Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ministay in Næstved

Every year, AFS Denmark arranges a ministay for all exchangies. A ministay is where you live with another family in another part of the country for a week. So exchangies can see more of Denmark and experience another lifestyle, and potential host families can try having an exchangie to see if it's something they would be interested in doing for a year. I went to Næstved, a town in southern Sjælland along with Daiki, Francesca, and Veronica. It was really great! My host mom and dad Bodil and Jimmy, and host sisters Natasja (13) and Rie (17) are so sweet! I had so much fun with them! I went to school with Rie everyday at Næstved Gymnasium. (not that I like having to start over making friends in a new class.. it's hard work!) I saw Natasja and Rie do gymnastics one day. Friday Natasja and I hung out at home, because Bodil, Jimmy and Rie went to a 60-year birthday party, watching movies and I made tacos! And on Saturday AFS organized a trip to København (Copenhagen) for all the ministay exchangies and the exchangies living in south and mid Sjælland. It was so much fun! All our host sibling came (I took Rie). We went to a "working museum" which was REALLY boring.. but funny. We walked downtown and went up the Round Tower, which has an AMAZING view over Copenhagen! read more at http://www.copenhagenet.dk/CPH-RoundTower.htm
And then? SHOPPING TIME! whoo! Veronica and Fern (from Thailand) and I went together.. and I bought a new coat! which I love! we hit all these huge sales! Gotta love sales.. especially in Denmark! hah! then we all met up and took the train home.. I will see everyone again when we have our winter camp this friday in Nykøbing! Monday Veronica and I hung out after school in Næstved and walked around. We ate at a cafe called Vivaldi and it was so nice! just girl time :) And today I took the train home after we finished in school. Rie brought me to the station.. she has been so sweet to me! My ministay family has invited me to come back and visit anytime! It's funny.. I really missed Fyn.. and Bjarke and Solvej and my friends. And although I had a really good time on ministay, Daiki and I both said to each other as we stepped off the train in Ringe "ahh Ringe.. it's good to be home."

Monday, January 19, 2009

North Pole, Where It's Christmas All Year Long

Just a quick post! Bjarke and I just caught a special on the "explorer" channel about North Pole! The show was about how it's Christmas all year long in North Pole.. and about how Christmas every day caused 6 students at N.P. middle to plan a school shooting (what was it, 3 years ago now? Can you guys remember how scary that was?) It was fun to show Bjarke North Pole.. Mocha Moose, Safeway, the Santa Clause House, the Middle School, etc.. except that it was about how pretending it's "Christmas every day!" actually drives kids to want to kill their classmates. Right... funny that it was airing in DK though!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mad fra Hele Verden

Hej guys!
Wow have I been busy! I love that! I went shopping with Rebeca and Adriana last Wednesday and we hit all the January sales.. so much fun! And I got some dresses on sale.. whoo! Friday was Veronica's birthday! So I went to her house in Svendborg for pizza and then the 5 of us (all exchangies) walked to town and bummed around pub crawling which is just so much fun! So cozy! I will definitely miss that.. there's nothing like it at home.
Walking around on coblestone streets at 2 in the morning dancing and singing and running around town from bar to bar. There's nothing like it. So we had a really great night! Saturday I made brownies and hung out watching movies because Solvej and Bjarke went to Germany to buy cola and candy and stuff. Then I went with two of my danish friends, Rie and Lea (I spent Christmas with them, remember?) to see Australia in Ringe! Really good movie! but really long.. almost 3 hours!!
ANDDD today! Well I haven't written about it yet, but we have "mini stay students" here on Fyn this week.. a ministay is where you go to live with another family for one week so they can try having an exchange student and you can see how other people live and try living in another part of Denmark. So we have 17 ministay students on Fyn this week, plus our 12. So today we had this big event where all 29 exchangies make food from their country and bring their families! So we had ALL this food!
(Yannik from Switzerland announcing his food.. haha)
and then? the exchangies had to entertain everyone. And seeing as I'll probably be the only exchange student from North Pole on Fyn.. I just HAD to talk about Alaska and North Pole. I was SOOO nervous! I wrote a funny "speech" but it was pretty much interesting things about Alaska.. and what people here think about Alaska and what's actually true. And funny stories about things that have happened to me here. Everyone said I did really good! I hope so! I was so nervous!! haha.. but now it's done! We sang songs on stage, had skits, a Thai dance, a game and a Thai and Italian girl singing the Little Mermaid "under the sea" in Italian, Thai and Danish which was really cool! so a really fun day!
It took me a long time to figure out what "American" food I could make. We eat food from OTHER countries in America! So I figured out to make Macaroni & Cheese, Shepards pie, and brownies. And I brought little American flags on toothpicks from the 4th of July so everyone had little American flags everyone! It was so cool! haha..
(Rebeca's host sister Natalie)
I will go on ministay on Tuesday in Næstved (Sjælland) and live with another family. I'm really excited! I've been talking to one of my host sisters, Rie (I will have 2- 13 and 17 years old) and I will go to her Gymnasium with her! And today the 4 new kids coming to Fyn moved to their host families! So I will meet Sara.. a girl from Colombia going to my school, tomorrow! We have been talking a lot so i'm excited to meet her!
That's it for now! I will keep you updated..

