Saturday, August 3, 2013

It's not easy

I've heard from a lot of people that coming back from abroad is not easy. Now I know how right they are. You can't just snap your fingers and go back to happily living in America. Instead, you think about the experiences you had abroad every day and wish you were there right now. It's worst when certain things "trigger" my homesickness. For example, bike riding will make me miss going to Bornholm because all we did was bike there and I made some amazing friends and explored that beautiful island.

Talking to my friends about this homesickness has helped. I talked to Emily May and she said she missed Germany a lot when she got back. For her, walking on cobble stone streets, triggered her homesickness because there were cobble stone streets all over Berlin. Miaja told me that she thinks about Denmark a lot too but that she was ready to come back so she doesn't miss it as much as I do. I wasn't ready to come back to America. I didn't want to leave.

I like sleeping because I can "go to Denmark" in my dreams. I can see everyone and everything I miss in my dreams.

I was walking around Denison on Thursday and it felt so weird to be there because I hadn't been there since December. I walked into the English building and saw a DIS poster on one of the walls. I gasped out loud. It was like Denmark had found me. It was really comforting to see the DIS logo printed out and look at the promotional photos that I recognized. I could look at them and say where they were taken. I hope they keep that flyer up forever.   

I'm trying to deal with this feeling of sadness by reaching out to my friends and family. I messaged my host family on Facebook asking how they're doing. I'm sure talking with them will make me feel better. We should set up a Facetime session. Those are fun.

Friday, July 26, 2013

How study abroad changed me:

This is one of the moments when I wish I could freeze time. 
    It's been two months since I got back. Can you believe it? Nope, me neither. I can still feel that brisk Copenhagen breeze on my cheeks.

   I quit my job at Cedar Point because I frankly hated it. I visited my host family in Las Vegas! I was so excited to see them but devastated to say goodbye again. I travelled around Tennessee, North Carolina and to Pittsburgh. Now, I'm interning at a travel agency. I also have a part time job with a catering company helping with some weekend weddings. I've also been reading a lot of novels. Staying busy.

The busy street of Norregade
I find myself thinking of Denmark and my study abroad experiences on a daily basis.  Heck, I'm even dreaming about it. I dreamed that I somehow took a flight back to Copenhagen and I was on the train going from the airport to Espergaede admiring the city. I was glued to the window, in awe of the magnificent buildings. In my dream, I hugged everyone that I've been missing and they welcomed me back with smiling faces. If only my stupid alarm clock didn't have to go and ruin it.

I'm certainly not the same girl I was before I left. I view the world much differently and find myself doing little things that I didn't do before.

Love this picture of Ulrik! It's hanging right
next to my calendar. 
Things I do now having returned from Copenhagen: 

- Drink tea in the evenings. My host family brewed a pot of tea in the morning and evening. We all sat around drinking it and chatting. My parents don't drink tea but I find myself still making a cup fairly often. I learned to really like tea and as an added bonus: whenever I drink tea, I think of Gitte. 
- Biking. Anytime I ride my bike, I think of Copenhagen and how 1/3 of the population bikes to work. It's so engrained in the culture. I rode my bike to the train station sometimes but never in the city. Biking= Denmark. Too bad I live out in the country and can't easily or safely bike anywhere. 
- Trying to make bread. Every morning, my host family baked bread. When I visited them in Las Vegas in July, they shared the recipe with me. My first attempt to make the bread didn't work out but I will try again. I've never baked bread before but I'm determined to recreate the delicious Danish breakfast bread. 
- Leaving work at work. Part of the Danish culture is leaving work at work and knowing that home is for family. I think that's why Danes are so happy. I find myself striving to distinguish the two worlds and not bring work negativity to my home life. 
- Complaining about paying for healthcare. I'm joking here. I didn't even use my free healthcare while I was over there. 
- At stoplights, I notice how in America it goes from Red to Green but in Denmark they went Red, Yellow, Green. It's the little things that count.
- I view grocery stores differently. Danish grocery stores were a place where you stuck to your preplanned strategy and got out quickly. They weren't gigantic but could be disorganized. Today I went grocery shopping and noticed I was devising a strategy plan of attack in my head to try and get in get out. I'm still not adjusted to how big everything is in America. Was it always like that? :)
This beloved picture of Julie and Pernille is also proudly
displayed on my wall.
- I'm not afraid to travel. After surviving all of my Europe travels, I know that I can conquer any travels. Drive to North Carolina by myself? Bring it. Ain't nothing like Italy was. 
- Eating different foods. If you had told me a year ago that I'd be buying herring and blocks of cheese from IKEA, I wouldn't have believed you. I learned to love eating cheese and herring while in Denmark. In America, I sometimes struggle to find cheese that is anything as good as it was in Denmark. Ulrik knows cheese! My parents were really surprised when they noticed I was ordering salads at restaurants and eating smelly fish from a jar (don't let that fool you. Herring is the bomb.) I used to be a picky eater but have opened up to trying new foods. 
- I talk to strangers. By this I mean, I strike up friendly conversations with strangers. For example, Alaina and I were waiting for the zip line and I turned to the guy behind us and asked him, "Nice shirt. Do you go to North Carolina State?" I used to be afraid to talk to strangers because I was shy. Europe forced me out of my shell. In Copenhagen, if I didn't ask a stranger what an announcement on the train said, then I might not be getting home. My friends and family have all commented on my new confidence. Yay!

