Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I really should be studying but...

Instead of studying for my Human Health and Disease final tomorrow, I’m writing a blog about the things I will miss in Denmark.

1. Host family- this goes without saying. My host family has been the bulk of my experience here. Without them, I wouldn’t have such a great insight to daily Danish life. They have been so wonderful and accommodating, and I can’t believe they were nice enough to let a stranger like my live with them for the past 4 months. Real cool, Denmark.

2. DAIM!! OH MY GOODNESS. I love daim, I just… love daim. It’s my favorite candy in the world, ranking above both Butterfingers and Snickers in my book. Its crunchy butter almond covered in milk chocolate! It’s like eating a piece of sunshine and happiness in every bite. I eat these babies like there is not tomorrow… which reminds me that I need to stock up before I leave.

3. Hyldeblosmt or Elderflower! They have elderflower flavored goodies here, and I really REALLY wish I could have some of this in the US. It tastes like flowers, and before you go thinking that that is really gross… think again. Flower taste is delicious. It’s like drinking all that is good in the world! I will really miss the “soft water” hyldeblomst drink that I have here!

4. (Some) Danish food- although we had that pork fiasco a few posts ago, I will miss some of the things Denmark has shown me in the cooking department. For instance, my host mom makes a banging lasagna, which now that I think of it isn’t Danish, but its freaking delicious. I will also really miss frikadeller, and the other dishes that I really like. I just don’t know how to spell them so I avoid details. Sorryyyy.

5. Danish as a language- Even though I am not even close to fluent in this language, I like it. Listening to and reading it is actually fun for me, but speaking it is the hardest. Danish is such a cool little language… its secret. Only 5 million people speak it. I am sincerely going to miss learning Danish through the immersion technique.

6. Making my own fires in the wood burning fireplace! I struggle sometimes to create a fire, but there is nothing better to me than sitting in front of a warm fire. I almost hate the idea of going back and using a switch to turn on a fire. I just like the whole wood burning thing. It seems more hyggligt to me.

7. Castles- Denmark has some pretty nice castles, the prettiest one, in my opinion, is the one that I live next too. Frederkisborg Slot. Look it up. It’s magical. It was even magical enough to become a stop for the Amazing Race this season. The only thing I regret is not going to see it more often, but I usually am able to stare at it in awe as I pass by it on the bus every day. It makes me sad to think I will not be going near anything like this castle when I get back to the US.

8. The public transport- Denmark has their public transport DOWN! The S-tog, regional, metro, and bus are all able to get you where you need to go. Although my bus schedule is not that great, it still enables me to travel every day to wherever I want to go. It’s pretty amazing to see how many people use this type of transport with me, and I’ll miss the announcements I don’t understand when there is a problem with the train.

9. Bike culture. You think you are safe on the sidewalk, think again. The bikes are an integral part of Denmark’s infrastructure, and sometimes rush hour for bikes is scarier and worse than rush hour for cars here. Denmark has separate bike lanes, and you can bet they are almost always crowded, or at least being used. You always look both ways here to see if both bikes and cars are coming. Perhaps when it is nice out in Denver I’ll bike to school…. If I’m not lazy.

10. The sights- walking 10 minutes around Copenhagen can actually lead you to more old historical places than you even want. I can’t believe I walk by some of the most amazing landmarks on my way to school. It is something that I can’t get over. Thanks for the cool places Denmark!

Of course there are a LOT of other things I am going to miss here , but I really should get back to the studyinggggg. BLEH!

Friday, December 9, 2011


OK so, this is probably a mediocre bloggity. However, you shall read.

Budapest, and beyond!

Budapest is an incredible place to visit. It was a nice financial break also. When Meghan and I finally arrived (after missing our first bus) we were desperate to find some food because we literally had not eaten or 12 hours. Despite being in a kind of sketchy part of town, we were in a really nice hotel, complete with almost see-through glass shower that was open to the rest of the room. Weird much?

