And Then I Met Jim From “The Office”. . .

I purchased tickets to a film screening a few weeks ago.  I didn’t know the movie title, plot, or who was in it. . . I just thought the idea of saying I was going a film screening sounded cool.  So Missy and I headed to BAM, a local theater in brooklyn, one fine Saturday evening.  We were running a bit late so we ended up finding seats in the second row from the front.  Necks craned, the movie began and we were informed the movie we would be viewing was “Away We Go”.  This is Sam Mendes’ newest film written by David Eggers and his wife and staring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph.  For knowing nothing about the movie beforehand I somehow managed to pick a great one! 

After the film finished the lights came up and a young woman came down the front of the theater to let everyone know to stay in their seats.  There would be a Q&A with the screenwriters and some of the cast.  Before I knew it, Missy and I were sitting ten feet from John Krasinski.  I could not believe it.  He was just as funny and charming as his character in the movie and Jim from the office.  The screenwriters were speaking about the process of writing the script and insiration for the various characters in the film.  I was listening, but kept thinking to myself, “Don’t be creepy.  Stop staring at John Krasinkski.  Look at people who are talking.  Don’t be socially awkward.”  I tried my best.  This was my first famous person sighting in NY. 

The Q&A session lasted about an hour and then the crowd was dismissed.  A flood of girls ran to the front of the auditorium to get autographs and pictures with the cast.  Missy and I decided to go against our 14 year old school girl instincts and left the theater with grace.  Once outside of the theather Missy turns to me and says “Dude, I kept thinking to myself ‘don’t raise your hand and ask him if he likes short blondes with glasses who are quirky and slightly crazy.”  I was proud of her restraint in the situation.  It is amazing how we are two grown women, but the whole way home we talked like girls in middle school about how cool it was to be within spitting distance of someone famous.

New After School Activities. . .

Since my arrival in New York City I’ve tried to make a conscious effort to try new “things”.  “Things” outside of my normal activities.  Sometimes “things” that I’m not entirely sure what I’m signing up for.  But mostly any”thing” that is worthy of a story.  The following is a brief list of what I’ve gotten into so far. . . and this is only the beginning.

Free Documentary – I mentioned to a friend that I had attended a free documentary.  She said “well now you are definitely a New Yorker.”  I felt a sense of pride from her remark.  The first documentary I attended was at a local bar named Barbes.  The first Monday of each month the bar uses a back room normally used for live music to show a free film made by a local artist.  This particular Monday was a film about the history of Roller Derby.  Let me tell you, I had no idea Roller Derby had such a scandalous  past.  It was a story of betrayal, sex, money, power, and lots of girls in tiny uniforms on wheels beating the crap out of each other.  It was awesome.  

During the film I began to notice that I was surrounded by some members of the local NY teams.  If I would come across one of these girls in a dark alley I would turn the other way.  Don’t get me wrong, they all seemed very nice but they all had a presence that was quite intimidating.  After the documentary I was approached by two of the girls on the local team.  One was wearing a shirt that read “Queens of Pain”, the other girl’s shirt was inscribed with “Manhattan Mayhem”.  They asked how I liked the movie, to which I replied “it was educational”.  And then they asked if I would be interested in joining the local team.  Now, I just watched a documentary where the number of injuries I witnessed were almost too many to count.  By the end of the movie I no longer cringed or felt emotion when a girl would twist an ankle.  I thought long and hard before answering, because what better way to get a new hobby than trot around NYC in a “Hell on Wheels” t-shirt.  But thinking of my history with coordination I politely declined by letting them know I would bring the team down. . . literally. . . like take people out on my own team when I inevitably fell.  They appreciated my honesty and I left.  I walked home still thinking about how I now possessed so much random knowledge about roller derby.  Thank you free documentaries!

Happiness Art Show – I recently reconnected with a friend from undergrad with the help of facebook.  (Ahh facebook, the great people connector and best way to waste time when there are more productive things to be done.)  My friend, Irena, has been living in New York City for 5 years.  She was into computer programing and such (I say “and such” due to my lack of vocabulary to describe anything regarding technology) until she decided to return to school.  She is now a student at the Visual School of Arts in lower Manhattan.  After we had exchanged a few “oh my god, what are you doing these days” emails over facebook she invited me to come to her end of semester art show at VSA.  The theme of this show. . . happiness. 

