, drank three cups of coffee, downed about 2 L water, took five bathroom breaks, and have a conversation concerning drama galore in order to complete it. Let's just say that it is not my best work by far.

My essay can be read here. It is in Danish so I know that the majority of my readers couldn't give a flying flip, but before you totally disregard it, take a look at it for the fact that it is Danish and you haven't a clue what it says.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Connies

Okay kiddies, I've got a new blog going for y'all to follow. It is called A Day Laced in My Connies and you can find it here and along the link side of this blog. It is a tribute to my senior year and will act the same as this blog has by way of informing you of my ways of doing things.

This blog will terminate probably within the few days of my return and will perminately switch to My Connies page. So this is a heads up for y'all.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Perpetual Lightness

Living far from the equator has its ups and downs.

In the winter the sun hides itself until about 08.30 and decides it has had enough only to leave the poor Scandinavian people to see that it has hidden itself again by 16.00. This leads to a very dark and cold winter.

The summer on the other hand is quite opposite from winter: perpetual darkness turns to perpetual lightness. It never actually gets dark. Sitting in a dark room looking to the wil' blue yonder means being able to see the outline of the trees set against a dark blue atmosphere. Looking in the direction of Sun's last light reveal a lightened glow. By 03.00 it noticeably gets light, by 04.00 one has no problem seeing and by 05.00 if my shade isn't down I get the sun (I get the morning sun directly through my window and to my sleeping figure). It gets noticeably dark by 22.30.

This picture was taken at exactly 22.56 from my desk looking out to the sky. It is still noticeably light at 23.00!!

This one was taken at 02.42. Toward the far left of the tree line is a bit of a dip, the sun comes up right about here (obviously you can see that it is lighter there) and to the right you can see the moon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Law & Order

There are now just 19 days left before I cross the pond back to the big bad reality of life. I think it is only fair to establish what law and order would appear in my life should it have been as common as it should have been.

As of now I've begun to sort through my things into six main piles: Keep, Chuck, Donate, Use Until the Bloody End, Box Up, and Think of a Way to Creatively Get It Home Even Though You Know It Won't Fit and You Can't Afford to Post It. Basically, my room is in shambles and we can all thank distractive and putting-off tendencies. Instead of reading a biography on HC Andersen, 8 Fairtales by HC Andersen and an abridged version of Oliver Twist (all books in Danish) I've created tropical depression Jennifer. Meterologist predict the storm to progress to a category 4 or 5 before decipating in the Atlantic.

I'll shock the nation with that evidence in a few days. For now law and order. (Note: I've been in a B&W swing....)

Early Morning Walks

There is actually a ''forest'' just outside of my house. It's more like a patch of trees covering a triangular shaped plot of land laying a stream and some trains hidden. I discovered them probably a month ago out of boredom. It wasn't until this morning that I took my camera with me to try to capture the essence of a fogging summer morning in pixels. Because it gets so light so early (noticeably lighter around 03.00/03.30) I left the house at 04.00 and took about 2 hours to meander to the fjord and back again. Sadly it was quite difficult to take pictures. Under the protective coverage of the foliage light was not so plentiful. This required me to slow the shutter seed to 5 and 8 seconds. Any slight movement during those seconds makes the image blurry. I did manage to get a few decent ones though.

These things were crazy! I have never seen so many slugs of such variety in size and colour in my life. They came in traditional black and the shocking orange. I'm sad to report that there were casualties by the soles of my connies to the brown and darker burgundy lot as they were hard to see. I think I looked at the ground more than I did the scenery because of these buggers.

The beautiful Vejle Fjord with a view of the bridge which connects the gab.

I'm actually pretty happy with some of the fjord pictures I was able to get. It was hard to capture the right colours of the the sunrise because it was masked with clouds and fog.

The upper stream close to my house. I wasn't about to get a good picture of this in the beginning of the trip, so tried to get something visible on the way back when more light was available to work with.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Little Mermaid Exposed

I think it is safe to say that The Little Mermaid is a very well known fairytale. Made popular by Disney, the fairytale features a young mermaid who is fascinated by the world of walking humans. In an effort to live their life and find the prince she has fallen in love with, the mermaid, gives up her voice in place of legs. In the end, she is able to make the prince fall in love with her breaking the spell and regaining her voice to live happily ever after. The story doesn’t stop there though; Walk Disney has perused the entrancing fairytale to include the life of the couple’s daughter and her adventures with the sea.

I’m about to shatter every preconceived notion that you or others may have about this story. The Little Mermaid is a Danish fairytale written by the famous fairytale author, Han Christian Andersen. The thing that we must take into account is that the original purpose of fairytale stories was not to entertain children, but adult. Often the stories we have grown up with have been altered in order to accommodate a young crowd because their unabridged versions held things we would consider inappropriate for children. For example, Little Red Riding Hood has often been interpreted as a story about a girl’s rape.

