Friday, November 30, 2007
Go watch, it will make you laugh. =)
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Feeling a little bit better but managed to sleep through my alarm clock and wake up 5 minutes before I was supposed to leave! Luckily, the kids have specials for the first 1.5-2 hours so I'm not going to miss much by being late.
However, I just called Carolyn to tell her I'm running late and not to worry because I'll be there way before the Open House.
She just laughed and said not to worry about being late and that I should "enjoy the fact that I slept in...I deserve it!"
.....wait, what??! I'm off to school now, we'll see what her in-person reaction is....
PS- I haaaaaate that it takes me almost an hour to get to school!!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
My day in a nutshell:
7:30am Left the apartment & hopped on the bus
7:55 Switched over to the train
8:05 Got off the train 2 stops early so I could take pictures of the sunrise over the harbor (I'll get pics up later sometime, BEAUTIFUL).
8:25 Arrive at school with a headache
10ish Slight nausea sets in
11ish Send a student home because he threw up in the bathroom
1:20 The kids brochures are officially laminated, trimmed, folded, and ready for open house tomorrow! A full 24 hours ahead of time! =)
1:30 "Bond" with Carolyn about Grey's Anatomy
1:45-3 Assorted craziness and lessons, but I did manage to teach the kids how to do a math problem that Carolyn couldn't get them to understand. Even the German-speaking kids understood it!! Yay me.
3:15 Hung out with Faye while she finished leaving notes to the teacher she subbed for; sore throat starts
4ish Got on the train that Faye usually takes home, figuring I'll be able to find my way home eventually
4:15 Off the train at a stop that I thought I could easily switch over to the other train I needed.....I was wrong and got on my normal bus instead (5A)
5:15 Arrive home after doing a combo of bus, metro, and walking for an hour
6ish Dinner & sore throat/nausea intensify
11pm Throat is killing me, burning up (3rd time I've had a fever while I'm here and I almost NEVER get fevers!!!!), and wanting throw up.
And people ask me why I would rather teach middle schoolers!!!!
Crashing on the couch with my bucket and some tea, I absolutely CANNOT miss school tomorrow!! I'll bring my bucket if I have to! I'd kill for a popsicle right now but A) all stores are closed and B) there isn't a freezer here so I'd have to buy just one or eat an entire box right now.
Is it January yet???
Monday, November 26, 2007
Mom moved her stuff over here from the hotel in the morning, but I was reeeeally not feeling well at all so I was pretty much crashed on the couch until 1pm-ish. I finally dragged myself up and we headed off to lunch. We got to the O'Leary's at about 2pm and both had the Larry Bird club sandwiches (BLTs basically), which were really good. I also got my french fries!! YAY! They also had a ton of Boston sports memorabilia, which was really cool.
Then we headed off to Tivoli across the street! We walked around there for about 4 hours and bought tons of things, so much that we couldn't go on any rides because we had too many bags. =) My mom also took a picture of a couple at a booth dressed in full Viking gear, which lead to us chatting with them for at least an hour as well as buying a bunch of stuff. I now have 3 beautiful (handmade in Sweden) glass bead necklaces! The couple, Jacob and Hanna, told us a ton of cool stuff about the Vikings and a little bit about Sweden. It was really neat!
We finally tired out around 7pm and headed home for dinner.
I headed off to school and mom stayed home at the apartment, where she proceeded to vacuum, do the dishes, and wash most of my laundry! (Thanks Mom!!!) =) My day was very long and frustrating, mostly due to some issues I've been having with my teacher there. On top of that I also fell down about 5 stairs at lunch and bruised my leg, shoulder, and arm up from catching myself on the banister. However, things got better from there!
Mom showed up at school around 3pm, spent a few moments chatting with Carolyn and Mairead and then we took off. I'd had an issue with my phone in the morning so we walked to the prepaid phone shop (turned out that I'd just been randomly outside of the service range) and she lovingly put up with my ranting for about 30 minutes. =) We then went on to Bettina & Jan's house around 4pm, where she got to meet the whole family except Victor. They were very sweet and Bettina made several yummy baked things. We stayed there until a little after 6pm to go to the Hard Rock Cafe and Bettina insisted that I come over for dinner sometime this week. Not sure when that'll be, but it'll be nice to have dinner with them again before I leave.
We got to the Hard Rock Cafe at about 6:50ish and went into the back room with a bunch of other Americans. It was way funny to be in there and listen to everybody talking about the difficulties they've had around here and stuff. A few minutes after the food came out, our waiter Lucas came around to the tables and said that he had bad news....there was some sort of problem at Tivoli (which is right next door) and the electricity was going to be shut off in 20 minutes! But our meals were free!! We quickly ate the not-so-great food and cleared out, saving $80.
On our way back to the station we walked past Tivoli and noticed people were still going inside, so we asked the security guard. He told us that it was just a problem at the front gate and that we could go in for free "as his guests." That saved us about $38! At that point we figured that we didn't want to press our luck too much, so just went on the rides that were closer to the ground instead of the giant swings ride that I had wanted to go on. We went on the smaller swings and the ferris wheel and had a lot of fun. =)
Like I already posted, that was the day mom left to go home & I was left alone here. It was a really bad afternoon/evening emotionally though. I'm actually starting to look forward to being home in a few weeks, just for the comfort of being in my own country again. It's so uncomfortable to be in a foreign country and trying to do everything by myself. Like I told my mom, it's exhausting trying to blend in and pretend to know what I'm doing!! It's also not nearly as much fun to be a tourist on my own. I'm also REALLY sick of the few tv stations that I can watch in English and nothing being open past 7-8pm at night!!!
I perked up some over the weekend though. I just relaxed for almost all of it and it was GREAT! I'm finally just about healthy again and rested up. =) Saturday was beautiful and I ventured out wandering for a little bit, but yesterday was very cold and rainy.
School was surprisingly better today. Carolyn and I chatted a bit about some things and hopefully things will also get better after the open house on Wednesday afternoon. The kids are rushing to complete their imaginary city brochures by then, which makes things veeerrrry stressful lately.
I was also somewhat efficient today and got a lot of things done, including a bulletin board that I've been trying to get together for a few days. Yay! The kids are also making a lot of progress on their brochures and I'm much more confident that they'll all be done in time. =)
It was really really cold today though. It was snowing like crazy this morning and randomly on and off all day. They don't often get snow here so the kids were really excited about it (and took foreverrrrr getting all of their snow gear on and off)!
Plans for this week:
- Hopefully getting things done on my teaching portfolio, I have tons of pictures and other "evidence" but gotta start plugging everything in!
- Getting Carolyn to sign off on my teaching hours that I've done here
- Hanging out with Mairead and Faye next weekend and being tourists and having lots of fun!!! I'm way excited for this and determined to make it happen. =)
- Cleaning/organizing the apartment because Casey & Marie come home next Monday!
- Taking tons of pics at the Open House on Wed. for my portfolio, since I did a lot of full responsibility teaching during this project because I often had my own groups that I worked with every day.
- Probably staying after school very late tomorrow to laminate all the brochures and finish getting the room ready for the Open House (which is actually during the schoolday, 2-3pm).
- ENJOYING MY LAST FULL WEEK IN THE COUNTRY!!!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
So we got into the airport, checked her in, grabbed another nice woman to take our picture and she was off to home. =(
After leaving the airport, I went shopping and bought a cute basket to put Marie & Casey's mail in & a few presents for people. =) I also bought a few grocery things and hit the bakery on my way home to get a few pastries to last me the weekend. YAAAAY!
