Signs You and Your Best Friend May be Too Close…

  • You buy a shirt to share, because you are both broke, the same size, and really want it, and, I mean, you’re going to be living together for the next year and a half anyway.
  • You fall asleep with a photo of her on your bedside table (though, just to clarify, this only happened because I was staying at her parents’ house and the picture was there already).
  • She’s the one who comes out to dinner with you on your birthday, and you begin making your grocery list at the dinner table
  • You pick her up from classes to go grocery shopping, and then go halfsies at the checkout, figuring that it’ll be close enough in the overall scheme of things
  • and, since you live together, you just start acting like an old married couple – including the aforementioned grocery deal, and eating every meal together.

I guess it’s way better than hating your roommate =)

On Sliding Down Mountains

So I’m back in Alaska. And a couple weeks and some serious jet lag later, I feel like a functional US citizen again. (Side note: if you need to adjust to a new time, doing it in a place that only gets 6 hours of sunlight may not be the best place to do it.) I’m embracing the Alaskan lifestyle, wearing my Xtratufs everyday and hiding out in cozy coffee shops as the sun sets at 3:30.

I’ve also tried my hand (legs?) at snowboarding, and I really love it. I could barely walk the day after I first tried it, but the second day went a lot better. And I’m really spoiled where I live – the local ski area is less than half an hour away. I like this winter thing! (though the Southern Californian in me is still confused how cold works. And snow. Snow is cool, man. But weird.)

I’ve also been working at NAMI, a nonprofit to help families of people living with mental illness. It’s a great opportunity, and I’m hoping to work with them in the summer as well.

So that’s my life since I’ve been back. A little culture shock, but nothing too terrible. Now I’m ready to start preparing for my next adventure!


By hannahrose93

On My Flights…

…I saw two men bond over the fact that they were both wearing fedoras.

…My water bottle rolled away during takeoff on the 9 hour flight and was returned to me about 1.5 hours before landing. I don’t know what route it took, but we both ended up in Seattle, so that’s cool.

…I heard a guy say into his phone, “Ohana means family,” and it took all of my self-restraint to not say, “And family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.”

Regarding that last one… I may be a little bit jet-lagged. Though, honestly, I would probably want to do that anyway.

So as you can probably tell, I’m back in the US. It’s weird. People actually make eye contact with you and make smalltalk when waiting in lines. I saw one guy standing in Seatac airport smiling to himself, and I was so shocked because that would never happen in Denmark. Also, Starbuck’s prices seem so reasonable when compared with the 35 DKK (about $7) I paid for hot chocolate in Copenhagen. Also, it’s weird hearing English, not Danish, as the language predominantly spoken around me.

I think it’s good to be home. But I’m also going to miss Denmark like crazy for a little while.

On Leaving Denmark

I haven’t written in a while, and I apologize for that. The last few weeks have been extremely busy and emotional, as I tried to finish up my schoolwork and come to terms with the fact that the semester was ending.

My flight leaves at 13:20 tomorrow, and I’m not sure I’m ready to go home. I miss the people, and I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and family again. But I’m not sure I’m prepared to go back to Whitman, a place where I was already getting cabin fever before I had gotten the chance to travel every two-to-three weeks. First world problems, I know.

The semester has gradually come to a close, and I said goodbye to most of my friends last week. A couple of us stragglers are still hanging out in Copenhagen, but the days have been quiet and lazy – a welcome change from the whirlwind of activity the last couple weeks. I tried desperately to fit everything in that I wanted to do before I left, and I think I did a pretty decent job. Tomorrow, I’m going to get one last Wednesday Snail (a giant cinnamon roll) from the oldest bakery in Copenhagen, then head to the airport for my flight. I can’t believe it’s so soon.

My Facebook newsfeed is filled with people saying goodbye to Denmark and hello again to the U.S. I’m not ready to post one of those “Goodbye” statuses, I guess because I’m not ready to say goodbye. I’m ready to say, “Vi ses, Copenhagen!” or “Catch you later, Helsingør!” because there’s no way I’m permanently saying goodbye to this wonderful place.