I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect.  I remembered Irena as a bubbly, happy, love life kind of girl.  I wondered if this happiness themed art show would be all puppies, babies, and pink carnations.  I dusted the cynical chip off my shoulder and decided to go.  When I arrived there was cake and bubbling champagne at the door.  As I entered I saw a variety of large scale exhibits mingled in with the crowd.  The first exhibit I encountered was Irena’s.  Her idea of happiness had to do with celebrating and recognizing all the greatness in people.  She had constructed a stage and red carpet for people to walk on.  She also had made medals, trophy’s, and other shiny objects that people could hold while on the stage and have their picture taken.  Somewhere in the world, there is a picture of me on this stage holding a bronzed cat with the plate that says “You Are The Cat’s Meow”.  You’ve got to love Irena.  After spending sometime talking with Irena, me and my piece of cake wandered off to see what other students had created.  

One guy considered the happiness to revolve around bicycling.  He had constructed an enormous contraption of revolving bicycles.  Another girl felt that happiness was in the “trashy treasures” of life.  She had constructed her entire exhibit from garbage and items she had found thrown away.  She even had made a “couture” dress from used napkins.  (From afar I would have asked her where she bought it, up close I wanted to ask her if someone had had dirty fingers. . . some napkins were a little smudged.)  Her point was that happiness can come from giving old and used things new life.  That we should appreciate what we have.  Other exhibits featured board games of our childhood, candy and ice cream, balloons, and my favorite, a giant bed.  (Sleeping on an air mattress these days I was tempted to curl up in this exhibit.)  

I stuck around and soaked up the happiness for about an hour.  I found Irena and thanked her for the invitation and congratulated her on her work.  I am very HAPPY that I went.  I was amazed at the creativity that went into these displays.  I was also amazed at the detail and scale of these projects.  Thinking of some of the lousy papers I towards the end of my graduate program, if this had been my end of the semester project it would have been two popsicle sticks taped together.  These students, however, didn’t seem to lose any steam or drive.  All of their work was truly amazing.  With so many negative things in the world to focus on it was a privilege to be immersed in a room full of nothing but Happiness for an hour.

Secret Science Club – My constant quest for uttering sentences that begin with “Did you know that. . . ” has gotten prompted me to attend a Secret Science Club outing.  How does one find out about a science club that is secret?  Well it turns out you just need to sign up for a daily news letter called the Gothamist and such information is waiting for you in a neatly organized email in your inbox.  I guess they have misunderstood the definition of “secret”.  Anyway, this particular session of the secret science club was taking place at a pub in my neighborhood and covering the topic of memory and Alzheimer’s disease.  What better way to spend a Tuesday after work than hearing first hand about how my mind will start to deteriorate over the years.  I guess I have to balance out the week from all of my happiness encounters earlier.

After work I headed over to the Belle House, grabbed a beer and waited in an incredibly long line along with other secret science club members.  Who knew there were so many people seeking out strange information over a beer just like me!  I found it comforting.  In line I started talking to a guy who slightly resembled Christian Bale.  I was asking him how often the science club met, what topics had been covered, had he learned anything.  I wanted to ask him for his phone number and address because he was incredibly attractive, but figured I should keep things strictly science-y for now.  He talked about how he’d been coming to these for a year or so.  Topics had ranged from the human body to botany to submarines to electromagnetic forces.  I tried to make a joke about the science club being focused on one discipline but he was immersed in informing me that too many people who don’t truly love science are now attending.  I guess I was part of the problem and my attendance was probably bastardizing his view of the group.  Ooops.  He continued to talk about photosynthesis at such detail . . . for no reason. . . that I began to think he resembled Christian Bale from American Psycho.  I started to slowly back away and ended up faking that I had to use the bathroom.  

