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Tag Archives: Exploring

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.

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Barcelona, London, & So Much Love

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Instead of trying to tell you about my trip to Barcelona and London, I have to show you.

These are two amazing cities. I really can’t express how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to travel here, but more importantly, how lucky I am to have two friends who flew from Philadelphia all the way to Barcelona to meet up with Mia and I. Marissa and Dee, I love you so much and I cannot wait to reunite with you at Villanova and live it up! There are no words to describe how much I love you.

Bitty, it’s safe to say I have joined you in your obsession with London. One day I hope I can take you there and we can experience the Brits together!

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Much love.

First Day in Greece

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Like a kid on Christmas, I did not sleep a wink the night we arrived in Greece. Today was the day of the Acropolis. I have a million pictures for you, so I will put them up in a slideshow with captions.

 

The basic outline of the day: 

climbing the hill to the Acropolis

wandering around shopping streets in the heart of Athens

 

lunch at an adorable restaurant: Greek salad and Moussaka

Moussaka, a Greek version of lasagne with eggs, eggplant, meat, potatoes, and cheese

strange grainy orange flan. GROSS.

finding the Fish Kiss pedicure (in which I did not partake)

stumbling upon the ancient burial ground called Kerameikos

more of those first-day gyros for dinner!

finishing out the day by hanging out on the rooftop bar at the Pella Inn.

Here are the pictures from this glorious first day in paradise. The weather, by the way, was sunny and 86 degrees. What a perfect change from the 50 degrees and clouds of Copenhagen!

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Much love.

Stockholm!

DISCLAIMER: THIS WILL BE A LONG POST. BUT IT WILL BE WORTH READING!

This weekend was my first independent traveling experience. I went with Mia & some friends that we’ve made here at DIS (Vince, Alia, Kalli, Kelsey, Courtney, David, Jared, & Casey). Stockholm, Sweden was the destination of choice–a beautiful (expensive) Scandinavian city! The adventure begins…

I found the only Starbucks in Denmark!! It’s in the CPH airport, FYI.

The BEFORE picture

The AFTER picture, on the way home to CPH.
Note: The hostel showers were not up to some of our standards, thus we did not shower all trip.

a view of the many islands of Sweden from the plane…

…and a view of me on the plane!

Swedish money is so pretty… but 100 SEK is about $15!!

With the task of actually getting there taken care of, Stockholm was calling our names. The first thing we did, since it was a Friday night, was go to a pub.

Mia & I at the pub

Mia, me, Alia, & Courtney with our Stockholm beverages

After a long day of classes back home in the Cøbes (our affectionate name for Copenhagen, pronounced Koobs) and an evening full of travel, we were content to retire after our short excursion. Our hostel was called BestHostel, in Old Town, the quaint city center of Stockholm.

Just take a look at the wifi name for the hostel.

Is Justin Beiber gay?? In Stockholm, they think so.

The next day (Saturday), we rose early and got down to the nitty gritty of exploration. I don’t know how Lewis & Clark managed to explore the whole Louisiana Territory, because my feet were killing me after one day of Stockholm!

Some highlights include:

all of us in front of the canal and the palace

Vince, me, Mia & Kalli

Vince & I in front of our hostel, with a beautiful church tower right outside

Vince & I lighting a candle inside the church, a spiritual tradition of Vince’s that he let me in on

If you can see me, I was having a moment inside the church… Mia took the picture. Uncle Louie, it was so beautiful that I had to say thanks for saving you.

Vince & I at the harbor

Me, Alia, Kalli, Mia, & Vince on a bridge

Me, Kalli, & Mia on that same bridge, with the beautiful city behind us

Me, Mia, Alia, Kalli, & Vince on a gorgeous harbor where people park their boats

riding the harbor taxi!

Mia & I having a moment on the harbor

a view of Stockholm from the Harbor Taxi

Obviously, we are seasoned explorers. We ended up at a cafe in the middle of town for lunch, munching on spinach ravioli and roasted veggies. FREE COFFEE made my day, and helped reboot us for the walk back to the hostel. On the way, we stopped at Vassa museum to see the ship that sank right outside the harbor, after sailing less than one nautical mile on its maiden voyage. Interestingly, the Vassa was stuck under the sea for almost 400 years until, finally, it was raised in the 1960’s. Believe it or not, the ship is in amazing condition–almost 98% original timber!!

