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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.

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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.

This Morning I WAS Sad.

This morning I was sad. 

Sleeping was not an option because of the jackhammering outside my window from 7:45 on. So I had to think of a new diversion. The gym worked wonders, but I still felt something missing. 

Then I remembered, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, all the amazing people in my life. Starting with yesterday on my Facebook, I looked back on ALL the pictures at the great fun I was having with great people. This semester, summertime, sophomore year, the holidays–all the time I’ve been smiling my head off, having a grand old time.

That’s when I decided, even though I miss home, I’m going to make these last 25 days the most fun days of the semester! (This will require that I bang out my bigscaryresearch papers and study smart for finals, but who says I can’t do that?) Tomorrow is “Thanksgiving.” I’ve got an art project in the making for an exhibition with my Learning Community. The streets are starting to look like Christmas. Hell, I’m doing just fine!

So now that I’ve given you a look into my mentality for today, I hope you will have a similarly uplifting experience today. Look around you, and think of something to appreciate. Laugh about a silly memory. Then, get up and go make another one!

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.

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