Saturday, August 27, 2011

What's going on with me lately

Okay so I know it has been less than a week since my last blog, but I thought I should post one since I won't be able to until like the 2nd week of September.

So this past week was fairly normal I suppose. Sunday I went to a museum in a nearby town (I actually don't quite know where it is, just that it was closeby). They were having a day where vedors could bring stuff and you could see some things from around 100 years ago. It was cool to just walk around and see some older things. They also had some ponies that you could ride. My host dad walked by it and said to me "do you like horses" and I said "yeah I love them!" so he was like "here go ride a pony" and handed me 5kr. I turned the corner and realized that the horses were like migit ponies and the people riding them were all under the age of 8 and about 50lB's lighter than me... but what the heck! So I rode a pony, and the poor little horse let me ride it and never complained (well it did try to keep walking close to the bushes so my legs itched a little.... such a rebel horse!).

School was pretty normal all week. I went to classes, became very confused, then decided to make flash cards on danish vocabulary. That reminds me- the whole concept of flash cards is completely foreign to the Danes! I have to use smaller sized sheets of paper because they don't sell index cards and constantly have to explain what a flashcard is because no one has ever heard of them until now! Friday we had an "eventdag" (event day) where my grade went to Silkeborg and went canoing for hours! Like no joke... we got in the canoes at 9, canoed until 1 when we stopped for luch, then canoed back and got back withing an hour (the way down we had to fight the current and wind, so it was luckily much faster the way back!). All of the students had more fun than expected, but still hated it basically... but what surprised me is that everyone actually showed up! In the USA, if you go on a field trip you don't want to have, then you just don't show up, but everyone still showed up!

My Danish is finally beginning to improve. When I first arrived, I never had a clue what was going on, but now I am starting to hear key phrases, and when I watch tv, I sometimes know what will be said before they say it because occassionally I can understand the subtitles (it's such a cool feeling!). I still have a lot to learn, but I never expected I would even get this far. I have already made stacks upon stacks of flash cards, and have many more I need to make, but eventually I will know Danish and be capable of having a real conversation. At times I get very discouraged and feel as though I haven't learned a thing, but then I will be able to say something in Danish and I realize that I couldn't do that a week ago!

Overall, my past few weeks here have been better than I ever imagined. I will admit that I have had some rough times where all I think about is the things I miss from home (friends, family, food, tv, my iPhone, picking on my brother, being able to listen in on others conversations, and actually having to work in school-I still don't know why I miss that one!) but then I think of all the great things I've done here and how I have already changed and become a stronger, better person. The one thing I can say, is that even when I have times where I miss home, I have never wanted to give up, never wanted to go home, and never wished I didn't make the decision to come- and I'm very proud of that!

I just wanted to thank everyone who has supported me this whole time and encouraged me. I also want to thank all of the people who ever told me I wouldn't make it, my dream was too crazy, or that I wasn't good enough for this- I am happy to say that I am currently in the process of proving you completely wrong!

Knus fra Danmark (hugs from Denmark),


ps- sorry if my spelling is off- I tried using spellcheck but it's set for Danish, so everything gets hilighted, because they words are english!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

First week of school/16th Birthday/Random outings

So I have now been in Denmark for 2 weeks and a lot has happened!!!

Where my last blog ended off, was on Sunday. The next monday I went into town with my host mom to try and get my Danish CPR number (it's a number that everyone gets once they are born or move here and you need it for everything- library card, bank account, etc.) but we discovered that I can't get one until my visa comes in the mail (still waiting...) Tuesday, my mom went to work along with my dad, so I stayed at the house and just watched tv, ate, did normal things. Wednesday I went into a nearby twon called Herning with Camilla (17yr old host sister in 4th family). We went to the "Herning Center" (MALL!) and I am now in love with Danish fashion and need to go clothing shopping (I only bought pencils and sunglasses that day because I hadn't recieved my allowance from Rotary yet so I had no Kroner and all the clothes were still for summer). Thursday I went to Nanna's house. She is a girl my age and I will be living with her family next week while my host parents go to Greenland. That night I went to my host moms school that she works at (called an aftenskole which is a boarding school) and I met some really sweet girls! Friday I stayed at home all day again, but that night all of my host parents came over and I got to meet them all- Sweetest people in the world! That weekend was fun! One day I got to go to the west coast of Jylland and see beaches and also visit a sandsculpture place where artists from over the world came and made sandsculptures! Another day I went and helped chop wood on my host parents farm.

