Don’t Let Me Count it Down

10 weeks have come and gone. 10 weeks. I just can’t quite wrap my mind around it.

Friday night arriving back in Copenhagen after an unforgettable adventure throughout Ireland with the greatest group of classmates (friends) you could ask for, I found myself standing alone at the Norreport train station wishing that time would slow down.

Since applying to DIS last spring Ireland had been the one place I could not wait to travel too. After spending a couple days traveling through Sweden with my classmates, the trip to Ireland just became more exciting. I found myself counting down the days until we were all together for 6 days, running a muck around the country I had always wanted to travel too.

Last week was incredible. Full of pints of beers, pubs, singing on the streets, laughing for hours straight and just a little bit of learning. Whether it was three days spent in Belfast learning about the conflict between the Protestants and Catholics. Eating fish and chips, getting drenched by rain or just laughing at how extremely silly we are all. There were a lot of trips to McDonald’s for some reason as well. There was a magnificent afternoon spent on the coast of Ireland and we were even lucky enough to catch a rainbow while we were there. It was perfect. The pictures that have been posted all over my Facebook will forever remind me of a week spent with some of the greatest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

I guess now that Ireland has come and gone I’ve come to realize how fast life is going. As I stood in the eerie silence Friday night I was suddenly hit with the realization that there was no one for me to talk to. There was no one for the first time all week saying something ridiculous and there was no one to listen to my Irish whistle. I caught myself thinking too that was the last time we’d probably be all together for such a long period of time. I never fully understood the concept of how fast people who travel together grow to love  each other . But it is.

With only 7 weeks left my life here is slowly coming to an end. The weeks will move quickly between another travel break in two weeks and then a visit from my family. Before I know it it will be December 16 and I will have to make my way to the Copenhagen Airport for my 9 am flight home. What a strange thought. With the time dwindling there has begun to be a theme in conversation between my friends and I. We’re all excited for the prospect of returning home, to the hugs of loved ones and the comfort of all that that entails. For a Christmas with our families. But there’s a part in all of us that is sad, slightly confused and a little hurt. Because when December rolls around and we all pack up our suitcases and we will throw away the random things we’ve accumulated in our rooms. When we turn off our Danish cellphones forever and when we can no longer sit amongst the Danes in a coffee shop or a bar pretending that we belong. What will we feel? What will I feel?

When applying to studying abroad I was told a lot about the roller coaster of emotions that I would feel throughout the semester. That there would be days when I was really homesick, days where I just felt like an average person living a average life and there would be moments of adrenaline when I would not believe that this is actually my life. But I don’t think anyone told me that I’d love people so much. I never thought that I would make friendships with other people that would make this whole experience one of the greatest adventures to date. I knew I’d have friends, but I never knew how quickly I’d become invested. How quickly I would care. The hardest part is distance. For now we’re all living within 40 minutes of each other. A bike ride away or a quick trip on the S train or even just a room away. But come December some of my favorite people will be hundreds of miles away, states between us. Even the Atlantic Ocean separating us. What will happen then?

But I have 7 weeks. 7 weeks to love everyone more. To make more memories and to make it even harder to say goodbye come December. But as I’ve said before, from the wise words of Winnie The Pooh, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” I am lucky. Lucky to have a wonderful bunch of friends. All with a different perspective on life, all a little silly and all every accepting of the silliness that runs through me too. I’m lucky to have a family to come home too after traveling. A family who’s welcomed me fully into their lives. 

I will not count down. I will not look at the disappearing days on the calendar. I will not. Until December I will enjoy the life I’ve created here. Whether it’s my morning coffee at my favorite cafe or the trips to the market at night with Phillip to buy milk, I will appreciate it. I will not count down. Though I can not slow down time, I make the days left count.  
 
 
 
“You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. You will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living breathing screaming invitation to believe better things.”

- Jamie Tworkowski
 

Dreaming of My Days in Denmark

“Are you homesick?”

 

Am I homesick, yes, I am. There are moments that I wish for nothing more than to walk quietly across the sand on Plum Island, lazily throwing Abbie’s tennis ball ahead of me, watching her chase and dig, chase and dig as the waves role in and out, the familiar lullaby of a life by the ocean. It’s home. I miss my brothers. I miss listening to them fighting in the room next to me or the three of us hysterically laughing at our parents, who sit fuming at our disrespect. Or a late afternoon drive around Newburyport with Peter, my feet on the dashboard, both of us cringing every time my car squeaks as we roll through town. I miss my randomly deep conversations with Ryan, as we sit together in the kitchen, both in between work and sleep. I miss my parents, I miss their voices and I miss coming home after a couple weeks of school to eat dinner with them. To listen to life or even to fight with them. I miss the familiarity of my friends back home. How much I know about their lives, the easiness of sitting together for hours, talking or not talking. Laughing or just driving through the city late at night, letting the lyrics of songs sweetly screaming the words we wish we could say. I miss the familiarity of Boston. The feeling as I wander down the streets, knowing exactly where I am going at all times, each step pushing me forward faster to a place to sit and read.
So yes of course, I miss home. But do I want to go home?

