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. =)