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Small Town Girl Taking on the World

"The world is a book and those who do not travel only read a page." – St. Augustine

Uni in Flensburg

Hejsa venner/hallo Fruende, it’s been a little time without a blog post, but it’s safe to say that I haven’t been up to nothing. In the past three months, I have flown back from Denmark to Minnesota, attempted to adapt in Minnesota, and moved to Germany.

You may be wondering why exactly I would do this. I am aware that it is very common to stick in one’s home country for their undergraduate degree, especially in the United States. I can promise you that I thought this decision through thoroughly, and don’t doubt it the slightest bit.

A while back, I heard that tuition was free for foreigners in Germany, and I did some research on the internet about the programs that were offered. It turned out that there was one program that I really wanted, and it just happened to be located in Flensburg, a town that is awfully close to the Danish border.

I went on exchange in Denmark, absolutely loved it, and realized that I wanted to become a journalist. Journalists do not make a lot of money, and going to college in Germany would be much cheaper. Flensburg is an affordable place to live and my program has no tuition. I could learn German and Russian, but still have the chance to speak Danish at some places.

These reasons all contributed to my desire to go to Germany, but when it came down to it, I felt a strong sense that my time in Europe was far from over. One of the best ways to start on a path that will hopefully lead to a career in Europe is to go to college in Europe.

I knew that this process would be a bit more complicated than going to college in the US, and I wasn’t wrong. Getting matriculated was a bit complicated, and the process of applying for a visa isn’t the most straight forward thing. It turns out that moving to a new country is pretty exhausting. However, I will choose being exhausted and overwhelmed in Germany over a relaxing day at university in Minnesota every time.  This is the place where I am meant to be right now.

Following my intuition and going to university here paid off. I absolutely love this program that I am, European Cultures and Society, and I will be able to focus and do projects in journalism. This program will give me a political and cultural perspective of Europe while in Europe, and I do believe that I will go with the society path in this program. I decided to start Russian courses, which are taught in German, which makes it extra confusing and provides more German exposure. As of now, I am hoping that I can study abroad in Russia, with a program offered by my university.

The people I have encountered have been nothing short of wonderful. I may have moved to a new country, but I am far from alone. I have been lucky enough to meet some fantastic people right away, ones that I know that I will be friends with for a long time. My German friends want to help me learn German and help me adapt to German culture. I’ve gotten to do some exploring with the international community on campus, and seen a castle in Glücksburg and had a city tour of Hamburg. There has been potlucks for both my study program and the international students, and I have found that no one will ever complain if I make chocolate chip cookies.

I am so happy to be back in Europe. Getting to have my dad come and visit Denmark for a short time was a surreal experience. Coming back to Denmark felt like coming back back home, being with my host siblings felt like I was complete again. I felt like I finally had found my place when I started classes here. It’s all coming together in the unnatural way it has all been playing out.

I may miss Denmark a bit, but it is my time to adapt to everything that Flensburg has to offer. This harbor town, a small city of beautiful old buildings, known the famous Flensburger beer, a place where you can buy great fish sandwiches – is my home for the next three years. I couldn’t be more happy about my decision to be in this beautiful town, and never have I felt a stronger sense that I should be somewhere.

*here are some pictures that sum up my time in Minnesota and coming back*

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I got to meet Princess Frieda, our adorable new shelter dog, and became rather close to her within the two months. It was not fun leaving her.

I went to the Central States Rotary Youth Exchange Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the pizza on the way back might have been the best part.

I had Zorbaz pizza and Long Bridge’s wings again, within good company of course.

I got to see Megan and her dogs again!! She, Daisy, and Bodhi all remembered me, even if Bear might have forgotten.

I met Leon, the German exchange student who is in Detroit Lakes this year, and went out on the lake for the first time with Germans who were speaking German. To put it in Leon’s words, it wasn’t bad.

Then Zosia arrived from Poland, and I got to know two wonderful exchange students and show them the glorious sights of the area – Dunton Locks, the World’s Largest Turkey Statue, and the World’s Largest Loon Statue. We had a mild car accident together that while a little scary, was slightly entertaining for Leon (no one was hurt).

I spent my last week camping in Jay Cooke State Park with my dear friend Dorothy. It was a very memorable last weekend, and I wouldn’t have wanted to do it any other way.

I went back to Denmark with my dad, and life was alright again.

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To finish it off, here is a picture of the beautiful town I live in now. I am looking forward to three more years here.

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Coming Home

Jeg skriver fra Minnesota, ikke Danmark, og det er så mærkeligt. Der er amerikanske flags i stedet for dannebrogs. Nu jeg må sove med to hunde. Mennesker synes at det er ikke rigtigt når jeg siger “hva”.

On July 6th, I woke up. I ate a small breakfast with the Jørgensens, pet my host kitties for the last time, and said goodbye to them. My dear host brother Simon – who is so great that he actually volunteered to drive me to the airport without me asking – picked me up, and we had our last drive.

