out of the city and onto the sunshine island: a weekend in bornholm

by me

This weekend my positive psychology class took a trip to Bornholm and it was absolutely unbelievable! Bornholm is a small island of the eastern coast of Denmark in the Baltic Sea. This was the first time in the past three weeks that I left the city and got back into nature. It was super refreshing and really needed. I think these past three weeks is the longest I’ve even been without being around woods and I’ve realized that it’s very important for me to get out of the city and breathe some fresh air. Anyway, my time in Bornholm was very special.

Day 1

As soon as we arrived in Bornholm we met with Anne Soelberg a clinical psychologist. I’ve been studying psych for two years, and never have I actually gone into a clinic and talked with a therapist about what they do. Weird. But Anne spoke a lot about how mental health is finding flexibility in your mind, accepting the negatives, and not letting them be the dominating feature of life. So, that was very interesting. It was cool to see a real professionals applicable interpretations of what we read in textbooks. She made us do fun/challenging activities such as stare someone  in the eyes for 4 minutes straight. It was a great visit

After we went for lunch! This was my first time eating real danish cuisine out in denmark because restaurants are just unbelievably expensive here, but lunch was covered by the trip, so that was exciting! I got a dish of different danish appetizers so i could get a taste of as much as possible. It was a very fun time filled with  local meat and bread!


Next, we went to the Bornholm Art Museum. Honestly, I don’t have the greatest appreciation for art museums, I don’t really know how to navigate them besides just skimming all the paintings. But, I was very easily distracted by the landscape and spent most of my time just looking at the sea.

thanks sunshine island!

The day continued with a hike to Denmark’s biggest waterfall. I don’t know if we found the attraction. All i really saw was a river running over some rocks. Nevertheless, it was great to get my feet off the concrete and onto the mud! I also forget that not everyone else loves mud, so it was an interesting time hiking with 25 other kids who were concerned about ruining their shoes. But at the end everyone was a trooper and we got to the ‘waterfall!’

Oh, and by the way, they have the most epic slugs here! We saw a lot of them on our hike!

After that, we drove to our hostel in Gudhjem, the quaintest city in the world, ate some ice cream and passed out. I woke up at 5 thursday morning and I was early to bed

Day 2

I woke up early Friday morning to catch the sunrise over the Baltic Sea. It was time for another fulfilling day in Bornholm!

Our first stop was to a glass blowing studio. Turns out, glass blowing is awesome! i stared at the workers for almost an hour. So, i decided when I return to the city, I am going to look up all of the glass blowing places and create one of those movie moments, where the kid comes in every day, and the artist becomes interested in the kid, and then the artist wants to teach the kid the art and be a mentor and such. So, that’s a new goal of mine, to leave Denmark with some glass blowing experience. (Dad, I can feel your eyes rolling  from across the cyberspace) Well, we’ll see what happens with that. But if that doesn’t work out, I decided to buy a pair of glass-blown earrings for myself to remind myself of the coolest craft ever, because when in Bornholm…

Anyway, after that trip, we went to a hospital to talk to a manager who is promoting well-being programs for all of his employees. As a workplace, they are setting weight loss goals and fitness goals and healthy lifestyle goals to increase the overall happiness of all of the workers. For example, they have cycling classes, zumba classes, and ballroom dancing classes available almost daily.  My first question for Øle, the boss man, is if he’s seen greater productivity with all of the employees after implementing this program. He has no response, he hadn’t even thought about it. To me, this seemed like a really interesting cultural difference, I have never heard of a workplace promoting such things with no goals of how it would help the greater business. This program was simply just to help the individuals in the community and had no alternative motives. So that was cool. It seemed as though there was a lot more equality between the boss and the workers and that the boundaries between work and personal life were much more lenient.

After that we just wandered around the small towns and then went back to the hostel for a team bonfire. Before the bonfire, we explored the surrounding area a bit and happened to bump into this…

… there are a lot of cool things about being on a small island. And then it was bonfire/group bonding time. Instead of having s’mores at bonfires, the tradition is to make bread dough and wrap it around sticks. So, that’s what we did. It was a fun experience, but I’d choose a s’more any day over Dansih snobrød.

And then off to bed.

Day 3.

We started the day by going to the Hammershus ruins. The ruins themselves looked like uh, ruins. But the area around it was spectacular. As i was walking up to see the destroyed castle, i just started laughing aloud. I didn’t know what else to do. It was so green and there were grazing sheep. Every where we went on this island was just magnificent and the fact that we were going to see more beautiful things was just unreal. city life makes me forget how awe-inspiring nature is.

We had to sit alone somewhere on the property for about an hour and write a story about if we were here, when this was really a castle, what our position in the community would be. I wrote about how I owned the sandwich shop. And because everyone loves a good sandwich, I served both the common people are the royalty and had equal relationships with them. Feeling like i knew everyone in the town, i decided to become the middleman between the king and the commoner. I would meet with the king every monday to hear his concerns and then the rest of the community would come to my sandwich shop every wednesday (sandwiches 1/2 off on wednesday) to talk about their concerns. I would try to help everyone empathize to promote an equal, just and stable society. Needless to say, I had fun with this assignment. We then read our stories to the group and people were supposed to comment on what personal strengths this story portrayed. Who knows?

my writing perch

We did a little more exploring, and then head back to copenhagen! It was a really incredible weekend. I can’t believe this is how I’m spending my semester. How did I get so lucky? Well anyway, it’s 2 am here, and it’s time for me to go to sleep. I have another crazy week ahead of me!

Lots of love from Denmark