The Little Mermaid in its original format does not include a happy ending. In fact, the prince falls in love with another woman and the Little Mermaid dies a death that sentences her to 300 years of good-doing in order to acquire a soul. When the Little Mermaid “looses her voice” she actually has to cut out her tongue and is sentenced to legs which cause her ten folds of pain with each step she takes. When the prince’s dog finds her, she is kept as a form of entertainment. The prince enjoys best his singer, but finds much entertainment when the Little Mermaid dances. In the end, when the prince marries another, the Little Mermaid’s five sisters come to rescue her they bring with them a dagger which will release her from the spell. She must kill the prince, but opts not to and turns to dust with the sun’s rise.

As you can tell, this is nothing like the story we all know. It’s quite interesting to read the original versions of some of his stories. Many of them are quite well known by Americans and world citizens alike. I find though, that no one actually knows who the author of these tales are and that, in fact, they are Danish.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Liquid Courage

The Danes can do three things really well; be modest, ride bikes, and drink. The Danes ability to drink is pretty phenomenal. From what I've experienced, the Danes try to get as drunk as they can as quickly as they can and stay that way for however long they can. The the Dane no party is complete without alcohol. I probably make the Danes out to be alcoholics, but what amazes me is their ability to balance their drinking habits and their daily life.

"What oil is to Texas, beer is to Danmark." according Xenophobe's Guide to the Danes. So true... Two major brewing companies dominate the beer scene in Danmark - Tuborg and Carlsberg - though micro-brewers are quite plentiful around the country. Holidays are often marked by the release of the special brews instead of decorations and other merchandise like in America. For example, jule øl (Christmas beer) is not only a sign of Christmas, but an essential drink during parties and dinners.

Interesting Fact: a bottle opener is an essential fixation in every Danish
household. Many people will have one on their key rings or can quite
artfully manage to remove the cap with a lighter (popular during parties amongst
younger people).

In the newspapers you see many articles are youth drinking and its affects, but in truth the Danes think they drink quite modestly. They believe in being able to hold their alcohol. I've been told that if you see a really drunk person in Copenhagen walking around that they are in fact not Danish, but Swedish (beer is cheaper in Danmark b/c of taxes).

Interesting Fact: there isn't technically a drinking age in Danmark.
You may buy alcohol from stores at the age of 16 and may buy publicly (bar,
club, restaurant, etc.) at the age of 18. This, mind you, is very loosely
enforced. As long as you don't look like a little kid your good to go.

Entering back into the American drinking scene will be interesting as at my age it is supposedly non-existent. In my opinion, we focus on not drinking so much that we actually encourage it through reverse psychology (tell them not to do it and they do for spite). In Danmark, however, I believe they it is such a part of their culture that in the end they end up teaching responsible drinking.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Jelling Musikfestival - the last day

So the last day featured no artist in particular that either Saai or I wanted to see. It turned into a reflective day with lots of music in the background. Importantly, I scored some merchandise; a shirt, a 2009 program and a cool pin to add to my collection. Second, I took tons of pictures. Okay, maybe not tons, but hundreds (200-something in total :D). The highlight of the night was ZZ Top, an American blues/rock band who had some really wickedly long beards.

In honor of the pictures I took, I'm going to show you Jelling Musikfestival in fotos, so be prepared.

A/N: The pictures don't quite fit into the blogging box and I've tried and tried to resize them, but for the most part you see all of the picture except for a little bit of the right side. I believe if you click on the image it opens it up larger (maybe even to original size) so you can see it better.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jelling Musikfestival - day 2

Day two was cool. Actually it was great except for the fact that I came home a lobster (burned to a crisp), which is pretty disappointing because I was enjoying being pale with no weird tan lines. Now it looks like I'm wearing a white tank-top over my red skin.... ouch.

The highlights for day two where Franz Ferdinand (a scotish band) and Nephew (a danish rock band). Saai told me that they played Franz Ferdinand on the radio a lot and that I would recognize them; I didn't, but we were right up front jumping around, swinging our arms and yelling our lungs out with all of the fans (she was actually a fan, I had never heard them before) and it turns out that they are pretty good and I liked them. (picture down below) Nephew is a very popular Danish rock band who, well, rocked. We didn't stay for all of their performance (they started playing at 00.30), but we stayed for the song that I wanted to hear by them, Igen og Igen og. Their performance was stellar, seriously.

Another highlight was the colouring of Saai's hair. She has black hair so coming up with a colour that would shown was difficult, but we choose red coloured hair spray and of course I wasn't sober for that adventure. We took video with her camera. I'll have to try to upload that eventually so you can see that adventure....

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jelling Musikfestival - the morning after

Yesterday was the start of what is called the Jelling Musikfestival. I have in the past, called it another excuse for the Danes to drink, but in reality, the Danes don't need an excuse to drink. So, I've revised that earlier statement to the current one; the Jelling Musikfestival is a fantastic concentration of Danes who love to drink surrounded by cheap (not in the money sense because it's actually very expensive) food, alcohol, and lots of music.

Yesterday's highlight was Nik og Jay who played at the main stage at 18.35 until 19.00-something (I can't remember). For those of you who don't know Nik og Jay, I recomend you look them up, but for those of you who I know won't YouTube them, they are an extremely popular danish rap group. Though I only know the course to 80% of their songs, it was a lot of fun.

