Thursday, 30 June 2011

'Twas the night before departure...again...

We laughed until we had to cry, we loved right down to our last goodbye, but over the years we'll smile and recall, for just one moment - we had it all.

So here I am, eleven months later, the night before departure. This time is so different than last time though.This time around, what waits on the other side of the flight is not unknown, it’s what I’ve always known, except I know it won’t be the same.

This past week has flown by. I’ve hung out with friends, packed up my room, said goodbyes, and started to get ready to part with this life.

Emma is with me, which is the way the end of my year should be. She’s my best friend, and I am so glad we are leaving this year together. We’ve been busy, shopping for Danish food, seeing Copenhagen and figuring out exactly how to cope with the year we waited forever for coming to an end.

Tonight was the hardest goodbye so far, to my first family. We had dinner with them, and it was so normal. It felt like any other time I was with them. But then the evening came to a close, and that’s when I had to do what I had been dreading, say goodbye. I know it’s not goodbye, because I love them way too much to not have them stay a part of my life. But I don’t know when I will be back, and I don’t know what it will be like to visit. It won’t be the same, and that’s so scary.

This year has been everything and nothing like I imagined. I have grown up in so many ways, and I see things so differently now. I’m not the same person I was when I left Canada.

I’m really sorry I can’t write more clearly. I don’t want to go home. I can’t actually explain how much it hurts to have to leave the life I worked so hard to build for myself here. I don’t want it to end.

Tomorrow is going to break my heart. My counsellor and my first host mom and current host mom and a few friends will be there, and Emma who I’m flying out with. I leave the house in less than six hours.

Thank you so much to everyone who made this year possible for me. It doesn’t feel real that it’s over. I want to stay in my perfect little Danish bubble.

I don’t want to leave my Danish family. I don’t want another exchange student to come to my club here. I don’t want to leave.

But sometimes life sucks and we have to do what we don’t want to. Including leaving the best year of our lives behind. I know I have many more adventures ahead, but at the moment it breaks my heart to leave this one behind.

I love Denmark and everyone in my life here so much.

But now it’s time to say goodbye to my family to go back to my family and leave home to go home.

Tusind tak Danmark for en FANTASTISK år, og vi ses igen snart.

Talk to you from the otherside of the pond,


Saturday, 25 June 2011

The best of the best

There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why itis here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

-Douglas Adams

Wow so another busy week has FLOWN by and now I sit here with 5, yes, only 5 days left in Denmark. I am bumming my host sister’s computer, so I don’t have time to write a big long update, but I will give you all a quick update of how things have been the past week and a half.

I’d heard from many people that the last few weeks your exchange are some of the best out of the whole year, and I hadn’t really gotten it until now, but it is really true!

I have been out almost every single day since Eurotour. Since the last time I updated I went to Simone’s going away/16th birthday party, which was really fun! I still think it’s so crazy how there can be fifty teenagers outside drinking and going crazy and my host parents are sitting just inside. I’m going to miss Danish parties so much! I slept over that night, and then the next day I just spent the day with my first family. We did normal things like grocery shopping and cleaning the house, but it was my last time properly spending the day with them, so I was just so happy to be there.

Then last Saturday my friend Sophie who just got back from her exchange year in the US slept over, and then in the morning we made American pancakes. I had seen Sophie once when I first arrived in Denmark before she left on her exchange, so it was really cool to see her now, and the end of our years. It makes the past ten months seem like the blink of an eye.

(Sophie and our American pancakes)

On Monday I went over to Candice’s for a visit. This was one of the last times I’m going to get to see her, and it was so nice to just see her and visit. This whole year she has always been there and I’ve always loved being with her and her family. Sometimes I can’t believe that eleven months ago everyone who makes up my life here were only strangers. It feels like I’ve known them forever.

Tuesday I met with Susanne in the morning, and then spent the rest of the day and evening with my third family. In the afternoon it was just Carina and I, and we hung out and talked and just caught up. She leaves on her exchange to the US in less than two months, so we have tons to talk about. And then my host parents came home and we all had dinner together. That was the last time I would get to see them this year, and they were the first major goodbye I had to say. It was so weird leaving, because who knows what I will be like next time I see them. I’ll probably be done high school, maybe even already in university. This was the last time seeing them as exchange student me. Next time I’ll be someone totally different.

