Just a little uni, and exploring the sites of Denmark

I have now been in Copenhagen for over a month, and I am definitely settling in to my new life here. Here is just a glimpse of my past week, which was a little crazy…

I started uni, which turned out to be not quite as I had expected, and I visited these famous cliffs called Møns Klint.

So basically, I thought uni would be pretty chill. I was only doing one subject for the first few weeks of semester, and only had class for 6 hours. Sounds pretty chilled right? Well think again…basically Danish students (well the ones in my class anyways) are basically super humans. Before the first lecture, they had read all the notes, done all the questions, and knew every detail about the lecture material. That’s right – BEFORE the FIRST lecture. Me on the other hand turned up having done nothing, which resulted in me being rather lost and confused. This was before I realised the difficulty of the course that I was in, resulting in me having to negotiate if I could change subjects (still to be decided). Also riding 10kms to be at uni by 8am  (about a 45 minutes bike ride  due to bicycle traffic – yes it is a thing exclusive to Copenhagen) isn’t what I would call fun. On the positive side though, I met some Danish people who were really nice!!

This week was also meant to be my debut in ‘spring gymnastics’, however due to flooding in Copenhagen on the weekend my class was cancelled. Basically we had a lot of rain on Saturday night, and as I discovered early Sunday morning, the Copenhagen drainage system couldn’t quite cope. The metro near my place didn’t run for a week due to the flooding, and as I was trying to ride my bike on Sunday morning, this is the small obstacle I came across…

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Life has continued to be busy, especially with the arrival of my two new housemates. Most nights turn into a gourmet cooking fest, where we cook, eat and talk for about two hours. We even decided to name our apartment ‘bat cave’. Please don’t ask where the name came from, we don’t actually know ourselves. But it works, and a few nights ago the ‘bat cave’ hosted it’s first dinner party, complete with lasagna and homemade danish candles.

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Yesterday I went on an amazing day trip to a place called Møns Klint,  It is about 2 hours south of Copenhagen, and was absolutely beautiful. Upon arrival we walked down to the beach to have lunch. The sun was shining, and the air temperature was a balmy 20 degrees. It was probably warmer actually. After lunch we decided that we had to go swimming. Despite the rocks being very sharp, and the water being a little cold, we did it – that’s right, I went swimming in the ocean in Denmark!! We spent the rest of our day walking along the  pebble covered beach, trying to find fossils. Møns Klint is famous for having many fossils, however unfortunately we didn’t come across any – well not that we noticed anyways. The cliffs at Møns Klint were amazing!! They were so white, due to their high calcium content, and against the bright blue sky, they were gorgeous. I don’t think I have said ‘wow’ so many times in one day whilst looking at the one thing. It was really a lovely day, and we couldn’t have been more blessed with the weather that we got!

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On a side note, I received some marmite this week from a friend and it reminded me a lot of home. It isn’t quite the same as vegemite (so if anyone feels inclined to send me some over feel free :P),  but put it on bread with cheese, and I was one happy girl!

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Hope you have a fantastic week!!

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Bikes, Colour and everything Danish

I have now been in Copenhagen for 3 weeks and it has been a fun filled, crazy 3 weeks. I have had so many new experiences, seen so many amazing places and met a whole bunch of lovely people.

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Copenhagen is a lovely city. When you are walking around, it is hard not to feel happy with the cobble stoned streets dotted with colourful houses. Every where you go you have trouble finding your bike amongst the array of bicycles. The other day I was even caught in a bike traffic jam!

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It is summer at the moment in Copenhagen so I have been trying to get the most out of it. Last week some friends and I had multiple picnics and watched movies under the stars in the parks around Copenhagen. It was so nice to star gaze and learn all the star constellations here in the northern hemisphere. On Tuesday night we were even blessed with a media shower, which filled the sky with shooting stars!

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Whilst being here in Copenhagen I have had the joy of learning Danish. it is quite a hard language to learn, but I feel that I am picking it up. It always surprises me when I can read whole pages of texts, despite only having studied it for 3 weeks. Sure the pronunciation of the words is hard, and don’t even get me started on spelling, but apart from that, it isn’t too bad. My friends and I now can have short conversations to each other in danish, as well as me being able to understand my housemate when we (frequently) talks to himself in danish.

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On Sunday I went and helped out at the kids church at my new church. It was such an amazing experience. I had never had experience helping with kids ministry, and so I knew I was up for a challenge. This was compounded with the language barrier. But kids are kids, and God answered my prayers, and I was able to still connect with the kids and the other leaders. It was so cool that even though the kids couldn’t understand me (except when I spoke the little danish I knew) we were still able to have fun together. Their favourite game was to push me over and then sit on me. I think the most amazing thing was when these 4 girls, all dressed up in fairy costumes, decided to hold hands and dance around in a circle. It was even more special considering the sermon was on friendships. These girls didn’t even really know each other before Sunday and God answered our prayers and brought these 4 girls together. One was even Swedish and didn’t really understand the other girls. Wow God is good! I can’t wait to see what else He does through the leaders!!