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

in progress..

i'm currently working on finding a new blog backdrop as I am tired of my previous one. So the backdrop will be changing for the next couple of days...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

time flies

I keep finding these lists all over the place titled “You know you’re an exchange student when..” and although I can relate to most of the points I thought it would be funny to make my own list.

You know you’re an exchangie (in Denmark) when..

  • You could go to any part of the world and have a personal tour guide.
  • Your English sucks (I’m always forgetting words or saying strange things).
  • Your friends tell you you sound like you’re singing on the phone.
  • An $60 pair of jeans is considered “a good deal”.
  • Going around in the same clothes for (up to) 3 days is perfectly acceptable.
  • When someone asks you how far it is from point A to B you tell them how long it takes by train, bus, car, bike and foot.
  • Riding a bike is like driving a car- you must obey the bike stoplights, use hand signals and have working lights (from Jen.. check out her fabulous blog in my links).
  • Sheets on the bed? What do you mean sheets?
  • You relearn how to use a fork and knife (fork in the left hand, knife in the right).
  • You can’t shop after 6 pm because all stores are closed.
  • You realize you COULD follow your classes, but what’s the point when you could play on your computer?
  • You’re better than your teacher in your language class (and you SHOULD be!)
  • People at school know you as “The girl from Canada”
  • You’re shocked when people know your name before you introduce yourself.
  • You introduce yourself by name and country. “I’m Francine from Alaska… yes we speak English there."
  • You get high fives when you understand what someone said to you.
  • When you go to school parties, the teachers are selling beer to the students.
  • You stop trying to figure out what’s going on when you hear your name in a conversation. If they want you to know, they’ll tell you.
  • You’re able to watch tv in your host language and figure out what’s going on.
  • When you don’t understand a question you answer “Nej tak!” (no thanks!) and then get strange looks..
  • you carry a dictionary and a camera in your bag.
  • you get so used to broken English you finish people's sentences even though no one else can understand them.
  • you get into arguments with the foreign language teacher (English) over how to pronounce something (ALL THE TIME!).
  • you know every cuss word in your host language, but still cant conjugate into past or future tense.
  • peoples stares don't bother you anymore.
  • a conversation is going fine, before it suddenly get stuck on some word or phrase which makes you completely forget what you were talking about.
  • you automatically use words in a foreign language that you cant even translate but they just seem to fit the context (hyggelig).

I’ll keep trying to add to the list. I used a few from a facebook group and from Jen (USA).

