Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dancing Aurora

I was just driving home from work and I saw the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) for the first time in way over a year! I wanted to tell you about it... It was strikingly beautiful - florescent green and dancing in the sky. At one point while I was driving there were 3 different ribbons of it.. flitting around. I'd almost forgotten just HOW beautiful they are... I wish you could see them! and I wish I could take a picture to show you! But unfortunatly only profesional cameras can capture the Northern Lights... but here is a picture similar to what it looked like. (but off of google!) Still no snow up here in North Pole! We've gotten a little bit here and there but it keeps melting. And the temperatures are really warm for the end of October... scary gobal warming!

Take care guys.... Love francine

Monday, October 19, 2009

.. dun dun.. 2 months later!!

I haven't blogged in 2 months! OH MY! My lovely host parents reminded me last week that it is crucial I continue to blog.. thank you Bjarke and Solvej! I have been incredibly busy lately as I know everyone is.. but I must remember to make time to blog and as Bjarke put it, to communicate with my friends.
I haven't been writing to my friends, or calling nearly as much as I should and would like to. But sometimes it's too difficult to think about, and I remember back to when Kyla left Denmark and I always wondered why she didn't write to me and we didn't call each other. I never considered that it was difficult to do, or to even contemplate. I am reminded daily of my Danish family - my AFS family in everything I do or say. I think "What would Vero do? What would Bjarke say to me right now? What would Pablo say to me? What would Evelyn advise me to do?" and at times it guides me and keeps me sane! But sometimes it's too painful to call them or talk to them, because I start to cry. Even blogging about this makes me cry. They never tell you that leaving your exchange is harder than going. When you go on exchange, they never tell you how hard it is to come home, to face your own culture, your own society and find your place in it again.
I am doing my best. I have good friends, Heather and Mamie and Courtney and so many others in my school and my community who support me and take good care of me and for that I am extremely grateful. But there is no one who can empathize with me, who I can exchange opinions and feelings with, who really knows what I'm going through. And that makes it rough.
It's very difficult with my family right now. My Mom is in Iraq with the Air National Guard. She left two months ago and she returns in January. I miss her so much, but my busy schedule keeps me out of the house frequently and prevents me from dwelling on it. My dad takes good care of me and my brother, Elliot, but he can't relate to what I'm going through and the impact my exchange had on me and how it is affecting me.

For the past two months I've worked three days a week at a tea house a 30 minute drive away. I like work there! But I've had to cut back because I'm not getting very much sleep! I sing in my a cappella group called "Hello, Bella!" once a week. And right now I'm taking a course, with Heather, 2 nights a week to become a lifeguard at the pool, which is really fun! I love the people in the class and we do lots of fun activities! And I'm applying for colleges and scholarships which is hectic! I also just took the SATs (a big test whose scores colleges evaluate) last weekend.. thank god that's done!

So I'm making do! Exhausted but pressing on! This past weekend (Thursday through Saturday) I went with my Student Council at my school, North Pole High School, down to Anchorage for this BIG statewide student council meeting called AASG (Alaska Association of Student Governments). It was AMAZING! Kids from ALL OVER Alaska, native villages and "big" cities, congregated in Anchorage where we debated issues from banning styrofoam and trans fat in local restaurants to supporting our governor, Sean Parnell's bill creating scholarships for Alaskan students. It was inspiring and enlightening to hear opinions of such a diverse group, kids from as far north as Barrow to Ketchican, Bethel, Unalaska, Klawock, Valdez, Kodiak, Cordova and Delta. I had such a great time! My school brought 8 delegates, and the AASG president Kari Nore a classmate of mine. We traveled with our region, Region 6 that we sat with during General Assemblies and cheered together. I wish that every kid could have such an experience and I encourage every Alaskan high school student to participate in the Spring Conference at Ben Eielson High School.

But that's my report! I promise I will write again soon - yet every time I say that and how often does it happen, right? :)
Keep in touch min Fyn Familie - my Funen Family. My AFS family... I love you guys. And I will always remember what you gave me. Love from Francine

Friday, August 21, 2009

back in the swing of things

Slowly my life becomes more and more back to "normal" and I feel myself getting back into the swing of things. Seeing familiar faces and running into friends and old teachers. Starting school. Sometimes I'm amazed that I've been on the other side of the world, lived a different life and made lifelong friends and family, and now I'm back here in North Pole, Alaska in my old school, and in my own bed. How fast time flies. And you don't realize how much something means to you - how significant a period, a phase of your life can be, and how much you will miss it, until it's gone. I think if I could give advice to the newbies over in Denmark, to all exchange students and to everyone really, is to embrace every moment of every day. Document your time to look back and remember, take it all in. And have no regrets. I miss Denmark, but mostly what Denmark and my year there represented. And what I learned.