First week of school:
Monday I started school! I started in what they call 1G(G=grade) at a gymnasium (high school). They gymnasium has 3 grades and I started in the youngest. Because I was in the youngest, I (along with my classmates) was painted with a green face and got my hair sprayed green. It was interesting, but almost funny because we all had it done to us. Oh and the upperclassmen call us fro now (frog). The first day was just being shown around by the teachers. The first 2 or 3 days of school was hard because although everyone was nice, I didn't have a strong friendship with my class. On wednesday we had english and that was amazing. Wednesday was the day where I really bonded with my class (not because of English, but because we played games together and I started to talk to more people and branch out). Thursday was a good day as well but Friday was amazing! It was my birthday so my class sang to me and we also had a free period at the end of the day so we sat around a table, while they taught me weird Danish words and laughed at my accent and then I impressed them by doing the peter piper toungetwister! And afterschool, we had our first cafe. It is basically where they have beer and soda for sale and you sit around with classmates and talk.

My first Rotary meeting:
The first week I was here I had my first Rotary meeting and got to go up and introduce myslelf to the club. The Rotarians are all so nice! Then this last week, I had my second meeting. This was the meeting where Camilla (host sister- remember her? well she just had an exchange year in Australia... and fyi- the aussie accent is amazing!) spoke to the club about her exchange. I got to see her blazer and it is covered in pins!!! Oh and since my birthday was going to be that week, my club bought me a gift- a Fancy flag on a nice flag stand! And one of the Rotarians in my club works at the factory that makes Royal Dansk cookies (oh yeah the factory for that is in my town... so much for trying to not get fat this year!) and she heard I like them so she brought me a tin of a specialty cookie for christmas season and also told me I can tour the factory sometime (ahhhhh!!!!).

Language school:
Oh yeah so this last week I started taking language classes on Tues and Thurs after school in Herning! They are really helpful and the teachers are nice. Oh and to get there I take the bus! Tuesday my dad drove me, but Thrusday I took the bus, alone, for the first time! I was so proud of myself!

Finally..... Birthday!:
So Friday was my 16th Birthday! I honestly thought it might be hard to have my birthday on my 2nd week here, especially since it was a birthday that meant a lot to me (why? driving... duh!). But.... my birthday was amazing! I already talked about school and Rotary parts of my b-day. But that night when I got home a friend (Anna) came over for some coffee (she couldn't come later that night because she was going out of town) . Then that night, some other girls came (Camilla- the host sister Aussie!- then Charlotte-Camilla's older sister/my older sister- and Maria and Alberta and Nanna- the one I'll live with for a week.) We had "kage mand" which is cake man! It is a "cake" (it tastes like popovers) drizzled with icing and then covered in Danish candy! Oh and it's shaped like a person! So you light the number of candles for your year (16 for me!) and they don't sing and you don't make a wish, but when you blow out all of the candles you have to blow them all out at once (if not, the number of candles left burning is the number of boyfriends you have!)- I blew em all out at once! Oh and when the cut the cake, they slit the throat and the birthday person screams (because they're killing you!). haha it was really entertaining! Oh and I got lots of great gifts from everyone, and another Rotarian dropped by and gave me some beautiful jewlery (she owns a jewelry store!). Oh and that night I stayed up til 1 am so I could skype with my family (everyone but my mommy because she was working!).

This weekend:
So yesterday was Saturday and it was really cool! I woke up and got to go with my host dad to a place where you can fly glider planes. It's a plane that seats 2 people, and it's hooked up to a string. The string pulls you really fast until you get in the sky, then it snaps and you can fly! It was so much fun I went up 3 times haha! Then I stayed at home for a while and worked on my Danish. That night I went with my host parents to a nearby town called Silkeborg where there was a festival that only happens every 3 years! We went and sat on a boat with some people and then that night they had fireworks! And I think fireworks are really expensive here, because they told me it would be 150,000 kr (= $30,000) worth of fireworks... but it lasted like 4 minutes... so basically I got to watch $30,000 blow up in colorful explosions in like 5 minutes!

