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.