Published: January 15th 2010January 10th 2010
Did I mention I met Amy Goodman, independent journalist and host of Democracy Now!?
As my first semester abroad came to a close, I was homesick, frustrated, and worried. At one point I seriously considered withdrawing from my program - not to go back to the USA, but to take Danish lessons and travel at my leisure. Unfortunately the Danes love their rules, and because of the visa restrictions, withdrawal would essentially mean deportation. That being the case, I am sticking to what I originally signed up for, and I will try to make the best of it. It's definitely a case of "if I knew then what I know now" because I do know now what I didn't know then, and I am actually redoing the same basic scenario, so I can use this knowledge to my advantage.
So in early December I was starting to feel really down because my friends were going back to the States, I wouldn't see my family for the holidays, my boyfriend can't visit, and I had one exam left to tackle at school before my vacation technically began. On the eleventh I escaped my problems by hopping a plane to France. Paris was just what I needed to get my mind off things. For five
We visited the Eiffel Tower three or four times, I think. Once to visit the Christmas market, once to go to the top, once to catch the light show...whatever.
days I did nothing but eat, drink, walk, and dance my way through Paris with some of the best friends I have managed to hang on to from high school - one of whom spent last the fall at the American Business School in Paris, and two of whom were visiting Europe during their winter break. We visited a handful of the major sights (including 3 or 4 visits to the Eiffel Tower), and ate all the baguettes and crepes we could fit in our bellies. Thanks, Lauren, Kara, and Kevin.
When I got back to Copenhagen, it was a blur. Trying to squeeze in enough time with all the fantastic people I met last semester before they abandoned me and went back to the United States was a challenge, since I had just 48 hours to do so. We checked out Christiania's Christmas market; some of us went to the closing ceremony that DIS had (I don't know why I did - I'm not leaving); I lost yet another set of gloves; we went to DIS's semester's-end party at a club that I probably wouldn't have paid my own money to get into; we wandered from one
It's a hill where they used to kill people, but now it's full of artists!
7-11 to another; and we finally said goodbye. Bright and early the next morning, I was squished into the backseat of a car with two children and Christmas presents, a week's worth of food, ski equipment, and no escape. We spent the evening at my aunt's father's house in a little town in the middle of Jutland, which is apparently about as far from the ocean as you can get in this country (50 km?). We had a mini-Christmas celebration, then drove to Hirtshals on the northern coast. Here we met up with the rest of the family and my grandparents bought lunch for all of us on the ferry to Norway. The boat trip took about 4 hours, and it was another 4 hours of driving until we reached our destination. Norway is absolutely breathtaking. Rjukan is set in a valley, and the ski slopes are at the top of the mountain ridge. I suspect that this is the valley I heard about, the one so narrow that the sun doesn't actually reach the valley floor for four months out of the year, and they have to take the children up to the mountains every so often so they
get some sunlight. But I don't have proof. It is the closest thing to Narnia I will ever see, I'm sure of it. I couldn't get enough of the view. We skiied and relaxed indoors and ate lots of food and drank lots of beer and snaps for two days; on the third day I hit a tree and broke my nose. A quick trip to the hospital in Rjukan (down into the valley then up the other side) set me up with x-rays and pain pills. Needless to say, I didn't ski on Christmas Eve; I did, however, dance and sing around the Christmas tree like a good Dane should. Before we left Norway, I did take a couple runs down the big bunny hill and five kilometers on cross-country skis, because I'm not a wimp.
When I got back to Copenhagen, Kevin and Kara were sleeping on my couch. We stayed up all night, then took Kara to the airport in the morning for her flight home. Kevin hung around with me for the next few days, during which 1) I had my nose broken back into place by a skilled Danish doctor and 2) we
My cousin and our little Christmas tree.
did nothing except watch Glee. It was fantastic. Then who should show up but...my mother! She arrived the day before Kevin left, just to make sure we had a steady flow of house guests. After sending Kevin off home, celebrating New Year's Danish-style (listening to the Queen's speech, eating too much really good food, watching "Dinner for One"
, and lighting off fireworks), and another trip to the hospital to check my progress, she and I boarded a train to Jutland to visit her old roommate for one night before going to her dad's place. It was so cute to see the two of them together - it had been nearly ten years since they had seen each other - which is far too long. Once in Hals, we couldn't really leave for some four days; I have never seen as much snow is Denmark as I saw then. It basically snowed sideways for two or three days, delaying our trip back home. Which is fine - during that time we ate lots of fish, drank lots of beer and snaps, and played lots of card, making for quite the relaxing holiday. Now I'm back here, my mom is back in
...after I ran into a tree and broke my nose.
the States, and my nose is straight...but I am still not ready to start school next Thursday. Ugh.
There are more photos below