The Calm After the Storm

On Friday morning I had my marine biology exam, so I now know so many random facts about seals, whales, dolphins, porpoises, dugongs, manatees, polar bears, and otters.  I don’t know when I will EVER use this information again, but I love learning about animals, so it’s not like it will be going to waste.  While I was looking at one of my professors practices tests, I saw a question that asked about the differences between the Fissipeds (polar bear and otters) that we were studying.  Part of the answer was this:  “Polar bears are much bigger than otters, otters are brown and polar bears are white.”  After I read that, I was wondering why I was studying for this exam, but of course I kept studying. 🙂  You’ll be happy to know that I think the exam went pretty well!

Later that evening, a bunch of us Carls got together for dinner at my friend Loren’s place.  She lives in DIS housing in a place called Culinary House.  They have a lot of space for people to hang out in, and a huge kitchen!  It was such a good idea and so much fun to be around a bunch of Carleton people.  Jessica and I brought Digestive biscuits,which are kind of like tea cookies, (they are so good and cheap!) and brie cheese. Everyone loved it.  We are all pretty obsessed with Digestives.  For dinner we had salad, bread, chicken (which of course I didn’t eat), and mashed potatoes.  Good food and good friends is always a good combination.  And then for dessert we had apple crisp and cookies!  Apple desserts are probably my favorite, which is great because Karin and her dad make apple cake quite often!

Peeling and chopping up some potatoes!

It was so nice to relax this weekend and just stay at home.  On Saturday morning I went to the Fitness DK in Lyngby and then played tennis at an indoor court with Karin, Steen, Andreas, and Jessica.  We kept rotating every so often so that everybody got a chance to play.  After that, I skyped with my parents because it was my dad’s birthday!  Happy birthday dad!

Happy birthday dad!

Today was pretty calm too.  We had a big brunch with EVERYBODY!  Kristen came home for the weekend from her folk school, so we had brunch with her, her boyfriend Frederik, Karin, Steen, Andreas, Sørren, and his girlfriend Oda.  Sørren and Oda brought two huge loafs of bread and some pastries, so we were definitely all full after that.  Then I spent most of the afternoon knitting and watching some Daily Show and Colbert Report episodes and listening to Disney music.  I’m really getting into knitting, but I’m not sure how this scarf is going to turn out…. 😛  Jessica and I also picked apples from the tree in the front yard today with Karin!  They have one apple tree in the front, but this tree has eight different kinds of apples.  We had to use the ladder to get on top of the roof of the garage, but that was no problem.  Karin seemed a little worried though.  After we had picked all of the good apples, we came back down to weigh all of them.  We picked about 9.5 kg of apples.  Maybe we’ll get to have some more apple cake soon!

Picking apples from the roof of the garage. Check out my new raincoat!

All of the apples!

Tonight I have just been packing because tomorrow Jessica and I are leaving for Dublin and then London!  Our flight is at 8:25 tomorrow, but we have to leave time for getting to the airport and then you need to be at the airport early too, so we are leaving the house at five in the morning.  That means that I will have to be awake before five to finish up packing.  Ahhh, that won’t be so fun.  But the trip should be fun!  We are staying in Dublin until Wednesday, and then we will be in London until Saturday.  It’s really nice that DIS gives us breaks just for traveling.  I really hope that I have packed enough since I am only packing my backpack.  I didn’t want to pay any extra money for luggage.  I’ll let you know how good my packing instincts were once I get back.  Happy last day of September everybody!  Time is going by so quickly!

I could shop and eat (and watch cute animal videos…) all day!

Yesterday was Wednesday, and since Jessica and I did not have any field studies, we decided that yesterday would be our shopping day!  We went to the Lyngby shopping center, which is only two stops away from Virum.  The shopping center is so nice, we had to walk out of some stores right away after looking a the price tags. :/  I did end up getting two sweaters at H&M and a rain jacket!  I was in desperate need of one, and I really should have bought one before coming here, but the one I did end up getting was only about $60!  I’ve seen some in the U.S. for much more, so I was pretty happy with that.  Plus it’s purple!  I love purple. 🙂

Today I only had one class, and it got out early, so I went on a search for boots.  Annnnnnnnnd, I found some!  They were priced like I see them in the U.S., but now I think I’ll stop shopping and start looking for gifts to bring back for my family and friends.  Then I met up with Jessica, as well as two of my other friends Nicole and Sarahi and we got sushi!  I’ve never had sushi before and I’m not very good at using choppsticks, but it was so good!  I got avocado sushi being a vegetarian and all, and I also got some miso soup.  After that, we went to get cupcakes at a place called Agnes cupcakes.  Delicious!  I ended up getting a caramel coconut cupcake, but I’m definitely going to go back there sometime to try all of the other ones!  We also got to pet a woman’s Icelandic sheep dog on our way back and now I want one.

