Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My new danish obession: Hans

Hans Christian Andersen is the writer of many fairy tales. Before I came to Denmark, the name sounded kind of familiar, but i could of never told you who it was. When I first arrived, I discovered he was the writer of "The Little Mermaid". This is why Kobenhavn has a little statue of her...b/c this is the country where Hans is from. Anyway, after visiting Tivoli a couple times, and looking through the Hans books my fellow students are reading for class, I have discovered he has written many stories i am acquainted with. For example:
The emporer's new suit
The princess and the pea
the ugly duckling
the nightengale
the tinder box.............and more

After visiting the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale shop today in Illums, i really want to get one. But I don't want just the most popular collection, i want the whole book...the one with over 80 fairy tales.

Anyway, the point of this blog is to point out that even though Danmark is very small, great ppl still come from it. I mean, there is only 5 million ppl, and there was way less when Hans lived long ago. So what I am trying to express is that there are some things that make me happy to be in Danmark. Hans is one of them. I wish I could of taken the class. Maybe not as practical as "Doing Business in the European Union", but certainly more entertaining.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


So today every baby I passed was in a snowsuit. Apparently, Danish mothers like to put their small children in snowsuits, even when it is not snowing. Though adorable, also unusual. How can an entire society do the same thing...I guess Denmark is only 5 million people.

However, I was thinking...a snow suit may not be a bad idea for my room. It is so cold that sometimes I can't even focus on reading or fall asleep. Though DIS said that if you email them they would give you an extra blanket, I never received one. I've gotten use to wearing 4 layers in my room, and by the way, the same four layers. This is because I am trying to save my laundry money until only 2.5 weeks are left. This is because even though I have 80 kroner left, apparently DIS stops the validity of the card at 50. I guess they won't let you use the extra 10 dollars because they figure they need more service fees for all of the non-service they do. Anyway, in light of our living arrangements and DIS, we all make jokes to make each other laugh. The other day, a fellow student and friend made the joke that he was going to write DIS a short letter that says, "Dear DIS Housing Services, I sleep outside now because it is just as warm as inside, but i see more people."

It made me laugh a lot. Anyway...back to whole baby thing. A snowsuit would be nice for my room. I might even put it on and walk the streets of Copenhagen and see if anyone mistakes me as an overgrown danish baby.

Monday, November 26, 2007

22 and 72

So today when I was talking to Katie on the ride home and over dinner, I realized that being overseas has already neutralized me to the whole "bar" scene. I also realized when I told her that in Amsterdam I spent most of my time at museums, I act like an old person...which is actually a good thing because I appreciate art and things others my age might think are boring (like my brother). Basically, I have determined that being in Denmark has made me feel like two different ages in mind: 22 and 72

Age 22: Pretty much, in the US, young adults can't wait to turn 21 so that they can legally drink. Usually a lot of partying occurs, a lot of drunkeness happens, and a lot of bars are visited. Usually, this feeling seems to last about one year before it becomes a normal feeling. You think at 22, "no big deal...I am ordering a beer right now in a bar". This feeling has already taken over my mindset. I figured this out when in the beginning of the semester, on Tuesday nights everyone made plans to go out to visit new bars in CPH since we don't have classes on Wednesdays. However, just tonight me and Katie were like, "do you want to have a movie night tomorrow with Kelly and eat popcorn?" YES was the answer. This options seems much more pleasing now than going out. In fact, we made the same decision a couple saturdays ago to stay in and watch a movie. I think i went to bed at midnight or early that saturday even.