This picture from my going away party
is now in a fun purple frame from...Tiger!
This week, I printed out several of my favorite photographs from Denmark and put them on my wall of photos. I always smile looking at them. I framed the picture of me with my host family and the picture of me and everyone at my going away party.

They weren't kidding when they said study abroad changes you. For the better. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Back "home"

Well, I've been back in America for almost a full week now. Weird.

Coming home was a mix of emotions. Relief, sadness, happiness, confusion, denial, and a bit of gloominess. I'm still not over the hump. I knew coming back would be hard and was right. It's a big adjustment.

 I compare everything to Copenhagen ("The people looked so much prettier." "They don't use coupons in Denmark").

I always think of my host family and Espergaerde. They really are a second family to me.

It's really difficult to explain to people where I was the last four months. They just ask, "So, what language do they speak over there?" or "What was your favorite part?" I wish they could understand, or that I could somehow let them understand what an experience it was for me. It wasn't just some sort of a travel trip or a vacation. It was more.

Some life updates:

  • Got my horizontal Ohio driver's license. 21!
  • Turned 21 on Monday May 20. Finally :-)
    • Had a nice dinner at The Melting Pot with my parents, grandparents, and Emily May's family.
  • Dad took me to New Jersey and Philadelphia
  • Finished unpacking from Denmark. Started packing for Cedar Point.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"See you later"

 Every time I think of Friday I start to cry a little. Here are some pictures from today and yesterday.

I think that may have been my last time on the train. That's my "sad, confused, and upset" face.  

I went into the ocean today. It was quite cold. I finally did it though. I touched the water. 

Signe's jumping lesson today. Tiger finally made it over. :) They look great together. 

Me and my new best friend Muffin. She is a Jutland horse and is new at the riding school. This has always been my favorite type of horse: big and palomino colored.  

I braided her mane for a solid twenty minutes. She was so sweet and let me do it. 

 My going away party :( But this picture is fantastic :)

Eating desert and chatting at the party

Me, Liz and Jen. Yay! 

Gitte made a delicious dinner. Note the meat on the salad is llama meat. It was yummy. 

Gitte with the dinner she prepared and the personalized oven mitt from Italy. This is a nice picture.  

In Copenhagen today, I saw the Queen's guards marching. I had to take a picture of the clarinets and how they haven't memorized their music. The Hilliard Darby Marching Band looks better. Just saying. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Busy Busy Bee

Long time no write.
My friend Gretchen came over for several days. We went to Amsterdam together for two days and one night and then I showed her Copenhagen with Miaja and Liesje. (It's hard to show a city that you know so well because you don't know what is considered cool or exciting to someone else). Amsterdam was a lot of fun. I hope to go back there sometime soon because it was such an energetic and neat place to be.
When I get more time, I will write more about it. I need to do other things first.
For now, here are a few pictures.

