Blink that London Eye

Hellooooo there everyone!

Miss me in the few hours between the publishing of my last post?! Well, even if you didn’t I still do have a lot to catch up on in the past few months so I will continue in chronological order with my weekend escapades in London!!

Precursor: As some of you may or may not know, theater was my life in high school. Something I almost considered going into as a career…Anyways, a pinnacle of my experience was attending performing art camps over the summer. Though I attended several different ones, there was only one that changed my life: Stagedoor Manor. Stagedoor Manor is pretty well recognized in the theater geek world as one of the leading summer camps for pre-professional training. With 6 different types of theaters, hundred of staff members and thousands of campers each year–I feel so fortunate enough to have enjoyed a full 3 summers acting and singing on each of those stages. Beyond the experience and reprieve performing and learning and experiencing my passion, the thing that made Stagedoor Manor a safe haven and eden for me, something worth writing my college common application essay on was the feeling of hygge it provided.

Before coming to Denmark, hygge was unsurprisingly a foreign concept to me. To review, there is no direct translation in the U.S. This is the most appropriate definition as I understand it: “Hygge (“heu-gah”) is the art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other.” Yes that is very broad but hygge in my life, at least previous to studying abroad, centered mostly on positive and lasting relationships with others. Having friends and family you can sit down and laugh at yourself with. People you feel comfortable enough around to ask for help or love when you need it and trust they won’t look down upon you. The very few you know will always be a part of your lives in the future…I met a lot of cool people and continue to have many meaningful relationships, however living at this theater camp that I so love helped me to develop relationships like this with my roommates there.

One that sticks out for me and the only relationship that I feel will be strongly sustained far, far, far into the future is that with my relationship Taylor. Now I can continue to write a whole post about my Colorado buddy Taylor and the nights we hugged each other after a horrible night, the random 6 AM belting of Barbara Streisand tunes, and the car rides we blasted One Direction. (I could also continue promoting Stagedoor Manor as the best place ever, but hey I gave y’all the link…so further discovering its awesomeness is YOUR job now 😉 ). Anyways this is about my time abroad! So the reason I have posted all this is to say I unfortunately hadn’t seen Taylor for 3+ years and studying abroad allowed us to reunite! It took until we were a continent away, but I was able to fly directly following my study tour in Vienna to her study abroad home in London for 2 short days…It was wonderful so without further ado a brief photo montage of what we were able to fit into 2 days!

Friday, September 3rd

I arrived late and didn’t get back to her flat (after many missed connections…) until 11:30 PM so no pictures here! We did however stay up nearly all night catching up on the 3+ years of important life events, planning our weekend and drinking tea (When in London…). Then we slept, pretty low-key.

Saturday, September 4th

Today, was the polar opposite to the previously low-key night…I mean hey I only had two days in London! We started the day at 7 AM sharp and walked over to Taylor’s favorite new breakfast place in her hipster East London town: Birdie Num Nums…yes this it it’s real name.

Look how happy Taylor is with her tea :)

Look how happy Taylor is with her tea 🙂

Inside the cozy cafe

Inside the cozy cafe

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Them London breakfasts though…

 

I wasn't lying...BEST NAME EVER

I wasn’t lying…BEST NAME EVER

After a drawn-out breakfast, we headed into town to meet Taylor’s good friend from school, Susan where they were planning on taking me on a sightseeing walk with a stop at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. But plot twist: after not having any rain since she’d been there, to classic London downpour made it’s first appearance, just for me:

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We're melting....

We’re melting….

Bringing out our theater geek selves, we decided to meet up with three other girls (At Chiplotle!!) and see a show on the West End. We decided on seeing the musical Once, though I’d already seen it on Broadway, as we can get student tickets for ridiculously low prices and the alternative folk music is beyond “eargasm” worthy. Unfortunately, Google Maps lied and took us to the wrong theater initially…so we ended up soaking wet, however, we did eventually make it there and I can honestly say it was comparable if not better than the Broadway version I had seen 🙂 Highlights included: an improvised banjo solo, illegal picture taking of the gorgeous lead actor, unconsciously mouthing all the songs words and being the ONLY person at the on-stage bar that was carded FOR BUYING A FREAKIN CIDER! Oh well….legal and illegal pictures:

Once Take 2: West End edition

Once Take 2: West End edition

But it's only a cider :(

But it’s only a cider 😦

Blurry "Ej Pada Pada Rosicka" Dance-Off

Blurry “Ej Pada Pada Rosicka” Dance-Off

Up-close illegal pic

Up-close illegal pic

That time the lead actor and stage manager were twins...Guess which one I chose to take a pic with?

That time the lead actor and stage manager were twins…Guess which one I chose to take a pic with?

To end the night, we begged out for a few hours with, you guessed it…MORE TEA. Decided eventually to skip the pub crawl Taylor had booked for me and instead opted to visit her good friend’s “friend” and his friends’ (friend chain!) flat. It was provided by the university I was studying abroad at and boy was it nice! The night was ok–mostly sober with my disdain for vodka, a couple of good conversation and some good old non-receptive flirting…Oh well, we looked going-out ready 😉

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Sunday, September 5th

Last day here 😦 We started the day bright and early with the one tremendously touristy thing I was dying to fit in…THE LONDON EYE! Since it wasn’t the nicest morning, the line wasn’t the usual innumerable count so we to in in about 35 minutes 🙂 The views were beyond fabulous, I don’t know if it was 22 pound worth but nonetheless, my splurge for the trip. And as always, I took picture on picture on picture–here are my favs.:

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See the Big Ben! See it!

See the Big Ben! See it!

Hi from the top!!

Hi from the top!!

It was about noon by then and we figured we had some time for lunch and strolling the streets before Taylor had to go off to a school event 😦 Anyway, after some failed attempts to find sushi (some meaning 5….), we settled on heading to Borough Market where Taylor found a Chipotle-matching burrito love of her life and I rediscovered how much I liked mushrooms 🙂 Following lunch, Taylor was insistent on bringing me in a building to see “The Singing Lift” and yes it is exactly what it sounds…In the building, we were delightfully surprised to find some independent artists and activist art exhibition:

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Instagram worthy shot #mushrooms

Instagram worthy shot #mushrooms

PRISONER OF THE MIND Louis (4198*) HM Prison Winchester, Hampshire Paper mach, card and acrylic paint Si Pickard Commended Award Comment from the artist 'At the time [I made this] I was suffering from depression and in my mind I was becoming my own prisoner.'

PRISONER OF THE MIND Louis (4198*) HM Prison Winchester, Hampshire Paper mach, card and acrylic paint Si Pickard Commended Award Comment from the artist ‘At the time [I made this] I was suffering from depression and in my mind I was becoming my own prisoner.’

Well there you go, a nap and a plane ride and a near heart attack that I missed my bus later and London was in the past. Though this may not have been one of my more exciting, tourist-packed trips, I got to spend time with my best friend doing things we love and at our own pace (though slowed by the damn rain…) and that was enough!

More travel blogging to come. Vis ses!

Jess

 

 

Do as the Viennese Do…Unless it Involves Schnitzel or Freudian Psychoanalysis

Oh Vienna Austria. Stereotypically compiled of traditional folklore dress (i.e.“Dirndl” or ”Lederhose”); beautiful classical music, Mozartian in particular; and of course steaming, breaded schnitzel. Fortunately those stereotypes were actualized and captured via perhaps awkwardly obvious I-phone snapshots. Bullets on the experience and pictures galore. Let’s go!

Up I lied again, I have to share how much better my host family is then any other…

  • September 26th: The Best 21st Birthday Ever

Most people use their landmark birthday for all college students…21 and legal to be seen and go out with alcoholic beverages. I drink and I enjoy it I admit but I typically enjoy it in a more informal setting (with the additional dance on the table club night/hopefully not regrettable dorm extravaganzas). So I chose or what was chosen for me was family hygge. After a night of studying because hey, work while you let loose traveling (even in a loosely academic sense…) is absolutely no fun at all. Well after that long night, I was woken by the family of four to an absurd amount of Danish flags and the off-key tune of Danish “Happy Birthday”. For those that aren’t aware, birthdays are a big deal in Denmark, both to celebrate the person and their identity as a Danish citizen (imagine your birthday and Fourth of July combined). In leggings and an oversized Colby sweatshirt (Mule pride!), I walked into the kitchen to stringed Danish flags wrapped around the chandelier light and small Danish flags on top of a Danish tablecloth. Their were candles (despite the rising morning sun), several types of tea and juice, and freshly-made hot buns. Hygge pokes it’s head again in the obligatory celebratory birthday breakfast. We talked, laughed, listened to stories of past birthdays and my host sister even attempted but cutely failed to sing the American “Happy Birthday” tune. As we all headed off to work and school, the family surprised me again with plans to throw a large family party for me that evening.

Fast forward about 12 hours and I was home to even more decorations and a table filled with food. Before we ate, we started out with highly personal and meaningful gifts from my host parents, host “mar mar”, and my host mom’s brother and girlfriend. Again, the gifts were so meaningful as their was a story behind the purchase of each gift. Then…..DINNER TIME!! They honored my Greek heritage and the common knowledge of my love of salads and prepared a large tossed Greek salad (sin olives of course 🙂 ) and more bread rolls. After we emptied the bowls and plates of foods, my host mom brought out a homemade ice cream cake stuck with Danish flags and sparkler candles.

