Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snow, here?

So, Copenhagen is not usually a snowy place, that is it flurries whenever it wants and is freezing but NOTHING ever sticks but salt is frequently on the ground. Well, before I arrived they got a super, duper snow storm around Christmas but apparently that is super abnormal and happens once in a blue moon. So when I woke up today I was surprised to find actual accumulation. Now, don't get me wrong it's not enough to do anything with but it does make the view out the window look all wintery and nice. In addition to this less than fantastic weather, I joined a gym! (Basically because of the less than fantastic weather..) It's not the cheapest but a DJ plays while you're working out in the evening. A live, freaking DJ, who has his table set up in the middle of the weight floor. Crazy, crazy. The reason for the gym membership is the Danish coast has become brutal and 23 degrees F and windy is not my idea of a good time. Plus, the cycling class is all in Danish (SCORE, I have no idea what to do when!) and they play hardcore techno the whole time (this is actually a god thing, unlike the difficulty in the language department.)  Besides that, I've actually had to start doing work. I have a midterm tomorrow and paper due on Monday, one on Tuesday and a project the next week. After having NOTHING the first month+, I'm finding it terribly hard to actually work. Who wants to do work when you can sit and chat at a cute Danish coffee shop, if you do, you're crazy and we're probably not friends. Today, I have a field trip to the Middelgrundens Vindmollelaug, basically the Danish offshore wind farm head office. Hopefully, I'll get another perspective on the use of wind for general energy consumption because thus far the options don't look too awesome. Oh and my tutoring has been rough thus far, she's really not into the whole tutoring thing which is a bummer but I'll keep you updated. It's study time!
Definitely a North Face boots wearing kind of day, just hopefully not to icy. Have a good Wednesday!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I'm officially Danish!

Sorry everyone, I wont be returning to the Untied States, FALSE. But I got my CPR card in the mail today, so I can officially go to the doctor's and the library with no probably. I'm seen as a temporary resident and get all the fun perks Denmark has to offer. I get to go see a female doctor whenever, it's totally different than the States, you have to take a number to get bread in certain bakeries, how weird is that? They sent it with a bunch of letters written in Danish so I hope they aren't too important; I could also be an organ donor if I want, but I think that might get messy considering I'm an organ donor in the States too. But hopefully I won't have any organs to don. Don (maybe a word?) Anyway, the host family cam back last night much to my surprise, I swear I thought they said Sunday. So instead of raging last night, we watched American movies all night and of course since they're all jet-lagged we stayed up until 1 something in the morning. How crazy. Alright, I think it's actually homework time.
Fun paper work and my yellow, CPR card!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

They're back!

It's officially the end of week 7 and the family is back home, thank goodness. I wasn't too lonely at home especially with friends doing dinner here at the flat, but goodness gracious is it nice to just sit and write this post with Karina reading the newspaper on the chair next to me. It's just cozier this way. It actually was a pretty busy week for me and I think I left off at the ballet. AND IT WAS AWESOME! Holy poop, it was the most amazing show I've seen in a long time. The choreographer is popular for his ability to take stories and pieces of literature into dance shows. The best part of Midsummer Night's Dream was that in ballet form it was HILARIOUS, like actually seriously funny. Who would have thought that a graceful dance performance would be hysterical, a funny musical troupe that came back time and time again throughout the performance. OH I also didn't mention that the old, playhouse was gorgeous, red velvet seating with gold accents everywhere; it was to die for. I don't know of any dancer, well I don't know that many dancers but if I did, that would not want to work there everyday. If anyone finds him/herself in Copenhagen while a dance performance is showing, YOU NEED to go, I'm not joking, I'll be mad if you don't.