Every exchange student spends time thinking about home and what they're missing there, the gossip, their friends. But coming home, I realized that it was almost wasted time worrying and thinking about it. Because nothing's changed. No one's changed. The school is the same, the people are the same and you are the only one that has matured. OK that sounds cocky, but every returnee will understand what I mean. You are not the same person you were when you left, and you left so anxiously to seek out the world and grow and learn. And you did. But when you come home, you expect people to be different and life to have moved on without you. But when I stop and look around, I feel like I'm 15 again (hah...) No one has changed. They still laugh about the boy who looked at the girl in Science class, or whose underwear fell out of their gym bag. My advice being: exchange students- don't waste your precious time thinking about home, or looking at pictures on facebook and wishing you weren't missing prom or something. Go out! Make friends! This is your year.... and I'm so jealous of you! hah..
But an exchange is only special because there's a limitation on time. If it was never ending you wouldn't treasure it and it wouldn't affect you so.
Thank you readers. I am constantly impressed by HOW many people read by blog, and maybe not every day! But the fact you take that extra second to see what I'm up to means the world to me. If there are any questions of course by now you know just ask away! My goal is to share what I know! Take care guys..
love francine

Friday, August 7, 2009

Busy Busy Bee

This has GOT to be the longest I've gone without writing! My family just got back on Wednesday morning from our 3 week trip to Australia and boy am I happy to be home! It was a great trip! We saw SO much! First we flew to Sydney from L.A. (14 hour flight guys... NOT fun.) and spent 4 fun-filled days with our Aussie pals, Janice, John, Merryn (my pen pal!) and Corrine (my brother's) in the Blue Mountains. And I have to say it was the COLDEST I've been in a really long time! And I live in Alaska. Australia is in it's winter right now and yes.. it's actually cold! Then we flew to the Red Center, Ayer's Rock or Uluru which was very cool! We spent 3 or 4 days there and then flew to Cairns, where we drove up to Port Douglas (I love it there!). We stayed there for 4 or 5 days.. went to Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, I HIGHLY recommend it to any Aussie travelers ... hint hint Bjarke and Solvej. It was amazing! And we went snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. I will admit, I was extremely nervous about it. My last snorkeling experience in Hawaii was not fantastic... but the Great Barrier Reef is absolutely beautiful and amazing... I'm so so happy I got to see what I did! Even though I did get sick on the boat.. ick....
Then we flew down to Melbourne for 6 or 7 days.. where I saw Kyla! YAY! and spent a night at her house catching up.... and then went with my family as we drove the Great Ocean Road. Unbelievably beautiful you can't even imagine! We saw dozens of wild kangaroos and koalas. Omg I am in love with them. They are so so cute! (and I got to hold one up in Cairns!! But it was NOT wild!)
All in all a VERY good trip I will remember forever! But you know how it goes.. too much family time is not good. We were all very ready to be home and doing our own thing again! And me even more so, because my green suitcase that was missing for 3 weeks was FOUND and our friend Rachel picked it up at the airport and delivered it to my house.

I can't even tell you the (let's call it) despair when I saw that suitcase. It was ripped in 5 places. Completely ruined.. which is fine it was broken before anyway. But EVERYTHING inside had been thrown out, and thrown back in. All my papers were bent.. I was so upset. But then I remember what it was like.. the stress it caused me not knowing where my suitcase, the vessel of my precious memories, was... and I know how lucky I am they even found it at all! That I even have these things... Actually everything was accounted for.. the only thing missing being 2 scarves. 1 I had bought for Mamie and the other was mine. But that's pretty good considering!

It's so good to be home. To be in my own bed, after traveling and sleeping in 9 different beds in 3 weeks. It's such a relief to be getting settled, making plans for my school year. I had a meeting with my counselor at the high school today to discuss my credits and graduation requirements and my classes for this year. And surprisingly, I am doing VERY well for having missed a whole year of school!

