It has been 8 months since I boarded the fateful flight which would bring me to a strange place called Denmark far, far away from my comfortable yet rather boring life in Sydney. As I settle in with my third host family, now more than ever I can begin to realise the changes within myself that have taken place, as well as how lucky I am to be able to live overseas, experiencing everything that I have at a my age. I often forget I am only 16, for it feels like a lifetime has passed since I left home, and in that time I have matured, in some ways, beyond my years. I spent my childhood in Australia, but I grew up in Denmark.
When my host sister came home from her exchange in Argentina, she brought with her a few gifts for her friends and family. Among these, were little strips of coloured fabric from her trip to Brazil. These ‘bracelets’ come from a wishing well in Brazil, and you tie the fabric around your wrist in three knots. The idea behind the bracelet is that each time a knot is tied, a wish is made, and when the knot comes undone, that signifies that a wish has come true. I have worn mine now for a couple of months, the fabric tatty and almost falling apart. Two of the wished I made, both being quite cliched, were to have good luck and for me along with everyone around me to be happy, and although the knots have not untied, I believe both of these wishes have come true. My time in Denmark has been full of nothing but good luck and happiness, the beautiful memories of this place fill my mind each day. Maybe it was the wishing bracelet, maybe it wasn’t, but no matter what, I have been blessed with a wonderful year so far.
On exchange you meet many different people, all with a story to tell. At a station on my way home, a man asked me to help him buy a ticket for the train. After helping him do so, we began talking and he told me how his family was in Iran but he was at university in Germany studying English. He was in Denmark visiting a childhood friend who had moved here. It may not have been intended as such, but he left me with some very good life advice to share with you. I can not remember his exact words however it went along the lines of ‘This life we are given is complicated. Sometimes we have to do things for ourself.’ He used these words in relation to having to leave his family to pursue his dream, and I believe this idea is very relevant to exchange. On exchange you leave behind one life in the hope of starting another overseas. In order to move forward, sometimes you must do what is best for yourself, such as looking for new experiences away from your family.
Unfortunately, amongst the happy, high points of exchange, there is the sad and low. My winter team is very close, and as we are a very small group, once one person goes home, it leaves large gap. In the last few weeks, both Isabel and Marcus have returned home. It is hard to say goodbye to a friend you do not know when you will see again, but this ending, whilst sad, is bittersweet; you may be far apart but the connection still remains. Good luck to each of you, may life bring you every happiness, and thank you for the wonderful memories.
For the second and final time, I have moved host families, and it was no easier this time than the last. The Rasmussen house easily became my home, a family I would never want to leave. The welcoming, calm and accepting environment within this family is overwhelming, and a place which I fitted into perfectly. I can not express my gratitude enough towards this beautiful family, and I will greatly miss living with them. I keep thinking about going home, however I don’t mean going home to Australia anymore, it seems like I think back to my time with this family. Tusind, tusind, tusind tak to Annette, Gorm, Amanda, Annika and Max (as well as Anastasia) for everything, I could not have asked for a better host family to spend my summer with.
But now my next chapter starts with the Damvig family, and I look forward to spending my last few months with this lovely family.
This bracelet on my wrist may not be magic, but perhaps Denmark is.