Wednesday a group of us hung out in Copenhagen for the day just shopping and eating and all the stuff we always do. It is just so surreal that this is all coming to an end. It’s all so normal and I’m in such a routine, and I am not even a little bit ready for things to change.

(Doing what we always do, sitting in McDonalds doing nothing for hours on end.)

Wednesday night was mine and Chelsea’s last school party. I thought it would be wild fun, but it ended up just being so sad. Chelsea and I sat there and looked around the school and thought of all the crazy (and even boring day to day) stuff that has happened here, and the fact that we would never be coming back was just so, so sad. And then she started crying, which of course made me cry, and from there I just couldn’t stop.

(Me and Chelsea in front of the school.)

Weather wise, I was dressed horrifically inappropriate. I was wearing tiny shorts and a t-shirt and little flats, and it was ten degrees and POURING rain. I didn’t have a jacket or anything, and we were supposed to walk home. (In my defence, when we left the house the weather was nice.) So we took the train to Taastrup station, but it was the worse rainfall I had ever seen. Within minutes the streets were flooded and I was so cold I couldn’t stop shaking. Chelsea called her host mom, who is my counsellor, to pick us up. And when she gets to the station she takes one look at me and gives me this look of, ‘Have you not learnt.’ All year she has been telling me to dress warm, and I’ll be like, no, it’s cool, I’m from Canada, I can handle this. But I never account for the wind, and I am ALWAYS cold, but then I never remember that for the next time. So again, she looks at me and is like, ‘Where on earth is your jacket?’ And of course I have to answer with, ‘I got this, I’m from Canada.’ It just seemed weirdly appropriate that the year would end the same way it started, with Susanne telling me to dress warm, me not listening, and then in the end she gets to say I told you so.

And then Thursday I spent the day with my newbie, Laura. I went to her house and we hung out and watched movies. She is so sweet, and I love spending time with her. And then in the evening we went to this carnival for Saint Hans. Here is the wikipedia article explaining what it is exactly:

In Denmark, the solstitial celebration is called Sankt Hans aften ("St. John's Eve"). It was an official holiday until 1770, and in accordance with the Danish tradition of celebrating a holiday on the evening before the actual day, it takes place on the evening of 23 June. It is the day where the medieval wise men and women (the doctors of that time) would gather special herbs that they needed for the rest of the year to cure people.

It has been celebrated since the times of the Vikings by visiting healing water wells and making a large bonfire to ward away evil spirits. Today the water well tradition is gone. Bonfires on the beach, speeches, picnics and songs are traditional, although bonfires are built in many other places where beaches may not be close by (i.e. on the shores of lakes and other waterways, parks, etc.) In the 1920s a tradition of putting a witch made of straw and cloth (probably made by the elder women of the family the bonfire emerged as a remembrance of the church's witch burnings from 1540 to 1693. This burning sends the "witch" away to Bloksbjerg, the Brocken mountain in the Harz region of Germany where the great witch gathering was thought to be held on this day. Some Danes regard the symbolic witch burning as inappropriate.

In 1885 Holger Drachmann wrote a midsommervise (Midsummer hymn) called "Vi elsker vort land..." ("We Love Our Country") that is sung with a melody composed by P.E. Lange-Müller at every bonfire on this evening.

It was a really cool thing to experience. We didn’t go crazy and stay out all night partying, but it was cool just to see everything.

(The bonfire before, you can see the witch on top ready to be burned.)

(The bonfire all lit up and the witch burning!)

Friday my first host sister had her graduation wagon ride. Danes love to party. Like, love love love it, so of course graduating gymnasium calls for a party, or perhaps twenty five? It is the coolest, most fun looking tradition; each 3rd year class from every gymnasium gets a wagon type thing attached to a truck and it’s decorated and then they drive around to each person’s house where the person’s family puts out food and drinks and stuff. It looks like so much fun, and I was so glad I got see it, even though of course I wish I could have experienced it on the wagon!

(These are what the wagons look like, but each one is decorated differently.)

