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Closing Remarks

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Happy holidays, readers, and hello for the last time! I feel like I owe it to all of you who have been following my journey to wrap up this blog with some closing remarks.  You know me, nothing goes unsaid.

REUNITED with X and Misher! (and yes, I changed my hair)

REUNITED with X and Misher! (and yes, I changed my hair)

Throughout the holidays, I have been so thankful for what I have experienced, and the people I now get to share that experience with. That includes all of you, some of whom have read all 90-something of my posts since the very beginning, when I created this blog in a Dunkin Donuts on a family vacation to Misquamicut, Rhode Island.

Readers, this has been such an amazing journey, and I am sad that I will not be writing to you anymore. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being with me through everything. Blogging has become so much more to me than simply a record of what I have done and seen. This is a medium of expression for me, and I hope you know that you have now seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of this little lady!

Now, I will continue my adjustment back to living in Connecticut and at Villanova. At this point in my transition, it is obvious that American reality is much different than my Danish study abroad experience. Some people think I was simply “on vacation,” but I urge you to remember that taking five classes and dealing with the emotional ups and downs of culture shock, changing worldview, and developing transatlantic independence were no ride on the ferris wheel…

When all is said and done, this semester has been priceless in so many ways. I have grown as a person, appreciate a multicultural perspective, and gained countless friends and experiences. My journey only continues from here.

Much love, readers. Hej hej!

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Things I’ve noticed when traveling through Europe

Tips for travelers that I have discovered or re-discovered throughout my semester abroad:

1) Siestas are effective (eat lunch late, rest from early mornings, eat dinner late, and make and use of nightlife)
2) Nightlife= wee-hours-of-morning life
3) The dollar fluctuation actually matters in the real world!
4) Use of the metro is SUPER convenient.
5) When packing a suitcase to travel, it’s better to pack an L.L. Bean backpack instead (airlines are a crapshoot and sometimes tell you that suitcases are too big, re-wearing jeans is necessary evil, you may be doing extensive walking on cobblestones so rolling bags are not ideal, weather can be difficult to pack for so be realistic about the forecast and be prepared!)
6) Americans are not always well received, especially by rude Italians
7) Overall levels of trust and social responsibility are different in every country. Thus, you and your possessions will be safer in some places than others.
8) YOU must find you own balance between wandering vs sightseeing/doing both.
9) People within certain cities act differently (Italians have a more leisurely walk than Danes, Greeks sit around in squares, Italians spend much time at cafes/trattorias, London metro is brisk)
10) ALWAYS have a charger for all devices AND an extra adapter (or else our plugs are useless)
11) 3 things to never leave home without: debit card, granola bar, shower flip flops!

With these tips, everyone can learn from my mistakes and misconceptions. I hope you have safe and comfortable travels!

Much love.

The Great American Transition

Hello from America, readers. I’ve been here since Saturday evening, and am just now sitting down to write my homecoming post. If I said it’s been an emotional roller coaster, would you believe me?

Coming home (to my original “home”) has been the best and worst thing that’s ever happened to me. The BEST part of it was seeing my family and close friends for the first time, and realizing that nothing has changed the way that we feel about each other. I am so happy to be in close proximity to them once again!

Mom stalked the reunion of me and Bitty, who ran to me before I could even get out of the customs doorway. We missed each other so much!

I didn’t even make it out of the doorway of customs before Bitty attacked me. I loved it.

BOGUE family picture in the airport, that's how we do.

BOGUE family picture in the airport, that’s how we do.

Accidentally reunited with my very best friend Christina while trying on dresses in the mall. CRYING HAPPY TEARS IN PUBLIC

Accidentally reunited with my very best friend Christina while trying on dresses in the mall. CRYING HAPPY TEARS IN PUBLIC!

I know, so cute…

The WORST part was that coming back to America has forced me to start yet another period of adaptation and change. I have always been naturally resistant to change, but bored by routine. This means that I walk a fine line between upheaval and monotony, since too much of either causes me stress and anxiety. Returning home was upheaval for me. I was surprised by this, as I thought I would only be a little uncomfortable and transition quite smoothly. Apparently, I was wrong, as I have been struggling a bit more than anticipated.