I replied a lot of emails today that I have been meaning to do, but wanted enough time to make it meaningful and not just some quick message. And I wrote an email to Casper, which I'm going to quote because it just describes my feelings about returning from Denmark and coming home, so perfectly. Here it is:

"It's incredibly weird to be home! It feels like I'm in a dream I once had.. like this is temporary and soon I'll be going home to Denmark. So weird.. but at the same time, comforting that i'm back in my own bed! my own house... and I can understand EVERYTHING. haha... a nice change!
I miss Danish though! I miss you guys.. and Bjarke and Solvej, and my exchangies. And leaving Denmark was by far the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I don't know how I made it... it was a nightmare and I cried for hours.. even on the plane... when everyone was staring at the insane girl crying in the back. hah... but it must come out. Sooner or later...
Seeing my family again was amazing! Except my brother.. he didn't talk to me for 5 days. Not one word. It was great with my mom and dad for about a week.. and then.. well it still is just awkward. We argue all the time.. and my brother is just.. well... we don't get along at all. I'm hoping it will change.. but he's a teenage boy: in his eyes the smartest person on the planet, and the most beautiful boy alive. Ah yes.. I remember those days! not....
{blah blah blah....}
I know.. people are dumb. But I knew it would happen.. I've been forwarned by kids that already went home (like Kyla..) that people aren't REALLY interested.. because in their eyes Denmark is a fantasyland that can't possible be real. Because the world revolves around North Pole, Alaska... and the United States of America, don't you know? However, I am lucky to have a really great mom who WANTS to hear.. and REALLY fantastic friends: Heather and Courtney and Mamie who are there for me.. listen to my insane rambling and deal with it. I feel like they really understand what i'm going through and are supportive and encouragine. I feel good about myself when I'm with them.. And I am unbelievably grateful to have such friends. I'm one lucky girl.

Well... the drinking culture was a huge shock, I shall have you know. My mom and dad are like "nope. no alcohol, no beer. deal with it." which ok.. I understand. It IS illegal.. but it's such a change. And I just.. my parents basically see me as the child I was when I left.. and I hate going from living with Bjarke and Solvej who treated me as an adult, to being treated like a 12 year old. At least I get to drive though... I LOVE that freedom! "

Yes.. that sums up my thoughts as of now! I saw on facebook and heard a bit that the newbies were over in Denmark now and settling in with their families, i think? It's hard to see and hear about, and i'm anxious to hear Evelyn and Sara and Bjarke and Solvej tell me how things are with the new exchangies.. but it's also hard to hear. It makes me so jealous and wish I could do it again. Mixed feelings.. still need sorting.

As always, you guys on the other line are fantastic! If there's questions, I hope you know I'd love to hear from you! Kisses and hugs back to DK

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Leaving for Australia!

WOW! I can't believe I've been back for almost 2 weeks now! The time has just flown! At first... I was really excited to be back.. to be in my own bed again and see my friends and family. I've been with friends ALMOST every day and just having a blast catching up! And it is exciting.. there's so much to talk about.. foods you've missed.. people you forgot about.. catching up on gossip! I run into people in town that I forgot about.. or haven't thought of in a year. And you always get the same basic questions: "AH! How was... Belgium?" DENMARK was great, thanks! and they say "You must be so happy to be home!" You can't say "Ummmmm No not really.." So I've learned to just tell them what they want to hear: "Yeah I'm so happy to be back!" Which works, because no matter how interested they seem in your past year.. they actually don't want to talk about it. Or maybe they are genuinely interested, but they don't want a saga of your experiences.
It's definitely difficult. The initial excitment of coming home is gone, leaving my longing to return to Denmark, my Fyn family, my real life. I hate to say that.. I feel like I'm betraying my family here .... my friends here. But it feels like I'm stuck in the middle (as Mika says.. hah!)... my family here.. my life here.. and my REAL life in Denmark. And no one understands.. they expect you to be thrilled to be home.. and moving on. Moving away from your life in Denmark, because in their eyes, Denmark is NOT your life. Alaska is your life. And it's not for me..

Yesterday I was making food in the kitchen and the radio started playing "You've Got a Friend in Me" by James Taylor. And seriously... I just started bawling! Because it reminds me so much of my Fyn family.. my exchangies.. Bjarke and Solvej. And I miss them so much. I love them more than anything.. and being away is... well at first it didn't seem so horrible because it wasn't quite REAL. But now it is because they're so far away... and I just want to go home.

Anyway.. tomorrow my family leaves for Australia! Which is great! I AM excited.. but I'm also just getting settled here.. and I hate thinking about taking another plane.. packing again. GAH.. but I know once we're there it will be great and I'll really enjoy it! So I'm just sucking it up.. knowing it will get better.

Thanks guys for reading.... as always.. I love knowing someone on the other end cares about what's going on in my chaotic brain. So TUSINDE TAK! Keep it up team!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

First week at home..

