26 3 / 2013
Permalink 98 notes
10 1 / 2013
Permalink 419 notes
03 1 / 2013
Permalink 2,307 notes
25 12 / 2012
Permalink 42 notes
15 12 / 2012
Another FCK game!
Through an international students group in Copenhagen, I was able to get free tickets to another match! This time, though, it was a Europa league match instead of a Danish league match against the worst team in the league.
FCK was trying to progress in the tournament (playoffs? I’m not quite sure what it should be called) and needed to beat Steaua București in order to do so. Of course, this meant the atmosphere was great. The stadium wasn’t entirely filled, but people were really pumped up, and there were a bunch of Steaua București fans, which was unexpected since one would assume they had to come from Romania to see the match.
After a scoreless first half, Steaua București scored, then FCK scored on a great goal with just three minutes left. Unfortunately, this is how the game, and FCK’s Europa League season, ended.
Since I’m not emotionally tied to this team, the result wasn’t a night-ruiner for me. Overall it was fun to see another match! (Even though it was freezing cold at the game despite wearing several layers, and I had to wait at the train station for an hour after I missed my bus by 1 minute. The perils of Denmark in December.)
P.S. The guy sitting behind me sounded EXACTLY like Archer (from the show Archer).
15 12 / 2012
The Last Thursday & Friday in Denmark
After what can certainly be described as a frustrating Wednesday, I came back into Copenhagen from Roskilde (without going back to Holte because I felt like I didn’t have time) on Thursday, intending to study all morning for my exam.
Then I realized that I could get a 40 on this already easy exam and still get a B in the class, so any remaining motivation more or less disappeared. Then exam time came, and I spent two hours completing the most boring test I have ever taken in my life.
I finally finished, which officially concluded the semester! It didn’t feel the same as the end of most Bowdoin final periods, possibly because the level of stress and work this semester has been much less. But also possibly because I knew the end of the semester meant the end of my time in Copenhagen, and I’m still in denial about that.
Thursday night, I could have gone to an Italian restaurant with my MPP class (the one I’ve traveled and spent so much time with) or to dinner with my host family at my host mom’s sister’s house in Hornbæk. I decided to go with my host family because 1. I should spend some time with them since I’ll be leaving in a few days, 2. I would have been late to the restaurant and possibly not able to eat anything anyway (gluten), and 3. my host mom’s sister and brother-in-law are fantastic.
I missed seeing my MPP classmates, but dinner was delicious and fun, and it was nice to see the family again! Also, my host mom’s sister is also a huge Lord of the Rings fan so we talked about The Hobbit and tried to convince my host mom that she needs to see the movies.
On Friday, I went into Copenhagen to say bye to a couple of friends, did some last-minute sightseeing and Christmas shopping, and ended up seeing a few more friends along the way. I’m not sure if I’ll go back into Copenhagen, since I have a lot of cleaning and packing to do, so this might have been goodbye (again, in denial). The city looked beautiful because the sun was actually shining, which made it more difficult, in a way. It would be much more easier to say goodbye to the city if it had been raining and/or gray as usual.
Friday night, my host mom was at her office julefrokost and Christmas party, so I made some dinner and sat down to spend the night with Netflix. Instead, I (like many Americans) sat and constantly refreshed news sites and Twitter in horror as I learned about the events of Newtown. So much could be said, but the thing relevant to study abroad is that this made glaringly clear the differences between American and Danish culture, government, and healthcare system, and effects of said differences. I will leave it at that.
14 12 / 2012
The wind is so bad tonight that there is an actual breeze in my bedroom right now.
13 12 / 2012
I think I’m ready to go home.
When I woke up at 6am after four hours of sleep to go into the city for an 8am final, I was ready for school to be over.
When I was trying to study for another final later that day, but couldn’t find a spot that was not filled with people loudly talking and completely disregarding those of us clearly trying to study or a back room with a temperature of about 45°F because the door was wide open, I was ready to go back to Bowdoin.
When the movie theater where I saw the premiere of The Hobbit (excellent, by the way) didn’t serve popcorn, I was ready to go back to the U.S.
When a sketchy old man in the street SPIT ON MY FACE (part of which landed directly in my ear) after I glanced at him and moved to the side to avoid running into him, I was ready for my small town where people don’t do things like that.
When I couldn’t go back to Holte and stayed at a friend’s house (instead of sleeping at DIS) because public transportation doesn’t run to my Danish home past 10:45pm, facing an hour long commute and another final in the morning, and contemplating what a rough day it had been, I realized I was ready to go home.
I know that once I’m home for a couple of weeks I’ll be missing Denmark, and Europe in general, but at the moment, I’m ready to go.
