As I write today, I face a startling reality; my time in Denmark is nearing its end. I have been pushing this thought from my mind for as long as I can, ignoring the plane ticket that will take me back to a place I once called home. However, it has reached the point where I must consider the large shift which will take place in January. I can not imagine the person who will step into my old life, but I know it is not the girl who left seven months ago.
Exchange students know this feeling of disbelief all too well, how could it all be ending? When you go on exchange, you start another life, building relationships with people and places far from your home, only to realise you have another. I have built myself a home in Denmark, and I don’t want to leave.
A short time ago, I wrote about how life was like the falling snow. Now I can once again relate my emotions to the weather as a way for me to make sense of all that is happening in my life. Over the summer holidays, Denmark was uncharacteristically warm and sunny, the weather was beautiful as I travelled around Europe, as well as Copenhagen. But all good things must come to an end, and so the Danish summer has made way for autumn with its bitter winds. I wish the summer weather would have stayed a little longer, the sun smiling down upon my face, however I must accept that the nights are getting longer and clouds fill the sky. The weather, just as my state of being, may not have changed for the better but no matter what each day brings, I must appreciate it, rain, hail or shine.
Alas, this is not a time for sorrow and dread, much rather a time to fill with joyful memories of Denmark, family and friends, ensuring I make the most of these last months.
A lot of time has passed since I last wrote about my time here, and as usual, a whirlwind of events have taken place, including travelling to Zagreb, Croatia and Ljubljana, Slovenia with my host family, as well as Dresden, Germany for a Rotary summer camp. I visited Tivoli for the first time, dancing to Danish music at one of their Friday night concerts. Despite my slight nerves, I have successfully started high school, gaining new friendships and experiences. Alongside friends, I walked through Copenhagen in the Pride Parade, surrounded by a strong and empowered community coming together to celebrate.
I adore travelling, the feeling of being lost in another place and discovering new worlds unlike your own, therefore I could not have been happier when I was presented with the opportunity to do so over my holiday. Joining my host mother and sisters, I was fortunate enough to visit two wonderful cities I had never believed I would see. The capitals of Croatia and Slovenia were similar yet completely unique, each with its own style and way of life. The most memorable parts of my trip were being in the main square in Zagreb watching the World Cup final as Croatia beat England, visiting the Museum of Broken Relationships and watching an outdoor movie in Ljubljana Castle. If you ever have the chance to visit Zagreb, I urge you to go to the Museum of Broken Relationships. The museum holds a collection of objects people have donated as a way to release trapped emotions and share their story about a relationship which has ended. My favourite object was a small postcard which told the sad story of forbidden love between a boy and the girl next door. The following is the story which was submitted with the postcard; ‘I am a 70-year-old woman from Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. I visited Zagreb back in 1967 and the city is very close to my heart. When I found out from a local newspaper that there exists the Museum of Broken Relationships, I was sad and happy at the same time. This is a postcard that was inserted through the slit of my door a long time ago by our neighbours’ son. He had been in love with me for three years. Following the old Armenian tradition, his parents came to our home to ask for my hand. My parents refused saying that their son did not deserve me. They left angry and very disappointed. The same evening their son drove his car off a cliff…’ Like many other objects in the museum it is bittersweet and full of emotion, a truly moving experience. Tusind tak to Annette, Anastasia, Amanda and Annika for a great trip.
Through Rotary, I was able to participate in a summer camp held in Dresden, Germany. Meeting people from around the world, swimming in a lake everyday and doing fun outdoor activities, making two weeks fly by. We became very close over the short time we spent together, the inside jokes and constant music made it even better. I have met countless people on exchange, however talking to such a diverse group of people was fascinating, especially because they were not exchange students but simply kids looking for a new experience. My stupendous luck with trains lead me on a 16 hour journey home, but it is in moments (or hours) like these I can reflect and appreciate the good times that took place in the weeks before. Tak to the Rotary Club of Freital and our camp leaders, as well as the 26 gorgeous people who made this camp amazing.
No matter where in the world I may be, Denmark will always be my second home. I will be counting up the days I have been in this wonderful country, not down.