I’m so grateful to the friends I’ve met here, the experiences I’ve had, and the knowledge I’ve gained. I’m looking forward to coming home and seeing everyone that I’ve missed the last couple months. And also eating Mexican food. And then I’ll be ready for my next adventure to begin!


On Castles, Climbing, and Caving

The past three weeks have been a whirlwind of travel and adventure, which has been wonderful and exhausting. It’s a little after 20:00 here, and I’m about ready to go to bed. But I figured I’d write a quick blog post first, since it’s been a while.

I just got back from a DIS adventure trip called Czech Trek, where a group of about 40 students went to the Czech Republic and had an adventure. Our adventure included archery, caving (spelunking!), climbing, rappelling, and all sorts of other things that I love dearly. It was really nice to be out of a big city for a few days. We did get to spend one day in Prague, and my twelve hours in the city gave me a nice overview.

However, it was definitely the outdoorsy part of the trip which I enjoyed most. One of my tour leaders said he may have “found his spirit country” in the Czech Republic, and I must say I agree with him. The trees, the caves, the spiritual history of the country – it was all amazing!

Another added perk of the trip? We got to stay in a renovated castle! It was so cool! Part of the castle was like hostel, and another part was a fancy hotel – and I ended up in the fancy hotel part. So beyond the wilderness, we had a really cool castle to explore throughout the week.

I’m falling asleep at my keyboard here, but I’ll keep you updated on my next adventures!ImageImage

On Our Roof’s Magical Adventure

Once upon a time, IPC had a roof. Yesterday, the roof got so excited by the storm passing through that it decided it wanted to go on a journey. Unfortunately, it is a roof, so it didn’t get very far. It did, however, become detached from the building and fall down on to the lawn. We do still have a ceiling, so it’s not like we’re exposed to the elements and Thor’s wrath. However, there was some concern that if any debris landed on the building, it would crash through, and the rain could have leaked through as well, so those of us on the top floor were not allowed to sleep in our rooms.

But this is Denmark, so a huge effort was made to make everything as hyggelig (cozy, homey, friendly; pronounced kind of like “HOO-glee”) as possible. The chef made the “refugees” hot chocolate in the afternoon, and croissants after dinner. The entire common room was turned into a giant bed, and we watched The Lion King and The Dark Knight and had a big sleepover.

I briefly entertained the idea of going to class today, but due to the chaos here, the messed up trains, and the lack of sleep and access to my stuff, I quickly decided against it. Of course, the weather is lovely today (if not a bit windy), and we’re trying to get a temporary roof on the building as soon as possible.

While the storm sucked, it was actually a pretty fun experience. I’m just glad I didn’t get stuck in Copenhagen like a few of my friends did…


Here’s our roof…


Refugee status!
Photo Cred: Petr Konvičný


By hannahrose93

On Hot Springs and Horseback Riding

I just got back from spending the last few days in Iceland with my mom. We rented a car and drove around the backcountry, seeing waterfalls, hot springs, mountains, black sandy beaches, and other natural wonders, all within 100 kilometers. I learned how to drive stick*; we done the Golden Circle, which was an incredibly beautiful drive, and stayed in an inn in the middle of nowhere. We took a horseback ride in the middle of the country, and, because it’s the off-season, it was a private tour for just me and my mom.

Other exciting sights include a plane on the road which had made am emergency landing, and a man herding sheep with his Range Rover, while 2 other sheep looked on as if saying “Look at those silly other sheep, Bob, following the herd like sheep.”

And now I’m back in Copenhagen, where the train announcements sound familiar and everywhere has candles =)

*Once I start, I’m good; stopping (without killing the engine) is a bit more of a challenge.