12 12 / 2012
Finals Stress and Bomb Threats, part 2.
Two finals down, one to go (tomorrow). I feel “meh” about both of them, but I’m just glad they’re over now.
More importantly, there was ANOTHER bomb scare. The second in as many days. This one was at the Central Station, and, fortunately, the scare was again called off.
What’s going on, Copenhagen?
11 12 / 2012
Finals Stress, Broken S-togs, and Bomb Threats
Make that “general stress about time constraints and packing and leaving new friends and a new home.”
Yesterday, I planned to study all day and get a bunch of work done so today I could do some sightseeing in Copenhagen that I hadn’t gotten around to yet. Instead, I slept until almost noon and watched Game of Thrones and essentially did nothing (except a few loads of laundry) until about 10:00pm when I finally opened my book to work on a group study guide, then wrote four or five blog posts, before falling asleep at 4:00am.
“You are a terrible student with an unhealthy sleeping schedule, Tracie,” you might say. And you would be correct.
I managed to wake up around 9am today. Did another load of laundry, and labored on my group study guide (soooo borrrring) while trying to make plans for a friend to come over and study.
Unfortunately, ALL OF THE S-TRAINS STOPPED RUNNING. There was a problem with some electrical wire that shut down the trains from 11:00am through rush hour (which begins between 3:00pm and 3:30ish here), generally causing a chaotic scene on public transportation with the 100,000+ people displaced from their normal routes. My friend finally got to my house, after we collectively wasted about 4 hours of study time.
We made some hot chocolate, contemplated but ultimately resisted watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and I put a few finishing touches on the study guide while generally stressing out as she actually studied.
As she was leaving and I was heading to the grocery store, we both got a text from DIS saying the police had a found a suspicious suitcase at Nytorv (near our class buildings) and although nothing indicated it was a bomb, the surrounding areas were shut down and we should stay out of the city center tonight. The alarm was eventually called off, but this mass warning text was striking because it was only the first time we have been issued a specific security warning. Thanks for being pretty safe, Copenhagen.
Anyway, back to finals. I have a natural tendency to FREAK OUT ABOUT TESTS AND STRESS OUT ABOUT LIFE hindering my ability to study and increasing procrastination (a vicious cycle), especially around finals time, when I feel like I have learned nothing through the entire semester.
It’s happening again ha, ha, ha…
I have two finals tomorrow, in the subjects that matter most to me and future applications (Human Health & Disease and Medical Exploration of HIV/AIDS).
As I’ve said once or six times, I am stressing out. Finals are worse (even when the grades don’t count), when you also have to worry about packing everything together, saying goodbye to new friends and a new place you’ve grown to love, and trying to fit in everything you haven’t seen yet (impossible, but I’m gonna try).
Not to mention I have an 18+ hour day ahead of me tomorrow starting with traveling into the city for an 8am final and ending with THE HOBBIT and staying the night at DIS (ugh) to study and sleep since the movie gets out after the last bus leaves for my house.
Alas, I guess it’s time to wrap up a hastily and poorly written blog post and stop procrastinating so I can study and get a few hours of sleep.
Wish me luck, both in the exams and in securing coffee to fuel me through the next two days!
P.S. I need to keep my friend’s comment in mind: “We go to tough schools, we can handle this.” Altogether, this is significantly less difficult than Bowdoin, but that doesn’t always help in the moment!
Permalink 1 note
10 12 / 2012
Permalink 12 notes
10 12 / 2012
HANDBALL IS THE COOLEST SPORT EVER.
Sorry for the capital letters, but I’m so excited about this that regular type seemed insufficient.
A couple of weeks ago (my delay in posting shows again..), my friend and I snagged two free tickets to a handball match given out by DIS (even though we had a test the day after the match). I knew handball was huge in Denmark, and during the Olympics I made sure to watch the Danish men’s matches. I learned a little bit over the summer to supplement my high school gym class knowledge, and I was SO excited to see a match live.
After a train to the town outside the city where the match was taking place, we bought some snacks and made our way to the stadium. The stadium was a little different than I expected; much smaller and more intimate. There were stiff papers on our seats to fold up and use as clappers, which made a great noise when the crowd clapped together. It was nearly a full house, and we were sitting in the second tier behind one of the goals, which meant we could see everything clearly and had a great view of the action! Partially due to the size of the stadium, the atmosphere was incredible. So loud and so intense. It was easy to tell there were some passionate fans there.
