fall in copenhagen

this is my visual journal of my time abroad in copenhagen. keyword: journal. i apologize in advance for all typos and such. i'm just getting my feelings and experiences down, normally after a long day of learning and exploring. i'll try to incorporate all aspects of my life here, and if you want to know more, just ask! turns out, blogging is really fun; it keeps me organized and let's me share with you all! so, please enjoy and keep the comments coming! Lots of love from Denmark

i once went to an opera

the livlægens besøg

a student discount got me the worst seats for only 100kr ($20) so i had to go and see what this opera thing was all about

and I also needed to check out the very fancy Operaen

operaen. i found this picture online.

i think operas are funny. there aren’t songs. just people singing with very specific voices instead of talking.

 

 

 

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i am not apologizing for this post: enjoy your daily dose of my emotions.

how did this happen?

how is my abroad experience so close to being done? it is so hard to imagine that i am leaving. i’m sitting in my house right now and the concept of not ever being here again is quite bizarre.

this whole abroad experience is quite bizarre. i was dropped in a city, a city that i wanted so much to feel like a home. And i was dropped in a house full of strangers that i wanted so much to feel like a family.

 ________________________________

this friday and saturday we had big green house events.

a sustainable party on friday with an open invitation to the whole school. the goal was to make a no-waste party to celebrate our time in copenhagen. everyone had to bring their own reusable cups to drink from our local, organic keg. it was all outside with fire pits and candles. and friends etc.

and then last night we had a final group dinner. john and nancy, the professors that live with us, cooked this week and the dinner turned into an all night event. in between a christmas beer tasting organized by john, and a performance of sixties dance moves by nancy, we all started to understand what this house has become.

at some point in the night, we all sat back around the kitchen table. We went around and everyone individually expressed appreciation for the community that we all created; the home and the family that I wanted to find so much.

And now I am leaving. Next sunday I am going to get on the plane and then (Of course the pictures and the friendships will still remain)  everything that was created in these past four months are all going to be a memories.

it is quite bizarre.

One week left. One week left to explore and enjoy Copenhagen, the greatest city I have ever been to.

See you soon America

Lots of love from denmark.

sorry

haven’t posted in a while. sorry. The American in me would explain that I have been too lazy to go out in the cold and the dark and therefore don’t have interesting things to share.

But now, I know better than that. I know that time inside in Copenhagen is not time wasted. I know that being inside with friends, candles, food, wine, and hygge, is exactly what I am supposed to be doing this time of year. It’s what all the Danes are doing.

Last Saturday however, I did do some fun adventurous things. I got an all day train ticket and trained all over Zealand (the island of Denmark I live on).

Tisvilde

julemarked

paul. sara. lexi

surprise! a beach.

roommates

Hillerød

Frederiksborg Castle

We made a few more stops along our journey but all cities were closed around 4. The sun goes down, the store owners leave and the cities close. Frustrating for travelers looking to discover new things around  Denmark, but totally awesome for locals. Get out of the workplace and back to your home and be hyggelig with the people you love….

… lifestyles I can’t wait to take home with me.

Well, that’s that.

I am done with all things academic on Monday, and then I have a week to enjoy Copenhagen and take advantage of all the things I love here. I promise there will be more blog posts before I leave. Which is in 9 days. which is crazy.

 

Lot’s of love from Denmark

 

a green house thanksgiving

We celebrated Thanksgiving last night at the greenhouse. With families and friends visiting from home, professors, friends from around Copenhagen, and the greenhouse crew, we ended up hosting a 30 person feast! It was a potluck like no other with 2 turkeys, 1 duck, 3 different types of mashed potatoes, 2 string bean casseroles, bacon wrapped asparagus (that was my contribution) homemade noodles, caramelized carrots 2 large stuffings, roasted veggies, 2 pumpkin pies, an apple pie, nutella mint brownies, cheese and fruit plates, and i am sure i am forgetting some.

yum. bacon.

sara and her homemade noodles

jeff and duck

Despite the group’s size we still went around and all said what we were thankful for. Last night I realized how much of a family the greenhouse has become and how special it felt  to be able to welcome others into our home, especially the Danes who have never experienced Thanksgiving before.