Elephant at the Copenhagen zoo

FaMa, Julie and FaFa at the zoo

Gretchen with a stuffed animal

Family picture. Ten points if you find me. 

Feeding the Highland Cattle 

Me and my new friends

Grethcen feeding the Highland Cattle

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Can't Top That.

Yesterday was great. I really mean that.
  • Caught the train just in time
  • Did a little shopping in Copenhagen
  • Got a 10kr coffee and chocolate croissant from Studenterhuset
  • Got out of class early 
I was enjoying the sunshine by sitting by the fountain in Gammeltorv, reading a book on my iPad. I look up and I see Ulrik, Julie, Pernille and her mom. It was a dream come true. I was so shocked and extremely happy to see them. I was expecting them to call me and we would meet up somewhere. They came into Copenhagen to see my photojournalism exhibition.  Everyone really liked it. I was so happy for that, because I was afraid maybe Pernille wouldn't like the photographs. When she read the synopsis that I wrote, she almost began to cry. Me too actually. I was so happy. 

Signe and Gitte arrived and they also liked my photos. We went out to eat at a place down the road. We sat outside, next to a restaurant called Nova but I'm pretty sure we technically ate at an Italian restaurant because the menus did not say Nova.  

We had a wonderful family dinner. It was another moment when I was extremely happy. I ordered the tortellini and a Sex on the Beach. 

P, me and Julie went out to Dalle Valle for drinks afterwards. It was conveniently happy hour so we were able to get 2 drinks for 100kr. I loved my Mai Tais. 

As we were leaving Copenhagen, it was funny how I knew more about navigating us home than P or Julie. Like, I knew the train doesn't come to Norreport after 8pm and how the Helsingor train comes at Platform 1. 

I loved taking the train home with them, because it was so nice to sit and chat more. I feel like I've known them my whole life. 

Tuesday was an unforgettable day. 

Here are a few of my photographs from photojournalism:

Photos from last night ;)

Flip through my scrapbook

I made this scrapbook today and I shot a short 1 minute video flipping through the scrapbook. You can see pictures, receipts, maps, notes, cards, and flowers from my study abroad experience so far. ;) 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Thursday through Tuesday. Fasten your Seat belt.

