Okay, so I thought it was finally time that I sat down and updated this thing. Yet ANOTHER month has come and gone, which is terrifying, seeing as the months come and go at an alarmingly fast rate. This month however has been crazy, and frankly I’m glad that it’s almost over, (just because I need a rest!) even though it means I’m another month closer to having to leave. With the end of another month has also come the end of the year. 2010 has been the longest, and yet fastest year ever. There were days when I first got to Denmark where I didn’t know how I could possibly make it until next summer, so instead I told myself just to focus on making it until Christmas, and then after that it would all be smooth sailing. At the time Christmas was five months, and at the time what seemed like a lifetime, away, but alas, those five months passed, and now here I am. Only nine days away from being half way. Eeek!
Before I talk about the holidays though, I should start at the beginning of the month. Last time I updated I was living with my second family, but sadly I had to leave them early, so on December 4th I moved in with a new family. My second family was really nice, but they had two cats, and I have a bad cat allergy, so it just wasn’t working. They were really fun and I liked them a lot and tried my best to make it work, but breathing is kind of one those things that is necessary, and that just wasn’t happening. So now I am living with a new family, and I can breath again. I have two host siblings, a 15 year old sister and a 11 year old brother. And after four peaceful months of living with just sisters, I forgot what younger brothers can be like... but they are both really nice, and I think it’s going to work out well with them. I still miss my first family like crazy though, and have visited and slept over numerous times since I’ve moved, so hopefully I will keep in good contact with them for a long time. I think I was lucky to just connect so well with them.
Adjusting to a new family is hard, no matter how many times you do it. In my first family, Simone and I were very similar, and had a lot of the same habits and did a lot of the same things, so I found it very easy to fit in right away there. With the other two families, more work on my part had to be done. After 16 and a half years it can be hard to change. In Canada I slept in the basement, which was underground, and my window was this tiny little slit that didn’t really let much light in. And it was cold. So that’s what I like my room to be like now, dark and cold. I never pull my blinds up, my heat is always on low, and every day my hosties come home to find me under the covers asleep, or watching a movie, in the cold and dark. And I’m perfectly content like that, but I think that they don’t like it so much. After spending all day at school with an ‘I’m soo happy’ smile plastered on my face, I want to come home and spend some time in my cave where I can make whatever pouty scowely faces I want. But anyways, this is something that was an issue in my both my second and current family, and my counsellor and I talked about it, and I am working to find the balance of cave time and social activity. Anyways, I don’t know why I wrote that whole novel, but I guess I just want to admit that as much as I like to believe that I am, I know that I’m not perfect. I’m close, but not quite there yet. Exchange students like to believe that they are God's gifts to their host families, but really we know that we are not. We have our flaws too. And it just so happens that sleeping is mine...
But anyways, this family is very nice. Their daughter is an outbound next year, so it’s kind of fun to impart some of my wisdom on her. Even though I’m sure to her it’s just ‘blah blah blah’ because that’s all I heard last year when the inbounds tried to give me advice. And I am incredibly grateful to them for taking me in on no notice. Carina and Sebastian have to share a room so that I can have my own, which is so nice cause I know I would NEVER share my room with Jackson. I’d sooner let him sleep in the dog’s kennel than in my room. But wait, no. That was the old, 2010, Andrea speaking. The new 2011 Andrea is a more kind, giving person, and would gladly let her brother sleep on her floor.
December was also full of christmas lunches, and I swear I’m never going to eat again! Danish people eat SO MUCH during the holidays. I’m sure I gained like twenty pounds. School finished on the 16th, and that night there was a big party at my school. No matter how many school parties I go to, they always shock me with what we are allowed to do. Westmount dances just don’t compare.