I have no words for how much this meant to me. A surprise party, so to speak, was something I never thought I’d get the chance to experience. Doing my 21st in Denmark and having my family put so much thought, care and love into making the day my own and special was truly one of the greatest reinforcers my decision to live with a host family as the best decision I’ve ever made (I mean, besides choosing DIS of course 😉 ). PICTURES:

6 AM wake-up, caffeine-fueld rest of the day? Worth it for a surprise birthday breakfast :)

6 AM wake-up, caffeine-fueld rest of the day? Worth it for a surprise birthday breakfast 🙂

THE DUCK! I FINALLY GOT IT TO POSE FOR A PICTURE

THE DUCK! I FINALLY GOT IT TO POSE FOR A PICTURE

Let's sing "I Dag Er Det" (Today It's Your Birthday!)

Let’s sing “I Dag Er Det” (Today It’s Your Birthday!)

Homemade Ice-Cream Cake with some Danish Pride

Homemade Ice-Cream Cake with some Danish Pride

Well I digitally distorted my host mom's face with this horrid panorama, however...you get the idea how special my whole host family made me feel today :)

Well I digitally distorted my host mom’s face with this horrid panorama, however…you get the idea how special my whole host family made me feel today 🙂

Arrival Day! Sunday, September 28th

  • Walking Tour of Vienna

Spread widely across the span of the city was gorgeous and well-preserved classicist architecture. Art Nouveau originated in Vienna, Austria actually. Massive columns in front of palaces, intricately carved steeples, golden and stain-glass dome churches and a number of horsemen statues. The most touristy I was all trip. A few of the 200+ photos I took on this walking tour:

Art Nouveau Architecture

Art Nouveau Architecture

Street Performers in Austria=Striving Opera Stars

Street Performers in Austria=Striving Opera Stars

St. Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Fun fact: One of the only two horsemen statues in the world that has the horse balance fully on its two legs without support of the stone tail.

Fun fact: One of the only two horsemen statues in the world that has the horse balance fully on its two legs without support of the stone tail.

Yes. I'm actually staying in this city.

Yes. I’m actually staying in this city.

  • The Oldest Ferris Wheel in the World

Our class had the evening to ourselves after we finished our walking tour, so I got together a group of kids to travel 6 subway stops to an amusement sex to ride the oldest ferris wheel in the world. It was more of hey, let’s do it to say we did. We took a cheesy picture that I of course overpaid the $10 to buy this hilarious memory. The ride was about 15 minutes, no wait. Overall, very slow and pretty boring but some picturesque views:

As we were looking for the exit, we ran into about twenty drunk 20 year-olds in Lederhosen with half-eaten sausages and beer dribbling down their chins. Of course we needed to investigate…Surprise! Our wandering led to an impromptu trip to Vienna’s version of Oktoberfest. We didn’t stay long but I did meet some interesting Viennese college students and shared the quintessential Oktoberfest experience of indulging in those hugeeeeee beers. Overall, we went with the flow and had a surprisingly fun time. When in Vienna!

Here it is. The Oldest Ferris Wheel in the world.

Here it is. The Oldest Ferris Wheel in the world.

That view.

That view.

Melissa and Anna look quite satisfied with their surprise gigantic beers

Melissa and Anna look quite satisfied with their surprise gigantic beers

Traditional Beer flavored cookies anyone?

Traditional Beer flavored cookies anyone?

Monday, September 29th

  • Group Visit: Viktor Frankl Institute

Viktor Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor, and founder of the “Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy”–logotherapy. The lecture was much more fascinating than I had expected. We were explained the basic pillars for his groundbreaking existential therapy explained by stories of his time in a concentration camp as well as excerpts from his best-selling novel, Man’s Search for Meaning.

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  • Group Visit: Academy for Art Therapy

I was very underwhelmed by our visit to the Academy for Art Therapy. Being a theatre and music enthusiast, I was excited to see more about how creativity helps foster recovery and growth. Our session included clay figures, blind drawing of spirals and playing different musical instruments split into orchestra sections (i.e. strings, brass, woodwind, etc.). I can see how this can perhaps provide distraction to young children dealing with emotional difficulties and outside traumatic events, however we were not given any insight on its use as a form of psychotherapy.

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Tuesday, September 30th

  • Guided Tour of KZ-Gedenkstatre Mauthausen/Mauthausen Memorial

At risk of sounding stereotypical, my first visit to a concentration camp had what I believe will be a long-lasting impact. Matuthausen Concentration Camp is no Auschwitz or Dachu in its solemn infamy and the sheer amount of casualties. Mauthausen is where the intellectuals were put to work; where Viktor Frankl was imprisoned. I can go on further to share more about the history of the camp or the details of Frankl’s stay. However, being behind the walls and in the confines of a place bringing about the nauseating feeling in your gut that humanity is capable of committing such loathsome, vile things doesn’t set a great platform for intellectual conversation. So I’ll just copy the reflection piece I wrote a half an hour after hour tour concluded. It may not make total sense at all, particularly the first part. Looking back, it doesn’t make total sense to me. Nonetheless, this is what was on my mind at the time; word-for word:

Unimaginable. Well, not quite. But unfathomable and eden-esque orgasm to an object that  will not make you feel as goo as the yearning and imagined pleasure.

I am not inside the minds of the prisoners. I am in my own mind. It’s a degree of morbidity. You hear about the unavailability of food to African children marking that difference between availability and internalized….I don’t even know. Am I a terrible person? Yes, yes I am. I’m numbed to the thought of  murder and torture. Am I unable to see it as if it was I or do I just solace in the selfish interests of my own regard.

The fact that my first ping of mental movement longs for emaciation. What that say about me as a person?

I’m not thinking about death. It’s there. The essence. It’s all around me, yet it’s not there for me…Speaking in the literal sense.

I don’t know what it is or how I feel. I’m not sad. I’m not angry. Thoughtful isn’t necessarily the right word.

I guess it’s reminiscence defined, how or what or why in my own regard. Is reminiscence longing? Can there be a guilt engulfed by a feeling more masochistic?

The first thought of the walk looks back on reading. Emaciated prisoners deciding whether to eat their inch of toast at once or go by corners. Food is all that is on their brain. Focus on a miserable existence overshadowed by the moist cake dripping with melted chocolate. That thought of a tongue touch to the rich cake.

And to think I have gradually gone to dismiss a religion that has made me feel. I begin to think in a more focused way on what’s in front of me. Guilt to its own degree I haven’t considered in years.

It’s not the whole my ancestors might have/could have/would have but it centers around the limitations of my focus. I don’t think of some values and beliefs previous to the life path I then chose or it chose me…I so strongly settle in my opinion on the surface of an apathetic disposition, but do I consider real middle ground? I say I have these serious talks, but do I talk without knowing what’s out there…What’s in me?

Am I even human?

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Wednesday, October 1st

  • Group Visit: Leopold Museum

The Leopold Museum is a more recently established museum, opening its doors in 2001. The museum is located in the Museum Quarter of Vienna, Austria and  is home to one of the largest collections of modern Austrian art, featuring artists such as Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Richard Gerstl. For one of our cultural events of the study tour, we were given a tour and history lesson on the art of the 1900s. And honestly, it may have been my disdain for art museums but I was bored out of my mind and kept wandering apart from the tour–quite clearly indicating I was not at all interested…Anyway here’s the most famous picture in the museum, by Gustav Klimt:

Sheer excitement for this tour and dread of wearing these freakish earphones...

Sheer excitement for this tour and dread of wearing these freakish earphones…

Gustav Klimt's, "The Kiss"

Gustav Klimt’s, “The Kiss”

  • Belvedere Palace

The Belvedere Palace was a stop we all did independently with friends; although DIS purchased are super pricey tickets so that was a plus. The palace complex consists of two baroque castles, Palace Stables, an art museum and a gorgeous garden that seems to spread for kilometers. I can’t say much else besides that I took more illegal pictures and it was gorgeous until I got stuck in the casual Wednesday downpour. More pictures!

This garden though...

This garden though…

View of the front of the castle

View of the front of the castle

Palace grounds spreads in beauty on and on

Palace grounds spreads in beauty on and on

Thursday, October 2nd

  • Guided Tour of The Sigmund Freud Museum and Lunch at Freud’s favorite cafe

Obviously being with a clinical psych class in Vienna, one major stop is of course the Sigmund Freud Museum. The Sigmund Freud Museum was established in central Vienna in late 1971. It is dedicated to showing the main proponents of psychoanalysis by tracking Freud’s life and career. The display includes original items owned by Freud, the practice’s waiting room, and parts of Freud’s extensive antique collection. However and unfortunately his famous couch is now in the Freud Museum in London, along with most of the original furnishings, as Freud was able to take his furniture with him when he emigrated. After our time exploring the quite intimate museum, we went to a gorgeous restaurant to which Freud attended to most of his hunger pangs. We had some fancy dish (made with peas, which was quite interesting) and roasted potatoes and wed wine and gourmet chocolate cake.

SIgmund Freud Museum. Let's go!

SIgmund Freud Museum. Let’s go!

Freud's office-room

Freud’s office-room

Unfortunately, I only have a picture of the outside of the restaurant.

Unfortunately, I only have a picture of the outside of the restaurant.

  • Wine and Cheese Tasting Adventure with Sara

After lunch, we had a solid 5-6 hours to do whatever we wanted. So with the rising popularity of Viennese wine, Sara and I decided to go to vineyards and restaurants forty minutes north of Vienna and have a “dinner” of wine and cheese. (You know…it was one of those days.) The back of the restaurant we went to was GORGEOUS though.

