Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Another week gone in the blink of an eye.

So honestly this is probably going to be a sort of short blog post, partially due to the fact that it was almost the same as last week and due to the fact that for some reason I can't really remember what I did all week, but somehow it's gone!

I'm just going to put the highlights in instead of a day to day recap:

Well as I said at the end of my last blog I was cooking for my family. We had macaroni and cheese, a salad, and garlic bread. I think it all turned out pretty well and we didn't mess up any of the conversions for the macaroni and cheese!

Then the rest of the school week was pretty much the same: soccer and school.

Friday I finished school at 11:37 (Yeah, I know a random time), but the bus doesn't come until a few hours later, so Jytte picked me up and I went to her work in Fredericia. I walked around the shopping street there, which was nice, but I resisted buying too many things! Then we just had a nice relaxing night watching 500 Days of Summer. 

Saturday my host parents were cutting wood again for the winter supply of heat, so I just hung out, but later Jytte and I went to a mall in Odense since Odense is so close to Morud (I think 15-20 minutes, so we go there a lot).

Sunday I got to see Linea, who was an exchange student in my district in California last year! It was really nice to see her and we had fun walking around the center of Odense. It was Linea's first time in Odense, so I was her really bad tour guide since I have only been to this area a few times and there were always people to lead me to the right place, but we found our way with a bit of help from her iPhone.
One thing I forgot about Denmark though is that pretty much everything is closed on Sundays, so we couldn't do much shopping, but we did visit Hans Christian Andersen's childhood home, which was incredibly small, so it didn't take long to see, but it was on my list of places to see in Denmark, so that one is checked off!
Then we just sat at a really good coffee shop called Baresso, where the drinks are really good as long as you don't think about the price compared to say Starbucks or Peet's!

Courtyard behind Hans Christian Andersen's home

Some big church (I think) 

That was pretty much the whole last week, but trust me the next 2 posts will be more interesting!!
Farvel for nu,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Regndråber holde droppe på mit hoved"

Hej alle,
I can't believe I have already been in Denmark almost 1.5 months! It is a crazy and scary thing to think about, because if the next 10 months go like this I will be home before you can say rød grød med fløde (well actually that would take you quite a while to say, but still you get my point).
It has been raining a lot this week, but so far I have been lucky and haven't had to be outside during any of the torrential downpours.
Monday: School as usual. Then I went to my Rotary Meeting. It had been a few weeks since I had last been there, so it was nice to see everyone again. Unfortunately, there was a politician speaking, so I really didn't understand much of the night. But on the bright side, the food was really good! As it always is :)
I also talked with my counselor about my class trip to Dublin, Ireland! He said since it was a school trip I could go, so I am off to Dublin in March I believe and I think it will be a really great trip, especially since I get to go with my whole class! Just imagine: 26 Danes and 1 American, in Dublin, around St. Patrick's day ( I think?), it's gonna be great!

Tuesday: Guess what? I went to school again! It was a good day though because I had Spanish and English. Then I worked on some geography homework for quite some time. The homework takes quite awhile for me since I usually have to go: Danish question, to English question, to English answer, to Danish answer, but it is helping to do some the homework, but still in classes like history and social science I barely attempt to do it.
Soccer that night was fun. The girls on the team were speaking mostly Danish to me, but it was very fast, so I would just say "Hvad?" (what?) and the would all laugh and try and repeat it slower and simpler. Luckily I stopped myself from just saying "ja" to most things people said and it turns out that was a good idea with some of the girls' questions hahah.

Wednesday: I am proud to say I turned in my first FULL Danish assignment today in geography! I answered everything in Danish, so it's probably not even close to being right, but hopefully my teacher (Helle) will see the effort, which I am sure she will since she is really nice and always gives me extensions when I need them! Religion class was canceled, so I sat with some of the other kids from my class and they helped me a bit with the rest of my geography homework! It is so weird here that when a teacher can't come to school the class is just canceled, no substitute, nothing. There is just a lot more freedom at the school. For instance you can sit on the couches outside the classes and no one comes up to you asking why you aren't in class or when I leave school to go to language classes, I don't have to check out with the office or do anything really, except leave.
I had Danish lessons again and luckily Alicia, Paulina (from Chile), and I missed most of the rain on our walk to the Danish school.


