Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ciao Bella!

I just got back from my 5 day class trip to Milano, Italy! I had a really great time! It was so much fun to travel with my class! There werer 26 of us accompanied by 3 teachers. In Denmark it's a tradition to travel with your class in your second year at the gymnasium (like high school) to another country on a "study trip". The teachers plan school-related activites for each day and then you are free in the afternoon and night to do whatever you want. We traveled with our Danish, Ancient History, and Biology teachers (Hans Erik, Anja and Jeppe). With our Danish teacher we interpreted signs and watched people: how they act, what's important to them (for example you can see that fashion is important to Italians in Milano and you can see that the environment isn't as important because the city is litered and there aren't very many trash bins, etc.) With our Ancient History teacher Anja we walked all over the city and visited ruins from the Roman time and visited a really cool Museum about the Romans. And with Biology we walked around the city and relaxed in the sun (it was 21 degrees.. about 75 degrees Fahrenheit) and tested different water sources in the big Milano Park. On Thursday we also visited an old Fortress which was really cool! We just relaxed on the grass in the sun.. that's the life!We also got to see the beautiful Duomo church! It's the third biggest church in the world and it's absolutely beautiful! It's Catholic and I think it's pretty funny because they have never finished it. You see, if they finish it then they have to register it as a church with the Pope and pay a lot of money. So they are always working on it and adding to it so as not to finish.. which is just too clever! Then we payed a little to take the stairs up to the top of the church and walk around on top of it! It was such a cool view over the city! but so windy up there! Read more about Duomo at During our free time we shopped! Which was a great way to see more of the city! We ate yummy Italian pizza and pasta all week! and the famous Gelato Ice Cream which is just the best! One of the coolest things about Milano is that it's one of the fashion capitals of the world.. so of course it's expensive! But there's also Models being photographed in the streets! And it was just so cool to watch!! And there are all the high fashion stores like Prada, Louis Viutton, and Yves Saint Laurent... really really expensive. I used every opportunity to say "CIAO BELLA!" and "Mammmma Mia!" I loved that my friends got to see that you don't need words to express yourself. Using body language and pointing and smiling and hugging and kissing gets the point across just as well or better than using words! It was so much fun! At one point we needed to send postcards and the mail box had two slots.. one that said "blah blah blah MILANO" and the other said "blah tutti blah blah blah" haha.. this old man saw that we were confused and stopped to look at us. He was just smiling and we smiled back and said "Ciao!" and "ummmm Milano? ummmm not Milano?" and he completely understood even though he couldn't speak english. That's one of the coolest things! He just started speaking Italian and pointing! And we figured it out together!

I was feeling pretty sick on Monday and Tuesday though and again on Friday and that made it a little harder. Plus I was extremely tired when I got home at 6 pm last night. To get to and from Milano we had to take two buses,3 trains and a plane. And it took 12 hours including waiting.. so Monday and Friday were very long days! All in all I had a really great trip! You can see my Milano album on Picasa Web Albums at

I hope everyone is good at home! Thanks for reading! Keep it up! Francine

Friday, March 20, 2009

my second home = the post office

I just dropped by my second home = the post office again the other day. I swear.. when I get home and people ask me what I did in Denmark I will say "well I went to school.. I was in girl scouts.. I worked at the movies... and I went to the post office!" I visit, most weeks, twice a week. I think I have an addiction! I love sending postcards from Denmark! I cover them in little Danish flag stickers.. I just figure I'm here for just one year so I might as well send lots of postcards from Denmark!
But the other day I had to stop by to send some packages with candy out and some postcards of Alaska to friends in Denmark. I've also gotten into the habbit of sending Alaska postcards as thank you notes to people after I go to visit! They seem to like it! And I like to leave a great ALASKAN impression wherever I go! I bring Alaskan candies and key-chains whenever I visit anywhere.. and people just love it! Plus it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside :) the post office in Ringe, my town.
But I have to say.. I'm a bit dissappointed with the U.S. post! Lately many of the postcards I've sent home never make it there. Which is frustrating to me. Obviously sending postcards is something really important to me.. and I've spent quite a lot of money (sorry mom and dad) buying and mailing postcards (on average $1.50 to buy and $2.00 to send). So it pisses me off that my money is going down the tubes because someone working for the post thinks it's funny to steal cool pictures of DK. Now I'm brainstorming other ways to send postcards without having them stolen..

