Greetings once again from Copenhagen, Denmark. November is truly setting in here…with the sun rising at 7:30 in the morning and setting at 4:30. In other words, lots of candles lit to illuminate the dark and make it feel perhaps a bit cozier (the elusive Danish term hygge). All is well, however dark & however cold.
Long time, no post.
It’s been a good 3 weeks since the last time I posted on here, so I figured I would bring everything up to date; all the adventures and experiences I have had.
To start…I went to Germany! Hamburg, followed by Berlin. It was an amazing week filled with speaking to influential people and organizations in the field of sustainable development, visiting historic and memorable destinations, and of course getting my fair share of German beer. I was even lucky enough to be in Berlin on Reunification Day (the anniversary of when the Berlin Wall came down). I had the pleasure of going to the DDR Museum (about the socialist era in Berlin), Topography of Terror museum (about the SS and Hitler’s secret police), seeing remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, eating lunch at the top of the Reichstag, and much more. It was for sure a memorable trip, but I need to go back to see even more!
I also had the opportunity of seeing with my own eyes the world’s largest ship: a shipping container carrier owned by the Danish company Mærske. I’ll attach a picture….it’s almost unreal to believe a water vessel can be that large!
I also made my way over to Malmö, Sweden for a couple of days, seeing as it is accessible by bridge, with the train from Copenhagen only taking about 35 minutes. While there, I explored the city parks, ate delicious Mexican, Indian, and Greek foods, sampled some tasty Swedish micro-brews, went to the Modern Museum, and just simply experienced the 3rd largest city in Sweden.
Besides those more exciting things, I have been busy with schoolwork, but also dedicating quite a bit of time to socializing and seeing new parts of the city. A couple new favorite places that I have encountered include a tiny restaurant called Grød (specializing in local foods, most notably porridge) in Nørrebro, a cute little café/culture house called Beboerhus (so hygge!) in Christianshavn, and a wonderful café/bar in Nørrebro called Retro, in which I applied to volunteer as a bartender because I love it so much! If there is one thing that Copenhagen is good for, it is the small, cozy, completely hygge cafés and restaurants. (A lot of places for us to go when you visit, Mom and Grandma!)
From here, I’m just continuing my studies and my adventures around da Cope. I have a couple concerts coming up in these next couple weeks, so that is always fun! Also, on November 10 I’ll be flying to Lisbon, Portugal to spend 5 days during one of our travel breaks! Completely excited, you must know.
Farewell for now, sending my love from København, Danmark.
Here I am, checking in again after a bit of an extended absence. I regret to tell you that I don’t have any new photos for you to examine as of right now, but surely more photo opportunities will come up soon!
Let’s start right where I left off:
I’ve been continuing all of my classes at DIS, trying to find time to create a balance between studying, exploring this culture-heavy city, and spending time with my host family. Studying has taken up quite a bit of time, what with numerous readings and assignments per night, but I like to think that I am keeping up. In my Renewable Energy Systems class, we had our first exam covering general energy and renewables information, and I got 95%! My first academic success in Denmark.
In my How Plants Changed World History Class, we have been continuing talking about different plants that have affected the course of history (tobacco, sugarcane, spices, tea, etc.). For instance, did you know that the concept of “Tip Jars” originated during the era of tea houses in Britain, in which small boxes lay on each table stating TIPS (To Insure Prompt Service)? Or perhaps that wheat and grains were used to make beer before they even made bread? Additionally, in this class, we travelled to Kellaris Vineyard last Wednesday, which is located just north of the city. You may be thinking, “A vineyard? In Denmark?!?!” But yes, a vineyard. There are only about a hundred vineyards in all of Denmark, and Kellaris only produced anywhere from 4,000-9,000 bottles per year. It was nice to see that such things as vineyards existed in this tiny country, especially seeing as I grew up in “Wine Country” in Washington State. We also got free wine tasting, so I can vouch for Denmark’s ability to make great wine.
My Danish language class has been progressing as well, with us learning how to say things like “I like pizza” (Jeg kan godt lide pizza), “I would like a large beer” (Jeg skal have en stor øl), and “I love you” (Jeg elsker dig). All the essentials. And tomorrow, my language class is going to the district of Nørrebro in København (Copenhagen, duh) to visit a cemetery called Assistens Kierkegård. This is the cemetery where Søren Kierkegård, Niels Bohr, Hans Christian Andersen, and other famous Danes are buried. (We are also ordering food at a café….in Danish!!!)
Other than classes, I have been spending time with my host family that consists of Jørgen, Maggie, myself, and Hunter, the very important cat. Last Sunday, we travelled 1 hour south of where we live in Tåstrup to Vordingborg, where my host brother David is going to university. I also got the chance to meet my other host brother Alex as he was there as well in order to celebrate David’s 20th birthday. Besides that, we have eaten nearly every meal together, including homemade pizza (!!!), pasta al fiorno, a millet salad with chicken, and tonight was pumpkin soup. We also frequently watch a delightful British comedy called Yes, Minister, and we are currently watching Season 5 of the TV show 24. We all find the drama and brutality and scowling quite enjoyable.
