Monday, July 18, 2011

Home Again

I'm not even sure that I can fully understand what I'm writing in this blog, so bear with me..

I've been home for 2 weeks now, and it's been 2 weeks of extremely mixed emotions. Of course it's great to be home and see my family and friends again, but I'm definitely missing my Danish friends and families as well. Since I've returned, I've eaten Cap'n Crunch cereal, I've ordered Domino's Pizza, I've driven my Jeep all around town, I've smelt the wonderful smells of Malt-O-Meal, I've been to a Twins baseball game, I've been golfing with my grandma, I've been to yoga, I've eaten at Hogan Brothers many times, I've gone to Cub Foods at 1 in the morning simply because I could, I've gone swimming in my pool almost every day, I've been together with my family and friends who I missed dearly, and I haven't stopped talking about Denmark.

I finally get to once again experience all of the things I've told all of the people in Denmark about for the past year; all of the things I love about my country, my state, my town, my friends, and my family here. So, every time I do something "American" now, I just wish that I could show it to my Danish friends and say "Remember when I tried to explain this to you? Remember how I told you that we did this?". I want them all to be here now, and experience my life back in the US with me. I love being back and doing all of the things that I missed doing and couldn't do in Denmark, but I wish my Danish friends and families were here as well. I know I shouldn't be, but I feel like I'm constantly comparing Denmark and the US now. Well in Denmark they can do this. They would never do that in Denmark. In Denmark they have this rather than that... It goes the other way as well, but it's more like: I haven't been able to do this for a year! The Danes thought I was crazy when I told them we did this in the US.

The thing with being back is that not much has changed. Sure, my little brother grew a foot since I was gone, we have a new dog, and there is now a Subway by Menards (my dad was sure to inform me of this). But my friends and I still talk about the same things, we still find the same things funny, and my family still eats the same things for dinner. I've been away an entire year and I've experienced so many new things, learned and entire new culture and language, and I've grown so much in myself that it's a bit odd to come back to everything being the same.

I've warned my other friends that I will most likely be talking about Denmark until the time I get to go back, but telling them about it isn't always easy, because they don't know what half the things I talk about are, or who any of the people are. Luckily, there are 15 other exchange students in Northfield that have also just returned from their year abroad. And even though we've all had completely different experiences, we can relate to one another and talk about things together that no one else will fully understand.

I'm so grateful for all of my friends and family here that are putting up with me and my Danish stories, and I'm also very grateful for the amazing Rotary Club I have here, and for all of my exchange friends that are there for me.

Jeg savner dig, Danmark. Du er altid i mit hjerte, og tak igen for et fantastisk år!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I love...

All of the windmills... and the wind :)
How GREEN the grass is
How often it rains
How the fields turn from brilliant gold to cherry red in the spring

How the sun is only down for 3 hours in the summer
The long bus rides
The even longer train rides
The old man on the corner that waves to all of the cars
Playing ping pong in between classes
How the tallest point in Denmark is not much taller than the hill I live on
How they have letters I still can't correctly pronounce
Being called “the American”
When my class breaks out into song
How they get scared when there is more than 6 inches of snow on the ground
Meeting exchange students everywhere I go, because it’s such a small country
The freedom I have here
Being asked to say “rødgrød med fløde”
All of the walks they go on
How everything here is like a fairytale

They bike everywhere... even in the rain and snow
All of the brick roads
They have a Queen
The beautiful/interesting language
When people don’t notice that I’m an exchange student
Being one of 5 million in the world that can speak Danish
How the beach is only 20 minutes away, no matter where you are on Fyn
How fresh the food is
Livepostej, frikedella, fleskastej
How many potatoes they eat
Rugbrød and remoulade
Partying like a Dane
Odense classic
How they put flags up everywhere when it’s someone’s birthday
The blonde hair and blue eyes
How they dance around the Christmas tree holding hands
How much they love their country
How easy it is to travel from here
Rotary Youth Exchange Program
My new friends from all over the world
My amazing counsellor, Arivd
My 6 new brothers
My 3 new sisters
My 3 new moms and dads
My class. More than they will ever know

I hate that it's almost over

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of and made possible my year in Denmark - all of my exchange student friends, my families, Rotarians, the Danes, and all of those in between. It's been such an amazing year, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Tak for ALT Danmark. Jeg kommer til at savne jer alle sammen så meget! Men det er ikke en farvel, kun en vi ses :)

All for now,

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Summing It Up

I realize it’s been a while since I last blogged so I’m going to try and sum up the main events that have occurred since last.