Out of all the goodbyes I had to do, saying goodbye to Simon was one of the least fun.  There are many people who have impacted me, but Simon was really a brother to me. There aren’t many people that can be really good at school, work out for a significant portion of each day, know how to relax, and be a genuinely caring person. Somehow, Simon managed to be all of those things. I could always go home and talk to him, and that is something that new dog can replace, and ever since I’ve been back I’ve missed him incredibly.

This particular day, Simon was a comforter of sorts. We talked on the way to the airport, as the car inched towards the place I had been dreading for eleven months. He stayed with me as I struggled to find the place I should go, calmed me when my suitcase was a tiny bit over, and stayed with me until it was time to go for security.

Then it was one last picture, one last long hug, and then it was time to cry in the security line.

After crying in the security line, it was time for actual security, then my last chance to have Lagekagehuset in Denmark. After waiting for a long time, I eventually got on my flight to Amsterdam.

I had just enough time so that I was very comfortable, but not waiting an excessive time, in Amsterdam. This first lead me to speaking a Chinese woman and her toddler son, who were waiting on a flight to Beijing. I heard her son speak Danish, and though he couldn’t speak English, we ended up having a good conversation in Danish. They had lived in Denmark for a couple years, and I didn’t really expect having that chance in Amsterdam.

The craziness continued when I ran into my old piano teacher. She was on the same flight back to Minnesota after being in Sweden, and she noticed me due to my very noticeable jacket. I was starting to feel like I was back in Minnesota already. The chance of us being on the same flight was pretty small, so I was quite surprised.

My jacket also was noticed by a girl returning home to Minnesota as well, from Germany. We automatically bonded over the crazy thing that we were doing.

It was the weirdest thing, getting on a plane for nine hours, and telling the flight attendants that you are going home from being gone for eleven months. I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I got off the plane. Exchange puts you through a lot, but I don’t anything really can prepare you for stepping off the plane.

I made it through customs, and was greeted by two very happy parents. There was the happy reunion, the first dinner back, and getting to see my dogs for the first time. However, I would be lying if there is anything easy about being back.

It takes listening to just one song to bring me to tears. When I’m in my room, I feel like I’m trapped inside the room of the person I was before. I miss all of my Danish and exchange student friends that I met in Denmark. Something will happen, and I just want to go home and tell Simon, but I only have my dear dogs for siblings.

However, there are the beautiful moments. Our new dog, Princess, Frieda, does not compare to host siblings in anyway, but she is actually really a sweetheart that happens to be quite adorable and loves snuggling. Meeting people for the first time in eleven months, well, that’s quite the feeling. That will always bring a smile to my face.

There was the chance to talk to the new exchange students at the Central Rotary Student Youth Exchange Student Conference, and tell them all about the challenges they could face, but also the beautiful things. There was going back to the exact same pizza place I was at in Chicago last year, Pizza Due’s, and having the best deep dish pizza. I might insist on going to all the places I haven’t been, and I don’t know how people feel about that, but going to Zorbaz, La Barista, and Long Bridge is quite the feeling. I was be sitting in the coffee shop, and a woman (who presumably reads my columns) that I don’t know will tell me welcome back. When I went to church, there were so many people happy to see me and eager to hear about my experience.

It has been a challenge, but at this two week mark it’s starting to feel a little less painful. I may cry more than one should, be way too emotional, and feel a bit off most of time, but I’m getting there. I have way too many things to do in the time I have here to waste it. I have people that I need to see for the first time in eleven months, presentations to prepare, things to write, a room to paint, dogs to snuggle, and soon to start working. My plans for the future depend on something that I’ll hopefully find out soon, but I’ll keep you updated.

Til Bodil og resten af familie Jørgensen – tak fordi i havde mig, når jeg var syg, for min sidste uge. I betyder så meget til mig, og dit hjem vil altid følge som hjem til mig. Tak til Sara, fordi du vågnede tidlige op, til at se farvel. Du er en fantastisk værtsøster, jeg er så heldig for din støtte. Tak til Bodil, fordi du har gjort så meget for meget for mig, og været med mig gennem alt. Tak til familie Skødt, ved at i er en mega rar, klog familie. Johanne – jeg savner at have en lille søster, og jeg har ikke mødt nogen endu, som er dygtig som dig med geografi. Held og lykke i New York, Emilie, jeg er sikkert at du vil have et uforglemmelig år. Til Simon, det er bare ikke sammen, når jeg kommer hjem, og du er der ikke. Tusind tak for alt, og jeg glæder mig, til når jeg kommer tilbage, og spiser alle af din sild igen. Vi ses, forhåbentlig snart.

En Sidste Måned

Nu er jeg tilbage i Minnesota, og selv om jeg er ikke glad om det, jeg tror at jeg vil klare det. I mellemtid skal jeg skrive om mit ophold, så værsgo venner –

Things got quite busy in my last month, and I was also quite emotional. However, I’ll do my best to sum up what I did in one post.

