Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Berlin, Germany

So right now I really should be packing to go home....but that is kinda depressing so instead I'm going to write about Berlin!

Last Sunday Ashely and I went to Berlin for three fabulous days and I am going to start from the very beginning...the trip to the bus to go to Berlin :)

To begin with, Ashley and I stayed up all night and did not sleep. At 5am I left my house to go meet Ashley at the bus at central station, mind you we didn't have to be there until 6:15 and the bus wasn't scheduled to leave until 6:30 and my train ride is only supposed to be 26 minutes. So I get to Hareskov station and I get on the train, no big deal. Then the train stops at Svanemollen Station, and I have to change trains, no big deal either because they have been working on the train lines for the past four months and I'm used to this. Normally the next train is either already there, or is there within the next fiveish minutes...not this time. I waited....and waited....and waited...after ten minutes I go to the driver of the train I just got off and asked him when the train was supposed to be there. Well, the next train isn't supposed to be there until 6:06...major problem. You see, that means that I would get to the station at around 6:22 and then I have to RUN to the bus, but it is definitely doable. Can you guess what happens next? The train doesn't come...go figure. So I call Ashley as I'm running up stairs to go find a bus. Luckily she knew exactly which one for me to take and I'm on my way. She told the bus driver (the one taking us to Berlin, not the one I was on) that I was running late and he wasn't so nice and said that he absolutely had to leave at 6:30. My bus finally gets to the station at 6:26 and I sprint to the bus...luckily I made it :)

Then I slept the entire way to Berlin, all 7 hours of it, even when we had to get off the bus to get on the ferry, I slept.

We got to Berlin around 1 or 1:30. First we went to the nearest train station, because we were going on the free NewBerlin Tour at 4 and we weren't exactly sure where we were going. We go to buy our train passes for the day but guess what? The stupid machine doesn't take American cards and there is no ATM in sight...we later found out that it was the only train stop without an ATM, go figure. So we walk and walk some more until we find one, withdraw money, and walk all the way back :) Once we get back we find our way to the tour meeting spot, which was a million times easier than we thought it would be and we are a little early; so we just walk around to some tourist shops and take pictures of a bunch of random things.

The Berlin Tour was fabulous! It took us to a bunch of places such as:
  • The Brandenburg Gate
  • The Reichstag
  • Where Hitler's Bunker used to be
  • Holocaust Memorial
  • The Book Burning Memorial
  • Checkpoint Charlie
  • Potsdamer Platz
  • SS Headquarters
  • The Berlin Wall
  • TV Tower
  • Gendarmenmarkt
  • Museum Island
  • Pariser Platz
  • Luftwaffe HQ
  • Bebelplatz
Although it said we were going to the Berlin Wall...well technically we did...just not to the "good" part. Our guide showed us where is used to be and a tiny section that was still standing and told us how to get to the longest section of the wall still standing. The tour lasted three and a half hours and by the end we were exhausted and hungry.

So after the tour we decided to have a "German" meal...aka a bratwurst and Augustiner. To accomplish this we went to a random sausage stand that we had passed on the tour and got a bratwurst and then we went to a place that our tour guide had pointed out to have "the greatest beer (Augustiner) on the face of the planet." He was right.

Finally we went to go find our hostel. It was close...yet hard to find. We make it up to our room and decide in advance that all we want to do is shower and go to sleep so that way we can wake up early and make the most of our time. Well we get up to our room and we see only one person in there...and he is staring at us. Since he won't quit staring we decide it would better if we could at least see since he wasn't sleeping and we ask if we can turn on the lights and he says we can. He glared creepily the entire time and every now and again he would attempt some random phrase in english that he knew. After we had both taken showers and safely locked our belongings in a locker we pass out for the night.

The next morning was fabulous because we got a free breakfast at the hostel! It was by mistake but who cares. On our second day we started back at Brandenburg Gate and basically walked the route of the tour from the day before. We wanted to go back and read some of the information that was posted at some of the stops and we also wanted to get some better pictures. We did this for most of the day and just goofed off like normal and along our way we came across some bears. Not REAL bears but decorative bears and we took lots of random pictures with them; however, I only have pictures of Ashley with the bears because she told me that I can have the pictures she took once I finally post my at the end with the pictures of the bears that is Ashley :) To end our second night in Berlin we went to the famous Hard Rock like we did in every country we went to together. Ashley got worried at first because they were out of margarita glasses but they had them in the basement because they had gotten a shipment in that morning. So all was well and we had a FABULOUS night :D

Our last day in Berlin was kinda somber. Once we got up and checked out of the hostel we headed up to northern Germany to Oranienburg, Germany to go to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. It took us about an hour to and hour and a half to get up there but it was worth it. Once we got there we decided to just tour the place on our own, so we got a map from the front desk and went for it. We took our time as we went and really just took it all in. It was so strange to see places like role call square, the bunkers, the crematorium, the shooting trench, prison, guard towers, and the autopsy tables. The camp was built in 1938 and was liberated on 22 April 2945 and during the time that it was functioning it is estimated to have murdered between 30 and 35 thousand people...

The only thing we did on our last day was visit Sachsenhausen, once we finished there we got on the train back to Berlin to catch our bus back to Copenhagen for our last week in Denmark.