Last Day of School- My last day of school was May 13, and it wasn’t really the most exciting schedule I had that day, but it turned out to be a great day! First I had History, then two hours free, then Nature Geography. But I wanted to spend more time with my class, so I decided to go to German with them in one of the hours I had free. So that was fun to try! We had cake in history because someone’s phone went off in class, and when that happens, that owe everyone else cake. Then we also had cake in Nature Geography, because our teacher’s phone had gone off during class last time, and then I had made cookies for everyone since it was my last day, so we got a lot of nice treats at school! I had also just bought a new camera, so some of my classmates were testing it out and took many photos and videos throughout the. After school we had MGP, which was a sort of talent show at the school with “judges” and everything. So us 6 exchange students decided to do a little act, and we sang “Don’t Worry Be Happy” in our own language (English, Spanish, Turkish, Japanese, and Thai) and then all together in Danish. It was quite adorable, if I may say so. The other acts were rock bands, comedy skits, guitar playing, and singing. So that was a nice, fun way to end my year at Midtfyns Gymnasium.

Euro Tour- The next day I left for my 18 day bus tour around Europe, which can also be explained as one of the best memories from my entire exchange. I traveled with 57 other exchange students from my island of Fyn, from southern Jylland, and then we had 3 exchange students from Lithuania that also joined us. One of them happened to be another exchange student from Northfield! So Natalie and I were reunited and got to travel together :) Basically, we drove to all the big cities around Europe, and we had our main guide and then two younger guides who were both exchange students a few years back. Our guide, Henrik, would show us all of the main attractions and tell us what was exciting to see, and then they would give us the rest of the day to explore ourselves and see and do what we wanted until it was time to eat or it was curfew. We slept in hotels and hostels, and we usually ate breakfast and dinner at the place we were staying, and then we were given money for lunch everyday. Some of the days were driving on the bus all day, and in that case we would stop and have a picnic lunch.

After we had picked everyone up, we started out drive to Berlin, Germany where we spent two days. I got to see the Berlin Wall, Berlin Cathedral, I went to the top of the TV Tower, and then we met up with an exchange student who had been living in Berlin the whole year and he showed us around some of the non-touristy spots. After our two days here, we started our drive to Prague, Czech Republic. On our way there, we stopped at the concentration camp Theresienstadt, where we got a tour. Once we arrived at our hotel, we ate dinner, and then went to a water fountain light and music show. It was so beautiful! The next day we went to St. Vitus Cathedral, and then we were allowed to tour the rest of the city to sightsee/shop/explore until dinner. Prague is an absolutely gorgeous city! The following day we left for Austria and we were on the bus for the majority of the day, but the landscape was beautiful! Our next day was spent in Vienna, Austria, and me and my friends were very excited for this day because it was “Sound of Music Day” where we all dressed up cute and sang Edelweiss as we walked down the streets :) We went to the Schönbrunn Palace with the whole group, and then we went off exploring.
The next day we were driving again, and this was an even longer drive down to Italy. We arrived in Lido de Jesolo in the evening, but before going to dinner at our hotel, we all headed down to the beach (which happened to be right across the street from our hotel!) This was one of my favorite locations. It was 90 degrees the whole time we were in Italy and we had an entire day to literally just sit on the beach. We ate delicious Italian pizza and pasta, refreshing ice cream, and we all got a nice tan! Our third day in Italy we took a boat over to Venice, which was incredible, minus the extreme amount of people that were there. It was almost 100 degrees this day, but we still enjoyed it! We took the gondolas and saw the palaces and bridges. It was all amazing. That evening we went back to Lido and enjoyed our last night on the beach. The next morning we drove to Verona where we saw Juliet’s Balcony and the Arena. We continued on to San Remo where we ate dinner and then spent the rest of the evening at the Riviera.
We are now at day 11 of the trip, and on this day we drove to stunning Monaco! Everything here was perfect. There was no trash on the grounds, there were perfectly trimmed plants and flowers all over, the buildings were beautiful, and the scenery was flawless. We unfortunately only had a few hours here before we had to continue on to France. Once in France, we went to the Fragonard Perfumery near Nice. We got to see how they made their perfumes and which flowers they used, and then we all bought some of their perfume of course! We got to our hostel in Avignon, France late that night, so we ate dinner and then hung out at the hostel. So the next day we got to see the Palace of Popes and the Saint-Benezet Bridge. We met two French boys who showed us around the town and took us to the the really good views of Avignon.
After Avignon, we drove to Paris! We had three days here and we got to see the Eiffel Tower (obviously) and the Louvre, Notre Dame, Triumph Arc, and everything in between. I went up to the top the Eiffel Tower with some friends and we got to look out over all of Paris! On our last night there, we went back to the Eiffel Tower to see it up close at night. We had a curfew of 11:00 pm, and we had some trouble figuring out the metro, so we didn’t even get to the tower until 10:30. As we were getting off the metro, we saw all of the other exchange students getting on it to go back to the hotel. So were all a little stressed and we weren’t even sure we would get to see it with the sparkling lights. But when we got to the square, there was a complete calmness that was there. Beautiful violins were playing, there were other people there, but it wasn’t crowded, I was there with my 5 best friends, and then the Eiffel Tower started blinking with lights. It was one of those moments I won’t forget. We made it back to our hotel 2 minutes past curfew, but that was okay :)