Hello my avid readers! I keep hearing that people are waiting to hear what I've been doing!!
I've been CRAZY busy! Hanging with friends.. running errands.. and yesterday was my 17th Birthday! HURRA! Heather and Courtney (two of my good friends) went to Alaskaland Park for a picnic and that was wonderful! Then we went back to Heather's house.. as I was ordered to stay away from my house until my mom gave me permission to come back. Whooooooooo....
We had a grill outside with chicken and salads, and a lot of our family friends and my friends, and some of my brother Elliot's friends, came over and that was really great! And.... honestly I didn't expect anything for my birthday. I figured after returning from a VERY expensive year in Denmark, I would not be getting a gift.. and actually there is nothing I wanted. My mom left me flowers by my bed when I woke and that was amazing.. I love flowers! But later at night my mom and dad gave me a giftbox.. in it was a brand new water bottle.. which I love! And... Car Keys. To my Black SUV in the yard with a HUGE bow on top! I was SO SO SO surprised!!! It's wonderful.. I went for a long ride with my pals, Heather, Courtney and Mamie.. and I just love it! It's got character this car.. it growls when you shift.. and I love it! (Pictures coming soon!)
Pablo called me yesterday! Which was wonderfully amazing! I miss my exchangies so much.. and it was so nice hearing his voice! And of course Bjarke and Solvej called me too! And I loved talking to them.. hearing their voices! I miss them so much.. Today I got a postcard from my very best pals Bolette and Katja (in my class) who are in Brighton, England for a language school this summer! THANK YOU GIRLS!

Sunday night at went to my A Cappella rehersal for my group.. called "Hello, Bella!" We've been singing for 3 years now.. entering our 4th year! Currently there are 6 girls including me. Emily, Breanne, Kira, Hannah, Kathleen and me. I missed Bella so so much! And of course the girls are excited to have me back and help me catch up with the music.. but I still feel like I missed a year. They have a lot of stories from this past year about performances.. and songs they learned.. or songs they threw out. And it really makes me feel left out, but I know I will be joking alongside them again in no time! I missed singing with my girls and performing.. and I'm totally stoked to get back into it! I will keep you posted with our performances and "News"!

And now I am focusing on our 3-week Australia trip starting next Tuesday! My mom and I still have a lot of planning to do! But we are all very excited. The only thing is.. I'm not excited about flying again because I'm just getting settled back here.. but I know once we get on the way I'll be really excited to see our friends Down Under, including Kyla!!

My green suitcase is still missing.. Northwest Airlines has no idea where it is. Which is fucking scary.. because all my papers, all my letters and postcards from my friends, my class picture, my presents for my family and friends, a TON of clothes and all my shower things are in there. And... well the clothes, the scarves, the presents.. I can live without. But my papers? My letters? They are irreplaceable. And some airline moron lost them.. I was so upset last week. I am trying to accept that I will not get these things back. But I still have hope.. and I am filing paper work and making a list of everything that was in my bag and it's worth to file a claim. But.... it's definitely made this "settle in at home" thing much harder when I can't stop thinking about my suitcase!

Anyway.. I will keep the blog updated! Thanks for reading..
love francine

Friday, July 3, 2009


I'm FINALLY home in Alaska!! After a very very long trip... with plane delays and lost baggage (which still hasn't been found.....) I was SO relieved to finally be home Wednesday night.. at exactly 8 pm. My friends surprised me by coming and making welcome home signs!! And my mom was ON TIME! haha.. I feel a huge relief.. a weight off my chest being home. But even after only being gone for 3 days, I realized how much I miss Denmark, and my friends and family there, so much. And I'm dealing with that now... I'm still on a high though being with my friends! And rediscovering things that I've missed all year long! Like having ice cubes in the freezer... and Americanos at Starbucks... and Walmart!! (Heather and Courtney took me yesterday!) and Taco Bell! It's a whole new wonderful world...
Me and my friends have been discussing school which we start in just 6 weeks! And I was given my summer homework.. GAH! And I'm getting back on the road again.. which I WILL admit is nerveracking!! I need practice! hah... And now my family is going to Australia in a couple weeks for holiday!! We are so excited!

I will try to write more once I get my old laptop up and running again.. I hope all my exchangies made it home safe.. I've heard from some of them and I already miss them a crazy amount. Thank you guys, thank you Bjarke and Solvej, and my class for such a wonderful year. For taking such damn good care of me.. I miss you guys already and I expect you to WRITE to me! Hundreds of Hugs and Kisses back to Denmark...
love Francine

Saturday, June 27, 2009

3 hours..