And then today was our going away day. It wasn’t Rotary official or anything, but a big group of us met in Copenhagen and went shopping and then in the evening we went for dinner. And while we were walking around so many of the graduation wagons from all the different schools drove by, and the kids were on them drinking and screaming and singing, and the driver is blaring the horn, and the cars around are also honking, and it’s one of those things where everyone seems so happy, and you can’t help but smile. Today was also our last day hanging out as a group. It’s always been our thing, meeting in Copenhagen and just doing nothing. And today was the last time we would ever do it as a big group. It didn’t feel like it though, it feels like next Saturday I’ll be right back in the same park with the same people do the same nothingness for hours on end. The fact that I won’t be in Denmark on Saturday is something that I refuse to admit.

(Me and my newbies -- Bec, Jess me and Brittany.)

(All of us hanging out in Copenhagen. I love these people so so much.)

I have started packing. Or rather, I decided I would start packing, then I dumped everything on my bedroom floor, and that was it. That was on Thursday. I have not touched anything since then. All of the things in my bedroom make up my life, and going through it all and trying to pack it away is so hard. Both because it’s sad, and because I have SO much stuff!

I have only five very busy days left though. And Tuesday morning Emma arrives, so really it’s only 2 days to get packed. And I know they are going to fly.

Everything is so perfect right now. I have had non stop plans for almost three weeks. I am so happy. But I’m not living a sustainable life right now. As much fun as it is to shop and eat and sit in parks and talk for hours on end and spend money left and right, I know it’s not something I can keep up forever. I wish I could, so badly. The past three weeks have been some of the best of my entire life, and it’s so hard to think that it’s over. Nova goes home Monday, and Chelsea on Tuesday. And then it’s my turn on Friday.

And then I don’t know what.

Kærlig fra Danmark,


Thursday, 16 June 2011

This other time, in Denmark...

How is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person? ~François Duc de La Rochefoucauld

I feel like yesterday’s post was too sad, and I really didn’t mean to make anyone feel bad. I guess it was just the first time it really hit me that I’m almost going home, and I was feeling really really sad. But I got a good night sleep and am feeling a lot better, so I’ve decided to write a fun post today.

A few months back I did a post called, This one time in Denmark, about all the quirky little things that make Denmark, Denmark. Well, since then I have expanded my list, so this post will part two of that post.

Money: When I first got here Danish money confused me so much! They have 50 øre coins, which are worth 9 Canadian cents, are pretty much useless. A 1 kroner coin is 18 cents, and can buy you…uh, nothing! A 2 kr coin is 37 cents, and that plus a 1kr coin can you a small pack of Moam candy. 5kr coins are worth 94 cents and can again, buy you nothing. 10kr is $1.87, and with that you can buy a cinnamon bun in my schools canteen. Or you can buy a hamburger off the 10kr menu at McDonalds. 20kr coins are worth $3.75, and you can buy a small bag of candy. And when I say small, I mean, SMALL. Now we move into bills. 50kr bills are worth $9.37, and this is roughly what I would hand over for a coffee and a muffin. Or in many cases, just the coffee. 100kr bills are worth $18.74. Sometimes if I’m lucky I can buy two shirts at H&M with this. Although more times than not it only buys me one. There are also 200 and 500 bills. And maybe 1000, but I don’t know. Let’s be honest, I never have more than 100kr cash on me. In fact, at the moment, I have an amazing 2 and half kroner in my wallet. Having coins be worth “so much” confused me at first. One of my first days I bought ice cream for me and Simone, and I payed with a 100kr bill. The guy gave me back a handful of coins, and I was so sure he ripped me off, and I went and made Simone count it for me. Now though, Danish money is so normal. I can recognize the difference between a 1, 2 and 5kr coin right away.

Bikes: For many people, bikes are a primary means of transportation here. Especially for kids under 18. At my school in Canada, the parking lot was full of cars and the bike racks maybe had one or two bikes. Here though, the parking lot has a handful of cars, but the bike racks are ALWAYS full

(My school's bike racks)

(Even in the middle of winter they still all ride their bikes!)

Slut: Is the Danish for ‘end.’ So sometimes when a sale is ending at a store, there will be a sign in the window saying SLUT or SLUTTER. Or at the end of movies or presentations, it will say Slut. I don’t know why I felt the need to include this, but I guess it’s because it makes me giggle. Still. Eleven months later.