The back gardens of the restaurant

The back gardens of the restaurant

The "pre-tasting" array

The “pre-tasting” array

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The “post-tasting” damage

  • Vienna Symphony Orchestra Performance

I was initially bummed that our class would not be able to see an opera, however in the land of classical music–Mozart’s solace–the performance of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Singers (Opera singers!) was beyond amazing!

View of the theatre

View of the theatre

Direction of the orchestra and female opera singer

Direction of the orchestra and female opera singer

Friday, October 3rd

  • Group Visit: Steinhof Mental Hospital & Otto Wagner Church

This was our final academic visit of the study tour (Already!). First, we met our go-to tour guide at the top of a daunting hill where stood a definite Top 5 most beautiful churches I’ve ever seen:

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The Kirche am Steinhof, also called the Church of St. Leopold, was a Roman Catholic Church designed by Otto Wagner in 1907 and is today actually considered one of the most important Art Nouveau Churches in the world. The church stands was utilized in the early 1900s as a sanctuary for the patients of Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital. In fact, it forms a major portion of the old hospital grounds and is located on the large hill directly overlooking Steinhof.

The hospital itself was not something much to note besides the fact that it was a quite large psychiatric facility that took in many of the severe psychiatric patients (particularly with neurological issues) in Vienna. There was supposedly a “museum” which was really nothing more than a single room full of words on the wall I couldn’t read and a few picture less newspaper articles. I vote one of the worst museums I’ve been to.

Seeing as this post has somehow made itself entirely too long (so unusual for a blogger like me 😉 ), outside of the fact that it is 2 months overdue…I’m down to my final two weeks in Denmark!!

A preview of what’s to come: posts dedicated to travel, travel, travel. My reunion with my Stagedoor buddy Taylor in London directly following our study tour, the two travel breaks in which I somehow managed to hit 8 countries all together, as well as my *hush, hush* two-day endeavors in Istanbul, Turkey. So except about 4 consecutive posts this week with pictures of exciting activities and a variety of country specific animals. (The pictures will dominate over the words this time seeing as I have taken close to 800 photos this semester alone already!!)

Can’t wait to post again soon and as always, thanks for following my rants…

Jess

 

It’s All Rainbow Panoramas until Overtaci shows up

I have indeed lied to you all. I have not updated you in a timely fashion as promised. I apologize but I was quite busy playing in wind tunnels, watching bad Danish theater and taking shots with my teacher. No…really. First I will post about my short study tour/long study tour to Vienna. I have had an unfinished post just chilling here for a while so just so you know, time and my forgetfulness will warrant a have well-thought out and half scrambled Denmark is too awesome to care about correct English post 😀

Short Study Tour (an informative piece):

Monday, September 8th

  • Academic Visit #1: Sankt Hans Center for Psychiatry

We started our week at Sankt Hans where we were greeted at 10 AM (post-getting lost/struggling to fit a bus in the allotted parking spot) and were sat at tables with our first round of pastries, tea and COFFEE.  Excuse my excitement but with prices and the disdain my host family has towards the beverage, getting it for free is a magical experience.

An older man and slightly younger woman put up a slide show telling us more about where we were.  The Sankt Hans Center for Psychiatry became a dedicated (and the oldest!) psychiatric hospital in Denmark.  It was not always regarded as such however…The St. Hans Hospital previously went under the pseudonym “The Plague House” for its admission of plague victims along with both the poor and the mentally insane.  The original institution stood in Copenhagen before a new hospital was constructed in Roskilde in 1908.  The chief physician that stared the movement toward a psychiatric clinic, Johan Henrik Seidelin, gave the hospital a more humane and hygienically clean place. He also established the “mental cure techniques”, which included using restraining chairs, strait jackets, and elect-shock therapy to treat patients.

The Roskilde building still stands today with a hospital museum in the basement of “Kurhus” (The Cure House).  The unique museum shows the history of the hospital through a collection of ward furniture, therapy equipment, and patient artwork.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to peruse the museum however we had a very detailed presentation on the venue’s history.  We even learned that the institution is still taking patients! (in a different location however) and has a new focus on forensic psychology.  Pictures:

The Grounds for the Museum and old Hospital

The Grounds for the Museum and old Hospital

Common room on the ward

Common room on the ward

When Sankt Hans first opened its doors

When Sankt Hans first opened its doors

  • Academic Visit #2: MultiFunc Aarhus

MultiFunc is a treatment center for up to eight young people between the ages of 14-18 years.  The institution follow the Norwegian model of care, allowing for short-term and intensive care reserved only for those adolescents with severe criminal, aggressive, and/or violent behavior.  The adolescents receive a variety of services to which includes individual and family therapy, and usually have a room within the complex that they go back to at night after school and any after-school activities they have been approved to do.  In order to ensure the that the patients don’t “trigger” other patients into performing antisocial or other negative behaviors, they are kept completely isolated from other patients (which I don’t really agree with considering the antisocial personality is the issue and that this is going to bar normal interaction and communication outside of the safe institutional confines…<cue classic neuropsychology student>)

I had a lot of issues with how this place is run including, but not limited to: the solely positive/reward-based reinforcement, the amount of patients vs. the economic input to the institution, the patient interaction mentality which I have already bashed on…the requirement of how “bad” you have to be to receive services, etc, etc.  So yeah not a place I could say I support in its current standing but hey, now I have something to negatively discuss in a research paper…

Tuesday, September 9th

  • Academic Visit #1: KognitivGruppen

Another visit to an institution I disagree with the approach of….but I will give an overview of the program nonetheless. I’ll try to sound like an objective research reporter but hey we’ll see, I’m very opinionated and I have trouble not showing it. KognitivGruppen (or Cognitive Group in English) is a psychological company offering services in therapy and life coaching.  Methods are based on the 3rd wave of cognitive therapy, a wave of therapy working with the client to change the relationship to one’s thoughts so that they do not take control over one’s life.  This is “accomplished” through mindfulness/meditation and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).  The end goal is to find your true values and live accordingly to what is important to you.

  • Cultural Fun Take #1: The ARoS Museum

The ARoS Museum is a modern art museum that holds a range of alternative, colorful, and sometimes quite bizarre exhibits that really make you think. The museum is split into 6 visible floors in a circular building with a screened terrace at the top. This museum has been something I vowed to do once I learned about it and was more than thrilled to get the chance to use it as an academic break with my classmates (and have DIS cover my ticket…) Our class had been split into self-chosen groups to culturally immerse ourselves so to speak and I ended up with my roommate buddy Melissa and Sara.  I knocked out all the important stuff in under two hours with my highlights (which is pretty good considering the whole “one of the biggest art museums in Northern Europe thing). Two favorites though:

1) A room with a sign initially stating an obscure warning about combining the exhibit and claustrophobia. Well I’m not claustrophobic in the least so…check. But seriously, the warning could not have been more warranted as once I stepped into the depths of a large room, I was unable to see more than two feet in front of my face! The room was quartered with each section holding a different colored fog (we spent extra time in the pink fog, a true color winner in my eyes….thanks guys…. :/ But still loads of fun, selfies galore. Here’s my favorite:

Would you expect anything less?

Would you expect anything less?

2) The Rainbow Panorama: I have to say this is the number 1 thing that the museum is famous for and a primary visitor attraction each year. (Minus giant, scared boy statue but hey those are everywhere right? #rainbowsfordays). Anyway the Rainbow Panorama is basically a terrace of the round structure of the museum. It’s wall to wall screen split into different colors of the rainbow that are exaggerated in the sunlight for those oh so many tourist pictures. Looking into the structure, you can see each floor of the museum below and the teeny, tiny museum-goers standing in line for tickets, But facing outward, oh facing outward, you have such a great view of Copenhagen; castles, houses, bikers, canals and all. Freaking gorgeous. But again, let’s save words and space by enforcing my point through the obligatory photo-shoot I took in the rainbow wonderland.

Panorama GO

Panorama GO

To balance the time we spent in the pink fog room

To balance the time we spent in the pink fog room

The famous ArOS Rainbow Panorama. Panorama shot.

The famous ArOS Rainbow Panorama. Panorama shot.

  • Academic Visit #2: Museum Overtaci for Art and Psychiatric History

What can I say….art brilliance (or lack there of) or not, this museum was by far my favorite academic visit of the trip. Imagine a museum in which half of it is paintings and structures, acting as the primary and perhaps most effective means of “getting inside” a mentally ill patients thoughts. The are ranged from self portraits, abstract pieces, and the spectacle that took up most of my time (unsurprising at most): grotesque expressions of cultural tragedies and morbid rock lyrics.

The most interesting range of pieces was, in my opinion, the ugliest artwork in the quarters, however the bizarre story is what drew a line of my classmates in…The museum in full is named after a man named Louis Marcussen, otherwise known as Overtaci. Overtaci stayed in Risskov for a daunting 56 years. I won’t go deep into his in depth, decades-compiled psychological history as I don’t even truly understand it. What I’ve gotten and was told of his artwork, he used it as a means of molding a sanctuary to all women. He viewed women as the supreme beings and in some ways wanted to be one without actively pursuing that want. A transvestite in thought? No judgement, but it is quite interesting.

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Crude creativity? I appreciate the Nirvana reference.

That's Ovartaci for you...