We ended up eating at a Chinese place, I got an entire meal and drink for a grand total of 4 dollars. 1 usd =216 Forint! The next few days were a whirl of fun; we did all of the touristy things, like going to fisherman’s bastion, the church, a chairlift ride. All of these things were completely magical. I never thought I could see something so beautiful.

Budapest is also known for its medicinal waters, and Meghan and I couldn’t say no to the spas! First we went to one of the oldest and largest spas in Budapest, the Szechenyi baths. Meghan and I were not quite prepared for the baths, as we did not have towels, or sandals to wear around. The baths were pretty fun, despite the plethora of hairy people around us. Each bath had a different type of medicinal value, and all of them typically smelled different. I remember one bath in particular that smelled like mint. After we were done with the baths Meghan and I proceeded to dry ourselves off with the complimentary wall hair dryers, and then we passed out!

Our luxurious stay in Budapest was continued the next day on Nov. 6. (day before my birthday!) where Meghan and I went to a beautiful spa that was incredibly far from Budapest! We had quite the fiasco getting there! Frist, we got massages. In Hungary, massage therapists expect you to get naked in front of them. My masseuse was a 20-something boy. There was NO way that was happening so we hand signaled until he got out!! Soooo awkward. But the massage was good. After the massage fiasco, Meghan and I both received baths with special chocolate stuff in it, and then we got our facials. After the facial both Meghan and I got a haircut! How much for all of this you ask? 100 dollars. Insane!! The staff was absolutely wonderful and accommodating and if you ever go to Budapest go to the Oriental spa at the Ramada!

After being pampered for the day Meghan and I went to Fraust Wine Cellar for a wine tasting. It was excellent. All of the wines were from Hungary and our sommelier lead us through all of the wines. I tasted the best red wine I had ever had there. Needless to say, I didn’t want to leave!! Meghan and I left slightly loaded. Can you say perfect day? How lucky can I possibly be?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

These are just some of the Prague photos, to see the rest go to my facebook page! Enjoy!

Czech Trek!

Going on a lil’ adventure

I haven’t blogged for two weeks, and that is for good reason. I was traveling!! Here is just a few things I did on this lil’ adventure of mine. This first post is about the Czech Republic!

Week #1 Czech Republic

I spent the first week of break on one of the DIS adventure trips, which are pretty badass and fun. For my trip, we went to literally the middle of freaking nowhere in Czech to stay in a CASTLE and do lots of adventury things! This place was called Hruba Skala, and the castle was situated on a high cliff with a gorge on one side and a drop down forever cliff on the other. It was prettttyyyy sweet/scary. The castle itself was, you know, an old castle so there wasn’t much technology or modern things there, which I think made the trip all the more better.

We were greeted by our guides that would lead us through our adventure trips for the next several days. The first day we went repelling down one of the sides of the gorge, which is pretty high. The wall literally turned into a sheer cliff, and then you could do that “WOOO look I’m bouncing on and off a cliff!” thing. I said “woooo” a lot. Once down in the gorge, you had to climb back up this little mountain trail to the gate. There are two goats and one sheep that live in the gorge and you MUST close the gate behind you. Problem is that the goats/sheep are smart, and they follow you when they see human. They try to get out of the gate, and you say “NO GOAT GO EAT YOUR CABBAGE AND BREAD!” They don’t listen. Everyone had to familiarize themselves with removing barnyard animals from the vicinity of the gate on this trip. This was easy for me because I have dealt with goats before (that’s another story) so I just pet the goats and ran past them so they couldn’t leave. One person once forgot to close the gate. The goat had to be coaxed back by promises of bread and fresh cabbage.

We also got to zip line and high rope bridge that day, which scared the crap out of me and I’m not even afraid of heights. Something about walking on one rope that moves as you walk is concerning. Good thing we had harnesses. This activity was followed with archery, which I originally thought I would be much better at. I could shoot the target, I just have to get more accurate… we had a competition, I lost.