A piece of the Berlin Wall at the East Side Gallery

Brandenburg Gate

Here is Ashley with a bunch of bears :)

The Gate at Sachsenhausen

Memorial near the crematorium and gas chambers.

A wash room that had made it through a fire.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Christiana: A Completely Different World

I had my first encounter with Christiana on Tuesday and it was quite fascinating.

So Tuesday morning Ingeborg, Singe, Magnus and myself woke up bright and early (ya know...around like tenish) and went to Christiana.

Christiana would best be described as a town within Copenhagen; but nothing would really suffice as a really good description and I am going to try and make this a vived place in your mind. I am sad to say that you are not allowed to take pictures in Christiana.

So my first impression was "are we seriously in Copenhagen??"

In case you have absolutely no clue about Copenhagen, it is a very cute city that is rather large; however Christiana is a hippie commune. All of the buildings are mostly made out of recycled materials, there are no washers or dryers, no heat, no vehicles, and everything is peace love and happiness.

There is a 100 year wait list to move in...yes 100 years!! In order to move in you go through a series of interviews to make sure that you cherish the same values as your neighbors and to make sure that they like you.

It used to be an old military base and the government is trying to tear down Christiana so that they can build a museum. Well the people here don't really like that. My host brother told me that the police randomly try to come in and tear down some houses but a day or so later the house is completely restored...

Another thing that I was able to see was the selling of pot just out in public. Now in Denmark it is just as illegal as it is in the states to sell, harvest, or purchase drugs...these people just don't care, but ya know...whatever.

When you see Christiana at first glance it looks run down and kinda like the "ghetto" of Copenhagen...but there are trails through the back through the woods and down by the lake and it's very pretty back there. You have to view the place more on it's values for it to seem pretty :)

All in all it was a good trip with some wonderful family bonding time and I got the chance to go see a hippie commune :)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Old McDonald Had A Farm :)

On Monday the family and I went to a farm because a bunch of lambs were just born! They were precious :)

We saw quite a few new born lambs, a calf, baby goats, and some ponies...too cute. They all had to be inside for two weeks and then they are allowed to go outside and roam free on the grass; however, that was not good enough for one of the little goats. He was adorable! He was completely white on half of his body, and the other half was black. He had managed to squeeze through the holes in the fence and was playing with a trash can that was used to hold the food; although he was determined, he did not succeed in getting into the food.

Of course the adventure couldn't just end with playing with little, tiny baby farm animals...oh no we ate lamb for dinner :)

This is the goat I was talking about

He was really shy :)

Which one doesn't belong??

Sunday, March 21, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

To begin with on Wednesdays there are no classes so it is always a nice relaxing break in the middle of the week, and that is always fabulous. Secondly, I was in a three legged charity race.

You paid 50 kroner to enter the race ($10) and all proceeds went to a charity called BØRNEfonden which all profits go to children who are in poor living conditions. The money helps provide homes, food, and education.

The race began at Kennedy's Bar and it was an Irish Pub. Here you pledged your 50 kr and they gave you a map along with the first drink. From here you went to the Shamrock Inn and you were tied together with your came the fun part. You were duck tapped together around your ankles in the very very back corner of the bar. Then you had to side step (still attached to each other) around the other 600 people there to get out of the place so you could line was rough.

Our duck tape broke before we got to stop number three and in order to not be disqualified you had to find a solution and fix it as soon as possible. We used my scarf =] Other than that we didn't have any troubles. We met quite a few new people, funny thing is...we didn't really meet any Danes...

It was a lot of fun and we enjoyed it soo much; needless to say it was a nice break from just constantly doing school work!

Waiting in line at the Shamrock Inn for it to begin


Phillip and Henrick...

A man playing the bagpipes at stop #7

Finished! (I couldn't drink that beer...I ended up leaving it somewhere)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Birthday Party and FCK

So on Saturday night I went to my first Danish birthday party at my "aunt" Lillian's house. It was her birthday and all of my "cousins, aunts, and uncles" came over. We had a huge three course meal that was absolutely delicious. We started off with a salad, then we had some sort of meet that was barbecued...I believe it was pork...but I could be completely wrong about that and more salad and new potatoes (which we eat a few times a week), and then we had dessert! For dessert we had chocolate cake, ice cream, and bread and butter pudding...yes bread and butter pudding...odd and fairly decent but its not something I would ever make to eat for myself.

After the meal my "cousins" and I went upstairs to Michael's room and talked and watched American Idol...yes American Idol on the Danish tv...pretty interesting. It was pretty neat to watch but it was wayyy behind because it was the episode after the man sang "pants on the ground."

The night lasted for about 6 hours, which seems incredibly long but it by fairly quickly and was a lot of fun. I was able to meet several new people and meet those that my host family holds close to their own hearts!

On Sunday night I went to a soccer game! It was FCK (F.C.Københaven) against Brondby. I had soo much fun and it really was exciting...because the fans in Denmark are quite violent when it comes to defending and cheering on their favorite team. I was a "FCK fan" for the night and the opposing team were lighting flares and sparklers in the stands and a few of them ended up on the field so they had to pause the game to remove them. There was singing and chanting and it was just crazy! FCK won the game and the final score was FCK:1 Brondby:0....the only goal scored was scored after an hour of play was intense.