I knew that I had fallen in love with Copenhagen, but I had not been aware how deeply the Danish lifestyle had become ingrained in me. For example, simply prioritizing what needs to be achieved/obtained today and what can wait until tomorrow is different in America because here, we try to do too much, overschedule ourselves, and bite off more than we can chew at times. While such ambition is usually a healthy challenge for me, coming back and throwing myself right into that was quite difficult for me to deal with. After a trip to the mall on my first day back, I had to cancel one of my reunion visits and take a breather before I could move on to an evening get-together.

Then, of course, there’s the Danish value of spending time with loved ones, getting hygge. My family has appointments, meetings after school, and my dad works two jobs when he can. Thus, the reality of life catches up to me, and I am left to fold up my fuzzy blankets and blow out my tealight candles until Sunday, my new, strictly imposed Family Day. I wish we could just slow down and be cozy together like the Danes do every evening, even in the city. I miss that the most.

Overall, though, I’m making progress on my transition. Today is the first day I woke up feeling like I was in the right time zone. I’m glad to be back, but I also miss my home in Copenhagen. That’s the trouble with being such a lucky little lady, I can’t seem to settle on which life makes me happiest. I love them all.

Much love.

 

The Last Days

Like I promised, I’ve made the most of these last ten days in Copenhagen. It’s 2:30 AM on my last night, so I couldn’t help but give one last recap, as you know I love to do. Up till now, I’ve been too busy squeezing the worth out of every minute in Copenhagen, so I have barely opened my computer! Here’s the scoop on my last few days in the city I love.

1) The Arts & Culture House Art Show!

We were inspired by the Danish museum called the Louisiana, which has a temporary exhibit called Self Portraits. Like the artists featured there, we each created a self portrait to reflect our “i-DANE-ity” and how it has changed our concept of ourselves since we came to Copenhagen! Mine is called “Place Like Home” and reflects the importance of my family as they accompany me on my yellow brick road of sorts, finding out that maybe Dorothy was wrong…

The Arts & Culture House (left to right) Vince, Emma, Anna, me, Rebecca, Carrie, Adriana, Ariel, Jamie

The Arts & Culture House (left to right) Vince, Emma, Anna, me, Rebecca, Carrie, Adriana, Ariel, Jamie

Me with my project, which I titled "Place Like Home"

Me with my project, which I titled “Place Like Home”

THE CLOSE UP. Just so everyone knows, I made that shoe out of newspaper and tape ONLY. skillz.

THE CLOSE UP. Just so everyone knows, I made that shoe out of newspaper and tape ONLY. skillz.

Vince and his project, made from his favorite foods and their wrappers!

Vince and his project, made from his favorite foods and their wrappers!

2) Tivoli 

Christmas time in Tivoli is so magical! Everything is lit up, and there are Christmas markets and a special water fountain show in the evening. Tivoli is the second-oldest theme park in the world, and was an inspiration to Walt Disney!!

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how they REALLY make aebleskriver (the Danish pancake balls that are traditional Christmas food)

how they REALLY make aebleskriver (the Danish pancake balls that are traditional Christmas food)

3) Christmas in the streets

If you thought Copenhagen was adorable during the summer, the Christmas season has taken it to another level! It’s easier to deal with the lack of sunlight when there are Christmas lights EVERYWHERE!

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4) Christmas at Ravnsborggade

As an honorary housemate at Mia’s house, I was delighted to attend her house Christmas party, which of course turned into the most gigantic festival ever held. My favorite part was the wall papered in gift wrap for a backdrop for pictures! While my freezing cold shower prevented me from creating an acceptable hair style that night, I did enjoy taking silly pictures with my friends.

