American Food for a Danish Family

In my host family, I want to participate is as much as possible, and this includes the same responsibilities that the children have, and this includes cooking.  At least once a week one of the kids helps or prepares a meal of their choosing.  Since I enjoy cooking, I thought I’d offer up to cook not once but twice this week.

On Tuesday, I decided to make a staple in my household using staples from this household. Pork chops, potatoes, and carrots.  Pork is one of the biggest exports of Denmark, so I knew it would be easy to obtain, and my host brothers absolutely LOVE ketchup, they put it on literally everything; pasta, lasagna, pizza, everything. So, I decided to make one of my favorite pork chop dishes, pork chops with a ketchup and brown sugar glaze, very appetizing despite what you may think.  Then, baked potatoes, my favorite way of eating potatoes, and carrots, another food that we’ve had at most meals here but with honey on them, because plain carrots are simply too boring.


Although I was terrified I wouldn’t cook the pork chops enough, or cook the potatoes too much and I had to open roughly every drawer to find everything I needed, my meal turned out to be a success! My family (and Sophie who came over for my lovely dinner) loved it, and there weren’t any leftovers!

The next meal I made for my family was true American pancakes! After a Soborg luncheon with the other host families of the area, I learned that Danes call what we would call crepes, pancakes, so naturally I had to show them a true pancake.  So Sunday morning, I woke up a little earlier than the rest (10am so not actually early) and prepared your typical American pancakes, although it was a little difficult since my host mom had no clue what a ‘cup’ was and I had to convert everything to grams and milliliters, and bisquick wasn’t an option either. But 30 pancakes later (half chocolate chip, half plain) my family was awake and ready to try them, and again loved them, my host sister even just had one for an early dessert!


Although everyone, and every culture creates their own means of eating the same food; for example here they put shredded lettuce on top of their pizza and then cut it with a knife and fork, or my host brother slathered on nutella on his already choclatey pancakes, it is important to try new things, no matter how weird, the pork liver paste that my host sister loves, or gross, pickled haddock, it may be.

Keep Eating

xoxo

Margaret

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A Little Copenhagen History

Having an 8:30 AM class on Friday’s has its perk and its downfalls. Perk is I’m done with class by 10:00 AM, downfall is who really wants class on a Friday when abroad, and who ever wants a class at 8:30 AM. But, since today was one of the first sunny and beautiful days (still only 30F) since I’ve gotten here I decided to take advantage of it, but on my tourist shoes and explore Copenhagen with my camera in hand.

There is SO much to do in the city of Copenhagen as well as in the surrounding areas but today I just wanted to walk around get the lay of the land and take some pictures of the beautiful areas.  I didn’t want to waste such a beautiful day inside a museum so I decided to leave them for another day (aka most days in Copenhagen when it’s cloudy and gloomy).

After brunch with a Bucknell friend, we headed to Christiansborg Palace. Although this isn’t my first time seeing this so called palace as it was a stop on our DIScover Copenhagen, I didn’t get to go inside or up to the tower.

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Modernly, the building is used mainly for parliament and royal receptions.  Historically, it has a long(ish) past.  This specific building was built between 1907 and 1928, but 5 palaces have occupied this area but war, conflict and fires forced rebuilding.  The initial Christiansborg Palace was built from 1731-1745 after Denmark was ruled an absolute monarchy, but in 1794 the palace burned down.  The second palace was build from 1803-1828 and was much more modern than the first palace but the King at the time, King Frederik VI, decided to stay at Amalienborg Palace (read on to hear more about that) which create the transfer from a place of monarchy living to a place for parliament.  But, this palace also burned down in 1884.  The modern palace demonstrates three different themes of architecture due to what was left after the fires and the different royalties in charge.

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The view from the top is unbelievable, after taking two different elevators and a long spiral staircase, one can see all the way to Sweden (on a clear day, which wasn’t today due to fog).  The tower has pictures that points out different important buildings of Copenhagen, helping to understand the lay of the land better.