I went on Eurotour, and though I will primarily be writing about that in my newspaper column, I have a great video that my friend Emma from California made. We went to seven different countries – Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. I do believe that there were around forty-seven of us exchange students from Midtjylland and Sønderjylland on one bus. We were amazed by Vienna’s atmosphere, taken aback by the concentration camp in Terezín, amazed by the food in Italy, adventurous and roaming the streets and metro of Paris, and I was personally very happy to have my birthday in Amsterdam with my best friend. However, it is much better summed up in this video, so many thanks to Emma.

 

I’ll try to sum up about most everything that went on in the last month here –

 

 

 

My friend Kaitlyn decided to spontaneously visit me from Viborg! Thankfully, I didn’t have anything going on besides my Rotary presentation, and we were able to catch up. Kaitlyn met me last year at the CSRYE convention in Grand Rapids, and we both were amazed by our changes and stories. Kaitlyn might be one of the sweetest people I know, and I hope that our paths can cross again.

I gave my Rotary presentation to my club in Denmark, which went really well! It’s hard to sum up a year, but they were really happy to listen, and my Danish was significantly better than my first week presentation for them.

I visited my dear friends up in Ringkøbing – don’t ask me how two of my best exchange friends live up there – for several days. Well, I visited Tom, Jared, and Tom’s beautiful host kitties. I also got to meet Signe, the girl who will be living with my District Outbound Coordinator for four months next year in Minnesota. It was really hard to say goodbye to these guys, and I can’t wait to see them again.

 

 

 

Right after that, I had to hurry up and make some chocolate chip cookies for my class’s sommerfest. We grilled, went swimming in a cold lake, made snobrød (bread made over a campfire), and had lots of hygge. I unfortunately had to say goodbye to the majority of them there, and that was really hard.

Not long after, graduation week began. This was particularly exciting for me, as I have three host siblings that were in the third year. They all did quite well on their exams, and and had very nice parties. It was pretty great seeing what they experienced in their celebration week, and I was happy to spend more time with them and to get to know Simon’s incredibly sweet class when they visited us.

Tillykke til Simon, Sara, og Iben – I klarede det godt, og jeg er mega stolt af dig. Jeg har meget grund for at være en stolt udvekslingsstudent søster.

 

 

 

I also got the chance to go to Kløften, the local music festival in Haderslev. I got to spend my last time with some of my dear exchange student friends who I had to leave soon. We saw Nik og Jay, Djämes Braun, Carpark North, and the best and last, Rasmus Seebach.

That week, I also got to visit the beautiful island of Årø with Sarah H (Canada), Aneki (Finland), and Laurel (California). Honestly when I suggested that we go there, I had no idea what to expect, I just knew that it was nearby and that we hadn’t visited it. We went to a beautiful cafe, had skildpadder and cheese and crackers on a park bench, and took lots of great pictures.

 

 

 

The next week, my German friend Leo (my English teacher’s son) came up to visit me. I got the brilliant idea to meet up with my German friend Fabian in Aabenraa, which was nice, but they did get into a very intense discussion in German. The next day I took him to Koldinghus (a castle), and I had one last coffee session with my dear Sarah. I ended up saying farewell to her in Meny, our special spot, where I crying after.

As far as the rest, I did go down and visit Germany, but my visit was cut short when I came down with a bad fever. I got to experience the German health system, and picked up the essentials (Haribo + Ritter Sport) before heading back to beat my fever.

I had my farewell dinner with all of my host families on Monday, organized by Bodil. I was feeling mostly better, and it was all very hyggeligt, though sad to say goodbye.

On Tuesday, I headed to København to visit Siri one last time during my exchange. We went on a boat tour, saw Tivoli, ate at PapirØen two times (Moroccan, Italian, and Mexican), and walked a decent amount round København. I couldn’t have ended my exchange better.

I ate dinner with the Jørgensens on Wednesday night, strangely calm for the next day. However, that is a story for another blog, as well as how it’s been being back. I’ll write about that later.

Har det godt danske venner, jeg savner jer virkelig meget. I gav mig en fatastisk sidste måned, og jeg glæder mig, til når vi har mere måneder.

Brønderslev Besøg

Jeg har været meget heldig i Danmark og har set meget, men før jeg besøgte Malene, jeg havde ikke set Aalborg. Jeg havde en meget hyggetligt tur, det hele på dansk, med masse af hygge.

I’ve spent ten months in Denmark now, and have changed a lot. For a good nine months of it, I hadn’t actually seen anyone that really knew me before exchange started. However, that changed when Malene, the previous Danish inbound for my home district, invited me over up to her place in Brønderslev for a weekend.

This meet up hadn’t happened before because while Vojens is very much in the Southern part of Denmark, Brønderslev is quite north. After a long train ride up, I arrived in Brønderslev late on a Friday night.

I learned pretty quick that Malene was actually willing to speak Danish with me. There are lots of former exchange students in Denmark who are very enthusiastic to speak English. However, Malene was kind, and began to speak in Danish with me from the beginning. She welcomed me into her house with her three friendly siblings and parents.

