Friday, February 25, 2011

Happy Friday

A critter enjoyed my apple...

A cool sight from the train this morning...

The crowd that celebrated the return of soldiers from Iraq this afternoon...

the horses that joined in...

And a fleeting moment of calm with my 3 year old host sister (after I painted her toes).

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Banana Bush & Vegetable Abuse

I had the brilliant idea...well... actually my mom did, to put another piece of fruit on the "banana bush", next to the banana peel corpse (see it? It kind of camouflages in).
All day I fantasized about what I would see when I returned to the bush later that day. A kiwi? A handwritten note? A tiny apple core?
Well, I guess it went for a little walk.

And then settled into a comfortable place.

It hasn't moved since. I gotta say, I was a little disappointed that the apple didn't experience more of a journey, but I'm not giving up yet. I'm thinking I'll add an orange next...

Speaking of fruit, my host family does something that seriously irks me. They leave their vegetables out. All day. After they've cut them up. Cut up cucumber? On the counter. Cut up tomato? Cut up avocado? Yup. Cut up onion? Pepper? Yes. Zucchini? Eggplant? You name it. Maybe it doesn't sound so weird, except I grew up with a mother who treats cut up vegetables like new born babies that need to be wrapped up snugly and tightly (in saran wrap), and placed in the fridge. Seeing half a tomato, a quarter of a cucumber, and pieces of onion laying on the counter all day and all night is child abuse for the vegetable, basically. I tried putting half of an onion in the fridge and 10 minutes later walked into the kitchen to find it back on the counter. Ah well. Some battles are not worth fighting.

P.S. Say Vegetable 10-15 times. Then look at it for a few minutes. What a weird word.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Babies & Banana Bushes

Sometimes being abroad is just.too.much.

In a child development class I took back at Beloit I learned that when babies are over stimulated by their environment—if they are having trouble regulating what is going on in front of them, they simply look away. They avert their eyes. They take a moment for themselves.

Well, I feel like a baby who needs to look away.

My funky mood was confirmed today when I walked past the banana bush without checking on the banana.

Let me explain. There is a bush by my house that I pass every day on the way to the train station. Just a regular bush. Well, three days ago, a banana was resting on a few of the branches on this bush. I spent a good two minutes staring at it. I imagined a twelve year old boy, trekking home from school, remembering the banana in his backpack that his mom told him to eat, and putting it on the bush. Or a six year old girl living in the neighborhood who heard from a friend that if you put a piece of fruit on a bush then the bush will grow more of the fruit. Or an old man with a weird sense of humor.

Next day, it was still there. A little more brown, but untouched. I smiled at it and kept walking.

Then this morning, when I walked past it, the banana had been eaten, and the banana peel was resting on the exact same branches. I gawked for a few seconds and kept walking.

This afternoon, I walked past it without thinking of checking on it. I was too wrapped up in my mind. And I didn’t want to know. I didn’t care. I was thinking about the way the old woman on the train attempted to say something to me in Danish, and how her face had dropped when I said “sorry…I don’t understand you.” I was thinking about the homeless person I saw sitting on the corner holding a candle, protecting the flame with his hand. I was thinking about how I miss home, my dog, and my pillow that has the perfect amount of fluffiness. I was thinking, thinking, thinking. And now, after a hot bath and some tea, I’m done thinking. It’s time for the most non-thought provoking tv show reruns I can find. Here’s for a peaceful and relaxing Saturday. Cheers, everybody. Enjoy your weekends! (And don't think too much, unless you find a banana bush).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We're Dogs

You know what I’ve been thinking a lot about recently? (Besides Thai food). How friendships form. How DO friendships form?

Coming to Copenhagen and having orientation week reminded me a lot of freshman year of college, where everyone is new, nervous, and wide eyed. The air is thick with pressure to find your Best Friends Forever and everyone is bopping around with a bubble above their head that says “Are you friend material?” It’s very animalistic if you ask me. It’s like we’re all dogs sniffing each other's butts, and either scrunching up our noses and moving on, or wagging our tails and taking another sniff (heehee).

After the initial butt sniffing, the conversation usually goes as follows:

“So where are you from?”(Answer)

“Cool! What college do you go to?” (Answer)

“Oh! Do you know [insert name]? She’s a junior. She’s really good at playing the [instrument].” (Answer)

“What are you studying?” (Answer)

Based off of these three questions, you either become friends, or you don’t. You internalize their behavior, the way they laugh, the smell of their breath, their eyebrows, the sound of their voice, their shoes, their posture, and you decide: Yes, I like the smell of your butt, you’re my friend now, or, No, I don’t like the smell of your butt, you’re not my friend now. (OK I’ll drop the dog analysis). But really, how do you decide? What is it about their eyebrows that turns you off? Why are you completely drawn to the way they say “yeaaaah.”? WHAT IS IT??? Will someone tell me? Have you figured out yet that I’m extremely fascinated by this topic? My heads going to explode if I keep thinking about it.

