Vi ses Denmark

How did four months go by so quickly?  HOW?

On Thursday morning I had my last final at DIS which was for my marine biology class.  I took the whole 2 hours, and the exam went pretty well!  I was just so excited to be done and return all of my books after it was over.  Later in the afternoon, I went with some friends to an outdoor ice skating rink in Frederiksberg.  I am pretty sure that the last time I went ice skating was in middle school.  I was really proud of myself though for not falling!  We stayed for about an hour, but there were some really good Danes tearing up the ice and then made us all feel like fools. 😛

In the evening, we were surprised to hear that Søren and Oda were coming to say goodbye!  I had thought that I had seen Oda for the last time a week ago, so it was wonderful seeing both of them again!

Today is Friday and my final full day in Denmark. 😦  Four months seems like a long time, but it just goes by so quickly!  This morning Jessica and I met up with our friend Annie to see the Fredricksborg Castle in Hillerød.  It was built for King Christian IV but is now a museum for national history.  We just walked around it and passed by a few kids sledding down a hill nearby.

Afterwards, Jessica and I went back into Copenhagen to buy the last few Christmas gifts on our list and to eat lunch with our friend Todd.  After lunch, we ran into Annie again at the Royal Copenhagen store!  The last stop was the A.C. Perch tea store, because I know I will want tea all the time once I get back home!  The store is really small, and there line was so long and people were waiting outside the store in the cold.  I had to wait maybe 20-30 minutes before I got to buy my tea, but I’m sure it will be worth it!

Tonight we had our last dinner with Karin and Steen.  Andreas and Fredrick also joined us to say goodbye.  Karin made a lovely dinner, as she always does. 🙂  We ended up sitting at the table for a few hours just chatting and enjoying each others company.  Karin and Steen also surprised us with Christmas presents, and we did the same for them!  I got them a candle holder with rotating reindeer at the top, and they got me an angel ornament and a book called Fall of Giants.  They had talked about it before, and they remembered that I was interested in it!

Packing is awful.  I greatly dislike it.  But, I managed to zip up both of my suitcases and have two backpacks stuffed with stuff (what else would they be stuffed with? :P).  I’m going to wake up at 4:45 tomorrow morning to say goodbye to Jessica because she has to leave from here at 5!  I’m not leaving until around noon, and then I’ll pack up the last of my belongings and be on my way…..

These last four months have been incredible.  There is really no good way to describe all of the wonderful experiences I have had.  I couldn’t have asked for better host parents.  Karin and Steen have been amazing and I feel like I have a second family here in Denmark including all of their children, their friends and just everybody that comes through their doors.  It is going to be so hard to say goodbye, but I know I will be back someday and that I will definitely visit them when I do!  I have loved every minute of going to school in Copenhagen.  Being in a city is definitely different than the small town Minnesota life I am used too, but Copenhagen is now my favorite European city.  I may be biased. 😛  I’ve made so many great friends that I hope to keep in touch with.  DIS has been one of the best decisions of my life, and if you know me you know how indecisive I am.  I cannot believe all the wonderful opportunities and people I have met along the way, and I am thankful and grateful for each and every one of them.

Vi ses Denmark, until we meet again!

Christmas Shopping and Footballing

First of all, I’m pretty sure I’m not leaving Denmark ever.  I’m in denial.  It is just not going to happen.

Wednesday was a lovely winters day because I didn’t have any field studies!  Neither did Jessica, so we made Wednesday our Christmas shopping day.  After a leisurely breakfast, we headed out to the city.  There was a Christmas market at Nyhavn that was fun to walk around, but there wasn’t anything too exciting there.  It was just fun to see, especially with snow at Nyhavn!  Then we walked our way up Strøget and stopped at any store that looked remotely interesting.  Of course we took our time, because what’s the rush?  I only have one 10 page paper and three finals, haha.  There is also an adorable Christmas market around Strøget, so we stopped by there too!

A snowy Nyhavn. :)

A snowy Nyhavn. 🙂

Christmas marketing!

Christmas marketing!