Day 16 of our trip, we headed to Brussles, Belguim. There really isn’t too much to see in this town except for the Atom Statue, and the Manneken Pis, but they do have amazing chocolate and waffles! This was also our favorite hostel that we stayed at. They had good food, they had a ping pong table, and the rooms had showers in them! The next day we headed to Holland. By now we’re all very tired, and starting to get sad that it’s almost over. In the past, they’ve had trouble with exchange students in Amsterdam, so they weren’t going to let us actually see the city, but just take a canal tour of it. The canal tour was not very exciting, and our guide realized that as well, so they decided to let us have 3 hours to see the city after lunch. And there were no problems :)
Our last night on Euro Tour was a calm one. We were at our hotel out in the middle of the woods and our guide gave a little speech, then gave us free pop from the bar. And then we spent the rest of the evening talking, laughing, crying, and signing flags, t-shirts, maps, and journals. We left early the next morning and drove back to Denmark, stopping every few cities to drop people off and say goodbye. It was an incredible trip with people and places I will never ever forget.

Saying Goodbye- The goodbyes continue, and that’s something that I don’t think I’ll ever get used to. You don’t want it to be goodbye, but the truth is, you never know if you will see these people again, (that’s why I’m going to make traveling free when I rule the world). This past Thursday the Brazilians had a big gathering in Odense with exchange students from all over Denmark, so all of us non-Brazilians in the area came too to hang out and say goodbye. Some of these people we may have only met two or three times, but it doesn’t matter because with exchange students, you become best friends with everyone right away, and you feel like you’ve known these people forever. We all hung out in the park all day and stayed up all night together before everyone left the next day. It’s only dark now for about 2 hours, so it’s quite easy to stay up all night.

What’s Left- I still have until July 4th here in Denmark, so I don’t want to start counting down the days yet. My last week will be spent at a week long concert with all of my classmates and two of my host siblings, but other than that, the only thing on my to-do list is see everyone as much as possible and enjoy my last few weeks here. I still can’t believe that it’s been almost a whole year that I’ve been away, and it’s even harder for me to comprehend that this is almost the end. It’s been such an amazing year, and I can't say thank you enough to those who were a part of it and made it possible.