Here are some pictures and a video that is the theme song of FCK and was sung repeatedly throughout the game...I have a video of the fans doing this but it will not let me upload it :(

FCK's mascot--the lion

FCK Fans

Another stunt the FCK fans did

Brondby's fans mad that we scored..please
notice the flare on the field

We scored after 72 minutes of game time!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

McDonalds & Twilight

Last night was the Climate Seminar and Ashley and I had decided that we would go. It was based off of how to live a sustainable life and what can a city do to be sustainable; it was also free food and wine.

Well before the seminar I had a group meeting for a project in one of classes and I had an hour and a half to kill before Ashley came to the city and the seminar began. I was starving and I was out of kroner (the danish money) so I had to go to somewhere that I knew would take my debit card...the only place I could think of was McDonalds.

So I go in and tada the menu is in English!! Sad news is that there is no dollar menu...there is the equivalent of a two dollar menu but there is like one thing on it; apples. So I order a cheese burger and a milkshake and its 47.50 kr or about nine dollars :( and nothing really taste the same...but whatever I'm now full.

After I left McDonalds I started to walk back towards DIS (Danish Institute for Study Abroad) because that's where I'm supposed to meet Ashley at. On my way I see a bookstore and I decided to stop by because I am running low on reading materials for the train and I wanted to see what their English selection looked like.

May I begin with the fact that this is a smaller bookstore so I did not have high hopes for finding anything worth getting. I walk in and there is a nice little sign that say English Books and wander that way. Once I get over there I realize that there are very few books and they are all Twilight, mind you that at the front of the store they had a huge display of these books in the Danish form.

Well that's all I've got...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"Beware the Swedes are Crazy!"

I am back from Stockholm, Sweden!

So after Tallinn, Estonia my group crossed the Baltic Sea over to Stockholm, Sweden. It is freaking cold and windy and I don't like cold and windy, just in case you were wondering. :)

We stayed at the "Quality Globe Hotel" next to the Globe, which is the largest spherical building in the world (I really think they wanted to make sure we could find it, at night it glowed red from the lights.)

I'm only going to tell you about one of the visits we made here because it was the best and the others weren't really that exciting...

We went to a "preschool" that was for children from birth up to age 7 and it was a Reggio Emilia school, which is based of a man from Italy who believed that during this time in life children are developing their identity and should learn through exploration.

When we got there they came outside and took a group photo of us and within minutes their were posters up with this photo on it to welcome us to the facility and to let the children know that the visitors were there. We went inside and removed our shoes (custom for over here because of the snow) and the children walked us to our seats.

Then two precious little boys (about 5 yrs old) handed us each a coffee cup, poured us coffee or tea, add milk if we wanted it, and gave us each a cube of sugar along with a cookie.

We were then given three different performances: we saw a ballet dance by five little girls, saw a free style dance (to Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas) by three little boys, and a belly dance performance by five more little girls. It was so freaking adorable!

After Neville (the owner from Australia, picture and Australian English accent with a twist of a Danish English accent...amazing) gave us a few minutes of a lecture about the principles, values of the school he let us roam free and go see the place.

About two seconds after walking into the first room (mind you the kids just roam where ever they want) a little boy came up to me a stole my camera...yes he stole my camera. I kinda just followed him around to see what he was going to do, since there was no possible way to speak to him. He walked around and took about 50 pictures of the place, it was really neat because then I could see the place through his eyes: what he thinks of as important and what he loves. I would post pictures but since there are pictures of children in them I am not allowed to post them on the internet. Sorry :(

One of the most interesting things that I learned about this school is that there is a total of 62 languages known by the children combined. For example the little boy who stole my camera could speak five different languages, too bad one of those five wasn't English.

Well that's all I've got for kinda felt like a bigger Copenhagen with a little bit of an Americanized touch. Oh, but before I end I must add that while I was here I got a bruise...probably the biggest bruise I have ever gotten and is about the size of a honey pomelo because I fell down the lovely stairs that are between the Globe and the hotel...hurts so bad :(

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I'm On A Boat!

It is currently Wednesday night and last night my group travelled from Tallinn, Estonia to Stockholm, Sweden by cruise.

We got on the boat at 4:45pm and we didn't dock until 10am this morning. It was an absolute blast and it was deffinately one of the best nights I've had during my time over here so far!

Dinner began at 5:30 and it was all you can eat buffet and we all basically died and went to heaven. We ate so much and the boat set sail at 6. It was a rough start and it was difficult to walk because we were rocking so hard...not a good start, right? After a little bit the boat evened out but since there was so much ice over the Baltic Sea, every now and again it got rough.

After dinner we walked around and went into all of the stores and went and saw were all of the clubs and bars were so that way we could decide where we wanted to go and also because we were just excited to be there.

Our cabins were super tiny and in no time it looked trashed because of all of the stuff we had spread everywhere.

Basically the rest of the night we hung out and danced the night away...and quite a few people were smashed so bad that they don't remember being on the was basically one of those nights, that you just had to be there.

Owen (one of the three guys on the trip) kept making friends and introducing them to all of the girls and kept telling them that Americans are fascinated by Estonian men, he is one of those who doesn't remember most of the night.

Anyways...there is a taste of last night but I'm not going to spend time describing in detail about the night and the boat because I am now in Sweden and that doesn't mean sitting around on the internet all night :)

two of my three roommates
all you can eat buffet dinner
one of the bars
smile at the ceiling :)
ice on the right side of the boat
ice on the left side of the boat
the boat!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

So Why Are You Going To Tallinn?

