As it would seem, yesterday marked two months after my arrival in Denmark. Time is no longer a concept here, whilst a day may be long, these past two months have gone by so fast, and yet I feel as though I have been living in Denmark a lifetime. It is spring time now, and although the warmer weather is yet to arrive, the sun shines high in the sky all day long. I can look forward to the many ‘warm’ months ahead.
Before I talk about the various adventures and activities which have taken place over the last weeks, I should explain the title of this post and what meaning it has to me. Throughout February, snow fell quite frequently which I enjoyed greatly. After some thinking, I came to the conclusion that snow was the perfect analogy for my experiences on exchange so far. The snow fell on roughly a three day cycle; day one was when it fell, day two was when it began to melt, day three was when it turned to ice, then the cycle repeated. I often experience a similar cycle of emotions between days. On the first day, I am very happy and calm, I can enjoy and appreciate the opportunity I have been given to come to a wonderful country like Denmark. This is like the beautiful snow falling over the town. On the second day, I am still quite happy although may be a little tired and by the evening simply would like to rest (exchange is very tiring sometimes). This is like the melting snow, still pretty but fading into dirty ice around the edges of the footpath. On the third day, I am okay, but need to work hard to get motivated and often face the lower points of my emotional state on this day. This is like the snow that has now turned into ice; it has become hard to walk on and it is easy to fall down. Then the snow falls once more, and the cycle repeats. Everyone will experience different emotional changes on their exchange, but I hope this offers some insight for future or current exchange students.
Now, onto the fun stuff.
As I have learned the Danes love their taxidermy, a lot. So, one afternoon Lousie and I visited the Zoologisk Museum where many stuffed animals are displayed along with fossils and bones. It is an interesting place; I never thought I would see a preserved whale heart or touch a taxidermy isbjørn (polar bear). Although nothing will compare to Mogens’ deer which hangs proudly over the living room in Matthew’s host family’s house.
As Jan and Lene went away briefly to France, I was able to spend the weekend (March 8 – 11) with my second host family. It was a delightfully busy weekend, starting by visiting the Botanisk Have, or the Copenhagen Botanic Garden with Annika on Friday afternoon and going on a long hunt to find earrings, exploring many different shops in Copenhagen. The greenhouse is truly astonishing and very pretty, I know I will be visiting it again. On Saturday, Annette, Annika and I did a yoga class together which was plenty of fun despite my terrible balance and coordination. Annette’s sister and niece celebrated their birthdays that evening, and it was lovely to meet my extended host family. Little Danish flags hung around the dining room, a tradition that I find both very Danish and sweet. On Sunday, Annette’s sister and daughters joined us once again to go iceskating. I can’t wait to live with them. Tak to Annette, Gorm, Annika and Max for a lovely weekend.
My class was able to visit the Staten’s Museum for Kunst as part of a school project, looking at the Danish art featured in the gallery. I do not know much about Danish art, so this was a wonderful cultural experience for me. After visiting the gallery, I went to the Tøjhusmuseet, or the Royal Danish Arsenal Museum with the Rotary kids in my language school. The museum is in a massive old building in the centre of Copenhagen, and the exhibit we visited was about Danish troops in Afghanistan. The work that had gone into the exhibit was exceptional, even the dirt had been flown in from Afghanistan to make it as realistic as possible.
Macy and I visited Den Blå Planet, Copenhagen’s aquarium, together and we both agreed it was a good decision. The building itself was wonderfully designed, almost representing the silver scales of a fish. Inside, we were able to see the typical aquarium fish, as well as a tank full of piranhas, sea otters and a dedicated tribute to ‘Finding Nemo’. We both found the crocodile in the aquarium quite hilarious, as it was very small (no bigger than 40 cm long) compared to the saltwater crocs we are used to seeing in zoos and aquariums at home. Later in the week, Macy, Lene and I visited Kroppedal Museum, the national astronomical museum which is located only a short drive away from Taastrup. We went for a ‘Star Night’ but unfortunately it was too cloudy to use the telescope. However it was still a nice evening with Macy and Lene.
My lovely counsellor and her husband, Ninette and Stig, let me stay with them over the weekend and although it was pretty busy, I am glad I was able to spend time with them. On Friday night it was Simon’s 16th birthday, so we all went to celebrate with Lian’s delightful cooking. We enjoyed a Mexican dinner which was very delicious, but her asian cooking is unmatched. On Saturday, Stig and I went to brunch for his nephew’s birthday. We played a little game of soccer and I managed to fall down in the mud, temporarily ruining my jeans, but it was very hygge and reminded me of many soccer and cricket games I have played with my own cousins and siblings. In the afternoon, we went to a musical put on by a youth theatre group at Taastrup Theatre. The story line was unusual, but the singing was very good and it was a pleasant afternoon. The evening consisted of eating sushi and watching movies in Stig’s home cinema room. On Sunday, Stig, Matthew and I went to Roskilde. Roskilde a big town west of Copenhagen, and home to the Roskilde Domkirke, a large church where important Danish figures are buried. The church was very pretty and not at all modest. We also visited the Viking Ship museum, where the remains of five viking ships from around 1000 C.E. are held. The museum also builds ships in the tradition way a viking would have, going without modern machinery and using similar techniques and designs. Tak to Stig for being a wonderful guide.
Only 10 months to go and I already want to stay longer, but skol to the fun times ahead. I can’t wait.