Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Edge of the Atlantic.. Way up North

Standing on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.. thousands and thousands of miles from home (and 10 time zones).. you really realize JUST how far way you are. On Friday Bjarke, Solvej and I drove up North to visit some family friends, Jesper and Elizabeth, they're two boys, Emil and Mikkel, and they're new baby girl Kristine (only 14 days old!). And we stayed at Solvej's dad, Ove's house. He lives in a town called Pandrup, just miles from the ocean. It is amazingly beautiful! I love smelling the salt before you can see the water. There are huge piles of sand everywhere, and tons of beautiful, quaint summer houses (really freaking expensive summer houses...). And Bjarke says "OK.. your house is just THAT way! If you start swimming NOW then you'll hit Canada and you can just walk the rest of the way home, right?" It was just so pretty! Pretty darn cold because of the wind! but beautiful.. I can't wait to go back!

On Saturday we drove to Ålborg to go shopping! Ålborg has a huge shopping area! So many stores! And it is also really beautiful. There are Christmas lights and decorations up and there were SO MANY people out and about today. Solvej told me that today is the one of the busiest days for shops as people are returning and exchanging Christmas gifts. And it was! I also talked to this boy who was advertising about Greenpeace. I've read a bit about Greenpeace but didn't know very much about it. So (and I have to admit.. I was kind of embarassed to just go over and say hello, but Bjarke convinced me and YES BJARKE I'm actually happy that I did. I learned quite a lot and it was acutally really nice talking to him. He'd even been to Alaska before!) If you want to read more about Greenpeace check out It's a very interesting and a really great organization! I bought a couple pairs of funky earings from H & M which I'm pretty happy about! And Solvej bought enough socks to last her the next 10 years.. which she was happy about!

I don't remember the drive home.. I feel asleep as soon as the car left neutral and woke up on Nyvej (my road).. So I have a feeling I will be up pretty late tonight, with 3 extra hours of sleep under my belt. But I better go! Thanks again to all of you readers! I just found out a few more people are reading my blog and I am just as excited as I am appreciative. Thank you! love francine

Friday, December 26, 2008

Glædelig Jul! Merry Christmas!

My very first Danish Christmas! And it was really wonderful! I babysat two little girls on the 23rd and on the morning of the 24th I woke up there, they drove me home and I hung out for a while with Bjarke and Solvej. I finished wrapping the last gifts and then went over to Maria's house (my last host family) to hang out with the boys and talk and eat Christmas candies and coffee. It was so nice! I decked THEIR halls with snowflakes too! (I don't remember if I've mentioned that I've been making A LOT of snowflakes lately? It's good for stress relief!! plus they're really beautiful..) I gave the boys candy and Matador Junior - Monopoly Junior. And Bjarke and Solvej bought them those really annoying toy guns that go "BOOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM!" and never stop.. Maria got one too :) I'm just happy they got them AFTER I moved haha.. but they had fun with them!
Then we went over to Bjarke and Solvej's family friends house- Sanne and Jens (the mom and dad) and two girls my age Rie and Lea, who I know. It was so nice! We ate a big Christmas dinner with goose and potatoes and gravy which was really yummy! And then we played the Package Game!
The Package Game- everyone brings a gift (at Rie and Lea's everyone had to buy two stupid gifts) there is a dice that goes around the table. If you get a 6 you can pick a package. When there are no more packages, the timer is set and the dice goes around REALLY fast. You can steal gifts from other people. When the time goes off, the gifts you still have are yours! I won with 4 presents! Including a lifetime supply of tissues. I contributed Depends and a shower cap! hehe..
After the Package Game we ate ris a la mande (mmmmmm) and Sanne won the present! Then we danced around the Christmas tree singing songs!! SO much fun! Hey mom, dad and elliot? you'll be doing it next year! Accept it.. Then we opened presents! OMG I was SO impatient! You know at home how we just rip open the presents because we're so excited? No.. in Denmark it is considered rude to rip open your presents. Each piece of tape must be removed and each flap of paper must be carefully set aside.. I was like "HOLY CRAP JUST OPEN IT!!" haha.. and it was excruciating to be "polite" and take 10 minutes to open one present!
And at about 10 pm I just started balling. I couldn't even feel it coming on.. I just realized how much I missed home. You would too if you were away from home for Christmas. I called my mom and talked to her for a while.. she said and a I quote "Just appreciate it because next time you go to Denmark YOU'LL be paying for it.. not me". You can imagine how THAT made me feel so much better! I love you mom :) And then I called Heather (my pal at home in Alaska) and talked to her for a LONG time. And then you know? My homesickness was gone. I had a massive headache from crying.... but then I was good. And I'm actually really happy to have had my Christmas here in Denmark! It was really wonderful!
Tusen tak Maria og hendes familie, Bjarke og Solvej, og Sanne, Jens, Rie og Lea for en virkelig dejlig jul!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

ALMOST Christmas!