That was Wednesday, well the interesting, big part of Wednesday. Thursday was also a lot of fun; of course, I went to school, but then I had a meeting with the coolest professor ever! I decided to be a class rep for my Gender class; it's a system where we give her feedback as it comes up and we have two meetings with her outside of class. Anyway, I had the most delicious chai at the cutest coffee shop with her and another student and we just chatted for an hour. It was awesome; she's totally down to earth and well a free coffee always peaks my interest. After that I prepared dinner for three girls that made the trek out to the flat. And well, you should be jealous because apparently I've become quite a cook. I made roasted potatoes to go along with a chicken, apple, pecan, lettuce salad with some balsamic, AND an apple, berry crisp for dessert. I may not keep my cooking habit up but I sure won't let my baking skills get rusty. We chatted for a couple hours and then I retired to my homework.

Friday was any other boring day, I had class and a group presentation and was wayy too tired to want to be in class. I pretty much headed home after class, I was pretty beat and just wanted to relax after my busy week. I got some American TV watching out of the way and got to sleep to the sounds of the guy's party in the flat above.

And today, the family CAME HOME, earlier than I thought/remembered they would. Anyway, they brought me home a Cosmo and SWEDISH FISH, so I'll be just fine for the next few weeks in the America department. I also finally got back to the Danish coast, a sunny, bright, no wind day; however, it was 25 degrees F outside and my legs were purplish when I got home. Maybe I'll just stay on the couch next time there are waves of ice crashing the coast.

Me on the front steps of the Royal Danish Theater in Kongens Nytorv.

Some famous, probably rather important guy.

The gallery they had the intermission treats in.

The view of the stage from our seats.

The interior of the playhouse; it was just to die for.

Little dinner set up, Katie requested a photo shoot for it.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Silly me.

I didn't mention my little field trip to Sex & Samfund today, oops. So my gender class had a field study at the Danish version of Planned Parenthood. It was pretty cool, last week my CSR class went to the Danish government's office for Corporate Social Responsibility and it was a drag. I'm sorry but we listened to a power point presentation for 2.5 hours that reviewed everything we've learnt thus far in class, not my idea of a good time. Anyway, the lady today was super cute and we did some fun icebreakers and got a rundown of the sex education program here in Denmark. It was definitely awesome to see how their approach is different to ours, not that sex education is always the thrillingest of topics. Anywho, I'm now off to an academic talk on the COP15 related to the UN and its climate change initiatives, THEN to the BALLET. A Midsummer Night's Dream, I couldn't get through the silly iambic pentameter but I love a good dance show.


So of course, we got the dates mixed up and the ballet is actually tonight, so oops I can't tell you how it goes until tomorrow. BUT I have done a luxurious amount of baking between now and the time I last posted. I had an AWESOME dinner with Taylor; however, no modeling so, no pictures. BUT I also made delicious pumpkin bread that she loved! I also got around to doing my homework, while watching Danish Paradise Hotel. It is probably one of the worst, grossest TV shows out there; it's all about hooking up and well what a waste. And then Monday was Valentine's Day, it was fine nothing really fun, it's hard to go on a date when there's no one to go with :( so I made chocolate chip cookie covered oreos. I know that sound strange, but a friend of mine found it on a baker's blog and I'm always up for a baking challenge. Frankly, I don't LOVE them, they're good but almost too sweet, I guess I'm a sucker for the classic chocolate chip cookie. AND I'm turning out to be the best darn Danish metric baker out there, hopefully I won't lose my cup/tablespoon measuring skills. Besides the enormous amount of junk being consumed instead of vegetables, the weather has been freaking terrible. THE WIND is horrendous, you can hardly walk in a straight line, and it took of a metal welded sign in my town. Ridiculous, needless to say I haven't met with the Danish coast in a coupe of days and I'm getting a bit antsy, but not too antsy. I haven't been feeling phenomenal the past couple of days so hopefully the rest helps. Besides that it's been a pretty dull life here at the flat. Of course, I'm going to the ballet tonight and will probably be doing dinner with some girls tomorrow but I'll definitely have some time to kill before the hostfam returns. Maybe I'll bake a cake :)
I had dreams of avocado/chicken/salad on mini toasts but I lost my inspiration after making the cookie dough.

