Denmark


You didn’t have to do it
But you did it to say
That you didn’t have to do it
But you would anyway

Man, I love this place.

Today was spectacular. Today started at 12:45 in the afternoon, which was definitely one of the aspects of its spectacularness.

I wonder if spectacularness is a word (?).

The first thing I did after getting up and showering was to clean my room, and I mean the works. Vacuuming, watering all the plants, cleaning the desk and all the shelves…it looks good. Then I left the window open for the better part of the afternoon, so my room smelled nice and fresh; also, so it would be nice and chilly.

I read much more of The Hobbit today. I’d give it a day or two until I’m done. At this rate I’m going to finish all of the books I brought here with plenty of time. I’ve grown so fond of reading this past year. I just want to read everything I lay my eyes on. I can tell I’m gonna have a kickass library when I’m older.

We had guests today for dinner, and it was such a good time. They live across the street, so it wasn’t like prepping for long lost relatives or anything, but still a good time. We certainly ate well. Oven roasted beef tenderloin, roasted potatos, and a salad that defied gravity. The salads here are exquisite; tons of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, baby corn, snow peas, chopped asparagus and tomatos. Thats just tonight’s salad, but they are always some crazy thing like that.

Word. Rob’s coming over tomorrow and we’re gonna start cutting down the pine tree out back. I can’t wait, I love outdoor work.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BETH! My baby turns twenty today. I miss her terribly. She is loving Italy, however, and that makes me way happy. I will see her soon. I love her.

Thom is coming over in 8 days, and that’s awesome. I met him in the Dominican Republic. He is from Ghent, Belgium.

To give you something to go on
When I go on
Back in the middle of nowhere

opening

So, 18 days after arriving, it’s about time to get to this.

Denmark is an amazing place to be. There is a crispness to the air here that you only find on the best of fall weekends back home. I’d call it the perfect football weather. The kind of air where it rushes in and invigorates you…tells you you’re not tired.

The people in this program number about 450, and span the entire US and a couple of other countries (China, Chech Republic, Turkey…). It was really easy to find my crew of people; it was that kind of gravity certain types of people have towards each other when thrust into a completely new situation.

A little list of names for reference:
Drew – First kid I met on the plane over. From Southern Methodist University in Texas, though his home is in CT. An astute conservative republican, and the perfect frat boy, he makes for a wild night on the town. The plane ride over here was littered with free drinks taken ful advantage of by Drew, and since coming I think we’ve hit the bars together about 5 times, one time ending up playing beer pong in Rob’s room…which brings me to -

Rob – Rob has become the cohort. The Joe of high school or Matt of Dickinson. It didn’t take long to put together, like those kind of friends never do. Actually last night I slept on Rob’s floor at his kollegium. I missed the last train back to Herlev, so we had to catch a taxi back to his spot cuz its way closer.

Marianne, Ole, and Valdimer – My wonderful host family! They have been so great. They let me do pretty much whatever I want. I have my own room in the basement, with my own bathroom and basement entrance. I even have a bike to use, borrowed from Marianne’s dad. I bike to the train station every morning, as the bus is obnoxiously never on its time schedule.
Anywho, we eat great every night. Lots of meat and potatoes, and RICE!!! I’ve been eating tons and tons of RICE!! My parents’ jaws are gonna drop. Tonight we had spaghetti with a great meat sauce. They both cook.
And their sense of humor…they could double as my parents. It’s not only the sarcastic jabs we take at each other, it’s genuine comfort, just like home. The other night I sat up with Ole sharing a beer and he was telling me about his whole experience meeting Marianne and spread it into the big picture of the best things in life are free – in his words, a woman you love, a home to be safe in, and a child.
Speaking of the child, my almost-2 year old host brother is quite the character. I’m currently being called “hai-ku” because michael is a little much. I get hugs goodnight now, and often spend greater parts of my afternoons playing with him. I love little kids.

Oh yeah, I’m here for school, too.

Not to make light of that, the classes here are in-freaking-tense. They are certainly at a Dickinson-level workload, and possibly higher on the reading aspect. I have 4 classes on Tuesdays and Fridays (just the way my schedule worked out), and they are an hour and a half each. Wed. are reserved for field studies, which is when we go out as a class to different places involving our field. Like for my European News Media in Transition, we went and talked to an editor and editor-in-chief of the two biggest newpapers in Denmark.
My other 3 classes are Politics of the EU, Environmental Policy in Europe, and Russia Under Putin. They sure keep me busy, and I’ve often devoted entire days to reading. All for the best though, I’m learning so much.

Which brings me to my one major complaint, and it has nothing to do with the program…the program is amazing. My complaint is, WHY IS THIS NOT A PARTNER PROGRAM OF DICKINSON? The only two options for a humanities person with no foreign language like me (religion and poli sci) are England (For a YEAR, yuck) and Australia (fills up, no interest). For a school that is borderline pompous about “engaging the world” and having allllll of these international interests, what is the answer to someone who just wants to do something in English. I’m not missing out on any cultural aspect of Denmark, they ALL speak English anyway, often to each other. There is so much history here, you practically trip over it at every turn. I sat on a pier off a beach the other night with Rob, and we were looking at Sweden across a strait through which passed the Viking ships that sailed to America before Columbus and also German U-Boats in the Second World War. We have the option of family stay, kollegium stay, or living in an apt. with a Danish roomate…talk about culture experience. The workload is 50 times harder than most of the Dickinson programs. I’ve been asking around, and there is nobody doing as much work as me, yet I still would never dream of switching with anyone. I’m going to raise hell upon my return to have them look at this, because scamming me out of 850 dollars just to apply is just that, a scam. I’m learning integrating more than most kids in dickinson programs, and I’m the ONLY ONE HERE from the big D. It blows my mind.

Now that thats out, and now that it’s 7 past midnight, it is time to go.

Sleep Well.