Time to hear about the rest of my weekend, and my first few days of my fourth (!) week here. This weekend, my host mom’s sister and her wife were visiting from Århus, which was super fun. When I got back from my study tour, I was exhausted but very happy to be part of hyggeligt family time. I was also very excited for dinner, because I figured it would be special since we had guests. Indeed, the table was being fully set and everything looked put together, but I couldn’t figure out what we were having. Bowls of chopped apples, oranges, bananas, bell peppers, coconut, peanuts, and other ingredients were all being put together. At first I assumed that the fruit must be for some kind of fruit salad (though I didn’t understand why it was separated) or possibly for a dessert. But the bowls were being put on the table as if they were a part of dinner. Then I caught a glimpse of what was cooking in the pot–some kind of meat stew. Now I was really confused. Eventually I found out that my suspicions were true, and that we were going to put all those things on top of the meat (with rice)–an Indonesian recipe. I often get pretty creative with my flavor combinations (teriyaki sauce with scrambled eggs anyone?) but this was a bit much even for me. In the spirit of my study abroad experience, though, I decided to go for it. I chose bell peppers, apples, oranges, and peanuts to start because they seemed least clashing. In fact, it turned out to be pretty good! My favorite part was that we got to use chopsticks, which felt very homey because I always use them when I eat Asian food at home, which is quite often.
After dinner we decided to play a family game while eating the other apple cake Nanna, Charlotte, and I made a couple weeks ago. Everybody chose Trivial Pursuit, but they were nice enough to play the kid’s version, play in teams, and translate all the questions into English so I sort of had a chance. My host aunts turned out to be really funny and silly, and having more people in the house made it even more lively. Game night was super hyggeligt, but afterwards I was super tired so I clambered into bed without even unpacking.
The next morning I got out of bed leisurely at 9:30 and joined a yummy breakfast of rolls and wienerbrød. Always the best way to start a day. It was a quiet Sunday, so I spent most of the rest of the morning updating my blog, unpacking my stuff, and doing some much-needed laundry. Around noonish, we had a quick lunch of sandwiches before heading out on a walk to finally see the Baroque Gardens at Frederiksborg. It was a beautiful day–almost too much so. I had gotten used to dressing for gray windy weather, and I got way overheated in the warm sunshine on our walk to the castle. The gardens were just as beautiful as promised, and I took a ton of pictures.
first time in the baroque gardens
monograms in the baroque garden--they apparently had to change them when Prince Joachim got divorced
view of the castle from gardens
On our way back, we walked through town and stopped in the square where the race had started two weeks before. Everyone was lining up at the ice cream stand, and through a general consensus we joined them. It was my first time having soft is, which is like American soft-serve but creamier and denser (kind of like frozen custard). Just before we ordered, we saw a young girl, not more than 4 years old, getting her ice cream. She went for the works–large waffle cone with rainbow sprinkles and a lollipop. As she walked away she stopped for a second, waved her little arms and said “YEAH,” very definitively. It was her quiet certainty that made it so adorable. She knew her ice cream was going to be awesome.
When I got my own ice cream cone, I had to agree with the little girl. Mine was covered in what I originally thought were nuts, but turned out to be toffee candy pieces. Even though I got a small, it was huge and the sides were sagging over the edges of my waffle cone. I ate it a bit too fast so I felt just a tad sick, but in a good, childish decadence sort of way. Just because I could.
enjoying soft is with the family in the square
That evening I spent mostly catching up on homework since I obviously hadn’t done any during my study tour. In the morning I got to have a relaxed quiet breakfast with Charlotte before beginning yet another week of classes. Monday was a pretty relaxed day as always. Applied psych was fun–our teacher had us actually run around the classroom to wake us up. She’s not afraid to make us do funny things, which is nice in an evening class, especially on a Monday. The thing that surprised me was how dark it was when I was on my way home! On the bus just the week before, the sun was setting but there was still a lot of light out. This week, it was almost completely dark at that same time. Then when my alarm went off this morning I thought it was the middle of the night because it was so dark outside. Unfortunately, it was 6am and I had to get up. It seems while I was away in western Denmark the days have been getting much shorter. It’s making me realize just how far into the semester we already are and just how dark it’s going to be soon. Of course, the days are still relatively long at the moment, but I’m going to have to start savoring that daylight before it goes away on me.
Today was actually a pretty good day, even though it was very long–I was away from home for thirteen hours! First off, this morning in Positive Psych we found out that our class was in the local paper in Bornholm. The politician we talked to last week for our field study, Peter, also had a journalist following him that day and she included us in her article. The funniest part was that she used a quote from Colin, who had jokingly mentioned his original impression of Denmark as a “socialist wonderland.” We couldn’t believe that had ended up in an actual newspaper, even if it was only local. This may sound cheesy, but the more jokes our class shares, the more we feel like a connected group rather than just a bunch of random students. In any case, it was a nice way to begin the morning, especially because I was running low on energy after staying up late completing my reading last night.