Although I just had to post that as of 1:35pm (mom's plane took off at 1:20pm), the sun came out for the first time in the last week!! Mom complained all week about how there wasn't any sun and it comes out just after she leaves. hehehehe. Oh well, we had a fantastic week anyways!!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I made it through the day barely, but I was definitely sitting on the floor beside the desks helping kids write their paragraphs for a project. It was quite funny though because my head was barely above the level of their desks and they really didn't know how to take that. =)
My mom came in to school today and met my students, teacher, etc. The kids were thrilled with the pencils (with eraser-ends!!) and some pencil-top erasers she brought for the other pencils that don't have the erasers on them (because they drive me INSANE). I wrote their initials on them with Sharpie, but I'm sure they'll still be lost before Friday. They were very cute today though and really tried very hard to do all the things we asked them to do. It was good.
Then mom & I went shopping for a little bit at Waterfront Shopping (a mall in Hellerup, near the family's house) and in downtown Hellerup, then back to her hotel to change into jeans and sneakers. YAY! We had originally planned to go to the Round Tower (google it, way cool!) and look at the sky from their observatory on top, but decided we were too tired and it's cloudy anyways so we wouldn't see much. Came back to the apartment, made dinner, washed dishes & laundry, and mom called some people and chatted with Skype....... which is pretty much the coolest program ever created! =)
She went home around 8:30pm and I've tried to catch up with some online stuff, but going to bed very very soon.
I'm taking tomorrow and Friday off from teaching to hang out with mom before she leaves, so we've got lots of stuff scheduled!!
- Mom's checking out of her hotel and coming to stay at the apt. with me for the last few days she's here, saving several hundred dollars.
- She's getting here about 10am-ish, taking over my computer while I get ready (since I'm sure I won't be by then).
- Then, we're going to eat lunch at O'Leary's, the Boston-based sportsbar in the central train station. YAY BOSTON SPORTS! =)
- After lunch we're off to Tivoli: http://www.tivoli.dk/composite-4983.htm <----AWESOME!!!!
- Not sure what we're doing afterwards, probably just crashing. =)
- Christian (Marie's brother) is supposed to come by at some point to pick up his mail & Marie's extra key, but not sure exactly when. He seemed like such a nice guy on the phone tonight when I called him about the mail he got; he told me that I should definitely call him if I have any problems with the apartment or anything. Very nice of him!
- I'm teaching all day and not sure what mom's doing, but she's meeting me at school in the afternoon to go to Bettina & Jan's around 4pm.
- I called Bettina tonight to see when they'll be around and we decided that after-school Thursday is the only time/day that works before my mom leaves Friday @ noon-ish. She's going to bake a cake and make tea/coffee; I told her not to make a big fuss and she said it'd be easy because she's not even making us dinner or anything.
- The reason she's not making us dinner is because mom and I are going to Thanksgiving dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe @ 7pm! I'm way excited because not only am I getting a real Thanksgiving dinner (even though I'm out of the U.S.), it'll be my first time going to any HRC! WHEEEEEEE. I'm sure lots of pictures will be taken with the new camera my mom brought me to use for now, since my camera decided to die on Friday.
- Not sure what'll happen that night, maybe back into Tivoli for a little bit to get pictures of all the lights at night? I dunno.
- Leaving from the apartment in late morning and mom flies out at about 1:20pm, I think?
- Then trying to figure out what I'm doing over the evening/weekend, maybe going to hang out with my new friend Faye. =)
Faye is a girl that I met last week at school when she was in substituting for the teacher nextdoor. She's 24 years old, from England, moved here for her boyfriend (who works with the elephants at the zoo!!), and has been in Denmark for only about 1.5-2 weeks more than I have! So we bonded about the craziness of living here, not speaking Danish, and substitute teaching. She's actually certified to teach high school science, so we have a lot in common!! She doesn't really know anybody besides her boyfriend & some casual friends from school, so hopefully we can meet up and have fun sometime before I leave; she's very nice and makes me laugh a lot.
- I don't think I've mentioned that I have been watching a lot of tv at the apartment, basically the Discovery Science channel and the Animal Planet channel. They only have about 30 channels and at least 3/4 of those are in Danish! I have managed to catch a couple of movies in English on TCM and some other channel, but my regular tv channels are generally restricted to DS, AP, CNN, VH1, and MTV. CNN and VH1 are pretty boring most of the time and MTV seems to be permanently stuck in the late 80's-early 90's (For example, a show consisting of Beavis and Butthead commenting about TLC songs). Soooo yeah, Discovery Science it is!
- I went to the Experimentarium in Hellerup on Sunday. It was an extremely awesome hands-on science museum!!! Mom and I spent several hours there and had a ton of fun. I also bought 2 plate-spinning sets! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plate_spinning Yes, exactly like the ones I used to use in gym class @ Mahar. I'm getting ready for my back-up plan of joining the circus! =)
- It's really annoying that they don't really have tissues in Denmark. I don't know what they use, but I haven't seen ANY around in stores or anything! Luckily, my classroom has about 40 little packs of tissues sitting on a shelf so I took a few to use until I feel better.
- I introduced mom to the famous Danish hotdogs........I think she's had like 5 in the past 4 days. =)
- My daddy got into an accident with his car today at home. He couldn't really explain it all (he has brain damage from an aneurysm) but something about him spinning around in the snow today and getting a flat tire, possibly dents too. So yeah, that's a little worrying! He doesn't usually drive in the snow at all but I guess it hadn't started when he left the house. He's okay though and supposedly some guy he knows is going to fix it for him?? I didn't quite get what he was telling us.
- My teacher is frustrating me quite a bit lately. I don't want to go into it here though. Just yeah, frustrating.
Anyways, I'm gonna head to bed now to get better. I was going to head to bed early, but figured I had to put an update up to keep everybody up-to-date (and for my memories later). Hope everything's well at home! Missing everybody...
Monday, November 19, 2007
Things have just been really really busy lately. Teaching is still exhausting (for a wide variety of reasons I don't really want to go into here) and my mom arrived here on Saturday to visit for this week!! So we've done lots of exploring and wandering around the city and stuff; it's a good time!
Just finishing up making some dinner right now, but for those people who want to know what's happened in the last 2 days or so (ADAM).... you can check out my mom's blog about being here: www.heleneindenmark.blogspot.com
(I KNOW! My mom has a blog!!!! hahaha, I'm working on catching her up to the 21st century.)
I'll try and get more stuff up soon though! It's looking like it'll be another busy busy week! I have tonssss of pictures that I'll try to put up probably tomorrow afternoon/evening. =)
I'll leave you with the highlight of my entire day, a conversation with one of my students (J.)...
[J. slides off her seat and under the table to pick up an eraser]
ME: You looked like you were melting... are you the Wicked Witch of the West??!
J: YES!! I AM!!
ME: Do you know what I'm talking about?
J: Yes, I do!! [giggles]
ME: Okay, so where is the Wicked Witch of the West from?
ME: [laughing] Nooooo, you don't know what I'm talking about then.
J: YES, I DO!!
ME: Then where is she from?
ME: [laughing even harder] No! It's from the Wizard of Oz.