So I'm posting this as an earlier date, but I wanted my posts to "be in order" its actually Sunday night.

So for my long study tour with DIS I went to Tallinn, Estonia and Stockholm, Sweden. We flew out of Copenhagen on Sunday afternoon and kicked the trip off in Tallinn. When I told people where my class was going for the study tour the first question was always "why are you going to Tallinn?" I didn't really have an answer for them and I wasn't particularly excited about going to Tallinn because I had never heard of it and it didn't sound like a fun place to go. I am happy to say that I was wrong.

Tallinn is a beautiful place and I would actually go back there one day. We stayed really close to the old medieval town, so this is where I am most familiar with. Sunday night we didn't really do much, but we went to a restaurant called Olde Hansa. It was a medieval restaurant where everything was set as if it were back in the day. People dressed in costume, there was old pottery, and everything looked amazing!

We went in and hung up our coats and we had to "wash" our hands...aka there was a big vat of water and a lady poured water over our hands and then we dried them on a towel. We had to do this because we had to "break the bread with our hands." For dinner we had: two different kinds of fresh baked bread with different sauces and things to put on it, and assortment for the main course (lentils, ham, chicken, sauerkraut, and others that I don't remember), "cheesecake", cinnamon beer, water, and black tea...mind you this dinner was like four hours long. It was fun, but way to long and when it was over we kinda just split ourselves into groups and went and walked around the old town to get a feel for and to get to see it, since we only had a day and a half there. The moon was beautiful and we took gorgeous pictures of churches and steeples and saw monuments that we have no clue what they were for, but the wasn't the point, the point was that we we're seeing a country that we would have never thought to see.

The next morning we went and saw a Jewish school, a synagogue, and the Jewish community building. All were very interesting but none of them really applied to children with special needs (which is what my class is studying). We went to lunch at the African Kitchen (too adorable) and it was very cozy, pillows everywhere and beautiful art covered the walls. We ate a lot and drank wine as we relaxed and took a break from the snow before our tour with Mee-Na (the way she stressed her name) began. Mee-Na took us on a walking tour of the old town and showed us places such as the parliament building, the Russian Cathedral, the Russia Embassy, and where Marzipan was invented (by a guy names Marts!) I also learned that any building that is pink (yes, pink) is an important building (such as parliament or an embassy.) Oh, and at the Russian Cathedral they had a "symbolic grave of Jesus Christ" take what you want from that...

Another place we went to see while we were there was a boarding school that was originally for children with tuberculosis and asthma. Now the students have diabetes, asthma, or something along those lines. During WWII it was turned into a hospital for the Soviets and the room our lecture was in was a horse stable...quite interesting if you ask me. I thought these people were crazy when they told me that children with diabetes and asthma go there instead of go to a normal school, but then they explained to us that if these children went to school near home and they had a diabetic or asthma attack, they would be dead before they ever reached a hospital I realized how lucky I was to grow up in a country where things like this didn't even cross our minds.

One thing that I thought was pretty interesting in Tallinn, was that they took ANY currency you had...and if you gave them "American money" it was like they struck gold.

Tallinn was beautiful and when I found out that I was going there I must say I was disappointed...I mean, people were going to Istanbul, Prague, London, and Paris...I was going to Estonia which most people have never heard of. Now I'm really glad that I was able to go here, because now I have seen an amazing country that is tying to form its own nation and has just gotten out of Russian control.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


So yesterday afternoon I set off with the family for a camping excursion in Sweden. I was really excited but at the same time I must admit that I was also nervous.

I wasn't really sure about everything that was going to happen, except that my family as well as three other families were going to join each other on a camping trip in Sweden and that Neil had referred to the place we were going to stay at a cabin and also as a hut.

So we set off yesterday around three o'clock. Mathilde left much earlier because she rode with one of the other families because not everyone would fit into our car, which means it was Neil, Ingeborg, Magnus, Singe and myself in our car. It was a three hour drive which wasn't a big deal but for the drive itself Magnus made coffee and tea and put them into thermoses in case we felt the need to have some on the drive. (haha)

So after we cross the boarder into Sweden this man is honking and pointing to the back of our car and so Neil pulls over into the rest area to see whats wrong and we notice that one of our tires could use a little air and makes the executive decision to get air when we stop to get some chocolate :)

About 20 minutes after putting air in the tire we here an explosion (yes, an explosion that came from our car) so we pull over. Since I am sitting closest to the highway I am the last one to get out of the car and before I get out I ask "what happened?" and the response I got was "we have a flat tire."

Now I feel that before I can continue I should explain what "we have a flat tire" actually means because when I got out of the car the entire passenger side back tire was GONE. COMPLETELY GONE. Our tire exploded and there was nothing left of it...even the hub cap blew off.

So luckily we do have a replacement tire but it is underneath the massive amount of stuff we have brought for this camping trip that we have embarked on, so this means that everything in the back of the car must be removed and placed on the side of the highway.

The only other interesting part about our "flat tire" was the fact that half way through Neil teaching Magnus how to change a tire was Magnus got thirsty and breaks out the thermos and drinks a cup of tea as he changes the tire.