My religion teacher was gone again, so we just had a project to work on, which I couldn't do, so it was a nice class for me, plus one of the girls in my class brought in cake. We seem to have a lot of cake in my class, sometimes I really have no idea why, but hey, I'm not complaining! I also got my first Spanish homework assignment back with not TOO many mistakes. I think I did okay considering I had to translate a Danish text to Spanish. 
I then had Danish language classes, which I had been working on the homework for in Religion class   ( a little embarrassing when the other kids look at what I'm doing, since it's like a first grader's homework, but we all just laughed about it.)
Again soccer at night. I feel like I am getting a tad better each week, but no huge improvements yet! 

Friday: Friday was a great day of the week for many reasons! First I had gym in the morning, which was just doing jump rope, then I had English, which is always a nice break for my head, then history (we had cake again), which I worked on my Danish language homework in! 
Then I went home and got ready for the party at the school that night. I went to a pre-party again, but this time at Sofie's (the one I went shopping in Odense with) house. There were 9 of us in total, and 5 of us were in class together. It was good to meet 4 new girls from the school, because now I know just a few more people. It's weird to think that I can count exactly how many people I know at the Gymnasium, because I have never attended a school where I know so few people. The pre-party was really fun and we just had a good time dancing, eating, and getting ready for the long party ahead! 
We then took a short taxi ride to the Gymnasium. There were more than 400 people there I think, so it was quite busy. One of the most shocking things to me is that the students can buy alcohol at the dance. It is just such a weird and different thing to see. The party was pretty fun! I then went home and slept!

Saturday: I just had a nice relaxing day. I went to the library in the morning with my host mom to get some more children's books in Danish. I then worked on some English and math homework. The math is still somewhat of a challenge when I can't understand the explanation, but I do the problems I already know how to do (not many!). I also went grocery shopping with my host mom for the "American" dinner I am making for them on Sunday. 
Then Chris was at a friend's house, so Jytte and I just watched She's the Man and another one that I fell asleep during. I just get so tired here, so easily, but I guess that's what hearing another language all day does to me!

Sunday: Today I had my first soccer game! I played for about 20 minutes and while I didn't do great, I don't think I did anything too terrible in the game and overall it was fun! We won 3-2, but it was definitely a nail-bighter game!
Tonight I am cooking macaroni and cheese for my family, so let's hope it all turns out okay! 
I will update pictures on photobucket soon, I promise!
Farvel for nu!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Soccer, Shopping, and Sleep! (plus a bit more)

So it's time for my weekly update and it feels like just last week I was writing one of these.... oh wait I was, but it still feels like the week went by so fast!
Sunday: Rest/ and sleep to recover from the long week at intro camp!
Monday: School- I actually could understand a bit more in each of my classes, which felt great! Every little bit counts even if I only understand 1 or 2 more words a day it is better than none! And I could even do what we were doing in math today! It was the quadratic formula, which we learn in 8th or 9th grade in the U.S., so it felt nice to finally be able to actually do something and succeed in it haha.
Tuesday: School, then soccer. It was only my second practice, but I am enjoying the team and it's pretty fun even though I am not that great.
Wednesday: School as usual, then I got to leave early since I had language classes! I now have language classes every Wednesday and Thursday, which is great because those were always my longest days at school! I walked there with Alica (from Canada) and Gustavo (from Brazil) and we made it just in time for the start of class since there was a bit of confusion about who was leading the way; me or Gustavo. The teacher, Lorea, seems really nice and she understands that we have lives and other homework than just her class, which is always a nice thing to hear since sometimes it seems as though teacher's forget that! There are 7 of us in the class: Me, Alicia, Gustavo, Katharina (from Germany), Nora (from Austria), Nok Nahm (from Thailand), and Agne (from Lithuania).
For dinner I had McDonalds with my host dad, Niels, and brother, Chris, since my host mom wasn't going to be home from work until late. You may think McDonalds must be the same no matter where you go, but this one at least is slightly different. First of all you have to pay for your ketchup/ Mayonnaise salat as I have learned you have to do at all fast food restaurants. Second of all the food is just generally more expensive. For example a Big Mac costs around $3.50 or so in the U.S., in Denmark it costs almost $10 (no, I don't know this off the top of my head, I had to look it up haha). Another is the mayonnaise salat, yes you read that right. They have mayonnaise dressing packets for people to dip their fries in, which is pretty common here.  Well those are really the only differences, but it's little things like this, that you notice when in another country.
Thursday: Again I had language school, it was especially nice because I got to miss Social Science class, which the teacher and I have agreed I understand nothing in!
Language class was again good, and I feel like I learn a little bit more each day. Also, this may sound weird, but it's nice to have homework that I can actually do! Before I was really only doing my Spanish, English, and geography homework unless a teacher told me otherwise. I also now have more people to take the bus home with on Wednesdays and Thursdays since Nok Nahm and Katharina also take the same bus as me.
When Niels brought me home from the bus station the second we got out of the car, the craziest hail storm I have ever seen started! It came down for probably 2 or 3 minutes and the hail was the size of a tic tac almost! After the hail ended everything was covered in the hail and it almost looked like it had  snowed!