J: I know!! I saw it in America first and then in Norway!
(She's from Norway.)
She cracks me up and is the sweetest little kid I've ever known. Can't I take her home with me? ;-)
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I also woke up at about 4-4:30 this morning out of a dead sleep because I dreamt of Kyle Flood. I don't remember exactly what it was about, but he was walking down a street with some other guy that I knew (possibly Ben Hause?? not sure) and then Roselle painted them. I just sorta thought, "WOW, it seemed like he was right there walking towards me!!" and then went back to sleep.
However, when my alarm went off at 6:30 I jumped up and started freaking out that something had happened at home. I convinced myself that I'm just paranoid and managed to distract myself all day at school, but I've still been checking my email and stuff like crazy just to make sure. So anything going on out there that I should know about???
My 2nd thought after the one about something bad was that maybe it was Kyle/my brain reminding me to be patient with my boys today. They were really really wild yesterday and my teacher was stressed beyond all belief, so I especially tried to keep the 4 major instigators in line today. All 4 are extremely smart and articulate, but have some problems with self-control and following directions. They're definitely the type of kids that I get along with usually so they've kinda become "my group" in the classroom. I spend a lot of time trying to catch them BEFORE they get into trouble for misbehaving/talking/whatever. I'm fairly successful with 2 of them but not as well bonded with the other 2, so working on that!
They are absolutely exhausting though. Everyday I come home right after school and basically have a mental crash and have to relax instead of exploring the city or anything. Not so great, but I'm trying to keep from getting the sicknesses that my kids all have!!! We've had at least 4-6 kids out every day since last Tuesday! I don't want it!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I've gotta go pass out now, but I'll try to do a better update on things happening lately tomorrow. Goodnight!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
- Casey & Marie are awesome!
- I love their apartment....and their shower has a curtain!!!!
- I now have Skype set up, so I called my mom and grandmother last night to chat. It was nice. =)
- I spent a long time talking with Roselle (my professor) last night at a cafe & then a bar where we went to watch Casey perform.
- He sounds great in person too, Mel. And I asked him about getting cd(s) and he said he'll burn some for me before I leave!! YAY!
- I've figured out how to use the bus nearby to get places ON MY OWN!!!! Sorta kind ish.
- Casey took Roselle and me to Christiania. Go look it up, I'm too lazy to do so right now. But it was really neat and I heard some good music performed there too. And have a ton of cool pictures of different murals/graffiti from there to post at some point.
- Missing the family, but I'm hopefully going to catch up with them tomorrow with Roselle after school. Mostly to introduce Roselle to them and return the house keys that I still have........and also cuz I miss them already! =) Victor asked Bettina if Amalie could move out and I could stay there instead of moving to the apartment, way cute.
That's all for now because I've gotta be up way early in the morning to figure out how to get to school via bus and train! But I have a bunch of new pictures on Flickr from the field trip on Friday, leaving from Bettina & Jan's and adventures from today. Go look and comment! http://www.flickr.com/photos/abby6384/
Saturday, November 10, 2007
St. Theresa's Prayer:
May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinitepossibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that youhave received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.
The field trip went GREAT!!! Carolyn was a little....stressed, shall we say, and was running around crazy all morning. She got a little bit of a snappish tone with me a few times during the trip about things that weren't completely my fault (i.e. Mairead begging me to lock her classroom door for her while she watched my class for a few minutes at assembly and when one of my kids wandered a few feet away from my group during the trip), but I just tried to remember that she was stressed out about everything anyways (and I definitely wasn't the only one to have one of my students get away from me...we have a class full of wanderers!!!).
It rained and was windy, but the kids didn't complain as much as I thought they would. We left at about 9:20 and got back to school around 2:15, so almost 5 hours of walking around the city! I had a wonderful group of 2 boys and 2 girls. My girls were really, really good; I never had to worry about where they were for my headcounts!! My boys are known to be a bit of a handful, so I had volunteered to take them and actually had a fantastic time with them!! One of them is SO smart but has a lot of problems with self-control and following directions..... exactly one of the kids that I get along with usually. I talked with him several times about what I expected from him behavior-wise and he's basically latched on to me as his new bestest buddy. Morning was a little rough and I kept having to call his name every few minutes to stay with my group and/or stop doing something, but the afternoon he was really great. I'm so proud of him; he really tried hard!
I have tons of pics that I'll try to get up sometime this weekend maybe. Not sure exactly what's going on with everything still.
I wore my Red Sox hat all day because of the rain and it was great!! Several of the parent chaperones are from the States and I had a convo with one girl's dad about the season and USA stuff for quite a while. He was really nice and lent me his umbrella so I could take pictures without worrying about getting my camera wet. Of course, this lead to one of my group's girls asking, "Do you like [other girl]'s dad??!". lol. I was caught completely off-guard and couldn't help but laugh because my first thought was definitely, "He's at least 40+ and most likely married....I don't think so!!!!". However, I just told her that it was inappropriate to ask those kinds of questions (although he was a very nice guy and very kind to me). Still made me laugh though. =) I also got to meet another big Sox fan when I got back to the school! Apparently he's in the military (maybe??) and he stayed up all night during the Series so he could watch the games at like 3am on the military's special channel for American shows, etc. Still representin', even across the ocean! =)
So cute tonight, Malthe and Victor came in and asked me if I wanted to watch Spiderman 3 with them. Of course I couldn't say no, so that's what I spent most of the night doing except for a short break around 9pm when we walked to the gas station to buy some junk food. hehehe. I definitely spent $10 to buy Ben & Jerry's ice cream (strawberry cheesecake flavor)!!! Jan and I split that and he said it was the highlight of his day. YAY!
I'm really very sad that I move tomorrow (well if you want to be technical, today I guess), however I did manage to get a phone today!!! So now I have a way to reach them easily whenever I want to visit and vice versa. Jan and I (and maybe the boys??) are leaving tomorrow/today at about 10am to go to another big flea market and then to the new apartment. Still haven't updated about the new things with that but it's late and I'm sleepy now. So you'll have to wait!
Overall things have been going pretty well for me lately. I've been really tired this week in a combo of staying up too late and not being able to sleep very well. However, it is now almost 1:30am and I'm still not headed to bed!! I'm still feeling kinda stuffy from the sinus infection before I left (I don't think the new antibiotics did anything to help really), but otherwise not too bad. Only other thing that's annoying me is that my jaw keeps locking up and I pulled a muscle in my leg yesterday when I slipped going down the few stairs outside the classroom. Stupid Danish rain making them all slippery!! =P
Emotionally I'm pretty good! Things have just been absolutely amazing and it's really exciting to be here!!!! I stopped this afternoon as I was walking to the phone store and just looked around and thought, "OH MY GOSH, I'm really here! After 3 years of planning I am really here in Denmark!!". YAY!
I'm just starting to feel a bit lonely though. It's not so much that I'm homesick as I'm PEOPLEsick. Having this 6 hour time difference means that many of my friends are sleeping when I'm working and then working when I'm home and home when I'm sleeping!! The reason I'm still up now is so I can talk to my mom on AIM for the first time in about a week because she's so busy running basketball. Thankfully, Susie is great and willing to go online at work sometimes instead of being productive (wink wink) when I send a message to her phone begging her to! It's just getting lonely to only be having smalltalk/superficial-type conversations with the people that I've met here so far and having to think about everything I say before it comes out of my mouth, so I don't offend anybody or come off sounding badly. They don't have my sense of humor and it's frustrating.