So we finish driving to the said "hut" and when we pull up I think I died a little...because you see this "hut" was a mansion that had 33 beds, 7 bathrooms, a sauna, pool table, and fooze ball table...hut??

Basically I had an amazing camping trip. We laid around, ate good food, watched movies, played games, and the younger ones made an igloo....a huge igloo because of the massive amounts of snow everywhere.

Unfortunately I couldn't stay the whole weekend because Signe and I had to catch a train home tonight because tomorrow morning I leave for my long study tour to Tallinn, Estonia and Stockholm, Sweden!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Crazy Danish School Care

So last week I meant to write about my first "long" practicum because the first time I wrote about my experience I was only there to see the place for about an hour; but now I have gone three days, and oh the adventures I have had!

So the first "long" day I had there was different...but not completely crazy. When I got there I played with the kids and did things such as dance to music, do puzzles, look at picture books etc. Then one of the girls came up to me and was like "so me a few of the other interns have decided that we don't feel like sitting here anymore so we are taking some of the kids into town, would you like to join us?"

To begin with, where I'm from you can't just peace out of the school with someone else's kid without a ton of permission and release just doesn't happen. So I go and there are three interns (excluding me) and six little girls. We go into the city (Copenhagen) and take a walk. We go to the Botanic Gardens and we just let the kids run free. We eat lunch there (which the kids all bring their own lunches and they were in their book-bags that they were wearing) and then we wander back to the school. So not bad...I mean it was different, especially taking the kids on the train...just not my normal.

The next day I go and I am more mentally prepared. Before I came they told me that we were taking some kids to the movies no big deal. There are 7 adults and 14 kids and we go to a place and watch some Danish cartoons and eat our lunches and head back. It was basically an all day ordeal but I was prepared so nothing shocked me.

The third day however blew my mind. I know we are going on a field trip, just not the full extent about what is about to go down. So when I get there all 60 children that attend this facility are lined up outside...(scary right??) We start walking and I'm monitoring about 8 children (thank God I'm used to that with the kids in my family) and we get near the train station and it's no big deal because we took the train to got to the movies. Well then we pass the train station...and I'm wondering "maybe we'll take the bus??"


After an 1 1/2 hours of walking with these 60 children we finally reach our destination. A puppet show. All of the children take off the five layers of snow gear they have on and go sit down to wait for the show to begin. This puppet show that we have walked 60 children trough the snow down pretty busy streets last for approximately 15 minutes. Ya know what happened next? The children redressed and we walked back...holy crap.

I wasn't mentally prepared for that.

At all.

The End.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

London Bridges

Right now it is Saturday night and I am waiting for my family to come home from London. They left bright and early Wednesday morning and I haven't seen them since Tuesday morning.

While they were gone (mind you they know about this so I'm not hiding anything) Ashley basically moved in. She came over on Wednesday after her field study and just left a few hours ago. She's having even more problems lately with her couple so hopefully this week gave them time to patch everything up.

While she was here we ate massive amounts of food and when I say massive here is the list to prove it...this does not however include lunch or any snacks during the day...just breakfast and after we got home from school each day:
  • 2 pizzas
  • 4 bagels
  • 1 container of cream cheese
  • 2 packages of pretzels
  • 2 liters of yogurt
  • bag of grapes
  • bucket of jelly
  • 3 bags of pasta
  • 2 jars of pasta sauce
  • 1 pot of meat sauce that Ingeborg made before she left
  • 1 chocolate cake
  • 1 loaf of white bread

I will however add that Friday night Becky and Caitlin came over and did help us eat some of it...but not much of it.

We also spent our week being very productive. We trained for the military by going through boot camp, combat training, and assault training. We learned how to work in a spa by properly giving massages, waxes, and filing nails. We ran, jumped hurdles, played frisbee, fished, played with a cat, and became DJs. If you are wondering how in the world we accomplised this the answer is quite simple. We found a Playstation 2 video game called the eye toy and it's bascially the pre-wii. This game was played so much that we are all very sore and we need so much space that we had to move the furniture in the living room to make room.

Friday was awesome as well. We were supposed to make mac-n-cheese but cheese is extremly expensive so we made spaghetti and a cake (from a box that the directions were in Danish). We forgot that we had to make the cake early so we could actually eat it so at midnight after the cake was finished baking, we put it outside in the snow to took about 10 minutes.

When everyone left today Becky's family invited me over for dinner so that I wouldn't have to make dinner for just me. It was very nice because I hadn't really spent much time at her house and I didn't really know them so I was good getting to talk with them and have a hygge night ("cozy" night but it doesn't translate into English). We had hot fruit pie and tea for dessert and it was very relaxing.

The past week has been amazing but I must say that I do miss the family and I can't wait to eat healthy dinners again! Sad thing is I don't think I'm going to be able to stay up much longer because my eyes are slowly drifting and they won't be home for another two hours because Neil just texted and their plane has been delayed so they won't be home until after midnight. So in the mean time I think I'm going to go to and see what's new on tv lately :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Paid Off!

Remember how I got a ticket for being in the wrong zone on the Metro??

Well Neil and Ingeborg wrote the Metro and they have decided that since the man was incredibly rude to me for no reason at all they dropped the fine down to only 100kr which is only $20!! I was stoked that I didn't have to pay hardly anthing at all.

Well then today I gave Ingeborg the 100kr because she said that she could take care of it from the house...she refused to take my money because her and Neil wanted to pay the fine for me.