I forgot my camera yesterday, but you better believe the thing isn't leaving my side today and tomorrow. The weather is totally cooperating with us so there should be some great pictures. For now, I will let y'all suffice with some horrible morning after pictures complete with the bad hair naked faces (no makeup...). Dun, dun, duuunnnnn.....

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Lego is something known around the world as colourful interlocking builind blocks key to one's childhood. Lego rose from the ashes Ole Kirk Christiansen's crumbling carpentry business. It is commonly believe that Lego comes from Latin roots meaning "I put together" or "I assemble", but in actuallity this is just an ironic coincidence. Lego is actually a combination of the to Danish words, leg godt, meaning play well.

With that said, Saai and I, decided to take one of my free passes curtise of Flemming Efterskole for a test drive. Lucky her, she has a season pass and goes all the time. Me, I have two more gratis tickets to use. As it turns out, legos really do play well. I have to say that my favorite part of Legoland was Miniland and just the actual things made of legos. There is nothing more cool than seeing mini-versions of things that you have seen in real life especially when they are constructed out of thousands of legos.

Legoland isn't the amuesment park in the same sense of what we think of in America. This place is primarily geared toward the kiddies. Mom, Dad, pack the PB&Js, juice boxes, and Advil because you're in for one heck of a day.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Extra, Extra!

Extra, extra; read all about it!

So some news that most of you probably already know (this is for the benefit of those behind the time) I will be returning to hell,,, I mean Ridgecrest. This is unofficially official - don't ask me how that works, but it dose. So, in honor of this revelation we're going to look at the pro's and con's.

- I will know somebody when I move (a first)
- I will know where everything is when I move (a first)
- I won't have to make new friends for school, my senior year in particular (a first)
- My new blog might retain a desert theme
- I can embrace all that the desert has to offer (maybe if I beg enough I can get a dirt bike...)
- I have the perfect environment to learn to drive
- The unofficial house rocks (I have my own bathroom!)

- You may never see me again (I'll have been evaporated by the ridiculously hot weather)
- I won't get to see a thunderstorm like I really have been wanting to (I miss it)
- I'll be stuck in the middle of nowhere (I can't even drive yet)
- Shopping includes Wal-mart and K-mart
- My Euro-lifestyle will be shot to hell (no trains, buses, good shopping, traveling, nothing...)

I guess we can conclude that besides environment, I'm actually excited to return to Ridgecrest. (I can't believe I just said that.) I have never moved someplace where I new somebody. It is actually refreshing, especially since I hadn't planned on seeing my friends again. It's a good thing I still keep in touch with them. The biggest downside is the weather. I hate the hot weather and lack of moisture.

Welcome Home!

Srog -> Language

This will be the first of six posts on cultural aspects of Denmark. The first one, and a pretty important one, is language. Before I continue I'd like to make note that some of my references come from a book called Xenophobe's Guide to the Danes. This aids me in saying things better than I can. (It's actually rather funny to read because it's all so true!)

To start with, Danish is an impossible language to learn and I, along with the other exchange students and probably any foreign, are all resigned to the fact that if you are not Danish you can't speak it properly. The Danish alphabet is the same as ours with the addition of three letters; æ, ø, and å. These come at the end of the alphabet and the double 'a' (aa) is just another way of writing 'å' (f.eks. Aarhus or Århus). The letters c and q are almost always only present in foreign words.

Danish is was can only be described as an economically well off language. They have relatively fewer words than we do. Like the Germans, they find little need in creating new words as opposed to just sticking two already made words together (f.eks. 'flying machine' is an airplane, 'swine meat' is pork). They also have words that mean very different things. We have this in English, but not to the degree which I believe one may find in Danish (f.eks. fyr in Danish can mean fire, pine, or young man in English). Another confusing thing (my cousin pointed it out) is hello and goodbye. In Danish, hello is hej (pronounced hi) and goodbye is hej hej, but often times people will say vi ses (see you later) then just hej instead of hej hej.

Reading Danish and actually speaking Danish are two completely off the wall things. Reading is one thing - you see a certain letter combination (word) and associate a meaning (definition/translation) to it. Often times when we don't know how to say the words we kind of make up our own and go on with it. Doing this in Danish will make you fail miserably! Many of the vowels are soft in Danish along with some consonants so they are often missed to the untrained ear (mine is still in the wild stage). Two letters really stick out; the 'd' and the 'r'. The 'd' is what we exchange students (at least the ones in my language school class) call the retarded 'd'. It sounds like an 'l' to most of us, but it is said like a 'd'; however, if you say an 'l' in place of the soft (retarded) 'd' you end up saying something else. The 'r' is something I'm convinced only Danes can say properly. In a lot of romance languages (Spanish, Italian...) the 'r' is rolled with the tip of the tongue. The Germans have a guttural like 'r' and we Americans over pronounce the shit out of ours. The Danes somehow manage to fetch their 'r' sound from behind the tonsils with muscles that I nor most of the world have. One of the most difficult phrases that all Danes will ask foreigners to say is rødgrød med flød (berry pudding with cream). It has the 'r' which we can't say, the vowel 'ø' which we are puzzled by and that stupid, retarded 'd' in all of them. It's a real dozy.

