Thursday, January 31, 2013

Last day of January

There's never a dull moment here in the Espergærde house. Something new every day. Signe went off to western denmark for a riding competition until Sunday. Yesterday Julia got her drivers license (they get it at 18 and have to drive a manuel car) and her parents surprised her with a car. So that was very cool. This weekend Julia is also helping a family friend at Copenhagen fashion week. 

I woke up at 7 today, ate breakfast with my family, lounged around and finished my reading for today. I caught the 10:10 train instead of the 10:30 train. I just went to DIS early and coincidently found a few of my friends from my creative travel writing class sitting at a table. 

In creative travel writing, we talked about our paper that's due today and went over the readings for today. I think he was disappointed at our lack of participation. 

During my break, I wasn't as adventurous as I normally am. After discovering that the classroom I was going to print off my photojournalism pics had a class in it, I just chilled in a DIS building. I watched some youtube and ate lunch. of course I also did my readings for today and tomorrow. 

In international reporting class, we watched a danish film called Armadillo about the Danish army's involvement in Afghanistan. It was interesting but not my cup of tea. 

In strategic communication, we went over what we'd be doing next week which is core couse week. We don't have our normal classes and instead we will be going to Aarhus and Odense. We'll be staying at a hostel and going around taking tours and interviewing different media businesses. Should be a good time. 

Going back to the language thing, I know the Danish words for yes, no, thanks, sale, mom, dad, bye, and hello. I just don't know signs for like "door locked" or "train delayed". Most people speak Danish so I can always ask. It's the spoken language that sometimes bothers me. It just sounds like weird gibberish that's so fast and strange sounding. I can only pick out basic words occasionally. 

Apparently DIS is predicting my moods and feelings on the spot because they sent my parents a letter explaining to them this is around the time students start to notice the cultural differences. I guess it makes sense that once the initial excitement wears off, you start to notice how different things are. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Forgotten pictures

These are some of the best pictures I took with my small digital camera during January 25 til yesterday.

Tim's handball game. It was a nice gymnasium. 

Seeing a live handball game was really cool. I'm glad Julia invited me. 

This is at our host family brunch that we had last Saturday at 2pm. Note Chang and her host mom Susan. 

The brunch was at a cozy place called Cafe Chaplin in Helsingnore. 

Last Sunday, unloading Tiger for the horseback riding competition. Notice the Denmark flag. 

Gitte loving on Tiger Woods. 

This girl was texting while horseback riding! :o 

Signe getting ready to go do her jumping event. 

Signe jumping one meter. 

Signe focusing before she goes inside. 

The girls are allowed to walk through the course before they jump it. It was neat to see a mob of people swarm onto the arena. 

A guy on a four wheeler helped clean up the arena. 

This was taken 1/29 (last night) in Sweden at the place were we saw the harness racing. 

At the starting line. 

The place was called Jägersro.

I cut the cheese

^ I want props for this creatively funny title. ^

It feels weird writing in my blog now because I started using my journal to express more personal thoughts (sorry Internet, you're not cool enough to know about my dreams or my feelings) and I just finished writing my first draft of my creative travel writing paper where I chose to experiment with how the same day is described very differently in a public blog and in a personal journal. He told us to try different voices and experiment but I'm worried about it being too scattered or unfocused. That's just how I write my blogs. (oh hey a peppermint. yum.) By writing it this way I'm also revealing stuff about my life as well as my insecurities to my classmates because it's going to be workshopped. Don't worry I changed the name of the cute guy I talked to on the train when I mentioned him in my paper.

Okay, so today was Wednesday and I didn't have any classes or field studies. Around 10, Gitte picked me up and we drove to their cheese shop in Lyngby. It looks like this:

This pic came from their website. But it did really look like that. 
Unlike the Elsinore shop, this one is in a mall. It's not as big as the other one. We unloaded wheels of cheeses and heavy boxes of things from her mini van and moved them to the fridge. I was amazed at how strong Gitte is and how weak I am. The cheeses made the car stink, that's for sure. 

Next we drove to the cheese shop in Elsinore/ Helsingor (Idk which to call it). There, we got lunch. For me it was ham and cheese on a baguette and for Gitte it was sausage on dark Danish bread. After lunch, she had a meeting with a guy about advertising in the local paper. I sat in the office and played a game on my phone. That made me feel like a little kid. 

I helped Gitte make rum and raisin cream cheese, orange cream cheese, and regular cream cheese. We had to measure out 2kg of the cheese first and then divided it into .2 kg chunks that were rolled around in nuts. My job was to make sure the weight was right and to keep count of them. It was very messy work. 

This is the type of cheese I helped portion out, weigh and add nuts to. 

Fun fact: they just started an online business for their cheese shop through a third party website. It only serves the area of Copenhagen but it's still fun to look at. 