So yeah, I miss people, that's all.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Tomorrow we're going on a big walking field trip to the center of Copenhagen as part of their unit on cities. Leaving at about 9:30am and won't be back until about 2:30!! I'm sure there will be lots of whining about being tired, etc. but I'm looking forward to getting to see more of the buildings and statues and stuff. It'll also introduce me to taking the train at the station closest to the school, yay! And I'll get to take lots of pictures (since Carolyn's camera is being stupid and she's not exactly technology-savvy...), so I'll try and get those up tomorrow afternoon/evening before I move Sat.
Family is still great and the boys are making me laugh all the time. Between yesterday and today, Victor has suddenly started speaking a ton in English! He is actually taking his own initiative to talk in English around me, instead of having his parents suggest it. Malthe has also picked up a lot of new words!
I watched 2 movies with the boys today: the second Pirates of the Carribean (in English, with Danish subtitles) and just watched the new Jungle Book (in Danish, with English subtitles). And then Jan started having sword fights with the big rubber swords they own, and I jumped in and definitely beat both of the boys. Lots of giggling and running around just before bedtime is good, right??? Well, I had fun at least!
- Malthe looks exactly like Mowgli, facial expressions and all. Not even kidding!
- Carolyn (teacher I work with) sounds exactly like a combination between Maria from the Sound of Music and Mary Poppins, especially when she's annoyed that the kids aren't listening.
- Roselle is arriving in Denmark sometime tomorrow morning (I'm guessing she's leaving very soon, if she's not already in the air).
- I'm exhausted but haven't been able to sleep very well lately. I need a fan!!
- Peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches are faaaantastic! Yes, unhealthy but soooo good.
- Jan has helped build some amazing houses/buildings; I am very impressed.
- I really really REALLY hate loading other people's dishwashers. I don't mind unloading, I just hate trying to follow somebody else's system for loading!
- I had a really long, really good conversation with Carolyn at lunch today. She's worried that I won't meet anybody [at school/in the area] to hang out with while I'm here because she's older (like 40s, I think). So she's thinking about having me help out in a couple other classrooms, just so I can meet people. lol. I like her.
- About the pictures, I black out the faces on the kids because I don't have parental permission to be posting their faces online. Just confidentiality stuff, ya know? Also, the reason why I won't use any of my kids' names when talking about the class. Just smarter that way. =)
- I'm not sure when I will be online next, but probably will make it on at least once more before I move. I'm assuming I'll be able to get online at Marie & Casey's apartment but I haven't actually verified that yet. I'll probably just wait until I get there because I know they're both super busy right now!
Okay, bedtime. Or at least going upstairs to get things ready for tomorrow and stuff! =)
(PS- Hi, Mikaela! It's nice to hear from you... it's been a long time since I saw you last. How is school and everything?)
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Adam- check these out; there are several scenery/architecture pics!
ANY OTHER REQUESTS, FOLKS?? Help me take pics of things that are important! I can't even think of what I'll wish I took pictures of after I get home, so give me suggestions!!! =)
However, I have gotten a little better at READING Danish than before I came. I can use context clues and stuff, as well as remembering some things Sona taught me to figure out what some words mean.
Of course that didn't help me be very successful today. I'm 1-for-3 on the things I had to get (only made it to the bank)!! I spent 5 straight hours walking around the city today and couldn't find a place that had prepaid cell phones or a way to buy a 30-day transport pass. I DID manage to find the train station by the school though (after 45 min. of looking around the area to find it), so that was a plus. I found a couple nice shops to buy some presents in before I leave and bought a cute little tote bag thing at H&M, but other than that I only bought some food things (couple apples, Mt. Dew!, a cookie, and one of the famous Danish hotdogs).
Which brings me to the highlight of the day.........Danish hotdogs are amazing. I really thought I wouldn't like it because of several things, but here's what it is anyways (in this order):
2. Long, thin bright red "hotdog" (more like sausage than a regular hotdog & yes, DYED bright red usually)
4. Spicy mustard
5. Sweet mustard
6. Remoulade (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/remoulade)
7. Chopped fresh onion
8. Crispy, fried onions (kinda like french-style onions)
9. Thinly sliced pickles
And of these things, I usually don't like sausages, ketchup (unless with french fries... which I'm craving!!), spicy mustard, mayonnaise (the base of remoulade), or onions of any kind!
However, I decided to try it anyways just so I could know for sure and I ended up really liking it. As long as I took a bite of everything together it tasted really good, I just didn't like it when I had one part separated from the others. But yes, super good and relatively cheap as far as food goes here: about $4.50. YAY!
So yeah, that's my day. I was pretty discouraged when I got home (and would give almost anything to walk into a store and be able to understand everyone and everything inside of it!), but I'm better now. I just need to keep in mind that I've only been here for one week!!! It feels like so much longer than that... I'm really really gonna miss the family when I move and when I eventually go home. =( They've helped me out so much and I don't know what I'll do when I don't have anybody to ask all my stupid questions about how to get things here!
OH YEAH, stupid moment of the day.......I couldn't figure out how to get into the bank this morning. I was wiggling it all around and there were people inside but I couldn't get it to open. Until a little old lady came up and showed me that I have to PUSH the door instead of PULL on it. I was soooooo embarrassed, but just had to laugh at myself with it; she did too! (In my admittedly weak defense, it had a pull-type of handle and when was the last time you walked into a store and had to PUSH the door in?! Apparently, the doors all open inwards in Denmark.) However, it gave me another reason to like 7-11...they have automatic doors! Yay for American stupidity!! ;)
And can we just kill the 80s please? Seriously, I'm so ready to have a mass burning of leggings and flourescent colors. I found ONE shirt that I actually liked today, everything else was ridiculously expensive, 80's, or black. [/end rant]
However, I am highly amused that a ton of kids things (and some adult ones) have a pirate theme! There are skull&crossbones on everything from hats to shirts to bags to shoes; I love it!!! I almost bought a cute black totebag that had a pink skull&crossbones all over it, but I figured that I'm too old to use it on a regular basis in America. Sad. But I bought a polka dotted one instead! YAY.
Okay, really going now. Miss you guys!! It's not so much the actual home thing that I miss though, it's more that I miss being able to talk to my friends and such. This 6 hour time difference really kills a lot of possible times to chat since I'm working or sleeping when they're available and vice versa. Oh wellllll, mom comes in like 10 days! =)
PS- Susie, I have like 80 pictures but a lot of them are of my kids & I'd have to go black out all their faces (and it'd be boring for you guys anyways). I'll try to get more pictures once I'm actually out doing things & can carry my camera with me. And it starts getting dark here at like 4 and I'm at school til 3:30!! But more will be coming, promise! Anything in particular that you want pics of???
I do take picture requests! I just don't know what you guys want to see!
He was very serious about the walking to school thing and told me every turn we have to make, etc. (I don't think he realizes that I walk the same route as he does every day!) They usually cross the street farther up than I'm used to though, so I almost missed that there was a light to cross. He immediately points at the light and says, "Abby? Red, no. Green, yes!" *** He really is a very smart kid and has gained a lot of English in just this past week I've been here.