That’s Overtaci for you…

Wednesday, September 10th

  • Academic Visit #1: Gallo-Huset Aarhus

There’s not much to say on this location other than it is a coffeehouse promoting support and ultimately run by persons with a variety of mental issues including anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, etc. I sort of hear the mumbling of one baker on location and her struggles as a mother with depression. Very good coffee though.

  • Academic Visit #2 (Our Last Visit): Center for At-Home Support

The Center for At-Home Support is a commune for people living with mental disorders. The interesting part of the At-Home Support houses people who are learning to cope and effectively live with their symptoms, not actively treat/control their disease and extinguish their symptoms. The location’s mindset is that there is no problem having and living with a mental illness, as long as it doesn’t prevent daily functioning…I mean the woman who was speaking to us was a delusional schizophrenic that saw flying, pink elephants above our heads as she introduced herself.

That was the end of the travel portion of our core course week. Back in Copenhagen, we had some lectures and a depressing movie but that’s not worth getting into when there is my Long Study Tour trip to Vienna which will be posted in a separate picture-book but simultaneously posted…well, post!

Scrambling to catch up on 3 months pre-travel,

Jess

My Everyday Boots No Longer Have a Sole

As my core course week comes to a close, I will stray from posting of my adventures in Aarhus and Skanderberg by reverting back, as promised, to a brief (I promise “briefer”…I’m working on conciseness but there’s just so many words that I overflow with that I will be suffocated by their accumulation if I don’t share them with the world!!) Sorry, side-tracking again. Anyway I will go back to where I left off on last week’s recap:

  • Friday, August 29th Early Evening: Buddy Kick-Off Event

So remember in my previous post about cats and lack of packing motivation that I was sooooo excited for the introduction to my own Danish Buddy Network? No? Well I mean I guess I suppose I can forgive your 1+ month memory lapse and give you a little reminder 

My point is this excitement is well-warranted! On Friday evening, DIS was so kind to organize a meal and ice-breaker venue for each of the ten buddy networks, kind of an introduction to what being party of a buddy network is all about. I made way through the DIS Floor 2 lounge or I more circled 10 tables in search of unfamiliar faces, but particular unfamiliar faces (Hint: There were buddy network numbers on each table organizing the chaos…personally, despite it’s sen-embarassment, I found the “Guess Who Your Buddies Are by Staring and Seeing if There’s any Inclination of Positive Recognition through Facebook or the Like” oddly thrilling…)

Buddy network #9 is made up of 6 Danish students and young adults and 6 DIS American students, along with a Danish group leader whom serves as a moderator and initiator of group get-togethers. After a bite of well-prepared zucchini and overly spiced Thai rice, Linea, our group leader (and also in charge of running the nightclub Rust, one of the best in town, which ups the cool sooooo much) that awkwardly staring at tables like the other networks wasn’t her style and instead we should better get to know each other in a more intimate setting…with beer. We headed up to this graffiti plaster, Danish-hipster bar named Floss and better got to know each other. As we drank, played pool and reclined on the couch; I got to know a medical school genius named Dina, a boisterous Harvard junior who gave my love for Denmark a run for its money and, of course, a red-haired Danish metal-band member who introduced himself saying “Hi, I’m Patrick but don’t call me “Pat” as that’s Danish slang for tit.” Love him. Once the chill vibe had settled and we were comfortable with each other, we decided that we should continue our night at a more upscale cocktail bar. I got coaxed into partaking in sugary beverage tastings and got to know our Linea a little better and her awesome plans for rooftop yoga, more bar-hopping, and casual, local Denmark exploration. We stopped by the student house to see some of the University of Copenhagen folks pre-first day back, yet that was a bust so I consider this to be the real end of the night. I’m so excited to hang out with and know these 12, Danish and American alike, students and non-students and I feel like this will definitely be a social experience that will help me both grow and build a “network” so to say with people all over.

P.S. If you were curious, here’s the group shot gem I nabbed at the cocktail bar:

Well we're smiling for two reasons, new friends and....cocktails...but mostly new friends!

Well we’re smiling for two reasons, new friends and….cocktails…but mostly new friends!

And now that I think about it, I’m so far back that it may be better to document the details of the more cultural and fun events in pictures! (Plus, probably like you, I am never going to return to these posts and read it straight through if I continue the extreme lengthiness….even the talker gets sick of “hearing” herself talk. Imagine that 😉 )

  • Sunday, August 31st Lunch time: Family Visit to the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Sunday is free museum day and my host family and I took clear advantage of it by spending an entire day at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Museum. We covered each and every corner of the museum….though to Kristina and I’s request, half that time was dedicated to laughing/making up back stories for the intricate but oddly expressive statues.

Best take (take 5), documented proof of Miamaya and I enjoying the museum

Best take (take 5), documented proof of Miamaya and I enjoying the museum

One of those  statues

One of those statues <what the hell but still kind of cool…> statues

Gabriel knows his art and he will give us all a lesson!

Gabriel knows his art and he will give us all a lesson!

  • Wednesday, September 3rd 11 AM: Playing through Superkilen Park

Superkilen Park public park in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen, Denmark and is designed as an art exhibition by the German landscape company, Superflex. Take this to mean that their our multicolored swings, slides and climbing structures in addition to graffiti art and other innovative design elements. A.K.A I’m not so secretly 5…and I played there with Megan (well I mostly played…) for several hours. Proof:

Them swirly swings though

Them swirly swings though

Look mom I made it to the top! Actually don't look, as you may worry I'll fall...

Look mom I made it to the top! Actually don’t look, as you may worry I’ll fall…

Sliding without a selfie? I don't think so!

Sliding without a selfie? I don’t think so!

The infamous "drunk" sidewalk lines

The infamous “drunk” sidewalk lines

  • Saturday, September 6th 4 PM: Tour and Beer Tasting of Carlsberg Brewery (Post shopping, of course…)

After getting very, very lost (a.k.a on the other side of Copenhagen), I made it to Ny Carlsberg. There Hope (who’d been waiting for probably 3 hours, yeah…my bad…). We went to a pop-up open market called Finders Keepers where I purchased a metallic etched Tivoli poster for my dorm as well as some dog-tooth harem pants which I (and Hope agreed–so that makes two!) thought they were the absolute BEST THINGS EVER. (Cue judgement…but hey, I dare say TREAT YO SELF…seemed appropriate to use that phrase in this instance alone…).

Following the shopping venture, we made it to Carlsberg Brewery just before it closed. Carlsberg Breweris the venue for the famous beer manufacture of the famous, famous Danish brewing company Carlsberg Group. The Danish brewing company was founded in the mid-19th century by a man named J.C. Jacobson. Now, it produce multiple, multiple million beers internationally spanning over 500 brands. I could go into the details of the bottle collection rooms, the delicious original blend beer we tried, the “flavor smelling” room and the casual hole-in-face pictures we took in the museum but I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

"Enter here of your brewing experience."

“Enter here of your brewing experience.”

I missed the look at the camera cue...

I missed the look at the camera cue…

Thousands of bottles from all over the world. Packrat much? (Still really cool...)

Thousands of bottles from all over the world. Packrat much? (Still really cool…)

See! A beer smelling room...it's real!

See! A beer smelling room…it’s real!

Skal!

Skal!

  • Also Saturday, September 6th 10 PM: Grand Hotel Party at Vega

Megan’s Danish roommate let us know about this 20’s/post WWI party at the Vega concert hall this weekend (The pros of knowing those young Danish people 😉 ). There was a steep entrance fee and a fair struggle in finding something to wear/making it to the venue, but it was all well worth it. There’s so much I can say about the fun of this night but I’ll quickly sum it up in one sentence: fancy cocktails, cabaret/swing/strange witchcraft-esque (don’t ask…) performances, and new Swedish friends (blonde and very attractive at that…). Pictures–none of the attractive Swedish guys, sorry female readers but you’ll just have to trust me:

Start of the night excited faces!

Start of the night excited faces!

Low colored lights and swing dance

Low colored lights and swing dance

Very classy, very classy

Very classy, very classy

  • Saturday, September 13th 10 AM sharp: Casual Day Trip to a Different Country…Malmö, Sweden Adventures

Yes friends, I can take a half-hour train ride and magically be in Sweden–no planes or passport required! (Well, lies…passport probably required for foreigners but I forgot mine on my shelf and was very, very luckily not detained from reentering Denmark. What a story that would be…) Anyhow, Sara and I arrived at Central Station at 11 AM sharp ready for a day in Sweden. Now Malmö isn’t that big mind you, so we were able to see the whole city and more in a total of 6 hours (it’s actually because we’re awesome but that’s obviously an assumed side note…).

We started off our trip by, being our directionally-challenged selves, naturally getting lost. We somehow managed to sort of interpret Swedish directions (mostly due to hand gestures but we still got it) to make it just in time for a Malmö sightseeing cruise. We got to see the entirety of the Malmö in an hour and I accomplished my goal of a snapshot of the Turning Torso! Getting off the boat, we learned very quickly that things were luckily much cheaper here than in Copenhagen and grabbed some salad and cider.

After lunch, we headed to the Malmöhus Castle; a.k.a a quite ugly fortress first built in 1434 that has since held many uses from housing the royal family to housing prisoners. Overall, the castle museum was very underwhelming though free for age 19 and under (Mind as well put my mistaken identity for a child for something now 😉 ) There were several odd exhibitions including high-definition photographs of frogs and a room filled with child’s toys from 1850 on. We continued on to see the cannon room and the royal family members’ bedrooms and dining area. We ended our museum tour with the basement that showed the castles other uses that included a set-up of a military bunker room with soldier’s personal objects and war tools and all. There was also a surplus of ankle shackles and chains within a small cell for two. In front of that, I stood in awe at a 15 foot arced wall of portraits of each and every picture who had tread these floors for the crimes done. Honestly, the basement made the museum visit well worth it.