In the morning, Malene’s mother drove us down into Aalborg. I was really looking forward to this, as Aalborg is the only major Danish city that I hadn’t explored. Our adventure began with getting to see Aalborg from above from the Aalborg tower. The actual view was better than the pictures that I took, as it’s quite hard to capture good pictures with slanted glass.

We then wandered over to a place with musical trees. I didn’t know that musical trees existed, but it turns out that in Aalborg there is a little park with trees that have music boxes at the bottom. There were many good artists, but one that was necessary for Malene and I to take a picture of. This was also next to quite the positive graffiti.

Malene then took me up to Budolfi church, where I then found out why it was so well know. It was absolutely stunning. We then found a food sampling place, which none of us had any idea existed beforehand.

After wandering around a little more, we found each other at this adorable cafe. There was a piano hanging down from the ceiling, and the nachos that we ordered might have been the best I have seen in Denmark.

It was then to see more of Aalborg. When exploring, I didn’t really feel like I was in a big city so much. Aalborg has big buildings, a long bridge that can open, and the fourth largest population in Denmark, but I felt like less people lived there. We finished up our relaxing day seeing the bridge, a soccer event that we found, and eating strawberries in a park.

That night, we headed over to Løkken Strand, an adorable little beach town with Malene’s best friend. We went out on the dock and through the streets, and the sky was simply beautiful that night.

That night, after some technical complications, we ended up watching a film. We woke up well rested to a nice Mother’s Day.

I couldn’t spend Mother’s day with my actual mother, but I did enjoy going to Sæby with Malene, her mother, and all three siblings. Sæby is a town that is south of Skagen, but is hauntingly like it, without the intense overpricing. This would have been the typical beach town visit with a gigantic ice cream cone, but an intense downpour started. We found refuge under the the sides of houses, and tried to wait it out. We soon learned that this was not something we would be able to wait out, so in two different groups, so we made a run for it. After our adventure, we happily hopped in the car to drive home.

It was sad to say goodbye to Malene, but I was really happy have finally met up with her. It’s a crazy experience to finally meet up with someone that actually knew you before you exchange, and speak to them entirely in a different language than you did before.

Fra denne tidspunkt, jeg havde ikke så meget tid tilbage. Det er op sent, fordi jeg fik meget travlt før Eurotour. Men det er dejligt at kigge på det nu. Tusind tak til Malene og hendes sød familie, fordi de havde mig.

Galla og Tyskland

Nu, har jeg set galla i Danmark, og det var en anderledes oplevelse end i Minnesota. Dansker kan lide at have mindre glimmer og mere at drikke. Jeg har også besøgt Schleswig og mødt fantastisk mennesker, og en sød beagle.

It was two years ago that I went to my first prom, and one year ago I was at my last. However, even though I have graduated from high school, I am a mere second year at Haderslev Katedralskole and could not go to galla. However, I do have three host siblings that are in third year and could learn from.

Prom in the US, from what I have seen, is a bit different than Galla. In the US, there is a lot more glitter, color, and fancy designs for dresses. We take our time to take good pictures, both in pretty places by parents and professionally. Having a nice car can be important, but it doesn’t usually get more creative than cars for transportation, probably out of practicality. Our dinner is accompanied by punch, not wine, and we do not have to do a fancy dance in front of everybody. After prom, we have a post prom (still without legal alcohol) that goes onto three in the morning.

Here is an example of my prom pictures from last year:

Ft. glitter, pretty nature, world’s largest turkey, corsages, my extreme sports bra tan, and bright colors.

I soon learned upon arriving that it isn’t such a big deal which car people arrive in, but the transportation mode they chose as they come up for the walk on the red carpet. I must say, I was thoroughly impressed when three people arrived at the bottom of a huge tractor, something that I haven’t even seen in Frazee. Simon (current host brother) and his date arrived with their class in a miniature train, Iben (second host sister) and her date arrived on a motorcycle, and Sara (first host sister) and her date in a hot dog strand. Sara and Jeppe made quite the impression by taking hot dogs with them as they walked the red carpet.

After they were all inside and had received champagne, they got to do a special sort of dance for all of us to see. This dance was fairly complicated, especially for its length, and they had only practiced it two times before. I was very impressed, as I am not sure how they memorized that dance after just two times.

They went on to have a dinner and a dance, and then after went into town. I got to go on a walk around Haderslev and then meet up with Sarah (friend from Canada). She and her host sister had a little party, which I was lucky enough to be at for the first part of the night before I headed home.

The next weekend was also very exciting, and began early when I was driven down to Germany with my wonderful English teacher Cordula, who I stayed with until Sunday. She had invited all of her students down for the weekend, and she extended that invitation to me – even though that meant driving me across the border there and back. Cordula has a very welcoming and unique family that consists of two fifteen year old male twins, a nine year old son, and a six year old girl. The twins and her and her husband all speak perfect Danish, English, and German, and switch between the three without realizing it. The two youngest can speak Danish and German and understand English, so my Danish came in handy there. They are all quite smart and fun to talk with, and I immediately felt at home there.