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Excursion with Bjarke

Monday Bjarke invited me to come to work with him. He had a meeting down in Nykøbing Falster.. which meant I got to visit Ingrid! His dropped me off at Ingrid's and went to his meeting and Ingrid and I caught up. The best part about meeting up is that we get to talk very fast and use slang! It's something I always miss when talking to people who aren't native english speakers.. although.. Ingrid has some insane New Zealand slang that even I don't understand.

After Bjarke's meeting, he decided to take us around Falster and Møn.. 2 other islands right under Sjælland (Zealand). It was so exciting! I've only been to Nykøbing twice before and but I had never explored Falster or Møn. Neither had Ingrid so it was cool to see something new! Ingrid and I are thinking of making a biking trip out of Møn and/or Falster. We went through where Bjarke's grandmother lived and his mom was born. We stopped at beautiful look-outs to take pictures and smell that amazing salt water! It is one of my favorite smells..

We crossed a bridge to Møn and visited Fanefjord Church which was built around 1250. Ingrid and I were standing there open-mouthed looking at the paintings. The vibrant colors and depictions of the devil and various religious scenes are absolutely unbelievable. Just to see what people in 1250 thought the devil looked like.. and how they viewed God and their religion. It was like stepping back into 1250. When the church's walls were whitewashed in 1660, the paintings were covered in a layer of dust. But from 1923-34 the paintings were restored and cleaned. They are still under restoration to make the colors more vibrant and really uncover the layers of dust. Ingrid and I bought pamphlets to read about the church's history. But you should definitely check out this really good website I found about Fanefjords Church at Then we drove to the other side of the island to a place called Møns Klint. Its a HUGE cliff over the water.. an impressive and popular tourist attraction. The area around Møns Klint is covered in trails and biking paths for people to explore, but we stuck to the coast. The HUGE cliff is made of white stone and the water it reaches down to is an unbelievable green color.. Ingrid and I couldn't believe we were still in Denmark! It's sad that the pictures don't do it any justice. You can read more about Møns Klint at We had to climb so many stairs to get down to the water and back up.. and so many stairs to get up to the top of the cliff to have the view over the water.. I felt dead afterwards. In fact, I slept for an hour in the car! Monday night the AFS head of Falster and Lolland, Lars and Hanna and their daughter Mathilde who went to New Zealand on exchange, had a dinner for all the exchangies down there.. so I got to surprise all my friends! It was so cool to see everyone and hang out! We had so much fun.. as we always do with other exchangies! I also met a Danish girl who is going to Pennsylvania for exchange next year, and a boy who went to France and a girl who went to Venezuela a couple years ago. So just another opportunity to meet more unbelievably lovely people!

I slept over at Ingrid's and we talked and talked.. something I'm beginning to realize we're pretty good at! Bjarke called me at 7.30 and we hit the road again heading towards Copenhagen. He had 5 mini-meetings up there and I got to live "A day in the life of Bjarke Mayland" and see why he is so stressed when he gets home. PEOPLE ARE JUST SO STUPID. Every second that Bjarke hung up the phone after talking someone through how to set up a computer program or some machine the phone rang violently again. That's the only way I can describe it. After spending an hour and a half fixing some guy's computer.. and we finally started to head home at 2 pm the guy called and said "boooo hooo I broke it again.. can't you come back and fix it?" I can now empathize with Bjarke 100%. People naturally assume he doesn't have a life and that he can just fix their computers for free and answer their calls from 6 am to 11 pm. This weekend we are turning the phone OFF and as Bjarke says "doing ab-so-lute-ly nada".