Once inside and seated the lecture began.  The lecture was given by a neuroscientist at Columbia University.  He showed many videos of tests being done on mice to show they could memorize skills.  I’ve never seen so many video clips of mice swimming in my life.  But basically you can teach an old mouse new tricks.  He also spoke about AD and how it affects the brain.  The lecture moved onto what our brain memorizes and how repetition helps.  He told us “In life, in order to be remembered you should strive to be above average or below average, we tend to forget the things or people who are just average.”  So my new life plan is to strive to be above average so people remember me.  My plan b is to be subpar if all else fails. . . I guess that’s the difference between being famous and infamous.  After the lecture I split pretty quickly since it was a school night.  I also wanted to avoid any other science conversations that would highlight the fact that I know nothing about science.  I would most certainly be open to attending another secret science club session. . . it is always good to learn more facts so I can wow people with my “did you know” sentences.


I arrived in New York City early one morning having nothing more than a suitcase and a dream. . . Ok that’s cheesy but sadly it’s kinda true.  I did move to the big apple with only a suitcase.  However, that suitcase was so overstuffed that I felt bad for the zippers on my bag.  They must have been working so hard to keep the contents of my luggage from spilling out onto the street.  If zippers could talk I’d imagine they would be saying something along the lines of “I’m not sure how much longer I can hold it”.  But I guess the feelings of my zippers are insignificant in this story.  

Along with my single overstuffed suitcase I came to New York hoping to finally find a full-time job.  The previous four months I had been living in Frederick, Maryland with my dear friend Cyndy and her family.  In Frederick I filled the extremely glamorous role of being a waitress at Patrick’s Irish Pub.  At Patrick’s I was saving the world one Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner at a time.  In my free time I was riding the Chinatown bus back and forth to New York for interviews and to meet with headhunters.  By the end of April I was working with 9 headhunters but still did not have a full-time job.  At least I knew enough headhunters to start a band or a soccer team or something. . . at least I had that going for me!  Anyway, I decided to take the plunge and move the New York with the status of “unemployed”.  

My unemployed status did not last long though.  Day one as a New Yorker I was offered a job with a great creative consulting firm.  Had I known all you had to do to get a job in New York was to show up with a suitcase I would have put this plan into motion months ago.  But I guess everything happens for a reason because the job I landed at this particular moment in time is pretty great.  During the day I will find myself herding a bunch of creative people. . .  I see it much like herding cats.  I am the operations person for a team of designers on an account with IBM.  The staff is pretty cool and I’m surrounded by some incredibly talented and smart people.  The other up side to my job is the fact that I can wear a trash bag and flip flops to work.  So long as I am “comfortable” they don’t care what you wear.  We were joking about casual Fridays the other day and one guy mentioned “for our office I guess to make it different than any other day it would have to be naked Friday”.  No one was really on board with that idea.  The culture of the firm is pretty cool.  Fridays the office has wine and champagne for the staff in the afternoon.  We celebrate staff birthdays by zodiac sign, not month.  It’s a little out there, but those little quirks make it feel less like work and more like some sort of odd social group I’ve joined.  

Day two as a New Yorker I moved into an apartment in Brooklyn.  I found a temporary living situation filling a room in Park Slope.  One of the women I live with is very one with the earth. . . so much so that I am now a resident of a “meatless” apartment.  That’s right folks. . . no bacon at home for me.  (Although I’ve joked with the friends I have up here that their apartments shall be bacon haven for me in the mean time.)  My earthy roommate spends her time at yoga, volunteering at the food co-op, going to acrobatic classes, and, obviously, she has trapeze on Wednesdays.  She is the typical Brooklynite. . . no joke.  My other roommate is also a temporary resident of our meatless abode.  She is here for the summer from California to attend culinary school.  She is quiet and thoughtful and knows how to cook kale like nobody’s business.  It is an interesting and enjoyable living situation.  It reminds me that there are an infinite number of ways I could spend my time in New York City.  Should I decide to take up trapeze that is completely in the realm of possibilities.  