Cordula’s son, Leo, was an exchange student in the US for his seventh grade year, and his host sister Maggie is currently living with them for two months.  Maggie lives near Seattle in the US, and is nineteen and planning to go to school so she can cut hair. She was very kind and put my English to shame. Leo loves politics, and we automatically clicked so well it was a bit freaky.

The first day involved a tour around Schleswig. My day started out with getting Doritos, which I haven’t had since I was in the US, Ritter sport, and Ben and Jerry’s. Later I would have the first Ben and Jerry’s that I have had in Denmark. Later my other students arrived, and we got to see the very nice Danish school that Cordula’s husband works at. We had a very nice evening, and I’m really glad to have gotten to known everyone!

The next day we got to see around Flensburg. Flensburg has a sort of fjord town charm about it, and the architecture is quite old and beautiful, I didn’t get to check out the harbor, but’s apparently very photogenic. I’m really hoping to get to see more of it in the future.

That evening, I got to make a cheesecake, which was quite well received to say the least. It was eaten the next day, where we got to relax. I got to go in with Cordula as she voted, which made reading about how the elections in Schleswig-Holstein especially interesting.  The elections in Schleswig-Holstein were of special interest this year, so it was quite fun about reading them in the Washington Post newsletter the next morning.

My time in Germany finished with me having time with Buffy, the gorgeous family beagle. I did my best to get a picture with her, and though it was tough, here is my attempt along with majestic pictures of her.

It wasn’t too long before I was back in Vojens, but I couldn’t be more grateful for my kind English teacher taking me in for a weekend. I am very excited when I can spend time with them again, and excited to see what sort of opportunities will come soon.

Tyskland er et land, at jeg håber virkelig, at jeg kan se meget mere af næste år. Jeg håber, at jeg kan finde ud af det, før jeg tager tilbage til Minnesota. Fremtiden er meget spændene lige nu for mig, og jeg glæder mig meget, for at se om hvad skal det vil bringe.

Tur til Købehavn, Verdens Holdet og Køer

Jeg har haft travlt efter påskeferie med at se gymnastik, en tur til København og at se køerne danse. Jeg lærte, at gymnastik og køer er en vigtig del af den danske kultur. Det var også så dejligt at se min yndlingsby og yndlings Detroit Lakes-dansker igen.

I thought that gymnastics was a pretty big thing in Detroit Lakes – and to be fair, it is, as they might be the reigning state champions of three consecutive years. I didn’t really think much about what it would be like in Denmark, but I have learned that gymnastics is a really deep part of a culture. It might just be the people I’ve met, but it seems like a lot of people go to gymnastics efterskoles, and can do flips and that sort of stuff.

I learned that this culture is best represented by Verdens Holdet, otherwise known as the Danish National Performance Team for the rest of the world. Every year, 32 amateur gymnasts are selected to be on it, all of who must be quite skilled and be a nice person to travel with. This group comes up with a spectacular hour and a half performance, which they then travel all around the world with. After this year, they come back to Denmark and travel around here to perform it. I was lucky enough I got the chance to go with my  host family to see them.

It’s safe to say that the performance was very impressive, and it was clear that they had put a lot of work into it. It was also easy to see that everyone out there performing was clearly enjoying it, which made it really fun to see! You can read more about it and see videos here: https://www.dgi.dk/ndpt/world-tour/show-2016-2017

If you read my blog, you might have gotten the impression that I really like Copenhagen (København). I got my first chance to visit København back in February when I visited Siri, my København dweller friend/former Detroit Lakes, MN exchange student.  I was therefore a bit more than happy when Marie, my host mother, said that we would have a little trip to København.

We took the train over to København H, and took our time to walk over to Nørreport. After going into a few stores, we made our way to Rundtårnet, or the round tower. This tower is connected to a church, and was built for the use of astronomy. The weather wasn’t too great, but I still managed to get a few good pictures.

The picture on the top left was taken in the bathroom, and I must say, I didn’t expect such a good view from that particular place.

We then took the bus to Søborg, where my host mother’s gymnasium friend lives. After we got to eat a bunch of delicious hummus, Siri arrived! It was so nice to see Siri again, and also get to know the very welcoming family. We talked for quite a long time, and it was very hyggeligt. It was sad to say goodbye to Siri, but it has only made me more excited for the next time I visit.

The next morning, we took all off into the middle of the city. I haven’t traveled as a family group for a long time, so it was a bit refreshing. They were kind enough to show us a bit around, starting with Vor Frelsers Kirke, known as Our Savior’s Church. It is known for its distinct spiraling steeple, which we unfortunately could not go up due to high winds. We could, however, look around the beautiful church and appreciate the calmness it emanated.