Age 72: So I remember as a child, I hated visiting museums on field trips. In fact, I think the only museum I ever liked was the children's museum because there were things to play with. However, ever since I arrived in Europe, I have loved visiting all of the museums and other sightseeing places I would have whined about 10 years ago. I stare at painting forever and read every caption. I love learning about the artist, technique, and political meanings behind these paintings. I loved all of the sculptures in Italy too. I loved the huge churches and walking about building. Basically, these are the kind of thing retired ppl like to do, however, I like it now too. In fact, me and Katie both agreed that when we went to the Veneto hills with the retired group, they were our favorites to talk to. Maybe I am lame, or maybe I have finally realized to absorb everything and learn everything and not take anything for granted. Now that my time here is running low, I realized how little I have actually seen in Europe and how much more awaits me. Some ppl the age 72 or older have nvr got to see the things I have already seen, and knowing I have been able to have these oppertunities is amazing.

I guess it only takes one 30 min train ride back home with a friend to realize your true age. But really, about the going out thing, who can really afford $10 beers every night?? Not I!
And P.S. I don't have the Danish genes that keep me skinny even though they drink so much and eat so much...why do the Danes have such good genes?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Copenhagen revisited and Amsterdam

So when Jimmy arrived, I realized that it would not only be an oppertunity to revisit the city I have lived in for a couple months now, but also to explore new areas. To begin with, I must state that due to high costs, I have nvr eaten at a restaurant in cph before. However, once Jimmy got here, we ate at lot. Buffets are the best choice becasue they offer the most food for your buck. During this past week I ate a lot of frikadeller (danish meatballs), ham, pork, potatoes, and chocolate. I am pretty sure i gained all the weight back i had been trying to lose after travel break, but i figured, jimmy's on vacation, so am i.

because of this mindset, i barely did anything for school except turn in a paper and make a presentation an hour before our plane left.

however, i learned so much more about cph. here is a list:

1. i realized i can walk around the city and know where i am at. i can walk from the canal areas with the little mermaid, to the black diamond on the other side of town, and back into the main area where tivoli, stroget, and DIS are. i didn't even need a map.

2. during these walks, i realized i liked the city of cph more than i thought. i don't like the cold, but i like to try to adapt like the danes and i have become semi-fond of the walking streets and canals. so many shops, so many chocolates...

3. i finally traveled into the old red light district, known as vesterbro. i found it quite enchanting...the streets were filled with only the young and a hundred cute, trendy cafes and restaurants. it was fun to explore a new area and jimmy and i found a really good restaurant. we got amazing sandwhiches and it was neat looking inside as well.

4. i once again realized my visiting family is awesome. they cooked me and jimmy their christmas dinner...which is duck, frikadella, potatoes, and rice pudding. the rice pudding is served with a warm cherry sauce and cinammon sugar. it was so amazing! we once again exchanged opinions about cultural differences and politics. jimmy said it was his favorite night in the city.

5. I realized cph has so much i haven't taken the time to see or the black diamond. besides a place to study and find books, there is a cafe and cultural events.

6. Never ride amusement rides when it is below freezing!! wow, being at Tivoli this late in the year was a voluntary action i almost regret. we had fun, and it was lit beautifully with xmas lights...but so cold!!!!!!!!! NEVER AGAIN! of course, we observed that the danes were perfectly fine riding rides and walking around lesiurely in the cold weather...Danes are crazy. It is official.

Moving on to amsterdam....

1. People who go there just for the red light district are dumb. amsterdam has so much to was an amazing city and i loved walking around. a lot was happening in every district...and the streets were lined with more bars, cafes, resturants, and shops than any city i have visited yet in europe

2. I got to see artwork by FAMOUS artists like Van Gogh and Rembrandt. It was nice to learn more about different art techniques. I was greatly intrigued by the life of Van Gogh.

3. The Anne Frank house was also nice and of course a little chilling. i can't believe so many ppl lived in hiding for so long. the musuem was nice...though the rooms are empty now, they still paint a picture in your head of what use to be there. little quotes from her diary were in every room. it made me sad. the view out the windows we all had was the once the view she had.

4. The red light district was like how it is described. i am intrigued that this kind of town still exsists. i guess the girls in the windows actually have to pay to rent them 150 euro a night. however, they usually make around 750 euro a weekend...or something crazy like that.
hmm....a career i would never choose, but i guess different strokes for different folks.

