Saturday, July 17, 2010

Returning to Alaska again

My last three days in Denmark were wonderful: Monday I bummed around Odense, as planned, and shopped and enjoyed the fabulous weather! Tuesday was my 18th birthday, horray! I went to Rosengaardcentret, the shopping mall, with Bjarke where he discretly bought my birthday present.. haha.. and then we bought a cake with a danish flag on it and shared cake & coffee with Intarsia next doorm, which was really fun! Bjarke Solvej and I went to a Chinese buffet in Ringe for dinner.. yummmmmm! Then at 8 Bjarke took me and my friends from around Ringe to Stinna's new apartment in Odense where we had a party and later hit the town (on a tuesday night)! We had SO much fun and I think it was one of my best birthdays! Thank you Stinna, Astrid, Julia, Katja, and Rikke for a wonderful birthday!

We all slept at Stinnas, because we didn't go to bed until 6 in the morning.. haha.. And Wednesday Bjarke picked us up and delivered all my friends back home. He is definitely the best host dad IN THE WORLD. By far. Then Solvej and I went shopping at Rosengaardcentret and had some girl time! By 5 pm I was half asleep haha.. Lea came over to say goodbye and we had a really nice dinner at home. By 8 pm I was out cold.. and at 2 am on Thursday Bjarke woke me up to drive to Copenhagen for my flight home.

Trust me, I did not want to come home. I shed a few tears when I said bye to Bjarke at the airport.. and then faced my stressful flight home. I had to fly via Frankfurt again, which I hate. Frankfurt simply sucks. It's a HUGE airport with no signs or labels or anything. The people who work there are kind of scary and intimidating because they look pissed if you just ask them for directions. And I don't speak a lick of German except "Ich Bin Snappi" and "Danke". Long story short, after waiting 3 hours on the tarmack in Frankfurt our plane DID take off and instead of landing in Whitehorse and being trapped there for the night (Because the flight attendants can only work 15 hours) we flew straight to Fairbanks. Halleluiah!

It's good to be home with my family and Heather and Mamie again. I've been home a week and we've been doing so much around town! I definitely need to find some less expensive entertainment though.. I'm spending heaps (from a cheap person's perspective), but I'm working a lot too so there's something positive happening around here. Teaching swim lessons and working a few hours at Risse Greenhouse again. Thursday Heather took me and Mamie out to dinner at Wolf Run for my birthday which was yummy! Amazing chocolate cake.. god I am going to get huge again!

Sunday (tomorrow) I am getting my wisdom teeth out.. Yikes. Just want it to get over with.. and I'm trying not to psych myself out by just not thinking about it. I've never been put under, because I've never had surgery before.

Then Wednesday Merryn comes for 6 weeks! I'm really so excited, my whole family is! I've been cleaning out drawers and my closet for her.. haha.. Geez I have so much clothes I never wear. Heather made me get rid of a whole bunch of stuff yesterday.. good thing I have friends who are pushy!

This will be my last post on this blog, until my next visit to Denmark. I have a seperate blog to document my next adventures titled "I'll keep you posted." The link is in my blogger profile for those of you interested.

Thank you for being patient and reading about my experiences in Denmark! And I wish the best of luck to the new batch of exchange students to Denmark '10-'11. Live it up! Francine

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Remembering Ringe

I've felt pretty lazy lately, all the relaxing and visiting! But it's really the perfect holiday.. getting to spend time with Bjarke and Solvej, our family friends, and my friends from my class.. all that's missing is my AFS Fyn family! Sometimes being here reminds me so much of things we did together and it's overwhelming HOW much I miss them: Pablo, Vero, Daiki, Rebeca, Francy, Evelyn, Sara, Kyla, Gammam, Peep.. God I miss them!

I've met so many cool people through my blog.. most of them students who are interested in going on an exchange, or are just getting ready to. I've been talking to an American boy for over a year now who, when we began emaling was about to go to Denmark with AFS, and who just had the farwell camp here in DK and is home now. I'm still in shock that it was 2 years ago I was getting ready to go on my exchange! So now I'm talking to this guy about reverse culture shock and post-exchange difficulties and I feel like it was just yesterday I was going through the same.