A few strange things that happened included the pregame and half-time entertainment, which was a truly terrible pop singer. I have no idea who he is, or what he was saying, but it was not hard to tell that his music was horrendous. Also, the tumblers doing stunts during breaks were entertaining, but one time the girls were sitting down while swinging jump ropes around them and butt hopping over them (there really is no better way to explain that). Best of all, there was a group of seemingly-rich people sitting courtside, with no protection from the ball that would be thrown very hard in their direction by players. One of the women was wearing a horrid white designer poncho and even from our seats we could tell she was an unnatural shade of orange. Kate and I made a bet the depended on her getting hit in the face with a ball, but sadly that never happened.
KIF Kolding København, the home team, beat Nordsjælland Håndbold by a score of 30-22. And the best part? After the final whistle, the crowd started singing “Sweet Caroline,” appealing greatly to this Fenway lover’s heart. Also, they thanked their fans at the end, and I thought that was very sweet (and telling of Danish identity, in a way).
I could go on and on about how great the sport is and how much fun it was to experience another part of Danish culture, but it’s 3:30am and I should be studying for this week’s finals. So, to conclude… Handball: it’s awesome, and I wish the U.S. was more into it!
Permalink 1 note
10 12 / 2012
Both Molly and I had early mornings on Friday (hers much earlier than mine) as we were leaving; she for London and I for Madrid. After staying in bed for as long as possible because it was dark out and ridiculously cold in Molly’s apartment, I made it to the 8am bus.
It’s important to note that it was misting this morning, raining for the first time in 6 days, a rare treat after living in almost always rainy Denmark. Such a nice change.
It’s also important to note that bus drivers are really nice and will pity you when you ask to doublecheck if you’re going to the right place, and that without my passable knowledge of Spanish, I would have had a difficult time getting around Spain. This was also a huge change from Denmark!
The bus ride to Madrid provided some impossibly beautiful scenery. Winding roads through mountains and valleys, expansive fields and vineyards…it was breathtaking. I couldn’t gush enough about how beautiful it was; “beautiful” seems insufficient, really.
Anyway, I arrived to the bus station and promptly searched my bag to ensure that I had my passport (it was a long four hours of uncertainty). Then I managed to make my way to the Metro stop closest to my hotel.
I never feel more proud of myself then when I navigate a new city’s public transportation by myself.
The directions from the square to the hotel were terrible, so I found some wifi and eventually made it there. The lobby of the hotel was impressive: it was clean and luxurious and smelt like cucumber and/or cleaning supplies (whatever it was, I liked it). My actual room was less impressive than advertised, but sufficient.
After cleaning up, I took off to do some exploring. I went back to Puerto del Sol, where there multiple television characters in costume and several “live statues,” including one man who was dressed as a statue that had been underwater for decades. I find these both cool and unnerving. I also saw a large group of men peddling, and once a police car showed up they grabbed their blankets, to which the goods were sold, and just walked off.
Anyway, I made it to the Teatro Real and turned around, back to the square and down the largest street connected to the square. This is where the really impressive sightseeing began. There were so many huge, impressive, and beautiful buildings. Walking through this area, one would have no idea that Spain is in an economic crisis (which is the case with most tourist areas, I suppose). Really, the only thing I noticed was the huge police presence. They were everywhere.
I also made it down to the Museo del Prado, but didn’t go in. While sitting outside both the museum and a next-door church, waiting for the church to open, I met a Venezuelan girl who was also a solo traveler. She asked if I was a professional photographer, which was great for my ego. The church never opened, and I decided to head back toward my hotel. I figured I should grab dinner and get back before it was too late, since I was alone and my recently-injured foot was throbbing. To my shame, I ate dinner at TGI Fridays. BUT LET ME EXPLAIN: I knew I could find gluten-free food there, I didn’t have a bunch of money to spend at the overpriced Spanish restaurants along the tourist street, and I hadn’t had mediocre American food since August. It was great, and I eavesdropped on three British guys the whole time.
After finishing, I headed back towards my hotel and explored nearby. It was dark by now so the buildings looked beautiful lit up. I encountered some persistent guys trying to sell some type of mall toy by using the “guapa” line, and a toddler who was SO GOOD at football/soccer.
I picked up some of that great Spanish candy, and headed back to the hotel, where I realized my hallway looked like something out of a horror movie (what is it with your hallways, Spain?!) and flipped between CNN, the Spanish version of The Voice, and an incredibly weird educational(?) talk show while laying in my sweltering room before falling asleep.
The next morning, after hitting snooze approximately 15 times, I checked out and took the remarkably empty train to the airport. The flight to Copenhagen wasn’t full, so I got a whole row to myself and had a nice nap on my way home!
