Thursday, September 27, 2012

Copenhagen Facts

Ok, these aren't really facts, since I didn't consult anyone with any credibility or read any scholarly articles, but I made them up, so just kidding, they are facts.

It rains a lot here. In case you didn't know, the weather in more northern parts of Europe kind of sucks. It actually rains an obscene amount here. Plus, subfact of this fact, biking in the rain is one of the most terrible experiences of my life. Ok that's an exaggeration, there are much worse things in life, but this is my blog so I get to exaggerate all I want. Also, the rain does not stop the children from frolicking on the playgrounds. It could be pouring and windy and dark and the kids at the preschool across from my dorm are still swinging away. You go kids, swing on.

Peanut butter is hard to come by. I wish this wasn't true, since I actually eat an unreal amount of peanut butter on a daily basis. But when you do get lucky enough to find it, the Danish peanut butter is kind of weird and grainy. But there is a candy store that sells American goods like poptarts, swiss miss, peter pan peanut butter, and kernel season's popcorn seasonings lol. I can't escape the GC, I just can't. You have to sell your organs to get the beautifully smooth and creamy American peanut heaven, but who needs two kidneys anyways? Not me hopefully, since I traded one for a box of Aunt Jemima pancake mix. Was that a mistake? Should I not have done that?

Studying while studying abroad is difficult. The pressure may be off in terms of getting A's goes, but it seems as though I still have to actually attend school and do some work. This is not pleasing to me. It's way easier to go on a Copenhagen dessert crawl or watch another horrible Disney Channel Original Movie. DCOMS 4 lYF3. So if we could take the studying out of this whole equation, that would be ideal.

Copenhagen bikers are nuts. I'm not going to pretend like Danes have never rung their stupid little bike bells at me. Excuse me for walking on a pedestrian street, I did not realize I was getting in the way of your bike race to no where. I'm not bitter. I also forgot to hand signal one day. ONE TIME! It was one time. I'm also scared to go to the left side of the lane because people book it on their bikes. My legs are still struggling to maneuver this level turf, and all the people passing me have circled the city five times already without breaking a sweat.

Europeans don't enjoy color. Or well, maybe they do, I don't really know, but based off their outfits, I'm going to say black is this continent's favorite shade. I mean why would you want to wear bright colors in such a dismal weather and darkness?? That would just be wrong. If the sky is dark EVERYTHING MUST BE DARK. Just kidding, I guess they are just really sophisticated and chic? If I was in Gardner it would be more than acceptable to wear my tie dye tee with my tweety bird fleece pajama bottoms on the regs, but here I only get kroners thrown in my tea because apparently I give off the impression that I'm homeless. rude.

Dessert is always delicious. It seems to me that no matter where you are in the world, and no matter what kind of crazy dish is being served for dinner, dessert is always amazing. Denmark is no exception. There is literally a bakery on every other street corner with huge glass windows just tempting you to forget that you said you weren't going to spend money today. It's all so wonderfully magical, and it takes every ounce of self control I have to not stop for a cupcake to put on top of my pastry to then stick in my ice cream that is on top of belgian waffle that I stuck inside a crepe. My life is one big strugglefest.

Studying abroad is the greatest. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Oh this is Copenhagen? I'm sorry, I thought I was in Antarctica.

I wish I was joking. I mean it's really not that cold out yet, I guess. But I'm not quite sure why past self thought it would be a good idea to go to Denmark in Fall/Winter, you know, when it's cold, windy, and rainy and I hate the cold, wind, and rain. Good call me from February. Good call. Now don't get me wrong, I do really love the city and this whole study abroad business is boss, but the weather is kind of miserable. To top it all off, the heat in my building is down, so I'm currently sitting huddled under my duvet with two pairs of pants on, a long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, and fleece. My nose still feels like it is going to fall off though. I got a vague, "they're working on it" when I inquired about it, well um can they work on it a little faster because it gets colder by the day and I only have so many sweatshirts that I can put on. I only brought two, and like three sweaters. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I honestly don't know what I was thinking when I packed. Don't let the fifty pound suitcase fool you, I have very limited clothing. Also, I only brought shoes made out of canvas. SMART MOVE. Good thing that fabric offers absolutely no protection from cold. I'm pretty sure my past self is the biggest idiot I know.