My lovely cupcake

Now it is time to study for my Biology of Marine Mammals exam that I have tomorrow morning.  Does this count as studying?


Beautiful Bornholm

I finally have a bit of time to update you guys on my weekend trip to Bornholm!  On Friday night, the bus for the Bornholm bike trip left around 11.  We got to our overnight ferry at midnight and probably didn’t leave until about a half hour later.  DIS had saved a bunch of cabins for people to sleep in if they wanted to, but you had to pay extra.  So, I decided that I could just sleep in a chair and be fine.  I mean, I do that in the car and stuff, so it didn’t sound like it would be terrible.  It really wasn’t that bad, especially since the chairs leaned back.  I think my problem was that the light was on.  I tried covering my face with my jacket, but then I couldn’t breath all that well.  Then I tried sleeping on the floor, and that worked for a while!  You could feel the boat rocking back and forth, but luckily, that didn’t seem to bug me.  We apparently went through some stormy weather at one point, but you couldn’t really seen anything outside anyway and I didn’t notice.  The ferry finally arrived to the island of Bornholm around 6 in the morning.  Then all of us sleepy DIS students hopped on the bus again so that we could get to our hostel in Gudhjem.  Once we got to the hostel, my five roommates and I decided to make our beds and take a nap until breakfast, which wasn’t until 8.  Such a good decision!  We were all so tired, but that nap definitely helped.  The breakfast they served us is what we usually have here, yogurt, oats, cereal, bread, and cheese.  I could eat bread and cheese all day!  They also had these really thin chocolate wafers.  They are really deceiving because they are so thin, but you just can’t help yourself! 😛

After breakfast, we got straight to biking!  I headed out with my five lovely roommates (Jessica, Annie, Cailyn, Renee, and Marion) on the Wilderness Trail.  Bornholm is known as the Sunshine Island, but the day started out windy and drizzly.  It was still tons of fun though! Our first stop was a studio called Baltic Sea Glass.  The place is owned by a couple, and their glass work was just beautiful!  I wish we could have seen a glass blowing demonstration, but they don’t do them on Saturday.

Baltic Sea Glass. I would have bought something to bring back home, but I’m afraid of packing glass!

Pretty glass things!

Eventually, we made it to a town called Svaneke.  There was a smokehouse and three of the girls wanted to try the smoked herring, so we went.  My friend Annie and I are vegetarians, so we just watched them learn how to eat it the right way.  Annie and I ended up going to a grocery store and buying a small pack of rye bread because we didn’t care.  I can always eat some bread!  And then we both got a scoop of hazelnut ice cream.  So yummy!

A harbor at Svaneke.

After getting some food in our system, our plan was to go to Almindingen.  I think we got lost along the way, and my friends Annie and Cailyn were in much better shape than the rest of us, so we told them to go ahead without us so that they didn’t need to keep waiting for us!  They went on their merry way, and the rest of us were on our way back to the hostel.

On our way back, we stopped at a round church which was used to protect women and children.  All of the churches I have seen here are so pretty, and the round church was no exception.

The Round Church

After biking probably a good 20 miles, I was ready to shower and then take a cat nap in our hostel.  Then we had burritos for dinner!  I couldn’t remember the last time I had one.  But, there were peas and cucumbers, and I never put peas and cucumbers in burritos.  Oh well, it was still yummy.  After dinner, I went to explore a bit with Annie and Renee, but the only place open was an ice cream and candy store.  I was NOT hungry after that burrito, but we just wanted to look around.  I think all of us were in bed by 9.  We were party animals, I know.