I'm currently doing laundry and then heading out to the bank, cell phone place, and probably some general shopping. Nothing opens here until 9:30am at the earliest and most places at 10am, so I figured that I might as well do laundry since I had to wait after bringing Malthe to school.
- *** Nobody jay walks here. Ever. It's so weird to see all these people following the rules all the time!! =)
- I don't think I've mentioned this yet: commas = periods in Danish sometimes. I don't quite understand when each one is used, but I know that it's true in writing prices. So, prices look like this: 37,00 dkk. And then you add in this: 1.789,00 dkk and I get all confused!! But periods are still used at the end of sentences though. Interesting, eh?
- They have a lot of 7-11 stores here. I was very excited this morning to find Mountain Dew there!! I've only seen Coke products around Denmark, so yay for finding Pepsi! I also had a boy notice my Red Sox hat and point it out to his friend in there, which I found really amusing. I just smiled at them and hoped they knew about the Sox. =)
I ADDED NEW PICTURES FROM SCHOOL ON FLICKR, so go check them out! =)
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
- I really like the teacher that I'm working with. Carolyn's from England and has been teaching for over 20 years in pre-k, k, 1st, and in 3rd for 2-3 years I think. She's very nice and willing to help me in any way, as well as wanting me to jump in as much as possible. I started out my first day working with a spelling group of children who barely speak English!! EEEEEK!
- Carolyn also likes me though, since I wasn't afraid to jump in and tell kids to quiet down or stop fooling around even on my first day. (I'm totally my mother's daughter on that one!!) She's also super excited that I told her I actually enjoy organizing paperwork and stuff. I'm going to be in charge of organizing her (and the other 3rd grade teacher, Mareide's) huge notebooks of assessment paperwork. =)
- Our class, 3A, consists of 20 children..... 11 girls and 9 boys. Of these, I think only 2 kids are actually fully Danish! The rest of the students come from a wide variety of countries including several from America, as well as students from Japan, New Zealand, England, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, and more.
- Many of the students speak several other languages in addition to English. One boy was telling me that he's fluent in 3 languages and working on learning 2 others!! FIVE languages at a point that most American children can barely speak ONE! Oyyyyy.
- However, there are also 5 children who speak little-to-no English. The best English-speakers of this group: boy who moved from Latvia (speaks Latvian & Russian) sometime last year and a girl from Japan (speaks Japanese, duh) who moved in about April. Then, there is another girl who is also from Japan and came in September. And at the very bottom, speaking/understanding almost no English at all, are a set of boy-girl twins who moved here from Hungary (speak German only) about 3 weeks ago. I feel really bad that these kids never know what's going on in the classroom!! Luckily, there are several kids who can translate for the twins and one boy in the class who can translate into Japanese for the 2 girls. (The Latvian boy understands a good majority of English phrases now.)
- Aside from some language barriers, these guys are pretty similar to my 3rd graders from home. This class seems to be a little ahead of where my MA students are in their math and writing, but just as loud and energetic!!!
- I have the day off tomorrow because they're having a professional development day that's about things unimportant to me, so Carolyn said not to bother going in at all. YAY!
- They are still wonderful and I'm going to miss them all very much when I move on Saturday. =( Bettina, Jan, and I have been chatting quite a bit more lately and it's been a lot of fun.
- I bonded with Amalie last night over Grey's Anatomy episodes that I'd downloaded. I really do like her a lot, I just haven't socialized with her too much. I usually just kinda freeze up and don't know what to talk about with her. She's unlike any 16 year old girl I've ever known, but not in a bad way. She seems very mature for her age.
- Victor has finally started interacting with me more!! In English even! He's just started really want to know what we're all talking about in English and is always asking what we're saying. Tonight we went to Saskia's apartment and he asked Bettina about where I was going to be moving to, then said that he really wants to visit me at the new apartment. I also saw him looking at a calendar later, counting how many days until I leave. Way cute!
- He came in here a little while ago and asked carefully in English (after Jan coached him how) if I wanted some tea. Then, he sat next to me for a few minutes just watching me checking my emails and stuff, just wanting to hang out I guess. Although it might have been that he was hoping I'd show him pictures and videos again, like I did last night. (Nothing is better than watching camp staff members dance and try to build a human pyramid!!!) He also has been following Malthe's lead in saying hello, goodbye, and goodnight to me in English all the time. He's a really sweet kid once he starts opening up some (and isn't in a bad mood)!
- And Malthe is still adorable. I'm going to walk him to school tomorrow morning because Bettina and Jan both have to work and Amalie is staying at Saskia's for a few days. He was at a friend's house this afternoon, but Bettina told him that I was going to be bringing him to school in the morning and he just got a huge grin on his face. He's very excited to spend time with me! =) He has really been trying hard to learn English to speak with me and is always asking Bettina or Jan how to say something to me. When we got home tonight he came in and said, "Here, a present for you!" and gave me a ring made out of twisted copper wires. That and his huge smile just made me want to melt. Where can I order a kid just like him???? I think I'll miss seeing/listening to him the most! =)
- Love love loooooove this whole family and I will definitely be back visiting them a lot before I leave! And maybe I can convince them to come see Massachusetts sometime so I can show them there's more to the US than just NYC!!
- Bed ASAP! I barely slept last night because I couldn't fall asleep (and could hear Victor talking in his sleep a lot, teeheehee), it was a very long and loud day, and I've still got to be up early to get Malthe ready and walk him to school.
- Thennnn, I'm off to find out about getting a prepaid cell phone to use while I'm here....as well as do some shopping!!
- Bank to cash in travelers cheques, I'm down to about $20USD from the $150ish that I started with.
- Roselle, my professor/supervisor, is coming to visit and "observe" me teaching here from Friday-Tuesday! Short trip but I'll introduce her around to everybody and she's coming in to the school on Monday before she leaves.
- Saturday is when I move to Marie & Casey's; I'll update more on that later in the week! They're both super busy and things are a bit crazy with it all, but still good.
Okay, I've really got to go sleep now. I've had to correct about 15 typos in the last 2 min. of writing, eek!! Love and goodnight.
Monday, November 5, 2007
I'll update with more details later, I'm off to watch Grey's Anatomy episodes (that I downloaded) with Amalie!!
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Also, pleeeease leave your name or nickname on your comments so I can figure out who you are! For example, I know several different Kimberly's so I had to go ask a few to figure out which one commented. (Hi, Kimmie!!! CONGRATULATIONS ON GETTING ENGAGED!!!! )
Today (so far):
I got up a little late this morning (about 9:30am) and went over to a big flea market with Bettina and Jan before they had to get the kids. I finally got to pay for something!! It was just the entrance fees (about $6 each), but it's a start. =)
They walked around for a little while with me, but I finally convinced them that they could go on ahead since I was going so slowly. I had to look at everything and calculate prices and admire!
Bettina had to leave to get the kids at about 11am, but Jan stayed there for another 40 min. or so. He translated a few things for me and helped me find out if a necklace had nickel in it or not (I'm allergic and break out if I wear anything with it). It didn't and so I bought it for about $10! It's really pretty... silver-ish metal with some green stones and a small dragonfly charm attached to the bigger metal design. I'll get a picture up ASAP to show because it's hard to describe.
I didn't have too hard of a time buying things on my own too though. I asked a few questions in English and people were kind enough to overlook that I'm a dumb American and can't speak Danish. =) I still felt really awkward though. It's definitely uncomfortable going to another country and asking people to concede to using my language instead. BLAH.