Co-ed Bathrooms: In a lot of places, including my school, bathrooms are open to both genders. So sometimes it can be kind of weird to walk into the bathroom and then see a guy walk out of the stall. It used to scare me at first that I went into the wrong bathroom.

Little kids on busses alone: Denmark doesn’t have school busses, so if a kid lives too far from their school to bike, or if the weather is bad, they will take the bus. Alone. And I’m talking kids under the age of ten. They look so mature, standing at the bus stop with their Spiderman or Barbie backpack, getting on the bus and buying a ticket, then sitting down. And even more than their maturity, they aren’t scared. It’s not like at home where putting your seven year old alone on a city bus is just ASKING for them to be kidnapped. It’s just a normal thing, like young kids walking or riding their bikes alone. People feel safe here, and I think that’s one of the things that make them happy.

Having elbows on the table: Is not considered rude here. The first time I saw it I was waiting for someone to say something, but slowly I began to notice that it’s okay. So if when I get home and I’m slouching all over the table, please give me a break. I’ve picked up some bad habits. Although, a funny thing is that Danes are SO polite when it comes to using forks and knives and all of that, so I think it’s so funny that they are so relaxed about leaning on the table.

I used to rave about how amazing the Danish transportation system was: But I’ve come to realize it has its issues. While the trains and busses make it so easy to get anywhere, they often seem to be running late…Lateness aside, I am still in love with the train systems. Whether I'm going two hours to Jutland, or 20 minutes to school, I always love being on the trains.

Sundays: I think it’s funny how for not being a religious country, everything shuts down on Sundays. Pretty much nothing at all is open. And even Monday-Saturday, everything is closed by 6, and even grocery stores aren’t open past 7 or 8. Definitely looking forward to 24 hour Wal Mart!

(The grocery store near my house. Monday-Friday it's open until 8, Saturdays until 7, and oh, what's that, no Sundays?)

So I think those are all for now. I hope this helped to lighten the mood after my last post.

Also sometime over the next few weeks before I leave I really want to sit down and write a reflection on Denmark being the happiest country in the world. That was a major reason why I wanted Denmark in the first place, so I feel like it only makes sense that now that I have been here for a year, to talk about, from an outsider’s perspective, the Danes and happiness.

Kærlig fra Danmark,


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Nearing the End

Since coming back from Eurotour my life has been go go go. I know it’s a good thing though, because I don’t want to spend my last three and a half weeks after eurotour at home, bored.

The week after Eurotour I met up with two friends from Canada and Australia who was in Copenhagen for the day on their Eurotour. I only had a few hours with them, but it was really nice to catch up.

I also went to Bakken, the oldest amusement park in the world. For real, you can google it! I went with Emily, Claude, Janhavi and the Danish girl who just returned from her year in India. It was really interested to talk to a rebound, and to hear what the first few days home are like. I hadn’t been to Bakken yet this year, so it was really cool to finally get to go.

Last Friday my newbie Bec and I went out during the day to this foot spa where fish eat at your dead skin. The idea is gross, but it felt really cool. I got really close to Bec on Eurotour, so it was really nice to spend the day with her. And then we went and got hot dogs and chocolate milk and just sat at Nyhavn and talked.

In the evening Nova met up with us, and the three of us had a hygge night at my house. We just chilled and talked and it was a really cozy night. With so little time left, I love spending time with my friends.

Saturday morning was Janhavi’s going away brunch. All of her families and friends were there, and I think it was a really nice way to say goodbye.

Sunday evening Nova and I decided to meet up at a café and work on our Rotary speeches, but we ended up running into some other exchange students, so needless to say no work got done.

On Monday, Emily, Maria (the girl who was in India), Janhavi and I met up at a park near Nørreport and we smoked water pipe and lay out in the sun and of course did some more talking. It was so interesting to hear what India was like. It sounds so amazing. Monday was also the last time I would get to see Janhavi. She left back to India today, which is so sad. So far I’ve had 5 friends go home, and every few days that number goes up.