This is my catch up blog post. I had an extended break and now I need to catch you up to speed. I won't be able to tell you the color of my underwear for each day of the week but I can give you the CliffNotes version of my week. 
  • Thursday: Social Butterfly
    • Met Blake in the morning. We got breakfast at Cafe Pauldan. I got the Morning Special and loved it. That is the kind of bookstore/ coffee shop / cafe I want to someday open in America. 
    • Met Miaja in afternoon. I ran into her while sitting at DIS. We had a lovely chat. I also chatted with my friend Liz. 
    • Dinner with Cheng. We ate dinner at a sandwich place on Norregade and caught up. We had so much new news to inform each other on. 
  • Friday: Debates and Explosions
    • Human Trafficking Debate: My group argued yes victims of trafficking should be granted asylum in countries. The debate went fine but it was a bit stressful preparing and organizing what each member in our group would say. Supposedly our professor wasn't pleased with the debate the class before us did, so maybe that lowered her expectations for our group. It was fine in the end.  
    • Lunch at Sandwich Pigen. I had a 60kr coupon because I filled out a DIS survey. What what!
    • Iron Man 3: I could write a lot about this. Here is the SparkNotes version: I met a woman from Bornholm waiting for the bus, we talked and I really liked how enthusiastic and out there she was. When we said goodbye, she said "Goodbye future journalist" in her airy sweet voice. Best way to say goodbye ever. I get off the bus, and realize I'm fifteen minutes walking from the theater  I get to the there at 4 instead of 3:45 like I was supposed to. The DIS group is inside, with my ticket I was supposed to pick up. I walk outside, defeated and call my mom to complain to her about how my life sucks (exaggeration). A girl runs up to me and asks if I'm with DIS. She says I have your ticket. Hallelujah  So I do end up seeing Iron Man 3. So many explosions in that movie. It reminded me of Terminator, with the demon fire people roaming around. If you like action movies, then go see Iron Man 3. I won't go see it again with you. 
    • I came home, and ate dinner and drank wine with my host family and Pernille's family. Story of my life: drinking wine. (exaggeration) 
  • Saturday: Roller coasters and Light up floors
    • Flea market: I went to the Studenterhuset Flea Market with my friend Jen. I bought a pair of earrings, a ring and 2 bracelets. We got coffee and walked around Copenahgen and talked. 
    • Bakken: I went to Bakken (the oldest amusement park in the world) with Jen. I had so much fun at Bakken. I wish we could've stayed longer / go back again. You'll have to tear my ride wrist band off me because I'm not cutting it off. 
    • Went out to Night Fever: Jen invited me to go out in Copenhagen so I did. We went to this 90s / 80s club called Night Fever. Besides the older crowd that was there, it was a really fun time. They had the classic light up dance floor, like from Saturday Night Fever.
  • Sunday: Spring Picnic and Ice Cream
    • We went to the DIS picnic: Gitte and I packed up the picnic basket, picked up Cheng and Susan and headed out to the DIS sponsored picnic. It was cool to see so many Danes mixed in with the American students so seamlessly. I spent the majority of the picnic catching up with Miaja. We just had so much to talk about. After the picnic, the four of us stopped for ice cream by the ocean. I really enjoyed that moment. Not only because of the delicious ice cream, but because of the company I was with, our philosophical conversation and just watching the black Labrador jump in and out of the ocean playing fetch with his owner
  • Monday: Final Monday and Concert
    • Last creative travel writing class. At the end of class, he gave us a disposable camera and told us to take whatever pictures we wanted and then he would develop the film and send us prints.
    • Lunch with Liesje at Cafe Paludan
    • Last international reporting class. 
    • Two Door Cinema Club Concert: I really enjoyed the atmosphere. It was a bunch of young hipster guys who knew how to have a good time. The music was so energetic and so everyone was jumping up and down and dancing. A fun time was had by all.  
  • Today (Tuesday): Final Tuesday and Sunlight
    • Last photojournalism class- I'm pretty sure real photojournalists don't print their photos on normal paper and then use spray paint glue to stick them onto a piece of cardboard. 
    • Last human trafficking class- today was the other half of the class debating whether prostitution should be illegal or legal. It got pretty heated and both sides brought up valid points. 
    • Most importantly, it's sunny in Copenhagen. (Shout out to a special little yellow dog who would love this weather- Yeah you Sunny Bear! Wuv you.)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Do you "heart" CPH?

You're invited!
I created a Facebook event and am excited about it.

If you want any souvenirs from either Amsterdam or Copenhagen, please communicate that to me soon. I'd be happy to get you something. Just tell me. :-)

I will someday write about my weekend and past week. I did do exciting things. I made a draft post with bullet points of things I want to talk about. That's a start. Just got to add pictures and more words. 

 I wrote in my journal today, "Yeah I really should blog about what I'm up to. But y'know it's just easier to write in here. I don't have to worry about posting pictures or censoring myself in my journal"

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Following the footsteps of Samantha Brown

I don't have a lot of time left in Copenhagen so I need to make the most of it. I'm a huge fan of Samantha Brown and so I've been trying to do all of the things she did when she was in Copenhagen. I've been to the tourist office, Stroget, the Little Mermaid, and now I've been to the Laundromat cafe. She took her laundry here and ordered a coffee. I only did the latter part. I recognized it from the show and got too excited.

Here is a picture from the inside. Note my Blog is open on my laptop and that I spilled my coffee onto the saucer. I accidentally exclaimed Shit! and the couple next to me smiled at me. Not sure if it was a pity smile or sympathy smile.

Laundromat Cafe from the outside. It's in Norreboro. You can take the 5A bus or walk across the bridge from Norreport. It's on Elmegade 15. 

I didn't take this picture but this shows the colorful books. Around the corner is the laundry machines. They even have cool framed posters in there.