Dylan, Aimee, me, and Mia attempting to be serious, like in the TV show "Skins"

Dylan, Aimee, me, and Mia attempting to be serious, like in the TV show “Skins”

5) Saying Goodbye to my Visiting Family

My visiting family has been so good to me this semester. Between giving me an extra duvet for when Mia’s and my heat were broken, taking me to the zoo, cooking me Danish food, and showing me how to make Christmas decorations, they did everything they were supposed to and more! Their patience, hospitality, and genuine affection made this semester much more enjoyable. When I went to their house this Saturday to say goodbye (and meet some of their friends), I was heartbroken to leave them behind. Finn, Marie, Siri, and little Vigga, I’ll miss you when I go back to my real family!!

6) Sticks n’ Sushi atop the Tivoli Hotel

Lousie took us out to dinner at Sticks n’ Sushi, a high-end restaurant located at the top of the Tivoli Hotel that serves Asian food. Mostly sticks of meat and sushi rolls, this restaurant also had an extensive bar with swings on one side, that overlooked the canals and a gorgeous skyline. We spent a good portion of the meal taking turns to sit on the swings, gawking at the A-listers that Louise identified for us as Danish celebrities, and thanking God that we’d finally found some edible Asian food. It was devine.

7) Christiania Christmas Markets

The Christiania Christmas Markets take place in the Great Hall in Christiania. Vendors of jewelry, crafts, ornaments, clothing, and other miscellaneous goods all come together to sell their wares among some interesting food selections and even more interesting people. While it was crowded, I was intrigued by the low prices and immense selection of homemade Christmas gifts!

8) Traditional Danish Christmas Dinner

If you thought I was all Christmas-ed out, you were wrong! Yesterday, Louise (my SRA and favorite Danish friend) slaved away in the kitchen to make our house a REAL DANISH CHRISTMAS DINNER! There was roast duck and pork (yummy pork skins, too, Dad), boiled potatoes, caramelized potatoes, cooked pickled purple cabbage, cold purple cabbage salad with oranges and pomegranate, Danish version of Waldorf salad, homemade pickles… so much food! I tried everything, but my favorite was the cold purple cabbage salad. We also drank Exotic Fanta, which everyone jokes should be attached to me in an IV because I absolutely love it! After the meal, we played the rice pudding game, which is actually more like torture. There was a HUGE bowl of Danish rice pudding in the middle of the table. Now, this dish is made with chopped almonds in it. The object of the game is to find the ONE WHOLE ALMOND in the pudding. Everyone has to eat the pudding until someone finds the almond. For each of the twelve people eating, that meant two full bowls of pudding if we were to get to the bottom of the bowl. AND WE ALMOST HAD TO, because MIA found the almond in the first five minutes AND HID IT UNDER HER TONGUE until everyone was literally falling off their chairs with fullness and taking shots of the pudding to try and make it go down easier. CRAZY DANES and their games. For her almond discovery, Mia won a pig made out of marzipan. Dumb prize, serves her right for making us so full!!

 

Other than that, I’ve been spending as much time as I can just talking to my friends and enjoying their company. I cannot express how much I have come to appreciate the people I have met here. We have seen each other through adjustment issues, mood swings, love problems, and all the other drama that inevitably happens within a semester. Although I never could have predicted it, I will come home with even more amazing people in my life. Somehow, I sincerely doubt that there is a luckier person on this planet than me. I’ve experienced so many different cultures, made new friends, and discovered a new home. I’m in love with Copenhagen. My journey is not over, it is just beginning.

Much love.

Eight Days of Denmark

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I want you all to know, St. Augustine is my boy.

st aug quote travel

Nine Days of Denmark

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I’ve decided that for the next nine days, I’ll post a quote that exemplifies part of my study abroad mindset. Tonight, I have a simple one for you, reflecting how difficult it was for me to embark on this journey, and how fruitful has been through its completion (almost). So happy I took the risk!

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Much love.

No Time

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When I think about how I live my life, I often catch myself saving things for later, putting them off, or having doubts about whether or not it’s the right time for them.
buddha timeStudying abroad has NOT been one of those instances. Just flying here was an obstacle for me, and I know that the person boarding the plane to the USA will have accomplished far more than the person who boarded the plane to Copenhagen. Since I’ve been here, I have been taking as many opportunities as I could, because I don’t know when, if ever, I will get another chance to come to Europe to learn, see, do, and love all that it has to offer.