On another note, I got a package all the way from America today. YAY! I was way too excited to pick that up. It looked like it really went through some hardcore personal trauma on it's trip over the Atlantic, but nothing seems to have fallen out...that I know of. Poor little box. It also rode home in my bike basket in the rain, so on top of being fall aparty, it was damp. It's been a good day. ha. BUT I did purchase a chocolate muffin from the bakery across from my class. I'm not proud of that purchase. Except that it was the greatest chocolate muffin of my life. No regrets. I've been really bad about documenting the food I eat here. I apologize. Next time, because there will certainly be a next time. Not even worried. AND for dinner tonight Kat and I got really fancy and made spinach and artichoke dip. We understand that this is not actually a meal, but there are only so many days a week you can eat tofu and veggies on top of some sort of carbohydrate. So we made dip and put it on top of pita. I'm pretty sure everyone from my kitchen somehow ended up in there while we were eating and were really impressed with our skills. We rule. AHAHAHA. But actually, I'm kind of impressed that we actually really made something and it was delicious. I'm especially impressed since we didn't measure anything, and just kind of threw it in the bowl. Turned out fine. I'll take a picture of the leftovers since I was too hungry to go back to my room and get my camera. It's also really cold in here so I don't like to move.



Friday, September 21, 2012

Hey There

So it's kind of been a while. I apologize to all my adoring fans. I know there's a lot of you. LOL. I can't seem to remember what I've done between last blog post and now. My life isn't too thrilling, I mean other than the fact that I'm living in Europe, but that is besides the point. I've actually been doing a decent amount of schoolwork lately, which is annoying. WHO DO THESE TEACHERS THINK THEY ARE? When am I supposed to watch endless amounts of TV now? Just kidding, but not really. I forget how to be a real student. But it's cool because one week from Monday I'll be heading to Switzerland, so I guess everything is ok. I guess. 

In some pretty exciting news, I went to see Of Monsters and Men on Wednesday which superawesomelywonderfullymagical. I love them. I mean I already loved the band before I saw them, but they were amaziinnggg live so I'm now officially obsessed. It was in a pretty small venue over in Vesterbro, and we got there about a half an hour before the show started and were able to get two rows of people away from the stage. It was great, especially since the place really filled up once they came onstage. But seriously, for all my Boston based friends, go look them up if you don't already know their Icelandic musical genius, and then go buy tickets to see them in November. You will not regret it. They have a lot of hipster swag. 

MOUNTAIN SOUND- my own video is way better but it doesn't seem to want to load.

LITTLE TALKS- the one song the whole world knows

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Miscellaneous thoughts

I have super random stuff to talk about, so just putting a warning out that this post has no order or organization. First of all I FINALLY made it to Ikea after all this time. And let me tell you, it lived up to the hype. Why have I never been to an American IKEA!? WHY!!?? Kat and I spent way too much time trying out chairs and futons and generally being awkward, but that store is magical. Also, the food there is SO CHEAP! If I lived closer I'd probably stop by there everyday for a 10 Kroner hot dog. For those who don't know the conversion, that's not even 2 dollars. I did get an ice cream cone though. Only 8 Kroner? How could I pass that up? An ice cream from another place can be up to 35 Krones. Definitely worth it.

Second thought of the day time. I just finished a memoir, The Road of Lost Innocence, by Somaly Mam, for my Human Trafficking class here at DIS and I'm now putting out a general recommendation for everyone to read it. Sure, it's not the most uplifting book of all time...actually you'll be kind of depressed by the end, but it is just such an important topic, and such a moving and eye opening book, I just can't help but pass it on. This woman is absolutely incredible and her story is unbelievable so I seriously recommend you take a read. You won't regret it. Plus you'll learn a little about a subject most people only kind of know about...including myself. I'm not going to lie, most of my facts about human trafficking came from Taken, which was a good movie, don't get me wrong, but not altogether accurate.  So here you go, I mean what else do you have to do in your spare time but read about other people's hellish lives? Yeah, that's right, I'd thought you'd say nothing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


See what I did there? Actually, Viki came up with that one, I can't even pretend to take credit for that masterpiece. But now I'm actually back in mah city and getting back into a schedule...for a little while anyways. I actually ended up coming down with a cold as soon as I got back to the city, so I've had a kind of pathetic week. I spent the majority of Sunday in the same position on my bed, which I probably would have done even if I was healthy, who am I kidding. But I'm slowly recovering, and kinda sorta don't look like death anymore, so yay.

