I got back from Introcamp Sunday, but it took until now to be able to sit down and write about it without crying. The above quote describes so perfectly the relationships I built with some of the other inbounds. One girl in particular, Emma, became like my best friend, and we pretty much stuck with each other throughout the week and by the end of the week I felt like I was saying goodbye to my family all over again. But like I can not even begin to accurately describe the amazingness of my week. I left home Sunday morning and rode the train from Copenhagen to Åhrus (a 4 hour trip) with roughly 40 other exchange students in the area, and more and more got on as we crossed the country. And right away I knew this was going to be an amazing week. The South Americans--namely the Brazilians--were crazy. And I mean that in the best way possible. They were singing and chanting and dancing and clapping and waving around their flags and it was like a random party on the train. It was one of the moments where you can’t help but feel totally happy.
And then we arrived at the camp and I went through a reverse culture shock type moment, where it was like, ‘Holy crap, I understand the conversations going on around me.’ And I met a bunch of the kids who I had been talking to on facebook for months. The camp was taking place at a boarding school, and so we got our room assignments, and then went to unpack. I was rooming with another Canadian, and as soon as we got to our room I dug out my my Canada t-shirt, and my big flag and then we plastered our faces with Canada tattoos. Of course we can’t compete with the South American spirit, but we thought we’d try!
And then if you read my last post, you’ll know all about the starvation, so instead of telling you about the rest of the day, I’ll just do a generic [insert starvation here] type thing. We just sat outside and talked to people and counted down the seconds until dinner.
Dinner was fun, but I mean how could it not be with 150 excited exchange students in one room? Pretty much there was a lot of “skål-ing” (danish word for cheers, but randomly throughout the meal someone lifts their glass and is like skåååål, and then the rest of the room like does the same, dragging the ‘å’ out as long as possible, so pretty much you just like yell skååååååååååååååååååååååål. It’s a lot of fun.)
On the last day, Emma and I reflected on the first dinner, and how it liked tricked us into thinking we would be well fed and everything. Dinner was great, and then we got dessert, and it was like ‘Welcome to introcamp, this is gonna be the best week of your life!’ but then that was it, we didn’t see dessert, let alone much food, for the rest of the week. It’s kind of funny looking back. But at the time we were all like texting our host families begging them to save us ;-P
And then after dinner we got sorted into our classes. Emma and I were in the same class, which was awesome, and we got the coolest teacher ever. Like she actually made 6 hours of Danish lessons enjoyable. And she was really young, so she really chill and taught us all of the stuff that Rotary probably didn’t want her to.
Monday and Tuesday morning were Danish lessons, and then Tuesday afternoon was a ‘Teenager in Denmark’ workshop, which was really cool. My teacher, Marie, brought blankets and pop and candies and stuff and made it a really comfortable, chill environment and we all sat in a big circle on the floor and talked about everything that comes along with being a teenager in Denmark. And she wasn’t involved with Rotary, so we could ask her all of the things that maybe we didn’t want to talk to our host parents or counsellors about. I’m so glad that we had this, because I got a lot of insight into Danish culture, and just how different it is from Canadian culture. And then we got to talk about our host families, and how everything is so far, and we talked about homesickness, and it’s so reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who is missing home, and other people are feeling the exact same way.
And then Tuesday night we watched this movie, and as soon as the movie starts were are all just sitting there, dumbfounded, like this is a Rotary camp, and this movie is definitely not something that Rotary back home would show us, but I guess it just shows how uptight Canada is about things like sex and drinking. The level of openness here is something that I’m not totally comfortable with, but I have to admit that they are on to something with the whole not freaking out over every little thing. And (I’m going off topic here for a sec, but bear with me) the girls in my class have a point. My first gym class was quite a shock, as in everyone just gets naked and showers together after class, something that would never ever happen at Westmount--or probably any Canadian schools for that matter. But for the girls here, they find is weird that it’s not common in Canada. It’s just not a big deal here, like at all, and they were asking me why it is such a big deal in Canada, and I didn’t know what to say. It just is, I guess. But it kind of got me thinking like why are we so uptight? Why to we call our teachers Mr and Mrs? Why can’t we drink at 16? Why can’t we buy alcohol at school dances? Why is TV censored? I mean are we really better off being so sheltered? Are we going to live longer, or be happier, or what? Because I have to say, for all the crazy stuff that happens here, the Danes seem to be doing okay.