On Sunday morning, Jessica, Renee, Marion, and I decided to take a bus to the capital, Rønne.  I felt like I could enjoy more of the scenery on the bus, and that gave my butt a break. 😛  Our bus driver even stopped at a place where he needs to make a turn to show us a painted flag of Denmark on a cliff.  It was painted during WWII as a sign of the resistance, which was pretty cool to see!  I definitely would not have noticed it by myself.  Once we got to Rønne, we realized that everything was closed because it was Sunday.  We ended up going to a a grocery store and getting knitting supplies!  I’ve never knit before, so I’m pretty excited about this scarf that I’m making. I screw up A LOT though, so we’ll see how it ends up.  Then, Jessica and I got hot chocolate at a bakery that was open.  I burnt my tongue. 😦  I guess I was to eager to have something warm!

We stopped at a bakery before heading out to Rønne!

Me and Jessica with our varm chokolade.

Then we headed back to Gudhjem and had the same bus driver!  Once we got back, we walked around the coast and did a bit of climbing.  Not like the climbing I did in Sweden though!

Don’t look down!

Beautiful Bornholm

There were a couple of more stores open in Gudhjem that we stopped by as well.  I got a really warm and fuzzy wool scarf!  After exploring a bit more, we headed back to the hostel and waited until it was time to load the bus again so that we would get to our ferry to Sweden on time.  After the ferry, it was back to Copenhagen again!  We were all so tired, but the trip was definitely worth it!  Bornholm is so beautiful and I hope to go back one day when it’s nice and sunny. 🙂

Kitty! I saw kitties!

View of Rønne from the ferry.

Sameera’s Firsts

So apparently, I’m weird.  There have been many firsts in Europe, but I guess it seems silly when they are things I could have done in the U.S.

1.  First time having dogs!

2. My first plum

3.  First time playing on clay tennis courts!

4. First trip to Ikea

5. First time drinking tea that is not Chi or Orange Blossom (I’ve had green tea, strawberry tea, after eight tea, liquorice tea, I LOVE TEA!)

6. Raspberry Pie, is it weird that I’ve never eaten it before?

7. Banana Ice Cream

8. Blackberries!  We picked some in Bornholm, and they looked too good to pass up.

9.  First time knitting!  I’m so excited for my scarf project!

10. Miso soup

11. Sushi

My delicious avocado sushi. Yum yum yum

12. First time using a cheese slicer

13. First drink at Starbucks.  I got a chai latte, mmmmm. 🙂

14. First time eating porridge

15.  First time in and making a purchase at a 7-11.

16.  First Thanksgiving with a whole turkey (even though I didn’t eat it)!

17.  First time eating cranberry sauce.

18.  First time wearing my glasses two days in a row.

“Hi Buddy, hope you find your dad!”

Hey everybody!  I’m sorry that it has been so long since I have blogged.  I was really sick and was basically just laying in bed from Sunday to Tuesday, so nothing really exciting happened at that point.  It was pretty bad.  Whenever I tried to talk to anyone in the house, it just sounded like I was talking between sobs.  But, my host parents took such great care of me, and I think I’m almost all better now!  I just got back from the beautiful island of Bornholm, but I’m going to tell you about the rest of my week before I blog about that. 🙂

On Wednesday morning, my Biology of Marine Mammals class had a field study the Zoological Museum.  We got to go inside the animal collection area, and not everybody gets to do that.  It was quite the experience!  We saw skulls of baleen and sperm whales and their whole skeletons.  They had a ton of pure ivory narwhal tusks that were all different shapes and sizes.  Narwhals usually only have one tusk, but they had the skeleton of a narwhal with two, so that was really rare!  Everytime we talk about narwhals in class, I always think of the movie elf where the cartoon narwhal pops out of the water and says, “HI Buddy, hope you find your dad!”  It makes me smile, and therefore narwhals make me smile. 🙂  We also saw the whole skeleton of a blue whale with was GINORMOUS!  Oh my goodness, that thing was huge!  We also looked at the skulls of different seals and polar bears, as well as dolphins and porpoises.  Our professor was trying to have us identify them just by looking at them and I was like, uhhhh I didn’t do the reading because I had a 102 degree very and was coughing my lungs up, so yeah.  But luckily I never got called on, so it was all good.

Me next to all the giant whale skulls.

Narwhal tusks! I like the spirally one.