Last Saturday I took a weekend jaunt to the Frederiksborg Castle right outside of Copenhagen. I must say it was extremely fairytaleesque, and I plan on living there some day. The day started out with ice cream and pastries by the mote, which is always a good time. We then meandered through the castle grounds and gardens for a ridiculous amount of time. I honestly couldn't tell you what we did there for five hours, but we did find ourselves bench sitting a lot and just staring at the castle. It's kind of nice. We did attempt to stay for the sunset, but by about 7 the chill started to set in and somebody forgot a jacket. I'm not going to name any names, but let me just say, it wasn't me. Just kidding, I was really cold too, and hungry, so we peaced. Unfortunately, as we were on the train home we noticed that the sky was pink and gold and beautiful, sooo a return trip with warmer jackets has been planned.

Yesterday I attended an event for my buddy network (I actually hate the name, it makes us sound 2), which is basically a way to get to know young Danes. I was required to sign up for two immersion activities since my housing is with all Americans, and this was the only options really left. It was interesting to meet Danes my own age, although my Danish family is probably less than 10 years older than me...but that's besides the point. Since it was raining, the coordinator of our group suggested just going to talk in a bar down the street, but the other Danes wanted to go to some other bar that unfortunately allowed smoking. None of the Americans in the group smoked, but I don't think anyone really wanted to say anything so we just kinda went. I had to wash my hair twice to get the stink out ha.  But on a positive note, I had some interesting conversations with some people that I never would have met otherwise. It was really loud where we were so my English was a little lost on some at times, but they tried. I also experienced first hand the bluntness of the culture. One girl asked me outright how much I paid for school, and how I paid for it. Welllll, you know, financial aid, parents, and I only have one kidney now and part of my liver, but it's fine. But really, it did kind of catch me off guard, since I would never ask someone what or how they pay for school. But the Danish government pays for everything here, so I guess it's understandable to be curious about the crazy American education system. She also asked me if I was a democrat or republican. LOL. Good thing I don't actually know. I did find it interesting that apparently if Obama was thrown into the Danish political system, he'd be considered extremely conservative. I'M SO INFORMED NOW. Except I never got an absentee ballot. I suck as an American.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Short Study Tour

I'm finally back in Copenhagen after what feels like a week and a half. In reality, I've been gone for three days, but what's the difference really. I'm not exactly sure what made it feel so long, maybe feeling like I just adjusted to Copenhagen, anddd also having to do the whole getting to know everyone in my class. Not to mention that we drove across the country and back. I'm not even joking. Granted, it probably takes 4 to 5 hours to drive the width of the country, but still, we did that in three days. For those who don't know what a short study tour is, I basically got to venture to Western Denmark with my core European Clinical Psychology class for some academic and cultural visits. The past three days have been pretty jam packed and early, so I'm exhausted and ready for an early night. But first, let me recap before I forget my life.

Monday started at the crack of dawn, or well 6AM, but that's the crack of dawn to me. I had to be at the bus by 7:30, but also had to pack a lunch and sheets and walk the 15ish minute walk to the bus stop. We had a few hour bus ride to the ferry, and hour ferry ride, and then a half hour to our first stop, so it was quite the trek. Our bus drove right on into the ferry, which was cool, but I feel like a bridge would be way more efficient. Speaking of bridges, apparently I drove on the longest bridge in Scandinavia (it might even be Europe, but I was still sleepy, my facts probably aren't right) that connects the island Copenhagen is on to another Danish island whose name I do not know. That was one long, torturous bridge. I have an irrational fear of bridges. I also now have a fear of psychology related movies. We watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest on the way there, and dear god. I've never actually seen it in full, and can't say my life is any more complete now that I have. But it is a classic, so I guess it was ok? I guess. But after the whole ordeal we made it to an old Danish psychiatric hospital, Augustenborg, and had a guided tour through the museum. The museum was tiny, and the 26 of us couldn't always fit in the rooms together, but it was still informative. The history of psychiatry was crazy all around the world apparently. I also learned way too much about lobotomies and removal of brains after death. I skipped the demonstration of skull opening. Apparently though, some woman back in the days when patients didn't have to consent to treatment, had a lobotomy performed on her daughter just because she didn't know how to handle her. Smart.