We ended our visit with a stroll through the city center merely taking in the view and watching the odd and/or gorgeous Swedish persons pass us by. We found a Zara to stop in where I bought a decently priced pair of black booties that I naturally made the argument of needing them to appear truly Danish of course 😉 We ended in a very cozy coffee shop in which I got my daily (or merely afternoon..) dose of three cups of coffee and had a serious heart-to-heart convo about life philosophy, my fav… 🙂 And soon enough we were back in Copenhagen (not detained in another Scandinavian country! Success!) and hanging out in Sara’s kollegium, praying for the rain to stop and preparing for our first club night out! Well, I’ll briefly touch on our night out in a minute but for now, a “Malmö collage”:

My Facebook album title inspiration: "Turn that Torso"

My Facebook album title inspiration: “Turn that Torso”

Our first stop next to airport...a.k.a probs the best pic I got :)

Our first stop next to airport…a.k.a probs the best pic I got 🙂

Prisoner Portrait Wall

Prisoner Portrait Wall

Wonderful Street Performer

Wonderful Street Performer

Aren't we cute?

Aren’t we cute?

  • Also Saturday, September 13th 11 PM: Club Night at Rust
  1. My buddy network leader (whom is a devoted Rust staff member) is the best, nulling two friends and I’s heft cover charge and getting us three bottles of Carlsberg’s “on her”.
  2. Despite Sona’s insistence to continue our night out in line with the Danish early morning end-time norms, Sara and I learned we are not indeed club people.
  3. Live music at a club makes the atmosphere so much calmer and I loved loved loved one of the Danish band’s alternative, bluesy set.
  4. The cocktails are very strong so prepare yourself…(or do as I did and waste 50 kroner and opt for a basically non-alcoholic apple cider instead. (Show some New England fall pride.)

As promised, more pictures:

The Outside Screams Coooooool

The Outside Screams Coooooool

A Spectacular Performance

A Spectacular Performance

Selfie in the Red Light!

Selfie in the Red Light!

  • And last but not least Monday, September 13th 7 PM: DANISH CIRCUS 🙂

Yes the circus…Since the first day I arrived, my host family had let me know about there excitement regarding the annual family trip to the circus. And I quote: “Despite being an adult, would you be up for partaking in a more family-oriented activity?…We get really excited for our family trip to the circus each year, so we bought you a ticket just in case you wanted to join!” I am a child at heart. I love these type of things. I wanted to scream out Do you not know me? Of course I want to go. Then I realized no, no they do not in fact know me.

Well it was Monday and the day was finally here. We headed out at 5:30 for the 7 PM circus. You know good seats involve waiting. The kids got antsy so we headed with Lea to see the animals outside. You know typical circus stuff: one camel, one elephant, 3 or so horses…and 5 cows. Ummm Danish circus tradition…No. Lea and the kids had the same wtf expressions as I did…Oh well, we’ll wait the half hour and see if you can actually train cows? (Still skeptical despite their clear presence as circus performers to be…)

Well we went back in, realized the kids had never tried cotton candy (or “candy floss” which makes know sense and kind of gives a gross image). I sacrificed the 30 kroner, got them a cone-full or a puff of or…(I really don’t know what the measurement unit for cotton candy is.) and saw my host brother, a.k.a. the pickiest eater I’ve ever met (like this is actually coming from me as one of the severely picky…) devour about half of it. Damn. Success on the food front.

The circus was ready to start. I can go into the detail of all the acts but I’ll give you a few strange descriptions and picture proof instead:

Though this announcer/singer was beyond annoying, she could work that elephant....

Though this announcer/singer was beyond annoying, she could work that elephant….

Shit. Them acrobats be strong.

Shit. Them acrobats be strong.

The most talented cows.

The most talented cows.

  • Oh, just kidding! Thursday, September 18th 7 PM: F.C. Copenhagen vs. HJK Helsinki Soccer or (or Football in Europe, whichever you prefer) Game

Despite my last bullet point and in the meantime of completing the draft of this post (finally…), I went to an F.C. Copenhagen Game and this interesting experience, at least I thought, was worthy of being included. (And it’s my blog so I can include whatever I want ;))…(Another side note: that smiley face was supposed to be snarky, not suggestive. Hmmm I never realized how close the two could be… #unsexualizewinkysmileys 😉 )

I’ll actually keep this one short because I have two more posts to hopefully complete before the end of this week…My buddy network leader, Linea, let the group know that she had free tickets to the F.C. Copenhagen game on Thursday night. And though I wanted to see the death match on Sunday, I decided to take the not paying 30 euro route and going to the calmer game on Thursday. (And thank god I did considering the insane weekend that took up the entire weekend but that will be my next and shamelessly extensive post). I showed up early and after waiting past our meeting time, it appeared as if Linea, one other DIS buddy network nine member-Martin- and I. Made our way in and got a drink and the match scarf was also placed on my neck by a rather creepy vendor. I separated myself from him rather quickly but hey, a free 120 kroner souvenir free for the “pretty young thing”… <barf and creeped out shiver> The three of us took a selfie (I mean, of course…), took some aerial shots from our high-up seats and started to prepare for the 90 or so minute match.

Now, I’m no soccer fan…I don’t follow the Euro cup and I’ve never been to any form of a soccer match, professional or not. However and shockingly enough, I was on the edge of my seat the entire game mesmerized but nervous and excited and thrilled by the entire time. The atmosphere was so interesting too with the team attire, the pride and commitment and singing and “wave” movement from the super-fan section. It was daunting. And we won! 2-0, creaming them, with the Finnish players not even skimming the grass in front of our goal whatsoever. I made my way out, slowly, but very satisfied by my choice to attend the game. Here’s more pictures (I mean of course!):

FC Copenhagen Game Selfie! (Martin, Linea, and I)

FC Copenhagen Game Selfie! (Martin, Linea, and I)

The stands, advertising Carlsberg beer of course. I mean it is Denmark...

The stands, advertising Carlsberg beer of course. I mean it is Denmark…

Aerial view of the field

Aerial view of the field

I did relatively well at keeping some posts short and sweet this time…I’m working on it… But you should hear from me very, very soon. Though I must unfortunately put my core course week on hold for eveeeeen longer…but I need to share my very, very last minute (like literally 10 hours before…) snatching of a spot on the Sweden Canoeing and Hiking Trip this previous weekend!!!! Now, if you talk to anyone that even remotely knows me at DIS knows that I have been posting and asking and searching for a spot on this trip for weeks. I showed great persistence to the point of annoying-ness… but that temporarily attracted behavior trait beyond paid off as the trip was unparalleled and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But believe me I can keep posting about this trip for page upon page but I’ll save that for the next post.

Exhaustedly but well satisfied yours,

Jess

For the Love of Freezing Water

Well, well, well….I haven’t talked to you all in awhile! My first two to three weeks in Viking country have honestly just been so hectic that I haven’t gotten the chance to sit down actually recall the details of all that I’ve done. Though I know it’s absolutely thrilling to read my lengthy, reflective posts that elaborate on the play-by-play action and their metaphorical meaning (philosophical…I know, I know 😉 )….anyway, as I was saying, I will unfortunately not have time to continue as I have been. So without further ado, some brief words and snapshots of my day-to-day adventures, naturally split into two posts:

  • Sunday, August 24th 11:00 AM: Brunch at Lea and Philip’s Place

Philip is Cristina’s brother who I was briefly introduced to at the Sri Lankan dinner, though I never really got the chance to talk to him or meet his live-in girlfriend, Lea. So what better way to meet and talk than with tons of food (bike more, eat more, guess that’s their mentality which seems surprisingly logical…). I kid you not that upon entering, Lea had made and was solely (she insisted on doing everything herself <cue music for Miss Independent>) setting out every breakfast food imaginable. This included: yogurt parfaits, pancakes, sausage, eggs, bacon, fruit, bread, some kind of sweet breakfast pie, bagels, waffles, etc, etc. And well long story short, meals–brunch it seems especially with the full day ahead–are never a stop-by occasion. We spent about 2-3 hours “brunching” before heading to an outlet mall near the pair’s apartment. And after continual forgetting that no, that t-shirt is not $300 American dollars (but damn Danes, even still, ~$60 for a t-shirt is quite the chunk of change) and countless miscommunications/failed attempts at Danish pronunciation of clothing vocabulary (Oh come on….you would have trouble pronouncing “hvid” and “størrelse” too), we all left empty-handed. We sat on a lake that Cristina’s mother was very fascinated by and the family attempted to hide their mutual blasé attitudes by teaching me about Geo-Cashing (It’s all the rage in Denmark at the moment.) And that being that, it was nearly 6 PM…Goodbye day! But well spent with great people. (P.S. Only pic I got was of my host-dad in a tickle wrestling match with Miamaya and Gabriel:

Only 60 pounds of energy and giggling has the power to knock a grown man off his feet.

Only 60 pounds of energy and giggling has the power to knock a grown man on the floor.

