Thursday, January 29, 2009

Project Wall --> Do Your Part!

I've come to realize while I’m here that not only am I gaining an experience of a life time and a new family, but also friends from around the world. This reminds me, though, of all of the friends and family I already have all around the world. It’s something I’ve become very thankful for especially because of the traveler I have become.

What is Project “Wall”?
Excellent question. Project “Wall” is my attempt to gather a postcard from every person I know (friend or family) of their home town or area they are from. It is quite ambition, but I’m ready for the challenge.

Why a postcard? Can’t I just send a letter or something?
Well, anyone who knows me very well knows that I collect postcards. This is just one of the reasons. There are many. A postcard is meant to give a general overview of the city or area. Cards are usually for special occasions. And no, you can’t just send a letter. You may, however send one in addition to a postcard :D

Why “Wall”?
I have only one completely perpendicular wall in my room. It is behind my desk. I’ve started to put up a few pictures I brought with me and the few postcards I’ve gotten along with Christmas cards. I didn’t think about filling up the wall until the Christmas cards started to roll in. That’s when I decided to put more meaning behind the wall. I want to be able to really see the world if only through pieces of paper. I know now that I have tons of family and friends from all over the world.

So, to where must I send this postcard?
My address of course :D From the time you receive this until the 30th of June, Denmark will be my home. From that date onward, I will be back state side.

Denmark Address:
Hesselkær 5
7100 Vejle

What is on the Wall now

Århus Domkirke --> the Cathedral

(Yes, I know this picture looks a little off in the middle. The stiching wasn't so good, but you get the picture.)

Århus Domkirke (cathedral) is the longest and tallest cathedral in Denmark. It is situated in the heart of the city surrounded by the labyrinth of antiguity. The actually age of the church is a bit specuality, but then again anything as old as they guess has room for error in my opinion.

The building of the church began in 1190 after the original timber structure burned down to the ground and was complete in 1300 in the tradition style. Later that century the church was, again, up in flames along with a good portion of the city and left abondoned until 1449. By this time the Gothic style of architecture had meandered its way up to Denmark. The church was rebuildt. It was until 1500, that the bishop demanded a larger church. The cathedral was expanded to stand at its current measurements of 93 m long and 96 m tall with the ability to sit about 1.200 people.

Much of the interior is covered in hand painted frescos done between 1470 to 1520. Since the Reformation many of the frescos have disappeared from the white walls, but the Århus Domkirke still has the greatest quantities of frecos in Denmark. The alterpiece is one of Denmark's great treasures by Bernt Notke dedicated on Easter Sunday in 1479.

Over all this is the most stunning church I have ever stepped foot in. I spent probably an hour warming my toes and took just shy of 160 photos. It is a place of great magnitude and the capability to captrue the attention of any traveler.

I think churches hold a lot of history to an area especially where they are old. It is something American truely lacks - the down right old. There actually a lot of churches in Denmark. This I found surprising becaue though about 95% of Denmark is 'religious' almost no one goes to church on a regular bases. Come to find out, in Denmark's earlier years, there was a law that made people go to church faithfully or other wise suffer some form of punishment (a large fine I believe). Pretty interesting really.

Again, I urge you to visit here to see more pictures and with better quality. Just click on the slide show button, sit back, and watch the pictures roll past at a controlled pace.

The Capital of Jutland --> Århus

Århus is the second largest city in Denmark and often refered to as the "Capital of Jutland". More than 300.000 people live in the city and an additional 500.000 people in the surrounding area. It is home to more than 1.300 years of history and some of Jutland's main attractions.

My adventure of Århus (also spelled Aarhus before the spelling reform in the '70s) was one of uncharted spontaneity. After my return from Haslev (mini-stay) I came to the realization (yes, exchange is all about them) that I had seen very little of my own neighborhood. Århus is only a 40 minute train ride north (about 10 bucks one way). With that I packed a lunch, umbrella, and put on my walking shoes. It also provided an excellent opprotunity to really take my new camera for a spin.

I arrived early and just took off. I had no map and really little idea of what I wanted to see. I staid mostly around the walking street as that is the main stream area. What is truelly attractive about this city is the canel that runs right through the gågade (walking street). Buildings stand tall around cobbled ways, creating a labyrinth of shops and people. It is so European and foreign to the average American. There are times when one has to pinch oneself to really make sure they are there.

After a few hours of taking pictures (batteries last longer when you stick them in your gloves before hand :D) and walking around aimlessly following the stream of natives, I decided to conclude my ture before any casualties of the toes occured. Come to find out that I missed a lot of the good stuff during my travels. The famous Aros (art museum) Museum, and government buildings worth seeing are actually in the opposite direction of the way I went. I guess another return visit is in order.

