Finding my Inner Dane

It’s incredible to me how fast life can change just in a week. Last Friday I went out to eat with my family in Texas (Tex-Mex restaurant of course) I couldn’t wrap my brain around the fact that just in a short week my life would completely change-boy was I right about that. 

 I could spend hours describing every detail of my flight or every step I’ve taken around Denmark, but instead I have decided to dedicate each post to a different theme or experience that I think will fit along with my theme of discovering what makes sustainable happiness this fall. 

 With that being said what has immediately stood out to me this past week is the people. Not just the people and the students in DIS, but the Danes too. Sitting on a sidewalk cafe it doesn’t take long to notice who is a Dane and who is an American. It could be as obvious as the style of clothes, their walk, or just by the way they carry themselves.

 When Danes walk through crowds what I noticed was drastically different than Washington D.C was the way they will quietly move around if you are standing in their way. In the states big cities like New York you’ll often find people blaring their horns at you in cars, giving tourists dirty looks if they crowd the escalators in the metro (or god forbid stand to the left hand side of the metro in DC), or even pushing people on sidewalks if they are in their way. This type of behavior does not happen in Copenhagen. 

 What I find mentally exhausting about living in a city like Washington D.C. is the people are always in a hurry! Not to mention crosswalks and stops signs might as well not exist because no one obeys them. In Denmark, people actually stop at crosswalks when it’s red, and bikers obey the traffic rules just as well as cars. It’s going to be an ongoing lesson with me not having the urge to weave in and out through people and traffic like I find myself doing in DC, but slowly I am eager and excited to adapt to these small but unique Danish customs. 

 The Danes are an extraordinary group of people. In addition to being beautiful, blonde, and tall what I found is that they are just as interested to learn about the customs and traditions of the states just like Americans are interested to learn the traditions about the Danish culture. After having some discussions with a Dane last night in a neighboring town south from me, called Koge, I’ve seen that the Danes are incredibly humble when they are fortunate to have so much. It is a very wealthy country, and with the very high taxes the Danish government supplies so much of the expenses like health care and education which in return contribute to the very low percentage of homelessness and poverty that exists in the country. Already I can see how passionate the Danes are in investing in their future. Whether that may be in the form of solar power, education, or renewable resources-the Danes see the future definitely. 

 I promise in the blogs to follow I’ll go into every detail about the incredible food, unique fashion, and beautiful architecture that makes up this wonderful city that I already know will be so hard to leave come December. 

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Kobenhavn! The Country of Brews and Bikes

These past couple of days in Copenhagen have been an absolute whirlwind of new culture experiences and adventures. It’s impossible to narrow down may days in a few short stories, but everything from the food in the city to my host family has been nothing but perfect. 

 

We live in a town called Solrod Strand south of Copenhagen right near a beach. My host mom and dad could not be more welcoming, and have made me feel right at home. I can tell I enjoy living in a home stay so much already because it really gives me an opportunity to understand Danish culture and be a part of Danish life much more easily than I ever would on my own. My host sister, Linnea (always easy to remember) and brother, Emil, are so fun and remind me of the relationship I have with my brother. Emil is very active and usually is playing with a toy of some sort, and my brother Erik loves to spin a basketball on his finger and follow all types of sports.   

 

I wouldn’t be a real foodie if I didn’t talk about all the amazing food Copenhagen has to offer! One of my favorite experiences about a home stay has been the Danish cooking my host mom, Tina, makes. The food is incredible, and is something so different than the style of cooking I am used to at home. Rye bread and cheese is very popular for breakfast. Rye bread is a typical Scandinavian bread that several Danes will eat for breakfast with either cheese or jam. I love having the chance to sit down with the family at the dinner table each night and talk about our days. 

 

Just walking around the city of Copenhagen I’m amazed at all the unique food pairings and options that Danish culture has to offer. Smorrebrod is very popular in Denmark. Which is an open face sandwich with soft whole grain bread, the bread has so many whole grains in it you can see the difference immediately just by looking at the bread. In my opinion, the fresh local fruits and vegetables  that go into the cooking in Copenhagen is what makes it so delicious. With fish fresh from the water just steps away it’s hard not to become spoiled! 

 

The Copenhagen nightlife is Copenhagen was the first time I tried Carlsberg beer, that was founded all the way back in 1847! Last night a few other DIS neighbors of mine in Solrod Strand took the train into the city and went out to a few bars in the city. All throughout the night as we walked along the cobblestone paths weaving through all the Danish bikers it was hard for us all to believe we were actually in Denmark. This whole experience has been so unreal, and if it’s one thing I’ve learned is how you have to pause and appreciate the small moments during the day where you can just soak in how incredible this experience is to call Copenhagen home the next four months. 

 

 

I can’t wait to see what lies ahead these next few months. If it has been anything like the first few days, I can hardly contain my excitement for the future adventures awaiting me in Copenhagen and Europe this fall. 

 

Hej Hej (Danish for bye)  for now! 

 

Copenhagen is Calling

This Sunday I was so excited to finally call my host family via Skype. I will be staying with a wonderful family of four who even have a dog and two cats (talk about right at home!). I chose a homestay for several reasons, but really the main deciding factor that drew me to choosing a homestay was how unique an opportunity it is. I cannot imagine passing up the opportunity to move to a different country and be able to live with the people of Denmark.

After speaking with friends who had participated in the DIS program, I had learned that Danes are typically more reserved. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to live with a Danish family, and grow accustomed to another culture. Not to mention to have the opportunity to learn a new cuisine and to help my family cook exciting new meals!

I am so fortunate that one of my friends from school has stayed with this same host family before, and said nothing but wonderful stories about all of them! Not to mention my host sister is also named Linea (spelled differently with one “N”). How exciting to live with another Linnea!

It’s still hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that in less than a week, I’ll be writing from Denmark. I saw this quote the other morning, and it really reminded me of seeking new adventure and making the most of my abroad experience this fall.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

Wheels up in 3 days and 18 hours!