  • Monday, August 25th 6 PM: Danish Language and Culture Cafe Night

Colby has a rule stating that if you are in a country in which the residents do not speak English, you must take a class on the basics of the native language (Even though EVERYONE can also speak English here and Danish is freakin impossible to pronounce, but whatever. Focus: happiest country on Earth, pastries, vikings…no bitterness allowed!) Anyway, the Danish class is called “Danish Language and Culture” for a reason. The hour and a half time is dedicated to 45 minutes of failed pronunciations and return to the “Hi, my name is… I am from…” learn-how-to-read kindergarden phrases. The other 45 minutes is dedicated to lessons about Danish culture. So far, we have learned of dinner etiquette, the Free Town of Christiana and, of course, hygge. (See my last post.) Well somehow a field study in which was supposedly for “learning about culture” turned into a tremendously fancy dinner of buccatni ala taormina, vegetable strangleapreti, and of course…carlsberg beer. This was followed by a tour of the castles, memorial trees and ducks of Fredericksburg (super richy, rich part of Copenhagen that’s totally cool to see and dine in when you don’t have to pay yourself 😉 )

  • Wednesday, August 27th: A Whole Day off of meandering with new friends 🙂

To be clear, once I get back to Colby, I’m not going to enjoy classes five days a week again.(Note the things I worry about…). Yes, no classes on Wednesdays at DIS for me! Wednesdays each week are reserved for “field studies” (read: field trips to art exhibits, open prisons, troubled teen centers and sex education workshops.Damn…that diversity though) Or if f you do not have these lovely, organized cultural expeditions; independent fun time!! I was fortunate enough to start off the semester with no field studies, thus giving me time to get to know Copenhagen! Let’s see now, I wasn’t planning on doing much but casual exploration but then I get a text inviting me to cross three new things off my Copenhagen Bucket List. Productiveness! A group of six (one I knew and then new friends) started out at a little corner cafe, which I conveniently managed to turn a 5 minute walk from the station into a 20 minute Google Map lesson, to eat foodsssss (well I mean cafe, food—logic). While everyone ordered the breakfast essentials, I order a bowl of hummus and these Danish brown bread sticks. (Being different, unfortunately, read: hipster, or my dislike of breakfast-anything; I’ll leave the interpretation to my dear readers.). Well after one impromptu brunch, 4 coffees, and six staggering bills, we chose the Church of Our Saviour as our next destination. The Church of Our Saviour (Vor Frelsers Kirke) is a baroque church in Copenhagen, constructed in 1695, and most famous for its corkscrew spire and external staircase that can be climbed to the top. But I’ll be lazy and direct you to the more detailed (though non-essay-appropriate….come on professors) Wikipedia page. So yeah, climbing the 90 m (just over 295 feet for us Americans) is a trek more daunting then it may first appear. Somehow I made it to the top 25 minutes before everyone else (I guess my legs just move fast for an under 5 footer). An I-phone pano shot was snapped and like that I was down and sitting on a bench as I tried to interpret Danish directions to the bathroom.

But that view...

But that view…

Well, my new friends eventually sauntered their way downstairs, shocked that my ability to imitate the speed of a Looney Toons favorite, Roadrunner, and we were off to Freetown Christiana. Freetown Christiana is a self-proclaimed autonomous nation within Copenhagen and full of, no better word to describe them, than free-spirited hippies insistent on maintaining their own special community of art, meditative practice and smoking. They maintain many different laws to promote their seemingly independent community including free sale of marijuana on what is called “Pusher Street”, until recently, no rent paid, as well as strongly enforced bans on cars, fighting, and photography of any kind. We made our we to the entrance sign and took the obligatory I feel cooler by standing in front of crazy and vibrant famous murals selfie. This is the shot in question:

IMG_1848

We moseyed through, stopping to gaze upon handmade lotus flower pendants and copper and stone dangly earrings (which I had to restrain myself from being taken by the 20 kroner prices and buying six of each…) and Adventure Time bongs (at least they recognize the well-deserved importance of this preteen boys’ favorite show, that I may or may not be guilty of watching manyseveralone time). I ended up deciding to purchase a painted postcard, opting out of character souvenirs. We spent only an hour there but in that short time I played with three dogs (one of which looked like it had dreads…fitting), sing folk covers of Danish pop tunes, and learn about the key to Danish happiness with Pusher Street vendors (<hint,hint> besides the obvious….I mean watching Adventure Time can’t always be a thing now, am I right?!) And to end a very all over the place day, to say the least, I decided to voluntarily submerge myself in cold water, naturally before it turned into colder water. Why you ask? Because it’s on the bucket list. But it’s there for a reason…Let’s start from the beginning, how you I ask am I submerging myself in cold water? I am jumping off a 5.5 meter dock into a harbor…so that’s a thing. Now you still may be wondering why and in fact the more I think about it, I do too but you know, it’s a thrill. You only Copenhagen once. Want to see a picture play-by-play?!? Well that’s a hypothetical question as I am still posting it below separate from your individual answers…

IMG_1856 IMG_1857 IMG_1858 IMG_1859 IMG_1860

There you are friends and family…my week 2 in Copenhagen. I promise, promise, PROMISE to post part 2 of my catch-up when I return from the travel component of my core course week (Yay Aahrus! Yay “extreme” canoeing!). Here’s a preview though: canary football tournaments, art prints, rainbow flags, Greek sculptors and WWI war uniforms. You’ll need to to find out the logical connection between these illogical stand-alone instances.

To be continued…

Jess

A House is Not a Home without Traditional Sri Lankan Food and Dinner Talk of Nude Painting Classes

Now, I’m starting out with a bit of an odd title. If know me, you may chalk it up to my odd and sometimes misguided sense of humor. That’s somewhat true I guess, however there’s real truth to this post looking back on last night’s festivities.

After, the Student Activities Fair was completed, (I was recruited to play rugby…I must look tough for a five foot tall chick with a sweater spotted with smiling penguins.) I headed to the metro station to meet my host dad for a big dinner of traditional Sri Lankan food at my host mom’s bestie’s (yes I just used the word bestie…) house.

I was met with a hug and another quite tall and bald (descriptions aren’t my think, that’s all I got) man. It was interesting. I expected some reserve at first but instead, I was met with a hand shake that turned into a hug. There was then a rapid firing of questions, one after another: “What do you study?” “Where do you live?” “What have you liked best about Denmark so far?” “Why did I]you want to live with a host family?”….and “Gosh, why did you choose these people to live with?” That warmth and humor I was met with was in fact only a tiny crumb on the welcoming atmosphere I was received with throughout the night.

I walked through the door and was shocked by the amount of people that had been invited to join the seemingly casual Wednesday night dinner. To put this in perspective, we fit: the 4 members of my host family, my host mom’s best friend (Anja) and her daughter, my host dad’s good friend (a.k.a that tall, bald dude that I’m still having trouble finding more profound adjectives for), Anja’s parents (who cooked the lovely feast we were met with), my host mom’s brother and mother, and me into a two-bedroom apartment. 12 people forced to be intimate as such the space required…But anyway I was invited to sit at the “adult table” immediately (a.k.a all of the guys and my host mom, Kristina’s, mother). A hearty glass of red wine was immediately placed in front of me only after being teased for the fact that I’m not 21 (Note to all travelers: All of the Danes and Europeans I’ve met make fun of the American drinking age of 21, basically made moot once you hit the frat houses, or at least in their opinion.)

My host mar mar (slang for grandmother, made law for me to reference her by…If you were wondering, this was enforced in writing, or at least as the first contact punched into my Danish celphonel…) gave me a bear hug and attention was again fully on me with everyone seemingly  fascinated by my opinions, experiences, stories, even though they had just met me.They joked and talked at timesnin Danish naturally, but never failed to translate so as to include me in a good laugh. We spoke of anything and everything from television logistics to old family vacations to the experience of taking the nude painting class my host parents had gotten as a wedding gift (See! The title doesn’t seem so bizarre now, huhhhh?…Ok it still does, but I’m not coming up with these bizarre things on my own, at least for this moment).

Finally the food arrived, and I swear a dozen dishes were brought out one by one from that tiny kitchen. Spicy beef and onions, garlic roasted potatoes and carrots, warm rye bread, pork chops, and the list goes on and on. We ate. I ate too and shared that cultural experience which, would have definitely been more awkward if I had refused the food. Food for thought, literally and figuratively. Food acted as a social lubricant that reignited the conversation for 2+ more hours before coffee, more wine, double chocolate cake, cheers and hugs. I really think my family would have stayed even longer if my host siblings hadn’t passed out exhausted in the middle of the walkway. We eventually (somehow…) made our way through the crowd to head back to Karslunde for some much-needed rest. But this was a night I would remember, mainly because it was one and really only one of the first of what I’ve always wanted….a loving, large family dinner filled with more than just food.

I had heard so much about the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced hue-gah) but I never thought I would be able to experience it authentically. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, hygge it is a uniquely Danish concept not quite translatable in English, but can roughly be understood as the idea of creating a nice, warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you (or at least that’s how Wikipedia describes it…) It really sucks that much of American culture doesn’t have time, per say, to fulfill the components of this concept. The fact that I don’t have my whole extended family at the dinner table for hours-long dinner, with no “holiday excuse” did not translate. People are always on the go and don’t stop to realize the parts of life we miss…Especially genuine laughter. The focus on fulfilling the American Dream, so to say, by always pushing to move ahead, working and speeding past anything that seems non-conducive to hitting their unattainable goals really seems silly when you think long and hard about it. Why are we in this rush? Why is their so many expectations and so much pressure to be something that you may not be capable of being? Denmark is the currently happiest nation in the country. This been proven very many times.There are many factors that contribute to this achievement as you can guess; liked leadership, economic equality, etc, etc. What I find at the root of all these things however is a lowered and more realistic set of expectations. As far as I can tell, most Danes are not expecting to be big and famous or achieve such and such amount of things by [insert age here]. Their attention is directed more toward the small joys that come with living everyday life: seeing a rainbow on a long bike ride, a really yummy flødeboller, and of course the warmth of family gatherings. What a way to live. That’s all I’ll say.