But back to introcamp... Wednesday I covered in my last blog post. I got food. Then I went shopping and got more food. So yeah, goooood day. And then Wednesday night was surprise entertainment, which was pretty much all of us gathered in the gym, learning some weird dance, and having a really fun time. And then the teachers were like let’s pretend we’re at a rock concert, so we’re all like okaaaay...and so it was like a random party, and then all of the teachers were like, hey, there’s a band in the lecture hall. And it was like a legit danish band, called the Striving Vines (or something like that). It was really weird, just like having a random concert in the middle of the school, but it was really fun.
Thursday was Danish lessons all day and then a bonfire in the evening. Everyone brough their flags and waved them around and sang songs from their county and we made bread stuff over the fire and it was really...hyggelig (a danish word with no direct translation, but it kind of means like cozy and comfortable and like warm).
And friday we went into Åhrus and we started at this museum called Aros, and it’s famous for having this huge statue of a very lifelike looking boy, which is called ‘Boy.’ And we got a tour of the exhibit which was called ‘I love you.’ Here is the the link to the exhibit. When we walked in to the exhibit, a lot of us had a huge culture shock moment, like hoooly crap, did Rotary really take us here? And it was kind of funny because like all of us are standing there being all immature, like ‘hee hee look, they’re doing it.’ and that type of thing, and then as we’re being all giggly and whatnot, a group of, I kid you not, grade 3 or 4 aged students walk in, and we’re like, is this for real? Kids are allowed in here? It was kind of insane.
Aaaaand then after the museum the teachers set us free in Åhrus and pretty much just said be back at the bus by 4pm. So Emma and I head off shopping and we find MCDONALS, and we literally like crapped our pants we were so excited, so we go in, and like, Emma is ordering and the lady is like Hvad kan jeg få dig? (What can I get for you) and Emma is either so insanely hungry, or like forgot that Danes speak english, but she’s like, “Can I have BURGER?!” And she’s like acting it out and it’s soo funny, but I’m pretty sure the lady though we were just like stupid Americans. But ohmygod that was the best meal of my life.
After eating we did some shopping, and I found this AMAZING shirt and that looked really good, and it was really cheap, and it was like 3:50, so I was like yeah yeah yeah we have time, the bus is just around the corner, so we wait in line. And wait. And wait. And then Emma is getting really nervous, so she makes me ABANDON the amazing shirt, and we leave. But it turns out the bus is not just around the corner, and like it’s 3:59 and we’re freaking out cause the teachers said that if we weren’t there at 4 they would leave and we could take a train back to the school. So we ask for directions and finally find the busses, but the problem is that we don’t know how to cross the street. Like cars will plow you down here. So we call our teacher, and we’re like, ‘Marieeeee, we don’t know how to cross these stupid streets! Please don’t leave us!’ In the end it all worked out, but it was quite the adventurous day.
Saturday was classes and goodbyes. And I was sooooo sad. Like I felt so at home around all of the other exchangers. They speak my language, they understand how I feel, I can talk to them about like anything, and I was not even close to ready to leave them. Well, mostly Emma, but I made some other friends too. (ish-- ;-P) And then Saturday night was a big party, and we found a cake in the hall that was meant to be for dessert, but us, being as hungry as we were, uhh... well just look at the picture!
Sunday morning was the final goodbyes, and not gonna lie I was totally crying. It's crazy how close to can get to someone in just a week. The train ride home on was no where near as joyful as the way there, but Emma and I already have plans to meet up at the end of the month. (She lived on the other side of the country, so we have to like plan weekend visits.)
And now I’m home and slowly getting back intro routine. Monday and Yesterday were very hard days, just because I was so introcamp sick, which in turn makes me homesick. But today was much much better, and I’m even starting to make some good friends at school.
And then tomorrow morning I leave with my host family to a music festival on this little island south of Sweden, called Bornholm, which I very very much looking forward to.
So I’ll update again next Sunday or monday about my weekend. And then maybe I’ll do a post of just pictures. We shall see.
But anyways, talk to you soon! And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE email me! Like you have no idea how happy it makes me to see an email from someone back home. Family, teachers, friends, whoever. It’s just that when you’re all alone in a foreign country it’s really nice to know that you have a support system back home, and it totally makes my day. And I’ll write back! Orrr, if you really want to be my favorite person ever, send me a snail mail letter! I would sosososo love one of those! Email me for my address, and I’ll send you a letter back! (Once I find a post office to buy stamps.) My email for those of you who don’t know is firstname.lastname@example.org. Yeah. I know.
And ps today is my one month mark! So crazy!!