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One week down and still alive!

One week down and I survived!! Quite surprising really considering a near bike crash, sunburn and continually getting lost, but I did it! One week in Copenhagen – and what a good one it was!

Upon arriving I was really quite daunted by the big city, where everyone spoke a different language. Sure everyone speaks English, but when you are walking down the supermarket aisle, everything is in Danish. This proves quite difficult when trying to buy food…I ended up guessing quite a bit what I was buying.

I spent the weekend feeling lost. I didn’t know anyone and wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself. I had just travelled 30+ hours to the other side of the world and the reality of it all was sinking in. I ended up spending the days walking around the city trying to find the interesting sites of København. This proved quite difficult considering I didn’t have a map, but it also meant I got to see things I wouldn’t have seen.

I spent all weekend wondering if I had made the right decision coming half way around the world to live and study. But then I went to church on Sunday night and knew everything would be fine. The church I went to (Hillsong Copenhagen) was amazing! It was a little different from my church at home, but also much the same. I think the thing that stood out to me was just how enthusiastic everyone was. I walked in (a little late because I of course got lost on the way), and found everyone dancing and singing at the top of their voices. It was a site, and feeling, I will never forget. I immediately felt like I belonged, despite not knowing anyone. It was then I knew that I had made the right decision, and that God did indeed have not just a plan for me, but an unbelievably amazing plan for me.

Danish class started on Monday. I was expecting a nice, simple course, which took things nice and slowly. Well this most definitely wasn’t the case. We jumped right into it, and it was intense and so hard!! Basically in Danish, you only read half the letters written in a word. I am however surprised by just how much Danish I have learnt in one week. It is crazy! By the end of the week we could read an article on immigrants in Denmark, and it was a good page long. If I think back to when I learnt Japanese, it took us probably 6 months to a year to be able to read that much Japanese. Can’t wait to see how much I know after 6 months of learning Danish! Today I even asked someone something in Danish, and not only did they reply in Danish (yay my accent mustn’t be too bad), but I understood their reply.

If you would like to hear more about my travels and where I go, feel free to check out my ‘travel blog’ here

orangepippy

So Long, farewell, I don’t want to say goodbye

Saying goodbye isn’t always easy, but I guess in a weird way, the harder it is, the better. “Huh? How’s that work?” you may ask, but hear me out. I think the harder it is, is a symbol of how important a relationship is. But it also a good sign that it would take a lot to break such a relationship apart. I have definitely done my fair share of goodbyes these last few days, and it has really affected me. With each person, it has affected me though in a different way. Some people I’m upset because they are part of my daily life, and won’t be for the next 7 months. Others I am going to miss being at uni with, or seeing each week at church and bible study. I am going to miss praying with the girls in my bible study, who so open heartily welcomed me only a few short months ago. Others are new or revived friendships that I fear may not last the time I am away. I find myself wishing “oh if only I were going next year” or “if only I were leaving later”, and yet nothing I do can change the commitment I have made.

It’s hard saying goodbye to such a familiar environment. Saying goodbye to friends and family who know you so well they can look at you and know what your thinking. It is hard coming to terms with the fact that I won’t see some people for 7 months (apart from on Skype).

Yet despite all this I know it will be worth it. No matter if I might think the timing is bad, I know that it isn’t my timing that’s important. It is God’s timing that matters and is right.

“But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31).

I love this verse because no matter how anxious and nervous I feel, it gives me strength and hope that what I am doing is the right thing. A few months ago when I hadn’t officially been accepted on exchange, I decided that if God planned for me to go on exchange, it would all work out. I would be accepted (yes I was), I would get accommodation (couldn’t have been easier despite the odds) and my visa would come through (it came through this week, after a lot of praying!) So despite my insecurities, I know that God has great things planned for me over in Denmark, and this is what makes me excited!

So even though this doesn’t take away the sadness of having to leave my friends and family, I know that Jesus will be with me the WHOLE way, no matter what!!

It’s getting becoming (scarily) official!

Today I got my letter of acceptance for exchange by my uni. I am pretty excited, but so scared at the same time. I was discussing with my mum tonight that just the thought of moving to the other side of the world in only a few months scares me. I just can’t comprehend it…I probably won’t be able to until I am on the plane. Only about 6 weeks of classes at my home university left for the year. Then I will suddenly turn into a Danish speaking Australian who can’t quite work out what all that white, cold stuff is on the ground. It sure is going to be some experience but wow I am so excited. I seriously jumped up and down this afternoon when I received the email. I doubt I will be able to control/ contain my excitement when I am actually set to leave 😀 Now to just enjoy my last little bit of summer (what is left of it anyways) before I delve into a seemingly never ending winter.