Hej Everyone!
Tomorrow is Christmas! Well.. at least Christmas Eve! In Denmark (and many other countries) Christmas is celebrated on the 24th of December. In USA, Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December. We wake up early in the morning to see all the gifts Santa has brought us in the middle of the night and then we are with friends and family all day.. opening gifts and eating and eating and .. EATING. But here in Denmark, Christmas Eve (th 24th) at night, everyone gets Christmas presents and dances around the Christmas tree singing songs. I'm not kidding.. In Denmark, dancing around the Christmas tree holding hands and singing songs is a HUGE part of Christmas! It sounds crazy.. I know! But believe me! It is SO MUCH FUN! You can't even imagine.. Last Friday, our last day of school for 2 weeks, the WHOLE school (whole meaning all 200 or so kids) joined hands and sang songs dancing around the Christmas tree in the middle of the school! And although I couldn't sing the danish Christmas songs (except for skilemedinka dinka dooo) it was SO amazingly fun! I already know that I will miss it so much next year!
(Bjarke and caviar)

As far as food.. in USA we usually have turkey and a big meal (or something like that). I have already written about the Julefrokoster (Christmas lunches) I've been going to. But you don't really know what I've been eating there! The typical foods are rugbrød (rye bread) with sild (raw hering.. I have a story about the hering for later!) and egg (with caviar which is DISGUSTING!), æble flæsker (fried apples and bacon.. VERY GOOD!), blod pølser (blood sausages.. pig blood and raisens.. NOT GOOD! I have a story!), pig meat sausage with meat from the pig's face and beatroot on top, and leverpostej (liver paste) with bacon and mushrooms, to name a few.
(blod pølser)
(bjarke's ikky pig brain!)

My friends and I had a big discussion over whether sild (hering) that we ate at Christmas lunches was actually raw. IT IS! They were in denial.. but my friend Astrid and I proved that it is only marinated and is actually raw! Bjarke has forced me/tricked me to eat some blod pølser (blood sausages) with syrup.. it is SO GROSS! And then Bjarke says "ohh! but it's full of iron!" I thought I was going to throw up! blehhhhhhh.. Luckily Solvej helped me gulp some down! And I am not a fan of pig brain (my nickname for it.. it's not ACTUALLY pig brain).. I don't like it!
Oh! It is also typical to have ris a la mande, which is THE BEST! It is like rice pudding with chopped almonds and cherry sauce (or as bjarke likes.. carmel sauce) on top! And at Christmas time, there is one whole almond and the person who finds the whole almond gets a present! So you just keep eating and eating (not necessarily a good thing..) but I'm hoping I win! Wish me luck!

Well that's what's coming up for me tomorrow! haha.. Last Friday my class had a Christmas lunch/party at my friend Nicka's house and it was SO much fun! Saturday and Sunday I pretty much just chilled.. Bjarke has given me permission seeing as I will be busy every weekend in January. AFS (in Denmark at least) does a week of ministay in January. Where we go live with another family in another part of Denmark.. to let US see more of Denmark and to let another family try having an exchange student to see if it's something they want to do in the future. I am going to Sjælland (Zealand) but I will let you know more about that in January. Yesterday I went and hung out with Shannon all day! We finished up our Christmas shopping and wrapped presents and talked. It was so nice! I had a really great day! I also got a letter from my friend Heather (hi heather! :) and a package from my Aussie pals the Bedfords! (hi guys!) which was SUCH a nice surprise! Thank you!
And well.. that's about it for now! I will blog again in a couple days.. after Christmas. I hope you're a little more culturized about Danish Christmas tradition now! And I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! I'm thinking of you all and missing you! But am very excited for my first Danish Christmas! I love you guys! love francine
OH! and I found this website if you're interested in finding out more about Danish Christmas traditions!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Read my blog in your own language!

Hey guys!
I discovered something TRULY amazing today! My dad has been telling me that he was able to read read my friend Veronica's blog (link below on the right) in english, even though she writes in spanish! I asked him about it today and he said the option popped up when clicked on the link. But it doesn't do that for me.. soooo I went to google and found an html to add the language option to my blog! So now you can read my blog in Spanish, German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, etc! And if YOU have a blog I highly suggest you add this feature so everyone can read your blog (hint hint Pablo, Rebeca, Shannon and Veronica..) If you have, go to Add a Gadget- select HTML/Javascript and add the html! You can find the html at (number 1 is the one I used)
Good luck! love francine

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Julefrokost på mit hus!

