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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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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.

 

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.

Things We Take For Granted in America & at Villanova

If you think American life is boring and annoying, you’re not alone. A bunch of people here hate on America and think they are going to turn into a real live European (or even a Dane!) just because they’re studying abroad.

While I think there is some value in appreciating the Danish culture and taking aspects of it home, I disagree with this “high on study abroad” attitude. America is a considerable part of who we are, from our habits to our values.

Now that Mia and I  have spent much time outside of America, we have thought about the things we miss about living in America, at Villanova, with our friends and family surrounding us. In a particularly long ab ride, we decided to write them down for our readers!

Take a look at Mia’s and My Compiled List of Things We Take For Granted. (click on the words, they’re a link!)

Warning: More lists to come, this is how I process things.

Much love.

August & November

Check this out! I took this picture at the lakes on the first night in Copenhagen… and again, exactly THREE MONTHS later. This is the place that first took my breath away.

It’s cool because it shows the date, the time, and how much deeper the darkness is in the winter. This place is much the same–but I’m not.

19 AUG

18 NOV

Next time the screen says the 19th of a month, I’ll be back in America, missing this place as it continues to count away the days after I’m gone. Weird.

Much love.

Giving Thanks

This Thanksgiving started for me on Wednesday and ended on Friday (of course). I didn’t mean to make it happen, but I’ve had so much to be thankful for these past few days that I just had to extend the holiday.

On Wednesday night, we made our own Thanksgiving dinner at Mia’s house. There were 22 people in attendance, including everyone who lives in Mia’s house, me, and my friend Anna. The spearheads of this operation were Emily, Mia, and Aimee, who did most of the cooking and coordinated other contributions. Mine was home-made cranberry sauce. Jhon and I also whipped up some cinnamon butter and helped with the mashed taters (so yummy). It was SUCH a HYGGE night!! I am so thankful to have all these great friends!

Group shot of everyone (minus Jhon) in Mia’s house, my second home. LOVE THEM ALL!

My contribution: homemade cranberry sauce (since Denmark doesn’t have it)

this captures the moment well

Thankful for this girl ❤

Emily, Mia, and Aimee: the three moms with their pies

picture-perfect “hygge” (Danish concept of cozy)

 

 

 

Thursday, I woke up still full (typical Thanksgiving problems). It was kind of a rough day because I missed my family and friends on this American holiday, and everyone in Denmark was acting like nothing was happening. I know that Christmas decorations are up, and they look great, but it’s just not the same. Thanksgiving is a day to spend walking around the house in slippers, cooking with people you love, listening to “Alice’s Restaraunt” (Dad & Ben!), failing at pecan pie… and instead I was expected to be in class. EWW.

Luckily, I had pre-arranged a coffee date with Anders Larson, a man who teaches and works in Housing at DIS. I never would have done this, but Nancy strongly suggested that I meet him, as he was one of her favorite people here. Let me tell you, I’m SO glad I listened to her. Anders is the coolest! He’s super cute, so easy to talk to, and as a real Dane, he knows what’s up around Copenhagen. Even better, we met up with his friend and colleague Lauren Chaney, who is a Villanova alum and has been traveling the world since she graduated ten years ago! It was nice to spend time chatting with such cool people, and I was reminded that there are so many people I have yet to meet here. With only 22 days left, it’s easy to check out mentally, but I won’t do that yet. There is too much I’d miss out on!

Just to top off the night, we spent Thursday night as we would on Thanksgiving Eve in CT. My dancing shoes are a little worn out now, let’s just say.

Friday, I thought the festivities would be over… but I couldn’t have been more wrong! I got an email about a package, and had been expecting my mom to send me my favorite sweater. Instead, I got TWO HUGE PACKAGES!

THANK YOU SO MUCH MOM AND ANNE!!! Opening these boxes seriously felt like Christmas and took away any lingering sadness I had that I was missing out on Black Friday shopping, another HUGE family tradition. I got a little taste of the wardrobe I miss at home, since my mom got me a million sweaters and legwarmers, an Alex & Ani (the teacher apple), and other stuff. Thanks Mom! And Anne got me a ridiculous amount of great American stuff, including A WHOLE JAR OF PEANUTBUTTER, DUNKIN COFFEE, AND HOMEMADE BROWNIES!! I haven’t smelled a brownie in months. THANK YOU SO MUCH ANNE!!

Really, it all comes back to being thankful. I have never before in my life had so many reasons to be thankful. It hits me just about every day, even when I’m sad or missing home. I am thankful for my wonderful, supportive family, my absolutely amazing friends, and of course, this experience. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Much love.