3 hours until we drive (Evelyn, Bjarke and Solvej and me) to Nyborg stationen to catch the train to Copenhagen, where I have a 2 day goodbye camp. I'm packed. Completely. It's so weird seeing my room so clean! hahah..

Yesterday was such a great day! and so extremely hard. I said goodbye to SO MANY people.. but surprisingly I don't feel like crying. I didn't cry. I feel like.. obviously it hurts very much to say goodbye.. but I think it's easier because I KNOW that the people I love, the people who mean so much to me, I will never say goodbye to. I will see them again. That gives me a little peace of mind. The only time I cried yesterday was when Evelyn gave me a letter she wrote. It is probably one the best letters I've ever gotten.. and it means so much to me.. I'm carrying it onto the plane with me! hah..

Today I have to say goodbye to Bjarke, Solvej and Evelyn. And I can say I'm DEFINITELY not looking forward to it. I almost keep pretending it isn't real. I'm going on holiday.. and then I'm coming home. All the exchangies have been talking for MONTHS, saying the same things.. over and OVER about how we feel, and if we're ready to go home, and how is everything going with our families. But I don't think it's quite hit me that after today, I won't see Bjarke and Solvej.. and Evelyn and Vero for a long time. I'm trying to let it sink in.. but I'm almost positive that that moment the train rolls away I'll actually get it.

It's so scary thinking.. maybe this is the last time I use the bathroom here.. or go to the laundry room.. or drink a cup of water. Yeah.. lame I know. But in the end, it's the little things that mean a lot.. the little things you do everyday that make it your home. I really feel like this house, Ringe, Bjarke and Solvej, Evelyn, Vero, the exchangies, my class, our family friends, this is my home. And no matter how many miles I am about to fly over the ocean, across the country, my Fyn Family will always be here for me. There is no goodbye. Only, Vi Ses!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

2 days to København

My bags are packed, AMAZINGLY! and.. shockingly... under the weight limit! I don't know how it happened! I was over the limit just last week! I will not question it.. just take it as a good sign!

I can't believe I am going to Copenhagen in 2 days. Saturday at exactly kl. 13.01 I will leave from Nyborg with Peep and Pablo to go to the goodbye camp in Copenhagen. I feel like I have butterflies in my stomach. I can't sleep... which is SO annoying because i'm so damn tired! Evelyn helped me pack quite a bit yesterday too and during my "break time" I fell asleep on top of her. For 2 hours. HAH! My poor little friend... that's the sign of a good pal. When she helps you pack all your shit and then lets you fall asleep on top of her. hahaha...

I've been throwing things out.. making a "Francine Box" for Bjarke and Solvej to save. And I have a trash bag FULL of clothes from me and Vero to the newbies. My Calendar has 4 days left until I leave for the US. It's really nerve racking crossing off the days now. I still don't feel like it's real. As I sit on my bed surrounded by blank walls and full bags. It hasn't QUITE sunk in yet. I'm pretty sure it will all come pouring out Saturday morning. I just wish I could hop into a machine and it would pop me out in Alaska with all my stuff. And I wouldn't have to deal with all this stuff about packing.. and paper work .. and trains and planes. I really hate it.

I'm hoping I'll get ONE more blog in before I leave! And if NOT I will write as soon as I have computer access in the US... my idea is to keep this blog going even after I get home to share what a POST-exchange is like. You never hear very much about that.. and I think it's just as important as the exchange itself!

I just sent an email to all the newbies that will come in August (2009-2010) welcoming them to Fyn and sharing the email addresses of all the oldies and newbies! And my in-betweens: Evelyn and Sara. It's weird to think there will be new AFSers on my beloved Fyn next year. I almost hate sharing.. but I'm excited for them to experience what I have.. to share a part of my wonderful life here. And I know Evelyn and Sara will do me justice by taking care of them.. and showing them what AFS Fyn is all about.

thanks for reading guys. It means.. it has meant.. so much to me. keep it up!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