I wasn't sure how to react because I am obviously ecstatic that I don't have to pay 100kr for a mistake but at the same time I felt bad that they were going to pay for it because they felt bad for me. Neil was funny though, because when they told me he suggested that since I had taken out the 100kr I should go to the store and by booze to celebrate and to have when they leave for their trip to London!

Basically I have the best host family anyone could ever ask for!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Oh What A Rain That Would Be!

Tonight I had a completely "American" night!

Ashley, Becky and I went to go see the movie Valentines Day in Dybblsbro tonight at it was fabulous. First off when you go to the movies here you have to reserve a ticket before you go and then you pay for it when you get there. So we go and Ashley's host "mom" (i put that in quotations because Ashley lives with a couple that is 26 and 32 and she finds it shes not mom...shes "mom") is there with her; because this woman doesn't believe that Ashley has any friends so she more or less invited herself to see if she really did.

So during this movie Ashley, Becky and I laugh histarically through parts when the rest of the theater is completely quite...apparently they didn't get the jokes.

After the movie Sascha and Allen (Ashley's couple) has decided that we should go to the Hard Rock Cafe and Allen is going to meet us there. When we get there everything is in English and everyone is speaking only English....AMAZING!

While we wait on our table Ashley's couple stands nowhere near us and just whispers to themselves in Danish. We finally get a table and the menu is fantastic and we decide that we must get chicken tenders because we can't find them anywhere else...they were out...

We settle with getting chicken sandwiches and french fries and we kill a bottle of Heinz Ketchup. The food was great, but Ashley's couple is fondling each other and whispering and have their legs all over each other so basically we ignored them the whole night.

We talked about middle and high school and the songs that were popular back then and for some reason we got on the topic of little kids tv shows...aka Barney. This conversation lasted for a really long time and when we left we are still talking about Barney, we remembered the old song "if all the raindrops were lemon drops and gumdrops oh what a rain that would be, standing outside with our mouths open wide ah ah ah ah ah ah ah if all the raindrops were lemon drops and gumdrops oh what a rain that would be!" and so we sang this LOUDLY down the streets of Copenhagen back to the train and Ashley's couple just thinks were "not funny" to quote from them.

Basically it was a fabulous night and now I'm back to my reality that I'm in Denmark and not the states, and everyone speaks Danish...oh well it was fun while it lasted :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Short Study Tour

This past weekend I went on my short study tour. The short study tour is where DIS puts all 700 students on buses and we disperse throughout Denmark for three days, Thursday through Saturday.

On my tour (children with special needs) we went to Helsingør and Odense. We spent the time going to different schools to see how children with special needs are treated within the school and then we also went to some things that were more for culture appreciation and fun.

In the first town we went to a Byskole which is basically a typical Danish school..well they did have children with special needs, but their integration if you can call it that was the children were completely sperated except for recess. They were very proud of their system but I was no impressed, mainly because any and all disorders are treated exactly the same. This meant that the blind girl, the autisitc boy, and the boys with ADHD were all treated exactly the same and I don't think that a child with ADHD should be kept separate from the "normal" students.

That day we also went to a Højskole. A Højskole is the non-traditional school for people who want to learn more. These people can be deciding what they want to go to college for or they can be the gandma who wants to learn how to paint, it doesn't matter. The people that attend the school typically live there and take classes that interest them for either a semester or a year. There are no grades and no testing because it is for your own benefit.

Another school that we went to was kind of like a private school and the kids (in all grades) were working on a project of America! It was so neat; they made a diner with the typical "american" food aka hotdog, hamburgers, budlight and cupcakes. They were also putting on a production of Greece! It was so adorable and I was quite impressed at how the seven year olds were working with the sixteen year olds!

The last school that we went to on our trip was desinged for only children with special needs and every student has an IQ of less than 70. It was so different to see the materials and things that the school had for the children to do. For example one of the "classes" that they have is woodshop; with the chainsaws, drills, and all that other stuff that no one in America would dare to let a child touch, much less a child classified with speical needs.

We did a few other things that day but the last "event" we had was a symphony orchestra. It was interesting and nice, but we we're all too tierd to sit and listen to music so I stayed awake by watching the man in the front row continously break the strings on his bow to the violin.

Oh yeah and before the symphony we went to "the ugly ducking" restaurant. It was cute, but I must say I'm still not used to this whole being legal to drink and it stunned me when Rita, our teacher, bought us all drinks.

After the symphony we went to a bar, but nothing was happening yet so we all went to the 711 and bought drinks and went sight seeing :)

The next day was less eventful mainly because it was a Saturday and a general rule of thumb is that schools are closed on the weekends. We went to the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, the one for kids and the one for grown ups, and I must say the one for kids was a thousand times better. If you are wondering who is this man and why we went to two museums about him, he is the creator of stories such as:

  • The Little Mermaid

  • The Ugly Duckling (hince the restaurant we went to)

  • The Princess and the Pea

  • Thumbelina
  • and like 100 others (no joke)

The kids museum was amazing because it was set up like you were in a fariy tale and everyone dressed up (yes all of the american college students dressed up like princesses, cows, chickens and knights) and it made us all feel like we were little kids again :)

The weekend was a blast and we ate sooo much! Every place we went to gave us hot chocolate, tea, coffee, bread, and danishes.