(Christmas lunch at my house!)
Last night we had a Julefrokost at my house! In Denmark around Christmas time people have Christmas lunches, like the one we had last weekend for AFS. We don't really have "Christmas lunches" at home, but I think it's very similar to just having a Christmas party.. I am going to a Julefrokost for my class at my friend Nicka's house on Friday which I think will be really fun! But anyway! We had a really good time last night! And some really good food! Aside from the raw sild (hering) which I'm not too fond of.. But here's some goofy pictures from last night!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

recent discoveries..

I have been wondering to myself for the past month "When is the grass going to die?" In the middle of December we still have bright green amazing grass... I kept thinking "nahh it will die soon.." as our grass in Alaska does back in September. In Alaska we have a whole month where all vegetation is or just looks dead and depressing, preparing us for our 8 month winter. So I asked my friend Astrid the other day "So, when will the grass die?" and she's said "Die?! It won't die.. It's green all year, what are you talking about?" THE GRASS IN DENMARK DOESN'T DIE! Yeah ok it sounds kind of lame, but I can't understand how it doesn't die! I will have green grass ALL YEAR! Amazing.. truly amazing.. It's funny that it's not very cold here. It feels like October at home. I keep waiting for it to get colder (not WANTING but everyone is saying "ohhhh that cold danish weather!") I'm enjoying it! Some days it's really warm.. today it was kind of cold. But again-feels like October. It's just WINDY here.. that makes all the difference. So when it IS cold, it's really cold. And trying to keep your bike steady when the wind is pushing you onto the road is scary!

I wanted you to see what my mom just emailed me.. she says "BTW I read your new blog ..... you were born and raised in a frozen hell. Alaskan childred never know that it's actually warm and beautiful everywhere else for MOST of the year .... until they grow up and leave and discover it for themselves! Parents are careful to NEVER let them know the extent of their suffering, lest we ALL decide to leave this frigid cold hell that we call home. :) And so..... we just go to Hawaii or Mexico a lot!" haha.. so NOW you see how much I've been suffering! hehe

update on my eyeball- doing MUCH better! Hardly hurts at all.. and at least I can keep it open again! I've been wearing my glasses all week and everyone says "hey! new glasses?" hah.. I don't think it was pink eye.. just an eye infection or something.. who knows?
(These pictures are of Shannon from New Zealand discovering snow.. haha.. it was really funny to watch!) But that's about it for now! haha.. better dash! love francine

Sunday, December 7, 2008


hej guys,

I've been keeping pretty busy! But this past week I moved out of my host family's house. My host mom, Maria, started a new job and because of the hours, my contact person Bjarke and the head of AFS Fyn, Benthe decided that it would be better if I moved to Bjarke and Solvej's house for the rest of the year. So, last Thursdsay I moved to Solvej and Bjarke's house. Basically right down the street.. haha.. It's going really good here! And I really really like Bjarke and Solvej! They have been so good to me! So anyway.. that's the lastest news! And my new mailing address is
Nyvej 18
5750 Ringe, Denmark

of course, if you've already sent things to my previous address, don't worry. I will get it! And then on Saturday we had a Julefrokost (a Christmas lunch) for AFS Fyn at the Spejderhytten (scout house.. pictures coming soon!!) and it was SO MUCH FUN! Really..we had such a good time! And afterwards Bjarke drove me and Rebeca to her house in Nyborg and I spent the night. We went out and met some of her friends (which was really cool too!) and hung out.. haha it was great! And then we went back to her house and slept.
The only bad thing about this weekend was that I got this "eye infection" we're calling it right now.. I could hardly keep my right eye open and it was a little swollen and red and it was just crying (can you say that your eye was crying?) So that was fun! I took the train home from Nyborg to Odense to Ringe (because the train doesn't go from Nyborg to Ringe) and was home in 30 minutes. And then Bjarke rinsed my eye out with "eye water" .. like salt water and I wiped it with warm water and it feels better.. definitely better! But it still hurts.. we'll see how it is tomorrow! (as i know how important it is for you to know about my eye.. haha)
But yeah! After that we went to Mathias' fødselsdag fest (birthday party).. Mathias' is this boy who's family used to live next door and are good friends with Bjarke and Solvej. I came along because I've met Mathias and his sister Nanna a few times and they said I could come. hehe and I gave him a pack of Razzles (my favorite!!) an Alaska key chain and a Polar Bear kiss (a chocolate pepermint candy).
So yeah! Now i'm about to go to bed! Give my eye some rest! But I wanted to fill you in! And as Bjarke says I am slacking (again... yeah i know) in my blogging I will work harder keeping up! Thanks for everything guys! I really love hearing from you guys at home and those who read this! Thinking of you guys and having fun here in Danmark.. love francine