I strongly urge you to look here for pictures of Århus. They are large images so viewn there is best. Click on slideshow and be slightly patient. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Vejle - My Home (Part 1)

In the words of Emily Dickinson, "Where thou art - that - is Home."

There is no Exchange Student 101 class we can take or an Idiot's Guide to Living Abroad, but there are some basics we all come to learn and pass on. Home is one of them. A house isn't a home unless it has soul; so many say. The soul, though, is in the people, so in corrolation with this we say: Home is where you live. Well, I live in Vejle, Danmark, so that is my home. For the past 5½ months I have called this city home and for the next 5½ I shall continue to do so.

Vejle is not by any means a 'large' city, but it is also not the common 'small' city either. Here we live primally with two Føtex stores, a large shopping center, a train station with more than one platform, and enough art to fill a museum. Home sits nestled bellow Denmark's only gentle rolling hills, squashed up to a fjord, carefully being watched under the all seeing eyes of the great Windmill.

I won't tell you much of it now becuase, honestly, I haven't really taken any of the 'good' pictures yet. All I've done is give you a preface that includes a bunch of variously done shots of churches. However good my photography skill may or may not be, Vejle isn't just made of churches though it has three/four large ones.

So, until Day 2 - Skål (cheers)!

A New America

My body tingles as words of reasurance tripple from the mouth of America's future. Nothing short of the end of the world could have moved me from in front of the telly on 20. jan 2009 at 1700 hours. It was, and still is, history.

High hopes were made for the inaguration of the 44th president of the United States of America, and boy were they met. Having witnessed this event from afar makes it no less important, but if anything all the more special. I believe that we can expect great things from President Barak Obama.

This was, though not in the literal sense, my first presidental election. The beginning of both the Clinton and Bush Administrations are but distant and unimportant memories from my early childhood. This; however, is a memory not soon to be forgotten. It is a historic moment for my Western nation. People said it would never happen, I admit myself to being one of thoes cynics, but it has happened - America is now led by an African American.

Obama will be faced with the daunting task of piecing together again our crubbling nation. We have more problems now than we have had in a long time. Our health care system has failed, our education system has gone down the drains and out to sea, our economy is in crisis, and our country at war. There is no time for Obama to dilly-dally in the White House. We need to restore the world's image of America and right the wrong that the previous administation has done. We need to fix our homeland problems and prepare ourselves for a prosperous future. The man for the job now sits in the Oval Office. God bless President Barak Obama.


AFS Denmark provides students with the opprotunity to see a glimpse into the lives of a different family and community in the early months of the new year. My mini-stay took place just last week in a small city called Haslev on the Sjælland island, a mere hour south of Copenhagen. For the week I attended school and went to work for one day along with attended a trip to Copenhagen with AFS.

The highlight of the stay, was by far the trip to Copenhagen. We arrived mid-morning to begin with a tour of the government building, followed by a 2 hour break for sustinance and shopping around the longest walking street in Europe. Once our break finished we walked circles up the Round Tower and concluded our fantastic day with ice skating.

I am pleased to say that while I was away my camera did arrive! I have few to no pictures from my stay so I will return soon to provide you with thoes.

The mini-stay was fun to say the least, but I'm more than happy to have returned home. The intentions of this stay is to let you observe a new way of doing things, but, to give my opinion, it was more to make us appreciate our own family and life.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Learning to Drink Coffee

The AFS year program to Denmark offers every participating student 334 days to discover another way of living. Along the way, though, something happens. Before you know, you can honestly say that you have friends from more than 10 different countries spread out all over the world, you've done some things never before would you have done, eaten things you don't even know the name of, and officially know how to make the most out of 100 kr. (20 bucks).

Now where did all of that come from, you might be wondering? Well, to be frank, over a cup of coffee. Back home, I didn't drink coffee unless it was a 5 dollar wonder from Starbucks. Now I drink the stuff black with a spot of sugar from time to time. Not only that, but I probably have a cup or two a day. I have found that coffee is to the danes what tea is to the brits. When you go visit friends of family, you drink maybe two or three cups of coffee and eat cake. Coffee and cake is the danish version of the british spot o' tea and cookies.

So what else have you learned? Actually, a lot. Most of them seem normal now though, but when I write them down, it just seems silly.