We then walked over into Christiania. To my American friends, you might have heard of Christiania because of Lukas Graham, who does come from there. Christiania is an area in København that is separated from the rest of Denmark, and it was very nice to see the artwork there.

Our next stop was  to Papirøen, København’s street food center. It was too crowded for all of us to find a place to eat, but I still took pictures to capture the craziness.

We continued into Nyhavn, the most recognizable place in Denmark. It was quite the search to find a place to eat, but we ended up at an adorable little coffee shop that wasn’t overpriced and had a table for seven. It was nice to sit down and talk for one last time before departing. Unfortunately after that, Marie, Johanne, and I had to depart and in time to make our train.

After three hours, we arrived back into the Vojens train station. The next day, we got to go on an adventure of another kind.

I’ve never head of anything like this in the US, but there is a special day that the cows are released into the fields after being kept inside the whole year. My host mother and my host sister Emilie drove a little ways to a nearby cow farm. It is there that we got to see some very happy cows run free, accompanied by a band with huge crowds watching them.

I thought that I could post this on my blog, but it turns out that my blog does not support videos. I have uploaded it on youtube instead: https://youtu.be/dzGWiwD1BuU

It’s only twenty one seconds, and the quality isn’t great, but it is much better than a picture for describing the craziness. My phone decided to stop recording right after the first cow made its appearance, so I must apologize for that.

What came the weekend after that was just as exciting, but that’s a story for the next blog. My life is certainly not slowing down until I get back to the US.

Galla var sidste weekend, og weekenden efter skal jeg tage til Tyskland. Jeg glæder mig rigtig meget til, hvad kommer efter det, hvilket er en Eurotour, som ikke ligger langt væk.

Påske Traditioner og Sommerhus Hygge

Nu jeg har oplevet påske i Danmark, og jeg må sige, at den er bare dejlig. Det var hyggeligt med min værtsfamilie på Rømø, hvor vi smagte solæg og marzipanæg og lærte, at det er en tradition at spise en hel masse af mad til påskefrokost. Men først skal jeg lige fortælle jer om påsken i Minnesota.

Recently I got to experience Easter in Denmark, which was a very different experience than Easter in Minnesota for me.

I have now come to realize that I probably don’t have the typical Easter traditions in the United States, but I still had some. When I was little, I would go to Easter Egg hunts with my parents. Easter egg hunts consist of a bunch of kids searching after hidden plastic eggs in a park, with the eggs typically containing chocolate or slips of paper that can lead to bigger prizes, such as stuffed animals. There also was the traditional Easter egg hunt with my home dyed eggs as well.

One big part of Easter for me – as well as a significant portion of Americans – is going to church. My family and I adore going to the Good Friday service, even though it is a very solemn service where everyone wears black. The Easter Sunday service is always packed, and sometimes overflowing to the point where there needs to be an extra room for people to watch on a screen in the church library. Before I could drive myself to the service, I can remember getting the privilege of going to all three services that the church held, due to my very musically involved parents. I love going to church, but I do remember thinking that three services in a row was a bit much.

There are some families that always have been with their relatives for holidays. My parents and I are in the middle of the US, separated from our families on both sides. We usually have our own sort of family thing at the church, but other than that it is just us. My dad and I have a special tradition of having a bike ride around Detroit Lakes (which is 10 miles/16 kilometers), which I am proud to say that he continued on for me this year. There is also an Easter Sunday Lunch/Dinner that has food such as ham, nothing out of the ordinary.

Påske in Denmark definitely goes down a bit differently. This year, I got to go down to my host family’s summer house on Rømø, an island to the west of Sønderjylland. I had had quite the packed schedule before this, so I was quite excited to just relax for a while.

Rømø is quite beautiful, and it was very peaceful being there. I wanted to take a bunch of pictures, but my phone was out of storage and I had three out of the four batteries needed to keep my camera going. I had to settle for taking a few at the end.

The biggest event of Påske in Danish culture,  though, is definitely the Påskefrokost (Easter Lunch). It reminded me a bit of the Julefrokost, though the food was  generally different. I was lucky enough that I got to be with most of the Skødt family, who had come over to my host family’s summer house.

The Påskefrokost starts out with solæg, which is pickled hard boiled egg served in a certain way. The pickled egg is cut in two, and the yolk separated, but put to the side. The egg space is then used to contain vinegar, oil, and some spices.

I wasn’t sure really what to expect, because I usually like eggs in any form, but the anticipation of seeing me try my egg from my host sisters Johanne and Emilie was a bit nerve wracking. When it came time to try my solæg, it actually wasn’t that bad. I probably did not produce the facial reaction that was anticipated.

After the solæg, lots of sild (pickled herring) came out. I have already tried sild two times, and it’s safe to say that it is not something that I wish to try again. I was very happy to have tuna mousse on my rugbrød instead of sild and onion.

I am not sure how much sild was eaten before dinner, but it was certainly a fair amount. I thought that it had been a lot of food, but I had no idea of what was yet to come.