By this point, I was pretty tired. I had my unwritten creative travel writing paper looming over my head and I was tired of listening to Danish all day. The language difference is starting to get me down. I feel as if I'm surrounded my an unfamiliar language and unable to listen or participate because of it. I've become too good at nodding, smiling, and zoning out while I hear Danish around me. Here are all of the things in Danish that I can't understand: the newspaper, some tv channels and shows, anything in a shop, phone calls, books in bookstores, signs, train announcements, menus, conversations, and some websites. I think today I just got tired of Gitte talking in front of me so much in Danish.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I felt very Danish while I was riding my host mom's bike that she let me borrow to and from the train station.

In photojournalism, we were in the computer lab today. We imported the pictures we took and learned how to upload them onto Sharefile. We were asked to chose our 3 best photos. Then in groups of 3, we shared all of our images with each other and listened as the other two group members chose their favorite 3 pictures while the photographer had to remain quiet. Of course my group chose different pictures than the ones I did, which is fine. Everyone took pictures of their kollegium or the streets of Copenhagen. I took pictures of my host sister's horse show. I didn't have time to print my pictures so I need to go back on Thursday and do that. Note to self.

In human trafficking, we talked about the geography trends in terms of what countries women are most likely to be taken to or come from. We also talked about how none of the research or statistics are entirely accurate because it's such an underground illegal activity that it's hard to get legit numbers. I think our professor thought we were really tired because she repeatedly told us to bring coffee next time and gave us a five minute break in the middle of class. I used my break to ask the girl next to me where she bought her cookies.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Being more social

Just another Manic Monday. Wish it were Sunday. That's my fun day. My I don't have to run day.

I went in to Copenhagen early today to meet Liesje at 10. We chatted at the Studenterhuset. I got a croissant and a coffee for just 10kr. What a bargain. She shares a lot of the same feelings and anxieties about things too so it was nice to sort of compare feelings with someone familiar from back home. We talked for about and hour and a half about how we're adjusting and what we're doing this summer.

A picture I found on Google images. 

I was the last one to arrive in my creative travel writing class so I was sandwiched next to two kids in the back of the room, near the loud kid with the speech impediment. I know I mentioned him last week but he's just very...noticeable I guess. Not in a good way. I mean he's kinda a "bro" so it's more of an annoying feeling than a sympathetic feeling. That's off topic. In class, we went over the reading so I was glad I did them. He had us write a paragraph about our home. It was a easy exercise. I wrote about my two story cardboard box. Just kidding. Then we shared a few of the paragraphs and talked about what they included and didn't include.

During my two hour gap I went to the studenterhuset again to meet my group for our presentation for strategic communication. The guy in our group never showed up. He claims he forgot. The wifi didn't work so we couldn't do much but edit our powerpoint. After fifteen minutes, me and a girl from my group walked back to DIS. We chatted about where we were from and how different Denmark is. I spent the rest of my break in a coffee shop called "The Living Room". I had tried going there on Friday but it was too crowded. Today it wasn't as crowded. There was a guy from my creative travel writing class there too. They have very comfy couches all over but it's very dark. It's just lit by candlelight which gives it a very cozy feel.
A picture I found on Google.

In International Reporting, we looked at two different news articles and guessed what publication they were from and explored whether they were biased or not. It was interesting.

In Strategic Communication, our group was the first to do a current affairs report. We presented on UK possibly leaving the EU. It was a very complicated news event to chose, in my opinion. I wanted to present on the Brazil club fire. Anyway, the presentation went fine. The questions some students answered were hard to answer but I don't think we're graded on that part. We continued our lecture on reputation management. Then we got into groups and had to talk about what we would do if we were communication managers for a big company and a journalist called asking about rumors that a subcontractor was using child labor. We agreed to give a brief comment about how our company is taking this very seriously and is investigating and that we will get back with them soon. It was cool PR role playing.

After class, I met up with my friend Blake. We went out to eat at a place called Nova. It wasn't very crowded. I got sushi (again) and she got pizza. They even gave us free bread. I was excited to get the house rose wine and Blake got the house white wine. Our waitress was very nice to us. It wasn't a very Danish dinner but it was nice.

Then, we walked back to the train station and stopped at an Irish Pub along the way. I got a Magnes Cider and she got a dark beer. I loved my cider! Blake didn't like hers as much.

This is The Globe Irish Pub. We sat by the window. It wasn't this crowded and no one was smiling. 

Blake and I are going to Italy over the travel break. She came to dinner with our journey all mapped out which was a nice surprise because I hadn't started planning it.