Reading is the easiest party of the language, in my opinion, but this only applies to reading done in one's own head. Reading out loud is a joke. The Danish language written and spoken could easily be mistaken as two separate languages. In Danish, your best bet is to mumble everything and not say half of the letters. Hvad in Danish means what. It is said (in American) 'vel' but you have to stick your tongue out as you say the 'l'. It can also be said 'va' which is slang (like saying huh in English). The one that really puzzles me, and I just kind of found this one out at language school yesterday, is arrangerede (arranged). When the Danes say this at normal cadence it sounds to have only two syllables, but if they slow it down just three. I swear to the heavens above and all that has ever been deemed holly, that they are saying 'a-rang-sher' when they speak slowly and 'ang-sher' when they speak normally. They also love to shorten their spoken language (f.eks. ikke to ik', tage to ta', give to gi', have to ha').

You will be beyond puzzled, that is if you aren't already. Just ask me to read something to you and I guarantee you won't have a clue how I survived for 11 months.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pratik -> Internship

School has ended (thank god...) and because that leaves me with lots of time and not a whole lot to fill it with, AFS has required us to do what is called a pratik {internship}. Basically, we have to volunteer somewhere for about two weeks. I figured this was the perfect opportunity to experience a job that I'm interested in.

For as long as I can remember, I've always been interested in horses. It only seemed to make sense to see what it is like to work/own/be involved with a running stable. Efter long hours of searching and 8 rejections, I was finally given a call back.

I now have a pratik at Egum Rideklub {Egum Riding Club} in Egum, Fredericia. I will be working along side one other in the line of getting horses ready to be ridden for the trainer, Kasper Olsen. The job also entails grooming the horses he is working with and warming up and cooling the horses down.

I'm pretty excited about the job because it will allow me to work around horses again (something I have really been missing) and I get to see first hand what a schedule of a trainer is along with the inner workings of an establishment such as this.

It is a pretty loose pratik for me. I will probably work with them for two weeks from half eight or nine to probably half two.

A/N: Ask me sometime about visiting them for the first time... ha ha...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bellow Sea Level

There is something tranquil about being underwater - not just being, but breathing. One's first breath is, I suppose, one of those feelings that you will never forget. Through my city's Ungdomsskole (youth school), I began taking diving classes that will eventually lead to Open-water Diving Certification. It started with reading and first dives in a pool and is now coming to an end with adventures in the sea.

We will do two open-water dives (one of which was completed yesterday) in what is called Ebeltoft (I've provided a map so you can see it). It is about a two hour drive from Vejle.

The dive consisted of basic exersices - buddy breathing, controlled emergency accents, clearing your mask, etc.. Even though it was still ''the classroom'' it was still unbelievablly cool, for lack of better terms. Denmark's waters don't have much to offer by way of scenery and it is no Carribean clear water your swimming in, but seeing crabs and little bottom feeders while ghosting along to bottom was still exilerating. Part of the exileration comes from the fact that you know that 80%, if not more, of the country has never seen it like you have.

The difficulties of being a part of the diving class really boils down to two things; the climate and my gender. The climate is a pretty obvious one. Just like the water isn't Carribean clear, it is also not Carribean warm. We dived suited up in thick wet suits, gloves that hinder dexterity, hoods that mat your hair beyond recognition, and boots that are a pain in the ass to fit in the fins. Add the regulator and the mask and the only parts of your body that actually touch the water is your lips and parts of your cheeks. And just for the record, no suit has any right to be that tight or hard to get off. Those things hug every curve you have, whether or not you like them or hate them. The second difficulty I mentioned was gender. I am the only girl. That wouldn't normally bother me, but Danes have different ideas when it comes to bodily exposure. Americans would probably call them conservative exibitionists. The lack of privacy beyond a few cars and bushes was definitly a problem when trying to suit up and suit out. Well, a problem for me. The guys had no problem at all.

Now, if only I could swing a week diving in Thailand as a graduation gift..... *hint, HINT ;)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Game Plan

Okay, people, here's the game plan:

20.5 - last day of school
29-30.5 - Jelling Musikfestival
27.6 - farwell camp, København
29.6 - ultimate travel day
14.30 29.5 - officially state-side

With that, I can say that I now have just 1½ months left :( , though Im not necessarily counting (I really love it here), I do have about 45 days left. I prefer saying 1½ months, it sounds longer. During that time a lot will happen.

I, of course, will try to see and do everything that I ever wanted to do here. I actually don't have a game plan for that, but Legoland is a must. I still haven't used my three free tickets. I'm also going to try for modul 4 at language school. I don't really have enough time to prepare properly for it, but I figured that it is at least worth the try. Worse case senario, I fail.

The point of this blog page was not only to keep the my friends and family up-to-date with what I'm doing 6.000 miles away, but also to examine the cultural aspekt of Danmark. With that said, I'm preparing six posts (one per week) on a different aspekt that I feel is important.

