I have now been with my host family for three weeks. Woah. It feels like I have been here for so much longer – yet at the same time, the days have absolutely flown by. I feel completely at home here, and I’m absolutely in love with Denmark.
Honestly, it’s all still a little surreal. I haven’t woken up and thought, ‘wow, I’m on exchange, I’m in Denmark’ – because this is just my life right now. I’m just living.
I’d like to apologize for the tardiness of this post. I haven’t really had any motivation to sit down and write about all I’m doing, and I just haven’t thought much about it. Like I said, the time has flown by.
So I have lots to write about! I’ll start at my orientation in New York, which was almost a month ago (and isn’t that just insane?). I arrived in NYC on July 31st, where I had my gateway orientation. There were six other AFSers there, all going to Denmark. I'm glad that we had a small orientation, because apparently some of them have over 150 people! We came from all over the country, even as far as Hawaii. We stayed at a nice Hilton right near the airport (JFK). I had my own room, and from it I had a great view of the airport! It was definitely cool to see planes coming in and out, knowing that I'd be on one soon.
We went to the airport the afternoon of the 1st. My bags were overweight (shhh), but luckily I got through without paying! I had one large suitcase and two carry-ons. We flew out at 5:15 P.M. on a lovely red-eye flight. We flew with Brussels Air, and the flight was great! It was my first international flight, and it wasn't nearly as bad as people made it out to be. When we had our layover in Brussels, we met some Belgian AFSers going to Brazil. The AFS volunteers with them bought us some Belgian chocolate, which was great! According to them, you can't be in Belgium without eating some of their chocolate. We looked for some waffles, too, but I guess there aren't really waffle shops in airports.
We landed in Copenhagen and met AFS volunteers in the airport. We went with them to the orientation site, which was a nearby school. Our group was one of the first ones there, and we got to go into Copenhagen for a couple hours! We were all exhausted, of course, but it was definitely cool to see a little bit of the city.
Orientation was so wonderful! It lasted three days. There are I think 208 people in Denmark this year, from all around the world. It was absolutely amazing to hear all of the different languages and to meet all of the different people! I made some great friends there, from almost every continent. We also had some learning sessions about Denmark and Danish, which were alright.
On the 5th we finally met our host families! I said goodbye to people all morning as they left on their trains. My local chapter was picked up by volunteers, so we were some of the last to leave. We met some people involved in the chapter at a woman’s house, over cake and juice. Then our host families came!
I’m not going to go into meeting them and everything, but I’ll just say that my host family is wonderful! I think that they’re fantastic people, and I’m having an amazing time with them. The extended family, whom I’ve met briefly, also seems great. I love my family’s house, and the location is just beautiful. When I walk the dog, I can go right down by the fjord! I love my room too, and just – everything!
The last few weeks have been fairly eventful, though much of it has just been me settling in. I’ve seen some of the town, and I’ve been back to Copenhagen, to go to Tivoli! For those who don’t know, Tivoli is the second oldest amusement park in the world (the oldest is also in Denmark), and it was Walt Disney’s inspiration for Disney Land. I had a great time. Other than that, I’ve been to a surprise birthday party, a silver wedding (25th anniversary), gone on an outing to the sommerhus in Næstved, and more!
OH and something big would be school! I’ve been in school for a couple of weeks now, and I have mixed feelings about it. I like the school, I love my class, and it seems like the Danish school system is good, but I obviously can’t understand anything. I’ve been placed in a language line. My list of classes is this: English, Danish, Danish grammar, Spanish, Latin (?), biology, nature science, math, social studies (politics), history, P.E., and drama. I’ve had all except Latin so far (hence the question mark – I don’t really know what to expect), and they seem like good classes! The only thing is that I’ve already taken an equivalent of every class except for Danish and possibly history. I know everything that I’ll be doing this year. This has pros and cons, but I’ll try to look at it in a good light. In class I mostly just doodle, attempt to read the textbook, fight off sleep, read my English book, or, if I’m feeling ambitious, try to understand what the teacher is saying. School is different here, and I’ll try to dedicate a post to that at some point; I won’t go into everything now.
My classmates are really nice! In Denmark, you stay with the same people all day, every day. We have 28 in my class, but it doesn’t really feel that big. I’ve already made friends with some people, and I’m glad! Also, since I’m in the first grade, I got to go on an introtur! This is a trip that gymnasiums organize for first graders to get to know each other more. Ours was a night of camping in Skibby, and we biked twenty kilometers there and back. It was tiring, but the trip was a lot of fun! There are one hundred forty-five people in my grade total, but I’ve only met a few outside my class. One of the other AFSers is also in my school, and I’m glad for that, because she’s so nice! It’s great to have another exchange student so close.
And using that nice segway, last weekend I had a camping trip with the AFSers in my chapter. It was amazing! There were nine of us students, and we kayaked to a camping site where we stayed the night. It was fun and beautiful and I had a wonderful time. I can’t wait to see all of them again!
So this is all I’ll write for now. I may come in later and put pictures into this post, but I won’t guarantee it. I have lots of pictures on Facebook, for those of you readers who are my friends. I have more to say, but it is 11:30 at night, and I’m exhausted! I pinkie promise that I won’t take such a long break in between blog posts next time! I’ll definitely start writing more frequently, now that I’m all settled in. My next post will probably be filling in the gaps of this post. I’ll write soon! Godnat og vi ses snart!