While last night was one of the happiest nights, it’s still weird not to be home to celebrate my favorite holiday. I’m sure Papa will print out this post and bring it to the dinner tonight at my house. So, to all at home: I love you very much and can’t wait to see you soon!

To everyone else, have a happy, healthy, and hearty Thanksgiving!!

 

Lots of love from Denmark

A day with the Letvad’s

I have been set-up with a family outside Copenhagen to be my ‘visiting family.’ I go over to their house about once a week for some dinner and hygge. Since I have been gone doing all my traveling and what not, we decided that we should spend the whole day together doing fun things. So, last Sunday I went their house for breakfast. Stina (my visiting mom) and I sat at the table for about two hours just chatting away.  The two of us always have great conversations; she is just so easy-going and engaging. And I forget that I am the age, especially in Denmark, that I am perceived as an adult and that my experiences and ideas are actually appreciated in conversations with other adults. So Stina is more like my visiting friend than my visiting mom.  And I like friends. Stina’s dad popped in for a little bit. He was a really bubbly old man who was very excited to tell me about a restaurant in Grand Central that apparently serves the best oysters.  Anyway, around 12 we, Stina, Nikoline (my 14 yr-old- visiting sister) and I, decided to leave the house to start our day.

We first went to a Christmas market in Frederiksberg, on of the ritzy-er neighborhoods in town. By the way, it is already Christmas in Copenhagen. There are lights all over the city, little Christmas huts popping up on squares selling cute and tasty Christmas things, Christmas beer at every tap, and Christmas lunches being served. So, we went to the most adorable market where they were selling trees and  Christmas crafts. It may seem preemptive, but the cheer is a little needed when the sunsets around 4 and the wind is cold.  After the Christmas market we took a quick walk in a park.

fires, trees, band in the background singing about christmas

man and bird in park

bird on head in park

a romantic way for babies to get rid of their pacifiers : hang them up on pacifier trees.

Stina and Nikoline


We had to make it quick because we were invited to a birthday party outside the city. The party was for one of Stina’s good friend’s teenage daughter. The evening was a little bit awkward, but a good experience nonetheless. Most of the time I was just sat there trying to make up the stories that people were speaking around me. Stina translated when she could, but it was a lot of watching and eating snacks for me. Every once in a while I got in a conversation which was always enjoyable, and then once I got the whole room speaking English and that was even more fun. As I was leaving, the host of the party said that it was really nice meeting and talking to a well-educated America. I took it as a compliment and shrugged off the implications of the comment.

I guess that’s it for now. This week is another exciting one. Tomorrow we are celebrating Thanksgiving early with a epic-30 person feast. Friday I have off from school and am taking a trip to a small town outside of Denmark and to cliffs that are supposed to be made out of chalk. and then, if i am feeling ambitious, i may even take a day trip to sweeden on Saturday.

See you all in a month!

Lot’s of love from Denmark

veggie collective

hello!

so my house picks up food once a week from a vegetable collective and cooks one-big family dinner with the bags we get. The vegetable collective has been so successful that we decided we needed to start our own in an old fire house across the courtyard from my house.

last night was the first interest meeting and the group was so ambitious. As we don’t speak Danish, don’t have any money, and are leaving in a month, we can’t really contribute that much to the process except organizing the meetings, providing the space and supporting the group. But about 20 community members came and joined us in firehouse last night and are ready to open the collective next week!

the way it works is that people buy their bags a week+ in advance and then there is a bag of veggies ready for them. Next week people are going to come and hopefully put their first payments down, and once we have that money we are all ready to go! too easy. The organization is great and they make it so easy to start new collectives. It’s is a funny role to both initiate the program and then not really contribute to the administrative things that go into it, but it’s great that before I leave copenhagen, people are going to be picking up their organic, local veggies right where I live. I wish I wasn’t leaving so soon so i could see the collective at it’s full potential and that i could play a larger role…

but i am also starting to get ready to be home. can’t wait to see everyone i love again!

working at the collective

Lots of love from Denmark

Last Stop: Istanbul

Visiting Istanbul for only five days felt like being at a buffet and only getting one serving. It was a delicious first plate, but it’s a buffet, and at buffets i generally eat about five plates (not including dessert) . I was in the middle of the most expansive, dense, and lively city filled with  a history of a global power, influence of religious tradition, and the presence of a secular and modern world – and so much more. I feel almost uncomfortable trying to make sense of what I saw in such a short trip because i know the layers upon layers of culture that exist; however, I am going to try to protect myself in my self-claimed ignorance in an attempt to address the  complexities that I observed.

