Thursday, December 23, 2010

December

So I've now moved in with my second host family, (I've actually been living with them for almost a month now) and I love them just as much as my first family! I finally have a sister, Lise, something I've begged my parents for my entire life, and my younger brother Stig is hilarious. They were originally supposed to be my first family, but they were switched to my second because they live closer to the school so it's easier for me to bike there in the winter with all of the snow. Speaking of, we have a ton of snow in Denmark now! They rarely have a white Christmas (I think they told me this was the third time in the past 40 years they've had a snow for Christmas) so this is something special! We've got about a half meter of snow covering the ground, but since it's so windy here, there's huge drifts that are over a meter high. Usually when they get snow here, it disappears after a few days, but there's been snow here since the end of November. Christmas time here is adorable, though, and with all of the snow, it's even better! Unfortunately, Denmark is completely flat, so there's no place to go downhill skiing or snowboarding. But I have been out cross country skiing several times and the scenery is gorgeous!
I've been on winter break since last Friday, and the other 3 exchange students at my gymnasium and I were asked to give some sort of presentation on the last day. So we put together a little Christmas film! We shared it with the whole school at our Christmas assembly, and it was really fun! We also danced around the Christmas tree at school (a Danish Christmas tradition) and we sang songs and had a hyggelig time! You can watch the video at the bottom :)
Tomorrow is Christmas here, though! They celebrate Christmas the evening of the 24th, so it'll be interesting to wake up on the 25th and already have opened all of my presents. But Stig is going to wait until the 25th to open his presents; he says he wants to try it the "American style". We'll see if he can actually wait that long :)
One more little update, I get to start taking guitar lessons after New Years! I'm so excited for this, and Rotary has even offered to pay for my lessons. How amazing :) I love Rotary, and I love my year here in Denmark! Congrats to all of the students back home who just found out which country they'll be going to next year! It honestly will be the most amazing year of your life.

video

Gl├Ždelig Jul! Merry Christmas!
-Heidi

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

And Time Does Fly

So I wanted to give a little pep talk to the upcoming Rotary exchangers before their interviews, but unfortunately I’m a poor blogger and now I’m too late. BUT, I can still give you some timely information on the amazing year that is ahead of you. Like many of the other exchangers are saying, it’s hard to think that a year ago was when we made our decisions on which countries we wanted to travel to. Being one of the younger ones, I had many countries that I could still choose from. I remember going into the cafeteria where all of the tables and booths were set up, and not knowing at all where I wanted to go. I had no specific place in mind, and no real requirements either. So I sloooowwwly made my way around the room, stopping at just about every booth. Now to be honest, I really don’t know why, but something about Denmark caught my attention, and after I left the booth, I knew that that was where I wanted to go. Everything about it sounded appealing to me, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I continued to look at the other countries, and liked many of them, but Denmark still stuck on top as my number one choice. Making the decision of which other 4 countries to put on my list was probably the most difficult one I’ve ever made. I was just barely young enough to go to Denmark (actually I was about 10 days too old, but they said that didn’t matter), so if I didn’t get my first pick, I needed to have my other choices be ones that I really liked as well. Unfortunately, I liked them all about the same. I was so eager and excited to just go anywhere and see anything! I think my mom and I sat in the library for about 3 hours while I tried to decide what to put next on my list. (I think I ended up putting Ecuador, South Africa, Sweden, and Chile.) But after it was all done, I had to wait. Those waiting weeks seemed to take forever.
I remember the day that everyone got their countries; Mia was the one who informed me first about where she was going. She was jumping around in our Spanish class yelling Argentina! I was so excited that we were finally finding out where we were going to be spending the next year of our lives! The next hour, Beret left school so she could go home and check her mailbox, and she and Aletha found out they were headed to Brazil! I remember sitting in the yearbook room with Carly and Stina, and we were all trying to call our parents and have them check the mail to see if we had gotten our letters yet.
Since no one was home, I decided to also leave school (I only had study hall left that day) and see if my letter had arrived. It hadn’t. So I waited as patiently as I could until the mail came. My mom came home from work, and as she stepped out of the car I noticed she had the mail in her hand! I ran outside and started searching through it all, until I finally found the letter addressed to me. I was freaking out, (and I’m getting all excited right now as I write this because it was such a happy day!) I opened it up, and didn’t even read what the first part said, all I was looking for was a country name, and sure enough, DENMARK was written on the first line :)

After being here for 4 months now, I couldn’t be happier with my choice! I honestly love it here. And sure, there are some days when it’s dark and rainy, and I wonder why I didn’t chose some place warm and sunny, but I take one look around, and I see all of the amazing people I’ve met, and all of the extraordinary things I’ve learned, and all of the unforgettable memories I’ve made, and I realize how lucky I am to be here and that there is no place I would rather be. So whether it was the delicious food that caught my attention, or their eco-friendliness, or maybe even the cute boy that was working at the booth, I’m so glad I fell in love with Denmark and I’m so very glad that I get to spend my year here!

For all of you who have just finished choosing your hopeful destinations for next year, just know that whether you get your first choice, or you get a country that wasn’t even on your list, you will have the most incredible year ever. Rotary gives you such an amazing opportunity to grow and to learn so much more about yourself. You get the chance to meet people from all over the world, and to experience new cultures and ways of living. I can’t thank Rotary enough for giving me this opportunity. These past four months have been phenomenal, and I it’s crazy how fast the time is going by. The “Oldies” only have a few more weeks left here, and I can't imagine what it’s going to be like to say goodbye. But best of luck to all of you! And no matter what the other exchangers have told you, Denmark really is the best country, so I hope you put it down on your list :)
All for now,
-Heidi