It’s scary. I have been thinking about it lately. I’ve been here for almost 6 months. I’m going home in 5. I know it’s a ways off and my friends are telling me “Don’t think about it.. you have time. Take one day at a time.” but it’s still looming in the distance and sometimes it just hits me that I don’t have that much time left. Next week I’m going on a ministay to Næstved in Sjælland, then we have “Food from All Around the World” and our winter camp with AFS. Then Winter holiday, class trip to Milano Italy, Jutland’s tour with Benthe, etc. So really, it will go very fast. But at the same time I think of all the cool things I’ve done since I came to Denmark. Too many things to list.. and too many amazing experiences to recap. I just can’t believe it’s already half over. And I already know it will be just as hard to go home as it was to leave.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snaper the Rapper

Friday after school I went with Casper to this hang out place with some guys from school we know. It was so much fun! Just hanging out.. and then we have this new AFSer at school named Snaper from Hong Kong. He was living in Aalborg (remember I was there last week?) but now he's living in Årslev and going to my school. He's so cool! I really like him.. I took him around school on Monday and he hung out with my class. And today, Casper took me to this place and BOOM! There was Snaper! Already made friends and everything! (impressive for 1 week..) He told me that his class (which is a music class) had a rapping contest.. and Snaper got up in front of everyone and rapped in Chinese! Like.. what a way to make friends fast! Damn! Why didn't I think of that?? haha.. Then we were like "ohhh come on! rap for us!" So he did! And I managed to catch it on tape! It's amazing.. you have to see!
(I'm having trouble uploading.. check for the video tomorrow)

Today I met up with Daiki and Gammam in Odense.. some of the others were supposed to come but they didn't show up. And a lot of them (love em to death but..) are SO lame they don't ever want to do anything.. So we decided to come back to my house in Ringe and have a movie night! and Veronica came from Svendborg too! It was a really fun just hanging out and watching a movie. We watched "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Imporium". It was awesome.. it left me with a twinkle in my eye. That good. And Bjarke broke the news to me today: Since we started the gym at the beginning of December he has lost 16 kilos (over 33 lbs). Holy crap. I am waking up at 7 to spin for an hour at the gym. And I decided I'm not going to eat anymore. We'll see how long THAT lasts.. probably until I'm hungry again?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Frogs don't go Ribbet

I never even thought about it. Cows go moo, dogs go woof. Period. And today my friends and I were talking about frogs (for some reason) and they said "Kvæk". KVÆK! I thought it was a natural law that frogs go ribbet.. but no! In Denmark the frogs go kvæk. Then we just started listing off animals.. Dogs go vov. Pigs go øf (ooof). Cows and cats are the same: moo and meow. Horses go vrinsk. Sheep go mæh (meeehh). and Frogs go kvæk. Mind-blowing, right?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

a wonderful weekend!

Wow! I really have so much to blog about! My friend Doug, who's from USA and doing exchange in Norway, came to visit me! He came on Friday morning and Bjarke and I picked him up in Odense. It was so cool that he came! I met him in New York right before I came to Denmark so I hadn't seen him in 6 months! And after a 9-hour bus trip and 2 hour train trip he was really tired! Bjarke, me and him ate a really nice breakfast and he went and took a nap. Then I had to figure out.. what are we going to do? What can I show him? I decided on the Odense Zoo! I had been wanting to go and I heard it was a really cool Zoo! So we took the train to Odense.. walked REALLY far to the Zoo (later found out we could have taken the bus for free.. damn!). I was so excited that we even found the Zoo seeing as I didn't bring a map or address! haha.. And we saw tigers, lions, flamingos, monkeys and manatees. Doug and I were kind of confused how if manatees are an endangered species there can be 4 of them in a Danish Zoo? But it was a really great trip! Then we walked back to the station and took the train home. And then Shannon came over and we all watched Harry Potter and other movies and just had a good time! On Saturday I planned an ice skating trip in Odense (where I went with Nikolai last monday) with all the AFS exchangies on Fyn! Doug, Shannon and I got there half an hour early, so we decided to go check out the town church because Solvej said there was a king's (was it a king, solvej?) body preserved there. The Church is absolutely beautiful! but it was kind of creepy seeing the "crypt" and the king's bones! (and his brother's.. that was weird) Then we went to the ice rink and met up with a BUNCH of exchangies! not just AFS but kids a ton of kids from our language school! It was SO much fun! So freaking funny to see kids from South America ice skating! If you've been following my blog then you already know how much I love the ice rink in Odense and how beautiful it is there, so I'm not going to write any more about that. After skating 5 of us decided to get a bite to eat and we hung out a good restaurant for a couple hours and then went to this english/irish pub and watched a football (soccer) game on TV. And it was just SO cozy! So fun to hang out! We are totally going to do it again! Today I wasn't really sure what we should do. I thought "ehh I will just walk Doug around Ringe and make it LOOK like a big town!" haha.. but then I remember I had to go to a Nytårs Parade (New Year's Parade) for Spejder (Scouts) at 15.00! So we went! We sang songs in the church and listened to a story and some preaching (however.. not like a Catholic church.. it's a Protestant church and therefore somewhat more uplifting if you catch my drift?) and then we went outside. At this point it was snowing like crazy! Big beautiful snowflakes! We walked in a parade with flags and torches and a big band all through the town and then went to the Old Folk's home and sang songs for them and they gave us hot chocolate and bread. It was just so cozy! So much fun! It felt like a fairytale how beautiful it was with little kids and big snowflakes and torches and music!