It was after 8 so I had to go to Osterport and take a different train home. On the platform I ran into a guy I recognized. In the morning I actually recognized him on the train but didn't say anything to him. I felt like I was stalking this kid, but we just coincidentally took the same train. I think it was because of the cider and wine (I wasn't drunk, I didn't even feel it because we ate dinner beforehand and drank water.) but I approached him and said hi. It was probably a little creepy because I was like, "You're in DIS right? You're Peter right?" I knew more about him than he knew about me.
We sat together on the train and talked. He's done a lot of traveling so we just talked about that. I was just proud of myself for talking to a boy. Baby steps.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

2nd Weekend

I’m blogging from the train. Normally I blog from my room or the living room but today I had to go into Copenhagen for a group project so I’m using my commute time to knock something off my to do list.

Sorry for not blogging yesterday. I accidently drank too much white wine during dinner and was too tired and incapacitated to write a coherent blog post. I wasn’t drunk, I was just very dizzy and had a headache. I watched a Danish singing contest with my host family and it was hard to pay attention. So I went to bed fairly early last night.

Yesterday we (me, Julia, Gitte, and Cheng) went to Helsingnor for a DIS brunch for students and their families who lived up north like me. It was at a place called Café Chaplin. It was a buffet and they had bacon, mini pancakes, sausage, liver, croissants, and coffee. It was nice to talk with other students about how hard it is to go out when you live 45mins away from Copenhagen. One girl was a full year student so she told us what last semester had been like for her. We made a facebook group to coordinate going out together in Helsingnor where there are some bars and clubs. Yay.

I baked Nutella and peanut butter cookies for my family last night. I was proud because I did it by myself. My grandmother wouldn’t approve of how I baked them because my family didn’t have ¼ or ¾ measuring cups so I had to guesstimate the quantities using a 1 cup cup. The cookies came out fine. I don’t think I’ll use that recipe again though. I’ll try a different one.

 At first I was concerned because the dough was very dry and flaky. I asked my host mom and she wondered aloud if I had already put in the butter. Nope. So once I added the butter it looked more like dough. I think I’ve made this mistake before.

Saturday night, a friend asked me if I wanted to go out last night and I politely said no. When I told Emily and my host father this they both asked me why. I told both of them that I simply preferred to stay in my comfort zone rather than venture out into the unknown. Which is silly because I want to go out, so I can’t keep whining about it when I don’t seize opportunities I’m presented with. I need to be more like that guy from the movie Yes Man and say yes to everything.

Goals for the week: Say yes to things. Talk to people in my classes. Wake up earlier. Be more social! Bake more.

Today (Sunday) my host family woke me up at 7:30 for breakfast. We had to go to the riding school to get Tiger ready for the jumping show. My host sister Signe showed Tiger Woods in two different events at a local horseback riding show. I always like going to horse shows because there is so much excitement in the air and since I know horses, I know what’s going on.

Several things amazed me at the show:

·      Tiger loves going into the trailer. You have to stop this horse from going into the trailer before we’re ready. He’s the opposite of Ginger in that way.
·      The girls were so young and small. Their ponies were bigger than them.
·      The girls weren’t scared of the high jumps or big scary fire breathing ponies. They were fearless. If an 8 year old girl can jump one meter than I can certainly jump a hay bale.
·      Even when horses refused jumps, knocked over poles, or the girl fell off, she didn’t cry or pout. A couple times the girl toppled over the horses’ neck and crashed into the jump. I gasped loudly. They were all okay and able to walk out of the arena. It was just of course scary to watch.
Signe and Tiger didn’t do their best at today’s show but that’s alright. In the first event Tiger refused a jump and in the other event he also refused a jump and knocked down one or two poles. Oh well. Signe said he was spooked by the colorful jumps and wasn’t going as fast as he normally does.
Even though it was cold and I lost feeling in my feet, I had a good time at the horse show. I hope to attend more of them with Signe. She said she has one in Feb 17 and 23.

Overall I had a pretty good weekend. Not terribly busy or overwhelming but not boring. My favorite part was eating my Nutella and peanut butter cookies and my least favorite part was accidently drinking too much.

Random: My new quest is to find grape jelly. I asked my host mom to buy some and she said she couldn’t find any. I asked the other DIS north Copenhagen girls if they knew where to get it and one girl said she saw some in Netto. I suppose I could try and peanut butter and raspberry jelly sandwich if I can’t find grape jelly. 

