Friday, October 18, 2013

Efterårsferie - del et

Heej :)

I'm writing this post right now in the Helsinki airport after a week of fun new adventures. (edit: I ended up posting this the morning after I got back from Helsinki, but it was written there) This week is fall break, and even though it's not over yet, it's been great so far! My best friend ever Annabeth (hi Annabeth), who I mentioned last time is an American exchange student in Finland, arrived last Thursday to Denmark. We had four days in Denmark of going to school, sightseeing in Copenhagen, shopping in my town, walking through the woods, and, of course, taking tons of pictures. Then, on Monday, we flew to Helsinki! I've had a couple days here of sightseeing (though there aren't many things to see in Helsinki - not nearly as many as in Copenhagen!) and meeting Annabeth's friends and having an amazing time. Helsinki is a wonderful city!

But now I've said goodbye to Annabeth, and soon I'll fly back to Denmark (my first flight alone!) for even more fun! Later today I think that I'm hanging out with a big group of exchange students in Denmark, which is always a good time. Then tomorrow, I'm taking a day trip, I think to either Sweden or Germany, with my host family! I know that a lot of exchange students are on big trips with their families this week to places like Paris, Prague, Amsterdam, and Sweden, but I'm glad to get a short trip. I love how in Europe it's so easy to travel to other countries! I don't really know if I'm doing anything exciting this weekend; I might just take a couple rest days. We'll find out!

I don't have much else to write about right now, so I'll put in a few pictures! Enjoy :)

Suomenlinna is an old fortress on an island in Helsinki. I really recommend seeing it, it's beautiful!

Hobbit houses!

The interior of a beautiful old cathedral in Helsinki, called the Uspenskin Katedraali. There's Russian writing because the cathedral was built while Finland belonged to Russia.

A different Helsinki church, called Helsingin Tuomiokirkko. This one was built while Finland was Swedish, and so is Swedish in design.

From the top of Vor Frelsers Kirke in Copenhagen

If you're ever a tourist in Copenhagen, prepare to deal with about a million stairs.

Beautiful Nyhavn :)

The changing of the guard at Amalienborg (Copenhagen)

Inside "The Marble Church" of Copenhagen, officially called Frederiks Kirke

Climbing up the Rundetårn, an old observatory in Copenhagen

So, I've been to Tivoli twice before, but it's a totally different world around Halloween time!

The Frederiksborg Slot, in Hillerød, which is fairly near to me

And the pictures go back to Finland... having a super hyggeligt time with Annabeth and my new friend Bori :) We got into a leaf fight

Eating at the most adorable café I've ever seen and enjoying the hygge 

Our wonderful view from the café

The best evening I've had in a long time :)

Okay, so that was more than "a few" pictures. They were also completely out of order, so sorry about that. I hope you guys liked them though! I'll write again soon!



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

AFS hygge og bedre dansk :)

Hej alle sammen!

So I'm finally getting around to writing a blog post, and I again apologize for the delay. I can't believe it's been a month since I wrote my last post! Sorry!

Lucky for you, I have lots to write about today! It is October 9th, which means that I have been in Denmark for about 9 weeks. (the 2 month anniversary was the 2nd). It doesn't at all feel like it has been two months, and I really really hope that the rest of my exchange doesn't fly by just as quickly as the last months have (though something tells me it probably will). It honestly feels like just last week that I packed my bags in the car and drove to New York. I am also now 2/11  or 18.182% through my exchange... but I don't like to think about that.

A recent exciting event was my fall AFS camp! I had a camp with 23 other exchangers from the Nordsjælland, København, and Bornholm chapters of Denmark. We were again in a school, this time in Gentofte, near Copenhagen. It was so amazing to see everyone again, just bonding and spending time and hygge-ing. The other exchange students are some of my best friends here, and I love them all so much! Since we all have the same situation, we understand eachother and get along really well. At the camp, we had more group sessions, in which we talked about family, friends, school, and goals for the future. These group sessions were better than the ones at the first camp, and I think that they were helpful and only a little boring. In the group sessions we also wrote letters to our future selves, which I think will be good to read later. One interesting thing we did was a cultural activity where we were told a story (acted out beautifully by volunteers), and we had to decide which characters were the 'best' and 'worst'. The cultural differences evident in the lists were so interesting! We had to try to agree on an order of 'goodness' for the characters in small groups, which was practically impossible. Interestingly, my list was most like a Slovakian girl's, and not at all like the other American's. At night, we watched a movie (Pitch Perfect!), which was so hyggeligt! Over the weekend we also took tons of pictures - I have over 600 pictures from less than 3 days! Basically, we played games and talked and played piano and made cakes and were just happy. The only downside to the camp is that I'm so exhausted now! I got so little sleep that when I got home on Sunday I fell asleep and slept through the night. Here are a few pictures of my weekend, for any who aren't friends with me on Facebook. You can always tell which one's me because I'm the only blonde!

