The Rubins are Taking Over Copenhagen

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A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be graced by the presence of my amazing parents, Melba and Steve. I wasn’t surprised that their coolness helped them become a big hit amongst my friends here in Denmark. We started off their visit right with a trip to Nørrebro microbrewery (kudos for the suggestion Tara). It was great to be able to openly enjoy a beer with them thanks to the rules of wonderful Denmark.

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Afterwards Alana, Pete, and some Elon visitors Beth and Julia crashed my parent’s hotel (with their permission of-course) for a delightful pre-game before heading out to the city. With Melba’s generous bar-tending skills, we all had a great time. So much of a good time that we later wished we stayed to hang out with the rents more instead of venturing to the bars. Either way, afterwards Melba and Steve were nice enough to let us all crash on their floor in the middle of the night. How college of them! I’m so proud.

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The next few days were filled with showing my parents around Copenhagen, “my town”. It was really fun to be able to share everything I’ve been doing in my new home here in Denmark. Besides just the touristy things, I have to say that I really enjoyed how spoiled I was in the food department. I finally could afford some sushi and dessert from the food market for once! It was a nice break from just free samples. Pete and I also had fun showing them around Christiana, a hippie commune in the middle of Copenhagen. We even tried out Christiana’s vegetarian and organic restaurant, which was a great local restaurant with delicious food and a warm cozy atmosphere!

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My parents were really fortunate that Tivoli, Copenhagen’s vintage amusement park, was open for Halloween. The light display was absolutely breathtaking! I’m sure that those out there who know my dad would assume that Steve was going crazy with the camera.

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Showing my parents around Hillerød, the small town I live in outside of Copenhagen, was probably the best part of the trip. They loved the local castle and small town feel. My mom even said she enjoyed it more than Copenhagen! We had a lot of fun strolling around the pedestrian street, touring the castle, and sharing ice cream while enjoying the views over the lake on a beautiful fall day. My parents were so lucky with the weather! I’m glad they could enjoy sunny Denmark during their stay.   

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Melba and Steve had a great time hanging out at the Folkehøjskole where I live. They were a big hit amongst both my American and European friends. (Maybe the free white Russians at dinner had something to do with it?) My parents were really impressed with my living situation, the quality of food during our group dinners, and just the general family atmosphere. Even though they miss me back at home, I could tell they were glad that I had made such great friends, as well as a comfortable second home here in Denmark. Favorite memory of that night would have to be my parents playing beer pong with everyone. Alana and Steve were the beer pong champs! To my surprise, they were actually really good! Better than me…but that’s not saying too much.

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My parents confirmed the fact that I have successfully turned into an honorary Dane, while especially commenting on my new European attire and biking skills. We all joked about how it was easy to pick my mom out of the busy crowds of dark dressed Danes with her bright green North Face rain jacket. You can take the girl out of America, but you can’t quite take the American out of my mom!

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We had a great last night together with dinner at my visiting family’s house. Mikala cooked us a delicious traditional Danish meal. My mom kept commenting on how it reminded her of something called “fat back” that she used to eat as a kid. Oh, you gotta love Melba. I was glad my dad got some shots of me with Kayla and Silas, so I can finally show off how cute they are to everyone! I love how more at home I feel at their house after each and every visit. Just this week Mikala made me Mexican food because she knew how much I loved it! It was too incredibly sweet, and really really delicious. Silas and Kayla enjoyed it too!

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After an eventful visit, my parents and I unfortunately said our goodbyes. It was hard to part ways after such a fun week since we had all really missed each other. I won’t see them again until I return mid-December, so I’ll have to spend some more weeks missing them. I feel so fortunate that I was able to have my parents visit while I was abroad! I love them so much and their trip to Copenhagen was just a friendly reminder of how lucky I am to have such loving (and totally awesome and fun) parents. Big shout out to Melba and Steve, Denmark misses you!

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Messy hair, don’t care

Random thought by Becca Rubin:

One (of the many) things I love about being an honorary Dane: I am allowed to have messy hair. Whether it’s a messy bun or rocking the “I just rolled out of bed look”, all are socially acceptable here.

Maybe they don’t care so much about hair here because the city wind and random rainstorms. Or maybe Danes superior Viking blood makes them immune to depending on their hair to be beautiful. Either way…somehow it works and I am definitely not complaining.

I was so nervous coming to Copenhagen without a hair dryer or straightener. I was told all American hair tools would be ruined by European outlets and that I would have to wait to drop a ridiculous amount of money on overpriced Danish hair tools. Luckily I’ve avoided this problem, and have been graciously accepted into the Danish fashion community by letting my natural messy hair flag fly.

Disclaimer: Do not be fooled. This messy hair does not rub off on outfit choices. In Denmark, you must always look put together. No leggings and sweatshirts to class allowed. Even where we live, we Americans get confused looks from the Danes when we come to brunch in our pjs. My Icelandic friend asked me if I was hung-over when doing homework at night in sweatpants and a big t-shirt.