Well I must go to bed for my 6:30 AM bus (Oh joy…) but first I thought I’d share the other highlight of my day yesterday…FINDING THE FREAKING SIDEWALK TRAMPOLINES ON THE HAVNEGADE HARBOUR PROMENADE. Bucket list cross off, and proof of accomplishment:

Jordan--DIS brochure material?

Jordan–DIS brochure material?

Aaron looking a bit too excited...

Aaron looking a bit too excited…

And me. This was the awkward shot taken of me on my second attempt. (Fell the first time round. Practice makes perfect?)

And me.
This was the awkward shot taken of me on my second attempt at a snapshot. (I fell the first time round. Practice makes perfect?)

Anyway….much thanks for reading,

Jess

“Build Your Own Elephant”

This morning, all DIS students were invited to the opening ceremony for the fall semester at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Basically tips and advice and info and yada, yada, yada all rolled into one. The ceremony obviously heightened my already through-the-roof excitement, but one thing in particular stuck with me…”build your own elephant”. I guarantee you’re reading this thinking I’m crazy, but work with me for a moment. What this term encapsulates is that there are many different aspects of the study abroad experience, and like with the body parts of an elephant, when taken in isolation they can give a very incomplete and mundane impression of something so much more massive. We are each responsible for individualizing our own study abroad experience but in a way that we are adding pieces to complete a beautiful puzzle of your own signature artwork.

I came out of this ceremony excited and anxious to start to build my elephant, so to speak, and coming out of those doors I thought that the base of my elephant would need to be the excitement and the social aspect, the fun times. But sitting here at 9 at night and after a very interesting afternoon, I realize that the base of the study abroad experience I desire is quite different.

Let’s start from the beginning, after both the opening ceremony and housing session I was excited to meet a group of new friends….(Yay new friends! …..I’m not so secretly six years old….Deal with it.) We were able to have good conversation, a chance to explore Strøget Street, and of course have some very bad seaweed salad and some very good beer, both equally expensive….naturally. It was time to bid adieu and head off our separate ways. Once I got on the metro however, I realized I was going the complete opposite direction of where “home” was. So I made it back to the original station and was aided in navigating towards the right train I was to take. I was honestly feeling good, I had gained some valuable tips from kind strangers and I didn’t have to contact my host family at all for help with directions. The hard part was over…or so I thought.

Long story short, a torrential downpour began and I started to ride on the slippery roads. I fell once in the hedges and was overall really turned around, eventually realizing that I was completely lost and unable to even navigate to the place I knew best in Denmark thus far. I felt defeated. Embarrassed that I would have to “bother” my host father for help, seeing as I was 20 years old and should really be able to handle all of these things myself….

I called my host dad, said I was lost, apologized about four times, and began to get the impression that he thought less of me now. He took the 15 minute bike ride to come find me (a.k.a I was so lost that he had never even been to the area I was in….whoops). But on the way back, it seemed different and almost funny. In America, the apologetic reaction to making mistakes comes with perfectionist, unrealistic expectations and a persons’s general inability to step into the other persons shoes. My host dad immediately said “Hey, let’s retrace your steps and you can show me the right way…it’ll just take a few more minutes.” Well, I thought he was surprisingly calm hmmmm…..and then he gave up the subject all together! He pointed to the clouds and described what they felt like to him–the texture, the different shades of white and shades of gray and their contrast to the blue sky, what they may “taste” like and the previously-seen-rainbow. Soon enough we were home with tea in hand, talking about ducks of course (Yes I have host ducks that are only a few months old. They’re awesome. Be jealous.)

This slightly shorter than a novel post thus far, gave me an understanding of how to start “building my elephant”. I need to let go. I am adventurous and I’m up for taking any challenge that comes my way. But I forget to focus on the logical. Self sufficiency is what I had assumed to be the goal and the hardest part to adjust to, mainly because I’m not used to this way of life and this amount of freedom. But then I was terrified (and apparently rightfully so…) that I would get lost. It happened. It was a mistake and I was embarrassed. But I asked for help and I realize now that that is not something that nullifies self sufficiency, it actually aids in its growth, Mistakes are human but learning from them to improve upon what you are currently doing or in my case “trying to” do is what will drive an adventurous soul into true independence. I realize it makes me happier to think that way to…confidence that I can learn and conquer but in the meantime enjoy the process focusing on the simple pleasures and subtle differences to back home and letting those guide my experience while I deal with the harder stuff.

Whew! That was a lot of “Hey look what I learned!” for one night. On another note, let’s share the little moments that were maybe unexpected, different from home and provided a few laughs for the time being:

  1. Saturday, my first dinner in my new home for the next few months, my shy host brother tried to communicate with me through his mother, his first question?….”What’s the English word for “f***?”….Swearing is a lot more relaxed here. See, nothing to be alarmed about rather just normal dinner conversation in between sips from a train engine cup.
  2. My host sister speaks only Danish but is nowhere near shy. She has decided that if I don’t understand her, it doesn’t matter….She will talk to me, not because I could understand, but more because she wanted to talk. (She tried to give me a Danish animal coloring book with the names for all the animals…but pronunciation was a failure which brought a very exasperating stuffing of the book back in the drawer.)
  3. The amount of butter and pork these Danes use….gosh gotta balance a hearty meal with the extreme bike-riding (a key to Danish long life and attractiveness, we should apparently all take note.)

Well I must admit that the jetlag, all-day bike riding and walking  and the lump of pork filling my stomach at the moment has ridden me with utter exhaustion (unusual cure to chronic insomnia, but I guess it’ll do…) I promise after more exploration on our “Amazing Race” tomorrow, I will post pictures of the lovely city I will call home. (Dear God, please no more torrential downpours to ruin another pair of shoes….and jeans….and hair) And of course I will have to share the details of host-family adventures together (they’re amazinggggggg, have I mentioned that enough yet?! 😉 But until then I leave you with a few pictures of my host siblings:

"Can I take you picture Gabriel?"  "Hmmmm can I keep my shirt off?" "Ummmm I guess..." "The absolutely"...

“Can I take you picture Gabriel?”
“Hmmmm can I keep my shirt off?”
“Ummmm I guess…”
“The absolutely” <cue corny smile>

Dragon wings were a huge hit...bed, school, trampoline, jumping in puddles? They've seen it all...

Dragon wings were a huge hit…bed, school, trampoline, jumping in puddles? They’ve seen it all…

Obviously not a host sibling, but hey, I can learn to build my own cereal box elephant! …Physical representations of metaphorical concepts. Deep.

Until next time….snarky as always,

Jess

In All Seriousness…

I feel like it was just yesterday that I was stealthily reading through and not so stealthily celebrating the arrival of my “Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to study abroad in Copenhagen” email.  Mind you the stealth was because I was in the middle of a programming project for work…so secret out, but well worth breaking the rules I dare say 🙂

I never imagined how quickly the time would pass until now. Now, when I’m frantically packing. Now, when I’m making dinner plans for a Saturday in Denmark. Now, when I have 4 DAYS LEFT UNTIL I LEAVE.

There have been many, for lack of a better word, experiences I’ve had, good and bad, that change my outlook on various aspects of life. In the broad sense of the term, I guess you can call each of these experiences life-altering. From what I’ve heard and I guess general intuition, I can predict my study abroad experience to be life-altering. Making up for previous events’ unpredictability, I will use what foresight I can to come up with goals for my time in Denmark. So without further ado, it is time to get a bit serious and share my five goals with you, using famous quotes as inspiration for each:

1) Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.“–Cesar Chavez 

Whether by choice or by circumstance, I have not had a tremendous amount of exposure to other cultures within these first twenty years of my life. I’m determined to not let this lack of cultural experience transform into full cultural ignorance.  I have a rare opportunity to be fully immersed in the Danish culture by living in the home of a Danish family and being able to learn and share in the customs, traditions, and celebrations they have. The end goal is to be able to come home with a better sense of the Danish culture and really be able to feel like I was a member of a Danish family at least for the time being.  To accomplish this goal, I will of course not turn my back on my American-ness so to say but I will need to be open to accepting things I would normally see as weird or different. Even if there are some traditions, customs, and aspects of the culture I may not want to try, I am still going to embrace it as a sign of respect and through the shear fact is that it’s the only way to achieve the full cultural experience.

Danish Culture….The Abbreviated Form

2) Real adulthood is the result of two qualities: self-discipline and self reliance. The process of developing them together in balance is called maturing.“–J.W. Jepson

Many have told me that the study abroad experience not only facilitates but in some ways forces you to be independent. I will obviously have classmates, teachers and a host family but the truth of the matter is, I will be solely responsible for my own decisions and actions.  While in Denmark, I am hoping to develop a more mature sense of self confidence and self reliance.  I’m at a good starting point, such as in my positive mindset and my strong desire and openness to exploration and trying new things. From here, I must remember that I can only rely on myself to do things that are in my best interest. I need to trust myself and my ability to live life, stay safe, get things done, and have some fun at the same time.