Yesterday I sat myself down and wrote out my farewell speech for Rotary. I never imagined it would be so hard to write. Not because it’s in Danish, although that did add to it, but simply because it involved looking back over my whole year, and at everything I have done and seen and all of the amazing people I have met. Thinking about my first few days in Denmark, and how excited by every little thing I was, and then thinking that now I’m sitting here, 11 months later, on the other end of all the newness and excitement, is…weird

Last night I went over to my first family’s house and spent the night with Simone and Therese. Simone went over my speech and made all of the necessary corrections. I know I’ve said it a hundred times over, but I love being at their house so much. It just feels so normal.

Today Simone and I spent the day together in Copenhagen. It was so nice to have a day just the two of us and she was nice enough to let me ramble on about the silly thoughts running through my head. She is also nearing her departure date for her exchange, so we have so much to talk about. I think today was the last one on one time I’ll really get to spend with her, and it was so perfect. We shopped and got cupcakes and it was just a really cozy day.

And then tonight was the dreaded speech. My third host mom and host sister were there, as well as my current host mom, and Chelsea. My first host parents are in Berlin, and Candice was sick, so I was sad that they couldn’t be there.

I think it went really well. I was nervous speaking Danish, but once I got going I feel like I did pretty well. At least well enough that they understood what I was saying, which if you’ve ever tried speaking Danish you’ll know is an accomplishment. I’m not going to post my whole speech, since it was in Danish, but I did do the end part, the thank you’s in English, just because to me it felt more honest. I felt like if I did it in Danish it wouldn’t have as much emotion. So here is the ending of the speech:

Throughout my year I have kept a blog for my family and friends back home, and while preparing this presentation I looked back over some of my earliest posts, and on the night before I left to Denmark I wrote an entry about all the emotions that came with leaving Canada, and one of the sentences I wrote just reminded me how far I’ve come this year.

“At this moment, it’s impossible for me to know what my life will be like 48 hours from now. I don’t really know my host family besides a few emails; I don’t know who my friends will be. In this moment, the next year is a big question mark; a bunch of unknowns.”

And now here I stand, at the other end of all of the unknowns. That host family I didn’t know, it now breaks my heart to have to leave them. Those friends that weren’t in my life yet, are now like a big family to me.

There are no more question marks. Everything has come together, and having made it through all of the ups and the downs and the tears and the laughter, now it’s time to say goodbye.

I can’t even express how grateful I am to everyone who made my year so amazing. To all of my host families, for opening their homes and hearts to me, to Candice for being an amazing support and a really great friend to me, to Susanne for everything she has done. I could not have asked for a more amazing counsellor, and I am so grateful to her for taking such good care of me, and always just, being there. And of course, to all of you. I feel so lucky to have been placed in such a great Rotary club. You have treated me so amazing, and I am so grateful for everything you have done for me. Thank you so much for everything, This has truly been the best year of my life.

I did pretty well on the crying front. I made it up until, ‘There are no more questions,’ which was when my voice got shaky. I didn’t start crying until after, when Susanne hugged me and I sat down at my table and realized that I just made my farewell speech. Maybe I still have two weeks, but I just made the speech about my year, which means that if I summed up my whole year, it must be over. At least all of the big things. I still have two more weeks, but all of the big things that made up this year, host families, school, friends, trips; those are over. All that remains are last times and sad goodbyes.

It’s really hard to put into words how I’m feeling right now. I feel like I’m caught in a heavy current and I can’t get my footing.

I’m so scared I’ve disappointed people, especially Susanne. I think she thought I was going to be really good at Danish, and I’m scared that she’s disappointed that I’m not better than I am. Or all the problems that I’ve had with school this year. Sometimes it’s easy to forget all of the stuff I’ve accomplished this year when thinking about what I haven’t, but I just don’t want to let anyone down.

There’s so much hard stuff that comes with accepting that the year is over. I feel like I don’t have a lot of people to talk to at the moment who totally get it. Even my parents, who throughout the year I’ve talked on a weekly basis, I don't want to call them. I’ve exchanged a few notes with my mom on facebook, but to be honest I have no intention of calling them again before I go home. They don’t understand, and I don’t want to listen to them pretend to understand or to try to be sympathetic. They don’t know what to say at the moment. (I really hope you guys don't take this the wrong way mom and dad, I still love you and can't wait to see you!)