I’ll just talk about it a little more.

Because after orientation week is over and classes start and you see those friendships in action, it is extra duper fascinating. Who is friends with who? How do they greet each other? What’s their body language? Wow, aren’t humans amazing? Is anyone else feelin’ me or am I alone on this one?

Anyway, I’ve made a few friends. It’s funny, because I don’t consider myself someone who automatically looks for people that dress the same/look the same, but then last weekend this picture was taken of me and my friend Bridget, and I couldn’t help but laugh.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chicken Feet

One of my favorite times of day here in Denmark is my morning walk to the train station. The air always smells like fresh rain and it's never too cold. There's a stillness and peacefulness in this small town that gives me the chance to clear my head and take a few breaths. And since no one is walking around mid-morning, I don't feel weird stopping to admire (and photograph) little funny things I notice along the way. Like this tree, for example.
They are everywhere. They must be in the willow family. There is something so melancholy and romantic about them, until you walk closer...
and realize....

the tree has chicken feet!!!!! Bahahahha.

Happy Friday, everyone! Enjoy the weekend.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


You know those girls in middle school who drew horses all over their planners and told everyone that they rode horses on the weekends and planned to own horses when they grew up? I was one of them. Except I didn't ride, or planned to own any when I grew up. I just simply have always loved horses. From the second I was born, I am pretty sure I was dreaming about them...
My first word was horse, except I called it “Howee.”

As I grew, so did my love of the exquisite creatures. During my free time, I often fantasized that I was a beautiful woman riding a stallion named either April or Dolores, my two favorite names as a little child (don’t ask).

If I ever had the opportunity to be near a horse, I was so happy that all I could do was stand there, too excited to do anything.

So, you can imagine how thrilled I was when I saw horses on the drive back from the airport my first few hours in Copenhagen.

Seeing how beside myself with joy (no pun intended) I was, my host family kindly offered to take me along with my 10 year old host sister to her horse back riding lesson, where I could try joining her class.

One week later:
I was so distracted by the wonderful smell of horses once we got to the stable..

that it didn’t occur to me that I would be riding with a bunch of 8 to 10 year old girls.

But it didn't matter. I was too excited.

There was 11 of us all together, crammed into one arena. The horse I was given was named “Bacardi.” There was no teacher, so it was pretty much a free for all.

For the first five minutes, I felt comfortable walking my horse around in circles. Then one girl decided to have her horse gallop around, and that inspired my horse to speed up a little.

My experience being on a horse is pretty limited--I started taking lessons at a stable near my college last year, but they were 25 minute lessons, and I was still at the stage of feeling super proud trotting.
Bacardi wasn't trotting, he was cantaring fast. I tried slowing him down, but he wouldn't have it. Apparently, the other horse had something that he really needed, because it became a chase.

Yelling "no!" just made him go faster, so I tried some Danish...
But that didn't help either. I felt my feet slipping out of the stirrups. I was gripping onto the reins for dear life. I started saying my goodbyes.

Finally, after what felt like 8 years, I was able to get Bacardi to slow down. I was too traumatized to even have the horse walk, so I parked him in the middle of the arena. I could feel him breathing fast through the saddle. He stomped his foot a few times and let out a sigh, but after about ten minutes of no instructions from me, he relaxed a little and so did I. I got up the courage to have him walk around the arena a few more times, and then the lesson was over.

I was thinking I wouldn't go back there....but Holly keeps reminding me I could try a different horse, or join the class of 5-6 year olds... so I think I'll be giving it another try soon. After all, I still love horses.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Eating in Denmark

Let me introduce you to a typical lunch:

Veggies, hard boiled egg, cheese, really dense and dark rye-like bread, and curried herring, called Karry Sild (that orange-y glob). You pile a little bit of everything onto a little chunk of bread like so:

Yesterday, I was sick and delirious and realized all I wanted was peanut butter, so I trekked to two grocery stores in my neighborhood before finding it.

(Sorry for the foot). I was eating crackers slathered with this peanut butter (that for the most part tastes like peanut butter) when I decided to check out the ingredients...

I was hoping to see a word that looks somewhat like "peanuts" and a word that looks like "salt." Found salt. Vegetable oil? ok, whatever. Now what in the world is all that other stuff? I think I will go "google translate" it now...