WINTER WELCOME WEEK

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I’ve invented a holiday! It’s called WINTER WELCOME WEEK, and here’s how it came to be:

As you probably have guessed, I’m a big proponent of celebration of any sort. I also have seasonal depression. Living in Denmark has not been so bad darkness-wise, until now, and I know it’s only going to get worse. So, to give myself a little pick me up, and combine my American culture with the Danish culture, I invented WINTER WELCOME WEEK. Mia even had a visitor from Villanova, Caroline, who got to experience this holiday with us!

This Wednesday was Halloween in America, which has always been a huge deal to me. Dressing up was one of my favorite childhood activities, but I never grew out of it. Luckily, American college life supports me in this. In Copenhagen, I hadn’t really planned on dressing up (still trying to be a Dane sometimes), but at the last minute, my RA Louise and I got a little too into making a toilet paper dress…

…and I ended up a Mummy Cheerleader. Louise even made the dress so I could use the little ladies room, it was really an ingenious design! I got TP pom poms and a bow, and I was off to the few bars that support Americans on Halloween!

be scaredddd

bow!

Thanks for sneaking up on me, Caroline.

me, Caroline (tiger), and Mia (kitty)

laughing too hard to run!

Needless to say, Halloween was so great that we couldn’t stop there. Mia and I did not go to classes on Thursday (you can’t do anything productive during WINTER WELCOME WEEK) and showed Caroline around Copenhagen. I went back to my favorite place, Nyhavn, and Kongs Nytorv (a cool square nearby). We went shopping on Stroget (the pedestrian shopping street) and I got an infinity scarf and crepes with banana and nutella (YUM). It was a relaxing day for us. At night, I made my mom’s famous eggplant, and everyone helped me bread, fry, and eat! Vince, Marina, Mia, Caroline, and I had a hyggeligt night in, complete with candles, which I am now addicted to.

Me (in my winter jacket!!), Caroline, and Mia

the making of a crepe

YUM people. Crepes are bangin’

In Denmark, they don’t celebrate Halloween OR Thanksgiving, and so there isn’t much to look forward to in the winter besides Christmas. The Danes counter this depressing thought with their own holiday, called J Dag (“J-Day”) to kick off the Christmas season. On J-Day (the first Friday in November), at 8:59 PM, giant delivery trucks arrive at all the prominent bars to unload the brand new Christmas beer! Up until this moment, no one has even seen the can, so it’s a huge deal for all Danes. After that, Christmas decorations start to pop up all around town, and playing Christmas music is officially acceptable. It’s kind of like when Starbucks comes out with Red Cups for the holiday season, except everyone gets drunk for this. Louise got us tickets to her university’s J-Dag party (which would also be my school if I went to college here), so I went with Vince and Emma. (Earlier that night, we had heard Vince sing in a recital for the Copenhagen music school, which is a HUGE honor, so we were also celebrating that. He’s super talented.) You’ll notice, the pictures from this night are few and low-quality, my apologies!

Tuborg Julebryg (yule-brew)

Getting pumped at 9 PM

Louise, me, and half of Vince

Louiseeee my favorite Dane, my RA

This would be one of my classrooms!

If you thought WINTER WELCOME WEEK was coming to an end, think again. Saturday was Sensation White!! Literally everyone in Europe came to Copenhagen for Sensation–there ended up being over 20,000 people there. Basically, Sensation is a giant world-traveling rave where everyone dresses in white, there is a lineup of electronic/house music DJs, circus performers, and light shows from giant structures placed throughout the stadium. If you’re having a hard time conceptualizing it, watch this quick video that Sensation put out before the event: CLICK HERE. At raves, you’re not supposed to wear real people clothes, so I got a giant t-shirt from H & M and my roommate here made it into a dress for me. I wore cheap little white sneakers (which ended up black with grime), white tights, glitterglitterglitter all over, and a white heart painted around my eye. At the start of the pre-party at Mia’s, I look sort of like a person, but by the time we left for Sensation, the glitter was out of control and we had all painted each other’s faces (that’s where I got my heart). Sensation itself was, well, indescribable. Some people say it’s not their scene, but the loud music and dancing put me in a happy place. I think I get that from my mom (love you LB).

I don’t think you readers know Emily, but she’s the best.

Sensation, like a boss.

during the light show

candid captured by Aimee, told you I love this kind of thing!