Anyways, I also bought a pair of really comfortable lambwool slippers too!! The lady asked me my size and I said I didn't know because I'm from America [and we have to go and be special instead of using European sizes]. I looked inside my shoe though and found that I'm wearing a size 41.5, so suggested trying a 42. She said that it couldn't be that big, but then agreed once she held my shoe. She had me try a 41 and then found out that I was right with a 42. hehehe. She tried to make me feel better by saying the slippers ran small, but I told her I already know I have big feet and it's okay. Those cost about $30 and I don't think I'm ever going to take them off again!! Who needs to see the city when I can stay home and wear these warm slippers?!! =)
But then came the highlight of the day.... I bought a true Danish pastry. I think it had chocolate and bananas on top and it was absolutely delicious!!! The poor teenage guy selling them was trying to ask me things in Danish and I just completely froze up and stared at him blankly. He then spoke to me in English, very slowly saying "Sev-en-teen." I smiled my gratitude and handed him a 20dkk coin; he laughed and gave me my change. That was probably the hardest part of my day too though. I hate admitting that I can't speak Danish, so I basically tried very hard not to talk to anybody instead of asking in English. I then had to go back and buy a drink afterwards though, so I just asked for a chocolate milk (15dkk) in English that time.
Of course, I get thrown off by the fact that everything less than 100dkk bill (about $20) is represented in coins. So it wasn't until after I ate everything and was walking back home that I calculated that the drink cost me $3 and the pastry was about $4.50!! Oops, I need to remember that coins are worth a lot too!
Then, I wandered back to the house and loaded the pics onto my computer. =) Poor Malthe came home from Anna's and wasn't feeling well, so he crashed on the couch for a few hours. He felt a lot better when he woke up and got dressed to go to his halloween party with the rest of the family. They're supposed to be back around 5ish and Amalie is coming back from her friend's around 4ish, I think. So I'm home alone with Mocca right now. I might take her for a walk in a little bit to take more pictures and time how long it'll take me to walk to school tomorrow morning. WHEEEE!!
I'm too lazy to figure out how to put the pics individually in here, so I'll just send you to my flickr site to look at them! I'll try to keep that updated too with labels of what I'm doing and such. http://www.flickr.com/photos/abby6384/
Saturday, November 3, 2007
-went to a costume shop with Bettina and the kids to try to find costume pieces for a party they're going to at Malthe's school tomorrow afternoon. (I've gracefully backed out of joining them, since the kids don't speak English and it would just be a long afternoon of awkwardness!)
-then back home to meet up with Jan, then they dropped Malthe off to go play at Anna's house for the day & sleepover.
-took the bus to the center of CPH called Amager. Jan pointed out lots of cool things to me and I know my mom's going to love all the fancy architecture around here!! He also got me a bus/train/subway map and started marking where things were.... yes, my own "YOU ARE HERE" map! =)
-got some food at a cute cafe that I believe must exist in NYC too because they had some pictures of various NYC things on the wall. They ordered me a panini-type sandwich that had turkey, some white kind of creamy cheese (I think?), pesto, and tomato on it. Yes, mom, I did actually eat it without pulling the tomatoes off! (I just swallowed it quickly... I still think tomatoes are gross!)
-wandered down the street for the next 1.5 hours, very busy place! I tried to talk to Victor in a combination of English and Danish and he still had no idea what I was trying to say. So frustrating not to be able to communicate with him!!!!
-met Saskia for a few minutes while she was working. She seems nice and we may get together with her sometime next week too.
-saw a sign for Tivoli! =) And took a bunch of pictures of buildings and stuff.
-were freezing at that point, so we walked back to take the bus home and Amalie went off to visit a friend for overnight. (Sat next to a really cute guy on the bus home! hehehe)
-got home and I went to read in my room for a little while, then went out with Jan to drop Victor off to sleepover at his (female) friend's house. I don't know how to spell the girl's name, but I got to meet her mom and dad because the mom's father is American, so she could speak English perfectly. (Such a nice break!!)
-I talked to Jan in the car about the whole coed sleepovers thing and he said it's very common for kids of all ages to do it. That amazed me, since I don't know any 12 year olds that are allowed to have coed sleepovers in the U.S.!
-Had reheated lasagna for dinner with Bettina and Jan. It was a little awkward at first because it's so quiet without the kids, but we got into a big discussion about what animals we have in our countries and then another big talk about ADHD and pros/cons of using Ritalin. The more I talk to them, the more things I find that Victor and I have in common. I suggested that they talk to their doctor about finding another med for him, since the Ritalin is bothering his stomach. I'm also going to bring my meds downstairs and put them in the kitchen next to his, so he can see that he's not the only one on meds. (Apparently they only know one other person who's ever been on ADHD meds and they were a completely different kind.)
-now I'm home alone because the kids are gone and Jan and Bettina went out to see a movie. But they're coming in the door right now, so I'm going to go talk with them in a few! =)
More differences I've noticed:
1. They don't have regular baby carriages here, they use prams instead! So cute to see the little tiny babies all bundled up in a huge pram. But I have noticed that the prams are much easier to navigate on and off buses than regular carriages would be!
2. It is very stylish to wear black here! I almost lost the family a few times, but could find them only because Victor was wearing a bright red vest and stood out among the sea of khaki and black. There aren't very many bright colors around.
3. The stores close wicked early here!! And it's also the opposite of the U.S., because their stores close earlier on the weekends than during the week. The big shopping street's stores all close at 4pm on the weekends and 5pm on the weekdays. I'm pretty sure this is because family-style dinner is so important in their culture. Everyday we are all together at dinner and then Bettina, Jan, Amalie, and I always sit and talk for another 1-2 hours afterwards! It's really nice actually. =)
4. There are so many people here! And then I was listening to Victor's friend's mom talk and say that Stockholm is so much better than Copenhagen, because it's so small here!!! It was so intimidating to be on the streets and surrounded by people and huge buildings.
5. Danes = extremely skinny. Like whoa, skinny. Case-in-point, I just realized today that Amalie is about the same height as I am. I thought she was shorter because she probably weighs about 95-100 pounds; she's very tiny!
6. Not many Danes wear glasses. I looked through Amalie's yearbook-type thingy this morning and I think I saw maybe 2 kids who had glasses. Tall, skinny, beautiful, AND perfect eyesight I guess! Totally not fair.
7. However, Danish/European guys seem to be big on the whole "metrosexual" thing. I can't tell who's straight and who's gay!! I did see a cute gay couple walking down the street with their arms around each other though, which I couldn't imagine happening so casually in the U.S. (except for in certain areas like P-town and such, but not in NYC or Boston)! Very interesting.
8. I've seen way too many people wearing Yankees hats here! I'm sure they don't know that the NY symbol stands for the Yankees (or even the significance of the Yankees in general), but still! DOWN WITH YANKEES FANS! ;)
9. It feels like time is flying and passing slowly at the same time. I realized today that it feels like I'm dreaming or in a movie or something. Aren't I supposed to understand people talking all around me??! lol. Gotta work on that I guess...
Still enjoying Denmark and the family. Still not being allowed to pay for anything or help out at all. Still nervous about going in to the school on Monday to meet the teachers & students!