So I guess that sums up my work and living situation.  It is pretty different than anything I’ve experienced before.  By day I research how to send a 36 foot projection wall around the world for presentations with IBM global. . . definitely not in my scope of responsibilities at Chesapeake Investment.  By night I eat foods can’t always identify and hear about hand-stand-athons.  All in all I’m pretty happy with the start of this new adventure.  New York isn’t a foreign country like my leap across the ocean, yet sometimes I feel amazed that so many different people can inhabit the same city.  I am totally ready to soak it all up and meet as many people different than me as humanly possible.  With hope these new people I meet will want to have a hamburger so I get my meat fill outside of the house!

One Month Later

I’ve decided to wrap up my life in Denmark with a final post.  It has been one month since I’ve returned to the motherland and yet I still miss my life in Copenhagen a bit.  Life was extremely simple there.  My biggest worry in the week was going to the grocery store.  (I still was very stressed about being able to bag my own groceries fast enough.  Never failed, every time I went I would see the new purchases of the person behind me in line come sailing down the belt.  I’d scramble to get out of their way.)  As worries go, I think if that was my biggest worry I was doing pretty good in life.  

So my last days in Copenhagen consisted of a lot of goodbyes.  It was sad to see the people I’d come to know as friends leave with their suitcases and head to the airport each day.  As we’d say goodbye I would wonder if we’d keep in touch or if this friendship would be one that remains in my memory.  Of course the night before each goodbye we’d head out trying to create the best night ever.  These consisted of some long nights, heading out to places we’d loved and last ditch efforts to get to the places we’d talked about all semester.  The day before I boarded a plane to come home I went to Louisiana with my Danish family.  Bjorn, Irena, and Jacob picked me up and we headed north on Sealand.  Louisiana is a beautiful museum in Denmark known for it’s modern art, architecture, and beautiful view of the Øresund Sound and Sweden.  I am not typically a modern art person, but I found the entire package interesting and beautiful.  If you find yourself in Denmark, Louisiana is a must see.  

After a nice dinner, my family dropped me off at home for my last evening in Copenhagen.  I was all packed so I headed up stairs to see what the few remaining people were doing this evening.  We decided to head to Tryk bar for a beer and fooseball.   On the way home we hit up the ice skating rink to shoe skate at 2:00 a.m.  We returned back to our apartment and sat in the kitchen on the second floor.  The night grew later and later and no one wanted to be the first to go to bed.  Around 5 a.m. I decided I would fold first and head to bed.  I said my goodbyes to everyone and headed to my room for my last sleep in my twin bed.  

The next day, Bjorn and Irena picked me up to drive me to the airport.  I was a little teary eyed in the car.  My time in Denmark had gone so fast.  It felt like weeks before I had just arrived.  But it was time to come home.  I said goodbye – well more of a see you later – to Bjorn and Irena.  I had some time to kill so I had my last Julbyrg in the airport. . .  I miss that beer.  I boarded the plane and headed back to the USA.

The holidays were great and it was wonderful to be with family and friends.  One month later I look back on my time in Denmark fondly.  I will go back again one day.  I’ll sit outside and read along Nyhavn.  I’ll walk all of Stoget popping in and out of quaint little shops.  I’ll enjoy a meal outside no matter what the weather.  I’ll have a beer outside while people watching.  I’ll have a good dinner with close friends while toasting a glass of Aalborg.  I’ll sit back and relax. . . because if I learned anything in Denmark it is to enjoy life and the simple things.