For my very few and far between loyal readers, you may be pleased to know that I plan on keeping this blog going for a week or two after I return. Those will probably just the reverse culture shock-like posts. I have made plans to make another blog though. This one will appropriately be on my senior year and a follow-up from my year. It will map changes in me and my life as I become released back into the wild that is the American teenage scene. I've been toying with some names for my blog and right now I'm stuck on ''A Day in Laced up in my Connies".

For any questions, comments or requests by way of Danmark, Danish culture, me, myself, or Irene, please let me know!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

the other side of the bench

I've always found people watching to be one of the most intriguing passive activity society offers. The world caters to all different walks of life, then tosses them together like a mixed salad and even though onions, feta cheese, and raisins don't emit positive vibes it all seems to go down smoothly anyway.

She was young, he was old. She was thin, he was thick. She drove there in her car, he rode in on his bike. She was dressed for style, he was dressed for work. She ate from a bag of chips, he munched on an apple. She played on her mobile, he read a book. She sat on one side of the bench, he sat on the other side.

I was sitting on a bench in a park in front of Føtex (supermarket) by the harbor today when I spotted these two. She sat down first, proceeded to eat her chips while sending sms's, and took no notice of the man as he walked past her. He stopped on the far side of bench, ate an apple while reading a rather thick book, and took no notice of the girl who sat to his left. There really couldn't have been two more contrasting people in such proximity and yet they didn't show any signs of having acknowledged each other's existence.

Are we really that different or are we more similar than we think we are?

- thoughts, 14.5.09

Monday, May 11, 2009


'World of Warcraft' (W0W): an online-roleplaying game also called a 'Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game' or MMORPG for short.

I came across a rather interesting article in one of the newspapers, metroXpress, today. The headline read this: "Unge bruger 35 timer om ugen på net-spil" {{Youth spends 35 hours a week on Internet gaming}}. Quite catching if you ask me. In fact, it is estimated that a large group of Danish Internet gamers spend up to two years of their life playing World of Warcraft, one of the most popular online games today.

One man was interviewed for an article extending this article. Steen Ostermann Sørensen is a 28 year old mechanic apprentice who spends his spare time (any time he's not working) playing WoW. What really caught my attention in this article was his confession that he didn't smoke because WoW is more addictive than cigarettes.

I'm not really sure what to make of this. It doesn't surprise me to see an article such as this and I know they would be a bit more common in an American magazine, but what really sent me over the edge was the Discovery Channel marathon I had last night. Just as some background noise, I turned the telly on to the Discovery Channel. For the next couple of hours said channel played back to back programs on futuristic technology - from electric cars to 'Smart Dust' which detected just about anything and everything personal about you.

I've come to the conclusion that we are entering a society where we will loose any and all forms of people skills and independent thought. We will have a hand-full of ridiculously smart people who are so brain-washed by other scientists of government officials that all they do is pursue ways to make things smaller, quicker, more economic, and way less personal. Then we will have this giant population of people controlled by the technology which surrounds them.

Apparently one day we will all be flying in our own personal jets that fly themselves, have microchips surrounding us that automatically ring our floors in the elevators, and start harnessing the energy we expel from walking through energy harnessing panels on the sidewalk.

A/N: I was looking through the set up on my blogger and the albums weren't showing up so I figured I never uploaded them to Picasa. I went through my memory cards and totally flipped because none of my England pictures where on there and I had just recently deleted everything from my computer pic and doc wise. Turns out they were on Picasa anyway. Three heart attacks and two brain aneurysms later, all of my England pictures are posted for your enjoyment.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I'm sad to report that the writer of this blog, myself, is currently MIA in the war on life. It coupled with a never ending bout of writer's block has created a monster - one which has not been updating for your reading pleasure.

I'm pleased to report, however, that said MIA person is happy and healthy and has just two months left. During those two months she will spend her time living large with lots of shopping, traveling in Denmark, and parties.

For further updates or information concerning our MIA blogger, please email her. She just might reply :D

A/N: Currently taking healthy doses of life vitamens in order to defeat her disease of writer's block. Maybe she'll come back from the dark side....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Holidays - a little R&R

Holidays are wonderful things. They provide ample amounts of time to recoup from the day to day strain today’s society puts on us. It brings times of travels and adventures alike, but also sees through those lazy-about days. My month long, yes I said month, holiday provided me with; (d) all of the above. I’ll give y’all a recap.

