Alright so I made this playlist sometime ago, before I arrived in Denmark but I wanted to post it because I thought it was relevant to Australian cultural expression of our values and some of the important issues Australia has and is debating. And of course some of the classics ie. Stayin Alive. Also I figure that I’m really going to miss home.
So I have been in Denmark for a week so far and I have been meaning to post way before now but I simply haven’t had the time to do a detailed post. So to summarise the last week…
I arrived in Denmark on Monday afternoon; after missing our original train to Aarhus, I tried a coffee in Denmark. Which was really nice; as in Melbourne nice so that’s saying something. After an interesting and comfortable 3 hour train trip I arrived in Aarhus station with 2 other Venturers from Ozland at 6pm. I thought it was more like 9pm because it got dark at around 4pm!!!
Søren, Ditte and Katrine greeted me at the station with Danish flags and all, we then drove, on the wrong side of the road, back to Norre Vissing about 3omins away. We had a great dinner of rissoles; because they thought I should have something familiar after a long time of travelling. I thought this was incredibly generous of them. I also found that Katrine had given up her room for me while I am on exchange!!!
I took a shower and unpacked then went to bed finally sleeping well for the first time since I left Australia.
I woke up at 6am, not being able to sleep any longer; it was still so dark! Breakfast was porridge with cinnamon sugar and black coffee! Absolutely delicious 🙂 Katrine and I left home at 7.10am to catch the bus to school in Skanderborg. What I’ve noticed is that there is no casual banter on buses; people are very silent and do not talk to each other. Well at least the adults; the childrens are more noisy but they get off at the next stop.
We arrived in Skanderborg to walk the last 250m to gymnasium before class started at 8.05am! The first class of the day was Maths, the teacher was nice and just told me to follow along as much as I can. They were doing calculus; I learnt that stamfunktion refers to the indefinite integral which is good to know so now I am continually learning to understand a lot of vocabulary to do with maths. Also they write maths differently; F(x) refers to the integrated function and f(x) refers to the function that has already been differentiated.
I met Katrines friends; Kasper, Kristina, Anes and Helena who all spoke English quite well and helped me to try and understand the Danish words.
The next class was German; which all in all I could not understand at all apart from the fact that it was in German. So my Indo teacher will be pleased to know that I spent that 75minutes doing Indo homework!
The next class was Chemistry; where many of the class introduced themselves to me, including the other exchange student who is from Russia! We did very little in the class and I spent quite a bit of time just talking to people and Katrine.
The last class was Biology: it was soo boring. Even if they were doing something similar to sex ed, because they were talking about Chlamydia :D. However it did look like the most mature class discussion about the biological effects of intercourse I have ever seen in a school.
In general the school was big, maybe because it seems like a maze of corridors to me. Everyone and I mean everyone eats packed lunches, there is a small canteen but its quite expensive. There is no uniform! YES IT IS AMAZING WITHOUT UNIFROM!! Students carry their own bags around! Hear that straya we’re allowed to have bags in class! Also teachers are always addressed by their first name; which is new apart from the history student teacher we had last term.
After classes finished Søren picked us up and dropped us at home; where I promptly mucked around on the internet for a couple of hours then read Burial Rites.
Ditte and Sophie then taught me how to play Meyer; which is a dice game where you must call the other players bluff. I taught them how to play Spit and then we played Go Fish or Fiske (Danske).
For dinner; my host mother made us a delicious meal of Rice Pudding with cinnamon sugar. Honestly I was expecting something a lot sludgier but it was really nice. I also tried Christmas Beer; which was something very bitter and rich but non-alcoholic of course.
After Dinner in December: Danish families often watch the Christmas Calender, which is a television series especially dedicated to the countdown to Christmas; just like Advent Calenders; except on TV and there is a story involved rather than chocolate. Although they have those here as well; I was given two actually (one is a charity calender though). There are several Christmas Calenders; but they all follow the same storyline; that is Christmas is ruined in some way or another before being resolved in the next episode. My family are watching Juleønsket; which means Christmas (Jule) Wish (ønsket). tbh I don’t understand most of it because its all in Danish; but its easy enough to pick up the plot.
Today I woke up at 3.30am because I couldn’t sleep 😦 Breakfast was Muesli and homemade bread rolls with cheese.
Katrine had maths first again today; all the excercises or Øvelte are small and involve about 3 or 4 questions; instead of the 15-23 in VCE. Again doing Calculus; this time finding k or the consonant; which was not too bad considering language barrier. But I really need my old notes to remember exactly how to do it.