Then on Thursday I had a free ticket to FC København game!  It was so fun!  The cheering section is so insane.  There are so many of them jumping up and down, chanting about, drumming and waving flags, pure craziness!  I went with two of my friends, and we soon learned that on either side of us there were people cheering for the Romanian team, FC Steaua Bucresti.  Nothing really happened in the game for a long time.  In the second half, the Romanian team scored a goal, and when there were about 5 minutes left in the game, Copenhagen scored too!  Then there was a 4 minute overtime, but nothing happened, so the end score was 1:1.

Game time F.C. København style.

Game time F.C. København style.

Go hard or go home.

Go hard or go home.

Today was my last day of classes at DIS!  It is sad, but true.  My Marine Biology prof brought bread and pastries to class.  After class, I met with Jessica and our friend Kaitlin to go to Agnes cupcakes one more time.  They have a new Christmas cupcake which is basically a chocolate cupcake with chocolate and orange frosting.  Such a good combination and such a pretty cupcake!

I love Agnes!

I love Agnes!

Next I had my Enemy Within class.  It lasted all of five minutes and my prof gave us chocolate.  I hung out in the DIS main office with some friends for a while until it was time to have my concluding MPP social at 2:30.  We went to a vegetarian buffet called Riz Raz and just enjoyed the good food and the good company.  I had A.C. Perch tea for the first time at Riz Raz.  It’s a pretty famous brand of tea in Copenhagen.  And now I know why!  The jasmine tea I had was delicious.

I ended up staying there longer than I thought.  Karin had asked me and Jessica if we would be interested in going Christmas shopping with her today, and of course we wanted too!  Therefore, I said I would just meet them in Lyngby, where we had planned on going shopping.  I ended up having to wait for half an hour, so I probably could have just gone home and left with them from there, but whatever!  We searched for a Christmas present for one of my host-brothers (a v-neck cardigan that was not black or purple, a shirt, or jeans).  I won’t tell you what we decided on though just in case he happens to read this blog….The Lyngby storecenter was all decked out for Christmas too!  I was impressed with their Christmas display.

Beautiful Christmas decorations at the Lyngby Storecenter.

Beautiful Christmas decorations at the Lyngby Storecenter.

Tomorrow Karin and Steen are taking me and Jessica to the Open Air Museum, Frilesmuseet, in Lyngby.  Can’t wait!

Arts and Crafts with Peter

When I woke up on Sunday morning, I was surprised by a freshly fallen snow!  I was so excited that I put on my boots without socks and walked outside in my pajamas.

Snowing sometime between 6:30 and 7 in the morning.

Snowing sometime between 6:30 and 7 in the morning.

Although I was still worried about one of my papers at this point, I wasn’t going to let it ruin my Sunday.  My MPP doctor, Peter, invited my whole class to his home for social, which included Christmas goodies and arts and crafts!  He lives in Farum, so I was there yet again.  Except, this time I had to take the S-tog.  The B-line is the only line that stop in Virum, so I had to take it a ways in the opposite direction of Farum before I could get to the A-line.  Farum is at one end of the A-line and it took me about an hour to get there vs. the ten minutes it took us on Saturday.  The class met Peter at the Station with his youngest daughter and they took us on a lovely and snowy walk to his house.  When we got there, the table was beautifully set and there were Christmas decorations everywhere.  We snacked on the homemade goodies, and later had arts and crafts time.  I absolutely love doing stuff like this.  We all felt like we were 5 again.  I learned how to make a Danish star from one of Peter’s daughters, and then a heart ornament that they put nuts and candy in, from Peter’s wife.  It was so sweet of Peter to have us all over and his family was adorable.  We all had a jolly ole time!

Part of our scenic tour in Farum.

Part of our scenic tour in Farum.

Hygge

Hygge

I made the one on the right.

I made the one on the right.

And a heart ornament!