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After Christiansborg, I decided to walk over one of many bridges to Chistianshavn.  Christianshavn is known as the “free town” or “the hippie town” or “the trendy end” as some would say. Originally it was thought to be a merchant town where houses were given for free if those living would set up trading posts. At the time, around 1674, much of the area turned into slums because of the working conditions and low pay many of the workers faced.  Now it is a small, tight knit community with a unique identity, and beautiful canals!

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Finally, I did I quick visit to the queens palace, Amalienborg Palace.  I love royal families, so learning about this royal family is super interesting to me.  Queen Margrethe II has been queen since 1972, she was the first women to inherit the throne in Denmark! We haven’t learned much of this history of the Royal Family, but we have learned about some royal drama. Since the Queen’s wife is not of royalty, he cannot be crowned the king.  Every Dane that has explained this story basically says he’s incredibly bitter by that so he has given up any royal duties that he could possibly have and many rumor that that means they are splitting up or she is going to ‘retire’ from her duties and let her son take over. But nothing has been confirmed yet.  What I think is interesting about the Royal Palaces is that you can get so close with minimal security, and the Danish flag flies when the Queen or Prince are in the building, and so far, she’s been there every time I’ve been there.  She has two sons, both of which still live in Copenhagen, and unfortunately for me they are both married and have children (and are in their 40’s).

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After a lot of walking, I took the train home, and enjoyed my bike ride from the train station to my home to relax for the weekend.

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xoxo

 

Field Study #1

One of the coolest things about DIS is that we don’t have classes on Wednesdays…but there is a reason for that and it is just as cool and it’s because Wednesday’s are dedicated to field studies.  The slogan of DIS is “Scandinavia as your home, Europe as your classroom”.  I had the first taste of this today, although we only took a bus (safely and with no problems) 3 stops away, we still went out of the typical classroom to better understand our studies.

Today’s field study was for my Epigenetics and the Environment class (basically a higher level genetics course for you non-biologists out there), and we went to BRIC, the Biotech Research & Innovation Centre.  
Here we got to meet with Karl Agger, a associate professor with specifics in epigenetics. He basically explained his research which involves the role of epigenetics and leukemia and how his lab has been working on rats and specific sequences in their genome.  Much of it was fairly complex, but luckily our professor provided us with his most recent paper and went over much of the mechanism in class yesterday.  Following the short discussion of questions of future studies and how his research can help humans we were given a tour of his lab by his masters student. Much of the lab is similar to labs in the US but it was interesting to hear about his experience as a masters student from Spain.

After catching the bus back to Norreport station, we headed to the crowded activities fair for information regarding local activities, and I headed back home for a dinner with my family.

xoxo

5 Things I’m Looking Forward to in my Classes

Although being in Europe can be deterring from academics I do have to remember I’m here to ~study~ abroad.  In honor of the first round of classes I’ve dedicated this post to a little info about each class and what I’m looking most forward to.