Then it was time for pizza night Thursday since my host mom works later on Thursdays it is just easier to have pizza, which is fine with me!

Friday: For the last 2 classes of the day at school it was an assembly to hear some politicians from Fyn representing parties for the upcoming elections. It was somewhat interesting at the beginning since we got to send a text to "vote' for which politician we wanted to win, but as the politicians talked faster and more complicated I got bored and just sat there playing on a girl in my class's iphone, since I wasn't understanding anything.
Then after that 2 girls from my class (Sofie and Mathilde) and I took the train to Odense (Denmark's third biggest city) and went shopping! There was another boy on the train from our class with one of his friends, and once we were in Odense the 5 of us ran into each other a few times, so Sofie, Mathilde, and I of course had to have them take pictures of us!
We went to lots of stores and spent lots of money, but since it was my first shopping trip in Denmark, I justify it since I needed  some "Danish" clothes. We shopped until all the stores closed (at around 7) and then had dinner at a fast food style place called Sunset Boulezard, which has supposedly healthier fast food with sandwiches and things like that on the menu. It was pretty good and saved me some money compared to eating in a restaurant, which is crazy expensive here!

Then Jytte came and picked me up and I went home and we just spent the night watching Legally Blonde 2 until I fell asleep on the couch.
Saturday: This morning I had no problem waking up somewhat early, because we were going to LEGOLAND!! This was probably one of the things on the top of my list of places to go/see in Denmark and I am so happy I got to go with Jytte and Chris. We arrived a little before it opened and compared to my recent trip to Disneyland before I left, the line was small, but in Denmark it was considered somewhat busy. We raced right away to the more popular rides, so as to avoid the lines later in the day. We went on almost all the rides it feels like and never had to wait more than 10 minutes in a line, which was great! After our first ride when we were looking at our pictures from the ride, one of the workers asked where we were from and when he found out I was from California he told me how he had just been there and the "Legoland in California sucks!", which is probably true after seeing this one! My favorite ride would have to be the Power Builder. It is a ride where you create your own experience. You are given a sim card and then you proceed to choose what you want your ride to do; ex: flip upside down then left, or spin around, etc. I rode with Jytte and we just laughed the whole way.
We also went to see a 4-D movie, which was cute and the snow and wind effects were fun. In my opinion one of the coolest parts of Legoland are the miniature towns and sculptures made only of legos. It was amazing to see all these small buildings composed of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of legos. The time and effort that must have gone into these was impossible to imagine! I had a lot of fun in Legoland and am glad I got to go, so early on in my trip, so that I can maybe even go again. We got free tickets to use in October, so who knows we may go again!
We spent the evening watching some movies on tv. One was only in Danish, with no subtitles, but I could still figure out what was going on most of the time! :)

Well there was my week!
Farvel for nu!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Intro Campin'- I've had the time of my life

