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,



  1. Wonderful post Andrea! Good luck with all the goodbyes and as you say goodbye to your Danish life.

  2. Hi- I am going to Denmark next year, from Chelsea's district, and I just wanted to say it has been great reading your blog and that it has made me even more excited to go, if that was even possible!
    Have a great last few days!
    Tak for sharing your journey!

  3. I'm so glad that you're having a blast :) And aaaargh, a picture with me and our babies! They will live on forever now that they've returned to our stomach (two of them at least), and we'll always have something that reminds us of each other! Hahahahahaha, don't ask me about what I just said lol.
    How's the packing, by the way? :p

  4. I can imagine that these posts are getting harder and harder to write. When you look back at them years down the road I bet all the same emotions will come flooding back along with warm loving feelings too. Love you!!!