Yes, you see correctly, an oreo inside of a cookie or instant diabetes.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

On my own.

It's the dreaded Week 7, thus the host family is off the New York City for the week. Rasmus has school off and the Schriver/Nickelsen clan love NYC, but it'll be nice if Karina finds Swedish Fish to bring back for me. Therefore I'm by myself at the flat, which will be a bummer but I've already made some good plans for the week. In the past couple of days, I met with Natalya again and I sent my first package to the states. I came expecting shipping would be expensive but it's different once you get here and spend nearly 20 bucks for a little package. I had a nice night out last night; Taylor, Alice and I met with some other DIS kids, which was a good way to mix it up. I'm laying low tonight, after seeing the family off pretty early this morning. So instead of heading into the city, I took another go at making pumpkin bread. I got the baking soda/baking powder situation straightened out and I'm on my way to be a metric, Danish baking pro. OH and Taylor is going to trek into Zone 30 tomorrow to have my first real meal. And by first real meal, I mean I went grocery shopping today for the first time for actual necessities because our fridge is nearly empty (of everything I really like to eat, there are a bunch of pork smorrebord making ingredients but I'm still not familiar with most of them.) I'm planning for a chicken, pesto pasta dish with some salad. I'm trying not to slack while Peter and Karina are away; the food they cook is delicious and I don't want to go completely deprived while they're gone. I have a pretty basic day, besides the dinner date; hopefully I'll have another sunny, beautiful run in with the Danish coast and some quality class reading. That reading will probably turn into American TV watching on the internet, I'm always one for a good distraction.

Fun thing on Tuesday: Midsummer's Night Dream performed by the Royal copenhagen Ballet at the old playhouse in Kongens Nytorv!!!!!

AND sorry for the lack of pictures today, I had some ideas but taking a picture of Danish metric made pumpkin bread is just not that wowing. Maybe Taylor will model at dinner tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Warning: LONG post

I realize I haven't posted something new in several days, so I am super sorry; however, this means you are in for a super duper long but fun post today! Get excited because a TON has happened since last week. I'll start by back tracking starting with this past Thursday and working my way to today, which is Tuesday. It would be silly to start with today and then go backwards because normal people read down a page.

My Sustainable Development class and I departed for our Western Denmark journey on Thursday. We met at Frue Plads where we boarded a bus and drove off to Svenborg. Svenborg and Ærø are other islands in Denmark; I currently live on Zealand, which is where Copenhagen is located. Denmark is made up of 306 islands but not all are sizable enough to hold substantial populations. Anywho, we stopped at Borson, a freaking delicious restaurant, for lunch, where we had too many carbs to mention, but good lord was is delicious. We had some time to spare so after lunch we walked around the main roads in the town and window shopped a bit. Though we started on Svenborg, we just stopped for lunch and hopped on the ferry to go to Aero because we were to stop back in Svenborg after our little tour of Aero. OH and the ferry ride was gorgeous, a little rough, but stunning. The coastal homes on the smaller islands we passed were adorable and there were boats docked everywhere. The ferry ride took about 45 minutes in total and there was a little cafe on board which provided me coffee to combat the rough seas. We arrived in Aero to find the cutest island I have ever seen! Granted I haven't seen many islands, but this one probably beats most others. I have decided when I'm old, I will retire here, it's seriously that cute and quaint (and quaint doesn't adequate describe many places but this is one of them, it was just so lovely.) After our stroll, we met with a representative from Aero's energy sector; we got lectured a bit and then WE GOT TO GO INSIDE A WIND TURBINE! By the way, now is the time to be jealous. We drove out to the countryside where the island has three wind turbines and he turned it off just for us to hop inside. The wind turbines on the island are funded by locals, about 500 people own each turbine, making community interest in the wind energy sector huge. The idea is to avoid the NIMBY problem and have the community embrace local renewable sources. Pretty cool, especially because that was followed up by a trip to the largest solar central heating district plant in the world. We go to walk around a field of solar panels and explore what the island was doing in terms of solar technology. After getting sufficiently cold enough, we headed to a local organic co-op. This co-op opens as a restaurant in the harvest/tourist season, but they opened just for us and provided a delicious meal of potatoes, pork chops, beet salad and curry fish and rice. So, so, so delicious, especially because the cook was an adorable, kooky Danish lady. Upon stuffing ourselves again, we left for the youth hostel. It was one of the better hostel's I'll probably encounter in Europe. We played Taboo as a group and some of the boys went out to the bars, the two local bars to find not much of a nightlife.