The museum is built around the ship, with 7 floors surrounding the giant ship, and the roof built so that the tall masts poke through the ceiling. Here we are at the bottom of the hull.

closer to the deck

Another cool thing we found was actually right outside our hostel in the square. It was a fresh water fountain that you could drink out of!

yumm

Although most of the day went off without a hitch, there was a slight speed bump where we got caught on the other side of a marathon. There were so many runners, and when we asked one of the volunteers how to get across, she replied in broken English, “Good luck!” We knew we had to run in between the runners… and Alia snapped this photo as Mia and I attempted to dodge them.

Mia is by the light pole, and I am on the far right. Blending in? Not even close.

Although there were many parts of this day that were fabulous, my favorite was “The Bubble” (which is actually called The Skyview). An Epcot-like white spherical building, and one of the highest points in Stockholm, has turned itself into a tourist attraction. (Click here to see their website)

Those small bubbles, referred to as gondolas, carry groups of people from the ground to the top of the sphere, where everyone inside can see a vast view of Stockholm. Honestly, it was breathtaking.

Alia, Mia, Kalli, Courtney, Me, & Vince in the gondola

Hello, Stockholm!

Such a fulfilling day can only be followed by a crazy night. The ONE thing we planned before we got to Stockholm was a visit to the world’s first Ice Bar. Made entirely of ice, this bar equips its patrons with parka and gloves upon entry, handing out a complimentary drink (of choice) served inside a giant ice cube. Essentially the coolest thing ever, we could not wait to try it out. Aside from the fact that my nose froze, I’d say it was the best part of my trip! We took a million pictures…

EVERYONE

our ice cube cups!

Alia, Kalli, Courtney, Vince, me, & Kelsey

Me: Kid in a candy store. The sad thing is, this is actually a candid.

so much fun

At Ice Bar, everyone can play a little reindeer games!

Just think how many people have licked that wall–hence why I opted for a smile instead.

Dancing fools Jersey Turnpiking… For everyone who thinks we look like Snooki & Deena–not sorry.

Just us having another moment.

Overall, this trip was amazing. The rest of the night was spent in a similar manner, as we enjoyed the company of one another and lived it up in Stockholm! Sunday, of course, was spent in recovery, counting our remaining pennies and finding our way back to the airport for a flight that ended up delayed… and left us all starving. When we made it back to the Cøbes, we all heaved a collective sigh of sadness to leave Stockholm, and relief to be back in familiar territory.

As for highlights, those are the best ones. But, you lucky readers, I will leave you with a treat for  making it all the way to the end of this post! I call these The Many Faces of Bri. Enjoy!

pre-takeoff plane excitement

In front of the Vassa museum on the Harbor Taxi

 

candid.

yelling

wahhh

happy! with lipsick-ed Vince

with my finding, for Daddy–reindeer and moose meat!

caught off guard! oh hi.

in the gondola over Stockholm…

…got a little too excited!

casually sippin’

 

Embracing The Reality Check

I just had THAT MOMENT. I got smacked in the face with the huge hand of reality, and it stings.

We all know that I’ve been taking this trip in an awestruck, I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening manner. Although I am generally down to earth and realistic, this trip has brought so much newness into my realm of thinking that it has been difficult to process. Think of my mind as an empty laundry chute that suddenly got stuffed with a week’s worth of laundry. It’s going to take a while to unclog the chute and wash all that laundry! In the same way, my brain has been on overload since I got here, trying to digest, appreciate, and share all the things I’m learning and seeing and doing! Basically, I’ve been living in vacation mode thus far, half expecting someone to tap me any minute tell me I have to go home now.