With the end of Sensation came the wrap-up of WINTER WELCOME WEEK. Sunday family dinner with my housemates brought it all together with some cozy community bonding, and of course more candles.

I don’t know how I will celebrate WINTER WELCOME WEEK in America, but it will definitely be a permanent fixture in my life from now on.

This might have been the best week of my semester, but then again, I’m always saying that…

Much love.

Sending Me Presents!

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Brittany Giugno has hopped on the present bandwagon and sent me a present!

In this glorious box, I received AMERICAN COFFEE, JIF PEANUTBUTTER, AND GRANOLA BARS! Since yesterday when I picked it up, I have taken pictures obsessively, including these:

Thank you, Britt, for making my life a little better with some of the things you Americans take for granted. I love you and miss you like crazy!!

To all other readers (besides Ceil and LB, who have also sent me gifts): YOU ARE SLACKING.  I think it’s time you showed me how much you appreciate my blog by sending along some goodies to Briana Bogue c/o DIS, Vestergade 7, Copenhagen K, 1456, Denmark. I like tea, craisins, warm socks and scarves, and of course, peanut butter. But by all means, feel free to get creative.

Much love!

Coming HOME to Copenhagen

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There’s no place like home.

All of my homes are unique. Northford, Connecticut has the small-town feel and the people I have always loved. Villanova University is the setting of my ongoing coming-of-age story, complete with an indispensable cast of beloved characters. Now, I have added a third home to my list with the cozy city of Copenhagen, where my little American feet have trotted the cobblestone streets of majestic Europe.

While I hesitate to use the term “home” to describe the many places I have rested my head, Copenhagen and I have developed the trust required for me to view it in such an affectionate way. When I can finally let my guard down enough to consider a place my home, I know that it has had a profound effect on me. The cobblestones in Copenhagen contain memories of my footsteps; the cash register at the grocery store holds my vegetable-heavy transactions in its hard drive; the mannequins in the shop windows have seen me wandering through sun, rain, and always wind. Just as I have seen the city, it has seen me, and neither of us will ever be the same.

But, it’s not just the setting that makes the story. As the main character, I have done some serious developing since starting this chapter. Just like when I left for college, I thought that, when separated from my family and friends, I would say stuck in my past with them. Without the people I loved around me, I thought I would be worthless, incapable of functioning as the person I am without the people whose lives I am lucky enough to affect. Honestly, I derive most if my self worth from the effect I have on others. Naturally, coming to Copenhagen, I faced the same fear of losing my meaning. But now I have seen, for the third time in my life, that I fit rather easily into the same interpersonal groove no matter where I am. At first I couldn’t believe it, but after more than two months here I can tell that I have the same function regardless of the people I get to know. Discovering this about myself has given me a new and exciting kind of confidence, not just that I can stay afloat in the social world, but that I have a real and concrete persona that other people can experience and relate to. I am someone, no matter who is around me.

Copenhagen will forever be my home for teaching me that.

As my plane lands in Copenhagen for the final time this semester, I look forward to spending the final seven weeks becoming more intimately acquainted with my home. The next time I board an airplane, it will be bound for America, and my semester abroad will be over. While I know that it will never be truly over, I am deathly afraid of that moment when I know that I will have to leave this home without knowing when I will return. I am not ready!

Much love to those of you in America, but I am dragging my feet to slow the passage of time.

What I Learned Today

I just got home from a 2.5 hour field study for Positive Psychology. A man named Alex came to our class and gave an interactive lecture on the concept of happiness at work, for which the Scandinavian languages actually have a word: Arbejdslaede. Through all the facts and activities and mounds of suggestions for what to look for in a workplace, I couldn’t help but take with me two messages.

First, it is not success, but the path to success, that will make us happy. My favorite Aerosmith song uses, “Life’s a journey, not a destination”  to express this point. Today, we saw a quick, cute, funny video on the subject (click here to watch it) called Music & Life, by Alan Watts. The point: Don’t bother chasing success, because when you finally get there, your success won’t replace the thirty years you spent missing out on everything else in life.

Second, I learned that the most important things that make you happy at work are results and relationships. All my TLCC ladies know that I take my workplace relationships seriously, because they make me look forward to coming to work and spending time with the friends I have made there. My precious nuggets are constantly on my mind, too, because of the relationship I share with each of them. And the best part is, when I got to that point with them, where they would smile and laugh just because I was there–for me, those were my results.

It’s amazing that what this speaker was saying actually applied to my life. And how much it made me miss my nuggets and my main ladies at TLCC. Until then…

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