Then we had Physics, which was incredibly boring. The teacher was also boring even though I had no idea what he said; most of the class looked bored. Before class: Katrine’s friends were talking to me about christmas traditions; thus they were very surprised when I told them we don’t dance or chant around the Christmas tree like the Danish.
We had a free period next where Katrine did her Maths assignment and I read Burial Rites (again)
After that we caught a bus to the centre of Skanderborg and bought some bread for Scouts and a SIM card for me. We then walked to my host mothers school in central Skanderborg; so we could get a lift home. While we waited the children in Bente’s class came up and talked to me in English, although most were too nervous and shy to. Those who did were so cute; just introducing themselves and asking where I was from. There was a boy from Somalia who was too shy to try and speak Danish or English!
When I got home I was so tired I took a nap until supper, which was toast and delicious pork meatballs!!! Then we went to Scouts which is in the village of Veng; the next village. All sections are run at once! So theres about 40 kids running around the property. Katrine is one of the leaders there so she introduced me and translated for me. Did I mention it was insanely cold outside!!!!! Ditte and her patrol helped me prepare some Fairy Bread for the scouts to try. Which they loved after the initial scepticism of buttered bread with 100s and 1000s. They were also making wax seals for letters they had written to each other. I thought it was very Hogwartish and insanely cool, so I am going to try it sometime before leave.
After we got home we watched the Christmas Calender and had some more supper before going to bed.
We woke up later today due to Katrine’s first class being cancelled so we caught two different buses to school. The weather is very cold and rainy; although they tell me this is warm for December. I know crazy right? I noticed that one of the only public buildings in Norre Vissing is hotel or a motel; that is meant to be very expensive but not really worth the money.
Again today we had Maths first; which surprisingly was great; even though you would never hear me say that at home whilst doing Methods. They were learning integration; so it was fantastically easy and later on, on the borderline of boring. Next we had English! Finally! I had been waiting for this class so I could understand without difficulty what we were doing in class. The teacher was planning on analysing a John Lewis Ad, but yeah nothing special; people asked what different words meant and where I was from. Anyway ended up doing a weird comprehension task in two parts relying on your partners understanding of the ad. The english teacher wants me to make a presentation about Australia and stolen generation the next lesson.
In the lunch break I played Cards Against Humanity with Helene and some others online which was great! After break we had German; where I basically just finalised my power point. Søren picked us up after school and dropped Katrine at work and then me at home.
There was an election today; that I’m not to sure what that was about because it was to do with the EU and limiting and expanding cooperative power. Anyway it got knocked back; probably because no one knew what it was going to change.
Sophie and I were meant to cook dinner; although Ditte had to translate; well something went awry and it was not going according to the recipe. Luckily Bente got home and fixed before it got any worse!! It was roast chicken with pasta salad.
Again got up late because the first class was cancelled. Again physics was mind numbingly boring and the teacher has not bothered to acknowledge my existence in English haha. In the free period I did some psychology homework. At lunchtime I sat with Katrine, Kasper and friends who were debating the results of the election. Then it was time for sport. UHHH. I HATE BURPEES. I would rather run laps and plank for 10 mintues than do Burpees. We’re doing circuit training which would be alright if I had proper sport clothing. But it was good to get the blood pumping and just exercise. Remind when I get home I need to start skipping again; lol my inability was embarrassing. We had to rush to get changed and catch the bus so we could get to Katrines flute lesson. When I say flute; I mean various sized recorders because what the flute is in Danmark is not that same as in Australia.
For dinner we had Chilli Con Carne with Tortillas which was delicious and much needed after such a long day. Again watched the Christmas Calender and then I gave them my gifts from Australia; which included some Tim Tams and Australia themed ice cube trays. I showed them some photos of where I lived and my family and then it was time for bed!
I slept in til 9.20 this morning! Bente had to wake me up otherwise I would’ve kept sleeping. Today was Baking Day! So I quickly got dressed and had a shower then we drove to Randers where Bentes sisters house is. About 45 minutes away from Norre Vissing.
So we had brunch there; which was insanely delicious. We had eggs and bacon, pancakes, various sliced meats, delicious rye and sourdough bread. Also the Danes have these thin slices of chocolate you put on your toast or bread; that just melt in your mouth. OMG twas heavenly. Also turns out Bente’s sister has a expresso machine so guess who had lattes throughout the day…
We began by kneading the ginger bread then cutting the dough into shapes and placing them on trays to be baked. Next we made peppernut cookies which are these tiny little biscuits but they’re full of spice.