Anyway, i found the city very nice and would like to visit more of holland eventually. for now though, i will continue to try to adjust in cph until i leave for the states.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Chicago in Copenhagen

Yesterday, being Sunday, I was pleasantly surprised by a phone call from my Danish visiting family. Alice, the mother, told me they had an extra ticket to see Chicago at the Det NY Theatre (the new theatre) in Vestrebro. She also invited me over to lunch at the family's cousin apartment. I gladly accepted...I was worried that I would once again be trapped in my room all do writing essays.
Anyway, I got to look nice...and Danish I might add. I wore my brown dress (purchased in Chicago) with a green undershirt to match my green tights...and of course of leather boots from Italy. I looked quite Danish!!
The food I ate was traditional danish as well...some egg salad with fish concoction on rye bread and ham salad and pork. It was good and I was full quite quickly. The whole family was talking danish around me, so for a while I thought I understood danish...but of course i do not.
The show was also in danish...which i preferred because it felt more cultural. Alice and I both agreed that certain roles should of been switched, because we thought some of the dancer and singers were better than the main characters.
It started snowing during intermission and the whole Randrup family told me it was quite unusual to be snowing this early. They asked me about the states and how warm it was when I left and they were quite surprised to find out how hot Indiana can get, and also how cold. I told them in was unbearably hot this summer...and when trying to put it in perspective for them..guessed it was around 40 degrees Celcius. I do not know if that is actually right or not...but is way hotter than the -3 degrees celcius it is in DK right now.
Anyway, the show was very good, even in Danish. Some of the family members there were even ahead of me in the fact they had already seen it on broadway in NYC. I have only seen part of the movie; regardless, even in another language you can still get the jist of what is happening and it is always fun to listen to good music and watch good dancers.
I would have posted some pics of me with my visiting family, but currently my camera is experiencing techinical difficulties. I would like to restate that I was very appreciative of the invite and am excited to introduce them to my brother who they are very excited to meet and cook frikadella (traditional danish meatballs) for when he gets here.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Christmas Beer

So starting in november Copenhagen begins celebrating Christmas with beer. The brewery, Carlsberg, makes a special xmas formula and label for all of their beer. We all find this quite exciting. So yesterday we had a dinner at the Riz Raz, which is the vegetarian restaurant with amazing food. When it was over, there was about an hour before the midsemester party at the Austrailan Bar began. We collectively agreed that since we are all back "home" in copenhagen now, we should all once again take advantage on our favorite places in the city...7/11. We dashed over there...and i say dashed because it was below freezing and sleeting and windy...looked around this place of wonder...and then finally picked up our first tuborg xmas beers. Of course we had no where to go after that, so our first tasting had to take place outside in the miserable winter conditions. we were being blown over by the wind and everyone's hand froze because i was the only one who remembered gloves. i felt bad, so i let katie use my gloves and others use my scarf. funny when you are the person in the group that is farest north in the states and thus most tolerant of the weather. was a good time nonetheless and we all feel that we truly became a part of denmark's culture. most did not actually like the beer as much though; it tastes more like an ale. i liked it though and it is really cheap, so i may make it a goal to only drink xmas beer until leaving copenhagen. i think it would be a fun thing to attempt. i may possibly try to bring carlsberg's jacobsen brand back because it is the high quality, top of the line formula and katie says they are selling 3 for 100 kroner at the stores. i have tried this when we had a business mtng at the brewery one day and it is quite amazing!! i want all back home to somehow experience this xmas beer too.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Copenhagen is "home"