On the second day we had ice breakers (which we had constantly joked that we had already broken the ice) and a hike. I chose the hike first and let me say that this was one of the most beautiful hikes I had ever been on in my life. I swear I thought elves and fairies were just going to pop out at any moment. The Hruba Skala forest is surrounded by these thin and wispy trees, and huge blocks of sandstone. It was insanely pretty and unique. The hike lasted three hours, and it went by so fast. The forest we were in was known for its magical mineral waters that heal (go figure), and I was excited to try some of the spring water. The first one we went to helps metabolism, and others helped with aging and healing and all that other stuff that mineral spring water does. I drank them all.

Next, the ice breakers were actually really fun, and my group worked together, but struggled a lot. It wasn’t that we didn’t communicate; we just had a tendency to fail the game the first time until we figured it out. I even did my first TRUST FALL for the first time. It reminded me of Mean Girls, I could not take the trust fall seriously. Did I also mention that in order to do the trust fall we had to go on the wall that separated us from the cliff? Yeah, so that means once you climbed up the wall you could either trust fall backwards or just fall off the cliff, your choice. Everyone picked trust fall.

The third day was cold and a little dreary, but that did not stop us from going canoeing down the Jizera River! I didn’t bring my camera in fear of falling out of my canoe, however, I regretthat decision even thought my legs did get wet and slightly hypothermic! However, my legs could not have possibly been as cold as Stuart and Scarlett, who fell and sunk their canoe twice. One flip was down this freaking ridiculous slide that I was would also flip Meghan and I, and the other was out of nowhere. It was tragic. However, the water was not that deep so if you fell in you literally could stand and it would be mid-calf height. I was canoeing with Meghan, and we decided to take in the scenery, and relax a little on the river. Paddling was not our strongest attribute, and we just couldn’t catch up to the others.

Once we were all freezing, a little wet (or soaked in Stuart and Scarlett’s case) we had real rock climbing next! The hike to the sandstone rock was not long, but the rise in elevation was enough to make a marathon runner get out of breath. I was very toasty warm when I got to the wall. There were four courses, a level 2, 3, 5, and 6. There was also a repelling wall. The highest degree is 10 so people who went to the 6 course are crazy. I went on three and it was slightly challenging, however, I was doing this in Uggs because my feet were soaked in the canoe. I feel like Uggs are not appropriate rock climbing wear, and the concerned faces of my fellow climbers let me know this. However, I am totally badass and did it anyways. It was difficult, but I did it. After climbing to the top of the rock, I went to repel down the new wall. It was a lot more fun than the gorge one because after about 15 feet the wall literally went inward and you just hung in midair. I was really excited about this and continually shouted “WEEEEE!” all the way down. Best. Repelling. EVER! Oh yeah, one other thing. Turns out rock can be really cold. Cold to the point where your fingers start to burn and then stop feeling at all while rock climbing. But afterwards my fingers became super-humanly warm and I used this power to warm up Scarlett and Stuart, whose were both still freezing cold (and wearing flip flops because they shoes were soaked!). Once the sun went down at about 4:30pm we went back to the castle for dinner and more fun.

Side note about Czech Food… I don’t really like it. I was a registered veggie for the trip because I feel like that is the safer food option. Here it wasn’t. The first night they gave us a block with we originally thought was maybe fish, it wasn’t. It was fried cheese, with mashed potatoes. Fatness, here I come! This meal was continually replicated in some other form. One night we literally got Potato cakes with mashed potatoes. That was dinner… potatoes with more potatoes. Our meals were continually dowsed in cheese and carbs. No veggies. It was… interesting.