After that we went for walk; which was good apart from the fact that all of us had brought “city shoes” not walking shoes. So I walked a couple of kms in high heels through mud and slush *mint*. But it was a nice walk, we saw some “Garden Houses” on the way; which are little cabins with gardens attached where people often go on Summer holidays as a cheaper alternative to Lake or Beach cabins. On the way back we brought some more icing sugar and decorations at a supermarket called Netto; which is Denmarks Aldi. Apparently Aldi is an expensive supermarket in Denmark so I don’t know why its cheap in Australia.
After we got back; cold and windswept, we started on making the Danish equivalent to shortbread; which was kind of amazing because Ditte and Sophie were pushing the dough through a shaper that made them look very professional.
Then we made what I am calling Ginger snaps; because it was like gingerbread but with nuts in it and sliced very thinly to be placed in the oven.
Then the best part: Decorating the Ginger Bread biscuits:
After the Christmas Kalender and some supper and questions on Australian taxes and education we left for home.
Sunday was quiet, just sitting and chilling making Christmas decorations and eating traditional Danish food like herring (I think) and Liver Patte. And of course writing my blog-slowly. Also after dinner before the Christmas Kalender; every Sunday my host family practices Christmas carols for Christmas eve where they sing and dance around the Christmas tree. So guess who stumbled through half a dozen Danish Christmas carols without being able to pronounce anything.
Another day of school: but this week is project week; so all the students must form groups find a problem in the transition from primary school to Gymnasium and do their best to find a innovative solution. Instead the teacher assigned me and the other exchange student (she’s Russian; isn’t that awesome?!) to write an essay about our education system and the problems it is facing with a special focus on maths and science. *Basically the subjects I am least interested in*. Got home at 3pm: tried some vegemite chocolate. Which is really not that bad; just don’t eat a lot at once. Katrine and I then walked around Norre Vissing while it was still light as I had not yet seen much of the place yet.
That night we also went out to watch Sophie and Katrines’ Christmas Concert. While long and just a tiny bit boring; it was good to see them play *obviously* and fucking hilarious when it turned out we were also required to sing Christmas carols and I couldn’t and just ended up singing Silent Night in English because I couldn’t in Danish even with lyrics. So I was the only one in the church singing in English; I wanted to cry with laughter at how awkward it was!!
Another boring day at school-mostly. Writing my insanely easy assignment. Browsing Facebook. Talking with the Liza (the Russian exchange student) about education in Russia, Denmark and Australia, smoking ages, drinking ages, how much vodka Russians drink (not much unfortunatley), Vladimir Putin… you know the normal things xD
Caught the bus home by myself because Katrine was going to her … and flute lesson, although she and Kasper felt the need to walk me to my bus. It was so sweet even though I knew which one <3. Tonight I made dinner of Pesto Pasta (my favourite at home!) so it was really nice to have some ‘home’ food.
So yeah that’s what I have been doing for the last week. I’ve done probably more than that but I can’t fit it in to one blog post!! Next time hopefully I’ll have some photos of the gymnasium or high school.
Very interesting documentary, worth a watch. If you want some perspective into “Good natured Aussie racism” this is the documentary. You can watch it for free on The Age website. My legal teacher showed me this last year and I have been raging since.
REMINDER: Our former Prime Minister, Mr Tony Abbott, believed it was ‘a lifestyle choice’.
My exams start on Tuesday, which happens to be my birthday, YAY great timing VCAA. So in two weeks time I will have finally finished year 11, not that its felt that long actually its just involved a lot of tedious work and maths methods Right now I am feeling like:
But on the bright side: 21 Days until I fly out to Copenhagen!!! Last night I met some of my fellow SISEP travellers over facebook which is nice. They all seem like awesome people!!!
But most importantly, I now know who my host family is! I am staying near Aarhus, the second biggest city in Denmark. Oh yeah if you’re wondering what SISEP is. It stands for Scouts International Exchange Program.
It was great to get away from school and chill with my family. I don’t have any photos of Glebe, but I loved that suburb; it was just so quirky and full of interesting places and people and also the home of the best second-hand bookshop I have ever been into! I spent an hour and a half in there!! From Glebe it is a really easy walk to Sydney University. The quadrangle as you can see below is grand and much bigger compared to Melbourne University quadrangle. The look right arrows on the pedestrian crossing really stood out to me, the die hard Melbournian that I am. Walking around Sydney for five days was kindve tiring because a) I don’t know the city that well and b) the public transport system is confusing and just a little tedious. People don’t stand so close to you in the streets of Sydney and there isn’t the rush of oncoming people when crossing the road, like you get when crossing in Melbourne’s CBD. In general the food is okay but really really expensive, I definitely wouldn’t go back for the food, but I’d go back for the weather.