I’ve realized that the amounts of posts are slim if I compare my Denmark trip to my trip to Africa. I think it’s because this place doesn’t make me feel all that far from home. I’ve carried so much of my surroundings with me. I’m with peers that I’ve done group projects with, had classes with, and people who were already close friends. My professors from CMU are here and I’m studying the same thing here as I do back there. It’s adding a little bit more of that Mt. Pleasant Feel to this trip.
When I went to Kenya, Hannah and I were all alone.
Here, people who look relatively similar to me surround me, signs are commonly written in English, and I can almost guarantee the person I’m going to engage with can speak English pretty well. In fact, I’ve had some locals come up to me and speak in Danish. It makes me think; although I feel like my group of fellow travelers scream “tourists!” we can still blend into the culture.
Through this trip, I’ve learned many things about the people here as a whole. They’re very general, but the first one being they are not afraid of “bad” words. During several lectures, the presenters have had to stop due to the language barrier. They say the word in Danish and stop for a second, fumbling for the word to pop out of their mouth in English. Naturally, this causes them frustration and they are not slow to let out a nice, “Shit!” or “Fuck!” Back home this could be considered unprofessional, but I think it’s absolutely hilarious.
Another thing is they actually follow the pedestrian traffic signs. If that thing ain’t blinking green, those people are not crossing. No matter how clear the street is…they wait. They also rarely cross anywhere but an actual designated cross walk. I find this very inconvenient.
THEY LOVE MAYONNAISE. I don’t know if I can make that any clearer for you. It is what it is. They put it on everything. Fish. Pasta. Sandwiches. French fries. Eggs. Every. Thing. Now, I don’t hate mayonnaise, but there are times where it can be just too much. Here, it is too much.
They speak so softly. Everywhere we go we are the loudest. No matter how loud the surroundings are they continue to speak softly.
We traveled from Copenhagen to Aarhus yesterday. It took us a walk, train ride, bus ride, ferry ride, bus ride, and a walk to get there, but we made it nice and safely. The hostel we stayed in during our time in Copenhagen was grand to say the least. It was definitely a five star hostel. Paige and I had a room with five beds and no other roommates. We had enough room to spread out all of our belongings and still see the floor. The bathroom was spacious and the lights were motion censored.
The hostel in Aarhus is not that luxurious. The bathroom is a toilet, shower, and sink all in one. I could be peeing on the toilet and washing my hair all at once, which is nice…but weird. There are two small beds about two feet away from one another and barely enough room for our suitcases on the floor, however, the space we lost in our rooms we gained in a courtyard. I quickly found myself wrapped in a hammock, slowly swaying back at forth while gazing at some beautiful graffiti, surrounded by hostel walls and other buildings. Within moments of seeing that courtyard, I knew where I would want to spend the majority of my time while staying here. Last night we had a few beers and sat out there, rocking our night away in the hammocks. We were soon scolded for being too loud and we had to disperse into the night.
My roommate and I have caught some sort of head cold, and although it’s mild, it had been making us crave naps. The beginning of this trip had a heavy schedule. We had a lot of travel time, walking and waiting for trains and buses. We bounced from one place in the city to another, visiting the ministry of education, after school clubs, and other lectures. Today we visited a museum after a nice lunch by the water, but then after that our day was free. It was perfect for me because I found my handy dandy hammock and took a nice snooze before dinner.
It’s almost 9:30pm here and it’s still bright outside. I would compare the sun to a 6 o’clock sun back home. It stays light here until almost 11 and the sun starts coming back up around 4am, creating long days and late nights.
This experience has showed me how another society cares for people with special needs. It has showed me another country, another lifestyle: a lifestyle that loves to include bikes and mayonnaise. It’s brought me closer to a group of students I wish I met a whole lot sooner. I’m truly grateful that I am part of the first year Denmark Special Education study abroad program. It feels great to witness everything new and learn right alongside my own professors. It saddens me that I didn’t have this experience before my last year at CMU, but I will forever remember my study abroad travel buddies.