This past week from, Sunday to Sunday, I was at my Rotary intro camp in the town of Bjerringbro on Jutland. We stayed at a boarding school type place that students go to for only a few weeks at a time to sort of figure out what they want to do or at least that's how I understood it. There was one other group there and it was a large group of elderly people who were constantly shushing us. Finally we asked our teacher why they were there and he said it was somewhat of a nostalgia thing for them.
On Sunday I got on the train in Odense with around 10 other exchange students from the surrounding areas on Fyn. The train was packed with exchange students. I think there were 3 cars full of us, but we all felt a little bit bad for the people that had the other seats in our cars since it was very loud the whole way there (about 2.5 hours), but were constantly apologizing to them. We arrived at the station and around maybe 120 of us got off. We got assigned our room mates; mine was a girl named Susan Alexis from Massachusetts. The rest of the day we just had a short introduction where we met our teachers and the rest of our class mates. I was in a class with a teacher named Emil and 19 other students from all over the world. The majority of the students seemed to be from Brazil, Canada, and the United States. The rest were from other South American countries, Taiwan, Japan,  Mexico, and one girl from Lithuania (the only one from Europe). Then we had more free time, dinner, and then we took a short walk in the town and had tea in a park, which was nice; after that was more free time.
On Monday the regular routine began:
7:15: wake up
8:00: breakfast
8:45: morning assembly telling the day's schedule/activities
9:15: class starts- Danish lessons for many hours
12:00: lunch/ free time
1:30: back to Danish class
4:30: free time
6:30: dinner
7:30: evening activities with the teachers
9:00: free time
11:00: time to be in your rooms
and then do it again.
On Monday the evening activity I chose was "hyggeligt" which has no direct translation in English, but we really just sat in a room with candles, eating, drinking tea and coffee, and talking about certain talking points they gave us. I mostly talked with Alicia, the other Rotary exchange at my school, and Simran, a girl from India. We had a lot of fun with the topics and laughed a lot.
On Tuesday our evening activities were outside. People could go rock climbing and then sit by the bonfire. It was really nice by the bonfire and lot's of people were singing, generally South Americans, until us Americans took over and sang "Don't Stop Believing".We then roasted this bread over the fire to make snobrød, which was pretty tasty.
On Wednesday we had a special surprise, which ended up being a concert by the band the Striving Vines, which I guess had won a concert to open for the band Kashmir, which is a pretty well known rock group here. Overall it was a fun night and we enjoyed having a private concert.
We also had some different discussions in class about being in Denmark. We had one about the culture shock and another about being a teenager in Denmark. We mostly talked about the differences and some things that were shocking to us, but I think everyone liked hearing about each other's experiences.
Thursday we did the same as usual and then had evening activities. This time I chose to learn the past tense in Danish. It was just a short lesson, but I feel it was a good choice plus I hadn't really felt like doing synchronized swimming or volleyball in the cold haha :).
Friday was the day most of us had been waiting for, Århus!!! We went to a nearby city called Århus, which is the second largest city in Denmark at around 300,000- 400,000 people. We first went to a really interesting art museum called ARoS. It had very modern art and was overall a really neat place to go. I enjoyed seeing the huge, 5 meter tall "Boy" statue that is very well known and also going in this room filled with smoke of different colors was pretty fun since your couldn't see more than 3 feet in front of you. Another one of my favorite places to go was up to the roof where there is a rainbow walking area. You are in an inclosed glass area with different colored glass all around, so you can look at the city in many different colors.
After that I met up with Alicia, Simran, a girl named Kirsten (from Canada), and a girl named Marisa (from Illinois). We walked around downtown Århus and got lots of food since at intro camp we were really only given the 3 meals a day with some bread and tea in between meals sometimes, but everyone was still hungry. We spend the afternoon watching a British comedy show on the street, which was pretty funny and I think we were the only people who really understood all of it. There was a big festival going on while were there, so there was lots of music on the streets and people in costumes, which was fun to see.
We ate quite a bit our day in Århus; first we had hot dogs from a stand on the street, then we had some dessert from a chocolate place, then we had fries at Burger King since we were craving "American" food, then we stocked up on candy to bring back to the camp for when we were hungry, but that's what it seemed like most of us did.
Århus was a really beautiful city and I hope to be able to visit it again before I leave.
Saturday was our last full day at camp and we all talked about how fast it had all gone.
We had Danish lessons in the morning and then after lunch we planned a group presentation as a class to present to the other classes.
I'm going to try and find a video to add to the blog of our class's presentation, but that will come later, so stay tuned....
We then had a banquet with everyone dressed up and after that the show started. All 7 classes did a performance. There were lot's of dances to Danish songs and some classes made up songs about our week there. After the shows we had a dance until 1 a.m. We just all had a great time dancing and enjoying our last few hours with each other. At one point Lily (from Alaska), Wilmary (from Venezuela) and I went outside since it was really hot and we just ran around on the grass. The weather felt perfect after being in the hot room for so long and the stars were gorgeous. We all just kind of had the "Wait, I'm actually in Denmark" moment. It was just a really fun and memorable night.

Then Sunday it was time to say goodbyes and get back on the train.
Intro camp was really a great week and I learned some more Danish, which is always great!
Pictures are updated here from intro camp:
Farvel for nu,