  1. Medical Practice and Policy: Human Health and Disease – This is my core course which means I spend a lot of time with this group as we will be traveling to Western Denmark, Berlin, Germany and Poznan, Poland as a class.  This class is taught by two doctors and we have class in a hospital most times.  So far we’ve been told that much of this class has an emphasis on the clinical aspects of medicine; how to take medical histories, how to diagnose, how to perform basic medical exams etc.  Some of the classes will look at patient cases where we will actually meet patients and work on our medical skills with real cases! We also have clinical labs dedicated to learning how to insert an IV,  take vitals and plenty more.
    • What I’m looking forward to: Getting a hands on approach to medicine, and getting to talk to patients in a hospital setting.
  2. Epigenetic and the Environment – Since I am still a biology major back at Bucknell, I had to enroll in a higher level biology course.  This course is dedicated to how the environment influences our phenotype. Our field studies include visiting a cancer research plant (my favorite area of study) and a stem cell center.
    • What I’m looking forward to: Visiting a Stem Cell Research plant where I’ll get to again get my hands on with some really cool dissections and interactions.
  3. Danish Language and Culture – Also being a Bucknellian means I am required to take the language spoken in the country I am in, therefore, I am required to take Danish. Most have never heard the Danish language and therefore, much of the pronunciation is incredibly foreign to me. But it will definitely be helpful to not stick out as much as an America, as the focus of the course is helpful conversation lines that would be used in everyday sentences.
    • What I’m looking forward to: Being able to order something in a restaurant without speaking English (questionable if this will happen because the Danish language, especially pronunciation, is really really hard and every Dane speaks english impeccably)
  4. Health Beyond Borders – Another class I am super excited about since Bucknell lacks public health courses.  This class has an emphasis on looking at health care on a global scale and really understanding what global health is, what are its values, what are one’s rights to health and why should we care about health care (which a really interesting topic to me regarding the current status of health care in the US and the free health care of Denmark). We have already been split into groups by country, I am in Syria, where we will research health care tactics in these countries and evaluate and compare these countries. With this class we get to go to the World Health Organization in Denmark.
    • What I’m looking forward to: Learning about Syria and the impact it has on other countries from a source that isn’t the news.
  5. The Cultural History of Travel – This class looks into tourism and how it has developed, where it has gotten us, and what the future holds for tourism.  Being a biology major, on the pre-med track, and wanting to study abroad my non-science classes have been very limited in the past so I am super excited to take a class that is out of the ordinary for me.
    • What I’m looking forward to: I’m most excited for this class not being science class (haha) but also learning about tourism especially since I’m basically spending five months as a tourist.

Despite the excitement of being in a foreign country, and not really wanting to focus on classes, doing so will be much easier with classes that seem so exciting and interesting. With only 15 hours of class a week, with the exception of some field studies that will add to the weekly total, I have SO much free time compared to previous semesters (last year I had 27 hrs/wk due to overloading to be able to study abroad).  Therefore, I am really looking forward to the academic aspect of my study abroad experience.

Much love

Margaret

Exploring Copenhagen

I am officially in Copenhagen, and I officially have my luggage (after it being dropped off at nearly midnight Sunday).  These past three days have been full of orientation like activities through DIS (the school I’m studying at – Danish Institute for Study Abroad).

Monday

Today we ventured into the city and met at Wallman’s Circus Building where DIS had it’s opening ceremony.  The famous Danish band Chinah played some songs and leaders of DIS spoke about our upcoming semester at Denmark.  After meeting some new people who live near me we ventured around Copenhagen,starting at the Student House, a place dedicated to students in Denmark with coffee, croissants, study areas, as well as salsa dancing Sundays! After our coffee and croissants, we wandered down plenty of streets, visited Nyhavn, and eventually wander back to DIS where we had a meeting with all the homestay students in Soborg, the town we live in.  I was able to meet so many people living incredibly close to me and in the same living situation which was nice to hear about how all the homestay families are so different. After, I returned home to my host family, we ate dinner, then watched a handball match, a major sport in Denmark, where they beat Sweden!

Tuesday 

Today we ventured back into the city and we explored the city with the help of DIS faculty.  We were sent on a scavenger hunt to find specific landmarks where faculty would tell us about the importance of the building. We started at Radhus, the city hall of Copenhagen, faculty there showed us the worlds largest mechanical clock, which will outlast any digital clocks we have! We were also able to see the banquet hall decorated with Danish flags and flowers for an upcoming ceremony.  Following Radhus we walked nearly 3 miles to Amalienborg the royal family’s living area.  Here we were able to see where the queen and crown prince lives, where you can get surprisingly close to their palaces. Next we walked to Christianborg, or a major government building that was once a palace.  Here we learned about all the times Copenhagen or buildings in Copenhagen have burned down, this specific building has burned twice, but as a result has three distinct regions due to rebuilding.  Following Christianborg, we ended at Trinitatis Church.  This church was predominant during earlier times because it housed an observatory to study the stars, a library for students to study at and a church for people to worship at, hence the name trinity.  After our final stop, and being stuck in the cold for so long, we decided to stop for lunch at a small cafe where we had a flat bread pizza and some pastries.  After picking up our books we headed home after an exhausting (and cold) day walking all around Copenhagen.