Friday, January 25, 2013


Today was a very "Copenhagen student" day what with the classes, shopping, and dining out. 
  • In Photojournalism, we spent the class overanalyzing photographs from a 1940 Life magazine. He had us come closer to the projector to see better so we had to stand the whole class. I made sure to stand by the window so I sat on the windowsill. It was a boring class. In the last minute of class, he told us we had to take 40 pictures like the ones we'd seen for next class. Great. 
  • In Human Trafficking, we talked about the Palermo protocol which sounds like the most important document in defining human trafficking. We got into small groups and looked at 3 situations and decided if it was prostitution, trafficking, or smuggling. It was harder than we thought. 
  • I had to turn in my Copenhagen Post application today and I had a heck of a time finding where to turn it in. It was confusing because the woman recently moved offices and because there is the DIS Communication office and the Communication and Mass Media program office. I wanted the latter. I would go to one building and be told I needed to go to the other building and vice versa. It was a nightmare. I eventually found her office and turned it in. 
  • I met up with my host sister Julia in Copenhagen around 3:30. We went shopping along Stroget. It's shocking how expensive everything is. If you do the price conversion to dollars in your head, it makes you not want to buy anything. I bought eyeliner and some socks while Julia bought a tank top and some makeup primer. 
  • For my first Danish meal out of the house, it wasn't very Danish. We ate dinner at a sushi place that had rotating sushi. I had only seen food on a conveyor belt like that in a tv show, never in real life. I ordered the same thing she did, just to be safe and I really liked it. There were california rolls, tuna, salmon, and shrimp over sticky rice. I had to ask for a fork and a knife while Julia used chopsticks. We also got cupcakes from Agnes Cupcakes that we ate at the handball game. I got a Lemon Meringue cupcake while Julia got the Chocolate one.  
  • the rotating sushi on the conveyor belt
  • We took the S train to see Tim's handball game. It was kind of like intramural basketball or like high school basketball in the sense that it was in a gym and there weren't a lot of people there. Tim's team didn't play very well in the first half but turned it around in the second half and ended up winning. 
  • Tim drove us home and I found it neat that highways and driving is pretty similar as in America. I also found it interesting how Tim and Julia prefer driving over taking the train. I had a stereotype in my mind that Danes didn't like driving because it was bad for the environment. Nope. 

I can't get over the fact that the microwave insults me. haha

Thursday, January 24, 2013


These are some snapshots from Wednesday when we went around sightseeing with my creative travel writing class.

The famous little Little Mermaid statue

She had snow and ice beneath her.

Me and Ariel. I made sure to wear my Little Mermaid watch that day.

Me in Nyhavn. Fun fact: locals don't go here. 

So many colorful houses. My host mom told me the food around here isn't very good and is overpriced. 

I'm proud of this shot.

"That will be 80kr"

I was inspired by a girl I talked to yesterday to try harder on my outfit than I normally do. So I wore leggings, a purple dress, a black cardigan and a scarf. It was an upgrade from my usual pants and a sweater.

Just as I was about to head out walking to the train station, Ulrik's father pulled up with Berta and offered me a ride to the station. Yes! Normally he comes too early or too late for me to catch a ride with him.

I got to Copenhagen an hour early. Not knowing what else to do, I looked around H&M and Matas. At Matas, I bought a eyeshadow brush. I figured it wouldn't be very expensive. The woman at the cash register said it was 80kr. The price didn't register until I had left the shop. I had paid $16 for a eyeshadow brush. Later in the day, I went to a different Matas and returned the brush without a problem and got my money back. I'm very happy I returned it. That's not even funny, paying that much for a stupid little brush that I didn't even need.

I had Creative Travel Writing first in my day. We discussed our readings (glad I did them) and talked about tourist vs. traveler and what the word exotic means. They were good discussions. There is one kid in our class who has a lisp and he makes a point to talk multiple times each class period. It's the kinda lisp where he doesn't pronounce 's' right. I find it very noticeable, but maybe I'm the only one.
During my break between classes, I used my phone to help me find this place I'd been looking for called "Squeeze Me First." I'd heard kids say they had cheap coffee. I found it and was shocked at how small it was. There was hardly enough room to sit down and eat. I saw on Facebook they had a daily special for facebook fans which was tomato soup (with pasta in it) and bread for 25kr. I got that and a coffee. The soup was very delicious. It was a sweet and creamy tomato soup that was perfect for the cold weather outside. When I was done, I was proud that I didn't spill any. I look down and see two huge orange spots on my dress. Damn.

At DIS I went to a bathroom (that had a puddle of pee by the seat and smelled so disgusting I couldn't breathe through my nose. I blame the boys. They are co ed bathrooms. Boys are disgusting.) and used my tide to go wipe to clean up the spots the best I could.

With time still to kill, I walked to the Copenhagen tourist office because Samantha Brown told me to. It was pretty empty. It's connected to a coffee shop which is kind of strange. I grabbed some free brochures and another map.

My 2nd class of the day was International Reporting. We had to submit to him a half page article about our partner that we interviewed Monday. He told me I did a good job but forgot to include a headline or subheadline. Whoops! I'm used to other people writing those. In class, he gave each group a food and asked us to taste and describe it in a non biased way. My group got these gummy black licorice fish called like Salty Fish. It was so disgusting. I wrote: "Salty Fish taste and look like a sweedish fish that has been left out in the hot sun all day and spoiled. They look ominously black with no smiling face, fins, or eyes. The taste lingers in the mouth for several minutes. A starving feral cat would not eat Salty Fish. They taste like candy that has sat in the ocean for a few years." Haha. I wasn't very unbiased. Other groups had rye bread, canned fish, and mackerel.

