Everyone says that when you’re abroad you’ll go through phases. An initial phase where you’re going nonstop, the excitement is fresh, and you’re seeing new things everyday. You might eventually fall into a phase of homesickness, but before you know it, you’ll be telling yourself not to waste your time missing home; make this place your home.
Well, I’ve reached the phase of denial. I can’t believe this semester is over. I don’t want to leave Denmark, and I don’t want to leave behind everything studying abroad has allowed me to experience or the friendships I’ve made this semester.
I can’t even begin to give my semester abroad justice in one blog post, but I’ll try.
When talking about my semester abroad, the first thing most people say is, “Wow, you traveled a lot this semester.” While this is clearly true, I can honestly say that Denmark has still become my home.
I’ve found that when I return to Copenhagen after weeks or weekends of traveling, I am immediately relieved of all of my stress, tension, and worries. This might be partially due to the fact that my travel experiences have not gone the most smoothly (Don’t worry, I’ll remember my passport this time), and landing back on ground is a triumph in itself. Even despite that, Denmark is a place that I return to and feel relaxed, it’s a place with some stability. It’s a place where I’m beginning to learn more about myself, and a place where I’m working towards figuring out my future. It’s a place I no longer have to worry about navigating myself around, a place where I know I’ll always find home cooked meal. It’s a place where I’ve found new friends that will last a lifetime.
While there were a few things I didn’t get to cross off my bucket list, I found it was most important during my last week in Denmark to spend time with my friends and host family. Although school work was actually on the schedule during my last week here, I managed to work around it the best that I could so that I could create a few more special memories in Denmark.
First of all, it wouldn’t be a blog post by me unless it included a picture of something delicious I’ve been eating. So here we go: the most delicious almond croissant I’ve ever had (Lexi–France has nothing on these). Democratic Coffee Bar won best croissant in the city, and I can honestly say their award was well deserved. The molten almond filling oozed out of the buttery and flaky exterior as I tried to take a bite. The coconut shavings and powdered sugar on top were just an added bonus.
This week, Pia made Rødgrød med Fløde, a traditional Danish dessert meaning red berry porridge with cream. Rødgrød med Fløde is one of those words that every Dane tries to make Americans say…because we can’t. Although it’s not pictured, you drizzle cream and sprinkle sugar on top of the red summer berry porridge.
On Wednesday, Palle took the day off work and we went to Møns Klint. Møns Klint are white chalk cliffs (much like the Cliffs of Dover) along the eastern coast of the Danish island of Møn. It was a nice hike through the woods down to the bottom of the cliffs where the beach is thickly covered with stones and the water is surprisingly blue.
It took us about an hour and a half to get there from Hareskov. The bad weather was chasing us along the way, but we actually managed to have some time in the sunshine and it only really rained once we were back on the road again heading to the town of Dragør.
Dragør is a town not too far from Copenhagen, on the southeastern coastline of the island of Amager. Some friends mentioned to me that Dragør was a cute old town to walk around in, so Palle and I decided to enjoy some ice cream as we walked down the little cobblestone streets lined with well-preserved historical buildings. The town reminded me of Odense, the cite of Hans Christian Andersen’s childhood home, a city in Denmark which I visited earlier this semester.
Wednesday evening, I decided to cook dinner for my host family. I made homemade chicken pot pie, salad, and chocolate chip cookies. My meal received a good review (especially the cookies), but I had to use coconut oil instead of vegetable shortening for the homemade crust. It ended up tasting fine, but it certainly didn’t look perfect. I found out later from Pia that I could have gotten something called butter dough at the grocery store, which is the Danish version of puff pastry. Whoops.
On Thursday, Allie and I went to Tivoli for the second time and rode the big swings which gave us an amazing view of all of Copenhagen! In the afternoon, we enjoyed one last trip to Nyhavn with Abi. Nyhavn was crowded with Danes and tourists all taking canal tours and enjoying the beautiful spring weather.
On Friday, I went to picnic at my friend Corie’s DRC, where she and her apartment-mates had cooked all of their remaining food from their cabinets, refrigerators, and freezers. In other words, six bags of rice and lots and lots of pasta. Allie, Abi, Ruth, and I enjoyed one final night in Copenhagen with some of our Danish friends. I definitely saw the sun rising on Saturday morning.
Saturday was full of packing, packing, packing.
On Sunday morning I enjoyed a final brunch with my host family. Pia said I could have anything I wanted for my last brunch, but I decided that we we should have something typically Danish–soft boiled eggs and fresh bread from a local bakery with lots of butter, cheeses, jams, and even chocolate to top our buns. I’ll save the American breakfast for when I return home in two weeks (hint: Dad I would like eggs and bacon on the morning of May 31st). In the afternoon, we headed to Chris’ soccer game being played in Harsekov. Sports aren’t connected to the schools in Denmark, so there are many different leagues that people of all ages can play in, and you can be as serious or not serious as you want to be. After the game, Palle, Pia, and I took one last trip to Bryggeri Skovlyst, the brewery in Hareskov that Palle and I went to during my first weekend in Denmark. We said our last skål (cheers) of the semester.
Now it’s officially Monday, and it’s time to say my final goodbyes.
Thank you to my host family. You took me into your home, gave me a room to call my own, fed me delicious meals every night, made sure I learned about Danish culture, and exposed me to some of the best things Denmark has to offer. Although I was traveling (a lot), I still looked forward to coming back to Hareskov everytime. Don’t worry, Chris, I’ll make sure to tell everyone in America that Faxe Kondi is the best soda in the world. P.S. I’m never eating liver again!
Thank you to my friends and family who have been right by my side throughout my journey this semester. Whether you read my blog, sent me letters, Skyped with me in all hours of the night, or kept in constant contact through Facebook message (Allie and Abi that’s you) you helped me make Denmark my home away from home this semester.
Most importantly, thank you Denmark. I’ll be back.
Bring it on fourth year, you have a lot to live up to.