3) I’ve never been good with asking for help; it seems risky, but at some point when things are really dicey, your stubbornness gives way to a certain form of humility that, after you get over yourself, feels liberating…“–Dee Williams

This third goal is really a continuation of my second goal. Independence has clear roots in being able to rely on yourself and achieve great things by your own doing.  This does not count out the fact that everyone may have to ask for help every once in awhile. I have a real problem with asking for help when I need it. Ever since I was little, I’ve always been afraid to ask for help. I’ve always felt like I should be able to do everything myself….even though that is beyond unrealistic and has actually gotten me in a bit of trouble. This I hope to work on while I’m abroad. Whether it be medical, safety, or even just general knowledge, I’m hoping that I will be able to ask for help when I need it.  I need to trust that my host family, friends, and even my family back in MA won’t be mad or disappointed with me if I need to say “Help me!” at times.

4) One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.“–Abraham Maslow

This quote illustrates perhaps the most important goal not only for my time abroad but also moving forward in life. I feel for myself and as a general principle that you should always be trying to grow personally. This isn’t meant to sound like some sort of cheesy mantra, but more as a mindset that I’ve developed to help me overcome adversities.

Fear is something that engulfed nearly my entire teenage years. I’ve started my extensive personal growth by moving past years of torment by middle school classmates, painful shyness, and the total absence of any self-confidence in order to regain a social life and the necessary interpersonal relationships that I need for a fulfilling life. Of course I can always improve on my ability to relate to others and my still less-than-desired levels of positive self esteem, but now that I’m transitioning into the most important phase of my life thus far (i.e. what I call mature adulthood) it’s time to make strides in the thing I fear the most…food and my body.

As I’ve previously stated, I endured a nearly 6 year battle with an eating disorder, anorexia nervosa to be more specific. At one point even reaching a frail 70-pound frame and completely failing health. After over a year of medical hospitalizations and residential treatment at locations across the country, I attained a healthier frame and a less depressed, anxiety-fueled and self-loathing person. However, I’m still completely terrified of trying new foods and the implausible but still believed effects it will have on my body. This comes into conflict with the life I’m poised to lead abroad. Obviously, I will not be able to seek asylum and comfort in the bland foods I know and the ability to count calories as I go when I’m away. Plus, reverting back to my first goal, I would hate to offend my host family or seem ungrateful by refusing foods they give to me. This can be summed up in one specific quote:

Nemo liber est qui corpori servit” (No one is free who is a slave to his body) –Seneca

I hope to let go and gain a better sense of acceptance for what I eat and how I look. There are more important things to focus on while abroad than the fears that have taken much of my happiness and childhood. I will choose to grow and overcome my demons.

Cheesy representation of jumping into the unknown (What’s up with the fact that all these damn motivational posters include sunsets? #freeyourselffromsunsets)

5) Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.“–Mark Twain

This is my final goal and I’ll keep it short and sweet. I want to step outside my comfort zone, so anything I’m asked to do that is plausible and safe I will say yes.

And to end my series of pre departure posts, I give a promise for my ever-present snark to return in the coming posts and an assortment of lovely and/or embarrassing photos of the people whom I will miss the most:

Peanut--My Naughty Little Puppy

Peanut–My Naughty Little Puppy

Pride Week with the Boys

Freshman Pride Week with the Boys

And he thinks I'm embarrass him...

And he thinks I embarrass him…

ART cast from last Spring--all my favorites

ART cast from Last Spring–All My Favorites

Dressed up and having a ball at the Wiggies

Dressed up and having a ball at the Wiggies

The Definition of the Aronis Sisters' Relationship

The Definition of the Aronis Sisters’ Relationship

 

Happy Holly and Happy Hippy Love

Happy Holly and Happy Hippy Love

Directing his first show? Check. Post show beer to celebrate? Check...and much needed.

Directing his first show? Check. Post show beer to celebrate? Check…and much needed.

The Two Best Cousins a Girl Could Ever Ask For

The Two Best Cousins a Girl Could Ever Ask For….Murphy and Izzy 🙂

And Finally...Perhaps the Worst Family Photo in the World

And Finally…Perhaps the Worst Family Photo Ever

Well readers, farewell until we virtually interact again IN DENMARK :D:D:D

Hej hej (Yay for practicing Danish!!),

Jess

The “Purrrr-fect” Match and the Woes of a Failing Packer

Ten days. Ten Days. TEN DAYS. I leave for Copenhagen in TEN DAYS! Rephrased: I leave for Copenhagen with my newly revealed host family of four in TEN DAYS!!!!!!!!!!

Before today, I had this post saved as “Have you heard of the girl who was incapable of packing”…this is very true. However, I figured I could turn my back on the minimal concentration I have on packing for four months to reiterate my excitement with details upon details of my expected time in Copenhagen.

Constant email refreshes for two days straight revealed who I’d be living with! (Imagine that…) I’ll be taking post in small town named Karslunde, ~30 km southwest of Copenhagen.  My host parents are named Kristina and Carsten, two, young elementary school teachers. They have a 10-year-old son named Gabriel and an 8-year-old daughter Miamaya and a little kitty named Silke 🙂 (Cat hatred to be damned for four months alone.) The family loves to travel, do cultural activities and spend time as a family. And in the words of my dear friend, “they sound like a purrrrrr-fect match” 🙂

The green haven called Karslunde via the first image shown on Google

As for academics, my course load for the next semester is finally complete and verified! It includes:

  1. European Clinical Psychology (my core course)
  2. Danish Language and Culture I
  3. Gender and Sexuality in Scandinavia
  4. Criminology and Criminal Justice in Scandinavia
  5. Health Strategies for At-Risk Populations

And I’ll also be a member of one of the ten Danish Buddy Networks! For those of my readers unsure of what a buddy network is, aside from it bringing back fond memories of those elementary school “learn-to-read networks” of fifth grade buddies teaching their kindergarden counterparts… (Did y’all have that at your school?! 🙂 Moving back on topic, a buddy network, in this sense, is comprised of a group of 8 DIS students and 8 Danish young adults meeting together to talk and further organize cultural and social excursions to embark on as a group.  So the “buddy network” equates to more of a social network to bridge the cultural gap between the foreign and the local population.  The primary reason I sound so overjoyed about this is because this program provides a means of scheduled interaction with young adults my own age.  Don’t get me wrong, I have always dreamed of living with a host family but I also believe a significant component that will mark the success of my study abroad experience is being able to go out and socialize as an adult. (I mean we are college students. The “party hardy” stereotype can be true for one or so nights 😉 ).

For this journey to actually commence, however, I need to actually make it on the airplane which further means I have to possess the things with me as I get on the plane that I will need at the destination (a very roundabout way of saying I need to freaking pack like ASAP).

Never fear, you shall hear from me once more when I’m scrambling a bit less to give a few endnotes to my pre-departure posts and with my goals and the like for the coming semester.

Until then,

Jess

It Began with Australia…

Wow. Give me a second while I get over this whole “Hey I’m a blogger now!” moment, let alone a blogger about studying abroad. <Breath>. Ok now I’m good…

I’ve lived a pretty static life with our big “adventure” being the just under 3 hour flight to Disney World.  Turkey legs the size of my head, hotel maids, and large character mice, what more could an 8 year old ask for?…Well hitting the next year I knew I did want more, I had a bank with what I’d call a fund for my aunt and I to go to Paris.  (Mind you I picked Paris because it was about one of three European countries I knew.  Geography wasn’t isn’t my strong suit.)

Things got a little harder as I grew up. I had a rough middle school-early high school time, focused primarily on the fact that I developed a pretty all-encompassing eating disorder along with a seizure disorder. So yeah…going anywhere with new people, new foods, a new environment made me hesitant and scared my parents shitless. I never, ever saw myself actually getting over that hump, let alone convincing my parents to ease up a bit.

Well times change, quickly at that, and the likes of musical theater camp and university life on the snowy hills of Maine helped me climb and slide down that previously daunting hump.  Proof of help is in the snowmen and smiles:

IMG_1210

College kids take on a child’s task…Success? Maybe. Fun? Definitely.

Candid shot during a performance of Hair

Candid shot during a performance of Hair

I decided then that studying abroad would be a necessary and quintessential addition to my college experience, however it would definitely be a tough sell to my parents. Everyone who knows me though knows that I am a very determined person so I started on the first day of of freshman spring doing research upon research upon research about finances, academic requirements, safety, etc., etc. in finding the absolute BEST places to study abroad. Several days later, I decided on Australia. It was perfect. Beautiful new place, positive reviews from many students traveling there and countless fun things to do. So I was all set to present the information I had to my parents (professional-ish slideshow style because I was anal, Type A, persistentbrilliant 🙂 ). I just had to search flight prices. I however noticed a “things I may like…” ad on the side of Google that advertised ~50 academic programs and extensive travel in Denmark, a country to which the extent of knowledge was that it was located in Europe, near Sweden.

I explored the website for close to 90 minutes and found three psychology programs and a neuroscience program. And TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL within Denmark and across Europe. Questions, extensive presentation of information and many arguments later and here we are…a month and two days until I proceed to the land of the Danes.

Well that’s that, the full-length version of how my upcoming D.I.S experience came to be. Much appreciated if you read through this entire post….I like to talk.  I like to talk a lot. (I count it as a gift and a curse.) My next post will be shorter promise 😉

Love and words upon words,

Jess