In Strategic Comm, we talked about the 2006 Mohammed Cartoon Crisis in Denmark. We discussed whether a U.S. newspaper should reprint the cartoons when covering the news about it. We also learned what is a reputation and how to manage it.

I had a meeting at the Studenterhuset for interested volunteers at 6. I went to that and it was very crowded. I signed up to help at the cafe/ bar. The meeting only lasted less than an hour so I was able to take my normal train home.

I called my host parents but they didn't pick up. So I had to walk home. :( and cold face. My host mom came home shortly and she made me an omelet. We watched a show like What Not to Wear but in Denmark. The host woman touched the other woman's breast! They showed her trying on bras and touching her breast. I was shocked. I can't get over the fact that they say shit and fuck on the TV. Little kids and old women will say "That was fucking fantastic" or "She's so fucking beautiful." I gasp each time.

My host father asked me what I learned today and I felt kind of embarrassed when I just said "Uhhhhhh." As I blog and reflect, I suppose I learned a lesson about money value. I'd rather buy a tomato soup and bread than a eyeshadow brush.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

White wine

Wine made my day better. No, I don't mean by getting drunk. I'm just saying my day improved after I had two glasses of free white wine with friends.
My creative travel writing class met at the Little Mermaid statue at 1pm. I thought I wouldn't have a problem finding it, but I did. I looked it up ahead of time and used Rejesplanen. I wrote down the directions and felt pretty confident.
I took my usual train, planning on getting off at an earlier stop (Hellerup). I heard an announcement in Danish that mentioned Hellerup so I got off. It wasn't actually that stop. It was the Kokedale stop. I was mad at myself for not knowing Danish and the announcement for misinforming me. I just hopped on the next train because it was going to Hellerup too.
I got off and boarded the right bus. I think I made a mistake by getting off at the wrong bus stop. I wrote down two names for what bus stop to get off and I got off at the second name but maybe I should've gotten off at the first name stop. I don't know. My written directions said I was three minutes walking distance away. I knew the little mermaid was near water and saw no water around me. Desperate, I used my iphone and looked up directions. It said that in walking distance I was 35min away! Disappointed, I began walking. I allotted 30min of extra time so I wasn't very worried about being late. I was more worried about being in an unfamiliar place. The stupid directions took me in strange parts of town and I had to walk .8 miles on a walkway sandwiched between a major road and the train tracks. I felt like a homeless person, walking alone on the sidewalk by the street. That was a major low point. I wanted to cry. I felt lost, mad at myself, confused at where I went wrong, cursing technology, I was cold, my feet hurt, and I was alone. I followed the directions and turned off that awful road. I walked by another girl and I'm sure she saw how lost I looked and asked if I was with DIS. I said yes and so we walked together. I was relieved to find someone and be lost together. My face and lips were numb, so I'm surprised she could even understand me. We went the wrong way, asked for directions, walked past the frozen harbor and finally found our group. I said Hallelujah aloud.
Our professor wanted us to talk to other tourists there and ask why they were there. Most of us just took more pictures of the underwhelming statue. A girl near me asked a woman why she was there and she said she was from Holland and was on holiday here. She was told that this was a sight she ought to see and so that's why she was there. Pretty typical response.
Like in elementary school, we took a class picture in front of the statue. The statue wasn't veyr big or anything grande. It seemed silly all the hype that is around it.
Then we moved onto the next stop on our creative travel writing copenhagen tour. We went inside the marble church that was dome shaped for about ten minutes. We sat in an eerie silence. There was a homeless guy sleeping in the pews.
Next we went to Nyhaven and our professor told us how it used to be a very rundown area but the city tried very hard to clean it up and tell everyone to go there. Clearly it worked. Now it's a spot that only tourists go. We took some more pictures and headed to thaw out in a Baresso coffe shop. He bought us all hot drinks and we got to relax and leave when we wanted. I ordered a neat chocolate mint latte that had chocolate mint candies at the bottom of it. I sat with two or three other girls and we had a nice casual chat.
I walked with a girl who was in another one of my classes, Liz, to the Studenterhuset. We just wanted a place to relax. I was planning on going to the Communication program social but decided not to because of my terrible travel experience this morning. The social was in the meat packing district and even though I wrote out directions, I didn't feel excited about getting lost again. So I stayed in the studenterhuset and did reading with Liz.
I looked up and recognized Liesje. I walked over and Miaja was there too. She explained that she was there for a climate seminar which would have free wine and cheese after. Liz was also planning on going there, so on the spur of the moment, I decided to go too.
It was a powerpoint presentation about bike culture in cities and how this guy's company is working to promore biking. He talked about why copenhagen is a model biking city and the benefits of biking. He made me feel bad about loving my car so much. I still liked the presentation.
After, we gathered in the back of the room and ate bread, crackers, cheese and drank white or red wine. I chatted with a couple other girls I knew.
It was a nice way to end a rather "out of my comfort zone" day. Just chatting, drinking wine, pretending to be fancy adults.

