*Disclaimer: This song is used solely as a little #tbt and #lol. My apologies if it makes your ear drums burst and you have to stop reading.*
If you know Miley Cyrus circa 2009, you should know what reference I am trying to make with the title of this post. Along with my dreams and my cardigans (another Miley reference), and my two ridiculously overstuffed suitcases, I have officially settled in at my home away from home! If you read my first post, you might recall the jitters that I had while waiting to find out where I would be living…DIS emailed us earlier than the anticipated date, which was a huge surprise to me because my college is incapable of sending out important notifications in a timely manner, and I found out that I was going to be placed in the Culinary LLC upon my arrival. This was my first choice for housing and a source of many laughs amongst my family and friends because I could qualify as the world’s worst cook.
The apartment I am living in is breath taking. The pictures I had previously seen of the building do not do it justice. Located in the center of Copenhagen, the Culinary LLC is a three-story apartment that is considered to be a historically preserved residence. You may be asking yourself what exactly it means to be historically preserved in Denmark. Well, to put it simply, shoes on the floors are a big no-no and we are not allowed to hang anything on the walls of the top floor. Speaking of the top floor, that is where I reside. Along with my precious yet feisty roommate, Sondra, and four other girls who I am beginning to love, I make the trek up the very steep staircase way more than I would care to keep track of. The Danes count levels a little different than most of us are accustomed to – the bottom floor is considered to be the ground level, and then you begin the first floor on what Americans call the second floor. So while I say I live on the third floor, the fourth floor is a more appropriate name. I pant the entire way up the stairs, but my calves are already beginning to thank me. I guess the workout I get walking up the stairs will help balance out the massive food consumption by my fellow LLC’ers and me.
I could write out a complex list of all of the things I have done so far, but my fingers do not type that fast and I know my readers do not care that much. To be honest, most of my time here so far has been spent doing rather mundane things. I have taken part in countless awkward introductions and I am learning how to juggle having important information being thrown at me from all directions. To sum up my first impressions that I find to be most important, I have made a list:
- Introducing yourself when you have a difficult name is never fun and never easy. I have never found pronouncing/spelling “Sumner” to be a difficult task, but to some people it is just as hard as spelling supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. That may be taking it to the extreme, but let me have this moment because I am clearly feeling a little bitter.
- Carhartt is a thing here. I have already spotted two shops within a one-mile radius of each other, and I just find that odd. For those of you who do not know, Carhartt is a clothing company that tends to specialize in making attire that is meant to withstand a lot of wear and tear. When I think of Carhartt, I automatically think of men who like to hunt and who believe camo is okay for the public realm. Apparently this is just a southern state of mind (or a Sumner state of mind) because when I made a joke about it to a new friend, she looked at me like I was crazy and then informed me that EVERYBODY wears Carhartt where she is from. Unbeknownst to me, this clothing brand is now all the rage, but unfortunately for everyone else, I will not be taking part in this new trend.
- Denmark is considered to be one of the happiest nations in the world, but all of the Danes come off as very serious. At first I was very confused that such happy people could look so stern, but I am starting to slowly understand it now. Appearing to be a happy-go-lucky individual is no indicator of happiness. The Danes understand and are comfortable with the fact that you do not have to have a smile on your face at all times. During a scavenger hunt with my fourth floor friends, we were instructed to go up to as many Danish people as possible and ask them to take a picture with us. I gawked at the idea of going up to a complete stranger and asking them such a thing because in America, I think most of us would be weirded out if someone asked us a similar question. However, my group and I realized that every native we approached (even the ones who could win a straight-face contest against a Marine) was more than happy to take a picture with us, and most of them even went so far to have a conversation with us. Danes act the way that I wish people from my hometown would. They are more than happy to have a meaningful conversation with you, but they do not find trivial small talk to be worth their time.
- Now the next thing that I have noticed can apply to situations wherever you may be, but I think it is important to address. I know that everyone has a story to tell and that perception is not always reality, but there are some people that I just do not trust from the get-go. If you want to be friends with the type of person that greets you by saying “what’s up, bitch?”, be my guest. I am not saying that they are a lesser person for greeting you in a less than welcoming manner, but I am saying that it is important to think about whether or not your grandmother would approve of the people you associate yourself with.
I am going to end this post with two more things: one positive and one negative. I will start with the negative just so I can rip it off like a band-aid.
Negative: My flight from Charlotte to London was delayed two hours, which ultimately resulted in me missing my original connection from London to Copenhagen. Because of this delay, I made it to Copenhagen around 5 o’clock in the afternoon, which was later than the DIS staff members planned on staying to pick up arriving students. While I completely understand that I am a mature adult and can figure things out for myself, I was TERRIFIED at the thought of having to get in a taxi and make it to my apartment alone. The flight delay was out of everybody’s control, but I hate that I had to navigate the airport with several other nervous students and then end up having to spend $70 on a cab to the apartment. The silver lining of this though is that I now know I can figure things out for myself, and I was given a nice pre-tour of the city with the friendliest cab driver I have ever met (he even waited outside my building with me to make sure someone came and let me in).
Positive: During the DIS Opening Ceremony, we were given a pencil that also has a seed in it. You plant the pencil in a pot with some fertilizer and you get to watch it grow into something beautiful – that is unless you got the pencil with a dill seed. I love that this pencil/herb can be a metaphor for this upcoming semester! If we take the time to plant the pencil and actually water it, it will become something beautiful. Just like the plant, if we work hard on becoming assimilated with the Danish culture and are patient in the process of making friends, this place will soon feel like home and we will form a beautiful relationship with this country and the people in it.