Jeg elsker snakke på dansk. I love talking in danish.
I feel like the language is becoming more and more natural for me to speak, which is great! There's obviously a lot of words that I don't know yet, but I try to make do with what I know, and I am constantly asking how to say new words in danish. My wonderful classmates have been extremely helpful with this, along with my host family, of course! The other three exchange students at my gymnasium and I all speak danish to each other (or we attempt to) on our way to our danish lesson every Monday. I think we feel more comfortable speaking danish to each other because we're in the same situation here, trying to learn the language and adjust to the culture, and if we make a mistake, it's completely okay, and no one cares. And it's not that my danish friends would care if I made a mistake when speaking danish, but you feel more relaxed when you're talking to other exchange students. But either way, I really enjoy it when I can speak to someone in danish. It makes me happy :)
I'll do a quick update, and then I'll give the run-down of an ordinary day here in Ringe, Denmark.
This past weekend I took a family trip to northern Køpenhavn to meet Niels's mother, Nina, and to celebrate her birthday. It was about a 2 hour drive and Søren and I watched "How I Met Your Mother" the whole way. Henrik, Jens and his girlfriend Mathilde, all met us there, as well as Nina's brother and several friends. We ate a lot of delicious food, sang a few danish songs, spent many hours talking and drinking tea, and had some lovely cake. We also drove to the beach (about 5 minutes away) and since it was a bit too cold to swim, we walked around and Susanne and Niels collected some mushrooms, which we enjoyed with our steak the next night!
Alright, Mom, this is the part you've been waiting for:
I get up around 7 20 every morning, usually by an alarm on my phone, and Susanne always comes in around 7 30 to make sure I haven't gone back to sleep.
I eat breakfast at about 7 45, usually a bowl of cornflakes and toasted bread with cheese and homemade marmalade, and then Søren and I try to leave at 8 to get to school before 8 15. It's about a 10 minute bike ride from my house to school, and on rainy days, we get to take the car.
On my way to school I get to bike over "Ringe Lake" which is really more of a pond, but it's gorgeous! There's a path that goes around the whole thing, and then a path and bridge that goes through the middle of it. There are so many ducks and swans on this lake, and sometimes you can barely go over the bridge because of all of the ducks.
At school I have between one and three classes each day. Each class is 90 minutes with a 5 minute break in the middle, where students usually grab some bread form the canteen or have some fruit to eat. My classes are Danish, English, Spanish, Religion, Chemistry, Nature Geography, and History, and then I also have gym class once a week. Spanish is an obvious favorite, and I really enjoy Danish as well, but I'm surprised at how much I like my Religion class. Half the time I have no idea what is going on, but the teacher is really good at trying to help me and include me in the lessons. Today I had Danish for the first lesson, then Nature Geography, and I was done with school by 11 40. Usually I would just go home after this, but I like to hang out with my classmates at lunch, so sometime I'll stick around and eat with them. My host mom packs a lunch for Søren and me almost everday, usually consisting of two sandwiches, and an apple or plum picked straight from the trees in our garden :)
We have 30 minutes for lunch, and then the third lesson begins. Almost all students are done by 2, unless they have a fourth lesson, or some extra assignment.
After my classes are finished, I bike home, have an after school snack, usually cereal or smørrebrød (an open-face sandwich), and then I basically have the rest of the day to whatever I would like! Somedays I'll hang out with friends after school, and we'll go downtown, to their house, or to Odense. And since I'm in the music class, nearly all of the student know how to play guitar, and soon, I too will be able to play, thanks to some of my fabulous friends :) Somedays I'll go on a run down the path in the backyard and take some pictures and visit the cows (we have a new baby calf that is adorable). I also have a very sweet, 13 year old neighbor girl named Maja who comes over and visits often. She teaches me danish, and I help her with english! And sometimes Søren and I will experiment with some food, and most times it's edible! I actually do a lot of cooking here. Back home I rarely cooked, (for certain reasons...) but here everything is homemade and fresh, and I try to help out with making the food as much as I can. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I also have volleyball practice at the gymnasium.
We have dinner around 8 30. The meal usually includes some sort of meat, peeled potatoes, salad, and rye bread. Sometimes we'll have a small dessert afterwards, but danish dessert is not what I could call "dessert". We've had yoghurt with sliced fruit for dessert, or pancakes (more like crepes), and if I'm lucky, a small piece of danish chocolate. There isn't much for sweets here, and when I told them that I eat chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, their response was "But that's so unhealthy!" They think it's a bit odd that we eat pancakes for breakfast, let alone chocolate chip pancakes...
Around 11 I'll usually start getting ready for bed, and then I do it all again the next day!
It's quite the wonderful life!