So far my stay here has been amazing! I am already in love with the beautiful country of Denmark! Some people get a car for their 16th birthday, I get to spend a year in one of the most spectacular places on Earth- I'd say I got the best birthday gift!

Vi ses (see you soon),


Sunday, August 7, 2011

First Blog From Denmark!


Okay.... so... we have a lot of catching up to do!

I said goodbye to my friends during my last week. I had different get-togethers and said goodbye. My mom, dad, brother, grandparents on my moms side, Dalton (dad's girlfriend's son- aka- my second brother) and Mrs. Paula (my district counselor) came to say goodbye to me at the airport. I somehow made it out without crying too much (I somehow didn't cry when my parents said goodbye, but when Mrs. Paula said goodbye was the only time I actually cried- it confused me too!).

I made it past security (I have no clue why everyone makes a big deal about security being bad- they're super nice and it's not a big deal!). I then found my gate, then turned back around for my last starbucks, and grabbed a sandwhich. My first plane was brutal- It was sooo small. On one side it had 1 person (me) and on the other side of the aisle it had room for two. Then I went to Newark- omg that airport is huge (or at least it feels like it when you're flying alone for the first time) but everyone was super helpful and nice. My next plane was giant (747!) and I had a window seat and sat next to two french guys. This made me really happy because I got to practice my french and they said I wasn't terrible- but they probably laughed at me and said it in french so I'd have no clue! They love my "american" accent! haha! Oh and when we left Newark, I saw NY for the first time! We flew right past the statue of liberty (this thrilled me beyond belief- can you tell I've never been to New York but have always wanted to!). Let me just say that
1) a 7 hour flight in an uncomfortable seat when you're too excited to sleep or do anything can be boring.
2) Plane food sucks. Period.
3) The flight attendant giving out heated towel thingy's before dinner is pretty cool- not gonna lie!
4) Europe is absolutely adorable- even from the air.

Okay so now that I've given the ever so short story of my first two flights, I'll bore you with the last. haha! So I boarded my plane in Frankfurt for Billund and of course after lucking out on the past two flights with no kids around me, I just had to get stuck next to two kids. And just my luck, the one sitting next to me had to order apple juice (which by the way I have always hated because the smell makes me want to puke!) and then proceed to spill some on my rotary blazer- Kids officially suck! My blazer looks nice still, but if you smell that spot, you can smell the juice (ewww!).

Once I landed:
I  walked off the plane, found the baggage place and waited.... and waited... and waited some more! After a veryy long and nervous wait (my biggest fear was my bags not wshowing up and by then it seemed like it might happen), my bags finally showed up! Thank God!!!! I then walked out (yes that's right- no customs in Billund apparently- I was really happy, but kinda sad because I got no passport stamp, so now my passport only has Germany's stamp) and found my Rotary club president, his wife, and two of their grandchildren. They picked me up and took me to their house where I had lunch and waited for my mom and dad to come. I was finally able to nap (but I'll say that 1 hour makes no difference after 24 hours of no sleep).

Home at last:
Then I went home and unpacked, had another light nap (about 30 mins) and had dinner. We then went to our neighbors for some drinks where I was informed of the surprise party being thrown for one of my host sisters. Then I wound up going to that party (yup a party on my first night and by then I had slept 1.5 hours in over 30 hours!) but had a blast and met so many new people! Then I went home, showered, and finally got to sleep for real!

Next morning:
Min mor woke me up at 9 (Danish time zone now- but what would be 3am in FL) so that I could get ready to go to her sisters house for her sister's kids birthday party. Then we went back home and later went to an outdoor concert. It was interesting to hear the music (some Danish songs and others were English- "Aint no mountain High enough", an ABBA song, and a song from "Titanic" haha). We also went to a museum nearby that was about the vikings, saw the two mounds built in memory of King Gorm (first King of DK- he also brought Christianity to DK) and his wife, a 1000 year old church (I thought it was super old, but to the Danes its "just another church"), and we saw a replica of a viking ship. I will post pictures at another time, I'm just so busy I don't have the time right now!

I am so happy to be in Denmark and settled down in my new how! Until next time,

Farvel fra Danmark!