I have two weeks left in Denmark. I have lots of amazing plans between now and then, and I know I will spend a lot of the next two weeks being happy, but mixed in with all of the fun, are some hard goodbyes. I’m saying goodbye to Candice on Monday, to my third family Tuesday, to my class on Wednesday, and then the week after I say goodbye to Nova and Chelsea, to my second family, and then my last night I have to say goodbye to my first family.

So thrown into all the happiness is some major sadness. And I’m so scared. I’m scared to say goodbye and I’m scared to go home. I don’t know how Denmark is going to fit into my life once I’m back.

So there’s just so much going on right now. I’m so glad I have the other exchange students who totally understand and who know that nothing can be said to make it okay. Because it’s not okay. I’m not okay. I know that one day I will be, but at the moment I’m not. It’s not fair, it took me seven months to find my place here and be truly happy, and now it’s being ripped away from me. How can it possibly be okay when in just over two weeks, this life will be gone?

Tomorrow I will start going through my stuff to see what needs to be given away, and what I will keep. I know once I start packing then it really truly is the end, so I refuse to pull out my suitcases. I will stick to sorting for as long as humanly possible.

I promise I will make some happier posts between now and then. But please bare with me, this emotional rambling is more for my sake than anyone else’s.

I’m all out of words and energy, so here is where I leave you.


Sunday, 12 June 2011


I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself. - James Baldwin

Sorry this is coming a week late, but finally I am sitting down to write all about EUROTOUR!! It truly was the most amazing trip I have ever been on! I wasn’t super excited going into it, simply because I didn’t want to face that the end of my year is almost here, but oh my gosh it ended up just being the best time ever.

I don’t want to bore you with an entire novel, so I will do a quick summery of each country we stopped in.

We left Denmark bright and early on the 20th and headed to Berlin via an awesome ferry with cheap candy. We stopped for a picnic lunch and the atmosphere was just crazy with excitement. We finally made it to our hostel where we got our rooms and then had dinner as a whole group. The plan was to go on an evening tour as a whole group, but it started raining so our guide told us we could go on our own. A large group of us tried to find our way into downtown, but we only ended up making it two stations before we gave up and just wandered around. We bought some snacks and walked around and it was a lot of fun and a really great start to our trip.

The next day we saw Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin wall, and then we had a picnic lunch (…again) and then after a short bus tour, we were free. There was a tourist shop at the Berlin wall where you could get awesome passport stamps, but Nova, Jenny and I didn’t have our passports, so we decided to go back to the hostel and then find our way back to the wall. I’m not going to write out the entire events of the day, but basically: enter 3 different trains, 2 hours of walking, and roughly 5 general hours of being lost. We did make it in the end, but boy was it a production. The three of us went for dinner and got bubble tea, and then after walking around a bit more we made our way back to the hostel.

Despite the frustration of being lost and walking way too far, it was an amazing first day of Eurotour and made me so excited for what was to come.

The next day we left bright and early on our way to Prague. We stopped at the concentration camp, Terezin, which was something I will never forget. I have learnt about the holocaust my whole life, but to actually be where it happened, and to see up close where they were forced to stay, was something I can’t even put into words.

Our first night in Prague I went with Hillary and Laura into town and we just walked around and explored the area. One of the cool things about this trip was that it gave us all a chance to meet and hang out with people outside of our regular group.

The next day we did some sightseeing as a group, and then in afternoon Nova and I split off and went for lunch and then the two of us went and found a hair salon and we got our hair cut!! Getting a haircut in Denmark is ridiculously expensive, so I haven’t gotten one all year, so to finally get my hair done was soo fantastic! The lady spoke not a single word of English, so it didn’t exactly turn out how I had wanted, but I’m still happy!

(Awkward haircut...)

After Prague came Vienna, which was gorgeous. The first night we went to this garden where we walked around for a bit, and then headed to the hotel. The hotel was really far out, so once we were there we had to stay in for the night. We all hung around outside, and I spent a good chunk of the night with a group of Canadian girls. Again, it was great to get to know a new group of people.

Day two in Vienna followed the same pattern of sightseeing in the morning, although we didn’t see much except the Spanish riding school. And then in the afternoon we were free. I really wanted to see the Sigmund Froid museum, but we weren’t able to find it. We did get to do some shopping though, and then in the evening Nova, Brittany and I went to the huge ferris wheel and got to see the sun set on the whole city. I was doubly excited because one of the amazing race challenges took place on that ferris wheel!!