All for now,

More Photos HERE

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Basically my study trip to Rome with my class was one of the best weeks of my life. So much bonding, so many amazing buildings, and the most delicious food ever. I’m not going to do a day by day schedule on what we did, but I will tell you that we got up around 6:45 every morning, walked at least 7 km around Rome each day to get from place to place, ate out every night, and I took approximately 5 billion pictures. Places we visited in the order we saw them: Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, Forum Romanum, the Capital, Vatican City (Sistine Chapel, St. Peters Cathedral, and St. Peter’s Square), Pompeii, San Clemente Church, St. Ignzio Church, Pantheon, and Piazza Navona. All of these places were so beautiful and so impressive. The Colosseum and St. Peter’s Cathedral were probably my favorites, and also the places where I took the most pictures. It was 70 degrees and gorgeous while we were there, except for the day we were in Pompeii, then it rained. Otherwise we were quite lucky! Rome is an amazing city. Absolutely gorgeous! And I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it was to spend an entire week with my class. They are simply incredible and I love them all so very much. They have definitely made a huge impact on my exchange here (in an extremely good way) and I can’t thank them enough for that.
The day we got back from Rome was the beginning of Påskeferien, or Easter Break, so we’ve got 8 days off now. Luckily, it’s been sunny and in the 70s all week since we’ve returned, so I’ve been laying out in the sun, playing guitar, and getting my tan on! The buses in my town don’t run in the break, so if I want to go anywhere or hang out with anyone I have to bike. So I’ve also been biking quite a bit recently. We go back to school on Tuesday, though, and then there’s only 17 days left of school for me before Euro Tour. TIME NEEDS TO SLOW DOWN. So I probably won’t be posting very often anymore (as you may have already noticed.. sorry) because I have oh-so-much that I need to do here and writing blogs did not make the top of my priority list. I’ll keep the photos updated on the photo account I have, so you can check that out every now and then and see what I’ve been up to.
Happy Easter everyone!
All for now,

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lovely Life

I’m now living with my 3rd host family. How has time gone by this fast? How can I already be at my last host family? How is already the end of MARCH??
I'm pretty sure I don't have a single free day for the next few months. I've got so many things that I want to still, so luckily I still have 3 VERY LONG months ahead of me (yes, 3 months is a long time. I won't let you tell me otherwise). But let's get back on track.. I'm moved in with my third host family! I have once again been very lucky and landed with an amazing family. I have a 19 year old sister, Louise, who was in Brazil last year as an exchange student, a 16 year old brother Jannik, and an 11 year old sister Line, plus mother Susanne and father Flemming. We live out in the country in a small town called Rolfsted. I no longer live a 2 minute walk away from the school.. Instead, I get to take a 25 minute bus ride to school every morning. There is only 2 buses from Rolfsted to Ringe in the morning, and only 2 buses from Ringe to Rolfsted after school. There is no train in this town, and buses do not run in the evening, nor on weekends. My traveling is a bit limited now, but Susanne and Flemming are used to driving their kids around, and tehy have been very kind about helping me figure out how to get places. I also still have two lovely host families in Ringe that are always welcoming me to come over if I have to stay in town before my guitar lessons or volleyball, or if I just feel like coming over for some tea :) My new little sister, Line, is also taking guitar lessons at the moment, and we're learning a lot of the same songs, so it's fun to play a bit and practice with her. Louise goes to a different gymnasium than I do, so I don't ever see her at school or in Ringe, and Jannik just got a moped, so we don't see too much of him anymore...
But from moving to this family, I have realized how much stuff I have acquired. I came with two suitcases and a cary-on, and now

So somehow I'm going to have to find a way to get rid of a lot of this. Maybe a big yard sale? I'm not quite sure where all of this stuff came from, but there is no way I can fit it in my 2 suitcases. But I have plenty of time to figure that out!
Completely switching the topic, the weather has been gorgeous outside!! We've had weather in the 50s for the past few weeks, and plenty of sunshine! I'm hoping it will stay like this from now on because sun just puts everyone in a good mood :) Also, my first host family now has little lambs running around their farm, and they might possibly be the cutest things I've ever seen. So it really feels like spring right now!
This weekend we have our last Rotary Get Together before Euro Tour, and then the next weekend I leave for Rome with my class! I'm extremely excited for this "field trip" with my class. Not only because it's Rome, but more so because I absolutely love my class. It's hard for me to even put into words how amazing my class is, and I am so thankful that I get to spend every day (Monday-Friday) with them. They are all just so much fun to be around and they're creative, and talented, and funny, and I love them all! Even if I didn't have to go to school each day, I would go just to be with them. That's how amazing they are. They make me actually want to go to school. So basically, our class trip to Rome will be epic, and I promise to spend an entire blog telling you about it once we get back.
But at the moment, we have a break from class and the sun is shining, so I'm going outside to enjoy my time with my classmates!