I learned about the current political landscape by Martin Selsø, a Danish-Turkish correspondent. The AKP, the largest political party, is Islamist-based. Martin made it seem as though the government quite restrictive, arresting journalists who spoke against the government etc. But they gained the public’s support because they were trying to join the EU, which seems like a step towards modernization. However, the limited political rights  and EU’s focus don’t line up. So then i got confused.

Anyway, regardless of who is in control, Ataturk is the country hero. We were there on the anniversary of his death. On November 10th at 9:05 the city stopped moving. Even the cars stopped driving (once it was safe). Everyone admires the man who made Turkey a modern, secular, republic.

The billboards I saw and the commercials I watched could have been seen any where in the world. Almost every women on the billboards looked European and did not show any signs of religion or tradition (unlike the majority of the women I saw on the street). I saw a city filled with modern commercialism and filled with mosques. While five times a day the city sounded with prayer from the top of minarets, the sounds at night were American dance floor hits. This was definitely a cool balance that I have never experienced.

When i walked around, I felt like I was in a man’s city. The city was just filled with men. And about 90% of the women that I did see on the streets were on the arms of men. Men danced in the streets and fished off the bridge and worked in all the shops. Where were the women?

view from under the galata bridge. So many fishing poles! So much fresh fish!

 The interactions that I saw, seemed super friendly and genuine. It seemed as that any relationship made was one for life. For example, one day I walked around the city with Şarl Şahbaz, a film man, and we went to a hotel he used to stay in because there was a great view. He spoke to all of the employees like best friends; Thrilled to see everyone of them, after the view he pointed us in the direction of home because he wanted to stay and catch up. Şarl explained to us that when he goes back to his old butcher, baker, etc. the same interactions are had.

Another man had come up to the group and invited us to see some museum and was really excited to talk to us and hear where we were all from.

When i was visiting the Topkapi Palace, I was sitting and writing and two different men came up to me and asked me what i was writing.

As i was walking through the shops I got involved with this deep conversation with the shop owner (a man) about how people need to get to know shop keepers and shop keepers need to get to know customers instead of just looking at each other as money machines. Any way, all of these super friendly interactions were either between men or with men. I did not interact with a single women in my time in Istanbul.

However, when I went into a Turkish bath, I’ve never seen women so comfortable. I really had no idea what to expect. I walked in the sauna area and there was a big marble slab in the middle where women were nakedly laying with other naked women washing them. It was literally just a room filled with naked women bathing. It was so relaxing and so great so calming to be in such a spa, but it didn’t seem to line up with what I had seen outside of the bath walls.

I know these observations and comparisons are surface ones but it was all the i could grasp in my five day visit. I left excited with all that I have seen but also frustrated and confused with all that I do not know. But i guess that’s traveling. I’m a visitor seeing a place for such a short time and mostly only interacting with other visitors. Next time i decide to spend two straight weeks traveling (hah!) i will put more of an effort into traveling in ways in which I can really engage with the communities around me.

BUT

What i do know is that Istanbul is an extremely vibrant and exciting city and there is a different vibe around every corner.

All these photos were side-streets of İstiklâl, a prominent pedestrian street.


At most any time of day, İstiklâl was filled with people. There is a point where the elevation of street changes, and when you are standing at that higher point, all you see is tops of heads. No side-walk, just a dense mass of bodies. The energy was constant, comparable to NYC.

The Mosques and Sights were incredible. I fell in love with the tiling and patterns that were used. So much personality and color.

Inside Topkapi Palace

The Blue Mosque

The Hagia Sophia

Our awesome trip leaders put a lot of effort into bringing us to the spots with the best views of the city. I saw an incredible view most everyday, and still, everyday the size surprised me.


asia

europe


I’m back in Denmark with one month left.

