‘In the next few days, be prepared to see a SUPER POST!!©.’ More than one week later… To be fair, I was a bit busy last week (as you shall see below). But here it is! I will begin from Week 12.
Apologies for the lack of posts. As of late, I have been busy and/or lazy (probably the latter) and writing a blog post involved too much effort. I started school again after the Easter holidays a week ago, and let me tell you; getting up at 7am after sleeping as long as I wanted was one of the worst experiences ever (it would be even worse if it was 6am).
But never fear… in the next few days, be prepared to see a SUPER POST!!© on your dashboard/news feed. It will feature many, never-before-seen photos, summaries of what I’ve been doing since my last post, and much, much more.
In the meantime I must finish this marketing/business economics assignment.
Almost 2 months
Tomorrow marks the 2 month point of my exchange in Denmark. I feel a bit stupid saying it’s gone by so quickly and yet so slowly, but I suppose it’s true. It feels like it’s gone quickly because so many new things have happened and I’ve been to all these different places- but at the same time, I feel like more time should have passed for all the things I’ve done!
Not much has been happening save for school every day. I find the more I learn about Danish, the harder it seems. Hopefully one day I will get there. At school I haven’t really been able to participate, seeing as I can barely even carry a conversation. Instead, I try to learn about the various lives of ‘Jan’ and ‘Henrik’ as they go through their daily lives; Jan, a bus driver who gets harassed one day; Henrik, a future doctor whose girlfriend drops a bombshell on him. As riveting as these stories are, sometimes I find trying to understand the teacher even funnier (considering how limited my vocabulary is). But often I succumb to the temptations of the internet and try to find more ways to amuse myself.
The next few weeks are looking good. Tomorrow I’m going to the premiere of the Hunger Games in my town (although in a town of 30,000 the premiere is not exactly a big affair) with two friends after going to the weekly Rotary meeting. On Friday is our school party; I’m expecting it to be completely different to the dances we would have back in Sydney. Next week is a classmate’s birthday party and a few days after that I’m going to Gothenburg (in Sweden) with my host family for Easter. As spring finally shows itself and summer gets closer, I realise how many things are coming up and panicking a little at how much time I’ll actually have left. A bit premature, but what can I say.
That’s really it for now. I suppose if you have any questions, you can just send them through my ask box!
Typing this as we drive home. Will put up photos later because for some reason I cannot get them off my phone (I was extremely clever and brought my camera charger but not my camera). For the time being, you can look through these, these and these to get an idea of what Fanø looked like.
A few weeks ago my club counselor Anni invited a couple of exchange students and me to stay for the weekend at her summerhouse on Fanø, an island off the west coast of Denmark. The four of us (Maddie, Hunter, Iago and I) left Friday afternoon after a few hiccups with bus travel. We set off at around 4.30 and drove to Espjerg, which took around an hour. When we got to Espjerg we had to wait around 15 minutes for the ferry to take us to Fanø. Once we got to Anni’s summerhouse we made ourselves at home and prepared some spaghetti bolognaise for dinner. After watching the Friday night X Factor (ritualistic in many families here) Anni and her husband Erik went to sleep. Us exchange students stayed up a bit longer, braving the cold and sitting outside singing Gotye. At around 12 we’d had enough and went to bed.
The next morning we were up at 9 and found Anni had made an extravagant breakfast for us all (this was the case with all the food we had over the weekend) and headed off to the beach, wrapped up warmly in our winter coats and scarves. On our way there we saw some cement and Anni explained to us that it was a bunker from WWII. In fact, there were 800 bunkers spread across the island, no small feat for an island 5km wide and 16km long. We searched for amber and even found some small pieces. After exploring the beach thoroughly enough we drove to the main ‘town’ of Fanø. It was one of the most beautiful places I’d ever been; cobblestone roads, quaint houses and picket fences were some of the few attractions present. As we drove back to the summerhouse, we stopped and went to the highest point of Fanø (20-something metres, a real drop!) as well as a strange playground that had references to fairytales in it. But that wasn’t it for the day. All of us headed off to the beach once more and Erik was kind enough to set up a sandboarder (? I have no idea what they’re called) for us to have a go in. The first time around he went with us to show us how to steer, turn and slow down. However, once only one person was on the sandboarder, it went a lot faster and was definitely much scarier! By this point it was almost 6, so we drove back to the summerhouse and made dinner. Us exchange students stayed up until around 1, but we were so exhausted after the day that we went to bed.
