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.
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!
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!
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.
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!!
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!!
The last few weeks have kind of past somewhat in a blur. Zero to hero didn’t happen (unless you count day 1) but a whole lot else did…
When you are exposed to a situation you only thought happened in TV shows, your whole life does a little summersault. And by ‘little’, I mean that you look at every little aspect of your life and question it. When I let someone know what happened to me 2 weeks ago, they give you this look of ‘what!?! are you joking?’ and are left speechless. I don’t blame them. Even I am trying to comprehend what happened. Yet despite all the trauma, somehow these last few weeks have brought me a fair bit of joy.
Within 24hrs of the incident, I was in stitches of laughter with my friend because I had been trembling so bad that when trying to take a sip of water I somehow spurted water not only all over my face, but also on her. Then slightly later I couldn’t even eat due to my hands shaking so much that another friend decided it would be a perfect opportunity to feed me. Now when I say ‘feed me’ I don’t just mean, placing food in my mouth…no it meant playing ‘aeroplanes’ which then became a train…a boat…even a hot air balloon a think.
Situations like this also help demonstrate just how amazing the people close to you are. My house for the first week after was a flow of people. From family, to my parents friends, to my friends. Just as I am writing this now my mum said “you do realise, this is the first time in 2 weeks that it has only just been us in the house?” Yet I don’t think I would have it any other way. My friends have been absolutely amazing. Coming to and fro from my house, taking me to church with them, supplying me with an endless supply of movies, even answering phone calls at ridiculous hours of the night.
One of my friends sent me a quote that really helped. To date, I am still unsure why it made such a difference, but then again can we really have an answer for everything? I guess this quote also answers that…? You can decide that for yourself.
“If God brings you to it. He will bring you through it”
As cliché as it may sound I know this experience is a life changing one. One that has made me think about what is important in my life in a completely different way. One that has made me appreciate the life that I have lived and how lucky I have been with my life to date. Sure I now also have little trust in every person I see and meet, but maybe before I was just naive…? I guess what I am trying to say in writing this blog isn’t to tell the world ‘hey I had a bad experience’ but to demonstrate that even when everything around you seems to crumble, there is something stronger that will keep everything going.