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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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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.

Pizza, Pasta, Prosecco, & (Mia’s) Parents!

On Friday, November 9, Copenhagen had the pleasure of receiving Mia’s parents, Paul and Andrea Savoca. Along with Mia, they are literally the sweetest humans on the planet, and they let me tag along on Saturday to see ome of our lovely city of Copenhagen.

Mia’s first Danish!

Mia & I with our Danishes (I know that’s not actually what they are called here but I can’t help it)

Paul, Mia, & Andrea at the lake at Christiania. Love them!

Our return to Nyhavn, still one of my favorite parts of Copenhagen!

During this day around Copenhagen, I got to participate in showing Mia’s parents all the places I would have liked to show mine. You’ve seen them throughout my blog as I’ve visited them (Nyhavn, the Glass Market, my house, the lakes, Parliament/Christiansborg Castle, etc.) but it was cool to show Mia’s parents in person. They also got to observe all the little things you can’t capture with a picture, like the guttural language, fast bikers, cobblestone streets, and windy grey weather. Most of all, they experienced the charm of Copenhagen that has made me fall in love with this city.

At dinner that night, we were casually chatting when Paul suddenly said, “Bri, why don’t you just come to Italy?” Mia was equally as shocked as I was, and at first we didn’t take it seriously. But, five hours later, I had tickets to and from Italy!!

I spent all of Sunday in bed with a stomachache, while Mia and the fam spent the day in Malmo, Sweden.

Monday started the trip! We flew into Fiumicino, Rome, and drove directly to Perugia, a few hours north of Rome. Being in a car was actually mindblowing for me, and surprisingly soothing. We enjoyed the ride to the 13TH CENTURY CASTLE THAT WE STAYED IN (the Savocas seriously know how to travel!), and later drove to a restaurant where we had an amazing culinary experience.

Seriously, for real, castle.

I finally found my knight in shining armor!

The view from our window, of the terrace and the Italian countryside beyond.

view from the terrace

Best tortelloni I’ve ever had, complete with mushroom pecorino sauce.

My eggplant parm. Delish!

Paul’s octopus, which I tried and actually kind of liked!

Such a great look for Paul, reminds me of my dad eating lobster.

Mia’s pasta, made with octopus ink. It tasted really good but the color just looked so strange!

The next day, Tuesday, we made the most of our location and toured the world-famous Perugina chocolate factory, known for Baci chocolate hazelnut kisses! We saw the production of Baci and some of the other chocolates that the factory makes, AND GOT A FREE TASTING ROOM! YESSS.

fooling around with my head in the trademark Baci kiss logo

Baci white and Baci! Love them both!

Promise I didn’t eat all of these, but honestly I probably could have if you gave me a few hours. So yummy.

Post-chocolate food coma, we explored the Italian countryside some more. The first place we stopped was Deruta, famous for its hand-painted ceramics, and Assisi, known for St. Frances of Assisi.

Deruta

Deruta ceramics

ceramic electric guitar (BEN!!) made strictly in Deruta, nowhere else in the world

Assisi

Assisi

Church of St. Frances Assisi. Pretty sure he’s buried in there under the altar.

I would just like to note that Assisi is one huge hill, which makes for gorgeous views BUT a LOT of walking uphill! We definitely walked off that chocolate!!

Tuesday night we drove to Rome and checked into our hotel, Hotel Villa San Pio. At this point in the trip, I basically picked up a glass of Prosecco and a fork, and never put them down for the rest of the journey. NO REGRETS, but this week the jeans are a little tighter! (EuroDiet was not in effect on vacation.)

Wednesday began with a visit to the Vatican to hear Pope Benedict XVI’s weekly address to the public. The thing is, he spoke Italian… but thankfully, Mia’s dad is fluent in Italian so he translated. SO INTERESTING: He spoke about St. Augustine, and Veritas, Unitas, Caritas, which is literally Villanova in a nutshell. We are an Augustinian university, and Veritas Unitas Caritas is part of our University Seal as well as our core values!