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Skole Fødselsdag and painting Pablo's wall

whew! It's been a while since I've blogged (ok so like a week?). Yesterday Bjarke was like "You're getting slack in your blogging!"
Last Friday my school had a big Skole Fødselsdag Fest - A school birthday party! Everyone brings their parents and then you sit with your class and eat food and listen to music/entertainment. And then the 3rd years (we have 3 grades at the gymnasium) are dressed really fancy, like prom, and they do some traditional dance and everyone watches them. It was pretty cool! And they have a DJ playing music in one wing of the school and a live band in another, and a place for the parents to sit and have coffee and cake in another wing. It was a really really good night! I enjoyed it so much!
Then Saturday morning.. Bjarke calls my house at 9.30 and tells me to bike to his house (in the rain) to call Kyla. I was not too happy. I had planned on SLEEPING. But Anders took me and it was actually really good to talk to her. I miss her like crazy! So ok, I'm glad I woke up at 9.30, I admit it. Saturday afternoon Maria took me to Pablo's house and Pablo and I made brownies (which I had to spin off last night...) and then Florian and Anazette (Pablo's temporary host parents) told him we could paint his room. We were supplied with paint and brushes and we went crazy! It was really fun! I have some pictures.. but again they're on Pablo's camera.. patience. Why don't I bring my camera? What an idea!
That's about it. Except that I want to mention I slept until 12.00 on Sunday! haha.. it was really fabulous! I will try to blog again soon! love francine :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Celebrating Thanksgiving in Denmark!

(the first pic of the day! )


I decided that as Thanksgiving is an American holiday, I would share it with my friends and family here in Denmark! (And we celebrated it yesterday, Sunday, because we can't on Thursday) I asked everyone in my class to bring a dish to share. I had this plan in my head- Chicken, mashed potatoes (katoflermus) and Pumpkin pie. hahaha.. Chicken for everyone cost 400 kr ($80) and I couldn't find PUMPKIN to make PUMPKIN pie or the stuff to make Pecan pie. So we had chicken nuggets and this awesome green and blue cake with pink frosting that my host mom made! haha.. And you know? It was SO GOOD!

There were 12 kids from my class, 3 exchange students, and my family. And we had SO MUCH FOOD! And I bought/borrowed the supplies so everyone could make a paper Thanksgiving turkey. You know in elementary school how we make the "thankful turkey" where you write what you're grateful for on the feathers? yeah, I made everyone make one! haha.. I think everyone had a really nice time! I know I did!

And thank you Maria, Solvej and Bjarke, my stipper pals, and my class for a really wonderful Thanksgiving!

Taasinge Julemarket!

Lørdag (Saturday) -

SNOW! The first "snow".. I think it is one of the coolest feelings in the world when you wake up and look outside and BOOM! everything is white! I love it! It was more like hail though.. little tiny white balls.. not real snow, but it counts for something! Plus, I look at it in a positive way: If it's snowing, it's too cold to rain! Which is a HUGE bonus!

But Saturday, Francesca (Italy), Pablo (Colombia), Daiki (Japan) and me decided to go to a market on Taasinge! So we all took the train/bus to Svendborg to meet there. I got to the Svendborg station and Pablo and Francesca were already there. And I said "Francesca, where are we going on Taasinge?" and Francesca says "Oh, just to the center of town.." and I said "But Francesca, Taasinge is an island...." haha.. Ok, it was pretty funny. (I love you Francesca!)

So anyway.. we found out where the Julemarket (Christmas market) was on Taasinge. The bus driver told us we had to walk 3 kilometers or so from the bus stop. HAH! We walked for an hour.. in the "cold". And when we got there, it was THE SMALLEST market.. haha with older people and we were SO COOL, because we were exchange students! haha.. So after the market, we went back to Svendborg and met a girl we know named Ida who did exchange in Indiana (USA) last year and had PIZZA. It was SUCH a good day, really! So much fun! :) Despite walking for an hour.. haha.. it was good for us!

(I was so proud that we made it so being the dork that I am, i took a picture of the sign! haha..)