(Me, Nova and Brittany on the ferris wheel!)

Italy came next; We started with Lido de Jesolo where we had a day to lie on the beautiful beach, and then Venice where we got to do a gondola tour (among other things of course) which was really exciting, and then a stop in Verona where we saw Juliette’s balcony, and the fourth night was in San Remo. We didn’t do much there besides sleep, but it was a really gorgeous area.


Next along the way was France. Nice was absolutely GORGEOUS and I got to experience a very…typical European beach. We spent two nights in Avignon where we got to see proper castles like you see in fairy tales. Everything was so fast paced, but there was a moment in Avignon where I stood and looked out at one of the castles in the distance and thought about how insanely cool it is that I am here, in Europe, looking at castles that have been there for, in comparison to my life, ever.

(Swimming in Nice)

Our third last city was the city of cities, the city I have been excited to see since…ever. Paris!! And let me say it did not disappoint! I got to walk the Champs Elysees, climb up the Arc de Triomphe, see Sainte Chapelle and Notre Dame, walk around the Louvre and of course, I got to climb the Eiffel tower! (Twice!) I could go on for hours and hours about Paris, but let me just summarize by saying that it was, hands down, my favourite city, and I would go back in a heartbeat.

(At the very top of the Eiffel tower!)

Brussels was next, and while we didn’t see anything besides the Grand Place and Manneken Pis , it was a really special city for me because I got to meet up with my friend Ammie, who is an exchange student from Calgary in Belgium. It was so good to catch up with her and she took me for Belgian fries and waffles, and introduced me to amazing Belgian beer (or if you are a Rotarian, some amazing Belgian soda) and it was just really really nice to spend time with her.

(Me, Ammie and my amazing Belgian waffle!)

Somehow, like everything else in life, we found ourselves at the end. Amsterdam was our last stop, and wow was it different! We walked through the red light district, which was an…experience. I couldn’t help but look at those women, some who only looked a year or two older than me, and wonder what is running through their head. Maybe it’s my tendency to over think everything, but I found the whole thing really interestingly weird.

Our last day was a 12 hour drive back to Denmark, the last two hours of which were spent sobbing. After we got off the bus, we wouldn’t see a lot of these people again, and it was an unwelcome wakeup call that no matter how much we deny it, this is it, this whole crazy rollercoaster is coming to an end. I really hope this doesn’t sound bad, but I didn’t really cry nearly as hard for my family and friends in Canada as I did for the people on that bus. Because I knew I was coming back. But hugging these people, some of whom I’ve only been close with for a few weeks, and knowing that there’s a chance I’ll never see them again, is something so heartbreaking that I don’t think you can understand unless you’ve been there. The number of ‘I’ll see you again! I promise!’’s and ‘Don’t worry, I’ll see you before we go home!’’s made my heart hurt, because even as the words came out of my mouth, I knew they weren’t true.

There’s a lot of people I will see again in my life, but there’s also the ones who although I love them, I know it’s just not realistic. And I hate that.

And in the back of my mind as I sat there crying with 75 of the most amazing people, I couldn’t help but wonder, if it’s like this now, how horrible will it be when it’s Emma or Simone that I’m hugging? If I’m this sad over people I’ve known for three weeks, then what will it be like with my first host family? With my host mom now? With Susanne? With all of the other people who have played a huge part in my year.

So that was it, Eurotour. One of the best 18 days of my exchange, if not of my life. I did and saw so much and I know that I didn’t even begin to cover it in this post.

I have been looking forward to Eurotour since before I even came to Denmark, and it did not by any means disappoint me. Every day was something new and I am so grateful that I was able to go on the trip and it is something that I will never forget. So to my parents, thank you so much! I don’t think you guys understand how much this whole experience, not just Eurotour, but everything, has meant to me, and I am eternally grateful to you guys for giving me and supporting me throughout this whole experience.

Here are the links to see all of my pictures from the trip!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

The week since I’ve been back has been crazy, and next week looks like it will be the same, so hopefully I can update about all of my recent happenings soon!

Lots of Love!