10 12 / 2012
Miércoles y Jueves
On Wednesday, there was a general strike across Spain (for several reasons that I do not know, but also because the economy is terrible). This didn’t effect me, but the morning march did wake up Molly as they marched by her window. I slept in, which was wonderful, and finished Bossypants (again: so funny). I wasn’t sure what to do while Molly was in class, since Logroño is really small and I had already seen basically all there was to see, so I decided to go back to the mall to see if I wanted to take advantage of Spain’s lower prices and actually buy something. I wore a dress because it was was 65°F and I loved it, but drew several confused glances, including one shocked guy who walked by shaking his head and muttering something about how “corta” my dress was was (it wasn’t).
Molly and I went to the supermarket and bought things to make nachos and chili, to which a toothless man behind us in line said, “Looks good, looks good!” We gorged ourselves on tasty food and watched some tv on her laptop, including my first ever episode of Gilmore Girls (crazy, I know).
There wasn’t much to do again on Thursday, as Molly had class, etc. I slept until at least noon, then went back to the mall (exciting, I know), bought a great scarf, and spent two hours deciding whether I should buy the boots I wanted. (I didn’t and I’ll regret it forever. Possibly being a bit dramatic but not really, okay?!) I also met one of Molly’s Spanish friends, so that was nice.
In the mall I came across a candy store. This is important because 1) in Spanish candy stores they sell olives and pickles, and 2) I bought some DELICIOUS Spanish candy that I would eat every day for the rest of my life if I could.
These two days were a little slow, but in a way it was nice to just chill out after a couple of weeks in Copenhagen that had been relatively busy.
10 12 / 2012
Or: Babies, Secession, Doctor Who, oh my!
As you can see from the alternate title, Molly and I really tackled some of life’s tough issues during our long day in Zaragoza, a city located a couple of hours southeast of Logroño.
After buying our bus tickets in the morning, we had coffee at an establishment that was both a cafe and a bar, which is apparently a common thing in Spain. It was funny to have a relaxed morning coffee with bottles of liquor behind the counter, but I guess it definitely saves space and brings in more money!
The bus ride was long, but had beautiful scenery. This part of Spain looks soo much like the U.S. Southwest, but with vineyards! I spent some of my time taking in the view, but most of it reading Tina Fey’s hilarious memoir, Bossypants. (Read it. You won’t regret it.)
Once we arrived and struggled to find a restaurant with gluten-free food (I thought it would be easier here, for some reason), I had my first dish of paella in Spain and saw the Spanish version of Wheel of Fortune on the restaurant’s television, which I found quite amusing.
We started exploring the area, and saw the building of a huge nativity scene outside La Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar. We went inside the basilica/cathedral (unsure of the correct terminology) twice, once during the afternoon and once in the evening, when a service was taking place. I’m not Catholic, but if I can get married in a Catholic church by a Protestant minister, I will. Those churches are beautiful and just MADE for weddings. There is a simple beauty in a typical, one room, Protestant church (I’m thinking the classic, wooden churches), but they just cannot compete. Of course, I recognize the historical reason that Protestant churches are not as decadent as Catholic churches, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to get married in one. Also, we saw a replica of John the Baptist’s severed head, complete with a trachea (what?!).
We started making our way across town, pausing at a large, gorgeous building to wonder what it was until a man outside told us and invited us in (I’m sensing a theme). It was a (huge) nursing home, and the inside was very nicely done. Maybe if nursing homes in the States were in large, beautiful, historic buildings, they wouldn’t get such a bad rap.
Molly and I soon made it to Aljafería Palace, which was built in the 11th century, and the first Islamic castle I have seen! At first I was feeling incredibly pretentious (ugh) and “meh” about going inside because, “another castle, whatever.” I quickly ate my words, however, because the Moorish architecture was beautiful, unlike anything I had seen before.
One of the halls
Inner courtyard. My friend compared it to the castle in The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia were my favorite book series as a kid), and she is SO right.
After we had explored the castle, we grabbed some food at a grocery store and ate outside near something that looked like a mini-Washington Monument. We made our way back to the large square near the aforementioned basilica, which was gorgeous lit up at night. Since the weather was so warm and we had a bunch of time to kill until our bus back to Logroño, we sat there for a while, chatting and people-watching while I attempted to catch some skateboarders in action (I failed every time, unfortunately).
Yet another church on one side of the square.
We decided to hit up a cafe to kill some more time and use their wifi, and I ordered a hot chocolate. What I got was a cup of hot milk and packet of powdered chocolate. Come on, Spain! I took a few sips, which proved to be a few sips too many because I was rather sick and uncomfortable on the way back. (I’m lactose intolerant, naturally, since I’m allergic to everything.) The discomfort was exacerbated by the most obnoxious man in the world, YELLING into his phone for extended periods of time during at 11:00pm. Not okay.
Despite the uncomfortable ending, Zaragoza was pretty nice (even if it was a very long day), and it was great seeing such interesting, beautiful architecture!