Oh yeah, I made chocolate chip cookies with my host mom tonight. She went to the store and bought the ingredients. I wasn't sure if it was for chocolate cookies or chocolate chip (I guess they call them chocolate cookies but they are chocolate chip cookies). Baking was different because she measured things on a scale. It would call for like 360 g of flour rather than 3 cups of flour. Weighing the ingredients seemed easier to me. Instead of buying a pack of choco chips, she chopped up the chocolate. She said the chocolate chips weren't good quality. I started to eat the cookie dough and she lightly scolded me about getting salmonella and I explained I do it all the time at home and have never gotten sick but am aware that I shouldn't do it. She nodded and said she used to do it too when she was younger. The cookies came out great. They tasted weirdly better than American cookies. haha.
I found these on google images

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

An off day

Today felt like an off day. I just mean I didn't feel like myself today. I just felt "blah."
I rode Julia's bike to the train station (struggling with the hills) and was proud of myself for that. I got there ten minutes early somehow so I just sat in the covered area where I earlier saw a rat and spaced out. On the train, this guy was talking very loudly in front of me and it was annoying. It's also annoying how my train rarely has wi fi. I tried to read my homework and stared out the window mostly.

I walked to DIS and went to Photojournalism. I haven't liked that class yet. Today he continued to tell us how fascinating his life has been and the deep philosophy behind photographs. I think he's full of himself. That was a long and boring class because it was just him lecturing at us. No discussion or even mention of the reading that was for today.

Next was Human Trafficking. We discussed the film we watched last night. One girl said the main character had no choice but to prostitute herself. My hand shot up and I told the class that I disagreed and felt that the main character had plenty of other options like staying in school, getting a job, or going to social welfare. That started a discussion. We talked about the difference between trafficking and smuggling as well as the broad causes of trafficking. The main cause is mostly poverty.
The little notebook I bought claimed to be 5 subject but the 5th subject is graph paper, so i took notes today on graph paper. Haha.

I took the train home, biked home, and ate leftover Chinese rice. Then I sort of spaced out again and just cleaned my room a little and went on the computer.
I went into the bathroom and randomly decided to take a shower at like 6pm. I don't know why.
I think I'm just feeling sort of lonely or sad. At DIS and in my classes I haven't made any concrete friends. I tried very hard to make friends during orientation but when classes started, I stopped being as friendly and trying to make friends. Now I just feel that everyone else has found friends to go out with and they are living it up more than me.

Of course, tomorrow I'm going to try harder to be friendly with people and work harder to make friends.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A cold Monday

I'm very tired because it's been a long day. I hope to keep this short. My morning started rushed because I thought my host father's dad might give me a ride to the train station but he didn't come in time so I had to speed walk to the train. I made it with one minute to spare.
In my creative travel writing class, he told us how with travel we had the opportunity to become whoever we wanted to be. I already knew this. I think I should figure out who I am before I go and try and become someone I'm not.
I went to a coffee shop cafe place and ordered a coffee. I sat by the window and tried to do my International Reporting reading. It was very boring and long so I just skimmed it. We didn't talk about it in class so it didn't even matter. When I went to pay for my coffee at the counter the guy was very nice and helped explain to me the different coins and their value because he saw me fumbling with them and trying to read their value.
In International Reporting, we learned the basics of journalism. It was review to me. Then we interviewed our partner and have to write up half a page about them for Wednesday. My partner told me about how disgusting her room was and how long she spent cleaning it. Glad I live with a clean host family.
In Strategic Comm, we talked again about Lance Armstrong and then about the BBC show we watched about the use of social media in the Arab Spring. We got in groups and talked about the advantages and disadvantages of social media. It wasn't anything new or groundbreaking. I'm sort of tired of the term social media. I feel it's overused.
I had a film screening for my human trafficking class at 6. We didn't start til 6:30 because she made us coffee and tea. I listed to the kids in front of me talk about living with Danes in their living arrangement. They said they would give them random geography quizzes and laugh when they got them wrong. They would tell them aggressively what to do and be very patronizing. At dinner, the Danes were making announcements and someone reminded them to speak English and they just kept talking Danish. Err..glad I live with a host family.
The film we watched was called Lilija 4 Eva and was honestly the most depressing film I have seen and will ever seen. It was about a young girl who lived in Russia and how her mother abandoned her, she did prostitution to get money, was gang raped, then met a guy who told her they would run away to Sweden and get jobs but actually he sold her into sex trafikking in Sweden and she was trapped there. Her only friend from Russia committed suicide. In a trippy dream sequence, he told her the door was unlocked and she ran away. Then she jumped off a bridge and died.
We were all silent when the professor turned on the lights. She asked us if we had any questions and I wanted to ask (as a joke) to go see a counselor. It was very emotionally draining.
Feeling numb, I had to take a different train home. At first it was tricky finding the right platform but I did. I had to take the train one stop, transfer and then I went home. I called my family to pick me up at the station because they offered to do that for me.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday is not my day of rest