Here are all of us AFSers! This includes people from Spain, Bolivia, France, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Hungary, Switzerland, the US, Italy, Brazil, Slovakia, and Turkey.

A few of my favorite people

Making cake!

It was really good

Good luck bracelets from Brazil!

God mad (good food)

Singing our song about the Danes

Movie night!

My favorite thing

We were all really tired, as you can probably tell

At the camp, I spoke in 'Danglish' with my exchange student friend from Spain. We both used as much Danish as possible, with English as necessary. It worked really well, and I'm now going to attempt to use Danglish as much as possible. My Danish is going pretty well, I think, and I can definitely see improvement! Over the last couple of weeks especially, my understanding has shot up. Though it's not quite where I'd like it to be (I've been using too much English), I am still happy with my progress. Check at the end of this post for my attempt at writing in Danish - something I can look back on later to see my current level in the language. One thing that is definitely helping me is that my class now speaks to me in Danish at least half the time.

Speaking about my class, I'll talk about school! It's going alright, but classes are probably my least favorite part of being here. AFS told us at the camp that the EU has imposed a new rule that states if you aren't an EU citizen, and you have more than 10% absences from school (they calculate it here by individual class, instead of by school day), then you will get sent home and banned from Europe for 3 years. This is a new rule, created because so many exchange students were skipping school while here on academic visas. School is still okay, though, because I can hear and speak Danish, and I can get to know my classmates more. But most of the time I don't do much - in fact, I'm wrote this entire post during my Danish and math classes.

The next few months are going to be really exciting, so coming up I'll have lots to write about on here. Next week is fall break, and it's especially exciting for me! Tomorrow my amazing friend Annabeth is coming to visit, and then I'm going to visit her! She's also American, but she's currently an exchange student in Finland. Click here for her blog if you're curious! I get back to Denmark on Thursday, and I think after I get back I'm going to spend time with some exchange students. After a wonderful beginning of vacation, I think I'm either going to Sweden or Germany for a day trip with my family! Even though it'll be short, I think that it'll be really cool to see another new country. After fall break, it'll be Halloween! I don't know if I'll do anything for it, but I know that some people here have started celebrating it. After Halloween is the holiday season, my favorite time of year! I was talking about the holidays with some of my friends at school the other day, and I've decided to have a little Thanksgiving for my class during English class. I'm also going to do something for my family, of course. Thanksgiving is one thing that I love about America, and I'd love to share it! And after Thanksgiving, of course, it's Christmas! In Denmark the whole month of December is all about Christmas, and I've already been planning things to do. I know that Denmark has some great Christmas traditions, which I'm so excited to experience - but I'll write about all that when I get to it.

Nu for dansk! Jeg ved ikke hvad jeg skulle skrive, men så jeg vil bare tale (eller skrive.. haha). Nu sidder jeg i skole, med min venner. Min lærer for danske, som jeg har nu, er rigtig flot, og hjælper hun mig med mit dansk. Dansk er ikke virkelig svært, men nogle ting er svært. Den mest svært er præpositioner, ordstilling, og ord slutninger (og også bruger én eller ét). Jeg er bedre til dansk end jeg var når jeg kom til Danmark, selvføgelig. Hvad skal jeg sige nu? Jeg har meget mange billider fra den AFS camp, som jeg vil sætte ind dette blog-indlæg senere. (færdig nu!) De er på Facebook også. Jeg elsker AFS og udvekslingsstudenter! Dette dansk er dårligt, tænk jeg, men det er en god start. I dag efterskole har jeg dansk tema. Jeg håber at lær nogle ting. I morgen kommer Annabeth, min rigtig god veninde! Det er virkelig spændende!! Temaet er næsten slut nu, så vil jeg stopper med at skrive. Hej hej!

I don't really have anything else to say! I hope you enjoyed my post (and my attempt at Danish), and I promise I'll write soon!

Vi ses!


P.S. It's starting to be fall here! The trees are turning orange all of the sudden, and it's great :)