Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Little Bit of Everything

So on Thursday, it was my half birthday. As a joke, I wrote it on the family calendar, however, my family thought it was a great idea to celebrate it! Usually this wouldn't be celebrated, or barely even mentioned, but since I won't be able to celebrate my real birthday in Denmark, my half birthday was good enough! I made macaroni and cheese for dinner, and then we celebrated. We made half of a lagkage (layer cake), we put Danish flags up all over the house, we sang, and I even got a few presents :) My class also sang Happy (half) Birthday to me at school, and I brought in flødeboller for everyone to eat. It was a terrific half birthday, and I'm very glad that I got to experience (half of) a Danish birthday.

Thursday was also my first guitar lesson! Okay, technically it was my third.. but it was the first one I actually got to go to. January 6th was suppose to be my first lesson; so I biked up to the Music School, cluelessly walked around for 15 minutes, finally decided to call my teacher only to find out he was sick and classes were cancelled. The second lesson I was suppose to have was on January 13th, and for some reason I completely spaced it out, and consequently missed that lesson. So last Thursday at 5 o'clock, I biked up to the Music school with my guitar, walked up the stairs (now knowing where I was to go), met my teacher Niels, and was then told my class didn't start until 6:30.... So I biked home, relaxed for a bit and then biked back to the Music School. Finally I got to have my guitar lesson, and it went really well! At first I was worried that it would be a little difficult for me to learn how to play guitar in Danish, and that maybe I wouldn't understand everything Niels was teaching me, but it was no problem at all! I feel like these will be really fun lessons, and I'm excited to learn more. I'm now practicing my new song for next weeks lesson!

I sometimes surprise myself with how much Danish I know. I've been here for almost 6 months already (eek!) but with so many English speakers here, people say that it's hard to actually learn Danish. And that is true, but I remember when I was first learning Danish, my classmates would teach me new words and phrases in Danish everyday. And when we were all hanging out and they were chatting away in Danish, I wouldn't let me speak to me in English the whole time because I really, really wanted to learn Danish! My classmates have been a huge help with my Danish, along with my families, but I still feel like I've learned the most from other exchange students. It's so easy to talk to them, and that's probably because we feel most comfortable with each other, and we can understand each other even when we say or pronounce things completely wrong. But for example, with the other exchange students at my school, we only speak Danish together because there isn't any other language that we all know well enough to communicate in. And when we're all together, we can just sit and talk for hours with each other in Danish, and it's such a great feeling! If we don't know a word, we either attempt to describe it using other words we know (and lots of hand motions), or we just make something up.. I still feel like it's easier to understand Danish than to speak it, but when I'm speaking it at home, at school, with friends and with other exchange students, I know it's only getting better!

This weekend I was in Copenhagen visiting our Uncle and his two daughters, Anne and Beatriz. It's Beatriz's Birthday on Wednesday so we celebrated that while we were there. I also took a walk along the beach with Anette and Torben, and it was just gorgeous outside. Blue skies, not too cold, WINDMILLS galore; I loved it.
Our last day there, Anette, Torben, Stig, Lise and I took a little trip into the city and walked around so I could see a little bit more Copenhagen culture. We went to the Round Tower, a 17th century tower that you can walk to the top of, but instead of stairs, there's a round ramp that leads all the way up. At the very top you can look out and see Copenhagen's beautiful skyline, and this is actually Europe's oldest functioning astronomy observatory! It was another beautiful day outside, so the view from the top of the tower was great. And as we were at the top, it was noon, so all of the church bells around us started ringing :) Then on the way down, we decided to run down the 210 meter long ramp, which was also quite fun! After the Round Tower, we got some kabobs and falafels for lunch, used an underground bathroom, and then drove back to our wonderful island of Fyn!

Now all of a sudden it's Monday again! The weeks are just flying by way too fast.
All the best,

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

An Update

Yes yes, I know. I'm a horrible blogger. But I'm just too busy having fun and living the good ol' Danish life! Instead of writing too much, I'll give you a few pictures to update you on what I've been up to for the past few weeks! You can always check out my picture share website for more pictures HERE :)

1) Got my name on the mailbox! I'm officially a member of the Birkenfeldt household.

This here is my new host family! They're great :) Stig (11), me, Anette, Torben, and Lise (13)

2) Christmas/ Jul!
Christmas in Denmark is very exciting! In early December we all sat around the tabe and picked out which decorations we wanted in our room, and then we went around and decorated the rest of the house. Most of the decorations are homemade. We also made these candle holders that we set around the house. We also made a ton of Christmas candy and treats. Then on the 24th, after decorating the tree, setting the table decorations, and lighting all of the candles, we ate our dinner. This consisted of turkey, peeled and boiled potatoes, caramel potatoes, red cabbage, and ris ala made for dessert. It's a tradition to put one whole almond in the dessert, and whoever finds it gets a present! There were accidentally 2 whole almonds, though, so Lise and I both found one, and both got little presents :) After eating, we lit the candles on the tree ( I thought this was a dangerous idea but none of them seemed too worried about it) and then we held hands and sang songs as we danced around the Christmas tree! The last song we sing is "Nu er det Jul igen" which means "now it is Christmas again" and we run around the entire house singing this song. It's quite exciting! Then we opened presents, drank coffee/tea and ate the treats we had baked, and sat around and talked for the rest of the evening! Stig completely forgot about waiting until the next day to open his presents, so he didn't get to try out the American way of holding Christmas, but maybe next year, he said! All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful Christmas :)

3) SWEDEN! I finally got to travel outside of Denmark. Not that I want to leave this fantastic country, but a little traveling is always fun! I was in Copenhagen with some exchange students and we decided to take the train on over to Sweden for the day and get some lunch there! So we went some place very Swedish to eat.. Ikea :)

4) 2011- It's going to be a great year! New Years Eve was celebrated at my friend Frederikke's house. It was 6 of us girls, and we decided to have a fancy new years eve party with nice dresses, and elegant food (which was extremely delicious) as we watched the Queen give her New Years Eve speech on TV. New Years in Denmark is celebrated just about the same as we do it in the US; they get together with friends and family, they set off fireworks, they have noise makers and confetti. But it was a great night and it was very fun to come into the new year in Denmark!

I'll attempt to post a few more updates in the next couple of days, but I can't promise anything because it is actually a busy week for me. We've got 2 new exchange students coming to our school tomorrow, I've got volleyball, guitar lessons, and my half birthday to celebrate (since I don't get to spend my actual birthday in Denmark) and on Friday I'm heading to Copenhagen for the weekend! But I'll do my best to keep you all posted :)
Happy (very late) New Years!