GIANT BLUE WHALE

We also got a tour of all the non-marine animals too by a guy who works at the museum and has actually caught some of the animals.  I didn’t enjoy hearing that they get permission to catch the animals for “scientific purposes” though. 😦  There were a ton of stuffed animals there, so it was a little creepy just turning the corner and seeing a moose head or a lion or something.  Just a little disconcerting….There were also shelves upon shelves upon shelves of reptiles and amphibians in alcohol filled jars.  I felt like I was in Jumanji.

This is an egg eating snake, and is not rare at all. It was already dead when it was found, and they later found out that the reason it had died was because it was near a golf course and ate a golf ball instead of an egg. Poor little fella. 😦

Later that night, I went to I went to an Of Monsters and Men Concert!  I met up with my friend Alyssa, and we were both so excited to go!  Even though we both had ton of work, but I was not giving up this opportunity to see one of my favorite bands for a really good price, and in Denmark!  It was really funny when we stopped in Enghave to walk to Vega, the place where the concert was.  We just had to walk straight from the S-tog station, and we were watching the numbers go down, so we knew we were near.  But then, all of a sudden, we were at number 20 when we were supposed to be at 40!  We were walking and talking so much about how excited we were to see Of Monsters and Men, that we totally walked by the venue without even realizing the huge group of people standing outside of it waiting for doors to open.  Luckily, it didn’t take us long to figure that out, and we made it there by like 7:05, and doors opened at 7.  And, we snagged a spot right next to the stage, so that was even better!  The concert was absolutely fantastic!  The band sounded just like they do on their album.  At the end of the concert, the guitarist came down from the stage right next to me and Alyssa and started playing.  So cool!  It was definitely worth going to!

Of Monsters and Men!!!

Cat, Food with Friends, and Rock Climbing!

So, on Wednesday I was telling Jessica how much I missed cats.  If you didn’t already know this, I am a huge animal fan, and I LOVE cats!  I told her I was going through cat withdrawal because I hadn’t pet a cat for almost a month.  😛  And what do you know, the next day as I am walking home after a day of classes, I see a kitty!  Don’t worry though, it’s not like I went up and pet a stray cat or anything.  This cat had a tag in it’s ear, so it is definitely taken care of by somebody.  He followed me around for a bit and he was such a sweetie!  I love cats. 🙂

My new kitty friend!

That night Jessica and I went to visit our friend Chris at his Kollegium.  A Kollegium is one of the many hosing options DIS offers.  I think all of the Kollegiums are in a metropolitan area, and are pretty close to the city.  They are fully furnished dorms or apartments and you share them with other Danish or international students.  They’re pretty nice!  We just hung out and made fried rice, which was yummy.  Chris tried some canned kimchee, but after his reaction to it, I don’t recommend it.

After a long day of classes on Friday, a bunch of us Carleton students got together to make dinner at my friend Nikki’s Kollegium!   They were making lasagna, which I couldn’t eat because it had meat in it.  That was perfectly fine though because I had a ton of salad, cheesy bread, and noodles with cheese.  Everyone was SO FULL after dinner.  It was really fun to cook together and be silly.  An impromptu Disney songs sing-a-long ended the night. 🙂

Yesterday was one of the many great experiences I’ve had so far on this trip!  I went rock climbing in Sweden!  Jessica and I both woke up at 5:30 yesterday morning, because we had to meet in the city at 7:15.  That was rough, but definitely worth it!  To get to Sweden from Copenhagen, all we had to do was have a 45 minute bus ride, a half our ferry ride, and then another half hour on the bus again.  It didn’t take long at all!  And then we got to the nature reserve called Kullaberg.  We started off the day with general instructions of how to put our harnesses, and then we got to climb!  First of all, the view from our climbing site was absolutely gorgeous!  It was so serene.  Most people started off on the first climb, which was the easiest one.  It was definitely a new experience for me!  I went rock climbing at Carleton’s rec center with my friend Nikki (who was also in Sweden with us!) because we thought we could use some practice.  It was different, but I made it to the top without too much of a problem!  I touched the ceiling of the rec and was pretty excited!  But, that was my one instance of every climbing before.  It’s definitely different when you’re outdoors and on real rocks!  I made it to the top of my first climb.  I’m really glad I started off with the easiest climb.

At the top of the first climb!