Continuing about the trip. The last night we were there we had a little scavenger hunt though the castle. It was pitch black, and all we had were candles. The first team to collect all the clues (there were about 20 of them) ad figure out the answer would get prizes. Justin, Karen, and I all went together to the cliff (keep in mind we only have CANDLES!) to find the notes, and then we proceeded to go down into the gorge (KEEP IN MIND THE GOATS!). After getting down the stairs, which is quite hard in the pitch black, the goats proceeded to scare the crap outta me. Not only this, but many of the teams went into the woods, and all over the grounds to find clues. The staff was wearing pitch black outfits to blend in a scare you while you were looking for clues. It was really fun. Our team did not win, and I was very sad.

That night the entire group stayed up to party in the castle bar, where they only served one beer on tap (which was actually good) and white wine of tap (which was really weird) and some mixed drinks. One thing we really enjoyed was the pumpkin flavored alcohol that mixed really well with hot chocolate. It was like fall in a cup. Delicious. One of the best night’s I’ve had.

The next day we took the bus to Prague, where Meghan and I checked into our hotel, got ourselves together, and went on the walking tour with the rest of the group. The tour was absolutely incredible and Prague is simply amazing. I would write more, but A. I’m tired of writing and B. Pictures are sometimes better than words. I'll post the Prague photos in the next post and they are also on my facebook page.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Confusing and Odd tastes of Denmark

I’m all for trying the new food in different cultures, but a lot of times that food isn’t something you particularly like. While I love the food here in Denmark mostly, there is still a band of foods that I could certainly live without.

1. First things first. Licorice is literally the defining flavor of Denmark. Dane’s just love their freakin’ licorice. I’m not talking about twizzlers here, I’m talking about that black crappy tasting stuff. There are two ways to have licorice here, 1. Bitter and salty or 2. Sweetened. You can buy all types of licorice, gum, sweets, cough drops. They even stick it into stuff the SHOULDN’T have licorice in it… like chocolate covered licorice, or the clear elder flower candy I had the other day. Sneaky Danes. They love it so much that they simply have to hide it in all of the other decently tasting things. Here they have a shot called Fisk (which means fish in Danish)… it tasts like licorice and mouthwash. In fact, the American’s here started calling it “the mouthwash shot” because we didn’t know what it was for a while. While I still hate licorice, the shot has grown on me, and nothing can beat the minty freshness of your breath after you take it, Not even brushing your teeth!

2. Pork, oh how I loathe you. Except for bacon, you can rarely catching me eat pork or ham or pig or whatever EVER. Demark is a country of 5 million people, and 13 million pigs. Each person typically consumes 60kg or 132 pounds of pork a year. The runner-up is beef, where they only consume 30kg, or 66 pounds a year. Simply, Danes love their pig. I tried to be understanding and ate pig when my host family served it (which is usually around 3-4 nights a week if you don’t count the bacon in our meals almost every night). However, I just couldn’t keep the poker face anymore after about 2 months of pig, pig, and more pig. It’s not that the dishes aren’t tasty, it’s just that pork/ham is not my thing. Thankfully they try to make me salads and soup now… and of course bacon is always ready to be dropped into it if it needs a little hamin-up.

3. Thankfully, most of my stay I have not had to run into Leverpostej again. Leverpostej is liver paste. YUM… not. I did try this and I have to admit it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I wouldn’t choose it again, but it was nice to try. Every time I see I automatically avoid it, but if I wasn’t such a picky eater I think that most people would actually like it.

4. Along with pork, Danes love boiled potatoes. Yes, just boiled. The typical sauce they put on the potatoes is what we American’s call the “dark brown sauce stuff”. It’s closest to gravy, but is not exactly gravy. I always wait to see if it will get tastier, but it is frequently somewhat flavorful, not as much so as gravy. That is ok considering that one douses their potatoes in a pool of it, so you get a nice mix of both potatoes and sauce. Though one of the things I like here in Denmark, it is still somewhat of a confusing and interesting taste.

Stay tuned for what I can’t live without! I’m actually going to Czech tomorrow so don’t expect oo many posts about Denmark. Instead, let’s hope I am responsible enough to keep you updated about my upcoming 2 week break!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Apology Blog.... Sort of.