Dutch Goodbyes

Last Wednesday was quite a long day.  It began with me finishing my last final for my MBA at 8:00 am.  Next I coerced some friends to go to The Malmo for drink.  This was followed by watching Elf and then a quick nap.  This evening we would be celebrating Giulia’s Danish birthday and Willemijn’s last night in Copenhagen.  We all headed to a nice Italian restaurant for dinner around 8:00 pm.  The restaurant was quite nice and the food was definitely better than what I’ve been cooking lately.  (In attempts to eat everything in my cabinet and not throw anything away I’ve been whipping up some pretty weird dishes.  Note to self – rice goes a long way.  I’ve had rice with “fill in the blank” all week.)  Anyway, after a wonderful Italian meal we headed back towards Nyhavn and city center to go out for the night.  Our first stop was LA Bar.  Yes yes, I think it’s a bit tacky to go to a bar in Copenhagen called LA Bar, but it is cheap and lots of students go there on Wednesdays.  So we headed in, found a good spot and settled in for a few beers.  At first the place was kind of empty, but quickly we began to realize that everyone in Copenhagen seemed to have the same plans for their evening as us.  The LA Bar became as crowded at the freeways in LA. . . so I guess the name was suitable.  It was some sort of CBS exchange student reunion.  I saw people there that I hadn’t seen since the first week of school.  A few people I ran into were quite emotional with the goodbyes.  “Keep in touch.”  “You have to come visit me.”  “We really should plan a reunion.”  To which I thought, “I haven’t seen you since August at orientation week.  Um so probably no on the reunion thing.”  But I guess in a way it is a nice idea to think I’d see everyone that I’ve met here again, even if it was just waiting in line at the first club we all went to in August.  

A few other of my friends and I decided it was a bit claustrophobic in LA Bar so we headed next door for a beer and to gain a bit more real estate.  Next door Helena and I ended up with prime real estate at the bar!  We struck up a conversation with a few Danes.  For some reason Helena told them I was from Norway.  She must be an exceptional liar because no one believed that I was from the United States.  Eventually I had to pull out my US Drivers license to prove my nationality.  I pretty sure these Danes had been out for a while, so I’m sure under normal circumstances they would have never thought I was from Norway.  Although once they really believed I was an American there was a strange fascination with if I’ve ever seen Zoolander.  Not really sure why.  

After we wrapped up our entirely confusing Danish, Norwegian, American, Zoolander conversation, Helena and I headed to Sam’s Bar to meet our roommates.  Sam’s Bar is a notorious tourist trap on the main walking street.  You can go there to meet some Americans, pay half a month’s rent for a beer, or most importantly – sing Karaoke.  We went to support Sarah, Will, Giulia, and Helena’s singing debut in Denmark.  After a some bad singing we decided to call it a night.  The Dutch goodbye night was the longest yet.  We went from a classy dinner to a crammed tacky bar to being Norwegian to perfecting Billy Joel’s Piano Man.  Most people don’t know how long it would take you to complete all of the above. . . let me tell you. . . it takes 9 hours to check everything off of that checklist.  We wandered in together at 5 a.m. and all promised to be up to say goodbye to Will the next day.  So in all seriousness, the Dutch goodbye is a challenge of will power and perseverance.

Goodbyes Are Hard To Handle . . . Physically.

It’s started.  People have begun to pack up and leave Copenhagen.  On my floor, out of ten bedrooms, four lie empty.  It’s eerie to walk by a vacant room.  I’ve become so used to seeing these little rooms with my friends and their belongings inside.  Now each vacant room has resorted back to it’s penitentiary feel. Where as the aftermath of someone leaving is sad, the night before each person leaves we strive to have the best night ever!  So far I’ve experienced three send off evenings. . . which have been fun. . . but it has been a physical challenge as well.  I’m starting to get tired and I still have four nights left.  So far though. . .

German Goodbyes and Birthdays – We’ve determined that birthdays happen 5-7 days earlier in Denmark.  Our German roommate, Philip, has a birthday that falls on December 20th.  Since Philip will already be back in Germany on the 20th we found that is was incredibly convenient that his Danish birthday fell on December 13th.  To celebrate our floor decided to cook a nice holiday meal.  Giulia cooked homemade lasagna, Helena cooked Swedish sausages, T cooked Canadian Maple Syrup Pie, Sarah made some Mashed Potatoes, and Will and I tackled stuffing a couple of chickens.  I’ve never stuffed anything before so it was pretty funny.  We whipped up a great meal to celebrate Christmas, Philip’s Danish Birthday, and our last night with everyone in Copenhagen.  Since our kitchen isn’t big enough for everyone to eat we had to think creatively.  We planned on eating in Giulia’s room because she has a very large bedroom.  We wanted to bring the kitchen table down to her room, but were unable to fit the table down the hallway due to the mental ward width of the long hallways in our building.  Instead we moved my gigantic desk into Giulia’s room and made it look like a fancy restaurant. . . um where you eat on two desks pushed together!  It did look very lovely.  There were candles lit, we turned Giulias bed into a sofa for the “lounge” area, and there were streamers and ornaments hanging.  

