Well, I finally made it. I am in Denmark! And, I successfully flew all by myself for the first time! My parents and I left for the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport at 7:00 Saturday morning. I just had to do some last minute packing, so I woke up at 6. Once we arrived at the airport, we found out that my flight would need to be rerouted because the plane that was supposed to take me to Copenhagen from Washington D.C.was extremely late. Therefore, instead of taking my 12:35 flight to D.C., I took a 2:30 flight to Chicago. We were so lucky though, because the lady who changed my flight was really nice and gave my parents general boarding passes so that they could come to the gate with me. We had a lot of down time before my later flight, but that gave us time to just walk around and eat lunch before I left Minnesota for four months.
I was definitely sad leaving my parents, and I started crying at the gate once the plane started boarding. But, after a little while, I was doing ok. The flight from Minneapolis to Chicago is not long at all. My layover in Chicago is another story. It was 6 hours! I started reading my book, Life of Pi. Later, an elderly Indian couple sat at the table next to me. They started to leave because the table was to wobbly, so I told them that I would be fine switching tables with them so that they could eat their lunch. The husband asked me what I was doing, and when he found out that I was reading a book on my iPad, he wanted to learn how to do the same on his brand new iPad. It was a bit difficult trying to explain how to find books on amazon without having an internet connection, but he was a very good listener! Then, they wanted to share all of their food with me. If you don’t already know, it is very difficult to say no to an Indian trying to give you food! I simply had to accept, especially since the Indian sweets they gave me are one of my favorites. They asked me where I was from (I’m pretty sure they thought I was from India). Then they also asked about my family, where I was traveling, and what I was studying. When I tried to shake the husband’s hand and say goodbye, he was a little confused. This is because the usual greeting in India is to say namaste and put your hands together like you are praying. He then proceeded to explain the meaning of namaste to me. They made the 6 hour layover much more enjoyable. 🙂 There was also a group of people trying to figure out how to get to Terminal 5 from Terminal 1 at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. We were all very confused, so I’m glad I was not alone when I was trying to get to my gate! Once I got there, I met up with about seven other DIS students, and two of them were from Carleton! It was fun to hear where everybody was from, where they would be living in Denmark, and what classes they are going to be taking in the fall.
The flight wasn’t so bad either. I sat next to a girl who was a German exchange student. She had been visiting her host-family in Michigan, but was on her way back home. She told me all about her experiences studying abroad, and got me really excited about going to Denmark to experience something similar myself. I did my best to sleep for most of the flight and listened to a lot of music, including 75 Coldplay songs. I really like Coldplay. 😛 There was also a really cute and surprisingly well behaved little boy sitting in front of me. He was happy to point out the “sparkly water” and say hi. The windmills in the water were also a sight to see!
After picking up my luggage at the Copenhagen airport, DIS representatives directed all students with host families to the Hilton Hotel connected to the airport. It did not take long at all to finally see Jessica! Apparently I missed her when she was looking right at me, but the next time I walked into the room, she ran toward me and gave me a giant hug, so I couldn’t miss her! A few minutes later, our host parents arrived to take us to our new home. Our host family is wonderful! They have been so helpful and welcoming that I don’t even feel uneasy about staying at their home for these next four months. My host-father, Steen, is a business professor at the Copenhagen Business Academy. Karin, my host-mother, is a nurse and also works at a rehabilitation center. They have already offered to show me and Jessica around Copenhagen and to other places nearby Virum as well. My first impression of Denmark is that it is absolutely beautiful! The little boy was so right about the “sparkly water.” And it is so green, I love it! It was fun to drive home from the airport and look around as Steen and Karin pointed out different lakes, where we would be meeting for the first day of orientation, shopping areas, and the way to Sweden. They said that even if you accidentally take the turn to the bridge that goes to Sweden, you still have to pay the hefty bridge toll! But, it is half off if you are just turning back around for Denmark. Good thing I’m not driving around, otherwise I would definitely make that mistake! Steen has also been very good about repeatedly showing Jessica and I how to get to the train station, which was very helpful. Therefore, we cannot get lost on our first full day tomorrow! It takes seven minutes to walk there from our house, but Steen thinks that if we run, we can make it in four!
Steen and Karin told us not to take a nap or anything so that we would become better adjusted to the time difference, so we were always doing something! Once we got to the house, we met the youngest daughter Kristine and brought our luggage to our rooms. Unpacking didn’t take as long as I thought it would! After I tried my first piece of rye bread with some tea in the afternoon , we went for a short walk with the dogs Lucy and Maysi! There is a wooded area very close to the house that reminds me of the Carleton Arboretum. They dogs are let loose when the go there, but they always come back when they’re called. Probably because they get a treat!
Once we returned from our walk, we had dinner and met Kristine’s boyfriend, Frederik . I had a mushroom cap with goat cheese and tomato, another mushroom dish with couscous, cheese, and nuts, rice, potatoes, and some homemade bread made by Karin’s father. It is not quite the same as the Indian food I am used to, but it was still very good! At dinner, Frederick, Kristine, Jessica and I geeked out over dogs. Kristen has the “golden book,” which has a list of all the dog breeds. I learned that Pugs are called Mops in Denmark. 😛 Karin’s father (he is quite the baker!) also made some fruit cake, so we ate that and had some tea after dinner. I’ve never had so much tea before! I think my family was surprised to hear that I have never had coffee before when they asked if I wanted tea or coffee.
I guess it’s time for bed, but I will do my best to keep everybody posted!