Jeg er tilbage, mine venner!  The first week adventures starting Thursday involved a shopping, a race, an anniversary party, and more.

After a stop at the bus station with Bodil, my host mom, we headed down to where the shops are in Haderslev. I still needed some new clothes, and we lucked out and found a store that had some really nice clothes on sale. I now am mostly set for regular clothes, and later we found some nice running clothes at the outlet.

I needed the running clothes, as there was a race that night. Bodil and I decided to run the 12k, which is around 7 1/2 miles. It was around a beautiful lake in Haderslev, and the view was so pretty! I soon learned that Danes are not, well, as accustomed to hills as Americans are. They also do not have the whole run until you are in extreme pain attitude that I have seen during races. I am not sure if I view this as a good or bad thing, but it’s definitely different. On the bright side, I was feeling good enough after the race to eat a lot of the apples they had ready! Bodil and I’s time was decent, and we had a lot of fun.

Not only was it fun, but I actually placed first for women under twenty. Well, I was the only female under twenty in the 12k, but I am fine with that. I still got my prize, which is a nice reflective vest that you can see me holding here.

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Thursday was fun, but I had been looking forward to Friday all week, as I knew that that was the day I would find out my class and meet my second host family. Bodil and I headed over to the school in the morning with all the other exchange students and parents. I soon learned that there are fifteen exchange students at my school this year, which is a lot, even for a school with almost 1,000 students. We are from Rotary, AFS, and Exploreus, and the countries I can remember are Canada, Brasil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Italy, Finland, and the US. I am lucky to go to a school that is so experienced with exchange students!

Since my high school experience consisted of me taking hard biology, chemistry, and math  classes, I got put on the matametik-biology-kemi (math-biology chemistry) track. I will also be taking Spanish for a language since I have had two years of that. I am really excited to meet all of my classmates tomorrow and start that new adventure!

When we got home, it was time for a very international lunch. My host father sells cows, and so sometimes people come into the house to have lunch. This lunch consisted of my host parents (Denmark), me (USA), a man from Oman, a Scot, and someone from Holland. It was an interesting experience being in a small group where everyone was from a different place, but it was a bit like home for me. I am used to meeting a lot of farmers due to my dad’s profession, this was just about cows and more on an international scale.

Lunch wasn’t the only meeting over food that happened that day. I had previously Skyped with all off my siblings in my second host family, and we were to meet over coffee and roles to get to know everyone. Now in most families, everyone would be less of a deal, because my second host family consists of seven people without me. It’s going to be a big adjustment living with seven people, but I couldn’t be more happy about it. They are such kind people, and I am so grateful that they are willing to take in another. How I ended up with such great first two host families, I honestly have no idea.

The next morning’s adventure involved getting up early, but for a very fun reason. My host parents have friends that were celebrating fifty years of marriage, and there is a special tradition in Denmark to celebrate that.

A guldbryllup involves a very early morning and lots of preparation for the two celebrating it. They get up early and make breakfast and coffee for however many people will show up, which is a number of people they are not sure about. Everyone arrives by a certain time and sings a song to “wake them up”, to then be invited in for coffee and breakfast.

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Here is the setup they had on their front door. Yes, there were involved with farming Jersey cows!

Though I was the only person my age there, and I could barely understand what everyone was saying, it was still a fun experience. I soon learned that weinerbrød – or what is called Danishes in the US – is way better in Denmark. The pastries I tried there put all of the pastries I have tried in the US to shame.

This celebration was also interesting because I got to see Danish alcohol culture for the first time. Even though I knew drinking was a big thing in Denmark, I was surprised to see these adults having at least a shot of bitter liquor each (if they liked that liquor). I got to smell it, and let’s just say that I don’t think I will ever try it.

After resting up a bit, I headed out with my host sister Sara to go shopping in Kolding. I hadn’t been in a real shopping mall yet, so this was a fun new experience. There’s not really a way to describe the stores other than very Danish, and that shopping trip is not something I will ever forget. I also tried my first softice (soft serve ice cream), strawberry and vanilla, dipped in chocolate with crunch, which was fantastic. The ice cream in Denmark continues to amaze me!

We finished up the night with food from the local grill, and I can now say I have had a cheeseburger in Denmark! The restaurant food here is definitely not in small portions, or at least from that grill. The food was delicious, but we also had a fun time watching Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I really had a great time with Sara, and I am so lucky to have such great host sister in my first family.

The next morning our adventures continued when I went to the pool with her during her swim. I definitely am not as fast as her, but swimming is great exercise, and I enjoyed it. She works at the pool so I got to see a lot of things and meet her friend, and I am so glad the the could introduce me to that experience.

That is all for this week, mine venner. Jeg vil skreve mere næste uge. Until then, here’s the pictures of the Dannebrog (Danish Queen’s ship) and my sandwich from Monday!

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