YUMMY lunch!

Svenborg, right near the water, where we got on the ferry.

Surprise! the ferry.

Island of Aero, freaking darling ain't it?

I was in that.

My first hostel experience.

A bit of an early morning after a long and exhausting day the day before but at least it was raining for our trip to the farm! We spent almost all of Friday parading around a local organic farm; it was more of a hobby, take care of a pasture sort of farm but the man, Nils, was darling and loved to "grow nature." After trekking around his fields, we took a break for the best soup ever! made by his wife. It hit the spot after the cold rainy weather had worn us down. Did I mention she also bakes the best bread around; however, I make the best pumpkin bread around, no one get confused. Anyway, after super delicious we went out once again to the rainy pastures. This time we took a hike on the cliffs on the edge of Nils's property with a gorgeous view of the sea. After tiring us out, Nils took us to his organic brewery. Funny a nature farmer with a brewery, with DELICIOUS beer. The microbrewery prides itself on quality local beer and was voted the best European beer or something like that. If you ever make it to the Rise Bryggeri buy their India Pale Ale and their Walnut (Valnod) beers. If you know me, I'm not a huge fan of beer but these two are hands down, no kidding, delicious drinks. We got a tasting and a little tour of the place and then set off for Svenborg to check into our hostel. We got to the hostel after another ferry trip and got the evening to fend for ourselves. I went to a beef house with two really cute girls, Kara and Diane. It was my first sit down dining experience without native Danes to look out for me. (Tip only if the service was super awesome, or else you're throwing money away, waiters get paid a normal salary in Denmark) Then, as a 23 person group mind you, we went out to a local bar and a good time.

Best soup and bread, ever.

The cliffs, gorgeous but cold.

WOHOO! Our trip to the ecovillage! We left our hotel-like hostel (with our own bathroom and shower door!!!!) to a local 30 adult, 33 children sustainable community. It is based on permaculture ideas rooted in the States. They build their own houses, grow their own livestock, have natural refrigerators, and in a couple of cases compost their own poop (yucky.) However, it was a really refreshing trip, I expected they to be weirdo hippies with a hidden agenda, but no, they're just nice people that really love and respect the environment, that happen to paint their walls with creme fraiche. After a pretty extensive tour of the place, we went to the local inn for a traditional Danish meal. Of course we did everything out of order, but we tried to have a traditional meal. We made it back to Copenhagen after a scenic trip over the bridge back to Zealand. I was exhausted and had a quiet night with the hostfam and Nikoline, the hostsis who goes to Grad school in Berlin. She was back for a family baptism and gave we a bunch of tips and places to go while here. I'm looking forward to all the restaurants she highly rated.
Old traditional straw roofing.

Most welcoming couple ever!

New momma.

Housing construction, they are using mussel shells as their floor insulation. Crazy? The house was so warm without being heated, I kind of want one. (Oh and they're super Santa Fe-like on the inside when they're done.)

A manhole cover as a stove top, talk about recycling.
I woke up rather late on Sunday after an uneventful night, but had some relaxing time to myself. I returned to the Danish coast after breakfast and some Teen Mom and was disappointed that the weather didn't decided to clear up for my return. I had a mountain of work to do after the trip so that's pretty much it for Sunday.