1 week til Doom Day

Last Thursday was our last stipper (exchangie) dinner on Fyn.. and it was a wonderful day! We were all together ALL day.. we watched the Jyllands Tur movie Evelyn, Vero and I made (which.. I have to say is pretty darn great) We played games, signed everyone's danish flags and gave each other letters and little gifts. It was soo cozy.. but depressing in a way. The last time we're ALL together. And I had to say goodbye to Benthe who's in charge of AFS Fyn over here.. and that was hard. I am really going to miss her. After the dinner, where by the way all the exchangies' families came too, me and Francesca went home with Vero and .. well we were supposed to go to a concert but we showed up and the place was closed. hmmmmm.. not sure. But we bummed around and got a pizza and were just goofy together and came home at 2 in the morning... and woke up at 11 am. HAH.. that was awesome!
Friday we bummed around some more.. spent a lot of time deciding what to eat for lunch. And a lot of time staring in the bakery windows. We ended up buying us a yummy strawberry marzipan cake (i know.. i'm disgusting.. how can i POSSIBLY eat more sweet things? honestly I don't know..) and had some Alaskan coffee! Go North Pole! and Francesca took the bus home. Vero and I were goofy all afternoon too.. we quite enjoyed it! And then we went to a concert at Hardy's called Jakadaba and WOW I love them!! It's like African.. jazz.. reggae.. and it was so cool! We danced for like 4 hours! And I bought the CD!

Saturday Vero and I came back to my house and just.. packed a bit.. cleaned a bit.. did some laundry. Fun stuff. And caught up on our disney movies! I love Mulan! Sunday Evelyn and Vero and I were lucky enough that Bjarke drove us (after a yummy breakfast!!) to Den Fynske Landsby (the Funen Village).. which is a town built from very old houses from all over Fyn.. kind of like Den Gamle By (the Old Town) and that was really fun! We just hung out around the house for the rest of the day.. and it was really cozy!
So now you're updated! I've been so busy! Having heaps of fun of course.. but busy. And I'm really confused. I don't know if I want to go home? Or if I want to stay? Or what it will be like to go home.. and how I feel about it.. and school and friends and the same here. It's like I'm a time bomb! So many thoughts.. they're bound to combust in my head very very soon! I'm pretty nervous. I go to Copenhagen for the goodbye camp on Saturday and then go to New York on Monday where my Aunt, Uncle and cousin will pick me up for the day.. before heading back to Alaska. So many thoughts!
Thanks for reading.. I can only imagine how insane I must sound to you all.. hang in there.. I might be normal in a few weeks! hah!
love gahhhhhhhh francine :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


The most AMAZING thing happened to me Friday night. Bjarke and Solvej announced we had a VERY important family dinner.. and it was so important that I wear nice clothes. Our family dinner, Bjarke explained, was at a friend's house.. because our friends are our family. We arrived at some house.. and Bjarke and Solvej anxiously pushed me through some door and I opened it... and ...... SURPRISE!!!!!!! My WHOLE class was there and they put together a surprise party for me!! IT was amazing!! I've never had one before.. and the best part is I had NO IDEA they were planning it! They gave me a t-shirt that said "I heart 2. a" (my class) and lots of little gifts.. and it was SUCH a great party! I love my class! Thank you guys so much...... I am going to miss them so much... and honestly I've kept so busy lately that I haven't realized HOW much I will miss them. They promised to buy me a graduate hat if I come back next year to graduate with them. Which is a BIG DEAL! My mom and I talked and I AM COMING BACK next June to graduate with my super wonderful class!! can I get any luckier?

Saturday Evelyn, Vero and I went with Bjarke and Solvej to this big Plant and Animal store in Odense to buy some flower pots and dirt for Solvej's orchids. And we made Chilean food for dinner! It took us 2 hours but DAMN was it good! My little Chiliean friend Vero taught us how to make it! Vero... I swear I will make it hundreds of times when I get home.. it was SO GOOD! Vero and Evelyn slept over and we watched movies until really late.. hehe..

Sunday we woke up.. had my favorite super duper Solvej & Bjarke breakfast with funky tea and everything! And then we met up with 7 other of our exchangie pals for a wonderful grill picnic on the beach in Faaborg! We grilled hot dogs and it was so yummy! I love when we're all together... we always have fun! rain or sun..

I'm doing ok about going home. Not great.. definitely not great. But I've been feeling pretty good lately being with all my pals.. not being alone. It's when I'm alone that I start realizing I have 11 days before I go to Copenhagen. That's just unbelievable. I remember when I had BEEN HERE 11 days. Time flies faster than the speed of sound.. I swear. And on one hand I'm excited to see my mom and dad again.. and my friends! God I miss my friends. But on the other hand I will miss my family.. my wonderfully amazing friends here.. the life I've made for myself here. And sure I will come back to Denmark. No doubt about it. But I can't ever have THIS life again.. and that is scary.
keeping positive though! happy thoughts happy thoughts!
keep reading, love francine

Egeskov Wednesday!