A Birthday Blast

After breakfast on Saturday, Karin and Steen took Jessica and I to a flea market in Farum. It’s put on by the Boy Scouts who collect knick knacks people don’t want anymore and it is only open on the first Saturday of the month.  We were there maybe 10 or 15 minutes early and there was already a crowd outside of the building!  People were rushing inside once it opened.  It’s basically a 2 floor building covered in stuff.  A hoarders dream come true I’m sure.  It was hard to move around because of the sheer number of people, but it was so fun to see everything!  Karin and Steen ended up getting 6 plastic chairs for their summer house, a basket for the dogs to sleep in, and a lamp for my host-brother Andreas.  We had to put the back seats in the car down and Karin and I sat where the chairs were supposed to be, so essentially in the trunk, with all of the new purchases!  Steen said it was a good thing we only had a 10 minute drive!

The crowd waiting for the flea market to open.

The crowd waiting for the flea market to open.

A hoarders dream come true.

A hoarders dream come true.

I love clocks.

I love clocks.

In the afternoon we headed to the Statens art museum for Morfar’s birthday!  We had a guided tour and our guide did the tour in both English and Danish.  I always love guided tours in art museum because there are many things I would never pick up by myself.

The Statens art museum.  The sun was setting around 3:30 in the afternoon.

The Statens art museum. The sun was setting around 3:30 in the afternoon.

After our tour, we went to Morfar’s flat in Hellerup for pizza!  We also had æbleskive, which is a sort of Danish fritter.  So yummy!  Later in the night we played a very intense game of bingo.  The bingo cards look a bit different than the ones I am used to, but it’s pretty much the same.  There were three rows on the card.  Whoever got one row first one a prize (which was why it was so intense!).  The next winner is the person who fills up two rows, and then the third winner is whoever fills up their whole card.  Sadly, I never won.  But it was still really fun!  Andreas won a pack of jumbo playing cards.  Jessica and I along with Andreas’s cousin Oscar ended up playing a very disorganized memory game with the cards, go fish, and attempted to make card houses with them.  Andreas was also throwing the cards at his younger cousin, Victor, but Morfar was not pleased, haha.

Sadly, I never won. :(

Sadly, I never won. 😦

Victor trying to avoid Andreas's attacks.

Victor trying to avoid Andreas’s jumbo card attacks.

Beer and Ballet

Hey everybody!  I know that it has been a while since I have posted anything.  I’ve just been so busy writing papers!  I finished my third of four papers and have written 26 pages so far.  I have one more ten page paper due on Friday and then I’m done with those!

Last Wednesday I had the best field study ever.  My Enemy Within class went to the Carlsberg Brewery in Enghave.  My professor sent an e-mail saying “Wednesday we’re going to Carlsberg, and yes, there will be beer in limited amounts + actual Cold War content (also in limited amounts).”  We were originally going to meet at 1:30 but then some people had field studies that conflicted, so he changed the time to 8:50 in the morning.  I left on the 7:43 train and arrived in Enghave with plenty of time to reach the brewery.  First I stopped by the Carlsberg business center because they were decorating a Christmas tree in front of the building!  Then I walked to the Visitor’s Center where all the touristy things are, and because that was where my class was meeting.  On my way I walked by Elefantporten, or Elephant Gate.  It was really cool!  Carl Jacobsen had the gate built to represent his four surviving children (he and his wife had 8 children in total), and he used elephants to represent strength and faithfulness.  The rug on the elephants has the New Carlsberg brand, and the initials of his children, Theodora, Vagn, Helge, and Paula.  You would probably initially thing that there is a swastika on it, but it’s not meant to be Nazi propaganda at all.  In India, it is a symbol for good fortune, luck, and well-being.  And that’s why Carl Jacobsen used it as his symbol.  I remember going to India when I was younger and not knowing why there were swastikas everywhere, but I eventually figured it out!

Christmas trimmings Carlsberg style.

Christmas trimmings Carlsberg style.

Elefantporten.  It's pretty darn neat!

Elefantporten. It’s pretty darn neat!