What have I been doing in the past weeks? Well not writing blogs I can tell you that! So, what has happened to me in the last few weeks? A lot.

Let’s start out by remembering the night that I went out with my host family and friends to see a U2 Cover band. Going out with you parent you ask? Yes. They happen to be pretty DAMN cool so it’s fun going out with the host parents. Zack and his host family came with us too! So yeah, anyways, we get to Frederiksberg and meet one of Claus’s friends, who is simultaneously riding a bike and drinking a Carlsberg. How I love the Danes and their ability to operate bikes and drink alcohol at the same time. We went to a lovely Italian Resturant, and during the table conversation both Zack and I secretly agreed to try and get out host dad’s drunk that evening. Don’t worry, they were trying to get us drunk too, so it was war.

After a few drinks at dinner, Zack and I started our mission with a bang—a shot of whiskey. Jack Daniels. Too bad they retaliated with licorice shots (EW—Licorice is SUCH a Danish thing) and more beer. By this time the band was playing, and they were actually really good. Bo (Zack’s host dad) was really good friends with this band and guess what happened next… If you were to tell me that I would be singing U2 on stage in Denmark while trying to get my Danish host dad drunk… I would have never believed you. But it happened. I was there. I remember it.

One of the best nights ever? Check! (BTW Zack was really funny in the car ride home wanting Mcdonalds so bad)

Since that night there have been a lot of other great things going on, things that I should have documented but haven’t. I am going to try to be better I promise.

Along with going to Soccer games, hanging out with the lil’ sis, and going to school, I’ve been pretty busy! Oh yeah, I did go to Germany and Poland for a week with school but that is a completely different and long post in itself!

One of the other nights I would love to talk about is Kulturnatten, or Culture Night. It happens once a year in Copenhagen, and for 90 Kr. (roughly 18 dollars) you can go around the entire city to see historical places or the gardens or different venues with live music. Probably one of the best nights I’ve had here in a long time. First, I went with Leigh Anna in her buddy group (Danes and Americans that hang out together through DIS) to østerbro, where we ate dinner and had a little hyggeligt time. Afterwards, Leigh Anna and I kept with the group, but two of our other friends joined the pack. Seeing as daylight is ridiculously short here, it was pitch black at like 7pm. Crazy.

We ended up going to Rosenborg, a castle that is in the city of Copenhagen, and it houses some of the royal jewels. Copenhangen on Culture night is, I want to say actually, playful, open, and interactive! Rosenborg was also open for flashlight tag… yes, you could play flashlight tag in the castle. Sweet huh? Outside of the castle the military set up a really awesome demonstrative area, where we got to try army food, and they gave us warm drinks. There were also tanks and what not that you could actually climb into (and they were actually real!) You could also hold REAL military guns, and dress exactly like them. My favorite part of the night was all the really good looking Danish guys in uniform. Leigh Anna and I reduced to being like giggling 12 year old school girls. We ended up getting the nerve to get one shot with one of the hottest ones we could find. We scampered away from him like giggling. Not my finest moment.

While we walked the streets of Copenhagen we also were part of a big mob of families or drunk people. The mix was almost comical. When we dropped into Gammeltorv, there was a troop of at least 20 people on horses playing music. It was pretty amazing. They finally decided to take these 20 or so horses down Strøget, which is a huge walking mall. Considering it was packed I just hoped that kids and drunk people alike wouldn’t get trampled. But Dane’s are pretty good at the whole push through the crowd thing…

After, we went to the round tower to see if we could climb it, but due to the amount of people it was a 45 minute wait, so we went into the connected art place, which had at least 25 little mats (that were squishy and nice!) where people could rest. Yes, blankets were provided. Leigh Anna and I left Rick and Ishan to lay down, and it actually took them quite a while to find us, even though it was a small room! Even so, they caved in and decided to relax a little too to discuss what our next move would be.