I don’t even actually remember all of what I did over the break, it all just blurs together. A few times I went out with other exchange students, and I spent the 20th and 21st with my next host family. In that family I will have my host mom, Charlotte, and two little host siblings, Aksel and Marie, who are eleven year old twins. I had such a nice time with them. Monday we went to Tivoli (a really beautiful amusement park in the center of Copenhagen) and then I slept over with them. We had dinner and watched movies and it was super cozy. The oldest daughter, Julie, is on exchange in Australia, but I’ve been skyping with her since April, so it will be very fun to live with her family. Sadly I won’t get to meet her this time around, but I know I’ll be back in the future, and I will meet her at some point. Tuesday morning Aksel and Marie left to Sweden, so it was just Charlotte and I. We went to a cafe for breakfast and we walked around and talked and it was really nice to get to know her. She will be my last family, from March until June, when I go home.
On the 23rd we (my host family and me) left to the old city of Rebe, where my host dads family lives, and where we were going to spend Christmas. We went just across the border to Germany on the Friday, where I hit the absolute jackpot. Denmark has a sugar tax, so anything with sugar is really expensive, but in Germany it’s much cheaper, so I pigged right out and bough enough candy to probably last me the year. Just what I need to add to my twenty pounds of holiday fat. Yum.
And then Christmas! Danish Christmas is really something else. They do all of the celebrating on Christmas eve, and it’s really special. We have a huge family dinner, and then we dance around the christmas tree and sing songs and then open presents. The whole time we were dancing I couldn’t stop smiling. It was one of those moments where it’s just like, ‘I’m really in Denmark. Celebrating a Danish Christmas. So cool!”
Christmas day was a little less ‘cool’ and lot more ‘something is missing.’ At home in Canada we celebrate on Christmas day, and we have a really nice family day, with presents in the morning, and a really nice Christmas dinner at my Grandma’s with all of the right foods, and it’s really nice. Here, Christmas day was kind of...too normal. Normal routine, normal foods, etc, and I really missed home. That shows how much of a roller coaster this is. Friday I can’t stop smiling and Saturday I have to work to just fake a smile. But once I talked to other exchange students, and realized I wasn’t the only homesick one, I felt a lot better. And then Sunday we came home, and I got to skype home, and my parents opened the gifts I had sent. (How lucky are my parents to have such an awesome child?)
And then Sunday like half an hour after I got home one of the other exchangers invited me out, and then I spent the night with her, and in the morning we made a big American breakfast, and it was great!
And then New Years!! New Years was one of those nights that I wanted to be special. I wanted it to be something that I would really remember, and I wanted to spend it with someone special. So, who better to go celebrate with than my bestie Emma?! Seriously, I love that kid, and I was so excited to get to bring in 2011 with her!
I left Wednesday morning and stayed until Saturday night. I hadn’t seen her in like a month and a half, so it was really fun to be reunited. We did what Emma and Andrea always do...lie in bed and eat. And then for New Year’s eve we first had a really nice dinner, and then watched the Queen make her speech. And then people started coming over and the party really started. Danish New Years in crazy! Everyone was just having fun and it was really cool. And then at midnight the fireworks started, and went on until like 6am, and then went all day Saturday and even some on Sunday.
And then Sunday night I returned home, and today was back to school. I’ve kind of given up hope on ever really liking school here, but what doesn’t kill you just makes you stronger. And school here really makes me appreciate school back home. I miss Westmount a lot, and while I used to be so excited to be leaving it, now I find my self wanting to go back there for grade 12. Good friends like I have there are hard to come by, and I think it would be just stupid to leave them and start over yet again when I have my life built up there. Once a Westmount kid, always a Westmount kid.
But that’s ages away. I still have just under six months here, and I’m going to live it up as best as I can. The Australians are all going home next week, which is weird cause I remember when I just got here and they were halfway, and I know that the second half of my exchange is going to fly, and soon I’ll be in their shoes packing my bags and planning going away parties, and I don’t want to have any regrets. So that’s my new years resolution in 2011, make the best of every situation, take advantage of every opportunity, and when I’m sitting on that plane five and half months from now, I want to be able to feel a sense of accomplishment, and I want to know that I did the best that I could while I was here.
So I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays, and I hope 2011 brings everyone happiness and health.
Kærlighed fra Danmark
PS. Here is a video about my first four months in Denmark! Enjoy!