Pope Benedict XVI

For the rest of the week, we basically just walked around Rome, revisiting the Colosseum (of course, since I’m obsessed) and other sites. We took the Scavi tour of the underground cemetery beneath the Vatican/St. Peter’s Basilica where St. Peter’s bones can still be seen today. Inside the Basilica is super cool and intricately designed, and the remains of past Popes can be visited as well. We also went to Piazza Navona, Campo di Fiori, an Italian opera (my first, and probably last, opera ever), and the Spanish Steps. Aside from that, we had great food and, of course, more Prosecco!

view of Rome over the Palatine Hill (the Colosseum is in the back)

Saw this right before the Scavi tour, super creepy as I’m about to descend into the depths of Rome

Mia took this artsy photo of the Colosseum, so proud of her skillz

Prosecco at the hotel courtyard

XTINA THEY MAKE SURE TO ACCOMODATE YOU IN ITALY

St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, the Scavi tour was under there!

Dad, orange trees AT MY HOTEL

These are posters for the strikes that took place all week. One even got violent.

before the Scavi tour, with friends of the Savocas who recently moved to Rome

The Tiber river was the highest it’s EVER been… Those are treetops. Covered.

Getting adventurous trying some meat (after a mostly-vegetarian semester)

On Friday, we did the most Italian thing I have done in Italy: we took a pizza-making class!!

cutting mushrooms

People who know me know that I am a pizza snob, but this has taken my judgement criteria to a whole new level! I will never be the same again after this delicious experience.

The next day, Saturday, we said a sad goodbye in the airport and went our separate ways. For the last time, I flew back to Copenhagen.

I cannot express how thankful I am to Mia and her wonderful parents. ADOPTED FAM, YOU ARE THE BEST!! This trip was fun, exciting, and refreshing. I am so glad to have you as my adopted family. I will never forget this amazing vacation.

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!

Being a Foodie on the EuroDiet

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Being a Foodie on the EuroDiet

Although I am a self-professed foodie, I am happy to call myself an avid EuroDiet-er as well. By this, I mean that while I intend to experience the delectable dishes of this new world, I also plan to keep it real. Stuffing my face with Danish (which the Danes do not call “Danish”) is not an option.

That said, I have compiled some snapshots of my explorations in the realm of food, so far. Of course, there is much more where that came from!

P.S. I did try a Danish, which is actually called wienerbrød. It was a million times better than American pastries, which I don’t even like. BUT I forgot to photograph it for your viewing pleasure. Next time!

Glass Market at Norreport

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There are two glass buildings that stand outside of Norreport station just a short walk from my house. Vince and I decided to explore them the other day, and they turned out to be one of the most amazing markets I have ever been to. The fresh meats, cheeses, produce, and pastries all seemed too delectable to be removed from this perfect arrangement of food, people, and culture. Best of all, the people watching was unparalleled!

This is my attempt to dabble in photography as we strolled through the Glass Market (and ate some Agnes cupcakes!!)

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Those Quirky Danes…

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I’m sure there will be many posts like this, but here’s a start of some of the quirky things that Danish culture has brought to my attention.

This is my dinner last night. The weird thing is, that potato is MASSIVE and so are the carrots! Baby carrots do not exist in Denmark!! Since I live off baby carrots in the States, this was a big shocker to me. (I know it was for you, too, Xtina) Also, it was like 9:30 PM here before I felt like eating, and was too lazy to cook/season… microwave potatoes are my new go-to.

This is one of the many staircases at one of our classroom buildings at DIS. The stairs here are steep, narrow, and windy. Some spiral staircases are majestic, while others are just too steep and crowded to be practical.

 

Mia and I bought school supplies today. First of all, folders in Denmark look nothing like folders in the States. I didn’t even buy any because they have flaps and rubber bands instead of pockets–too overwhelming. Instead, we got this binder with multiple tabs to put all our papers into, BUT CHECK THIS OUT! Four rings! And a two-hole punch! They only ever come in two or four, never three. How strange a thing to change!

In the next four months, I expect to notice many other unlikely differences from American culture. This proves that they can come from any area of life, even where I didn’t expect them.

 

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