This looks scary similar to Guatemala...minus the restraint belts.

Next up on the agenda was the magical town of Ribe where we stayed for the night. That town was actually a fairytale. It looked like it could be it's own section of Disneyworld. Me gusta mucho. Ribe is actually the oldest town in Denmark, and you can still really see a lot of the old construction. I seriously loved that town...even though it was basically plopped in the middle of nowhere, but it was just so quaint and wonderful and amazing. We had a tour of the main cathedral in the city, which was super cool because despite my lack of religious ties, I love big cathedrals. It was kind of a mess of designs, but really pretty nonetheless. Also, the guy who let us in brought his dog, so automatically greatest day ever. I should also mention that the grounds around the cathedral were under construction, so we walked through dug up dirt to get inside, soon realizing that we were walking among human bones. yup. I almost stepped on a femur. It's casual. The town is so old that coffins were apparently hard to come by...annnd now the bones are easily dug up. It's fine.


smallest house in Ribe


oh heeyyy look where this guy died!

If you are still reading this, CONGRATS. No prizes though, just more words. DIS paid for our dinner that night too, which was nice, kind of. They gave us the CLASSIEST meal of my life, but that doesn't always mean good things. The waiter came out and told us the menu for the night, starting with some salmon medley, and ending with veal. That's when I started to panic and tried to remember how many granola bars I'd packed. I figured I'd deal with the fish and just choke it down since it was only an appetizer, but veal? No. Not to mention that I haven't really eaten meat since I've been here, so I was a little worried about introducing veal to my system at this particular time. Also, I don't want to eat baby cow. Luckily three other girls around me didn't feel comfortable eating veal either so in a panic we asked our professor if we could get the vegetarian option instead. Thank everything in the world that we could change last minute, because seriously that meat looked nast. Note to self: write down vegetarian for Vienna. I also was given a glass of wine with dinner and I seriously don't understand how anyone drinks it and enjoys it. I got a couple sips down and then gave up because it was horrible. Lesson of the night: I am not a classy person. 

After our short stay in Ribe we were on the road again to Odense, but first stopping at a center for trauma and torture. We got a semi lecture from the head psychologist and got a lot of information thrown at us at once. But if anyone knows a legal refugee chilling in Denmark with PTSD, I could point them in the right direction. Denmark is really interesting in that instead of having general mental health type centers like in the U.S., everything is incredibly specialized. And like with anything there are pros and cons to either method of healthcare. But it was interesting listening to how the Danish approach treating mental illness, and also how the healthcare system works. It's technically free for everyone buuut again, like with anything, it's not quite perfect. 

After an art museum and more driving we arrived in Odense, the birthplace of Hans Christian Anderson. Hans (yeah, we are on a first name basis, don't be too jeal) wrote many a fairytale, in case anyone doesn't actually know the guy. You may recognize Disney's Little Mermaid better, but technically that was my pal, Hans. 

Hans and I like to contemplate life outside the Radisson
We were then on our own for dinner, so I meandered through the city with a few of my classmates and my professor to find food. First of all, my professor is a BOSS. I love her. She tried to help us find a relatively cheap sit down restaurant, but eventually we just found a subway type place and combined subs with McDonald's fries. I should note that the fries were my professor's idea. We chilled in McDonald's for a while chatting about literally anything and everything, so it was a nice night. We learned that Karina (my professor) and her children are obsessed with this music video, and she even did the dance for us. Definitely a different student-professor relationship than I've ever experienced hahaha

dancing with Hans
I'm tired now, and the last day isn't that important soooo I'll be quick. Today we went to Denmark's first Psychiatric hospital that is now a museum and toured the grounds. I also ate free cake. And drove for a long time on the bus. But Denmark is perdyyy