Week 12 (7 days):
This was Rebbecca, my cousin’s, visit. She arrived on a Saturday morning and slept (along with talked with her friends on Facebook/Skype) he day away. We proceeded to entertain a work and play holiday complete with a day at my school and various trips to outlying areas and cities. On that list of places visited include Århus, Aros, Esbjerg, Ribe, Vejle, Jelling, and København.
Week 13 (5 days):
In all honesty, I did nothing. Well, nothing would constitute sleeping till 10 and lounging about in my PJs all day. I didn’t do nothing. Actually, I attended a school called Juelsminde Folkeskole for the better part of the week where I imparted to the 10th grade students my English (lang.) and American knowledge. I also ‘got to know the students’.
Week 14 (5 days):
The great week of Prague, as I’m calling this week. I had the rare opportunity to travel to Prague with the 10th grade of Juelsminde Folkeskole (hints the ‘getting to know the students’). There aren’t enough words in the English language to adequately describe this city and my experience. I just wish I wasn’t as sick as a dog through the whole thing.
Week 15/16 (9 days):
This would be Easter holiday and it was spent in England. I came home to wash my clothes only to pack right back up and head out again. As was artfully put by my Aunt Geraldine, it was a holiday with old people visiting old things. I wouldn’t have had it any different. I had the opportunity to see Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, the city of Bournemouth, Corfe Castle, Wimborne Minister, the Kingston Lacy House, the English country-side, and of course my family.

Also, note the addition of pictures and my updates. My Google problem has been fixed! I’ll proceed to catch all of my loyal readers up, eventually. I have a month to talk about – patients, it will take time!

Monday, April 6, 2009


Okay, we've run into so seriuos problems. If you couldn't tell I haven't updated in ages and there is a totall legit reason behind that. For some reason my computer has decided that it doesn't want to accept the cookies that it takes to log onto Google. Blogger along with Picasa (where I put my pictures) are both run through Google, so I haven't been able to log onto them.

What this means is that I won't be updating anything for at least another week or two in order to try to fix the problem or something of that nature. I've been pulling my hair out over this one because it's driving me up every other wall in my house!

On a different note, my trip to Prague was beyond fantastic. It is such a great city and I missed my president by two days!!!! Unfortunately I was sicker than a dog the entire trip. I'm off to England today, actually, and won't be back until late on the 15. Saddly, I'm still sick it's just not nearly as bad. I just can't wait until I get my real voice back because let me tell you, talking like a 13 year old boy going through puperty isn't any walk in the park.

I'm going to try to get some pictures up today from the computer that I'm working with but no promisses.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Flemming Efterskole

There is something special about being able to capture the attention of people by what you are saying. There is also a fulfilling feeling that warms you to the core when you are able to talk to people about what your knowledgeable about. As was mentioned before in ''Nothingness'', I went to speak to Flemming Efterskole, a boarding school about 20-30 minutes north of Vejle, to speak.

The school is home to roughly 100 give or take, mostly give, students in both ninth and tenth grade. I had the honor of speaking to all the students over a span of two days. The students are divided into two grades, then four classes within those two grades. Though it's nice to speak about myself and being a student in America, I have to say that repeating myself for an hour eight times within two days gets a little old. On the upside, I've discovered that speaking is a lot like swimming - you don't realize your incredible hungry and/or thirsty until you stop.

I'd have to say that in general, through the two high school years I've experienced, I've always hated public speaking. Not many people enjoy standing in front of their classmates presenting a project or just talking in general. One thing that has definitely changed is my tolerance for public speaking. I can honestly say that I no longer mind standing in front of people I either know or don't know to speak. There are a lot of things that you can't be as an exchange student - being shy is one of them. Being an exchange student means leaving your inhibitions behind and opting for your people-person shirt.

As a thank you for my time and effort in speaking about my life, school, and general life in America, Flemming Efterskole presented me with three free tickets to Lego Land. I can't wait for Lego Land to re-open for the 2009 season so I can use those tickets!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Wow, talk about a long stretch of nothingness from me to you. It could be a sign that, 1) I'm no longer around, 2) I've given up on my blog altogether, or 3) nothing exciting worth telling has happened. Well, seeing as if I was offed y'all would know, so one is out of the questions; the chances of me giving up on my blog without y'alls notification is extremely unlikely, so two is gone; and ding, ding, ding, we have a winner - nothing exciting worth telling since the 20. of February has happened!!! Such excitement, I know, please everyone contain your enthusiasm - it's too much for me and the world to endure.

School has reconvened and I'm so bored I'm losing brain cells. On a lighter note, I'm now a modul 3 language student having passed my modul 2 test about a week ago. On a darker note, modul 3 test is extremely hard. Lucky for you, new and improved posts will be made in the coming month. My official scheduale is the following:

  • week 11 (9th-10th) -> Two days worth of speaking to Flemming Efterskole

  • week 12 (14th-22nd) -> Rebbecca (cousin) will be visiting

  • week 13 (23rd-27th) -> A week visit/attendence to the 10th grade at Juelsminde Skole

  • week 14 (30th-3rd) -> 5 days in Prague with Juelsminde Skole

  • week 15 (6th-15th) -> 9 days in England, visiting family

  • It is actually a pretty full scheduale that I have and I'm excited for it. I get three weeks holiday from my school, Rødkilde Gymnasium, which I'm super happy about. We all know that saying, same shit different day. It's pretty bad when that can apply to my school day when I don't even have the same classes everyday. No worries though, all's well that ends well here in Scandinavia.