The meal was great, everything tasted amazing. . . even my chickens came out well.  I attribute the success of the chickens to the Old Bay.  (Thanks Julie and Melanie!)  After dinner we had a few friends from upstairs down for drinks and dessert in the “lounge and restaurant” of Giulia’s room.  Quickly singing and dancing to Christmas songs took off and before we knew it it was 2:30 am.  A few of us went out for a “nightcap” (although I don’t think you can call it that at 2:30 in the morning) near Kongens Nytorv.  And before I knew it, our German roommate had gone back to Germany.

Canadians Deserve Two Send-Offs – I’ve become quick close with a few of our northern neighbors.  My friend Andrew and my other American friend, Aaron were getting ready for their last night in Copenhagen.  Since Aaron had a final on the morning of his last day in Denmark, he was a bit more hesitant to go out and celebrate.  However, Andrew took quickly to celebrating!  He celebrated with a Gin & Tonic while cleaning and packing.  He continued to celebrate with me in our kitchen over some Polish Vodka.  Then the celebrations moved to my favorite pub, Charlie’s Bar.  When we first arrived it was quite crowded and we could only score a little window ledge to sit and enjoy our beers.  After about 20 minutes, a few people left and we got to move from coach to first class and sit at the bar!  We sat and reflected on the semester and talked about future plans.  As with everyone getting ready to leave, there is always a conversation of our next reunion, where and when.  This held true with my Canadian friend.  Apparently I’m supposed to go to Seattle and then British Columbia next October.  Sounds great. . . hope I have a job by then.  Anyway, we sat and talked for a while and then decided to head home around midnight.  Upon returning to our building we ran into  a group of our French, Italian, and Dutch housemate that were heading out to celebrate.  (The Frenchies were leaving the next day too.)  We were convinced to turn around and head to Trykbar.  At Trykbar the proper sendoff encompassed fooseball and card games.  Eventually we all got tired and decided to head home for real this time.  I said my goodbyes to my new Canadian friends and promised not to make fun of them so much anymore.  I may have even promised to defend the Canadians whenever Americans spoke poorly of them. . . although I think that was the beer talking.  

Dutch Goodbyes are the HARDEST – My roommate Will left today.  Last night is a whole other story. . . so this will have to be continued at a later time. . . I have to attend a Swedish goodbye tonight.

I Never Have To Learn Anything New Again. . .

I’ve been working on my MBA for two and a half years now.  Yesterday I finished.  It’s as simple as that three worded sentence.  I sat for my last exam at 8:00 am, wrote for four hours, finished and handed it in.  When I walked out of the exam room I was partially expecting Ed McMann and the Prize Patrol.  Well, or maybe just something or someone to mark this occasion as momentous.  It was strange to complete something that’s taken so long, cost a lot of money, and so often been the end of many sentences. . . “I wish I could go, but I have school”.  Since Ed McMann and the prize patrol failed to get the memo about my completion of my MBA, I walked off campus and bought myself a cookie to celebrate.  When I got home I found a few of my roommates and coerced them into going to The Malmo for a beer.  The Malmo is a little værtshus (read: dodgy pub where old danish men go to smoke cigarettes and drink beer during the day.) right below my apartment.  We went around 1:00 pm, which is prime time for The Malmo.  We sat in this smoke filled pub and enjoyed our 17 kroner beer.  One of my roommates lifted her glass and made a toast to all of us being done finals and to me for never having to learn anything else ever again.  I’m not sure if she meant to be funny or if the way she translated from Italian just came out that way.*  But nevertheless, it was such a funny toast to make.  