The second climb was a bit harder.  Before I started climbing, I learned how to belay.  Belaying is when you secure the climber by taking slack off of their rope as they are climbing, and feeding it back through when they are on the way down.  It’s a good thing to know how to do!  The terms are kind of fun too.  When you are the belayer, you say “on belay” to let the climber know that you have them on belay and that they are safe.  When you get ride of all the slack from the rope, the climber says my personal favorite, “That’s me!” because then the belayer knows that the tension is from the climber and not from something else.  Once you reach the top, the climber says “take!” so that the belayer knows to let them down.

It didn’t take that long to wait for my turn to try the second climb.  When you’re actually climbing it is just hard to know where to put your feet and hands and to trust that yourself to let go when you get comfortable so that you can move higher up.  Our guides were amazing, and would direct us if we had any problems.  I definitely made use of them!  I made it to the top of the second climb too!

Making my way up to the top of the second climb.

I made it!

Then came the third climb which was the hardest one I did for the day.  There was another climb that was the most difficult which one of our guides called “The Black Wall of Death” but I didn’t do that one.  😛  I was already a little tired from the first two climbs, but I just wanted to try the third one just to say I could do the more difficult one, so I did!   IT WAS SO HARD.  I didn’t know where my hands and feet were, but again, the guide who was my belayer  was really good about telling me where to put my hands and feet when I couldn’t see the places myself.  It’s hard to do that when there is just rock in your face.  I was so so so close to the top, and I didn’t think I could make it to the absolute top of that climb and was ready to give up.  But, our guide Kaitlin, along with Jessica and Nikki, would not let me down when I asked them to!  They said I was too close to the top to come down.  So, I made one last push to the top and I made it!  It was the best feeling in the world.  And, the view from the top was amazing.

Trying oh so hard on the third and most difficult climb

How the top part of the third climb looked from a distance

And I finally made it to the top!

Rock climbing in Sweden was an amazing experience and I’m really glad that I did it.  Last night, I wasn’t feeling very well though.  I felt a little sick during the week and last night I was feeling worse.  I’m going to take it easy today, hang out in bed, and stretch out my very sore arms!  I’ll hopefully be back to normal soon!

Beautiful Kullaberg

Meeting New Buddies!

Today I had my biology of Marine Mammals class at 8:30. It was only the second time that we’ve met so far, and we got learned a ton about Pinnipeds besides the fact that saying Pinnipeds is pretty fun. 😛 We also got to watch youtube videos in class of seals and walruses. I think I’m going to like this class!

After class was done at 9:50, I had a bit of time before my next class began at 11:40. I definitely needed to figure our how to get my absentee ballot in time to vote for the upcoming presidential election because this is the first time I’ll be able to vote for the president! I left the place where I had my class (which had computers around) to go to the DIS library, because I knew that they had a copy machine there, and I needed to scan my signed form to email back home. Once I got there, there were three computers in a row that were not turning on. Just my luck I suppose. When I finally logged on to a computer that worked and got ready to print my form out to sign it, I realized that the printer in the library was broken! There was a sign on the printer to go upstairs and use that computer lab instead. So, I went upstairs to find a sign saying that there was a class in the computer lab, so I couldn’t go in. Then, I went to the main office which is on the same street, to print out my form, and that printer wasn’t working either! Then, I went back to the place where I had my class to print out the form. It finally worked! But then I had to go back to the library to scan my signed form and e-mail it. That’s how I spent most of my free time. Yay. :/ But now I can vote! I hope…

After all my classes were done, I met up with my buddy network for the first time! DIS has buddy networks which are basically a mixture of DIS students and Danish students of around the same age. It’s a good way to learn more about the culture, make new friends, and see what life is like for young Danes in Denmark. They met when my class at the hospital ended, so I was a little late, but I still had some time to meet new people. We were originally going to go to a park, but that didn’t happen because it was a rainy day today. Instead we met at The Australian Bar near a lot of the DIS buildings. It was really smokey and loud, so I felt like I was yelling at everybody I talked to while we were “speed dating.” I hope that they don’t think that I’m just some loud American. 😛 Other than that, it was really funny. Our buddy network coordinator said that this wasn’t when she walked in, a bunch of people were yelling at her and asking why they all had their backpacks at the bar and why there were students there. I’m lucky that I don’t understand when people are making fun of me! Or am I? 🙂 We’re meeting again on Wednesday, so hopefully I’ll be able to go and meet some more people!