For dinner, there was two types of potatoes, meat, and two types of salad. Everyone ate plenty of the food, which was very well prepared. This was also accompanied by the very Danish tradition of drinking påskebyrg (Easter brew) beer and schnapps. After that, we headed out on a walk, a tradition with this family. I thought that we were eating, but I soon learned that was wrong. Afterwards I got to have my first cheesecake in Denmark, which just like risalamande, was served with cherries. There was also a rhubarb chocolate tart type cake that was also very delicious. Approximately an hour and a half later, we all had soup.

In-between the walk and the cake, we also got to search for our Easter bags. Easter bags in Denmark usually contain some sort of chocolate treats. Ours were hidden in the yard area outside of the summer house, and I was relieved when the first one I found had my name on it. I must say, I was extremely excited over the discovery of marzipan chocolate eggs, and they do put malt chocolate eggs to shame.

My Easter this year consisted of a lot of hygge, getting to know a beautiful and kind family, going for walks on the beautiful Rømø, hunting for marzipan eggs in the yard, trying pickled eggs, and eating a massive amount of food. I might have only biked around three kilometers, but my Dansk Påske certainly did Easter justice for me.

Det har været en oplevelse her i Danmark, og glæder mig til, hvad der sker i de næste to måneder. Siden påske har jeg allerede set Verdensholdet i gymnastik, haft en lille tur til København, og set køer løber fri, efter de havde været indenfor hele vinteren. Jeg glæder mig meget til at fortælle om det i næste blog.

Påskeferie Fester og Haderslev Tur

Måske det er en smule sent, men god påske! Jeg har haft en dejlig ferie med masse af hygge og fester. Senere skal jeg skrive om påsken i Danmark, som er helt anderledes end i USA. Her får I et indblik i min påskeferie, dog uden en fortælling om de danske påsketraditioner.

One thing I have come to notice is that Danes sure have a lot of vacation. I was surprised when we has a whole week for fall break. It was nice getting a really long Christmas/New Years break. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t surprised when we had yet another break in February. These series of week long breaks was finished with a week long break for Easter, known as Påske in Danish.

My class happened to be free after Thursday, so that meant that we had the entire Friday free. This turned out to be very good timing, because I got to meet up with a friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Three years ago, I wanted to be an exchange student, but had no idea how. When we were hosting Saskia from Germany, she got the opportunity to go on a trip to Washington D.C. and New York City, and I had the chance to go with. On that trip I met lots of exchange students, but the only one I consistently stayed in contact with just happened to be Joane, who coincidentally lives in Northern Germany. She also happened to be going to a summer house on the same island – Rømø – that my host family was going to next week, and she and her mother decided to make the drive over from Rømø and visit Haderslev.

We soon realized that it was a bit interesting communication. I could speak Danish and English, Joane was fluent in English and German, and her mother spoke German. Since we had their beautiful young labrador retriever with, we actually ran into some Danes who wanted to say hello. When I talked with Danes, I would tell Joane what I said, who would tell her mother. Joane constantly translated to her mother what I said.

Our first stop was at Damparken, and after making a pit stop at the library to pick up some German brochures, we made our way to the Cathedral that Haderslev is known for,  and around old Haderslev a bit. Afterwards, it was time for a coffee shop break, so we headed over to Cafe Kridt. We feasted on all the classics there – Nachos, coffee, hot chocolate, and french fries – but the real adventure was in seeing how good the gluten free cake was. My Danish came in handy for a little bit when a young boy asked the gender of their adorable dog. It was so cool how we could communicate with ourselves and with Danes that only spoke Danish, despite my lack of German.

We walked up to and visited Kløften tower, and then headed over to Haderslev Katedralskole. My school is a decent school, and they were impressed with the quality. However, the best part of the school tour ended up being the bathrooms. At Haka, the bathroom doors have paintings on them, and the graffiti kind of took off from there. It’s so creative that our school magazine actually has a section about it, and in a strange way it does set our school apart from other schools in Denmark for the bathroom art department.

That night I headed over to my classmate Mette’s birthday party, and had a really hyggeligt time with my fellow classmates. It was a very traditional Danish birthday party and it was quite nice spending time with my classmates outside of school.

I also got to meet up with some fellow exchange students in Vejle up with my friend Grace from Colorado. I got to see the same people I saw at Legoland, plus a few more, most of who will be on the same bus for Eurotour.

After figuring out how to get home – there was a confusing bus stop situation and an adventure finding a bathroom in Kolding – I arrived in Haderslev with minimal confusion and proud of my ability to navigate the local transportation system. I met up with my friend Sarah L for dinner, which was really nice because I haven’t had as much time with her as I would like. We talked for hours, first over food, and then adventuring up to the library to finish our conversation.

The next day, I headed over the rowing club to go to my German friend Benni’s fødselsdag (birthday) party. Benni and I have read children’s books together before, and I might have mentioned his dogs multiple times on this blog. I was really looking forward to his party, and I sure wasn’t disappointed. At this German immigrant’s birthday party, there was the most amazing Italian food and very good American swing music. It was an incredibly hyggeligt party with many wonderful people, and waking up in the morning to Benni’s dogs wasn’t too bad either.