So i recently got back from a three week study tour in which i saw so much, their is absolutely no point in listing it all. A general assessment would be as followed: three weeks is a long time to travel when you are living out of a large backpack that hurts your back. you also realize how long a trip it is when you are wearing jeans that are falling off your body...and not because you have lost weight (because quite the opposite happened), but because you haven't been able to wash them in so long. Katie and I walked around with loose clothing and stains all over us. It wasn't until florence when we met up with marc and lance that we all collectively decided it was necessary to find a public laundry mat to wash our clothes. Note that I leave out the word dry, because Italy does not have dryers. Because of the lack of dryers, I realized I could not do my jeans still, so i simply cleaned underwear, socks, and undershirts....since they would all dry on their own in a short time.
Though I am not going to talk about all the sites I saw, I do think it is important to inform that the statue of David is not lifesize...he is enormous!!!!!!! I mean huge! and the detail is incredible. I often caught myself wondering how sculpters can make something so powerful out of a rock? After touirng through the Vatican city and different parts of Florence, I realize why they named the 4 Mutant Ninja Turtles after Michaelanglo, Donatello, Rapheal, and Leonardo. On the subject of Leonardo....all I can say about the Last Supper painting is "SPECTAULAR". I feel very privledged that i got to view that...and I learned so much about the meaning behind it. Note that Judas is the only apostle in the painting that is not standing (no face of alarm after Jesus' annoucement). Plus, Leonardo studied so much geometrics that his pictures are perfect to a tee. much more I could say, but the real point of this blog is to say that after 21 days of training through Italy, searching for hostels, and walking a million cities, Copenhagen finally seemed like home. It was so nice to arrive in a city where I know the train system...I know where I am at all times, and I already know what to expect from the culture. At the same time, arriving was still not the same feeling as arriving "home home" would feel like. Besides that, school gave us an unpleasant welcome...
We all have a 3-5 papers due within the next couple weeks. And these are not just papers, they are full length essays worth anywhere from 20% to all of our grade. The downfall is that after receiving my essay back from my core business class about the EU, I feel like the teachers grade exceptionally subjective in Denmark. I got a B...not bad...but I have two problems with this.
1. We didn't actually get our essay back, just a typed response from the teacher with commentary and the letter grade.
2. The commentary seemed like opinion. For instance: "Good response, but maybe could of used subtitles." Could have included more specific details about this company..."
Okay, well first i answered everything...and didn't include a few details...that may be becuase they gave us a word limit. So orginally I had a very thorough essay until I realized I was 800 words over. How do you expect me to include every detail? Don't give a word limit. Also, can i please see my essay so I can see the parts you liked and didn't like?

Besides that, the Danish teachers are very ambiguous with their assignments. What I liked about I-CORE at IU, though many complain is that it is too hard, is that it is very well organized and the teachers tell you what to do and what they are looking for. Also, when the big report was due, they didn't keep assigning more reading and hold class. Here, at DIS, we have all these huge assignments due, yet the teachers keep having class and assigning more reading. One teacher looked over our outline for a marketing report and said, "I give it a B. It looks like you guys wrote it in a rush. You could of done better, no?" We were like, "Sure, whatever." What we all would of said (if their is a point even trying to explain concepts to the Danish teachers) is that "you had this due the same day you wanted a presentation due and had a midterm. We also hadn't even talked to the president of the company yet to get info because he was not available to meet like you said he was. You also fail to note that we are all in 4 other classes and had 3 other tests to study for"
The danish teachers think everyone here is in like 2 classes. In fact, our EU teacher was quite surprised when we told her she was assigning too much. She asked, "But this is your core class, how is to much?" We said...all classes hold the same weight and that we all have just the same amount of reading in our four other classes. She was shocked to hear that we all had 4 other classes.

Anyway...I have decided that my grades overhere may be lower over than usual, yet telling recruiters about my experience will still seem pretty impressive. Copenhagen is a city that I will nvr be able to explain to anyone else...they will nvr understand without living here themselves. I am still learning in a way that will nvr be graded, yet it is probably the biggest lesson my college life will ever see.

My last comment is...
I can wait for free water and free coffee refills!! are so behind the times in this trend!