Back to school, after the 5 day break from school pulling myself out of bed was difficult. So of course I woke up when I was supposed to be walking out the door. It took a miracle for me to get to school on time but I did it. School was school, then I met some girls at the Studenterhuset for a yummy panini and some "homework" aka we were talking about potentially seeing Mike Posner at Vega in March. I want to see Miike Snow the next night, but I have a test and well I might be too good of a student to indulge in a late night before an exam. After that, I FINALLY got to meet Natalya for a tutoring session at the Copenhagen International School. She is a nice girl from the States, who just moved to Denmark from Sweden and well doesn't like math very much. And she plays hockey so she's instantly cool, at least in my book. Some more hanging with the hostfam, putting off homework and so forth. BUT (everyone note) I did eat mushrooms at dinner and they weren't too bad, but there were too many of them.

Not too much fun to report here; a night of horrendous wind left me exhausted all day and it took me an hour to get to school in the morning. Oh and the sign for the reality place on the corner was swinging when I left for school, it is metal and was swinging, fun and safe stuff!

Wednesday, I know finally today, I'm sorry:
I had my first Wednesday field trip; I usually have a relaxing morning to myself but I had a class meeting with the Danish Government Org. that deals with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR.) I don't know if I'm a huge fan of this class, so I'll let you know when I figure that out. After a decently long meeting, I met with Taylor and Katie for lunch at Chillimili, a local healthyish food chain, a kind of Chipotle/Noodles type, except not burritos. The food was soo good and I may not eat dinner because I was so full, but Peter's cooking so... Anyway after lunch we met a couple of other girls for a trip to the Roundtower. It consists of a library, conservatory, and a church. And there is a fabulous view if you walk up it to the top, you can see all of Copenhagen, and it is a great view. I'm currently holding off on my readings and Teen Mom to update you, so I hope you were able to make it all the way to the end
View from the outside.

The king was lazy and wanted to ride his horse to the top, so they're aren't any stairs.

View from the top.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Copenhagen 2011: Drink fast, eat slow.

I'm leaving in the morning for Svenborg and Aero, on my short study tour for my Sustainable Development class. It'll be fun, I think; we're going to an ecovillage, and organic farm/cafe/brewery, we'll get to tour a windmill, plus a bunch of other stuff. It'll also be my first of many stays in hostels. I'll make sure to have a super huge post all about it when I return on Saturday, plus some cool photographs.

Today, Wednesday, was the first really eventful day of the week. Yesterday, I had class and went to a social for host family kids, but not a lot of kids showed up, which was a bit of a bummer. But I did enjoy the free pizza, plus I've decided I'm no longer not eating pork, because I won't eat much else if I don't. Anyway, today, I woke up late just because I could, considering I don't have classes on Wednesdays. And then I moseyed around the house and noshed a bit. Then I went on a crazy excursion to the Gentofte Kommune, which in the municipality office for my area. For insurance in Denmark, since Denmark is a country based on the welfare system, I had to go register at my Kommune in order to obtain health insurance and access to the libraries. So, I took a number and only had to wait about five minutes until someone could see me. They then took copies of my Visa along with some other info and I'm all registered. They'll assign me a CPR number and mail me a CPR card, this way I can go to the doctor if I need to while here. And it'll be free! It was easy once I got there; however, I apparently have a tendency to get lost in this city and well went 30 minutes in the wrong direction before I had to ask for directions. No worries though I found my way pretty easily after that, and promptly made it home. Needless to say I did a ton of walking, but went on my (hopefully) regular little jog. Of course it's only been nice twice and this again wasn't one of those days. However, I got home feeling all accomplished and made my way to a Climate Seminar in the city. DIS puts on three this semester and I plan to go to all of them. Tonight's was about urban renewal and the city's bike system. And afterwards, they provided free cheese/crackers and wine/beer and I don't need to explain why that's awesome. I made it home, ate some curry chicken, and need to get to packing, but first, Karina and I are watching a terrible movie and I'm posting this.

And don't worry, this weekend tour's post will be more snazzy than this little guy. There's not a lot to report when you're hanging around with the hostfam, retelling jokes is just not that interesting, though I am having a fabulous time.