Wednesday, 25 August 2010



Two updates in one week? I think I deserve a pretty epic care package for that! (*Hint hint mom and dad*)

This update will be short, and really scattered, but today was just the most epic day to ever happen to me ever and I feel the need to share it with the world.

So let me start at the beginning. I’m currently at intro-camp, which is where all 150 inbound students in Denmark meet at a boarding school in some middle of nowhere town, and we all live in dorms with roommates, and we go to danish lessons every day for six hours, and then do lots of fun activities and stuff. It’s crazy amounts of fun, EXCEPT, the fact that we are starving.

Like you don’t even understand, we get three meals a day, six hours apart and that’s it. No snacks in between. So like at the meals we eat so much food cause we know that we won’t get to eat again for a while. It’s gross. Like honestly after lunch yesterday my friend Emma and I looked four months pregnant.

Sooo... today I’m sitting in my classroom, and it’s about forty five minutes until lunch, and I’m thinking about food and all of a sudden there is knock on my classroom door. And the leader of the program comes in, and is like ‘Is there an Andrea in here?’ There’s two Andrea’s in my class, so my teacher is like ‘Which one,’ and he’s like ‘Andrea from Canada, from the Taastrup club.’ And my first though is a) something bad happened, or b) I’m in trouble. (Not that I’ve done anything to get in trouble, but I was till freaking out.) So I follow him into the hallway and there’s a lady there, and she’s like, ‘I’m the president of the Taastrup club’s niece, and he told me you were here, and I’d like to take you for lunch and show you the area.’ And I was like, food? For real? I was so excited you can’t even imagine.

So we go for lunch and then she shows me all around the city, and takes me to the farm where her family has lived for like over one hundred years, and it was just so cool. This side of Denmark (the intro-camp is taking place on the other side of the country from where I live) looks pretty different from Ishøj, and it was so nice of her to take me around and show me the farms and churches, and the whole time I was just thinking how amazing Rotary is, and how amazing my host club is. It was so thoughtful of my club president to ask his niece to take me out. I had a really nice time with her.

And then in the afternoon today we went on a trip to Viborg for shopping, and Emma and I immediately made a bee line for the grocery store, and literally like bought out the junk food aisle. And now we’re sitting here in her room eating Nesquick cereal, poptarts, chips, candy and chocolate. So I guess you could say I’m like the happiest person ever.

I’ll do a more official post about intro-camp once I get home, but I just had to share how happy I am right now! I love food! `

Talk to you soon!

Hej hej!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

What goes down must come up


It’s so hard to find time to sit down and write, because every free second I have I’m always napping, but I napped all afternoon, so now I’m not ready to sleep, so I’ll blog.

Last time I wrote I had just finished my first day of school, and while that was only just a little over a week ago, it feels like forever ago! Time is weird here--well obviously it’s the same as Canada, but the way it feels to me is weird. The days go on forever, and yet when I think that I’ve been here for three weeks, I can’t believe it, it feels like just a few days!

The past ten days have been a lot less ‘OMG I’m in Denmark I have to see all of the tourist stuff’ and a lot more ‘Sure I’m in Denmark, but my life is becoming a lot more normal.’

Last friday was my first full day of classes, and it went pretty well, considering I understood nothing of what I was taught. My class is very friendly, but I think it will take longer than I had thought to make good friends. If I ask to join them they always say yes, but even surrounded by a group of people I feel really lonely, considering I have no idea what they’re talking about.

I knew coming to a country where English isn’t the main language would be difficult, but before I left everyone told me that everyone in Denmark speaks really good english, and that my bigger problem would be not getting stuck in the habit of always speaking English. So (I know Rotary says not to have expectations but) I expected to be okay. But I’ve found that while everyone does know how to speak English, most people choose not to. And I know it’s my job to learn Danish, but it’s gonna be hard to make friends when I can’t really be a part of peoples conversations. And Danish (for me) is a hard language, and I’m not just going to pick it up overnight, so I’m kind of in a discouraged mood.

Buuut...that’s not to say that I’m a total friendless loser. Considering I’ve only been here 22 days, I feel like I’m on my way to making friends, it’s just harder than I had thought it would be.

Monday after school I went into Copenhagen with the other Rotary student at my school, Chelsea, from California, and we had a really good time. We just walked around and shopped and talked, and it was really nice to talk to someone is going trough the same culture shock as me. I love the trains here, we can just ride the train from school right into the center of Copenhagen. And as long as you get on the right train going home, it’s easy.

Thursday was my schools sports day, and we needed to get out to the place where it was being held on our own, which I had no idea how to do. So I asked some girls in my class if I could meet up with them and follow them, and then I ended up hanging out with them for a good part of the day.