**pictures of Iceland will come later; haven’t had a chance to upload yet.

You Know You’ve Been in Denmark for a While When…

  • your outfit feels incomplete without a scarf
  • your wardrobe is slowly gaining more and more black pieces
  • you see nothing wrong with wearing all black (except for maybe that scarf)
  • you feel skeptical even when says there’s a 0% chance of rain
  • if a restaurant/cafe doesn’t have candles, it makes you uncomfortable
  • seeing blankets on the chairs outside of cafes is normal
  • nudity in advertising doesn’t phase you anymore – nor does the strip club you walk passed to get to class every day
  • you see a Tumblr blog about living in Copenhagen – and you know at least some of the places mentioned [link]
  • you can immediately tell when someone isn’t from Denmark because of the amount of eye contact they make when sitting across from you on the train – and you can tell when they know you’re a foreigner too
  • you know how much each of the coins is worth in your wallet without having to read the number on it
  • you have to actually show your DIS card to get discounts – because you don’t immediately come off as American anymore

On the Awesome Guy Sitting Next to Me on the Train

I was taking the train home from Copenhagen, as I so often do, when a random man sat next to me. As he sat down, he muttered something that sounded vaguely like English, and I made the assumption that he was not Danish, as Danes generally don’t talk out loud to themselves.

I debated asking him where he was from, and eventually got up the courage about 10 minutes out from Helsingør. It turns out that he is from London, but is currently living in Helsingør and working in Copenhagen, at a school for children with autism. He’s also a trained musician, and is interested in doing something along the lines of music therapy at some point.

He told me about a school in North Jutland (I think) which has a very good music therapy program, and then told me to have a nice semester.

There’s something about Denmark that just feels so comfortable to me, and it’s moments like those that cement the feeling even more.

By hannahrose93

On Kulternatten 2013

Every year, all Danish students get week 42 off of school. To kick of the country-wide vacation, Copenhagen has Kulternatten – Culture Night – where many churches, museums, theaters, libraries, etc all are open late and have special events going on. Most events require you to have bought a pass, but the pass is only 90 kroners ($16.35) and it gets you access to around 600 events throughout the city, as well as free transportation everywhere. Supposedly, the party goes until about 5 in the morning, but it looked like most things started to shut down around midnight.

So, to celebrate Culture Night, my friends and I first got s’mores at the DIS Haunted House. It was actually a really fun experience, because I didn’t realize how American s’mores are. We got to explain to several people how to make them, and overheard a few girls talking about what camping is like in America. (Apparently, it involves getting drunk, and jumping into lakes with alligators. I guess I’ve been doing it wrong!) We then wandered around downtown Copenhagen for a while, seeing a beautiful light display on The Round Tower, and searching for nutella crepes.

Our next stop was The Church of Our Savior, affectionately known as “The Spiral Tower” by us Americans. We took the metro, which was an awesome experience in of itself, because the front is clear, and you can see the tracks. Stations just seem to appear out of nowhere. It felt a lot like a very tame roller coaster, actually. Then we got to the church. Inside, there was a man playing the saxophone, who was recording loops and basically just making awesome music. And the church is beautiful. It was lit up in all sorts of different colors, and has the most beautiful organ I have ever seen. After enjoying the music for a few minutes, my friend and I decided to climb to the top of the tower. And four hundred steps later, there we were! It was completely worth it. The view was incredible – seeing all of Copenhagen lit up beneath us – and it was really windy up there, which made it (quite literally) more breathtaking. I really like climbing things – trees, mountains, rocks – and the spire was no exception. It was just so peaceful up there.

The last place we went before heading home was the Tycho Brahe Planetarium, where there was supposedly a movie/star show going on that sounded really interesting. We then learned the hard way the entire movie was in Danish – I did understand like 5 words though, so that’s something. Still, it was cool seeing a movie in IMAX, and while I may have fallen asleep for like 3 minutes there, it was really fun. Also, Tycho Brahe is one of my favorite historical figures – mostly for the reason that he had a pet moose and once got it drunk at a dinner party.

I then took one of the most crowded trains I’ve ever been on home, and fortunately found another friend at the station, so I didn’t have to make the hour and a half journey home by myself.

It’s pretty solidly Autumn here, and I’m really enjoying the scarves and hats and excuses to drink hot cider. Went all the way to the Top!
Went all the way to the Top!

By hannahrose93