  • Chocolate is perfectly acceptable for breakfast
  • Your life is planned around the bus/train scheduals
  • Don't expect to find what you are looking for in the supermarkets, because they are so small
  • Ice cream is bought to be passed around and eaten completely, not for a scoop or two then put back in the freezer for later
  • Walking around in leggings and a shirt, if fine - pants aren't necessary
  • Riding a bike is essential
  • Riding a bike is like driving a car - you must obey the bike stoplights, use your hand signals, and have all lights working
  • It is illegal to not have a bell on your bike
  • No one looks silly in a rain suit
  • Having a 30 dollar pair of underwear warrents showing off the waist band (yes, I own a pair)
  • Don't bother fluffing your pillow, because it will always be this flat, pathetic excuse of a head rest
  • Learning new words in your own language is an every day occurance (brekkie all the way), while forgetting words happens just as often
  • Using new words and pronouncing thing 'weird' evolves over time (what do you think of my new jumper?)
  • Yogurt isn't ment to be eaten by itself
  • Milk is drinken like water
  • When in doudt, just push the door, don't pull, because if you pull it won't open (inside/outside doors open opposite here)

The list could go on and on and on, but I'm going to assume you have something better to do than read my blog. There are 171 more days that have yet to arrive, while 163 have come and gone. Time plenty for more discoveries, adventures, and blog posts.

AN: I'm going to go buy a camera! Then, before you know it, there will be more pictures than you will care to look at. Most importantly, though, I will finially do posts on the important things like where I live and what my school looks like. :D

Friday, January 9, 2009

København - The Capital

(City Hall)

Copenhagen, or København in danish, is a fantastic city. It reaks of old Denmark and Europe in General. The city's existance dates back to the 11th century, but it wasn't until the 15th that it became the capital of little Denmark.

I have been there twice and have yet to be able to qualify myself as having seen Copenhagen. On the trip that Saai and I took to Tivoli, we decided to venture a little into the longest walking street in Europe, Strøget. It was amazing.

Strøget was amazing and I've only seen maybe a third of it. Building climb to the sky all around you that open into large spacious plazas every now and then. All brand names have their largest stores here. Though our goal wasn't shopping, we did pop into a few stores. I think at one point I was lost in the H&M (big name brand in clothing) there. My favorite part of it all though, was seeing all of the chirstmas decorations up. Every couple meters strings of garlin was strung from one side to the other with a heart right in the middle. I've found that the heart is important to Denmark though I have yet to find out why. There are even hearts on their coins.

I look forward to yet another up-coming opprotunity to see more of this fabulous city.

(H.C. Anderson looking over at Tivoli)


Tivoli, one of the oldest theme parks in Europe, is snuggly nestled in the heart of Denmark's Capital, København. Nothing can prepare a foreigner (esp. from America) for something as delicate as this. Tivoli isn't big nor technologically updated, but it offers a little piece of Danmark for everyone. To one side of this plot is the central station, København H, and the city hall along with the entrance to the largest walking street to the other.

Tivoli is most known for it's gardens rather than its rides. I had the joy of seeing Tivoli during the holiday season. Lights were strung everywhere. During the daylight, touches of Christmas could be seen here and there, but at night Tivoli comes a live. Nothing I have every seen compares to it.

Though this picture isn't very clear, I'm sure you get the picture. It is incredibly hard to take pictures at night of lights while it is windy. In America, when a person goes to an amuesment park or theme park they usually pay a fixed price and can ride the rides and see what they want unlimited. Tivoli isn't this. Many family have a tradition of coming to Tivoli, not for the rides, but for the gardens, which are suppose to be something magical during the spring. Each ride in Tivoli takes a certain number of tickets, either one, two, or three. The best way to go should one decide to go for the rides, is just to buy a day ride pass. This is what Saai, the girl I went with, and I did.

Tivoli is something everyone should experience when they come to Denmark. If not the rides, than definitely the gardens. It will be the best 85 kr. you'll ever spend! (The Trojan Reindeer! It was a giant wooden reindeer on wheels. Very fun I thought)

AN: For thoes of you who thought maybe I've recieved my camera by now are sadly mistaken. It has yet to be sent... For thoes are just as frustrated as I am, will be happy to know that I am completely giving up. Maybe not giving, but I'm certainly breaking down and buying one out in town. So here's to no money for the month and greater debt!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

First Snow

It has finally really snowed. Well, not really really snowed, but enough to cause ground cover. There is something so surreal about snow. The way it falls is magical. Flakes float flamboutantly downward in a manner both similar and differnt from rain. Within our enclosures we are almost sure we can hear it, but it is the silence that is deafening. Snow blankets every nook and cranny in a silent world frozen in a happy dirge.

Many complain of the annoyance this white fluff has to offer, but I think it only offers a natural wonder to the world - another variable to the equation.

It is early in the season, so I have been told. February is the white month while January only offers it's captured a prelude. As of today all that has fallen in the past two days has melted away causing a slushie ice to cover the walk ways - a hazard to all. Happily I report an abundance of shinning suns and stainless celectrial spheres.

AN: Hopefully within the next week or two I will have my own camera to take tons of pictures to make up for the past boring, pictorial lacking months with which you and I have been made to endure.
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