The weekend of January 22-24th, I got the pleasure of traveling down the center where our district meeting was held. This was the weekend where we knew that we would receive our country assignments, but also a weekend of many fun activities and a chance for all of us to get to know each other.
We started off by all introducing ourselves to each other, which was a little strange for the outbounds. None of us really had any idea where we were going, and though our roommates are typically from the area that we are going to, that wasn’t much help. For example, I was assigned with someone from Thailand, a girl going to Taiwan, and inbound from Thailand, and an inbound from Denmark. I didn’t know that the girl from Denmark was even in my room, but for some reason I couldn’t picture myself going to Asia, so that didn’t really give me any hints. I also discovered that one of my roommates had actually read this blog. For me, this was pretty cool; as this blog has remained very unnoticed.
Soon we became aware that after dinner, we can would find out our countries. The excitement in the air among the inbounds was overwhelming, and when we were all told to go to a table so they could call us up, the air was about to burst with anticipation.
I was one of the last people called up. I am not sure if I was the last; I just could tell the moment she was about to call me up. I will never forget our coordinator announcing “And Holly is going to Denmark!”. I was (and still am) extremely happy with Denmark. No, it wasn’t one of my top two, but it probably would have been my third choice if given the chance. Looking back now, Denmark really is the right country for me, and would have been my first choice if given the chance to go back in time. I was able to text the news to my friend and parents first, then twitter. Snapchat took a little longer.
The funny part about this is that I sort of had an intuition that I would get Denmark. Whenever I listed counties off, I always, always listed Denmark first. Also, I could only imagine myself announcing to Snapchat and Facebook that I was going to Denmark.
The rest of the weekend was a blast. I personally enjoyed our orientations, and the material that had been prepared for us for was extremely helpful. The next morning, we had showcase/competition of traditional Minnesota activities. I really enjoyed throwing an atlatls and snowshoe racing, and I also got to shoot an air rifle, try rabbit stick throwing, saw a (small) log, attempt orienteering, experience log stick curling, and sit with a bunch of freezing exchange students attempting to catch a fish.
After that, we got the choice of either rock wall climbing or cross country skiing. I eventually decided to do cross country skiing, and ended up being rather grateful that I did so. The first time around was with some fellow experienced Minnesota skiers, and we went through the course pretty fast. Since we had time to go around the loop again, we decided to do so, and eventually caught up with the South Americans.
Now, the South Americans had started a bit later than the rest of us, and hadn’t ever gone cross country skiing before. We decided to stick with skiing with them. Nobody was hurt, even if some of us did face a few falls every time there was a downhill. I must say, this experience makes me quite excited for a polar plunge with South Americans this weekend.
We finished up the night with some more orientation and pillowcase signing, knowing that we would leave soon. The next day, we had to leave. It was really hard leaving everyone knowing that it would be another three months before we would see each other again.
They tell you that you’ll get three host families when you go through Rotary, but they don’t tell you about the fact that you get the family that is your outbound/inbound community. I love my the family I have so much right now, and I know that I will become close with my inbound family as well.
I don’t know where I will be in Denmark yet, but I am quite excited to find out. In the meantime, I am getting quite familiar with Danish on Duolingo. It is pretty interesting because I get to translate phrases like “the turtles and the birds are drinking beer”. Though learning Danish is tough, I am already starting to love it. I can’t wait to see where this takes me next!