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-Orangepippy

Good bye holidays, hello crazy life!

Hey!

4 months of holidays down, and it seems that my list of holiday activities barely got touched – what a surprise. At the start of the holidays I said I was going to watch as many Disney films as possible…I never quite got there. I did however manage to tick a few off my list including the awesome new Disney film – ‘Frozen’. I absolutely loved it, and felt that it was a traditional Disney film, with great music. Definitely my new favourite Disney film – well maybe…Lion King is pretty good! Anyways, I also vowed I would run every day…as per all fitness regimes, that never happened. I did however cook plenty of food, including my life long ambition to bake a lemon meringue pie. Not only did I bake, but I also managed to sew a skirt, much to the surprise of any relation to me. I also said I would learn to surf, yet failed to realise that this including taking my surf board down to the beach more than once. I do suppose however one good thing comes out of failing to do everything I had once planned to do in the holidays – I now already have a list for next holidays! 

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And now 3 weeks into uni and it feels like holidays were ages ago! No longer are my days spent reading books, going to the beach and drinking coffee. Now they are filled with riding to uni, endless lectures and well, still drinking coffee. Once again, tiding my room seems like the most important thing to do, definitely when compared to sitting down and writing study notes. I had so many ‘going back to uni resolutions’  and yet as per usual, none seem to be actually happening. I was going to become a morning running person – yeah that has only happened once. 

One thing that I have actually done (once) since starting uni is starting to learn Danish. I can now say ‘Goodmorning’, ‘Hello’ and ‘Good bye’. As you can see I will soon be fluent…it just depends on your interpretation of the word ‘soon’. 

Orangepippy

 

Exchange Bucketlist

For a few months now I have been trying to organise an exchange trip. I originally set out to study in Japan for 6 months, where I would finally become fluent in the language I had studied for 6 years. I was really motivated after a compulsory short term exchange I did with my Japanese class at uni to Senshu University, Japan. This was an amazing month of speaking Japanese and just really having fun. I came home desperate to go on exchange and sat down to start organising it. I was however struck with the harsh reality that it wasn’t as easy as I thought to organise it. Studying science, in english and Japan was basically impossible. So after a good 3 months of trying, I decided that if Japan wasn’t going to work, I would just have to settle for Europe (what a shame….). Suddenly it seemed so much easier…well for about 10 minutes. It is still an evolving quest to find uni’s in Europe that teach all the subjects I need whilst on exchange, but non the less last week I found one!! Copenhagen University, Denmark. Just 2 more preferences to go…

Now whilst trying to find suitable uni’s, I soon realised that I had all these things I wanted to accomplish whilst on exchange. So I started a list, which I am sure will continue to grow…

1. Learn another language

I don’t mean, being able to say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’, I mean being able to speak another language apart from english fluently. To almost forget english and just speak what ever language it turns out to be like it is natural. Whilst I have learnt Japanese for a while now, it still isn’t fluent, and I would just love to be able to say whatever I want to someone else in another language and for them to understand!

2. See the northern lights

I am slightly unsure as to where this desire came from, but for a while now, I have really wanted to see the Northern Lights. They seem like an amazing thing to witness and what a better time to do it then when on exchange in (hopefully) Scandinavia.

3. Take lots of photos

Need I say more?

4. Write letters

A friend of mine and I have a tradition of writing letters each time either one of us goes overseas. The problem is though, we are never in the one place long enough to be able to send ‘proper’ letters so we just write them and give them to each other before one of us goes away. Whilst on exchange though, I really want to send letters back and forth to friends and family. And no not emails or fb messages, the good old hand written letters with a post stamp on them!

5. Keep a blog

Well it seems I am a bit premature but an exchange blog will be occurring

6. Ice-skate on a lake

When my Oma lived in The Netherlands as a child she occasionally during the winter was able to go skating on a lake. I have always wanted to do this. Over christmas I saw footage of my Oma skating and I hope to replicate (maybe with a little less style) this experience. This is of course weather permitting…

7. Walk through a flower field

I don’t think this will be possible due to the fact that I will be in Europe throughout winter but I can still dream right? As a child I read the book ‘Heidi’ who grew up in the Swiss Alps with her grandfather and collected wild flowers from the fields above her house. 

8. Go to as many countries as I can

I say this with a side note – experience each country, and don’t just be a tourist the whole time. Its ok to be a tourist, just not the whole time! At this stage  I hope to travel to Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, England and France. Ok I am unsure if they are all possible but I guess we shall see!!

 

As I said this list is an evolving list, but one which I hope to complete. I am also very keen and cannot wait to even just hand my application form in!!!

 

-orangepippy