I got to make this one really count

Lots of Love

Escaping Scandinavia: Barcelona

Some serious steam was lost after five days in Paris. We tried to be efficient tourists, but we always found ourselves wandering to the beach. No complaints there.

too cold

let that sangria flow

Every morning started off with a trip to La Boqueria for fresh fruit juice and other snacks.

We did the sights. Saw some Gaudi, saw some sagrada familia, saw some camp nou. The Gothic area of the citywas beautiful, but too touristy. All the places that made Barcelona unique were just filled filled filled with tourists, and the other areas were just normal metropolis, which was a little bit of a bummer. But, I can’t pretend I’m any better than any other tourist and hours did fly by as I wandered around those narrow streets filled with colorful balconies.

pots

we  never left a site without stopping first to play a game of hearts. We plan to engage in a round until we leave denmark. Currently, I’m in the lead and hopefully will still be 40 days from now.

We of course left the touristy areas to find the most authentic paella and tapas. Because traveling is all about food and I am quite glad I was with people who felt the same way.

met up with some skidmore pals for a great dinner. too fun

I am home in copenhagen now. I get one day to relax, and tomorrow morning I am off to Istanbul. Many more adventures to come!! I miss you all

Lots of love from Denmark

 

Escaping Scandinavia: Paris

I realized I forgot what the world looked like. I forgot that I had been living in the uniform, predictable, and too perfect Copenhagen. Simply being in the Charles de Gaulle airport brought me back to the real world. Looking out the windows and seeing charmless highways and skyscrapers and not beauties in bike lanes was super exiting; not that I don’t love those biking beauties. I forgot what it’s like to sit on a metro and see different characters and colors and hear different emotions, the unpredictability of people was super exciting.

The five days in Paris was filled with dancing, food, laughter, and poop-filled-apartments (I’ll get to that later). I was enchanted with Paris, and felt like I blended in a lot more than I do in Copenhagen. In the commotion of such a mutlti-cultural, exciting city, I felt a lot less restricted as I wasn’t worried that I was going to be judged as an ignorant American, an unfortunate and ever-present feeling in Denmark

friends in paris

not in copenhagen anymore

Anyway, we scheduled the first two days around the pitchfork music festival. The music was great but no one danced, which was quite bizarre – especially since the whole first day was electronic music. I think it was the whole hipster we’re-too-cool-to-dance crowd that the artists’ attracted. Whatever. We still danced. There were actually people coming up to us and taking pictures and questioning us where we found our drugs. We had no drugs, we were just acting how one generally acts when dance music is played by, uh, dancing. I actually got talking to a French guy (Pierre, duh) and he said that he is moving to America because people are more free to be themselves and not afraid to get dancing in front of their neighbors. The festival, while not what we expected, was still tons of fun and also surprisingly, an interesting comparative cultural experience.

washed out - hung out with them after the show

bon iver

Not everyone had tickets for pitchfork round 2 and we, at the concert, got an urgent phone call from the others saying we needed to come home as our apartment will filling with toilet-water. There was a shit storm heading our way. By the time we got home most of the sewage was gone, but there was a certain stench in the air. Annoying at the time, yes, but, a good story for the books i guess. When we got home, our friends were sitting in the apartment across the hall. The people who lived there had to go to a dinner party, but also had to get there plumbing looked at, so, we traded a bottle of wine for our house sitting services and enjoyed the rest of the night there.

jane outside our apartment


The rest of our time in Paris was filled with sight-seeing. We got around to most of the main attractions, never forgetting to stop to for crêpes, pastries, ice cream, baguettes, wine, cheese etc.


view from inside the pompidue. it was a pompi'doosy'

We left paris, touched with the spirit of romance and too-tight clothes. A night spent in the airport made us eager to do some serious relaxing at our next stop, Barcelona

with my knapsack packed and my friends by my side, i`m off to start a 2 week travel adventure.

first stop paris. going to dance to some cool music. and do all the parisian things.

and then off  barcelona and istanbul.

i’ll keep you updated when i can

 

lots of love from denmark  all over the world