After I got home only the host brother and his friend were home. So they made me dinner and we just talked for hours on end until I finally passed out at like 2am.

So the pictures below include one taken at the orchestra...the man towards the right looking backwards is the man I continuously watched. The other was taken at the Tinder-Box (the H.C. Andersen Museum for kids).

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Today was my first day at my practicum site! This semester I am working in a center that is for children from 3 years old to 6 years old and they are freaking adorable.

To begin with the educational system over here is 180 degrees different from the system back in the states. Children don't start school until they are 7 and they are in "kindergarten" from 3 to 6, but it's more like preschool.

When I get there I take off my shoes and put on slippers and I meet these little kids. (First off the only thing I can really say is "jeg hedder Jessica" or "my name is Jessica.") Those of you who know me are like "why jessica?" well you see they had posters all over the place that had my picture and my "real" name on them so that the kids would know who I was and I didn't think it would be nice of me to screw over everything they had learned about me, so I am now Jessica.

They show me around the place and the "school" is broken into three areas and each area is broken into three rooms. Basically there are 3 classes with 20 kids in each. The three rooms within each class are:
  • a general main playroom which has like a kitchen area, a jungle gym thingy that hangs from the ceiling, a cd player, a couch, a table, a reading area etc.
  • a room with tables to color, do puzzles, draw, or eat at
  • a room that adults are not aloud in...each class has a different one of these and one has laptops, one is full of big bean bag chairs and blankets to go to sleep, and one is set up like a house

The kids are aloud to eat their lunch whenever they feel like it, go outside when they want to, change the music in the cd player, sit on tables, jump from the jungle gym thing, and there is also three nintendo ds's for each "class" and there is a wii for the entire "school".

The children are aloud to roam to whatever classroom they feel like.

The kids butter their own bread with knives when they have hot tea and freash bread for snack time.

They go on field trips whenever they want to, no permission slips or anything...they just leave.

So basically I was thrown into narnia today and I don't even know anything about children anymore because my world has been completely turned upside down.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Bad Day In Denmark

So today has officially be the worst day so far and hopefully it will not be this bad ever again.

I was excited for today though Because today was my first two study tours! So basically here at DIS they tell us that we do not have classes on Wednesdays ... this is a lie. Wednesdays are the days where our classes go on field trips (which is in the brochure as "Europe as your Classroom" <- catchy right?). So this morning I was supposed to go the Center for Brain Injuries (which is the place in English professor did not bother to give the class the name in Danish). Directions to this place were supposed to be on Blackboard ... my professor forgot to post it. Can you see where this is going yet?

Well so I figured I would wing it because these "field trips" are mandatory. I get on the metro in the direction that they told us it would be in and I know what stop I am supposed to get off at, I just do not know where to go from there. So I'm on the metro and the snow is being horrible like usual and is blowing sideways and it's gross outside and the metro decides basically to just stop and not move for fifteen minutes, no big deal because I left an hour early. Well it finally gets moving again and I loose track of where I am and I finally get to my stop and get off .... There is nothing there. Fabulous! So I call the DIS front desk and ask to talk to our assistant who is there to help us whenever we need her. I tell her where I am at and ask what to do because I am clueless, by the way she does not even know where this thing is. She does however tell me that I went to far and I need to get back on the metro and after I have done that and gotten off at the correct stop to call her back. Can you tell what's going to happen next?

So in Denmark there are these things called "zones" and you have to have a pass to be on public transportation with the correct zone on it. I have one of these nifty cards but for only the zones 1,2,31, and 41. Well guess what? I am magically now in Zone 3 .. and I get stopped by the "Metro Man." Apparently this guy has nothing else to do today but harass me.

So let me begin by saying that I honestly had no clue that I was in the wrong zone.

He begins with mubling something in Danish to me and I give him the stupid face American's get when someone speaks Danish to them and then I understand what is happening. I hand him my pass and he instantly looks like I have personally offended him. He keeps speaking Danish to me and refuses to speak English to me no matter how many times I tell him "I do not speak Danish" and the lady next to me tells me that this man thinks that I am a Dane trying to pass as a tourist and I tell him that I'm American and he says "Passport" ... I'm like okay whatever, dude wants my passport. I then hand him a copy of my passport because DIS said for us to do this instead of carry our "real" one so that it can not be the stolen ... he did not like this.

So remember the lady next to me? She is nice enough to translate to me that this man is furious (as I could not tell already) and that he thinks that I am a fake and is going to call the police because I have broken the law and from there I would be deported out of the country if I did not admit that I was Danish. Ya want to know how I proved I'm American? I gave him every possible form of ID: license, student ID cards, and basically anything in my bag with my full name on it .... he finally decided he had tortured me enough and gave me a fine of 600kr aka $ 120 .

After I finally made it to the station I needed to be at I was already late to the place, and I called Maren again. She gave me directions ... but after another 45 minutes of wandering around in the snow I gave up and decided to go back to DIS.

After I got to DIS and told Maren what all had happened she let me off the hook for not being abe two make it there since I had obviously tried. Well my next field study was not until late that night and it was just a movie so I decided I would go home and have a hot lunch and unwind before going to the city again. When I got home I told Ingeborg about my horrendous morning and she got pissed about how he had treated me ... so now her and Neil are going to write to the Metro in my defense to see if they can get the ticket dropped; I'm not holding my breath to see if that actually works.