No I don’t.

A happy moment of Sunday afternoon

I’ve now been here for 6 weeks. 6 weeks have flown by faster than I want to think. I’ve become so attached to life here. So when I think of home, I let the feelings of homesickness seep in only for a moment, because I don’t want them to take over. For I know that when I get home to Boston, I will be dreaming of my days in Denmark.

I’ll be day dreaming of the things that I thought were insignificant. The moments when I just smiled, and thought “oh this is just life.” But come December I know that there will be things that I wish I could replay a thousand times over.
Whether it’s the nights wandering the city of strangers with Denisse or sitting at her dinner table laughing at the communication troubles and the 100 “whaatttsss?” that ring through the room. Or maybe I’ll dream of the peaceful morning train rides into the Copenhagen, as I’m shoved around on the Green Line trying to get to the opposite side of Boston. Maybe I’ll miss the amount of times I’ve been asked things in the street in Danish and look back at them with a puzzled look and say “I’m from America, sorry.” Or maybe that every time I’m asked where I’m from and say Boston, whomever it is smiles, and attempts to say “Basttttan” in that oh so famous Boston accent. I know I’ll miss my family dinners where English is a second language, allowing me to space off for minutes at a time and check back in when I understand whats being said. As I’m strolling through the sky scrappers of Boston and the familiarity of the city, I’m sure for just a moment I’ll wish for the confusion of the Danish streets. The surprises that I see at every street corner, being lost. I’ll miss the romantic look of the city, cobblestone streets, lined with colorful shops, flowers on the street corners and the ringing of bike bells coming in every direction. I’ll miss my friends that have been scattered across the country, no longer just a classroom away or a wave as we pass eachother on the street. There will be nights that I wish for someone to brush my teeth with, as I stand alone in my bathroom. Or maybe what I’ll miss is the conversations I have with William and Sebastian, whether long or short, I look forward to them. For when I am home I will no longer know what happened at school, if they passed their bike test or if they scored a goal in their last futbol match. Or maybe it will be the lack of ‘okays’ after everything I say, because Americans and Danes have such different views on what okay means. I am sure to miss the true concept of wifi, and not being able to use my phone for hours at a time, making me so aware of the world around me. I know too that I will miss laughing as Phillip dances around the kitchen at night, poorly singing songs that he’s made up. I will miss my beautifully old and squeaky bike and the basket that I would never ride around with in Boston.

I guess the point is that I have fallen back in love with moments. Moments that I will not ever get back but moments that I will never forget.

I will miss so much. I will miss so many people. So though I send so much love home to those I miss, I can not think to much. I can only send my love. For I will be home soon. But who knows when I will be back to Denmark, and what a thought that is.

So for now, Farvel from Denmark.

As Time Flies By

“I can’t believe it’s been a month already.” 

It’s all me and my friends keep saying as this week goes by slowly. It’s unbelievable to think that with 1 month down we only have 3 left. But we’re all determined to live in the moment. To enjoy every single minute, before we head back to college to really get back to ‘real life’. Image

In the last month I’ve come to to realize a lot about the roller coaster of studying abroad. There are things that I love about Denmark and there are  things that I miss about home. 

 

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Here are my lists: 

What I love: 

-The city sidewalks full of cafe’s with outdoor seating and blankets to snuggle in as you sip your kaffe

-The quiet train ride commute in the morning. Where I can loose myself in a book or my journal. 

-Living with a family that 30 days ago I had never met, but now I feel so at home. 

-Relearning how to us T9…on my pixcell cellphone. (please note that this phone does not have a camera. 

-The small cars 

-The number of people walking or biking. Everything is easy to get too, it’s nice not having to jump in a car to get everywhere

-Learning Danish…or attempting too. & being okay when I have no idea what is being said around me. 

-The amazing friends that I’ve made, both Danish and American. People that without this experience I would never have met. 

