TAK

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One of the first words I learned in Denmark was tak, which means thank you. In Danish, they really emphasize saying thank you and they do this by there being so many ways to say thanks: mange tak, tusind tak, etc.  Reflecting on my study abroad experience, I have realized how thankful I am for all it has provided me with:

Thank you to my host family:

You really made leaving Denmark one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.  There are endless times that I have no clue where I’d be without you guys, from saving me after my phone got stolen or breaking out into Mamma Mia songs at the dinner table. Thank you for showing me endless love and what it’s really like to be a Dane, I understand from the five of you why Denmark is the happiest country in the world.

Thank you to my parents:

There are no words for the people provide you with the opportunity of a lifetime, there’s much more than the financial and emotional support that comes with sending your daughter abroad. My parents taught me everything I needed to survive in a different country on my own, independence, courage, a sense of adventure, optimism, love and more. Thank you for giving me the world.

Thank you to all the patients that let us learn from them:

I have gained a newfound love for medicine and it’s because of the patients that let us ask millions of questions and practice our minimal knowledge of physical exams on them. Having patients put trust in you and believe in your learning creates a great sense of confidence for the future of our medical careers, and for that I am thankful.

Thank you to my friends I met abroad:

You all have provided me with roots in Denmark and our respective schools, thank you for adding some humor to my life whether it was traveling the world together or simply eating in a cafe.

Thank you to my Bucknell friends:

Whether it was letting me sleep on your floor, showing me around your home for the semester, facetiming me on my boring train rides or simply staying in touch, thank you. It has been crazy to know that the people I’ve spent the last two years surrounded by are on every corner of the world. It has been amazing to watch each of us grow and learn to live in the place we are and the distance between us makes going into senior year a little sweeter knowing I’ll be back with you all.

Thank you to my history teachers and the NYS history requirements

I hated (and still kinda do) learning about history, I thought it was boring and unimportant to my life. But after visiting so many incredible places with such great history, it has reengaged my interest in world history. Traveling to Germany, I went to the spot of the Berlin Wall, Hitlers bunker, palaces and more. In Greece, walking up to the Acropolis was like walking out of my 6th grade textbook and realizing the realities of the ancient  world. All the history in that city is so vital to the world we live in today, and I am so grateful to have been able to experience it and understand it.

Thank you to everyone who read my blog:

I never thought my blog would be what it is today, I started it as a way to keep in touch with my friends and family, and in turn was selected as my programs representative blogger.  I am always honored to see where my blog has reached, around the world and back again and I am continually shocked by the countries that roll up on the list and the comments I get. Thank you for taking a look into my life, I am so glad I got to share the last four months with you all.

This semester has provided me with plenty of reasons to say tak, and I am beyond grateful for each and every opportunity that I’ve had and will cherish it for the rest of my life.

 

A Week With (my real) Family

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!

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But two of the most important things to note are

  1. Tivoli
  2. Restaurant Honey

Tivoli

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.

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Restaurant Honey 

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.

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Overall, it was a great week spent with my family, only one month left, it’s gone way too fast!

 

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xoxo

Margaret

 

5 of the Best Things About Living in a Homestay

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.

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xoxo

Marge

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