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!

Making Denmark a Second Home

I’ve been so fortunate for all of the opportunities I’ve been apart of here so far that have helped me really start to make Denmark a second home. Hey who knows…all I need are a few more weeks and then I’ll be a real Dane. (I did get my residence card today…)

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Living at the Folkehøjskole is like living at a summer camp…everyday. It’s a little overwhelming at times since there is always something to do but I’m definitely not complaining. We eat dinner with the Danes every night, play games, socialize, and we’ve even taken up playing some rounds of “knock out” in the gym for some much needed exercise after my new diet of bread and cheese. Oh and one night we tried out limbo. However, one of my favorite games we’ve played with the Danes is probably Taboo. You have to give them credit for being so good at it even though it is their second language. My favorite round was when someone described the word fog as, “ok guys this is a green animal that jumps”. Fog vs. frog….close enough. Another plus is that we even get free concerts here! Last night Rangleklods came. He is so good! Check him out on sound cloud at http://soundcloud.com/search?q[fulltext]=Rangleklods.

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Along with hanging out with Danes my age, I’ve gotten a taste of the Danish family experience. For people not living with a host family, you can sign up for a “visiting family” which is basically a Danish family you can hang out with whenever you want. For those of you who don’t know, my visiting family consist of an awesome mom and her two adorable young children (2 and 5). The daughter (Kayla) and I have formed a really cute relationship. This Sunday I met them at the park to hang out with them and some of their school friends. Not quite sure if Danish children have ever heard of a piggyback ride. After giving one I had a huge line of children behind me waiting for their turn. Lets just say I was pretty popular on the playground. Back at my visiting family’s house we made traditional Danish apple pie with fresh apples from a farm next to their house. While it was baking Kayla decided to tat me up with some Disney princess tattoos. That was fun to explain to everyone in my class the next day…

I was even lucky enough to have dinner at my friend Amelia’s host family’s house the other night. It was one of the best meals I’ve had in Denmark so far. Danish people know how to cook some amazing fish. It was so fun getting to know her host parents, and her host brother plays hockey so we are planning to go to one of his games soon!

I’ve started to plan some of my travel trips. Some friends and I are going biking in Sweden next weekend, and in two weeks we are going to Prague, Vienna, and Salzburg! (Salzburg aka where they filmed Sound of Music..cool I know.) Later on I plan to be visiting London, Amsterdam, Ireland, France, Italy, and Switzerland. Even with all the planning nothing beats my new home in Copenhagen 🙂

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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Taking it all in

I had a totally surreal moment today while walking through the city to the train station on my way “home”. Yes my small countryside residence in Denmark is starting to feel more and more like home, and it’s comforting to return there. I’m excited to be reunited with all of my new friends where I live, and now I also have about 70 Danish students to meet. It still hasn’t really hit me that I will be living in Europe for the rest of the year. And it’s amazing how much it has changed my perspective on things already. The commute from where I’m staying to the city…as well as many other things…have already made me extremely more independet. I could really get use to living the city life!

The environment here is totally different and really enlightening. Whether it’s in class or back where I live, I’m having the most interesting conversations with friends, other Americans, and Danish students and teachers. Everyone is so open here and so willing to learn…I’m trying to absorb it all in. It’s especially fun in our living situation since we are literally living and hanging out with Danes 24/7 now. It’s so cool to discuss the differences between here and America. Our conversations are actually meaningful…(and fun/hilarious of course). They get paid to go to college (totally not fair). They are always joking about how Danish people are so shy so it really means a lot that they have been hanging out with us loud obnoxious Americans. We are already joking around and I feel like I’ve known them for months! We are having a “dodgeball tournament” between the Americans and Danes Wednesday (I’ll take the role as the photographer…) and then a big party Saturday. We have been told that it’s common Danish culture to not really get to know a Dane until you go to a great party.

I went to visit my “visiting family” for the first time today for dinner. It consists of Mikala and her two children, Silas and Kayla. So much fun! They are two of the cutest Danish children (which is hard because Danish children are ADORABLE). They don’t know English yet but we had fun teaching each other colors and numbers while doing arts and crafts and jumping on the trampoline. It was a nice change to play around like a kid again in a foreign country. They live in a beautiful area of the town I’m staying in that is only just a bike ride away! Also, we are going to Tivoli tomorrow (an amusement park in Copenhagen) as well as have future plans to go to Lego Land! I can’t wait!

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!