Living like a Dane

Hello!! It’s been a while since my last post — as I mentioned last time, I’ve barely had any time to myself (not necessarily a bad thing, I’m exploring a ton!), but one of these days I’ll run out of steam… fellow introverts, you understand me.

Since I wrote my last post, I’ve done so many more fun things in Copenhagen! I’m in the full swing of classes now, and slowly adjusting back into a school mindset. My core course, Prostitution and the Sex Trade in Europe, has been an eye-opening class already. I’m learning new concepts and ways of thinking about prostitution I would have never been able to learn on my own — and I’m so grateful for that. Prostitution is so highly stigmatized in the United States, so it’s refreshing to get a viewpoint that isn’t clouded by the stigma, and instead embraced as a real profession. My Sociology of the Family class has also been very informative. I’m learning all about the differences between families in Denmark and the United States, and the contrast is stark. For example, in Denmark, parents will leave their children in strollers outside grocery stores or coffee shops while they go inside to get food because it is so safe here. In the United States, that would probably be child neglect! I also had my first art class this week, and I’m so excited to tap into my creative side. I love art (even if I might not be the most “talented”) and haven’t taken any classes since high school, so this class will also be a good way for me to decompress from the week and express my feelings in a nonverbal manner. I’ve already taken a trip to the art store to get supplies and had to force myself to leave the store after browsing for way too long for fear of buying ALL the paints and colored pencils they had. For my Danish language and culture class, we took a field trip to Fredericksborg Castle in Hillerød last Wednesday, about an hour commute from the city. The castle was built in the early 17th century for King Christian IV, and is the largest Renaissance residence in Scandinavia! It was a beautiful train ride into Hillerød, a small countryside town. The castle itself was marvelous, standing erect across a lake with trees and hills flanking it. I felt like I was in a movie. We unfortunately didn’t spend that much time in the castle itself, but from the little I saw of it I definitely want to go back again to explore more closely. One of my friends here lives in a homestay in Hillerød, so we’ve already made plans to go back and spend the day at the castle! 

Other fun things I’ve done:

  • had my first “hygge” (hyoo-guh) dinner, a communal dinner with everyone in my residential community. We made pasta, then sat by the canal and all ate together! It was a gorgeous night and so fun to get everyone in the RC together in one place. 
  • Attended a concert at Tivoli Gardens. The band was Mø, a danish band that has a few very popular songs my friends and I knew! It was such a fun night and the venue was beautiful. 
  • Rented a small boat with a few friends of mine, in which we boated around the canals while eating grapes and drinking wine. 10/10 experience, especially if you go at sunset like we did. It was a little chilly, but the boating company provided us with blankets (the Danes always know how to make everything cozy, or hyggelit).
  • Climbed the tower at Church of our saviors, a large spiral staircase in the middle of the church that has amazing panoramic views of the city. I could have stayed at the top all day! 
  • Jumped off a 30ft ledge into the canal — and proceeded to land straight on my booty. That one hurt, but hey, it makes a funny story, and now I can stay I’ve jumped off a 30ft cliff! 
  • Went to the beach, Amager Strandpark, a few train stops away from my apartment. There were so many people there, and a lot of different playground structures and outdoor gyms for people to enjoy. The Danes really know how to make use of space!

I finally got a bike! The first time I rode it was a little scary, but I’ve been cruising around the city now and some friends ~ may ~ have told me I look like a Dane when I ride, so I’m pretty proud of myself. I do occasionally forget to hand signal, and have gotten pleasantly yelled at a few times, but it’s all a learning process. Biking makes my commute to school so much faster, and I can now get to the grocery store in under 10 minutes! 

I also just booked my first trip next weekend to Oslo, Norway! I’m super excited about this trip. A bunch of my friends and I booked a “mini cruise”, where we will get boarding and transport to and from Oslo for the weekend. Im super excited to check out another Scandinavian country, especially while it is still warm outside, and even more excited to go with almost all of the amazing friends I’ve made here so far! Stay tuned for my next post, where I will give you updates on the trip! 

Lastly, my running story of the week: 

I have been running from my house lately, but each time I run in a different direction to see what I can find. This time I left my house and ran across a bridge into Christiana, where on the map it looked like there would be a good forested running path. As I was running along this path, I came across a sign, “entering Freetown”. Freetown is the hippie commune in Copenhagen, under danish law but with a slight variation than the rest of Copenhagen. You are not allowed to take pictures in Freetown, or run, so you can imagine my fear when I accidentally ran INTO Freetown. I walked along the beach of Freetown for a bit, admiring the shacks and houses the people living there had built. There was graffiti everywhere, houseplants coming out of every house window, gardens in the front, and clothes hanging on lines. I felt like I was in A small mountain town in Colorado! It was crazy how vastly different this part of town is from the rest of Copenhagen. After I got out of Freetown, I continued my run along the forested path, continuing to pass fascinating houses and old pieces of “junk” turned into useful objects. 

As usual, I have written a novel, and if you’ve gotten this far, all I have to say is, “Tak!” 

One Comment Add yours

  1. Barbara says:

    So very, very enjoyable reading about your travels and learning about the country. Makes me want to travel there. Thank you taking the time to give us such a thorough update. Love aunt b.

    Like

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