I DEFINITELY don't write enough! It feels like i've done a million trillion things since the last time I wrote! Last Wednesday Bjarke drove Evelyn, Vero and me to Egeskov and we spent a great day walking around the castle gardens and playing in the awesome playground! We even played Harry Potter.. yes i AM a dork.. but at Egeskov you really feel like you're in the maze from the movie.. i couldn't resist! HAH... plus we had so much fun taking pictures! Solvej made us a yummy quiche pie for dinner too... ah it was so good!

Monday, June 8, 2009

I have officially lost my mind..

WOW I feel like my brain is exploding! A TRILLION thoughts per second.. and I am running off over-tired energy. I've been going going going non-stop.. and as WONDERFUL as it is and as much fun as i'm having (I assure you.. I'm having a blast each and every day which is fabulous!).. it's also very tiring! Today is my first alone night in almost 3 weeks.. and i'm trying to catch up on my blogging and relax.
What I've Been Up To:
I will keep it short and sweet so as not to bore you with the details! I had a goodbye party the Sunday after we got back from Jyllands tur which was AWESOME! SO much fun, and the first time ALL the Fyn AFS kids have been together ALL YEAR (how sad is that?) We relaxed in the garden, played music, barbecued and just had a really cozy night! And we all slept in a big tent behind my house (that took evelyn, bjarke, solvej and me 2 hours to build on Saturday!) and just... basically it was a GREAT party! Monday everyone went home and it ended up Daiki, Snaper, Sara, Evelyn, Vero and me hanging out all day in the garden in the WONDERFUL sunny weather talking and listening to music and going through my WHOLE closet and hanging out.. note: I sun-burned my back SO bad i'm still in pain today.. You can see pictures from the party at
Tuesday: The Queen, Dronning Magrathe, is sailing in her boat around Denmark this week and stopped in Nyborg to say hello to the Kommune and greet the people. SO Vero, Evelyn and I dragged our asses out of bed at 7 am to take the bus to Nyborg and greet the Queen at 10. And I am SO happy we did! I was just feet away from her and she LOOKED at us! It was amazing.. seriously it felt like a fairy tale. If any of you have seen "The Prince and Me" I can tell you it felt JUST like that parade. Everyone waving danish flags, and little kids with paper crowns on their heads... it was magical. Afterwards we bought some fruit (yes fruit! can you believe i bought FRUIT instead of chocolate?) and snacks and headed to the beach! Where we got soaked! And talked and played and... yes I sunburned the back of my legs SO bad that there is a very dramatic RED line above the back of my knee. GAH I couldn't walk all Wednesday! Guys: just use sunscreen.. it will save you a LOT of pain!
Thursday and Friday: Vero and I made a GIANT bike trip to Langeland where Benthe lives! I will remember this trip FOREVER! I was so amazing.. and so horrific (we got really lost at one point).. and just the best adventure! Two girls, two bikes, two bars of chocolate, and a map. I love Veronica :) We went swimming in the ocean with Benthe, who was SO happy to see us! and ate strawberries from her garden with her turtle, Prince Albert! We biked to the southernmost tip of Langeland where you can see Germany in the distance! We visited Langelandsfort, an old World War II fort. I feel so PROUD that we made it there and back.. with a few bumps along the way.. I feel we learned SO much about geography, flowers and plants, Denmark in general, and about how tough we are! And I recommend to all you newbies coming in August to make at least ONE bike trip in Denmark... grab a friend, a bike and bar of chocolate and hit the road! See all pictures at ee
After getting home completely exhausted Saturday night, getting a delicious burger at the best burger place in the world- Jette's Diner, sleeping 9 hours and eating more chocolate, Vero and I woke up Sunday and met up with almost all the AFSers down in Svendborg and had a great day hanging out watching boats and jellyfish go by.. just a really wonderful day with my pals. See all pictures at
Today Vero, Evelyn, Sara and I met took a ferry from Svendborg down to Valdemars Slot (Castle) on Tåsinge and a bunch of little islands and just had a great time singing and dancing on the almost-empty boat! So much fun! We walked a bit on Tåsinge and jumped back on the boat in Troense.. and then went to Veros and relaxed! See the pictures at
So I THINK i've caught you up! I will try to write more frequently, but you know how THAT goes. Tomorrow my mission is to work on the Jyllands Tur movie I'm making and try packing my bags to see how much room I have. YIKES.
I'm feeling like I'm going crazy.... I'm so stressed and I can go from being ridiculously happy one moment.. to crying the next. Someone just says something to me and I just start bawling. I can imagine for you guys at home to wonder why I'm so sad.. and it's not that I'm sad about coming home! It's that I'm leaving SO MUCH here.. so many people I love and so much I care about. I've made a life for myself here, and to leave it feels like leaving a part of my heart.. and it is. I'm hanging in there.. but with only 2 weeks left, only just. So hang in there guys at home. I love you. And to my avid readers thank you THANK YOU for reading! It really keeps me going some days..