Bedtime now. Goodnight, folks! Remember to change your clocks so you'll be SIX hours behind me!!! =)
Jetlag is starting to feel better, but still a little woozy when I woke up. I don't know if it's the jetlag or the lack of white noise, but I woke up several times last night and my body definitely tried to convince me that 4am = time to get up. BLAH. I stayed in bed until 9 though. =)
I'm waiting right now for Bettina to finish making pancakes. She refuses to let me help with anything though! I feel bad that she's going to all this trouble for me and won't let me help, but hopefully she'll get over that soon.
The kids are up and watching cartoons in the living room. I can't understand any of it, but I just heard the tune of "What would you do with a drunken sailor." I'm not sure what time they actually got up, but I heard them around 8:15ish. Anna fell asleep watching the movie last night and Jan had to carry her up the scary, narrow staircase. She didn't wake up at all!! I'm not sure where Victor slept last night, but I'm pretty sure that Malthe and Anna slept in his bed (because it's a full-size, I believe). He didn't sleep in Malthe's room, so I'm guessing he may have stayed in the room with M & A, or maybe crashed in Amalie's room.
Amalie gets along so much better with her brothers than most 16 year olds that I know! Perhaps it's just because I'm a guest, but she seems so loving with them all of the time. Even when they are being hyper and Malthe is arguing with her! She's very sweet.
I think I get to meet Saskia today when we go to the center! Jan mentioned last night that she works selling shoes at a nearby boutique. Salli then jumped in and talked about how she hates it, but is trying to save money so she can take a big trip to several different countries like Tibet, China, and Russia. I think that's really cool though. I hope I get a chance to talk with her some today. =)
Okay, I'm going to go sit in the kitchen and maybe force Bettina to let me help set the table or something! Have a wonderful day; I'll try to update again tonight if I have the time.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Malthe had a sip too, "YUMMMM!" He's a funny little kid and happy. I don't think I've seen him without a smile since I got here!
Okay, bedtime. Seriously.
(Note to self- download the latest Grey's episode!!)
I found out that I have more things in common with Victor (and he's started interacting with me a little more too)! We both have tendencies to talk and walk in our sleep, as well as having ADHD!!! I had a long, long talk with Jan and his father, Salli, tonight about it and they were quite interested to know all the information I have about it. I guess he's been on Ritalin for the past 6 months or so, which is clearly evident that he's going into the weekend of not taking it. But I love working with ADHD kids, so I think it will be fun "talking" with him more! He was really cute today though. He keeps coming into the room, looking at me, smiling, and then darting out again. (He's actually sitting on the floor next to me right now, petting and kissing Mocca on the head. SO CUTE!!!!)
We didn't end up going to the center of the city tonight because Bettina had plans to go out with her coworkers and Malthe's friend is staying over, but we're hopefully going tomorrow afternoon instead. YAY!
Tonight's dinner was really nice tonight. It was much more relaxed because Jan just treated me like I was a normal person instead of a super special guest, so I got to just watch them interact more. Also, Salli ate with us and spent a lot of the time talking with me in English. The lasagna was different than what I expected, but still really yummy. We also had a nice sidedish of shredded carrots and raisins with lime juice that I absolutely loved! I'll have to remember to make it at home to eat. YUMMMM.
Then the kids went to watch a movie and I chatted for a few hours with Jan and Salli, then another 1.5 with just Salli. They're both very sociable and we laughed a lot at the various stories they could tell about each other and experiences and stuff. Like Salli telling me about how he just met his first "real American" a few months ago (as compared to people who are half-European).... the guy was a History professor from U. of Indiana (I think) and spent the whole time talking about basketball and wanting to eat American-type food. I couldn't stop laughing at the stereotypes. =)
Okay, heading off to bed shortly if my mom doesn't get onto AIM (hint hint). I'll try to get pictures up of the house, room, money, family, whatever up sometime soon. I've got to start remembering to take my camera with me whenever I go out anywhere!!
Love to everybody! Goodnight...
And now for the updates...
- I sat next to a nice couple from Andover on the long flight. The woman, Cindy, chatted with me for quite a while about everything from how much they've traveled to tips of what to see in Copenhagen (cph) to the FOUR aneurysms she has in her brain! (She also told me the doctors said that her children should have MRIs every 5 years to check for any that might develop, because at least one of hers developed within the past 2 years.)
- I made it about 4-4.5 hours on the plane before I started getting antsy. Watched Mr. Bean's Holiday trip thingy....I wasn't a big fan, but whatever. I liked the seats though, they had nice headrests to keep your head from tipping off to the side if you fell asleep. =)
- Food was pretty good! I had meat lasagna at about 8:30pm (with salad, a roll, mini Cadbury Crunch bar, and a slice of brownie cheesecake!!) and then they gave us breakfast a few hours later before we landed in London... that wasn't as good. Cold bacon & eggs in a roll, ick.
- London airport was pretty easy to navigate, but I had to go through security again which ate up about .5 hour of my 1.5 hour layover. I finally got to the gate and had only about 40 min. before they started boarding. I thought it was going to be more impressive, but it just looked like it was from the 80s and worn out.
- Flight to cph wasn't full, so I had an empty seat next to me which was nice. They gave us some drinks and a snack, I think...I can't really remember. =)
- The cph airport was super confusing and huuuuge. I had to walk like a mile to get to the baggage claim!!
- Got to the baggage claim and waited for 30+ minutes until my bags finally showed up. I was starting to freak out because my bags weren't there and Bettina still hadn't found me.
- Spent another 40 minutes wandering around the baggage claim and PANICKING because I couldn't find Bettina and didn't even know what she looked like. I finally asked some guys at a desk if I could get her paged and they told me to check outside because people aren't allowed to come into the airport that way. I then ran outside and she immediately found me! YAY!!!!
- We then drove to the house.
- The house is HUUUUUGE! Jan's father, Salli, lives in the basement/bottom apartment and owns the building.
- Our 1st floor: huge kitchen, huge living room (with piano), bathroom, and office (where I am now) all set up in a sort of circle around the foyer.
- 2nd floor: bathroom, Amalie's room (setup sort of like a mini apartment, with a small kitchen area), Malthe's room, small playroom (where Victor's sleeping for now), and Victor's bedroom (where I'm sleeping for now) again connected on a hallway in a circle around the staircase.
- Then there is a small loft to the attic area, where Jan and Bettina sleep.
- There are tons of huge windows and small porches/balconies off many of the rooms. They also built a large balcony off the living room, which overlooks the garden/yard. It's not finished yet, but very cute.
- Bettina is blonde, very pretty, and petite. I think she's probably about mid-30s or so. She works as a surgical nurse at a nearby hospital. She's trying so hard to make me feel welcome; it's very sweet! We went to the grocery store yesterday to get the pizza, etc. and she backed into a car when we were leaving! A very angry man got out of the car and started screaming at her in Danish about how he needed her number for damage and stuff. She got out and dealt with that, but I don't think she hit it hard enough to cause any big damage.
- Jan (pronounced like "Yen") is tall (about 6'1") with dark brown hair. He's really outgoing and makes me laugh a lot. He told the kids that they have to talk in English all the time now and kept making jokes about things that made the boys laugh and Amalie roll her eyes. He's really nice though!
- Amalie (pronounced sort of like Amelia....Ah-meh-lia) is also a petite blonde and absolutely gorgeous! She speaks English very well and helps/corrects her parents often with their English, but in a nice way. She's a good student and spent all last night doing her homework. She helps take care of her brothers and is very closely bonded with both of them; it's so cute!