We sat around The Malmo for about an hour and returned to our residence to watch ELF.  Everyone decided it would be good to rest up in the afternoon since we would be going out that night for our Italian roommate’s Danish Birthday (her real birthday is December 23rd, but we’ve decided that birthdays happen a few days earlier in Denmark.) and my Dutch roommate’s last night in Copenhagen.  All in all, the cookie, a beer, and ELF with some foreigners. . . not a bad way to wrap up my MBA.  Maybe I really do know it all now?  

*  I speak of translations this way because my Italian roommate was commenting on how some days she feels like she can’t speak English and other days she can’t speak Italian.  She told me that she was so confused the other day when her phone rang that she couldn’t remember if she should answer in English or Italian.  Instead of saying “Hello” she answered her phone with a nice polite and enthusiastic “Yeah!”.  I guess this is the cross between an english and italian phone greeting.

Danish Final

I just sat for the written part of my Danish Language final. I was asked to write a letter to a dear friend inviting them on a trip to Rome for a summer holiday. I was supposed to talk about the weather, what we could do there, and what we would eat. My first clue that this would be a tough letter to write was the fact that I didn’t know what “dear,” was in Danish. hmmmm.
Basically I wrote to my new fake best friend, Gitte. I asked her how her family was and told her I was planning a trip to Rome. I asked her if she would like to come because I know she likes cannoli and pasta. This was the most simply worded and stereotypical letter about Italy possible.
Thank goodness I won’t need to know Danish for my next job. Oh and now I think the oral portion of this exam on Monday will be comical. Some of my roommates want to try and videotape it so they can watch and laugh later. . .

Can I Please Have a Learning Disorder?

It’s the start of finals here in lovely Denmark.  This week I have three finals of various varieties.  I just completed a 48 hour 10 page take home exam for a leadership course.  Tomorrow I have a 4 hour written (literally hand-written.  If I want to type the exam I have to supply my own printer. . . and wouldn’t you know it I forgot to pack that!) exam for Social Entrepreneurship.  And Friday I have the written portion of my Danish exam followed by the oral portion on Monday.  (I can’t believe I have to learn the danish language in 48 hours!)

Anyway, I’m sitting here. . . obviously procrastinating because I’m writing this instead of figuring out what Social Return on Investment is. . . and it has begun to snow again!  Now I can’t help staring out the window at the lovely snow and thinking how beautiful it is here in Copenhagen.  I should look up what Christmas stuff is going on in the Copenhagen This Week guide book.  That means I have to go to the kitchen to get the guide book.  Maybe someone will be in the kitchen that wants to split a pot of coffee with me?  Maybe I should get something to eat while I’m there too.  Man I need to do Christmas shopping for everyone at home.  I hope that stuff fits in my suitcase.  I wonder what it would cost to ship stuff home.  I should check that out online right now.  Oh I should check and see what the weather will be like tomorrow too.  Oh wait, I’m in Copenhagen. . . weather is always cold and dark.  No need to check.  Oh wait, look a shiny object!  I should stare at the snow some more . . .

This is what I have done for the past hour instead of studying.  I seriously think I have some sort of ADD.  Or maybe I have OCD?  What other acronyms could I use to blame my severe lack of concentration on?  Ok well I guess I should get back to it.  I hope everyone in America is more productive then me today!

Americans in Copenhagen

On Monday, we all awoke. . . a little foggy from the massive quantities of red wine consumed the night before. . . and sat for a nice breakfast around 10 am.  After breakfast my mom, aunt, and I accompanied Bjørn to the grocery store.  We wandered about the store and tried to be helpful in gathering groceries for tonight’s dinner.  I think we may have hindered instead of helped since I still don’t quite know my way around a Danish grocery store and my aunt and mom were a little less knowledgeable than me.  We return back to Mama’s Hotel and everyone piled into Mama’s bus to head into downtown Copenhagen.  Today’s lunch will be served at Ida Davidson’s, a famous Danish treat known for their smørrebrød.  At Ida Davidson’s we peruse the counter of smørrebrød delicacies and pick out what we’ll eat for lunch.  The table was covered with herring, shrimp, smoked tuna, poached eggs, caviare, and an assortment of other treats.  (For a few though, this was not the ideal meal after the previous nights wine and beer.)  