And then yesterday was my schools introfest, which is a pretty big deal I think. My older sister said that I could go to a pre-party with her and her friends, (which was really nice of her), but I kind of really want my own friends, plus how many nineteen year olds want a sixteen year old hanging around? So yesterday at school I asked a girl in my class (the one who I rode my bike with to the sports day thing) if I could get ready with her and another girl in my class, and I’m so glad that I asked, because (this is where this post starts to pick up) I ended up having a really great time with them. I went over to her house at 5:30 and we had pancakes for dinner, and not Canadian style pancakes, but Danish pancakes with ice cream and jam and sugar on them. And then we got ready for the dance/party. It was really fun, and I liked that it was just the three of us because first, we spoke english, and second I felt like I kind of got to know them. They are both really sweet, and I can’t even begin to explain how happy I was, like I feel like I’m on my way to making friends, and yeah, it’s hard to put yourself out there and ask to join people, but the payoff is so worth it.

And then when we got to the school I had an ‘We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore’ moment. At Westmount you could buy pop at dances, and everyone had to stay in the gym. At my school here they have a full bar, and you can kind of just like wander around. You can dance, or you can sit at tables, or you can hang out in the courtyard outside. And it’s tradition to draw all over the first years, but even though I’m second year, everyone thought I was first, since I’m new, so I have people’s names written all over me in industrial sharpie! The dance/party was so amazing, and all of the homesickness I’ve had all week just like disappeared, and I had a great time. I hung out with a few different groups of girls from my class, and I also made some friends from other classes.

The dance ended at midnight, so I met up with Chelsea (I was staying the night at her house) and we followed a group of people to the train station. The train comes once an hour and we missed the 12:15 train, so we had to wait for the next one. I didn’t mind though, because for the first half an hour we hung out with some kids from another class, and the second half an hour Chelsea and I went and sat alone and just like talked about how crazy the dance had been. Teachers selling beer, kids smoking, just the whole thing was something that would never happen in Canada or the US. So finally the train came and we met up with some girls from my class (along with like practically the rest of the school) at a restaurant in the next town over. I love the small town thing, and how downtown Taastrup is like one street, with two restaurants and some shops and a few banks.

It was such a great night, and it’s one of those thing that I would never get to experience in Canada, at least not in grade 11.

And tomorrow I leave for IntroCamp with all of the other inbounds in Denmark! It’s gonna be such a great week! And hopefully I’ll improve my Danish skills! I’m really looking forward to a week of just being around exchange students because it’s just so easy to be friends with them.

I have to be up in like 6 hours, but there is this huge fair thing down the street, so there is crazy loud music blearing, and I don’t know how I’ll fall asleep.

This post was kind of up and down, but that’s what life is like right now. One minute it’s like ‘I’m so happy!’ and the next it’s like ‘This sucks.’ At this very moment though, I’m really happy, and I have a lot to look forward to.

Sorry for the insanely long post, but I feel like I needed to say that while overall I am having the most amazing time, there are also some days that plain and simply suck. But of the 22 days I’ve been here, I’ve only had 3 days like that, so I’d say I’m doing okay.

I hope you are all enjoying your last week of summer break, and I’ll update again after introcamp!

Hej hej (Here people say hi for hello, and hi hi for goodbye, it’s really cute!)


Thursday, 12 August 2010

And on the twelfth day in Denmark...

If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.
Andrew Carnegie

It’s weird how time can go by so fast, yet sooo slow at the same time. I’ve been here 12 days exactly, and in some ways I feel like I just got here, and in other ways I’m like, has it really ONLY been less than two weeks?

I’m still loving Denmark, and each day my life here becomes more and more normal. My host family is just totally amazing, and they're making it really easy to adjust. My host parents are super friendly and open and I love bring with them, weather it's hanging out with my host mom while she makes dinner, or going to the grocery store, or even just like hanging out after dinner. They're such an interesting family and it's really cool to get to know them better. And my host sisters are so sweet. They're both really friendly, and my younger sister Simone is really cool about bringing me along when she goes out, which is really nice. I've always wanted sisters, and so far everything is going really smoothly. I'm just really happy right now, and I'm so glad that everything is working out so well so far.

Since the last time I posted I have been go go go, which is good. I like being busy because then I don’t have to be homesick or anything. So I’ll give you a quick recap of the highlights of my week

Tuesday: Went to my first party! Danish teenagers are pretty different from Canadian teenagers when it comes to drinking. It’s legal here to buy alcohol at 16, so danish parents are a lot more relaxed about it. It’s not a big deal to have a drink or two here. But people also don’t care if you don’t drink. Like I was just drinking pop, and that’s cool too. But yeah, it was fun to meet other people my age, even if I didn’t understand a word of what they were saying.

Thursday: Spent the day in Copenhagen with a Rotex and a Rotarian. We hit most of the major tourist destinations, and I tried smørrebrød (open faced sandwich on rye bread) and rød grød med fløde (berries and cream). We also went to this place called Christiania, which used to be an old abandoned military base and was then taken over by a bunch of hippies and made into their own little “country.” They don’t believe they are a part of the EU, so they don’t pay taxes, and they don’t pay for their water and electricity. They are all just “special” (as my host mom put it) people who spend their days drinking and smoking. And this little village is open to the public so you can walk around and see where they live, and everything. And I have to admit, even though they kind of creeped me out, they sell amazing jewelry there.