 

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The Things I miss: 

-Bagels 

-Starbucks iced coffee 

-A stroll down the beach with my favorite pup 

-Being able to call my mom at any point in the day 

-Using my iPhone, without having to be on wifi 

-Friends and family back home

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 As you can tell the things I miss back home are important, but they haven’t affected me as much as I thought they would. With a month down, I’ve done some pretty amazing things. I spent a weekend in Sweden, hiking and biking with my classmates. Or The most amazing bonding weekend ever. I have to admit, my cross-cultural communications class has become a lot more fun, after 3 days of traveling together. Now we’re all counting down the days until our trip to Ireland in October. Or the afternoon trip to Tivoli for ice cream and roller coasters. There are the family dinners every night with my family of boys and nightly walks with my new pup Figo. I look forward now to Sunday afternoons, family days and the constant talk about futbol. Or afternoons with friends as we stroll down the streets of Copenhagen, eating lunch outside in the park or sleepily drinking coffee to get through the afternoon of classes. 

With one month down and three to go, all I can say is that I could not have picked a better place to come. I am in love with Denmark, in love with the city and all it has to offer. I look forward as my semester unfolds before me. Leaving me with memories that I am sure with last a life time. Along with friends that will too. 

 

So for now, Farvel from Copenhagen. 

 

 

 

Why We Travel

With my couple days of classes under my belt and a week into my experience abroad, life is beginning to settle into a routine.  Today my creative writing professor asked the class, 
“why do we travel?” 

We had a number of ideas, all having to do with new experiences, gaining knowledge into a different part of the world. To be able to come home and appreciate the things that you took for granted every day when you passed them on the street. To meet new people, to understand different cultures and to ultimately find yourself. 

All things that I agree with. All valid points of what it is to be a traveler. To explore, to adventure and to try new things. 

Why do I travel? Why did I decide to study abroad? Why did I pick Copenhagen, why did I pick Denmark? All questions that I’ve been asked, since I applied to study abroad. Why why why? 

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Truth be told, I do not know really what made me want to study abroad so bad, why I felt as though I needed to spread my wings, to leave home and to go alone, without knowing a single soul. But after 5 days, I know that I picked the right place, that I couldn’t be happier. 

Again, why do we travel?  It is different for everyone. I didn’t realize until now, but I travel to fall in love.
To fall in love with a city where no one knows my name. A city where I can walk down the streets, absorbed in nothing by my own thoughts. Or in the people that I see, the sounds I hear and the bustle of a thousand different lives walking by me. There’s some sort of unexplainable joy in finding a coffee shop or a store that I’ve never been in. When I find a book store, I feel as though I’ve hit the jack pot, to wander aimlessly among the rows of unread adventures. I love the feeling of the unknown. The uncertainty of what is to come next, who I will meet. The thrill of turning a street corner and finding something I’ve never seen. The moments of confusion and being lost, have become a thrill for me. 

A quote from the reading I had for homework last night. 

“Travel is like love, it is in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed, That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.” – -Pico Lyer
 
So as Pico Lyer says, I say as well, travel. Get lost in the world, get lost on the streets and get lost in yourself. 
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First Impressions

After an overwhelming and exciting first four days in Copenhagen, I am happy to say that I could not have picked a more perfect place to study abroad.

Maybe it was the choice of staying with a host family, or the people I’ve met in my brief time in Denmark so far, but I could not be more pleased.

However, the first 24 hours were for sure the toughest part.

I never realized how exhausting traveling truely is. Not until I was waiting for my connecting flight. After sitting on a plane for 6 hours without sleeping, I arrived in Paris at 6:55 am. In the US it was still only after 12 am, not to late. I didn’t feel my exhaustion yet, since as a 20 year old I had stayed up much, much later. But while a bunch of us DIS students sat together in the Paris airport, our first roll of exhaustion swept through. But it was nice, have a bunch of us, all sitting together, anxiously awaiting our flight, all of us in kind of a dream, not really comprehending that we were about to begin our study abroad adventure.

When we finally made it to Copenhagen, I was exhausted. All I wanted was my bed, a bowl of ice cream and some sleep. But I couldn’t sleep, I had to lug my heavy bags across the airport to the Hilton. It was hard. I wanted to die, but of course the stress kept coming. As soon as I got to the Hotel I was told to leave my luggage and head to the second floor. I was about to meet my host family. Yikes. I was overcome with nerves.

Nerves I shouldn’t have felt. Within 24 hours of living with my host parents and three host Brothers, I could not feel more at home. With a 25 minute train from Virum, Denmark into the city every morning, I feel like a true Dane! It’s also the perfect place to read or write.

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With classes starting tomorrow and just finishing my DIS Amazing Race, I am looking forward to getting into a routine! I’ve even started learning a bit of Danish, thanks to my 12 year old host Brother!