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Helpful but Clumsy

Last Saturday we celebrated Solvej's birthday.. again! this time with the neighbors and their kids. I know all of the kids but actually didn't spend much time talking with them. We had a few laughs about the little girl Emma telling a lot of really bad jokes though..
And I called home to talk to my brother.. who was sleeping at 12 pm. So I talked to both my mom and dad which was really nice! I wish I had gotten to talk with my brother Elliot though.. and I've tried calling again a couple times but I'm hoping he will call me back soon! After I talked with my parents I decidd to be nice and helpful by cleaning up and washing dishes at 1 am. haha.. I think Bjarke and Solvej really appreciated it and as I've learned, it never hurts to be nice! I also spent 2 hours on Saturday peeling boiled potatoes - I have now become a professional potatoe peeler. One lady even said to Solvej "wow.. maybe I should get an exchange student?" haha..
And in exchange for being forgiven I've been asked to mention this on my blog : Although I was very helpful by doing dishes and cleaning the previous night, the next morning I woke up very tired and went to grab a cereal bowl, pulling two other bowls down and breaking them on the floor. Bjarke's favorite 18-year-old bowls. I am very very sorry. So I am helpful... but I'm also clumsy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I'm fairly sure that this the longest i've gone without blogging since I started in august. For a variety of reasons, the main one being that i've been insanely busy! And seeing that no one has been commenting my blogs, it's a little discouraging.
I got back on friday from my exciting week in an efterskole! As I've written before, an efterskole (after school) is a way more relaxed version of a boarding school. Kids in the 9th and/or 10th grade can choose to go to an efterskole. They are for both boys and girls and there are no uniforms. In fact, in my efterskole called Faaborgegnens Efterskolen (FAAE), you don't have to go outside to go to class - so essentially you can go to class in pjs and socks! My kind of school.. I was always a big fan of PJ day.
the view from the girls' floor..
Our room.
Signe, me and Ditte.. my room mates!
an average class room.
We had about 5 classes, 3 classes a day. Each day there were different assigned times and people to clean the classrooms and hallways. Thursday everyone empties their dorms and cleans. There are 2 girls to a room and I bunked with 2 girls named Ditte and Signe. We had a lot of fun together! In FAAE there are different lines for things that interest you. Signe and Ditte were in Nature. So on Tuesday the Nature line rode bikes to Faaborg and caught the bus to Odense to go climbing in a climbing hall. However, I can remember my last very frightening climbing experiences and therefore made the wise decision to stay on the ground!
Climbing in Odense! Anna hanging from the wall..
me and Anna with vampire lollies..
Mia and me
Signe and me
Signe, me, Thilde and Brigitte.
On Friday, my last day, Daiki and I were asked to get up in front of the school so the kids could ask questions about what it's like to be an exchange student.. and we were able to do the whole thing in Danish which makes me very proud! I think just in general everyone was really excited to have an exchange student and wanted to talk to me and ask questions.. which as an exchange student is the best thing! When I was in Næstved Gymnasium on ministay, the class ignored me completely and they didn't care at all that I was there. And that's tough when you're starting out somewhere new.. BUT I had a great experience in efterskole! I'm really happy I was able to try it out! I made so many new friends!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hanging with Vero..

Ah! It's been too long since I've written! I've just been so crazy busy! I've been going to fitness quite a lot lately, which is a good thing! Wednesday we went to Shannon's house for dinner which was nice! It was so cool because I talked a lot with her little host brother (out of 4) Vigo who is 2.. and he taught me the animal names and sounds! hehe.. Solvej and I had fun with him!
Friday I was sitting at home after school and everyone was telling me they were busy! No one wanted to do anything! And then Veronica invited me to come to the Svendborg Gymnasium (like my school) Fest with her! So I took the train down there and we had SO much fun! There we live bands! And it was just so much fun! Vero moved host families about a week ago because her first host family only signed up for half a year.. so it was really cool to meet her new host family! It's just a mom, Sophia and her 14 year old daughter Victoria and they are just fantastic! Such cool and welcoming people! Saturday Vero and I hung out.. I asked her to cut my hair because she's so good at it and my hair was starting to resemble Hermione.. hah! But now it's fantastic! We walked in the town to see the second hand stores and the farmers market.. and it was just the best!
Vero's new street..
downtown Svendborg and the farmers' market Then I came home.. and relaxed a bit and my friend Stinna from my class came over because she's buying a computer from Bjarke. So she ended up hanging out with us and eating dinner and it was really nice!
AND... I started working at Biografen (the movie theater)! Finally! I've been wanting to start for months! It's volunteer work.. biografen is run by volunteers and the money it makes is used to keep it running. So it's entirely for the community which is just an awesome way to give back! And meet new people and practice danish.. plus if free movies are involved why wouldn't you?
Today I'm going to an efter skole down in Faaborg! and Daiki is coming to the same one! I've mentioned it before.. efter skole is like a more relaxed boarding school for kids 14 or 15.. and I get to try it out for a week! I'm excited to see what it's like and make new friends! I'll keep you updated on how it goes!
But now I can hear my laundry calling me.. keep reading!
love francine