All for now,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Berlin was amazing. What a beautiful city with oh-so-much history! We arrived there Friday night after driving for 6 hours. After drinking tea and having a little cake, we set up our beds and slept. The next day we got up a bit earlier than my liking for a vacation, but we had things to do, places to see, and may pictures to take! We started our day by waiting about an hour in line to get into the Pergamon Museum. This museum is actually a combination of three separate museums: the Collection of Classical Antiquities, the Museum of the Ancient Near East and the Museum of Islamic Art. This is the most visited museum in all of Germany and it also has some of the oldest reconstructed monumental buildings in the world! We spent a good bit of time here, then walked through some small shops on the street, and just took in the aroma of gorgeous Berlin. On Sunday, we went to the Berlin Cathedral. Like most of the churches we went to, this one was bombed in WWII and severely damaged, but rebuilt.
I had taken about 50 pictures of the cathedral from the outside the day before, so it was really neat to actually go in and get the full tour. We were joined by Anette’s brother, Carsten, and his 8 year old daughter Beatriz. We walked all the way to the top of the dome and then we were able to walk around the outside of it where we could see out over all of Berlin. It was gorgeous! From here, we took the metro and met up with Carsten’s 15 year old daughter Anne, and then we all made our way to the Berlin Wall! Basically just a cement wall with inspirational paintings, but it was one my favorite places we went. It’s weird to be walking along the wall where so much history took place.

The next day we went to Checkpoint Charlie, the most-known crossing point from East to West Berlin. In the museum we read stories about all of the creative and crazy ways people used to cross over the wall. Everything from underground tunnels, to hot air balloons were used. Then we went to Alexanderplatz, which is basically like a big town square, and we shopped around in the big mall there (still nothing compared to Mall of America).
Our last full day in Germany, we went to the West side of Berlin, which was much more modernized. We went to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, which was partially destroyed in WWII,and the newer additions of it which are nicknamed the “lipstick and powder box” because of their shapes. The “powder” building was my favorite. Both of the newer additions were made of concrete with 21,292 stained glass windows covering the entire outsides. It was so pretty inside! Then we walked to the Nike outlet store, and then over to the Ka De We (Kaufhaus des Westens) mall. They had an entire floor level with just edible goods; a chocolate section, a cheese sections, a pasta section, and even a small American food section :) If the Jif peanut butter there didn’t cost 14 Euros, I would have bought it all. We didn’t spend too much time here, though, because it was all department stores and things were very expensive..

That night we went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner (delicious) and the next day we packed up and drove home.
We weren’t home long, though, before we took the train over to København for the rest of winter break! There we celebrated Anette’s birthday, went to a parliament meeting at the Christiansborg Palace, and I FINALLY got to see the Little Mermaid! (She was on a vacation in China..)

So there ya go! That was wonderful winter break with the family!
I’ll try to get a few more updates in here soon!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Last Monday

So this is just a short short update for you all.
I'm heading to Berlin on Friday for winter break! I'll be staying there with my host family in their uncle's apartment down there. According to Lise, it's an amazing apartment! Plus it's in Berlin... so I'm VERY excited for this :) I'll be there until Wednesday, and then on Thursday we're going to København again until Saturday.
Also, my Danish classes in Svendborg are now done. Monday was our last day, and it was a lot of fun! Last Monday we took the reading, writing, and listening part of our Danish test, and then this Monday we took the speaking part of it where we had to talk about one of 3 books that we've read. I aced the reading, writing, and listening part, and we find out how we did on the speaking part later. We'll be getting a letter in the mail about the whole test. It's a legit test here, so if we come back to Denmark to study, we can have this paper to show how far we've gone with these classes! We made a big lunch together and we took about a million pictures. We all got little Lego men from our teacher, and she told us we could speak Danish with them so we don't forget what we've learned. We also gave her a thank you gift; We put photos from the past 6 months into a photo album and then we each wrote a little thank you letter to her and put those in the album as well! I'll still be able to see these exchange students again, because they all live pretty nearby, but I'm really going to miss my Mondays with them. I loved being able to go to Svendborg every Monday and talk Danish with all of these exchange students and learn Danish! Mondays usually aren't my friend, but I actually didn't mind them when I went to Svendborg! Now I have to go to actual school every Monday. It's gonna be rough, but all of my Danish classmates are excited that I get to come to school 5 days a week with them now. I'm also excited about seeing them more, but not about the 5-days-of-school-in-a-row part...
Well, I'm off to bed now. I've got a lot to do before I leave for Berlin!

Thanks for the amazing 6 months with you all!
All for now