Tomorrow I start school again after my 2 week holiday, which was fantastic! I mean.. I love seeing my friends at school! Hate the actual school part.. but tomorrow Snaper, a kid from Hong Kong who has been living in Ålborg (remember I talked about shopping in Ålborg last week?) is moving to Årslev.. right down the road and going to my school! So I am going to show him around the school and introduce him to our counselor, Kamilla, tomorrow which I'm looking forward to! Keep writing everyone! I love hearing from you guys! love francine
BTW if you have facebook you need to join the group "Solvej Needs Jelly Beans" and support Solvej's quest for Jelly Belly Jelly Beans to appease her addiction! Tusen tak!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ice Skating in Odense

Oooo I forgot to write about my ice skating! Last monday I really wanted to go ice skating at this rink in Odense that Bjarke and Solvej had told me about.. and I asked Nikolai to come with me! So we took the train to Odense and walked to the ice rink.. and Nikolai's girlfriend Kristine met us there! It was so much fun! I mean.. my ice skating is not so great.. but it was so beautiful with all the christmas lights and little kids smiling and running around. I really loved just sitting there and people watching too! haha.. just wanted to share.. love francine


I can't believe we're in 2009 now! 2008 just flew by! And in Denmark, they ring in the new year with a BANG! Literally... I had dinner with Maria, her family and a few of their friends. And then I walked down the road to my friend Nicka's (who's in my class) friend's house for a New Year's party, which was SO much fun! It was a couple girls I know from my school, 3 girls from my class (Stephanie, Maria, and Nicka) and some other guys from our school.. and was really fun! Then I walked home for the BIG midnight! Bjarke explained to me that it's normal for kids to come home and wish their family HAPPY NEW YEAR! at midnight.. and then go back out and party! So I came home.. (and Solvej and Bjarke's friend Rene was here too) and had champagne and "jumped" into the new year! And then... I haven't mentioned the fireworks yet. Leading up to midnight.. people were lighting fireworks all night. (remember that it's hard to get good pictures of fireworks.. but Solvej and I like this picture)
Now, at home, we light the fireworks far away from where we're standing and we make sure no one is too close to them. Right? Here in Ringe, the houses are very close together.. so where do you think they light the fireworks from? Ummmm the street! And kids are going around with lighters lighting fireworks and not caring which direction they are going! When I walked to my friend's house from Maria's house I was SO scared! The moment I walked out the door this guy through a "flare" into the road. I was a little hestitant so I stood by the house.. not sure what the flare would do. And then BOOOM!! A bright white light and this HUGE BOOM! Then I was scared! It was like World War III at midnight! I mean, beautiful! I love fireworks! But not when kids are lighting them 2 feet from me.. not necessarily pointing up.
Men.. Godt Nytår! (but.. Happy New Year!) I hope you have a wonderful 2009! Be sure to check out my sweet 2009 glasses hehe..
love Francine