Really? At least I get to slack off in the hair department.

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Snapshot Saturday

Changing in the bushes…check. Seeing a jellyfish in the water…check. Jumping in anyways…check. Nothing beats spontaneously swimming in a Copenhagen canal. A little too cold for my taste though.

Not quite the North Carolina State Fair…

I have a feeling everyday here in Denmark is going to be filled with adventures. Alana and I had our first European shopping trip before class and found some amazingly good deals, including a going out dress for only $8. We were pretty proud of ourselves. We also made sure to ask some people working in the stores to help us pick out the up and coming “Danish styles”. Lets just say I ended up with a turquoise leather jacket.

After class I met with my fellow “Grundtvigs” for some afternoon drinks and games (which believe it or not is actually a part of Danish culture). We met at a student hangout that is always filled with a mix of DIS and University of Copenhagen students, which is really cool. This was definitely a fun alternative from hiding from the sudden rain!

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Afterwards some of us headed to Tivoli, a beautiful amusement park right in the middle of downtown Copenhagen. We met up with my visiting family, who showed us to our first Danish ballet. Afterwards we rode the swings, which are famous for being about 150 feet tall. It was actually pretty scary! We got to see the sun set over all of Copenhagen so it was totally worth it. So beautiful! Definitely a lot different from the North Carolina state fair (obviously). One weird but major difference….so hard to find public bathrooms. I guess it’s not even fair to compare Tivoli to the NC state fair; it’s more like a miniature version of Disney World. I did miss fried cookie-dough and cheesecake on a stick though. The park gets even more beautiful at night with all of the lights. I can’t wait to see the Christmas market decorations later this year!

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First concert in Copenhagen!

I’m officially a DIS blogger! I hope all of my Denmark/Europe adventures will be cool enough to be featured on our study abroad website.

This weekend has been a lot of fun. Friday some of us went into the city to see Bassnectar perform. Our trip into Copenhagen was obviously filled with adventures…which seems to be a pretty common theme for us now. The city streets were filled with people, and everyone stays out till about 5 in the morning. Danish people are so incredibly friendly. We were a little lost trying to find the concert, and every time we asked for help we met a new friend. Hopefully we are getting sushi with one of them this week! At the concert we were front row the whole time…and it was pretty insane. A huge dance party. Copenhagen was one of his first European stops for his current tour, and I’m pretty positive we made it into the very center of his annual concert picture of the crowd. We’ve been trying to find it but no luck yet. The music scene here in Denmark is amazing. There are a bunch of concerts that we are hopefully planning on going to in the future.

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Thanks to Jenna and Jill us “country-side” students had a free floor to stay on. It was nice to not have to worry about the train system since we were getting our Visas early that morning! Also just had my first bagel here in Copenhagen…which was a nice “taste” of home. (For anyone who doesn’t know… I’m obsessed with bagels.)

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After getting our Visas we got our first idea of a Copenhagen rainy day, so Aleah and I decided to go home and have an indoor picnic with all of our goodies from the flea market (wine, bread, cheese, nutella, olive spread). I could definitely get use to this!

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The rest of our weekend has been spent resting and bonding with everyone here. Each time we hang out…whether it’s playing Kings or sitting on the roof in the middle of the night…everyone I live with just becomes more hilarious. It’s crazy how close we have become in less than a week. We’ve started to discuss our plans for traveling around Europe. I might even go sky diving in Switzerland! Craziness. The Danes arrived today and we are really excited to get to know them! Right now its move in so there are a lot of parents and it’s a little overwhelming.

Dinner here is really nice and cozy. We all meet up and sit together…it’s a very cool community feel. Already met a few Danish friends at dinner. Found out Americans are known for our “red solo cups”. We are all playing in a dodge ball tournament on Wednesday…that should be really interesting.

Tomorrow I’m having dinner with my visiting family. Can’t wait to tell you guys all about them!

A week of firsts

First night out in Copenhagen. First few days of class. It’s already been a total whirlwind and it’s pretty obvious all the excitement isn’t going to end any time soon. I’m totally exhausted…but definitely having the time of my life. Us Americans at the Folkehøjskole have become extremely close. A few nights ago we all decided to go into Copenhagen to enjoy the city nightlife for the first time…which ended up being a hilarious adventure. The nightlife here is amazing. Intense dance parties, great music, awesome lights, bruises from dancing in cages…you get the idea. After a crazy night we had no idea how much crazier it would get. Basically at night the bus we have to take back to our place runs only once an hour…and we missed our bus by one minute (after running around the city trying to figure out where to go…which was fun in heels). Some of us decided to take a quick catnap at the station while we waited…which made for some pretty good pictures. After getting back to our small town, we realized we had missed ANOTHER bus, and before we had to walk 3 miles home, a taxi magically appeared. Although the Copenhagen transportation system basically defeated us, it was actually funny and definitely a night I will never forget. We all learned our lesson and have gotten a better hang of things now! Tonight we are going back into Copenhagen to see Bassnectar for only $13. Can’t wait.