After a good lunch I got to play tour guide and Bjørn and Irena returned to work.  First we walked to the Marble Church and the Queen’s house.  We observed the guards on duty and wondered how long they had to stand there in those funny hats!  We couldn’t come up with a solution so we wandered to the Little Mermaid statue.  I tried to explain to my family that the statue really isn’t that impressive. . . but they insisted on going.  I guess it is mandatory to come to Copenhagen, walk to see the Little Mermaid, cock your head to the side and say “Is that is?”.  Just as I predicted my family had the very same response.  We took a few touristy pictures and walked along the canal towards Nyhavn.  Along the walk it began to snow.  By the time we reached the Nyhavn Christmas market it was a full fledged winter snow surrounding us.  We decided to duck into Nyhavn 17 (picture below) to warm up and enjoy a hot chocolate, irish coffee, and beer.  From the inside of this cute pub we watched the snow fall over the Christmas Market and canal while listening to Christmas carols. . . some in english. . . other’s in danish.  (We heard a version of “I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” in this pub.)  We finished our drinks and wandered over to my apartment a few blocks away.  I had to show them the penitentiary I’ve been living in with the model UN.  (It really isn’t that bad. . . but still.)  

Back at Mama’s hotel we had a light dinner and settled in early.  I headed back to my apartment in Copenhagen because I had class the next day.  It was nice to get an early sleep and finish up some work.  The next morning I awoke refreshed and ready to go to my last day of class.  I went to Negotiations in the morning and then popped on the metro to meet my folks and aunt and uncle for lunch.  We ate at Hoppe’s.  Everyone enjoyed a beer and good hearty sandwich.  My family continued shopping and I returned to school to attend my last danish lesson!  

After school on Tuesday I met my family and Bjørn at Tivoli.  Tivoli is the world’s oldest amusement park.  It is normally closed during the winter, however it opens back up for Christmas.  In the summer the park has many rides, beautiful gardens and is beautifully light at night.  During Christmas I believe that anything standing still is covered with Christmas lights.  I have a theory that if you stop and stand still too long someone will come, cover you with Christmas lights, plug you in, and you become a part of the park.  We didn’t test this theory. . . we kept moving through the park at a quick pace.  We passed beautiful gardens, trees, castles, rides, christmas booths, and stopped to enjoy a Swedish traditional warm red wine drink called Julegløgg.  We then met Irena and their son, Jacob at a nice restaurant inside the park.  We started to discuss if the rides were open at Christmas over dinner.  Jacob assured us that they were and he wanted to ride a few after dinner.  Aunt Trish and I agreed to ride the big roller coaster. . . after we finish our enormous dinner!  Sure enough we walk through the park (Jacob skips and runs because he is so excited) toward the roller coaster.  My aunt can’t remember the last time she has been on a roller coaster and I’ve never ridden a roller coaster at night. . . in the freezing cold winter.  Needless to say the two of us were a bit nervous.  We board the roller coaster . . . front row at Jacob’s request.  Jacob takes his shoes off first.  We ask why and he says that sometimes people lose their shoes on this ride.  To which my aunt replies, “If Amanda’s boots blow off we are in deep doo doo”.  The ride starts and Trish tells me she loves both me and Jacob. . . we head down the first hill and the screaming begins.  Poor Jacob, I feel Trish and I may have cause major damage to his ear drums.  We survive and it actually was really fun!  I would have gone again, but it was getting late and cold and I don’t think my vocal cords could take another ride.  

Stacie, Trish and I walk back through town to pick up my stuff while the others head back to Mama’s Hotel.  The walk was beautiful with the city decorated.  It was a bit chilly but just right for a brisk walk.  We pick up my stuff and take the train to Gentofte where our shuttle service picks us up and takes of to Mama’s hotel to reunite us with our guests.  Another great two days. . . smørrebrød, Christmas Markets, snow, beer, Tivoli, roller coasters. . . no one can accuse us of not vacationing to the fullest!