Friday I went over to Maria's, my first host mom, and met her new boyfriend Bo who was very nice. It was great to see the boys and hang out for a little while, then we came back to the house because Bjarke and Maria's uncle who lives in Spain was visiting.. so it was cool to meet him and enjoy the gorgeous weather! It was extremely hot for me...
But nothing compared to Saturday, which was 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit).. believe me, I was MELTING! Being from Alaska, I can't remember when I've ever experienced such heat before! In the morning, Solvej and Karen, who works in Intarsia, the wood-working shop connected to our house, and I went up to Fyns Hoved. Literally translated: Funen's head. It's beautiful up there, the nature and ocean everywhere you can see.. it's perfect for practicing photography which both Solvej and Karen are really into! I just soaked up that salty ocean-smell that I love and crave!
When we got home around 13.00 we helped Bjarke, who had been working hard for hours cooking, for a really nice family friend dinner we had for my birthday (which is Tuesday). It was great to be outside, especially when it started to cool off! And my friend Lea came too.. det var en rigtig hyggeligt aften!
Today I woke up really late after crashing on the couch last night.. I was so tired! And today we've just been relaxing and watching movies and relaxing.. it's great! I rode Nikolai's bike down to the house a couple kilometers down the street, to my first house. Riding home, feeling the breeze and the sun starting to go down a little (at 21.00).. I love that it's Sunday night and no one is on the street: no cars, an occasional person walking.. but mostly quiet. I love remembering how all the stores are closed Sundays, except the bakery, and people relax at home. I love "window shopping" in the two walking-streets in Ringe and having the street to myself. I've missed Ringe.
Tomorrow I'm planning on bumming around in Odense.. we'll see! Francine

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Watermelon Seeds & the Month of July

Monday this week I went to a class dinner/picnic/party with 3a. I spent the afternoon with my friend Stinna and her mom making food for the class dinner.. and it was so much fun! Stinna is a great friend and her mom is so welcoming and sweet! We started the night off with a "before party" at Casper's house which was fantastic! I just layed in the grass with a cold beer and the sun up above me. And God knows, when you're from Alaska, you need all the sun you can get! The dinner and party was great - good food, good friends & good music - now that's a party! We all had to bring food too, and I made gravel bars with the ingredients I brought from home - the class loved them AND the skittles I brought for the class! I've been eating SO many danish strawberries here too.. I can't express in words how fantastic these strawberries are! Undescribably delicious! Tuesday Bjarke generously drove me down to Langeland to visit Bente, who is in charge of AFS Fyn, and we visited our family friend Jens, who lives on Taasinge, on the way down. It was great to see him! He's rennovated his house and had adorable kittens right now.. I'm a sucker for cats.. not a great sign in my early age! It was SO nice to see Bente again.. she knows so much, has seen so many places in the world and has great stories to tell.. She has a beautiful house and garden that looks over the ocean and being back at her house with her, her turtle Prince Albert, and her quaint house makes me remember and dream of Vero and my bike trip to visit her last year. Good times that I would die to do-over again... Bente and I had a yummy lunch, with strawberries and asparagus from her garden! in the fantastic sun & heat. Then she drove me back to Svendborg where I met up with Vero's 2nd host family, Sophia and her daughter Victoria.

It was GREAT to see them! I always loved hanging out there with Vero because I feel so comfortable with them and we always had heaps to talk about. It was great to catch up! And hear that Victoria is going to the USA in August for a year-long exchange. Hurray!! Sophia is going to Oxford for a month to take a couple courses, how cool is that? We had yummy watermelon, which is the 3rd time I've ever had watermelon in Denmark, and which made me realize that people here eat the black seeds! Maybe it's just me, but in the US we spit out the black seeds. Here people, Solvej excluded, eat them! But what a perfect day to see so many people I've missed!

Wednesday Bjarke, Solvej and I drove to KĂžbenhavn/Copenhagen where we looked at a new greenhouse kind of sitting room that Bjarke and Solvej are going to buy for the garden. Then we walked the streets of Copenhagen and did a little shopping! Although I didn't buy anything.. I'm so cheap! We had an interesting lunch right in the famous Nyhavn.. and I just love hearing the different accents and languages in Copenhagen! Great sunny and very hot day walking around with my two favorite host parents! Then I went to my friend Katja's, from my class, graduation party which was really nice.. to see her parents again and her friends from efterskole (boarding school).

Today I woke up around 12:30 pm.. WHOO! And then I went to Svendborg with Lea and Rie to see Eclipse.. hurray! I was so excited to see it, we all were.. It was pretty good, although Kirsten Stewart is the world's dummest and most unbelievable actress, although Robert Pattinson comes pretty close. I did enjoy the movie though! My ticket was my birthday present from Lea, which is a fantastic presen...Thank you Lea! Then I came home and had Bjarke's leftover dinner which was amazing.. B & S are such good cooks! I can only make cakes and cookies... gah... Great night.. good wine.. good family time. A great 1st of July!
5 more days and I'm finally 18! I'll keep you posted. Francine