With only TEN DAYS LEFT, I find myself thinking about a statement that Vince made recently: “This space in time is unique and will never be replicated.” Even if I were to come back to Copenhagen in the future (which I hope to do), I will not be living in this apartment in city center on Skindergade with fellow DIS students. Each moment we spend here is a chance to make a lasting memory, because those are the most important souvenirs. That said, my housemates in Skindy 14 have become much closer over the past few weeks, cooking family dinners, decorating the house, going out on weekends, and basically just spend time enjoying each others’ company for the last weeks of our time together.

For these last TEN DAYS, I will do everything in my power to give Copenhagen all the love it deserves, and show my appreciation to the beautiful city that will always occupy my memory as my European home. I will not waste this time, for I know I do not have it.

Much love.

Christmas in Copenhagen

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Copenhagen.

I have never seen a population of people so excited for a holiday. Though the Danes are not religious, they celebrate Christmas for practically the entire winter! As Honorary Danes, my friends and I have been participating in all the Christmas hoorah, and it has been magical.

Christmas decorations on Stroget

Christmas decorations on Stroget

Window displays at Illum to rival Macy's in New York City

Window displays at Illum to rival Macy’s in New York City

There are Christmas markets everywhere, which we visit every chance we get. Living in city center has yet another benefit of keeping me close to all the festive decorations and markets!

Christmas market on Stroget

Christmas market on Stroget

Christmas Market on Stroget

Christmas Market on Stroget

"Christmas in Nyhavn"

“Christmas in Nyhavn”

This past Thursday, we had Christmas Hygge in our house. Louise and Vince got a tree, which we decorated as the Danes do, crafting stars and hearts to hang.

The only man on the floor, doing his manly business. Sassing all the way, of course.

The only man on the floor, doing his manly business. Sassing all the way, of course.

Christmas Hygge!

Christmas Hygge!

Christmas living room! Complete with Tuborg J-Day sign, Christmas tree, and fireplace TV.

Christmas living room! Complete with Tuborg J-Day sign, Christmas tree, and fireplace TV.

We also made Christmas cookies and drank Glogg (“gloog”), the famous Danish Christmas drink. It’s warm red wine infused sangria-style with cinnamon, slivered almonds, and raisins. Pretty good!

"Glogg" Danish Christmas wine

“Glogg” Danish Christmas wine

Danish cookie recipe.. we needed a little assistance from Louise

traditional cookie recipe.. we needed a little assistance from Louise to read it

Friday night was the last night of November. During our celebration, it snowed! Of course, we ran outside to frolic in the fluff.

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pausing in a snowstorm for a photo op...

pausing in a snowstorm for a photo op…

And the next morning…

from my window

from my window

in my courtyard

in my courtyard

Since then, it’s been snowing instead of raining every day, which is much more picturesque to say the least. December literally brought a beautiful winter wonderland!

Just when I thought there was nothing else to look forward to, I heard about the Christmas tree lighting at City Hall! There was a parade from Nyhavn, and then “Santa” climbed a gigantic cherry picker to light the top of the tree WITH A BLOW TORCH that he swung around and lit the star with. I honestly thought the tree would catch on fire, but no one else seemed concerned…

after the lighting

after the lighting

Yesterday, while I was walking to class, I stumbled upon some ice sculptors in the square. I swear Copenhagen is real-life Whoville! It’s never ending!!

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Finally, last night, DIS took the Arts & Culture House to Tivoli for the 30th anniversary Crazy Christmas Cabaret. It was called HitchCock Up! and starred Vivienne McKee, whose Crazy Christmas Cabarets have attained a cult following over the past 30 years. I can understand why, they’re hilarious!!

Inside Tivoli

Inside Tivoli

CHRISTMAS IN COPENHAGEN IS MY FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR!

Much love.

Quote of the Semester

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A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh alot, and realize how blessed you are.

I am really loving Thought Catalog right now. If you’re at all into reading blogs, this is one you MUST follow! There is something for everyone of every age and interest. Right now, I’m off to go live in my 20’s.

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