As far as my free time, I have done quite a bit. I went to a concert for a Finnish punk-rock band called French Films with my friends Lizzie, Nick, and Frankie which was a nice way to spend a Thursday night. I also went to Roskilde University’s beginning of the year party/festival (a university about 30 minutes away from Copenhagen city center) with Lizzie, where we partied with thousands of Danes and saw my favorite Danish musician, Mø! It was a blast! I have also gone out several times with additional friends, seeing more parts of the city and returning to parts that we have taken a liking to.
And this Sunday, I will be journeying to Germany! Hamburg first, and then Berlin, my European Sustainable Development class will be going for our long study tour, examining different ways in which these 2 German cities have implemented sustainable initiatives and renewable energies in these last couple decades. We will be there until Friday, and then the long journey back.
Thanks for reading! Until next time, hej hej!
Sorry for the delay again…this semester is proving to be very busy. Since I have last posted I’ve crossed the 1 month point of calling Denmark home, and it definitely feels like it.
I went on my short study tour to Western Denmark, which included getting to see the towns of Thy, Thisted, and Aarhus. It was a very enjoyable 3 day trip, and I saw many new things, including a majority of Denmark’s wind turbines, the Danish Wave Energy Test Center, an eco-village, and ARoS, a very cool contemporary art museum in Aarhus. And I got to swim in the North Sea!! Very cold, but very invigorating and enjoyable (even if I was only in my undergarments…)
I took a small day trip this past Wednesday to a company north of Copenhagen called Christian Hansen, which works in development and distribution of pro-biotics for livestock and dairy production. This trip was for my Food Systems class, and it was very informative. I also got to meet up with my DIS Buddy Network, which is a mixture of Danish students and DIS students, with the intent of meeting new people and getting more involved in Danish culture. We ate pizza in Nørrebro, and then went to Temple Bar to grab a beer and talk about our interests, studies, etc. I’m very pleased with the people in my group, and we all seem to like similar things.
And that pretty much brings us to now. Not a very exciting couple of weeks, but worth documentation regardless. And I’ll of course provide plenty of pictures…
Vi ses! (See you!)
I apologize for my lack of posting, but I’ve just been terribly busy these last couple of weeks! So, I’ll attempt to get you up to date on all of the latest things happening in my Danish life.
I’ve had 2 weeks of classes now. I am currently in a week in which I only take my “core” class, or the class that I am centering this semester around, which is called European Sustainable Development. We talk about renewable energy, energy efficiency, etc., and we as a class are actually traveling to Western Denmark in 2 days time, where we will be visiting an eco-village, wave energy company, and the second largest city in Denmark called Arhus. I’m looking forward to seeing another part of this country that I haven’t seen before.
On a side note, I looked it up today, and apparently the entire country of Denmark is only the size of New Hampshire in the US. Shocking, coming from a country as big as the States…
I’m also taking classes called Renewable Energy Systems (very difficult), How Plants Changed World History (super cool!), Food Systems: Ecology, Economy, and Ethics (very intriguing), and Danish Language (I LOVE languages). They are all going very good, and it’s nice to have some education again after a summer without.
I went on a day trip yesterday with some other DIS students. We went to one of Denmark’s largest forests, Hareskov, and did some intense terrain biking. Because of the lack of mountains, it was more considered “hill” biking, but still very, very enjoyable. It was an adrenaline rush at times, and a beautiful area of Denmark to see.
I also went to an International Food Festival in Copenhagen, on the island of Amager. I am a huge fan of festivals, especially when they are centered upon food! There were hundreds of booths and thousands of people, and it was a very fun afternoon. I ate beetroot soup with goat’s milk cream and shallots, a red curry chicken plate with rice, and some wonderful blackberry/strawberry lemonade. All in all, a truly gastronomic day.
Speaking of gastronomy, I just today discovered that my family has raspberry plants in their garden, just beginning to be ready to be picked! I know where I’ll be spending my time…
Other than that, I’ve just been keeping up on schoolwork and continuing to develop all of my new friendships with both Americans and Danes alike. I adventured around the neighborhood where the DIS buildings are located, and I found several really cool secondhand stores, delicious pizza places (pizza is the closest thing to my heart), the cheapest (yet yummy) coffee shop I could find, and best of all, St. Peter’s Bakery: my very own Garden of Eden. Their cinnamon rolls (much flatter than American style), which they call Snails, might just be my favorite snack ever.
It may be a while before my next post, but stay tuned for more!
Well, orientation has taken place these last 3 days and has now ended. I have met tons of new people (most of them fellow Americans), from lots of different places and with lots of different majors/studies. I have definitely enjoyed getting my feet in the water here and getting started at what will soon be my new life.