My Sunday:
I woke up around 8:30, ate bakery bread and Nutella for breakfast with my host family. They told me to dress very warmly today because we'd be outside a lot. My host dad let me borrow some snow pants to wear, but they were too small. :-( My host mom asked my host sister if she had any warm clothes to let me wear and she let me wear some thick leggings and a sweater. I wore a total of 3 layers of pants and I suppose 4 layers of shirts (including my coat).
We went to Signe's riding stable to watch her ride Tiger. He's a very cute dark brown pony. He's big for a pony. His coat is cut very short so he has to wear a blanket as often as possible. Like all horses, he is obsessed with finding food. And like Ginger, he likes to go fast. He loves cantering (they call it galloping so I was a little concerned at first when they asked me to gallop) and jumping (Signe jumps over 1 meter). While they set up the jumps in the arena, I walked, trotted, and cantered Tiger. It was great to be in the saddle again and ride a energetic well behaved pony. Then we watched Signe go through her jumping course. Tiger refused one or two jumps but otherwise I was in awe at how good they looked together.
If you think this is high, imagine moving the white pole on top of the yellow one and then jumping that. It's crazy.  Over one meter high. 

The other girls from the stable came to sit with us and help Signe make the jumps higher. When she was done, I walked Tiger out. We stayed at the stable for another half hour or so and by the end of it I couldn't feel my toes. And I was wearing two pairs of socks!
Signe let me ride her pony, Tiger. Note his jumping bridle, his blanket on his back and his cuteness. 

We came back to the house. I regained feeling in my feet and ate some leftover pizza for lunch. Wasting no time, we set out for Kronborg Castle, which was just five minutes away. It's in the town that my train makes it's last stop in, Helsinger. It's also known as Elsinore, Hamlet's castle, from Hamlet. The perform Hamlet every August in the castle's courtyard. How cool would that be?
We walked through the castle and I took lots of pictures. There's so much history. I liked how my host family would point out things and explain the significane of it, like the C4's above the doorways mean Christian the 4th was the King who designed that room. He loves his name.  I hope to go back to Kronborg again.
Me with my host family!!

We came home, watched TV, I did a little homework, and we ordered Chinese food. I asked for Sweet and Sour chicken and when they opened up all of the boxes, they thought it was some sort of extra dish of shrimp they had accidentally given to us. I explained that it was just my chicken. My host father got duck, and I tried a little piece. It was fine, tasted like chicken.
After dinner, we spent the evening watching the handball game of Denmark vs. Tunsia. I'm learning to like handball.
Today was a good day. I'm starting to feel more comfortable around my host family and making jokes around them. They commented on how I've quickly learned the sarcastic Danish humor. Yay!
Driving in the car, I could't resist this sunset. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

First Saturday

This morning, we had Danishes from a bakery for breakfast. At 12:30 I caught the train and went into Copenhagen with Cheng. We got there early and so we walked around the shops before 2pm. We had to board a bus and go on a five minute ride to the place where we applied for our Danish Residence Permit. There was 1,000 of us and they were especially open on Saturday for all of us. We took a number, (I was 444) and sat down to wait for our number to flash up on a screen. We waited about 30-40 minutes. When it was my turn, she asked for my paperwork and it took 1 minute. Then they took my picture and my fingerprints. Then, we took a bus back to Norreport. I went to Tiger and bought a 5 subject notebook, a pocket calendar and a multi colored pen. I can't resist going to Tiger every day. Haha. I took the train home no problem and walked back home without my map. Yay.

I chilled at home, did some homework, wrote important dates in my planner, and took it easy. Around 7, my host parent's friends came over. They brought their two younger children too. They didn't know a lot of English, but when I spoke to them, they seemed to know what I mean (except when they ate a buckeye, because they had never tried peanut butter before, and I joked that I poisoned one. That had to be translated into Danish.) My host father offered me white wine. I had a small glass of dry wine that I didn't love and then a glass of California wine that was sweeter. We ate chicken wrapped in bacon, salad, potatoes, and green beans for dinner. It was a feast. For desert, my host family's friends made creme brule. At first they told me it was pudding but then when I saw the blow torches I figured out it was creme brule. I think they weren't sure how to say that in English. They called them torches and not blow torches. I helped burn the sugar on top. We had desert wine with the creme brule. It was so sweet!