My first day of classes were amazing. I’m so lucky to be apart of such an amazing program here at DIS! All of the teachers are really hands on and build their curriculum around our interests. Our classes use all of Europe as part of their classroom, and we get to travel with each class around Denmark and Europe to get hands on experience with things relating to the class subject. I’m taking European Trends in Communications, Photojournalism, Holocaust and Genocide, and Psychology of Human Sexuality. I’m so excited to go to London for one of my classes, since it’s the main communications hub of Europe. Danish teachers are so awesome and cute. There’s something about them that makes them so unique, but I haven’t been able to figure it out. They are a lot more straight forward than any American teacher I’ve ever had.

Luckily my classes get out early enough for me to have time to explore the city even more. We checked out the Islands Brugge where Danes swim in man made pools right alongside the canal. We also stumbled upon a Danish equivalent to a “gourmet flea market”. So many free samples of European cheeses, wines, breads, meats, and traditional Danish open faced sandwiches. Aleah and I decided to buy some cheese, bread, and olive spread for a picnic at the castle down the street this weekend. To add to our “European fever”, we all got bikes, which is a HUGE thing here in Copenhagen. Everyone rides bikes. It’s a little intimidating but it’s a really great way to fit it and immerse us with the culture here. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes. Speaking of becoming a part of the culture here…someone mistook me for a Dane and asked me for directions today. And I even knew the answer! Major points for me.

København…the big city

Today was my first day actually going into Copenhagen! (The Danish way to say it is “København”.) Although figuring out transportation with all my new Folkehøjskole friends was pretty hilarious…the morning didn’t start off too great. With a mix of being jet lagged and having a cold I was already feeling not too great. Feeling sick when your trying to explore somewhere new and foreign is probably one of the most stressful things ever. I randomly got sick in a Danish bakery bathroom. This would be my luck. (Leaving my mark in Denmark already..?) Kind of sucked but at the same time I felt so much better afterwards, which was in perfect timing for the beginning of our city traveling. I was really proud of myself for powering through, and all my friends in my travel group were perfect for the extra comfort!

DIS sent us in groups on an “amazing race” around Copenhagen. Our group definitely added our own spin with some extra leisure time and ADD adventures, but it was a really great way to see a glimpse of the city. I hope I can fit everything in before I leave! It’s also so hot here; yesterday broke a record for the hottest day in Denmark. It was a whopping 80 degrees, a little different from the south, eh?

We’ve been taking advantage of the unusual warm weather with canal tours, picnics, and we have plans to swim in the canal and kayak sometime this week. The heat almost got too much…we had to cool off in every fountain we passed during our long walks today. It took a lot not to jump in.

Denmark is the perfect place to continuously feed my castle obsession. It’s the oldest monarch ever, and has the most castles in Europe. We saw where the current Danish Royal Family lives today. So breathtaking. Denmark is known for their architecture. The city is mixed with buildings dating back to the 1600s built by King Christian the IV and then modern buildings known for their environmental sustainability. Since it’s my first time in Europe, I’ve never been around such history that dates back that far. I absolutely love it.

The more I learn about Denmark, the more interesting the country becomes to me. They are extremely liberal…just found out today that they were the first place to legalize pornography and same-sex marriage. Also crossing the street is extremely dangerous…they don’t warn you by a “count down” that we find in America before the sign says don’t walk. Hopefully I can get the hang of that? Don’t step in the bike lane or you will LITERALLY get run over. And I was kind of surprised but there is hardly any English, if any, on signs or menus. Ordering food is definitely interesting.

After a long day defeating my sickness and exploring Copenhagen, some of us decided to continue to enjoy the nice weather in the city by ordering some drinks and appetizers at a cute outside cafe.

It’s a little quiet back at the Folkehøjskole since the Danes haven’t moved in yet, but we have been having so much fun getting to know our small group of Americans better! I still have no voice from my cold…so my roommate Aleah has been calling me “Vivian” until my “sexy” raspy voice disappears.

Study Abroad Inspiring Quote

Found a really great quote while reading “The Happiness Project” the other day. It really connected and eased a lot of my anxiousness towards spending a whole semester on the other side of the world. And hey, what better way to start off a travel blog than with some inspiration?

“We seek to control our lives, but the unfamiliar and unexpected are important sources of happiness.”  

Can’t wait to discover what unexpected adventurous Denmark has in store for me in exactly three weeks. I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. But I bought some snow boots today…so this southern girl is getting prepared!