The rest of the night was fairly uneventful ... not a whole lot happened other than going to see a movie on human trafficking and then (after watching a movie about a girl being abducted) going home alone in the dark.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Retracing My First Week

So I have not written since I got to Denmark and I'm laying here in the living room floor watching a movie with my new host family and I just realized that this time last week I was on a plane beginning this adventure that I have embarked on. This past week alone I have made memories that will last me my entire life and I will not to go back retrace my week in this foreign place.

It has been unbelieveably cold here in Denmark and I pray to God that I adjust soon .... or I may actually die. It has snowed every single day so far! What makes this even worse is all the locals repeatedly telling all the Americans that it is the Coldest winter they have had in 23 years. The river is mostly completely frozen over and it looks completely awesome where the free flowing water meets the frozen river:)

When I landed here in Copenhagen I thought it was really ugly! Little did I know that we landed in the "industrial" CPH and that I probably would not see that again until I got on the plane to go home. The first girl that I met when I got off the plane goes to NC State! She is seems really nice, but I'm not really sure what this name is ... I think it's Elizabeth ... but I would not bet on that. After we checked in with the DIS people at the airport they bussed us all to a school? called IUT and this is where we got the money for our transportation card, our schedules, and a bunch of other crap. Then I had to wait there for like 5 hours with 700 other students for my new family to come. During this time I mostly talked and met new people but I did call mom and aunt scooter on skype to let them know that I did not die on the plane ride over.

I remember that I was really nervous about going home with these people and meeting them was rather scary. They all semmed nice but I still was not really sure of them. The ride home was akward and we stopped to get my transportation pass, which my "brother" Magnus took care of for me ... Thank God. We went home and they gave me a quick tour of the house and it's really cute! There is a lot of open space, five bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. I thought it would be really hard to sleep but I was wrong .... I about died as soon as I hit the bed because I did not sleep at all on the plane ride over.

Monday came and went with out too much happening. I met Becky who is another DIS student, and she lives right down the street from me. We sat through an opening ceremony and then they told us to find the next building we had to be at .... and this is when we met Ashley. There were quite a few of us standing in the middle of the street because none of us knew where to go (by the way it was totally around the block) and this is how most of us met a lot of new people. Between Becky and I it was fairly easy to get home ... we live in a village called Hareskov that is in a town called Vaerlose. :)

Tuesday was another day that I do not remember all that well ... I met up with quite a few of the others that I was lost with on Monday. I learned that Ashley lives in Herlev and is from "upstate" New York.

Wednesday was the CPH scavneger hunt ... aka they gave all 700 Americans a map and told us to go and find random landmarks. It was way too cold and the snow was blowing sideways but it was a lot of fun! Mine and Ashley's groups ran into each other at The Black Diamond (The Royal Library) and decided two stick together. We had this great idea to ride the harbor bus (which is a boat) Because it would cut out a lot of time walking and would drop us off near our next stop. So we waited ... for like 30 minutes and then decided two give up, but of course after we had walked a decent way the boat appeared - so we ran for it. Picture this: 12 Americans sprinting, on a snowy day, near the water, after a boat. We knew we looked stupid but we really did not care! After we got on the boat we went to the Royal Square, which is where the Queen lives and while we were there we saw the changing of the Guard! It was amazing! Ashley and I got a picture with one of the guards and he got really mad at the two of us and kept screaming to get back 2 meters ... too bad we do not know how far a meter is. After this stop we decided we were too cold and we wanted to be warm again so we found our way back to DIS for our course orientations.

Thursday was my first day ever to go sledding! I went up into the forest (at the end of my road) with Mathilde (one of my sisters) and Ingeborg (mom). We went sledding down the hills. It was a lot of fun and it was really nice to be able to spend some time with them for a little bit. I completely got covered with snow and after about an hour or two we walked back to the house. That night Neil (dad), Magnus, Mathilde, and I went to IKEA. Neil was super excited about taking me here once he realized that I had never been to an IKEA. It is super big and believe it or not it is next to a McDonalds and a Toys-R-US. We bought Mathilde a new bed and walked around for a little and then went home.

Friday (night) was the welcoming party for all DIS students. They rented a really nice night club--this included free coat check, entrance, soda, champagne, beer, and fruit. It was so much fun and it was a cool way for us to meet more people and to hang out with the friends we had already made that week.

Saturday I went the Lousiana Museum with my family to see an exhibition by Jakob Holte. It was made up of pictures and stories that he taken and seen in America. I thought it was very interesting but I also feel that it was giving the wrong impression of Americans in general. The pics only showed poor blacks and the KKK...umm hello?? I didn't think we were still in this stage and everyone there thought that this was how the ENTIRE USA was and I had to explain how yes it is true, but not everywhere is like that to my family.

My first week in Denmark I really wanted to write down and try to capture some of the things that happend mainly because I didn't want to forget the this time I'm not home sick and I really am happy...yes things are really different than back home. Such as we drink hot tea everynight and I don't like hot tea, everywhere is cold and we open the windows everywhere to change over the air, I'm not used to riding a bus or train everywhere I go, everyone speaks another language and you feel like you're in a glass box because everyone speaks both Danish and English but you only speak English. Things are strange yet their not horrible but it will take some time to adjust to being here.