I eventually reached the Visitor’s Center.  There were signs for it everywhere since it is a big tourist attraction.  However, I did not see any of my classmates or my teacher when I got there.  I called my friend Loren because she told me that she was there too, and I asked her if she wanted to meet me by the Elephant Gate.  However, she thought I was referring to something else (there are a lot of elephants things around) so I ended up walking back for no reason.  At this point there were 10 minutes until the actual field study was going to start.  I walked back to the Visitor’s Center and saw my professor!  I was so relieved and he told me that the center actually didn’t open until 10.  But, since he had requested a guide, we got a tour of the brewery before it even opened!  I eventually found Loren along with some of my other classmates, but I swear, not even half of my class showed up.  There were maybe 9 or 10 of us altogether.  Our tour guide had just retired from Carlsberg 3 or 6 months ago (I can’t remember exactly) and was called in to be our guide for the morning.

Carlsberg was founded by J.C. Jacobsen in 1847 just outside of Copenhagen.  The Carlsberg Foundation was created in 1876.  J.C. Jacobsen ended up having a huge rivalry with none other than his own son, Carl Jacobsen.  Carl opened up his own brewery which he called Ny (New) Carlsberg, and then J.C. changed the name of his to Gamle (Old) Carlsberg.  Also, when J.C. past away, he did not give ANY of his fortune to his son.  All of his money went to the Carlsberg Foundation.  Eventually in 1906, years after J.C.’s death, the two breweries joined forces.  I also learned that Carl was quite an artsy fellow, and you can really tell because the style of New Carlsberg is pretty different from Old Carlsberg.

Apparently a new Carlsberg district is in the making that is called “Our Town.”  It is supposed to encompass 3,000 more flats, a university for nurses and technical schooling, cafes, shops, and everything you can imagine!  The buildings are going to be environmentally friendly and focus on sustainability.  There is a rule that you can only build buildings as tall as the buildings that are in the area, but an exception was made for this project.  Our guide sounded really excited about it because in about 10 years or so,, Copenhagen will have a skyline!

What the new Carlsberg district should look like.

What the new Carlsberg district should look like.

After touring the New Carlsberg brewery, we headed down to the cellars.  It was a bit creepy and dark, but still pretty cool.  Then we got to the part that was actually relevant to our class, a plotting station in the brewery!  You can only get in if you have the key, as it is not part of a regular tour.  I felt special. 😛 This was one of the many plotting stations where potential bomb threats were put on the map during the Cold War.  They had to use magnets on the map and move them with a hockey stick like thing because the image of potential had to be clear and not obscured with people’s hands trying to move the Warsaw Pact signs.  It was pretty cool to see!

Inside the New Brewery.  You can tell that Carl liked art because these are so pretty!

Inside the New Brewery. You can tell that Carl liked art because these are so pretty!

Uhhhh, where are you taking us?

Uhhhh, where are you taking us?

Better figure out where those nukes are headed.

Better figure out where those nukes are headed.

Then the class went to the Jacobsen Brewhouse & Bar and got 4 free drinks because a ton of people did not show up.  I only had one and it was a lemonade.  Lame, I know, but it was 10 or 11 in the morning!

On Friday I went to my first ballet every!  I went with my friends Jessica and Annie to see the Sleeping Beauty ballet.  We bought pretty cheap seats, but luckily some people either didn’t show up, or it just wasn’t a full house, so we got to move from seats where we couldn’t see very well, down a row so we could see the whole stage!  I was afraid that I would get bored during the ballet, but it was absolutely beautiful!  The end dragged on for a bit with a ton of solo dances.  I remember always thinking it was over after the prince and princess danced together, but it wasn’t.  That happened maybe 3 or 4 times.  There were little boys holding on to the king and queen’s long robe during the last dance sequences, and you could see them fidgeting because they had to sit there for so long.  It was pretty amusing.  After the ballet was over, I was humming Once Upon a Dream all the way home. 🙂

If you’d like to see the photo gallery from the ballet, check out this website!
http://kglteater.dk/whats-on/performances/season-2012-2013/ballet/tornerose

Inside the ballet theater before the show!

Inside the ballet theater before the show!