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Jyllands Tur!

Jyllands tur! I just got back from a huge week-long trip through Jylland (Jutland in English)with 40 other AFS exchangies, and it was a week I will never forget! Basically a week-long party on a bus, sleeping in different schools every night, seeing such AMAZING sights, swimming in the ocean, having a blast! And I am so sad it’s over… I think it will be easier to tell you a little about the places we saw. Here is a map of our 6-day trip.. Monday we started catching the bus down in Svendborg. We drove to the famous Egeskov Castle (which is only 7 kilometers from my house…) You should DEFINITELY check it out and read more about Egeskov at the official site . We slept somewhere near Silkeborg that night. Tuesday morning we drove to the bottom of Himmelbjerget, the second tallest point in Denmark (I used to think it was the tallest but actually.. it’s not) and “hiked” to the top from the beautiful lake. It was so pretty as the sun was coming up! Afterwards we drove, stopped and had lunch and then visited Århus Den Gamle By (the Old Town) which is a collection of houses from all over Denmark all dating around the time of Hans Christian Andersen. It was VERY cool! People were dressed from that time period and making food as they used to. A really great place to visit! We got a tour around and met the baker, and other towns folk! Read more about Den Gamle By at .
We slept somewhere on the coast and Wednesday morning we drove up to Skagen and Grenen, which was absolutely AMAZING! It’s where the two oceans meet. SO the waves are not coming onto the shore, but crashing into each other! And it’s so unbelievable! We ran out into the water and got SOAKED! And the wind was incredible! Then we visited Skagens Museum which is famous for painters in the 1870s and the many paintings like Summer Evening and the Fisherman. Read more at . We slept at a boy scout house on the beach and Vero, Francesca, Sara, and Benthe (who is in charge of AFS Fyn and who organized this trip) went swimming in the frozen ocean! It was SO wonderful!
Thursday morning we went to Rubjerg Knude where a huge sand dune, that is being moved across the country by powerful winds is covering a lighthouse. And we saw Mårup Church which used to be over a kilometer from the ocean, and because of the eroding cliff is now only meters from dropping into the sea. The wind there was SO powerful and it was just an incredible sight… Then we drove down to Esbjerg and saw the Fishery and Marine where we saw a seal show and got to touch a stingray (it was really icky but super cool!) Check it out at . And we saw the big art statues, the white men as I call them, looking out to sea…
Friday we visited Ribe, the oldest town in Denmark and went up in the big church for an amazing view all the way to Esbjerg! You can read more about Ribe at . And then we hit the famous LEGOLAND. All I can say is… “I LOVE LEGOLAND!!!!” I’ve never seen so many legos in my whole life! Everything was legos… everywhere and there were such cool rides and shows and sites.. it was fabulous in every way! So click HERE to read about Legoland!
Saturday we drove back to Odense.. and visited the Hans Christian Andersen Museum and house which was really interesting! I was surprised at how many stories I know that were written by him, the little mermaid, the princess and the pea, the Emperor’s new clothes, Thumbelina, etc. I learned so much about him.. and his life.. it was a really great museum! Check it out at .

God I had an AMAZING time on Jyllands tur and I feel bad for all the exchangies that missed out on it… for those kids coming to Denmark next year, you do NOT want to miss this! You can see ALL my pictures at , all Vero’s at and soon there will be more on another site. Thanks for reading! Francine

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ålborg Karneval!

I just got back from visiting Ove, Solvej's dad up north in Pandrup! I took the train to on Friday (4 hours on the train.. with no seat) where Ove picked me up and we drove to Pandrup where he lives. It was a really nice visit.. we drove out to Blokhus by the ocean too and it's just so beautiful there.. especially when the sun is going down! Saturday we went to the Ålborg Carnival! I have never seen anything like that in my whole life. Chaos. Like the party of a lifetime. I thought of Ingrid and her crazy robot costume.. there were SO MANY awesome all-out costumes! Ove and I stood in one spot for over an hour and saw SO many cool costumes and crazy people! It was so cool.. and I am amazingly happy I got to see the carnival! I'll upload some of my favorite pictures and you can see the rest at

Thank you to Ove for a really nice trip! love francine