Saturday: My current host family had all of my other host families over for brunch, so I now know who I’ll be living with the rest of the year. All of families seem really nice, so I’m happy. My second family has 1 daughter, Maria, who is 17. My third family has 3 kids, but one is on exchange, so while I'm there I will have two little siblings, Aksel and Marie, who are 11 year old twins. And then my fourth family has grown up kids who I don't think live at home. And all of my future host parents seem awesome!

Sunday: We had out District 1470 inbound orientation, where we got to meet all of the other inbound living in or near Copenhagen. I’m super excited to get to know everyone. And then Sunday night my friend Sophie slept over, which was super cool cause we’ve been skype buddies for almost 8 months now, but since she lives in Denmark, we’ve never met before, so meeting her and spending the day with her was very fun.

And then this week was super relaxed. Mon, Tues, Wed we mostly just chilled all day, enjoying our last few days of freedom. And then today was my first day of school. It was just a short day to meet the class, but it went well. There’s another exchange student in my class named Ana, from Brazil, and I think we will be good friends.

So my schedule changes every day, but the classes that I’m taking are: (I have usually 4 classes a day)
Natural Geography
Drama (yay!)

I’m super happy, because I really wanted to take drama this year but I was worried that since I speak nej dansk (okay, so since I speak lidt dansk) I wouldn’t be able to and that the drama teacher wouldn’t want me in her class, but luckily it all worked out, and I might even be able to be a part of the production. And also, I’m like doubly happy, because in case you didn’t notice, no math or science for me! :) And I'm taking psychology, which is exciting because that's what I want to do when I grow up. So over all I don't think I could have gotten a better schedule.

So that’s pretty much been my week. Tomorrow is my first full school day, so I’m hoping it goes well.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summers, and I’ll post again soon!


And ps. here is the public link for my Denmark pictures on facebook! You don’t have to have facebook or be my friend to see them!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Helloooo Denmark!

It seems that when you are in a place where nobody knows you, you become most yourself.


So I’ve been in Denmark now just over 24 hours, and so far it’s been great! I left my house 9am Saturday, and then left Calgary just after 1. The flight went surprisingly well, except for a confusing connection in Frankfurt. And then I landed in Denmark 9:10am local time (1:10am Calgary time) and was met by a Rotarian who helped me get my luggage, and then he took me out to my counsellor, Susanne, who then drove me to my host families house.

My host sisters are on vacation, so it was just me and my host parents and Susanne for breakfast. After breakfast (which was more like a midnight snack for me) my host dad showed me around the house. While Denmark is not super different from Canada, there are some noticeable differences. The houses are one of them. There is no wasted space in the house. There is the kitchen and dining room, where we eat, the living room where we hang out, and then just the bedrooms, and a small rec room type thing outside of our rooms where we can hang out. I will be living in my older sisters room, which is really nice of her to give it up for me! And it’s so beyond cute! And then the one thing that will be most different for me is the one shower for all of us! In Canada I had my own bathroom and could shower whenever, but here we have to divide the time between the five of us. There is a second half bathroom though, so even if one person is in the shower, there’s a second bathroom. But overall it’s really nice. I forgot my camera cable in Calgary, but hopefully it will be here soon, and I can put up pictures.

And then yesterday my host parents wanted to keep me awake, so we kept really busy. After breakfast we went grocery shopping at this costco type store, and it was so confusing because everything is in Danish. I picked out these cheerio things with like four different flavors of cheerios in them, but I don’t even know what the four flavors are! And, their yogurt is soo different! It comes in a milk carton, and is only slightly thicker than milk. I haven’t tried it yet, so I don’t know it tastes, but it smells good. And then after that my host dad took me to Ikea to get a new light fixture for my room, and then to this mall that I can’t wait to go back to, and then he just toured me around the area. I saw my school, which is much bigger than I expected, and the local “downtown.” Downtown Taastrup is just one street with a few shops, cafes, bank, and I think my doctors office is there too. I can ride my bike there in like fifteen minutes, which I might do later today or tomorrow. I’m just really scared of getting lost! And then after that we came back home, and I skyped with my mom and dad in Canada (I’m getting all confused with all of these parents haha) and then my host mom took me to the beach. (By this point it’s 6:30pm, which is 10:30am Calgary time, which means I hadn’t slept in 27 hours, minus an our that I slept on the plane. And then we had dinner, and then we watched some TV, which is when I finally fell asleep. So yeah, that was my first day in Denmark! It was a lot of fun!

And the this morning my host mom took me to the town hall where she works to get my social security card, and then she took me back home and now I’m home alone while they are at work. And tonight my younger host sister comes home!

I hope you are all doing well, and I’ll talk to you soon!