Don't put off living to next week, next month, next year or next decade. The only time you’re ever living is in this moment.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Last...

26 June 2012
I have done more since arriving in January than I ever thought would be possible. I've been to 19 different cities in 9 different countries with 9 different languages and 4 different currencies.  I've been canoeing in Sweden, skiing in Norway and even climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower to watch the sunset.  I’ve been on 17 different planes, 8 ferries, 16 international trains and biked over 30 kilometers everyday around town (once the snow melted).  I’ve drank enough wine and eaten enough pastries to last me a lifetime.  Studying abroad has been an unbelievable experience!  These memories are going to stick with me forever and I am so glad I got to share them with you all!
Copenhagen, Denmark 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Vi ses, København

My room, completely empty
Locking up for the last time
My last view of Denmark from the ferry.  
Many people have left Denmark this month by saying "hej hej" (bye) or "farvel" (farewell) but instead of saying goodbye I would like to end with "vi ses København" or "see you later."  I am sitting in the hotel lobby typing my last European blog post and can't help shedding a tear.  The past six months have been better than I could have ever imagined but it's now time to begin adjusting to life back in the States.  

A few things I will miss 
1.  "Hygge" time- Life here seems to move at a much slower pace.  I was just talking to someone about the "drive-thru window" and they were absolutely horrified at the idea of not going into a cafe or restaurant, lighting a candle and enjoying the company of others!  No rush, just pure relaxation! 
2.  My Danish family- Words can not even begin to describe how thankful I am to have been a part of this wonderful Danish family during my stay in Copenhagen.  I had more than 30 new friends instantly- mom, dad, brother, sister, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandma....  
3.  My bike- Getting around town while enjoying the fresh air was the best part of living in Copenhagen.  Now if we could only get rid of the triple digit summer temperatures in Folsom, I would start riding around town a bit more! 
4.  Public transportation- An hour and fifteen minute commute on a bus and train is a pain, an hour and fifteen minute commute via car sounds like a nice way to make me drive a car off a bridge.
5.  Being a two minute walk from the bank, the grocery store, the train station- such a convenience! 

A few things I am looking forward to in the States
1.  Abigail- BEST dog ever, right mom!?  Miss her more than anyone!
2.  Understanding the conversations taking place around me- I have become so accustomed to being surrounded by languages that I do not understand.  Must learn how to eavesdrop again…
3.  Stores open during the week past 5pm and even open on the weekend!  That is unheard of here in Copenhagen.  
4.  Dishwasher- Danes are all about living with only what one needs, no excess.  I can deal with a small apartment, a tiny refrigerator, a little bathroom BUT I need myself a dishwasher. 
5.  Grocery stores- I miss everything about them!  Cleanliness, organization, fresh fruits & veggies, lots of options....  A visit to Whole Foods is one of the first things on my to do list!  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My Last...

Sankt Hans- A midsummer night's celebration 
24 June 2012 

I met up with Bodil at 3:30 so we could take the scenic route to her mother’s house for dinner.  Today we were celebrating Sankt Hans Aften, a festival of the summer solstice meant to protect against evil spirits believed to roam freely when the sun was turning southwards again.  Bodil said it would be a small group, although I still can’t get used to saying that twenty-one family members is a “small” group.  At the house, the men turned on the barbeque while the ladies sipped on wine.  This family (like all other Danes) drinks wine like water and I laughed every time my Danish grandma looked over and asked why my class was empty.  One tradition of Sankt Hans Aften is lighting beach bonfires all along the coastline so Bodil and I walked down the beach to see the excitement.  My favorite fire had been set up in the Dragør harbor and was surrounded by kayaks and boats.  It was a bittersweet moment to be sitting in the harbor with Bodil since this was the EXACT same spot I had visited with her the first time we met back in January—both our first and last memories in the Dragør harbor!  Back at the house, the group was busy singing Danish songs around the campfire with Jan Peter strumming the guitar.  They sang a few farewell songs for me including “I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again…..”  Sad but very appropriate!  I have worked so hard this semester on discovering what the Danish word “hygge” is all about.  Although “hygge” does not have a direct translation it is often described as coziness.  Sitting by the fire pit seemed like perfect “hygge” time: great friends, good conversation, warm fire, hot tea and not a worry in the world.  Unfortunately, the relaxing evening came to an end when Bodil, Hans and I hopped on our bike for the two-hour ride back to the City.  It was a tiring ride but it was nice to see Copenhagen all lit up as were made out way back home.  And as I peddled up to my house, the sun began to rise….my last sunrise in Copenhagen!    

For some reason, I never had the chance to blog about the summer canoe trip with my Danish family.  Here it goes- 22 people and 11 canoes for 4 days.  We would paddle during the day and then set up camp on the shore each evening.  Seventy kilometers later we reached our final destination!  I didn’t bring my camera since everything we had was going to be put in our canoe as we traveled down the river.  Didn’t want to risk losing or damaging my camera since I don’t have much luck with electronics!  The water was calm, the weather was dry and the scenery was beyond beautiful.  I have to add that although the weather was surprisingly dry, the temperatures dropped well into the negatives in the evening.  I canoed with a long sleeve shirt, two North Face jackets, two pairs of pants, layers of socks and a scarf.  Don’t know what I was thinking when I packed my swimsuit!  My canoeing partner Lila and I were the only two younger girls on the trip so the others enjoyed picking on us little ones.  Everyone was teasing us as we zigzagged through the river since we couldn’t quite figure out how to row straight.  I kept telling them we were trying to avoid the rocks in the water but they weren’t buying it!  And I can’t even tell you how many times we ended up backwards or stuck in the bushes after being hit by another canoe that was laughed hysterically as we struggled to get back on track.  Loved seeing familiar faces as well as meeting some new friends….Casper, Søren and Linda.  So many memories made on my last Danish family vacation!    

Friday, June 22, 2012

My Last...

22 June 2012
I also finished making a "letter in a bottle" for next week.  My plan is to 
drop it over the edge of the Scandlines Ferry as I sail away from 
Denmark for the last time.  Hope someone finds it and responds! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Last...

Thursday 21 June 
We started the afternoon with a stroll through downtown to
see the typical Danish architecture one last time!  Love the colorful buildings and cobblestone streets!  
While walking through town we heard our favorite Danish song (Glemmer Dig Aldrig) in one of the stores.  After google translating the title, 
we found out it means "Will Never Forget You."  What a perfect song to listen to during our last evening together!  
We found the best lunch buffet in the city center and I
probably ate enough to last me until I get back to the States....
no need to grocery shop tonight! 
We then went to Bella Sky which came highly recommended from my Danish family.  Bodil said it was a bit pricy but that the view from the top floor restaurant was worth paying for a cup of tea.  I took a picture of the menu because I almost died while reading it.  There is one bottle of wine that can be purchased for Kr. 27,500.  That would be just under $5,000 USD!  $5,000 for a bottle of wine you will probably never even remember drinking the next morning!  A glass of water, the cheapest thing on the menu, was $10 USD.  My goodness!  But I must say that the view was pretty great! 

Safe travels back to Italy Giulia and hopefully I can visit you during your next study abroad experience in Taipei.  Have fun learning yet another language! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Last...

Wednesday 20 June 
Yes it was cold & cloudy, but there is something special about spending a day 
at the beach while bundled up in a scarf!