- Victor is very shy and doesn't speak very much English, although I think he understands more than he lets on. Bettina was explaining that he apparently has some kind of learning disability and goes to a special school that has much smaller classes than the regular school that Malthe goes to. She also said that they drive him to school 2 days a week, but Friday was a day that he takes the bus. He then jumped in and argued saying, "Car, yes. Bus, NO!" and tried to convince her to drive him instead. lol. He didn't win. =) I tried talking to him some, but he didn't really want to be talking to me and my brain was so fried that I couldn't remember much Danish at all. He's very artistic and likes to draw/paint a lot. He also collects Spiderman stuff.
- He and I have a lot in common though, so I think we may get along well once we can communicate more! Neither of us are morning people and we both like to watch movies and play The Sims. =)
- Malthe (pronounced sort of like Mel-day) is a cutie! He's very chatty and brought a friend home with him, Gilbert, to play. (Yes, I immediately thought of you, Adam!! lol.) He really likes music a lot (listens to a cd of American pop music) and whistles constantly. He had a constant smile on his face and talks so much; I really wish I could understand something that he says!! He made me laugh a ton at dinner last night though! Bettina was trying to get him to practice using English and told him to say something in English. His response was, "crazy b****" and started giggling! I couldn't help but laugh with him, but it's so weird to hear how much they curse in English here. He also was watching a video in the afternoon that translates to "Everybody is 100% A*******."
- I also found out that Jan has an older daught from a previous marriage named Sashia ("Ses-kia"). She's 20 years old and I'll probably meet her sometime in the next few days or so.
- They have a beautiful chocolate lab named Mocca. She's about 3 years old and huge! Loves attention and keeps coming up for me to pet her.
- I'm pretty sure the family is fairly affluent in the community. They have a housekeeper who comes several times a week and they own 2 cars (including an older sports car), which are very expensive to own here. Jan told me that the government tax on buying cars is about 180% and that gasoline costs about $5USD a gallon!!! So, many other Europeans come buy cars here because the prices are so low to offset the huge tax rate, which they don't have to pay because they're not citizens.
- The presents went over very well! I gave them MA maple syrup, MA quarters (Malthe collects foreign money), postcards of a map of MA and pictures of the Berkshires, and gave them each a piece of maple sugar candy! With the exception of Victor (another thing we have in common), they all loved the sugar candy. =)
DIFFERENCES AND ADJUSTMENTS
- They go grocery shopping every few days and so their refrigerator is almost empty.
- There are pretty much no trash cans anywhere! It's so weird to me.
- Amalie (almost 17) has a small stocked bar in her bedroom and the kids have watered down wine with their dinner. Malthe and Gilbert were joking about being drunk and stuff (one of the few phrases that I could understand in Danish, lol). I was offered wine several times last night, as well as several times on the plane. Since I don't like wine (and on antibiotics for a sinus/ear infection), I kept declining and felt like I was almost offending them since I didn't drink any. I explained about the antibiotics and I think they understood more. =)
- The showers are going to be the death of me!! They don't have regular showerheads on them, instead they are handheld and shaped like a magic wand with the water spraying out on 1 side (imagine like a toothbrush, except water coming out where the bristles would be). Also, there are no shower curtains or doors, just drains in the bathroom floor (outside of the shower stall) and a window squeegee-type thing to scrape all the water into the drain after a shower. It's hard enough for me to use the wand to wash with, but also having to keep from spraying it onto the bathroom floor is ridiculous! I took about a 10 min. shower and then spent another 10 trying to squeegee the huge puddle that I made on the floor. I think I'm going to have to start showering at night, I'll never make it in the mornings!!
- I really need to work on my Danish skills! It's so hard to be here and have no idea what's going on, because nothing is said or written in English. For his homework, Malthe read aloud to me in Danish something about 2 boys and their bikes. I think I would have been able to read the page aloud because I could sound it out, but still wouldn't know what it actually meant! (Quick, Jen, what would my DIBELS test say? lol.) I've definitely got to work on expanding my vocabulary.
- Malthe is having a female friend stay over tonight, although I'm not sure where she will be sleeping. But I guess that happens sometimes in the US also, since they're still so young. =)
- Last night we had burgers for dinner, since Malthe had a friend over. They were really good!
- Bettina keeps asking me what I don't like and I told her that I'm willing to try almost anything. However, I was really glad to find out that she and Amalie don't like fish either! YAY!!! I may be trying sushi at some point though, since apparently it's one of Jan's favorite foods and he makes his own. We'll see how that goes!
- I'm really really excited about dinner tonight....Bettina is making lasagna!!! They really like Italian food, which is perfect for me. =)
- I also love that Bettina and Amalie drink tea a lot; it's so yummy and great for the cool & gray weather outside.
- I'm not looking forward to having to pack a lunch everyday for school though, especially since I usually live off PB&J sandwiches when I have to do it at home. I'm starting school on Monday, so I'll have to figure that out soon.
- They don't have fans here. Like, at all. I asked Bettina if she had any or knew where I could get one to sleep with (I like the white noise) and she had no idea what I was talking about. I finally managed to describe it to her and she said that they're just not really used in Denmark. She was highly amused by it though! Guess I'll have to search out a cheap clock radio to use instead. =)
JET LAG (& TODAY)
- Jet lag is definitely kicking my butt! I went to bed at about 10pm (5pm MA time) last night after struggling to keep my eyes open all afternoon. I didn't sleep at all on the plane and cheated by taking an hour nap when I got here, but I tried really hard to just make it to a normal bedtime like all the books say.
- I slept til about 8am (3am MA) and then just sort of laid there until about 9ish when I got up to eat breakfast and shower. I'm still extremely sleepy and considering going to take a quick .5 hour nap in a little bit, before Bettina gets home from work.
- Everybody's out of the house now, but pretty much have the weekend free to go sightseeing and stuff with me! Amalie brought up the idea to go to the center of cph tonight, since it will be lively on a Friday night. I think that would be fun to see the center of this "small city" of 1.5 million people! =)
- I also really really really need to get to the train station to convert my money! I was just too exhausted to do a whole lot yesterday, so it's still all in USD. I should change that in before it's worth even less than it is already!!!
Okay folks, after an hour of writing I think I'm ready to go lay down for a bit and relax. I'm still way sleep deprived from the trip and the days before it. =)
Thursday, November 1, 2007
After some confusion at the Copenhagen Airport, I finally found Bettina and I'm now at her house (on her computer). She's making me microwave pizza right now for lunch... even though my body still thinks it's 7:30am! She seems really nice and told me all about the kids and stuff, so that's fun. I get to meet Malthe (7 y/o) at 3pm when we walk to pick him up. Apparently he's really nervous and couldn't sleep last night because he doesn't know what to say to me because he doesn't speak any English. YAY immersion!
I'll meet the other 2 kids when they get home later; they're all at different schools.
Okay, pizza time! I'll try and get my computer up and running soon so I can do a full update on things & get on AIM.
Love from dk,
I just keeping thinking, "IT'S REALLY HAPPENING!!!!! I'M ALMOST THERE!!!"
Mom- I'll email when I get there!
Susie- Can't get on AIM here, sorry! Talk to you later sometime!!!!
Confused in London, over and out!