    A/N: I'm doing perfectly okay to any of you
    who might have taken this post as being pessimistic or just over all
    sarcastically downing. In fact, I'm more than okay - living it up well here in
    DK with absolute wonder on how in Lord's name I'm going to make it back

    Thursday, February 19, 2009

    Der Reichstag

    The Reichstag building is the most visited place in Berlin by tourists. It is the parliament building that dates back to 1894, when it was first opened. A fire in 1933 closed the building, leaving it in ruins until the German Reunification in 1990. Architect Norman Foster did his part to reconstruct the Reichstag to have it opened again in 1999. It is named after the first parliament to rule in its walls, it is now home to the current parliament, the Bundestag.

    The Reichstag building is a long building with bookend towers adorned with German flags. The entrance is a grand one, held up by six Corinthian columns, a frieze that holds the words ''Dem Deutschen Volk'' meaning To the German People, and a pediment that features Germany's coat of arms. The biggest, and newest, attraction to the Reichstag is the glass dome with mirrored center cone that is perched atop the building. Visitors can walk up and around the dome on a spiral ramp, giving them a 360 degree view of Berlin.

    Holocaust Memorial

    The Holocaust Memorial, also called the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, is a tribute to those who died during those insufferable times. It is possibly the most unique memorial I personally have ever seen. The memorial consists of 2,711 concrete blocks arranged in a grid-like pattern spanning an area of 19,000 square metres. This seemingly orderly memorial holds the element of confusion though. The blocks vary in height and sit atop a rolling field covered in cobblestones. The shortest of the blocks measures just 0,2 metres and the tallest way above our heads at 4,8 metres.

    Amongst the blocks one can find yet more stone blocks. These, however, are much smaller and take the form of stairs leading down to a museum. The museum, like all others, offers plenty of informational pamphlets in not just their native language of German, but also many others such as Spanish, English, French, and even Chinese. Underground is set up as a series of rooms with rails of lighted information coupled with some of the most heart-wrenching photos. I'm pretty sure I learned more walking around there about the Holocaust than I did in my Honors Modern World History class sophomore year. This museum gives numerous accounts of families and individuals who went through the Holocaust and what happened to them.

    It amazes me, the people who say the Holocaust never happened. One just can't deny the evidence there. No person can overlook the hard evidence that presents plans to exterminate hundreds of thousands of people just because of their religious views. It was a genocide. One particular room gave accounts of the concentration camps. Out of all the determination plants, ones sticks in my mind. I forget the name or its location, but what I haven't forgotten is the 7 step plan of cleansing then gassing Jews by the truck load, literary. These people would be ushered into a room and demanded to remove their clothes. From there they showered and were lead to a ramp where a moving truck of sorts awaited them. After being packed into the compartment of the truck it was sealed shut. The driver would proceed to drive to their place of burial while the exhaust fumes where pumped into the compartment, slowly killing the occupants. Upon arrived then were shoved into a dirt hole and covered up. The truck would drive back to pick up the next awaiting group. But of course, this never happened.

    It is estimated that the memorial is seen by 3.5 million tourists each year, approximately 10.000 people a day. 490.000 individuals visit the underground place of information each year, 40% of these being non-Germans. It is definitely a site to see. Wonder around the blocks of concrete, descend into the Place of Information, and when you emerge the blocks will never look the same.

    Den næste fire måneder / The next four months

    Nu for en ændring. Det jeg ved ikke hvis det er rigtig, men vil jeg gerne tale lidt dansk til dig. Nu har jeg kun fire måneder tilovers! I den kommende måneder, vil jeg reflekter om hvad jeg har lavet og hvad jeg vil laver. I den første to måneder, bor jeg hos en anden familie i Rugsted cirka på Egtved. I den tredje måned, havde jeg efteråret lejren og skiftede familier. Nu bor jeg i Mølholm, men kender du det. I november, fejret jeg Thanksgiving med min familie, min veninder fra skole, og en anden udvekslingsstudent fra USA. Jul var i december og fejret den men mi familie. Det var hårdt for mig at være her i Danmark til jul, men kunne jeg godt lide en danske jul. I januar gik jeg til Heslev at bo med en anden familie på kun en uge. Det var godt at se hvordan en anden familie bo. Uge syv var vinterferie og gik min familie og jeg til Berlin på ugen. Det var rigtig sjovt!

    Nu jeg er hjem og går igen i skolen, men har jeg mange ting at skal jeg lave. I marts, besøger min kusine mig. Efter hun rejser hjem, måske går jeg til en anden skole på en uge og efter rejser til Tyrkiet på en uge. I april har jeg påskeferie. Under påskeferie, rejser jeg til England at besøge min familie. Jeg skal være der på ni dage! Efter april har jeg ikke så meget at lave. Jeg skal rejse rundt Danmark fordi har jeg kun to måneder tilovers. Jeg skal tage hjem til USA i slutningen af juni.


