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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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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.

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.

Here Comes a Miz Post

Today was just one of those days.

I was actually almost convinced that every day of European life is a good one in some way… but I was wrong. Today was the third day that half of my friends here (including Mia) were gone on their short study tours, where DIS takes you around Western Denmark and houses you at hostels & the whole 9. But the other half of us are kind of like, wait… what do I do now? Routine has been established for the past two weeks and suddenly half of the people in the program are whisked away. Thanks, DIS, for keeping it interesting, but right now I think a good dose of Routine on the Rocks would have been better for me than this.

So tonight, finally, everyone came back. Regardless of the fact that I was exhausted from attempting to write a research paper all day, and just generally mopey, I went to go make dinner at Mia’s. On the way, there’s a right turn that I have to make, from asphalt road to cobblestone, in between two outdoor restaurants. SO OF COURSE I FALL OFF MY BIKE! This is not one of those graceful hiccups, either. It’s a straight up, full speed face plant. Wearing a backpack. The 25 people watching me gasped all at once, and I just got up and shrugged. It would have been hilarious if I was in a good mood, but since I was already miz, I was not a good sport.

Instead of cooking dinner like the usual Euro-dieters that we are, we went to Nordic Noodle and got some takeout Chinese. Then we sat down with all her (basically our, since I love them) housemates, a communal box of chocolate granola, and our computers. Our goal: book the flights for the second travel break.

We got all the way through Scotland, and almost to Paris, WHEN SUDDENLY MY CARD GOT DECLINED! Now, I am seriously being the most money-conscious student travelers anyone has ever known, so when I saw this, I immediately knew there had to be a problem. Sure enough, unauthorized charges all over my online statement. ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME. After 45 minutes on the phone with Wells Fargo, I have a new debit card in the mail, which will get here in TWO WEEKS. Looks like I’ll be eating notebook paper till then.

All this, and all I want is a hug from someone I know well. 4,000 miles is too much distance between this sad little lady and her big old support group.

I guess I learned that not every day in Copenhagen is taken out of a fairytale, but if it wasn’t for days like these, I would not truly appreciate the magical ones.

Goodnight, readers. I hope tomorrow is a better day in paradise.

The Same Sweetness Twice

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At every point in our lives, we enjoy a sort of flavor of the time. A sweetness, even, that encompasses all the goodness of the time and gives it a tang. Like a bakery, life turns into a whole case of flavors–some salty, some herbal, and others sweet. These waft in and out of our noses occasionally, reminding us of the good and bad in our lives. As the baker, we continue to create new flavors and add to our menu of delectable tastes.

In retrospect, we can glance at our case of flavors and reflect on which we enjoyed the most. We may desire to taste them again, but even if we can get a sample, it is more of a taste on the tongue now, and less of an experience. Getting back to the time of the creation of that specific flavor is impossible. Circumstances are slightly different, people have changed…

The message: enjoy your flavors as they happen. Taste, experience, enjoy. Cherish. There is no telling when your cupcakes will be finished, and you will suddenly be baking a pie.

Thinking Straight? First Week Reflection

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I smile as I type this because I know, already, that I am a bigger person than I was one week ago. Triumph.

My favorite way to write is to pick a song that speaks to me, put it on loop, and play it as the background to my thoughts until I am finished spilling the contents of my oft-scattered brain onto a page. This time, it’s TLC’s Unpretty. Even in Denmark, this song reminds me to keep it real when I am quite convinced that this is a dream world.

Now that I have had a chance to shake the jetlag and make some friends, it is becoming obvious to me that my life will never be the same again. Even after one week, I can tell that some of these friendships will last a lifetime. I will never get into a car again without remembering the first time I almost fell off my bike, never put the windshield wipers on without remembering the time I was biking into a rain storm with twenty other (quite unfazed) Danes, never put my blinker on to turn without subconsciously sticking my hand out in a biker turn signal. Life can change so quickly. Mine already has, and I know this is just the beginning.

The most amazing part of this experience has been watching myself learn. For someone who has never been out of the country (nevermind by myself!), two intercontinental flights were a daunting obstacle. On the other side of those eleven hours of travel were an unknown world–a world that I have lived in for one week and am already adapting to and learning about. Here, I hope to develop a deeper understanding of myself and this wonderful new place that will become part of my history. Independent of every familiar environment, who will I become?

Inevitably, homesickness has been a presence, but not a burden. Like a shadow, it follows me around but does not assert itself as a full-bodied being that walks beside me. Whenever I see something new or beautiful, the feeling of awe is immediately coupled by the desire to share my discoveries with those I love. My overwhelming joy is tempered with this feeling of longing for the closeness and warmth that I take comfort in. Missing my circles of supportive, loving, attentive friends and family would be crippling without the knowledge that I will return to them with even more love than I left with. And stories. Each life is a story, and now, I am writing mine.

Much love ❤

Reflections from the Airport

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I am not one to publicly rant about my inner reflections, but since I’m doing this blog I might as well share.

This is the moment I have been waiting for. Just picture me: sitting in the Starbucks by my gate at JFK, chewing gum like a crazy person, makeup half-fuzzy from the tears I shed before I pulled myself together. People around me probably come from unimaginable countries, and here I am, little lady headed to the big city.

There are a few things I have learned leading up to this moment:
1) I am appreciated by more people than I thought! Carol (from the daycare) got me an adorable cake during the luau and we all took pictures with it. One of my favorite parents from the daycare got me a present, and gave me loads of advice. My best friends refused to leave my house last night until 3 am because they couldn’t bear to leave me (and I didn’t want them to). All in all, I have a solid group of people surrounding me.
2) I am really small. In stature, in exposure, in knowledge… You name it. I have so much to learn and experience! But, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes from The Help, “You is smart, you is kind, you is important.” No matter how insignificant I may feel at times like these, when my cushion of people has left me alone, that mantra reminds me that I am meaningful.
3) Finally, I have learned that no matter how much research I think I’ve done in preparation for this trip, I am still pretty clueless. My picture of myself in Copenhagen is still just me at a cafe in the city. More details will begin to emerge when I arrive, but right now my excitement is muted by loneliness and uncertainty.

Regardless of all this, I will continue on this journey. Now that I got all that on paper, it feels a little but more like a passing cloud than a looming hurricane. Copenhagen, here comes your new favorite little lady!!

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