Christmas Before Thanksgiving

Last Wednesday my Social Brain class went on a field study to the Police Museum in Copenhagen.  If I remember correctly, it is the only or one of the only museums in the world created and funded by the police.  There is a fairly new exhibit in the museum called “Evil” and it is on all of the infamous murders that have occurred in Denmark.  One of the historians working told us three different murder stories, and some of the murder weapons are on display in the exhibit.  One of the murders involved the burning of a body, and then combining the bones with cement to create a new floor and get rid of the evidence.  Of course the criminals were caught, but the museum had a piece of the cement with the bones in it, and the historian talking to us passed that piece of cement around. The exhibit has been a great source of controversy because the families of those murdered are understandably very upset with it.  It is quite a chilling exhibit.  What made it even worse was that the day after we came back from Vienna, we had found out that there was a murder in the town I live in!  Ahhhhhh, to much.

On a much much more happier note, Copenhagen is all dressed up for Christmas!  After the field study, I went with a bunch of Carleton friends to Tivoli to see all of the Christmas decorations.  It was just like walking in a winter wonderland.  I just need some snow!  Jessica and I got some churros at my eldest host-brother’s favorite place to get them, and we also walked through the Christmas market.

Decorations up in Copenhagen. 🙂

The St. Petersburg of Tivoli

Beautiful ornaments at the Christmas market

They even had reindeer at Tivoli!

On Thursday night (happy belated Thanksgiving everybody!) Steen, Karin, Jessica and I started preparing for our Thanksgiving feast!  Karin bought a 4 kilo turkey!   We did not celebrate until Friday just because it was more convenient that way.  They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Denmark of course, so people unfortunately still have to go to work and school.  Boooooo.

I was hoping to get out of my medical class early on Friday so that I could come home and help cook before all of our guests were to arrive.  My class was on gynecology and midwifery and I learned how to give gynecological exams and deliver a baby!  I got out of class on time, but the Metro was stuck for a good 10 to 15 minutes because the door wouldn’t close for some reason.  That was pretty annoying.

I finally made it home and finished up some of the dishes.  And then everybody came!  We had 11 people in all because we invited our friend Annie and her host parents over too!  Our menu consisted of turkey, mashed potatoes, apple walnut stuffing, green bean casserole, brussel sprouts with capers, roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes, my host grandfather’s breads, cranberry sauce, and Annie’s pumpkin pie.  We were definitely all full by the end of the meal.  It was pretty funny, because Karin and Steen did not know Annie’s host parents, but when the started talking they ended up knowing a lot of the same people because Annie’s host mom grew up where Karin’s mother was born.  It’s a small world!

Our Thanksgiving feast! Photo credit to the lovely miss Wu. 🙂

Maysi sitting under my chair just hoping for some crumbs, haha.

Now I’ve finished one of my four papers.  It’s hard finding motivation to work when you only have so many days left abroad and there are still so many things to do!

A Night at the Opera

On our last day in Vienna our first stop was the Danube Tower.  The signs were confusing, so we got lost for a bit again, but we found it eventually!  We didn’t actually go in the tower though.  Instead, we headed to Prater, an amusement park in Vienna.  The park was unfortunately closed until the Christmas season began, so we didn’t get to ride the ferris wheel like we wanted too!

As close as we got to Danube Tower

The ferris wheel at Prater that I wish we could have gone on!

Christmasy Christmas markets being set up!

Then we went back to the city for cake!  There is a place called Sacher Eck and it is famous for their Sacher torte, so that is what I ordered!  Afterwards we shopped around again until it was time to go back to the hostel to get ready for the opera!

The infamous Sacher Torte

Once we were ready, we went back to the city center and waited in line for a bit to buy standing room tickets for the opera Simon Boccanegra by Verdi.  They were only 3 euros!  But you of course had to stand for the whole 3 hour opera and we could only see half of the orchestra and the stage.  Thankfully, there were little screens where we could see English subtitles.  Otherwise, I would have had no idea of what was going on!

Practicing standing

There concludes our trip to Vienna!  It was amazing, but it is definitely nice to be in Copenhagen again. 🙂