I took the bus over to Rømø, where I would experience hygge and a Danish Påske (Easter) with my host family. However, this blog has bas gotten fairly long, so that will be covered in the next post.

Jeg har haft det travlt på det seneste, og det er ikke en slem ting. Men det betyder, at jeg er glad for at slappe af lige nu. Mange flere ting kommer til at ske i den kommende tid. Jeg vil nyde resten af tiden, som jeg har med min klasse, fordi timeglasset er ved at løbe ud.

Legoland og Vestjylland

Det var ikke så længe siden, at Jared spurgte mig, hvis om jeg ville at tage med til Legoland – med ham og andre udvekslingstudenter. Jeg havde alligevel planlagt at besøge ham, så det var nemt at sige ja. Jeg vidste ikke, hvad weekenden ellers ville bringe, men jeg blev ikke skuffet.

Soon, I will have two posts about what I did about Easter break. However, April had a lot going on before it began, with a weekend visiting Legoland and Jared (Canada) up in Vestjylland.

I have been to Legoland one time before this weekend with some friends, and it was really fun before. However, when Jared asked me if I wanted to go again for half price, I sure did not object. April 1st was opening day for Legoland in Billund, Denmark, and me and some other exchange students decided to meet up, the others for their first time.

Our group included me, a fellow Minnesotan named Liam, Chuckie from Philidelphia (also resident of Billund), Grace from Colorado, and Jared as the sole Canadian, coming from Calgary. Our first task together was making sure that everyone had their tickets, and after a wait, we were inside.

Now, I have already written about Legoland, which in a few words can be described as a place overflowing with masses of intricate lego structures. There is an area dedicated to all things polar, another to Vikings, one to North America and Native Americans, one to firefighting, one to the whole Ninja/Asia culture, and more. We got to witness Jared and Chuckie’s great love (or fear?) of roller coasters in the Polar ride, and our competitiveness was brought out in the firefighting competition, where Chuckie, Jared, and I took a modest second place to Grace and Liam. I excitedly took them on the Viking raft ride, where we didn’t actually get wet, but the fear of getting wet provided great entertainment. We cringed at the Native American theme, but marveled at the intricate details the canoe ride provided. Jared mentioned that it was just as bad for the Ninja section, which we enjoyed while critiquing.

Afterwards, we headed into Billund for a little tour by Chuckie, and got to experience the great pizza and hyggeligt little park. Our time together was very nice, though it was sad to depart. Tired but happy, Jared and I traveled to his home in Barde, a little town in-between Herning and Ringkøbing.

Going to Jared’s house was in a way a bit like visiting rural Minnesota, as his house is out the sticks and on a farm. It was refreshing having dogs in the house and being out in the country.  I got to know Jared’s family, which include three host brothers, and it turns out that that wasn’t too different from my experience with my second host family. Frederik was an exchange student in Thailand last year, Christian is going to Brazil next year, and Johannes is enjoying being a thirteen year old.

The next day the whole family and I went down to the Søby Brunkulsmuseum. In the 1940’s, a lignite mining place opened in Søby. It was a very dangerous place to work, but that brought along a unique culture. I haven’t been to a whole lot of museums in Denmark, but this one really cool to see, as it reminded me a bit of the logging culture that started Frazee.

(I don’t know how visible it is, but if you click on the middle top picture, you can see Johannes’s face as excitedly enjoys the feeling of running over Jared.)

Soon after, Jared, Frederik, Christian, and I headed to the Herning Svømmehal. I have been to one other svømmehal in Denmark, and that has been in Vojens. I was in a for a  treat, as the Herning Svømmehal is nothing short of spectacular.

There is a special area for those who wish to do flips and gymnastics tricks. This is great for Frederik and Christian, as they are very good at gymnastics. Jared isn’t that bad either. I soon became very aware that I might have not gotten over my fear of doing flips and things like that, and though I could not in any way keep up with the boys, it was still a lot of fun.

We also got to experience this room that was like a sauna, but full of steam. I was happy to watch on – but not participate with – the boys blowing hot air on each other. There was also a special place for having hot water feet baths, which was also new to me. It was a lot of fun getting to know Frederik and Christian while spending time with Jared and getting to see a Dansk Svømmehal.

After a really good dinner, I did have to head back to Vojens. I was quite tired, but a part of me knew that the craze of events had just started. I was correct, but that’s a tale for another blog.

Efter jeg ankom til Vojens, fandt jeg hurtigt ud af, at min cykel var væk. Jeg ved nu godt, at man aldrig lader ens cykel overnatte på Vojens Busstation. Det er en anden historie, og jeg har det fint nu. Mine eventyrer i påskeferien var en succes – uden cykelproblemer. Dem hører I om i min næste blog.

 

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