Wednesday 

Today my first activity wasn’t until 2:50 so I was able to sleep in,~hopefully~ getting rid of any jet lag I have left and get everything together in preparation for my classes that start tomorrow. My academic orientation for the Medical Practice and Policy program was so interesting and I am so extremely excited to start going to this class because it is much more medically oriented than any other class I’ve taken.  After this meeting I went out to dinner with a new friend from DIS and after a long and delicious dinner we were headed home.

After realizing that the train station was eerily empty we decided to look into why there was no one there and discovered that all the trains were cancelled due to someone getting hit by a train.  Since the train was the only way I knew in and out of the city and with less than 10% battery I decided to take the next recommended mode of transportation the bus. To this moment in time I am still not quite sure if I got on the right 6A bus but I ended up in a dark and random place on the edge of the city with a dead phone.  After asking a random man if this was the way to Buddinge he assured me waiting outside in the cold and rain for 50 minutes was the “correct” way of getting there. Finally a bus came but, the same random man told me to get off at the wrong stop, luckily, my memory saved me for the night and I could tell I was very close to where I should have gotten off and I managed to get home, two hours later.  Safe to say, the taking the bus is not ideal.

Until next time

Margaret

Getting to Copenhagen: Part 2

Getting to Copenhagen was a breeze.  After a smooth 7 hour flight from Boston to Amsterdam, with a long enough layover to relax and meet fellow DISer’s and then a quick flight to Copenhagen, I finally made it.  My luggage on the other hand, decided to take an alternative method of arriving to Copenhagen.

After over an hour of staring at the lugging belt hoping to see my luggage, myself and 15 fellow DISer’s decided our luggage did not take the same plane as us.  And with that we decided to officially take in the fact that our luggage was lost. We put in our claim and hopefully next time I write, we will all have our luggage safe and sound.  For now, I’ll be wearing the same 3 shirts until I retrieve the rest of my wardrobe.

After feeling completely defeated, three of us decided it was time to make out way out of the airport and on with the adventure that is studying abroad.  After managing to make it through the Copenhagen airport, through a revolving door and across the street, we split up to check in to our living situations.  As I finished checking into my homestay I turned around to see my host family all smiles greeting me with Danish flags and hugs.  It was a huge relief to see such happy people! After joking about how light I packed in just a carry on suitcase, we packed it up to headed home.

On the way home we stopped at a lovely bakery where I got my first look at the Danish pastries everyone is talking about, and they looked delicious. Thankfully, my host family picked some up and we had a quick lunch with a variety of Danish cuisine.  We then spent the afternoon hanging out, introducing our cultures, tours of the house and picking up Casper from his friends bowling birthday party, where I got to meet some more Danes.  After a delicious dinner of tacos, and long two days, I’m heading to bed to be fully rested for the beginning of this adventure.

Until next time (when I hopefully have my luggage)

xoxo

Getting to Copenhagen: Part 1

Since Rochester has some ungodly weather this time of year, and coincidentally having a sister that lives in Boston (where flights are way cheaper going abroad) my trip to Copenhagen started Wednesday.  I flew to Boston to stay with my sister until Friday where I will start part 2, the trip abroad.

I have never been to Boston so I was super excited to visit a new city.  Today I did what I hope to do a lot this semester, wandered around.  There were two places I really wanted to go, the Boston Marathon Finish line and the Harbor.  Luckily I found the finish line with the help of my map, the harbor I manage to stumble upon while just walking around.  Once I found both of these landmarks, I got lunch at Quincy Market and found a nice bench in the Boston Commons to sit on, and got to watch people ice skate, despite it being 57 degrees out.

After walking over 8 miles I decided to head back to Beacon Hill to meet my sister for dinner.

Only 24 more hours until my flight to Copenhagen!

xoxo