Some random things I've picked up, observed, noticed, while I've been here:
  • Danes don't eat peanut butter regularly
  • Danes love Nuttella
  • Danes are ranked as the happiest people in the world but if you ask them, they will disagree and complain about the government and taxes.
  • Handball is the most popular sport
  • Danes love the X factor
  • Rihanna is very popular here
  • Fighting with your boyfriend or girlfriend happens in any country or culture
  • Everyone says they will lose weight in the new year (this surprised me because Danes have no weight to lose)
  • The stoplight will turn yellow before it turns red or green. It transitions.
  • Pancakes are thought of as crepes
  • I was asked if I was upset over the Lance Armstrong confession (sort of, right now I just empathize with him during this chaotic and personal time for him, but I also think he should've have lied or cheated)
  • everyone knows at least 2 languages, sometimes 5. 
  • their school system is very different
My blog wasn't chosen to be an official DIS blog, so I guess that means I can stop trying to make this the best blog I can. Haha just kidding.

Friday, January 18, 2013

2nd day of class

Today was my 2nd day of class, which feels weird because today is Friday. I had my Tuesday and Friday classes which are Photojournalism 11:40-1pm and Human Trafikking in a Global Context from 1:14 to 2:45.
Today I'm trying organizing my blog post by sections. 

My morning
I woke up at 7 to eat breakfast with my family. It was rough to wake up that early knowing I didn't need to. I was pretty groggy through breakfast where I ate the same thing as yesterday.
I went back to bed and slept til 9:40. I got ready and as I was about to walk to the train station, my host dad's father drove up and offered me a ride to the station. Yes! He walks Berta every day and I think I just timed it right so I could get a ride to the station. I treated myself to a cappucinno from the 7/11 for 24kk. When I was in there, a mob of teenage kids came in and started buying pastries left and right. They all seemed to be taking the train together as a class of some kind. It was interesting how similar and different they are from American teens. Like Americans, they buy expensive treats just for fun like pastries and they tease each other loudly and stand in groups. Unlike Americans, they are all beautiful, skinny, fashionable, and bundled up in the same way. On the train to the city, these loud American teens were bragging about how drunk they got last night.

I met Miaja and Liesje outside my classroom, by chance, and we talked for a while. Like my other classes, this one was pretty crowded. The professor is a skinny man with long brown hair. He told us his life story for most of class, which was very boring. He seemed kind of pretentious which got on my nerves. He listed all the reasons why we should drop the class and how it would be the hardest class ever and some of us might not be able to handle it. That just made me want to stay in the class even more. He showed us last years student's work and I know I can do better than they did. I have experience with photography and know what I'm doing. He told us the class isn't a photography class, and rather it's about forming a relationship with someone, observing them, and photographing them. A girl from last year, met a Danish girl who went dumpster diving for all of her food and clothes so she photographed that. I'm thinking I could use one of my host family members to help me. I'm ready for the challenge.

Human Trafficking 
I thought this would be my least favorite class, but nothing could have been worse than Photojournalism was today. This is my only class that has a female professor. I normally don't get along or like female professors because we often clash but I actually like this woman. She seemed really cool. She had a thick English accent, wore all black except for a green sparkly dragonfly broach. Her black blazer fit her really nicely and I was impressed by her sense of style. Anyway, she was also very fun and lively. Like, she would wink at us when she made a joke and courtesied when she took attendance and the first girl said her name. The class looks like it'll be very informative and emotional. The name gives it away as being a sort of depressing and heart breaking class but I want to learn more about the truth of human trafficking, whether it's sex trade or forced labor. I can't ignore these horrors forever. She had us write down why we took the class, what we expected from the class, and whether we thought prostitution should be legal. We then went over the syllabus and she told us we'd be watching movies, and having various speakers. We won't be having a victim or survivor come talk to us, and so that was a little nice to know.

After class
I got home around 4:30. My family wasn't there. This is the first time I've been home alone here. I heated myself up some leftover pizza and watched a little TV. Then I cleaned my room and did stuff on my laptop. I found a fun top40s pop station from London that I listened on their house radio. They showed me how to use it this morning.
Check out the pics I took today.

Learning my way around photos

I brought my camera today and remembered to take pictures. I felt like such a tourist with my camera. Maybe next time I'll bring my nicer SLR camera so I'll seem like more of a photographer than a tourist.
The square by DIS. Idk the name. 

V5, The main DIS building. 

I love this name. It's how I know I'm going the right way because I have to pass it on my way to class. 

The DIS square again. 

What a great shop name

I haven't been here, but heard it's good. 

Lots of bikes

Greyfriar Square

What colorful buildings

A very old tree

No one was eating outside today

A mix of nature and urban life

A good place to chill

It's like the University of Copenhagen's coffee shop

Oh what a nice statue

Haha, they are drinking and smoking.

Neat detail on the building

Shopping street

Cool looking building

Two levels of bikes

I make sure to pass this on my way to class so I don't get lost.

Thought this was cool. I think that's beer...

I pass a McDonalds on my way home. 

My train station

A double decker train, that I dont ride

My station

Staying warm while walking home

A cool house I saw

I reached my destination

Berta being cute