    Now for a change. I'm not sure if this will be right, but I'm going to try to speak a little danish (up above, this is just a translation of what I attempted to write). Now I have only four months left! In the coming months I will reflect on what I have done and what I will do. In the first two months I lived with another family in Rugsted, close to Egtved. In the third month, I had the autumn camp and I changed families. Now I live in Mølholm, but you already knew that. In November I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family, friends from school, and another exchange student from the USA. Christmas was in December and I celebrated that with my family. It was hard to be in Denmark for Christmas, but I can like a danish Christmas. In January I went to Heslev to live with another family for a week. It was good to see how another family lives. Week seven was winter holiday and my family and I went to Berlin for the week. It was a lot of fun!

    Now I am home and go again to school, but I have a lot of things that I will do. In March my cousin will visit me. After she goes home, maybe I will go to another school for a week and after travel to the Czech Rebulic for a week. In April I have Easter holiday. During Easter holiday I will travel to England to visit my family. I will be there for nine days! After April I have not so much to do. I will travel around Denmark because I have only two months left. I will go home to the USA in the end of June.

    Wednesday, February 18, 2009

    The Brandenburg Gate

    It was here that US President Kennedy stood, here that the Soviets hung red banners of unrecognizable size, and here that US President Reagan uttered those famous words which united a divided Germany. The Brandenburg Gate is a predominant symbol of not just Berlin and Germany, but Europe as well. It was commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia as a sign of peace in 1788.

    Since 1791, it's completion, millions of people have walked under this gate of entrance into Germany's largest city. It was closed off in 1961 with the erection of the Berlin Wall and today stands idle in the Pariser Platz among cobbled earth to be admired by the world's people.

    Twelve Doric (Greek classical architecture characterised by columns which stood on the ground of the structure, standing tall with it's 20 vertical flutes, topped with a plain capital) columns hold up this structure to form five passages under Victory's chariot. Said chariot is the quadriga - a chariot pulled by four horses. Driving this chariot is the Greek goddess Victoria, the goddess of victory.

    The quadriga holds quite the history in itself. It is one of the most famous modern forms of the quadriga. When Napoleon's Marched ended in the seizure of Berlin, he had the quadriga removed from the Brandenburg Gate and shipped off to Paris in 1806. It was returned in 1814. From there, she remained with little changes beside the exchange of a wreath for an iron cross. Though the gate did survive WWII, it didn't go without damages. The communist government were convinced that the cross held reference with Prussian militarism and had it removed. The cross returned in 1990 during the reunification of Germany. Again, the quadriga was removed for a six million dollar restoration to the gate in 2000, but swiftly replaced two years later.

    Monday, February 16, 2009

    The Berlin Dom --> the cathedrals of cathedrals

    I'm not a religious person; never have been, never will be. The funny thing with that though, is that I love to visit churches, cathedrals in particular. There is something stunning and spectacular about the grander of these structures and that absolute power which they held over the people. Of course, this attractions could be attributed to the fact that America lacks in the area of Grand Ol' Churches. We just don't have 100 year and older builds laying around - Europe does.

    The Berlin Cathedral is located in the Mitte district close to Alexanderplatz and the golf ball on a stick. It is by far the most impressive building I have ever walked in. It was built between 1895 and 1905 as a replacement to the original church erected in 1747. By the orders of Wilhelm II, Berliner Dom (German) was built in a classic Baroque style with an Italian Renaissance flair. The building received severe damages during WWII. A temporary roof was placed up until restorations were completed in 1993 when the church reopened.

    We saw the church during the evening (excuse for poor pictures) and were lucky enough to be able to sit through evening mass. The alter is flanked by three vaulting enclaves that lead the eye to the stained glass dome. Scenes from the bible along with the apostles are carved in and along the walls that lead up to the dome. Between each enclave by the dome stand a selected few of the biblical figures who look down upon the pews. This church is by no stretch of the imagination, simple.

    The Great Divide --> mauer, oh, mauer

    Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

    U.S. President, Ronald Reagan

    The Berlin Wall is probably the most notable tourist attraction Germany has to offer the world. People far and wide come to bare wittness to this graffitied cement block which once cut Germany into two halves. I was no different.

    The erection of said wall lasted from the beginning of its construction on 13. aug 1968 until its destruction on 9. nov 1989. During thoes 21 years of division, an officiated number of 136 were killed while attempting to cross from the east to the west (promient organizations say a sum of over 200 were killed).

    Four versions of the wall were constructed, the fourth being the most sophisticated. This version was 45,000 sections of reinforced concrete 3.6 metres tall, 1.2 metres wide, topped with a smooth pipe, and backed by mesh fencing, signal fencing, anti-vehicle trenches, barbed wire, dogs on long lines, "fakir beds" under balconies hanging over the "death strip", over 116 watchtowers, and 20 bunkers. All graffiti that can be seen over the wall is actually done by West Berliners because the East Berliners couldn't even get close to the wall.

    It is incredibly interesting to see this divide. The lengths some people went to inorder to gain their freedom is amazing. What we lack in America by way of history is completely made up in Europe and probably just Germany alone. Often times I find that we just aren't taught enough of the past in school. It is up to the individual to seek out the answers to the questions. Being able to say ''Yes, I have seen and touched the Berlin Wall. Yes, I have been to multiple museums and learned from the source the history that is skipped over in school.'' is just something special.