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!)



  1. Glad the party put you in a much better good and got rid of the homesickness. I remember my introfest. I had such a great time. Be proactive in starting up conversations. I found that most Danes will not randomly go up to a stranger and start a conversation even if they are in the same class.
    Held og lykke med introcamp!

  2. Hey :)

    I am a Dane going on exange in the US with YFU :)

    Just wanted to tell you, that danish is a horrible language to learn, even for us ;)

    And yeah, even though we are said to be open minded, I would say it is true, that we aren't the those who come up to people and talk randomly hahah, though we should! There for it is really cool you do it! I am sure you will get a lot of friends, and all people, especially danes, loves the friendly people who takes initiative :)

    Hope you are doing well, Ester:)

  3. A,

    What a great post! I'm so proud of you for working through the tough times and enjoying the fun times. Definitely enjoy it as I'm pretty sure your first school dance back in Calgary won't have a bar or smoking!



  4. Hi.
    Very interesting to follow yor blog - my daughter has just l
    eft for a year in Canada - Montereal. How you feel about parties, drinking aso she must feel upposite... ;o)
    Think Danish is a terrible language to learn!!! So don't feel sorry if it still troubles you at christmas ;O)
    Brave of you just to ask some girls from your class - continue that way!!!

    Wish you the best
    Ida Damborg