FINALLY, After exactly 3 weeks and 3 days of amazing, ridiculous, unexpected moments, I got hit with THAT MOMENT. My do-it-all, see-it-all mindset had me snowballing down a giant hill of expectations, taking down everything in its path–including my bank account. Thank God I had the common sense to keep a log of everything I spend, and continuously check my online statements, or else I would literally be bankrupt by now.  In this moment when I saw the cold, hard numbers, I realized that I am living a real life here. This is not Disney, I am certainly not a princess, and no one will be Bippidy-boppidy-booing me to all the places I seem to think I’m travelling to this semester. So, in response to my previously travel-happy self: STOP. BREATHE. LOOK AROUND. AND STOP SPENDING MONEY!!!

Instead of booking trips to faraway lands with all my new friends, I plan to reevaluate my schedule and plan some Copenhagen time. Enjoying the city that I live in is important because if I am going to tell people that I lived here, it needs to have felt like home first. For me, that means I need to form lasting relationships, become attached to my surroundings, learn something intriguing and provocative, and make some truly special memories. Then–and only then–will Copenhagen join Northford, CT, and Villanova, PA , on my list of places I can call home.

Now, as with every reality check that comes to me in my life, I like to look back on the past and appreciate what I have. Close friends, a great job, a strong family, an intricately woven support system–the list goes on. Ever since I can remember, I have always been loved and taken care of. Now that I am alone across the ocean, I know that I must venture further into the realm of independence and adulthood. Thank you to everyone who I know will catch me if I fall. It is really comforting to know that even when Copenhagen doesn’t seem like a home, and all I want to do is leave, you will be thinking of me and cheering me on from the bleachers 4,000 miles away. In this reality, I have it pretty good, if you ask me…

Even when it stings.

 

My Favorite Place (so far)

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I know it’s too early to tell, but I may have found my favorite place.

Today, Mia and I took some time to explore by ourselves. There are always so many friendly people to meet and sights to see, and school is about to start, so we know we are about to get busy! That said, we took some time to recharge with each other.

Although I went to Nyhavn yesterday, it was a little cloudy then, and we were in a hurry. I decided to lead Mia back there today. That’s the area of Copenhagen where there are man-made canals, and also the natural harbor that surrounds most of the city. Nyhavn means New Harbor, but it’s actually a couple hundred years old. Its center is the buildings on each side of the canal. Interestingly, the side that gets more sun now has upscale restaurants and shops, while the other side is mostly expensive housing. While mostly tourists hang out there, classy Danes also make their appearance. Overall, the views are breathtaking, and the atmosphere is bright and relaxed. (Of course, Mia has all the good photos. I’ll get them!) It reminded me of Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island (favorite places of mine).

It’s so nice to find a place where I can have that connection to the sea, but still be ten minutes from my apartment in the city!

We also came across the trampolines that are along the canal. People just jump all over them.

Mia jumping on the random trampolines!

Then, we went to the Copenhagen Sand Sculpture Festival! (google it, the links won’t post to here 😦 !!) They wanted 60 DKK for entry, but there was no one around, sooooo… we took matters into our own hands. Once we got in, we took some pictures for everyone to admire. The craftsmanship is absolutely amazing.

This is the view from outside the fence.

some info about the sand sculptures

the atmosphere

Me & Mia in front of a HUGE sculpture!

train going up a mountain

choo choo train!! (this one’s for you, Henry)

Some sculptures with the Opera House

My throne.

My favorite sculpture.

with the Opera House

close-up of the detailed craftsmanship

While we were walking around, we found our friends Alia, Kelsey, and Kalli! They were looking for a place to study outside in the sun. Copenhagen has an abundance of those. We got some Thai Food for 49 DKK and I saved half of it for tomorrow. Trying to keep it cheap here, people. Bonding over lunch was so much fun as well!

So that was my day! It’s definitely time for homework now, time to buckle down and begin the school aspect of this trip. Soon, you will hear about my courses, especially the Psychology program which is one of the reasons I chose to come all the way to DIS!

Loving this city, especially Nyhavn.

Good Morning, Copenhagen

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Good morning, Copenhagen.

I awaken to the sound of trucks outside my open window. Danish words float in as a soft reminder of where I am this morning… Usually, waking up in a foreign place for the first time is startling, but I know this place is friendly and inviting so it already feels like home.

Jetlag is not my friend right now, but I am so excited to embark on my first full day in Copenhagen that I don’t care. Cobblestone streets invite me to follow their path. I am captivated.

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