After psych, Allie and I had our first Turkey class! We did class introductions, went over the syllabus, and got to hear a little about Turkey and the places we’re going to visit. It made me even more excited for the trip because now we have an idea of where we’re going to be staying and the kinds of academic and touristy visits we’re going to have. Basically, it’s gonna be AWESOME.
At lunchtime I met briefly with a girl who I might travel with during the first week of travel break, before going to Turkey. There’s been a whole group of DIS students working out travel plans together and we were the only two with just the first week free. Tomorrow I’m also going to be meeting with the bigger group to see where our plans might mesh and hopefully get a little closer to booking flights, since prices are rising pretty quickly.
In my afternoon classes I must admit I was a bit less attentive than usual because sleep deprivation was getting to me and I was a little slap happy. In particular during my last class (Adolescence in Northern Europe), Lacey and I were both a little over the edge at the end of the day, and got a bit silly when discussing a case study. We were supposed to be talking about a troubled kid called Achmed, but we got distracted trying to figure out whether his named was pronounced Achmed or Achmel, as Danes would pronounce it. We got into a fit of the giggles and just could not stop. Eventually I managed to get serious in time for all-class discussion, but I definitely lost it a couple more times before the end of class.
After class I had the usual awkward bit of free time before my next commitment, an International Cooking Club class I signed up for over the summer. At first I had just planned on sitting at DIS and getting some work done, but the buildings close at 5pm and apparently if you get locked in, it’s game over and even security can’t help you. My class was at 6:30pm, so I decided to do a bit of window shopping along Strøget, the walking street near DIS. My “window shopping” soon turned into real shopping as I was enticed by a few different sweaters and some scarves, and wandered through some shops. I stayed strong and managed not to buy anything though, because everything is so expensive that I want to find the perfect clothes before I buy something. My wallet was opened along my walk, though. I ran across a bakery with all kinds of pastries prominently displayed in the window, and decided that I had to check it out. I have definitely been neglecting my pastry sampling duties since I’ve been here, so I decided it was definitely worth the 16kr.
When I went in, I thought it would be a great chance to practice my Danish because we just learned about how to order food in our last class. The guy at the counter called my number, which I totally understood (go me!) but I think I looked a bit confused because he took me by surprise. At that point he definitely knew I was American (though he probably knew beforehand because of my huge backpack, sloppy clothes, and prolonged squinting at the pastry names). He repeated the number in English and asked me what I wanted in English, so at that point I felt silly trying to order in Danish. Next time I will have to go in prepared and make sure I look like I know what I’m doing so that they won’t immediately start speaking to me in English. In any case, my french horn (or Fransk horn) tasted just as good ordered in English so I was mostly satisfied.
After my pastry I did a bit more shopping. I went into H&M for the first time since being here, and immediately wanted to buy everything. I may return sometime tomorrow to buy a certain sweater I had my eye on, but I told myself that I would take a day to sleep on it as well as to keep track of my money spending situation.
I got to the building for my cooking class without any issues, which was kind of exciting because it was in Svanemøllen, a train stop I pass every day but had never gotten off at before. When I got there I ran into another DIS student looking for the same class, so we searched for the door together. It turned out to be much more difficult than we’d anticipated, and we ended up walking around/through the building a couple times before finally locating the kitchen, where someone let us in. We were basically cooking in the kitchen for an elementary school home-ec class so it wasn’t exactly high-tec but it was small and cute. Since there were four of us there on time, we got to get started on the first recipe, zucchini soup. People who know me could tell you that I’m much more of an eater than a cook, and I mostly see cooking as a means to a delicious meal, rather than an end in itself. I signed up for this cooking class to get some new recipes and techniques and ideas because when left to myself I tend to not so much cook as fry eggs and caramelize onions. The group cooking ended up being pretty fun tonight because we got to chat a lot while the food was on the stove or in the oven. I hadn’t met any of the other people I was cooking with, and it was nice to see some new faces this far into the semester. In addition to the soup, we roasted a chicken and made (somewhat haphazardly) rice with black eyed peas (yes it is a food not just a music group) and coconut milk. All the food was really good, and we were especially proud of our chicken.
Along the way there was some trouble with knives, since we didn’t find the adult-sized knives until after we’d cooked most of the meal. We also had unnecessary problems with the rice, because we turned the stove too low so it wasn’t really cooking for about 20 minutes. Still, the meal was very hyggeligt and it was definitely a nice way to spend a Tuesday night, even though I was really tired. We also all got to take home some leftovers, which I’m looking forward to enjoying tomorrow.
When I finally got home tonight I was originally going to go to bed immediately but then I had to write this post and I also finally got a chance to skype with my parents. It was nice to see them (and my dog) and to personally tell them some of the stories I’ve been blogging about. They also got to update me on the state of the house (a never-ending process) and their recent trip to Seattle and bubble tea. Apparently they also saw a baby llama, which is just ridiculously adorable and I am jealous. Now it is WAY past my bedtime though and I have to be well-rested for fun times at Tivoli with Allie tomorrow!