As far as activities that I have done…
I met up with my friend Robin, a Copenhagen native and DIS employee who graduated from my home university of Pacific Lutheran, and together we walked up to the world-famous Mermaid Statue. This statue is a dedication to Hans Christian Anderson, the writer who first imagined Ariel (before Disney!) the Little Mermaid. I took part in this tourist activity, and then walked with Robin to a small ice cream stand to enjoy my favorite dessert.
The following day I applied for my Danish residency permit (not as frightening as I originally thought it to be), and met loads more people. I went out with some newfound friends later that evening to a bar called Drop Inn, where a local garage punk band was playing (sidenote: if there is anything that I love, it is live music). All in all, a good evening with good people.
Yesterday, the final day of orientation, was spent by walking around the city with 5 of my peers, examining historical landmarks and new landmarks as part of the DIS “Amazing Race”. I learned all about what made up Denmark’s long history, their fall from global power, the fires that ravaged the city in the 1800s, and their system of politics and government. I saw the Royal Theatre, Nyhavn, and even got to taste a traditional Danish treat called flødebolle (chocolate-covered marshmellow-y goodness with a bit of waffle).
And what I came here for…fall semester classes begin today. I’m headed off in about half an hour to my Renewable Energy Systems class, so I will finally see what DIS classes are like. I’ll post again later with additional pictures to go along with this post, but I’ll leave you with a picture of flødebolle and the mermaid statue.
Well I have been here for a bit more than 3 days now, and my amazement and elatedness that I feel continues to grow. I am getting more and more adjusted to this new Danish lifestyle, and my sleeping schedule is becoming somewhat regular.
My DIS orientation and arrival workshops being tomorrow morning, and classes begin on Thursday. This semester I am enrolled in European Sustainable Development, Renewable Energy Systems, Food Systems & Ethics, How Plants Changed World History, and Danish Language and Culture. Needless to say, I am very excited to continue my studies here in Copenhagen.
These last couple of days, I have been noticing more parts of Danish culture that I find quite intriguing. There is one thing that the Danes revolve their lives around and that one thing is FOOD. Whether it be a small breakfast or a huge dinner, these people truly value the gifts of delicious cooking and the pleasure of good company. Some foods that I have eaten thus far include open-faced sandwiches (rye bread, salmon, dill sauce, thin meats, cheeses, etc.), a delicious stir fry, and beef steak with hearty potatoes, onions, peppers, and coleslaw. Tonight’s menu is curry meatballs, which is rumored to be something of a delicacy. There is no doubt that I am well fed here, so no need to worry (Mom!).
I have also noticed the prevalence of American pop and rock music here in Denmark. Nearly everywhere that I have gone I have heard Miley Cyrus (on the train), Justin Timberlake (Café Mango in Tåstrup), and even some early 2000′s Eminem. To me, that shows the scale and range to which American popular music is produced and how wide these recording companies truly reach in the world. (Sidenote: weirdly enough, I personally listen to several Danish musicians, yet I have not heard any “popular” Danish music being played in bars or headphones here).
I also went through a Danish right of passage: eating licorice. And no, this isn’t your typical American, sweet, Redvines, black licorice. This licorice is dark, spicy, sometimes salted, burn a hole in your throat licorice. Not something to be messed with. But I tried it and I survived, so now I’m an unofficial Dane.
I’m now quite familiar with this municipality of Tåstrup in which I live, after taking a couple walks around the main street, to the train station, and to a beautiful open area criss-crossed with a lattice of walking/biking paths referred to as “The Meadow”. All in all, I am very content here in this Danish life thus far, at least until the overwhelming workload of academics is thrust upon me in the upcoming weeks.
After roughly 12 hours of much-needed sleep, I finally had the opportunity to venture into the heart of Copenhagen, something I had been waiting for for months.
Taking a mode of transportation called the S-tog train (which connects the suburbs of Copenhagen with the city center, with myself and my host family residing in the suburb of Tåstrup), and using a Klippekort (a punch card of sorts), I made my way down into the center of the city, excited to see what it had to offer me.
I found the main buildings, offices, and classrooms of DIS that I will be using for the next 9 months, and I also walked down the entirety of the popular street named Strøget, which is only for use by pedestrians. Additionally, I walked to a park called King’s Gardens which houses Rosenborg Castle, a castle once used by the royalty of Denmark.
I also got my first taste of Copenhagen’s “bicycle culture”. Men, women, and children sped past me on their bicycles as I made my way around the city, causing me to examine the bicycle routes, paths, and ways in which such modes of transportation were integrated into such a large city. I will definitely have to try out this “bicycle culture” first hand when I get the chance.
Overall, I had a wonderful first full day in Copenhagen examining the city I will call home, observing the effectiveness and usability of the S-tog system, and seeing firsthand the advantages and importance of the “bicycle culture”. There will surely be a lot more adventuring in the future, so I will cut this entry off here. Time to have a delicious Danish meal and then off to bed for more much-needed sleep.
Until next time, keep adventuring.
Here I am (very jet-lagged) meeting my host father Jørgen for the first time, luggage and all after coming from the airport.
In just a bit more than 48 hours….