We ended up deciding to go to a little bar before we made the trek home (and a long trek it is!) We went to one of our favorite coffee/ drinking places, where they had a live quartet for Kulturnatten. It was seriously great! Rick, Ishan, and I all decided to buy a bottle of wine together, it was soooo hyggeligt! Since the train only comes every hour in the middle of the night, we caught the 2 o’clock train, getting me home by 3am. What a great night!

When I am thinking about what else I could possibly tell you about Copenhagen, I wish I could be more specific about all of my experiences. I need to write more, but if you want to know the gist of things know this: Copenhagen is largely a place that needs to be experienced to be understood. It isn’t just one night at some of the big landmarks that has made my stay here life-changing. It’s a cup of hot chocolate at Le Glace, or bustle of Strøget. It’s the chocolate scones at St. Peters Bakery and the uneven cobblestone steps. It’s the inside of Nørreport station and the view of the wind turbines from Nordhavn. These types of memories are the ones that make Copenhagen well, Copenhagen. It’s not just history and old buildings, Copenhagen is a living and breathing city, one that I have come to love more than I ever thought I would.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I am currently writing this to you in a restaurant called Chili Mili’s. There is a bowl of ‘potato soup’ to my right and a regular coke in a bottle that cost me 5 dollars. Oh and another thing, I’m sick. I think I have one of the worst colds I’ve ever gotten here. I got the regular coke because it reminds me of home when my mom used to give me coke to make me feel better. I have potato soup because I need something warm. Too bad my mouth is raw from sucking on cough drops, because I can’t taste anything well and warm soup feels like a million degrees to me right now.

I’m positive I got sick from being at one of the hostels on our study tour. Which was great, one of the best trips ever, but I still brought back crap. Oh well, at least I think it’s just a cold. Nasty cold.

I won’t lie when I say that it was a CHALLENGE for me to get into Copenhagen today. I skipped my first class but had to come in for a test and a presentation. WORST SICKNESS TIMING EVER. I constantly feel like I’m gonna pass out… and you know that really annoying person coughing all the time and disrupting everything? Yeah. That’s me. Hey everyone. I think my professors would have been nice ad understanding here, but I am too damn stubborn to stay at home all day and skip a test and presentation. Good thing one of my classes is at the hospital, at least if I die I’m covered on the bringing me back to life part. SO, if I can just make it for a few more hours I’ll be ok and hopefully Claus can pick up my body at the Hillerød train station.

Speaking of sick, Amelia is too. Yesterday we had a dandy time at home. Tried to go into town on the bus, failed at that. We ended up watching Mean Girls instead. Which was pretty great. Claus is also injured, I think he has a piece of metal or something in his eye (he works on cars). So last night he couldn’t take it anymore and went to the hospital. 3 out of 6 in the fam fam, BROKEN.

Despite my inability to hear anything, class didn’t go too bad today. My Renewable Energy Systems teacher looked saddened by my coughing… he’s a nice guy. He also gave us apples today because we had a test. And the soup tastes like butter, which actually is pretty good. I think it might taste a little more like potatoes, but my taste buds are currently messed upppp.

I want to try and find a pharmacy today to get cough medicine so both my family and I can get some rest. I’m sure my hacking is heard throughout the house. Nyquil has been working at night, really well. But I can’t take that in the daytime so I’ve been suffering through it.

However, I won’t let this cold defeat me! Tomorrow Helle, Claus, Bo, Zack and I are going to a concert and EATING OUT (FOR REALLLL!!!). I WILL HAVE A GOOD TIME AND ENJOY IT. Tonight I’ll just pass out and hopefully wake up feeling a lot better.

Yeah this was a fun rambling blog. Hope you enjoyed my bitching. Let’s call the WAHHHHmbulence.

I’ll be fine I promise, now, to the pharmacy!!