Finally my real family (to clarify from my host family) made it to Copenhagen! After a long flight and an early morning call for me to the airport, I reunited with my Mom, Sister and Aunt. Although they brought some unfortunate weather with them (unusually cold weather, rain, wind and a little bit of snow) we had an extraordinary week!
We did all things tourist in Copenhagen; Amelianborg Palace, Nyhavn, Rosenborg palace and even a day trip to Malmo, Sweden! They also got to experience the Danish lifestyle I’ve been living by having dinner with my host family!
But two of the most important things to note are
- Restaurant Honey
The renowned gardens and amusement park literally in the center of the city of Copenhagen is a must if you visit Copenhagen. Despite being here for 3 months, Tivoli just opened April 6th so even I hadn’t been there yet. But it was truly an adventure. The park is absolutely gorgeous with flowers and greenery to please the eye, and the rides are just as much fun. Many of them give you incredible sights of the city, although we went on a sunny day it was windy, cold and snowed a few times. Two rides to note (and highly recommend going on) is the miner ride and airplane ride, which have their respective names in Danish. Both provide a valid adventure between water effects (which is a surprise until you go on the miner ride for yourself) and going 100 km/h (60mph) in a circle and rotating while feeling like you’re going to throw up on the airpline, Tivoli is a great stop while in Cope.
My sister had the pleasure of celebrating her birthday in Copenhagen, although we didn’t celebrate the Danish was (singing the Danish birthday song to her in bed to wake her up) we did have a lovely dinner to celebrate. Restaurant Honey is a trendy restaurant in Indre By. We got the set menu which is served family style, and we even had to set the table for ourselves! The food was unbelievable, it ranged from fish with dill sauce, braised lamb, celeriac with truffle butter, gnocchi with browned butter sauce, fried apple with cottage cheese and fennel. Served family style included appetizer of smoked salmon, arancini, poached egg and potatoes. Finished off with homemade ice cream. You basically had to roll us home.
Overall, it was a great week spent with my family, only one month left, it’s gone way too fast!
I booked this quick trip to Bergen, Norway not really knowing what to expect and in return I got one of my favorite trips so far.
Bergen is a small city in Western Norway known for Bryggen, a small wooded shopping area on the harbour, as well as its prime location near the fjords of Norway. After advice from a friend I booked a fjord cruise tour to Mostraumen Fjord, and it was quite possibly one of the most beautiful tours of my life. Even though it was incredibly windy, and my rain jacket and hood covered all but my eyes (which were profusely watering) and I couldn’t feel my fingers, I was truly in awe of the natural beauty around me.
After leaving the Bergen harbour we ventured through the water with views of some small towns, I decided to venture to the top, outdoor deck with only a few others because I knew these would be the best views. After finding the least windy spot, I was able to take in some small waterfalls and high mountains thinking that this was the peak of the trip.
Was I wrong! After a little while longer we were surrounded by cliffs and being misted by the waterfalls only meters away from the boat. After we cleared the very small passageway, the view was snow capped mountains and waterfalls, once again, I was in true shock from the beauty.
Eventually we pulled up nice and close (literally hitting the rocks) to a waterfall where we sent out a bucket to retrieve some fresh water for everyone on the boat to try, it was truly refreshing!
It took quite a while to defrost from the top deck, but the views were beyond worth it, and I wish I could do the cruise 10 more times.
1. A huge dose of Danish Culture
There’s nothing like waking up at six am to sing a Danish birthday song (that I don’t know the words to) to my host brother on his 10th birthday. Living in a host family has provided me with a true Danish immersion. There are so many things I have seen and done that I never would have if it weren’t for a host family. Between gossiping with my 15 year old host sister about her life in school and talking to my host mom about family life or even just grocery shopping for a family of six I feel like I am learning way more about being a Dane than my Danish Language and Culture class could ever provide.
2. A second family
The day after my phone was stolen, I was up until 4 am changing all my passwords and accounts, I woke up at a bright and early 12pm and my host family was all smiles and support with breakfast ready and a phone for me to use in the meantime. This is just one of the many examples of the love and support I’ve gotten from my Danish family. I’ve met my ‘host grandparents’ and have had brunch with all my ‘host cousins’ and I truly feel like part of the family.
3. A place to call home
Everyones definition of home is different, I personally have had many many homes since I haven’t ‘lived’ at home with my parents for more than a few weeks at a time between living at Bucknell and working at a sleep away summer camp. So having a place to call home for four months and come home to after a long day of classes or a weekend away and relax and be comfortable in is something that just adds to the study abroad experience.
4. The food
I would consider myself a fine cook (feel free to ask my host family as they’ve enjoyed all the meals I’ve prepared for them) but after a day of classes from 10-5:30 the last thing I want to do is cook myself a healthy meal. Cue my entire host family who are all amazing cooks (including my 10 year old host brother). It is great to come home to dinner made, and a fun family dinner table. I’ve even learned plenty of new cooking habits, specifically soft boiled eggs which I eat (and now make on my own) roughly every day.
5. The network
I have met SO many Danes thanks to my host family. Besides their relatives I’ve met friends and friends of friends and other families with hosts. All together I’ve been able to interact with a wide variety of Danes. Without a host family, I have no clue how I would meet Danes. Since we all take classes together with American students, we befriend Americans and so we do everything with Americans. But with a family I am able to meet so many natives and they have continually showed me what it is and what it means to be a Dane and I am so grateful for that.
As a whole, I am so thankful to be in a host family, but more importantly, I am so thankful to be with my specific host family. I could not think of a better match.
Sometimes it takes laying by a random canal in the Nine Streets of Amsterdam looking up at the sunshine and moving clouds to really remember why you study abroad in the first place. I came to experience the Danish culture but also to explore Europe and open my perspective of the world wider than it was before. Although seconds later I sat up and continued my MCAT studying and reality hit again, it’s the moments I’m lost in the experience of traveling that I am beyond thankful for this experience.
Amsterdam is an interesting city to say the least, my friend and I equated it to the Las Vegas of Europe because as we walked around the inner city and especially the red light district it seemed as though we were surrounded by bachelorette parties and guys weekend. Although we didn’t participate in the ~wildness~ of Amsterdam we had an incredible weekend there.
From tasting every cheese possible, strolling along the plenty of tulip markets and flea markets, questioning everything about prostitution while walking the red light district and even waiting two hours in line for the Anne Frank House it was an experience we’ll never forget.
This week is much more relaxed now that my exams of the week are over, and I am able to finally enjoy the warm(ish) Copenhagen weather especially when the sun is out, and this weekend I am spending with my host family traveling in Denmark. And the count down begins until my real family comes to visit me (in 11 days)!
Until next time