Sunday was our last day on Fanø but we were determined not to let the day go to waste and so we headed off to town. We browsed in a clothing store for a while and then Anni took us to a place abundant in WWII bunkers. Some were partly destroyed but others were intact enough for us to go in and do a bit of exploring. It was fascinating to see these bunkers and learn a bit about the rich history of Denmark. Once we were done (it was SO cold) we went back to the car. Our next destination was Sønderho, the southernmost town on Fanø. It was the first time most of us saw a real life mill :P Wandering around the town, Anni and Erik told us a bit about it. A unanimous decision was made to grab some hot chocolate at the only café that was open (as there are only 3300 inhabitants on the island, not much is open during the wintertime). At the café we met a man named Robert who originally came from Britain and understood our conversations in English. He turned out to be a tour guide of the area and offered to take us around Sønderho, which was one of the best parts of the weekend. He was extremely knowledgeable on the history and traditions of the town. Thankfully he was fluent in English, as well as Danish, Swedish, Dutch and French, having travelled a lot as a child. I felt the tour was so interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
It was then time to go back home. We returned to the summerhouse, packed our things and left around 5pm. It was a great way to spend the weekend and the only bad thing is that school is tomorrow! Don’t want to have to wake up at 7 :’( Looking forward to my day off school on Wednesday and sleeping in!
Should probably update more often or I’ll forget what I’ve been doing.
School takes up a lot of my time and as a result I return home extremely tired from constantly processing Danish. Even though I don’t really do work (save for maths, where I use Google Translate to decipher the questions) having Danish all around me affects me a lot. I’m glad there aren’t any other exchange students at my school because I’m forced to listen to Danish during breaks instead of English.
Last week I went to a Rotary dinner with about 8 Rotarians and Hunter (the other exchange student in my club). It was really nice to chat to the Rotarians in an informal environment, as during Rotary meetings I just sit and listen to whoever is speaking at the time. We talked about Hunter’s and my experiences here, the good parts and the bad, what could be improved, families etc. It’s great that our Rotary club actively participates in our exchange life and is interested in our opinions. I also tried elderberry juice(?)/soda water (I don’t even know) which tasted a lot better than I expected.
On Sunday I went to the home of Jesper, one of the Rotarians from my club. It was his son’s 2nd birthday and they were having family over so he invited me to spend some time with them and meet his children. He’s married to a former exchange student from the U.S. and we talked about how we identified the same differences between our countries and Denmark. We made fødselsdag boller and I got to see what a kid’s birthday in Denmark is like :) His family was very welcoming and it was a very ‘hyggeligt’ day.
Other than that, not much has happened. I’m going to my club counsellor’s summerhouse this weekend with Hunter and some others. I can’t quite remember where it is but I’ll definitely take some photos while I’m there.
Yesterday (Friday) morning I got up at the lovely hour of 7am to hitch a ride with my host father’s sister (host aunt?). Being the winter holidays, I was not the happiest to be getting up so early (after a week of waking up at 10/11) so I didn’t properly wake up for a while. I was on my way to visit Katie, Anna, Maddy, Jared and Matt (other exchange students from Australia). Public transport in Denmark is so expensive so I was willing to wake up in the morning just to save ~$20 (and that’s just one way, about 1.5hours of train time). I arrived in Ørbæk (the small town Katie lives in that is 10km from Nyborg) at around 9.30 and was already tired from not sleeping much the night before. We decided to take a short nap at around 10/11 and then chilled until Anna and Maddy arrived at 3pm.
In the meantime, Jared and Matt were already at Nyborg station and (due to some miscommunication) we didn’t get there until 4.30. It was great to see everyone again and we had a really nice dinner, getting home fairly early. Sleep, however, did not come until the late hours (for some, later than others; sorry Anna!).
Today was our trip to Odense, the third largest city in Denmark (with 167,000 people). It was everyone’s but Katie’s first time there so she led us around and showed us the main shopping street, where we spent most of the day. Unfortunately it was drizzling or raining the entire time (which certainly dampened the mood) (best pun ever). We discovered the beauty of Sunset Boulevard, a sort of cross between Subway and McDonalds that was healthy and delicious. It was a really fun day and I came home utterly exhausted but happy!
We’ve had vinterferien this week (winter holidays) so I’ve been relaxing a lot and chilling! I finally got my CPR number so I was able to get a bank account and a phone plan (finally). This weekend I’m off to Nyborg to visit Katie and then spending Sunday with my second host family.
Today my host family and I went to Rømø, a small island off the west coast of Denmark. A popular summer destination for Germans and Danes alike, it was completely deserted today. The beach was eerily beautiful and I took a couple of photos (but I don’t think they do Rømø justice).
I felt I should write this up before I get too lazy and forget about everything that happened at camp last week. Forgive me for my terrible English, it really is going down the drain. If you can’t be bothered to read all this, pictures can be found here.
Edit: This post has taken me two days to do and I haven’t even finished yet. Yay for consistency!
Shopping in Flensburg
You certainly can buy some interesting things in Germany…
Rhubarb juice and passionfruit juice.
Heaps of soda and beer. Because they don’t get taxed so much everything is cheap in Germany and all Danish people drive down there to get boxes and boxes of alcohol and soft drinks
Heaps of Haribo. ~$20 for 4kg of the stuff
It was pretty fun to go to another country, albeit for an hour or two! :) The German supermarkets on the border are solely for Danes and if you look at the registration plates of all the cars you see that most cars in the parking lot are from Denmark.