All in all, my first impressions of Denmark, it’s people and life in Europe is fantastic. I’m overwhelmed, excited and can not wait to see what the semester has to offer.

 

 

The Final Week

5 days and counting. 

It’s a strange feeling getting ready to head to Copenhagen for 4 months. I’ve been planning on studying abroad since I was a junior in high school, but now that it’s less than a week away, I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that on Saturday at 6:10 I will be boarding a plane for my first ever solo trip abroad. 

In my final week at home, I’ve realized the roller coaster of emotions that come before you leave for an extended amount of time. Leaving behind friends and family is stressful, a little sad and but mostly overwhelming. Though I know that those I leave behind will be awaiting my return home in December, it’s a unfamiliar feeling to know that I can’t call my mom at the drop of the hat to drive to Boston for a pick-me-up lunch. Or spend the afternoon on the beach with my dog. My close friends will be just starting their mornings at 10 am while I’ll be headed back home after a day of classes. But despite the sadness I’ve felt for those I’m leaving behind, I know that they’re happy for me to take this next adventure. 

Even with all the anxiety, I can’t control my delight in what will happen next Sunday. Over and over I keep saying to myself, ” a week from now I’ll be in Europe!” After getting a email from my host family last Friday, it made everything so much more real. Talking with my host mother and getting pictures of the three boys and puppy that I’ll be living with gives me a feeling of home. It’s nice to know that even though I will be far away from home, I will have a family  to come home to every day. 

 

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My suit case is packed and my passport is ready. All my documents are printed out and my plane books are picked! All thats left to do is enjoy those I love for the next 5 days, get lots of sleep and practice some danish! 

The Nerves are Building!

36 days in counting. 

In one month and 6 days, I will be boarding my flight to Copenhagen. It’s only just starting to hit me now, that I will be gone for four months. This morning while sitting at breakfast with my two younger brothers, all of us finally with a day off from work , we began to discuss my trip abroad. They kept asking me if I was nervous, scared or excited. I realized that even though it’s been in the back of my head all summer, I’ve been so consumed with other responsibilities at work, that I’ve lost track of time. 

That’s when the nerves set in. In the next month I have so much to do. Maybe not physically, because I’ve pretty much got all my paperwork, registration and traveling documentation done. But really what I have to do is prepare myself. Mentally. Prepare myself for four months away from my brothers, my parents and my friends. It’s different for me, I go to school in Boston. My home is a hour train ride from school, a quick $10 trip on the commuter rail. So every couple weeks, I’d head home for an afternoon, to toss the tennis ball around with my adorable golden retriever. God, I will miss her as well. 

So I guess in the next month, I have to learn to take time away from work. Take time to enjoy the ones I love. Soon they will be miles and miles away. Though I’m nervous for the next chapter of life as I venture out on my own, really all on my own, but I have also never been more excited in my life. Copenhagen really can’t come soon enough. 

Let the Check Lists Begin

Today I came to the realization that I leave for Copenhagen in 47 days. Yikes! I’ve been so busy working all summer that I’ve forgotten that the time has flown by. With only a month and a half left before I climb aboard the plane, I’ve come to realize just how many lists I have to make.

First of all, I don’t speak Danish, and before I looked it up, I had no idea of what it looked like or how it was pronounced. Now that I’ve been doing a little research on the language I know that I’m in for quite the undertaking, trying to understand the Danes.

For example here are some simple phrases I’m going to need to practice:

Hi my name is Alix- Hej mit navn er Alix
Hello, how are you today? -Hej, hvordan går det i dag?
Goodbyefarvel, hej hej 
Thank you-mange tak! 
Where is the bathroom? – Hvor er badeværelset
 

See? I have no idea how to go about pronouncing any of that! Should be quite the experience learning, for sure.

Second, four months sounds like a short time, but with 4 weeks each month that’s 112 days of outfits. I’m starting to panic in what to pack. What do I bring? What are the unnecessary items that I can leave at home? Coming from a long line of over packers I must consolidate to only the necessities. Which at the moment, I am unsure of what is. Do I pack my rain boots or two different pairs of sneakers? Birkenstocks or flats? Two sweatshirts or no sweatshirts and go with sweaters instead? How many pairs of shirts verse jeans? Sweatpants, yoga pants? PJS!?! It’s madness. What comes and what stays! All I have been told is that I must be able to carry everything, me, myself and I. That is not a lot of room for shoes, clothes, BOOKS, laptop, and just things a girl needs. Good gosh.
 So it looks like in the next month and a half, I’ll be attempting to learn Danish, packing and repacking my suitcase and attempting to not have a pre-departure break down before I head over to live with the Danes!