For et år jeg har viste jeg skal til Danmark,  og nu jeg er her og det er så fantastisk. Jeg er meget taksomme for denne oplevelse og alle den mennsker jeg har mødt.

I now approximately halfway done with my exchange in Denmark and a year away from Deep Portage, where I head Mary yell, “And Holly is going to . . . Denmark!!!” It’s now been exactly a year since that has happened, and it is nothing short of crazy how much has changed.

I remember the exhilaration when she called us up, and how it took us a while to really realize that we were going to our countries. I didn’t really have a say in where I was going, so I was thrilled to be sent to the country that I had only heard good things about.

That weekend at Deep Portage, we bonded over doing unique winter activities and watching the South Americans try cross country skiing. I was so happy, though not thrilled about having to wait until May to see everybody again.

I then had my first week of Danish with Duolingo. I started to realize that Danish was nothing like I had ever studied before. When I listened to a song, it didn’t even sound like a language. It sounded like someone speaking gibberish with mashed potatoes in his mouth.

I continued to practice my Danish, and eventually it started to sound like an actual language. I savored the last bits of my senior year, and was awfully excited when I found out that I would be heading to a little town named Vojens that was known for ice hockey. Time flew by awfully fast, and before I knew it, I was at the District conference in Bismarck. That weekend we all got to know each other better; drinking rubbery coffee at 11:00 pm, going on an early morning run, and being amazed  by Kazuki’s dance.

Soon after I graduated high school, and started with the whole visa paperwork thing. I visited Chicago to solidify my visa. I worked a lot in the summer, and became more excited every day. Eventually the Central States Conference came around, where I was surrounded by a massive number of future, just returned, and current exchange students. I was so ready to head out on exchange after that, but I had a month left.

I spent my last day in Minnesota, had my last drink at La Barista, and then spent my last week in the US in Oregon for my family reunion. My last day, I hiked up a mountain with my dad and other family. That night, my dad and I drove to Portland, and I flew out the next day. After three different flights and no sleep, I arrived in Billund, Denmark. I automatically felt at home in the car ride home as my host dad talked on the phone with farmers, just like my dad in MN did.

I continued to feel at home in my new house, and even now that I don’t live there, I can go there and feel so at home it scares me. Bodil and Niels are amazing host parents, and Bodil might just be the sweetest person ever. Sarah is a very caring host sister, and helped me learn how to be a Danish teenager. My host cats were nothing short of the most social kitties I have ever met, and one of them wasted no time in making me feel at home by greeting me every day after school by crawling up on me and giving me fish-breath kisses. I am very lucky to have lived with them, and no matter where I go, it will always feel like home to me.

I have had a great time with my class, who have been very kind and helpful to me. I can’t really contribute in organic chemistry, but it’s fun to be able to remember what I learned in calculus last year with math!! I am very glad to be in their class. I also have enjoyed being in musical and meeting people elsewhere. I have met so many amazing people here, and Danes do not live up to the stereotype of being cold.

I have also had a great time with the exchange students. Despite being sick for most of the intro camp, I managed to get to know some great people, and came out of the week not sick. I got to know others later at district meetings, and also gotten to know those in my own town better. I’m lucky to have seen Fredericia and helped Cooper unwillingly carve a pumpkin, have Jared fall asleep on my calf, and spend wonderfully excessive amounts of time with Sarah H in my own town.

I now live with seven other people, plus there are four daycare kids that are hear during the day. It’s been quite the change, but I have definitely adapted more than when I moved here. I never imagined living with so many people, and it is completely different, but they are all very kind and welcoming so it’s been good.

I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to adapting to Danish culture. I now find it normal that there are parties at the school, that people bike a lot, the concept that salted licorice is a treat (which it is), that having time for hygge is important, and can all the differences that you only see once you’ve lived her for a while.

One year ago I found out my country. It’s been quite the journey finding out and living out everything else.

At rejse er at leve, og det er en fantastik gang at live.

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