Hi there folks,
Welcome to my first, fashionably late blog post! This Sunday marks the beginning of my fourth week in Denmark, and time is flying by (or as my Scandinavian professors might say, ‘time is running’). Today’s blog is going to be more of a recap, but look out in the next week for a prettier post!
Saturday, Arrival: I arrived in Copenhagen on a very cloudy day. I was extremely disoriented from the travelling/time change/etc when I met my visiting family* for the first time. Walking out of customs with a herd of other DIS (Danish Institute for Study Abroad) students, we were greeted by dozens of Danish families waving and smiling on either side of the pathway. I saw my name on a big sign, held by a smiling group of people. I went over to them, quickly trying to remember all the do’s and don’ts of meeting Europeans. #1- don’t hug the europeans. I give every single member of my visiting family a hug as I meet them. They grin at me with nervous excitement and I do the same. Later they help me move into my kollegium** and take me out for a sandwich.
Sunday, First Full Day: The DIS admin has the SRA (RA) of our kollegium, Grønjordskollegiet, put on a few ice breakers for the DIS students. We go on a scavenger hunt. I try to order a coffee in Danish. The guy behind the counter says “What?” I feel ridiculous. The coffee makes up for the minor embarrassment.
Monday, Orientation: Another DIS sponsored scavenger hunt. Me and a few other students run around the city like chickens with their heads chopped off. Very cold, headless chickens. I took my group on the wrong bus three times. Had a nice hot dog.
Tuesday: Went ‘out on the town’ for the first time. Stood in line at a bar.
Thursday/Friday, First days of classes: Basically syllabus days. After changing a few things I end up with a pretty fabulous schedule – A Sense of Place in European Literature, Who’s Watching: Surveillance Art and Culture, Scandinavian Moods in Cinema, Danish Language, and 20th & 21st Century Danish Architecture. Pretty neat syllabuses. Stoked to read Bentham’s Panopticon, again. My visiting family invites me over for dinner. We eat Tacos.
Sorta kinda beginning to get into the rhythm of things. I can say about four sentences in Danish. (Hvad hedder du? Jeg hedder Emma.)
I drink a lot of coffee. I also try a lot of new Danish pastries that I can’t say the names of. They all taste like buttery bread and sugar – I can’t complain.
I meet up with some Whitties at a bar called Taphouse, AKA the Baskin Robbin’s of beers (65 beers on tap!!!!!!!!) We reminisce and check in with each other. I’m a little homesick, but I’m glad to be in CPH.
My visiting family invites me over for dinner. We eat Pizza.
Finally settling in (I think). I’m (mostly) self sufficient and can navigate the metro and the train without getting lost (usually). I can say six sentences in Danish. (Hvordan kommer du til DIS? Jeg går. Jeg tager toget. Jeg tager metroen. Jeg tager bussen.)
I’m less embarrassed to reveal that I’m an American to the Danes when notice how endearing they think Americans are.
I join the DIS film club. We watch Lars von Trier’s “Anti-Christ.” Wow. It is raw as hell. They take us to Taphouse (65 beers on tap!!!!!!!) afterwards and buy us drinks.
I finish my first presentation and my first essay. Phew.
I still drink a lot of coffee.
My visiting family took me to the Louisiana Museum of Art, which is up the coast from Copenhagen. The Louisiana has some really incredible artwork, but what’s most spectacular about it is the view. When we stop for lunch they insisted I sit in a place where I can look out to the sea. It’s a pretty typical Danish day as far as weather goes; cloudy, slightly chilly and a bit breezy. The dark waters move in rapidly under the wind, and against the grey sky the grass vibrates with color. Its incredible to be able to look out and see the horizon stretch on for so long – even though it’s only been a few weeks, I’ve already forgotten what it’s like to be able to see miles ahead of you. My visiting family buys me lunch. We have sandwiches and bubbly water. I’m grateful to slow down for a minute.
*I’m not living with a host family this semester, but I have a family in Denmark that I will occasionally hang out with.
**kollegium – basically a Danish word for Dorm. Open to all types of students.