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Hi Everybody,

It has definitely been awhile since I last wrote, so I will just touch upon things briefly.

-I went skiing in Sweden for a week! Over February break, my host family took me skiing. I fell down at first and was generally a hazard to everybody on the mountain, but I later got the hang of it and ended up lovinggg it!

-I went into Oslo, Norway. It was only for a few hours but I have always wanted to see Oslo. I went to the King’s Palace and saw a little bit of the city. I would love to go back and spend a little more time there though.

-I got my ticket home. I will be coming back on July 1st

-I turned 17!! On the 2nd, my host family woke me up singing and waving the Danish flag. Then we had breakfast and I opened up all my pretty Pandora charm gifts. I loved having a Danish birthday.

-I had  a surprise party! My host family made me go out with a map they made and I had to go find packages of oreos all around my town. When I got back, all the girls in my entire class were there! I was so excited and surprised. It was so amazing to feel so loved by my class and host family. I truly fit in.

-I got really really sick! I had had a cold for a week or so but after it ended, my stuffy nose wasn’t going away. one day, it completely moved into my head and gave me a HORRIBLE sinus infection and fever and terribleness. The doctor said it was the worst he had seen and he gave me a bunch of strong antibiotics right in the office. He said I needed to take them right away. So that was a terrible thing. I am all better now!

-I saw my piano hero, Larry Goldings, in Copenhagen. He got Andrea and I tickets! We felt so grown up because we got all dressed up and had to take a train and a metro and then a taxi. After the concert we went into Copenhagen and relaxed in the city until 2 in the morning before going home.

-Andrea and I perfected the art of: Smoothie Making. I am not exactly sure why, but we were CRAVING smoothies during my entire weekend visit with her. So…we actually made our own. The first one we made was like heaven in a cup. The second one had some sort of radioactive/acid particles in it and we actually couldn’t drink it. Major smoothie fail. But…the 3rd. Oh my. The 3rd was THE BEST smoothie I have EVER tasted. I am so excited to see my fellow smoothie maker again in order to make some more delicious fruity drinks.

-So that is basically what has happened the past couple of months. Now, I will talk about some recent stuff!

Yesterday, I went to a Danish boarding school (they are very common here) to give a speech about American culture to the English students. I don’t get nervous talking in front of people anymore, but I also didn’t want to just talk. I wanted the presentation to be special and memorable. So I went up and was just really open with them and made them laugh and just got down on a personal level. I told them what surprised me about Denmark and what I loved. I told them the things that I had to get used to and the things that I got used to right away. After the initial presentation, they all asked me questions for at least 45 minutes. They were genuinely interested and that meant a lot to me. When all the questions ended, they all came up and talked to me for another 45 minutes. They were super great and I really enjoyed talking at the school.

I have Thursday and Friday off of school this week because Danish students have to write a huge paper and they actually get days off school to write this paper. It makes me so jealous that they can actually not stress out about these papers and get days off and such. American students have to work the papers into their already pretty busy schedule. But I have found the work here to be better quality because most are not rushing to complete it, but they actually want to learn what they are writing about. It is a good system.

I am loving every second of my time here and have realized that July 1st is not so far away. I don’t want to leave, but I want my family. It is such a conflicting set of feelings. I feel like I belong here…and at home. It is like having multiple personalities.

I have to go write something up for my Danish Literature teacher now about metaphors and things…all in Danish. HA. We will see how this goes.

I PROMISE to update more. Especially for my last few months here.

-Emma

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Hey Everybody!!

It has been AGES since I posted here, and I apologize for that. I am going to make a real effort to post more often. Even if they are just tiny posts, I want to really improve my blog posting capabilities.

I have moved in with my second family now! Time has gone SO fast. I remember when my first family picked me up at my counselor’s summerhouse like it was just yesterday. That was about 4 months and 22 days ago. Wow.

My second family lives right in the middle of town, Brædstrup, so it is super convenient for me to travel now since there is a bus station in this town. I really have enjoyed living with this family. I moved in on November 25th and have had such an amazing time so far with them. I have an 18 year old sister named Anne who was an exchange student in Australia, a 15 year old brother named Frederik who wants to be an exchange student to New Zealand, and a 7 year old sister named Frida who totally rocks my socks.

My host mom (Annette) is a secretary for a law firm and my host dad (Ole) owns his own carpentry/handyman business. They are both so so sweet and I feel like I really fit in here.

I miss my first family a lot too. It is really difficult to adapt to a new life, a new family, and then become a PART of that family, only to move away. They were the people who picked me up and took me to my first real home in Denmark. You know how when ducks hatch out of their eggs, they bond to the first thing they see? Well that was me and my first host family. I was the weird duck who was totally clueless to everything.

I already have changed so much within the 4 months I have been here. I remember when taking a bus was a BIG deal and I was SO nervous I was going to get off at the wrong place. Now, I am on trains, busses, and can navigate like a professional.

School ended for me last Friday for Christmas break. I go back for one day on January 3rd and then have another week off (my class is testing and I don’t have to). I have been really enjoying my time off. Danish people are really crazy about Christmas. I mean CRAZY. I really love it. I am for sure going to take some of these traditions home with me.

I have quite a few plans for this vacation. My host family has a few family get-togethers and things like that the celebrate Christmas. It also looks like I will be spending New Year’s Eve with…..ANDREA! I am pumped. We are going to be party animals sitting inside my room while singing to John Lennon.

It snowed A LOT here. Like so much. And it has been freezing. I thought I was going to have a nice mild winter compared to the brutal Massachusetts winters that I am used to…but NO. This winter is definitely like a brutal Massachusetts winter.

Here is a crazyyy story: I went for a walk through the woods. I brought my ipod along and I was fully expecting have a deep think session while strolling alone through the woods like a lunatic. No. SO WRONG. I fell down at least 5 times. And then…as I was walking on something which I thought was a path, I heard a creaking sound through the John Lennon music that was playing. So I stopped walking to try and listen to what that sound was…Next thing I know, I am stomach deep in ice water! It turns out I was walking on a lake and did not know it. So I am now scared of walks.

I am still truly loving Denmark. I want time to slow down a little because it is going just WAY too fast. This is such an amazing country. I have made SO many friends and it will be hard to leave all this. I just keep taking it day by day. I make a point to enjoy everything, because soon it will all be a memory.

-Emma

Hi Everybody,

As of today, I have officially been in Denmark for three whole months. And I am still in love with this amazing country!

I know I haven’t written and I totally am going to make an effort to write more. I want to try to update at least once a week.

So to make things easy, I will divide what has been going on for the past month or so into categories:

School: It has been great! I have a ton of friends and my class is so nice. It is going to be tough to go back to American school after I have experienced such a relaxed atmosphere here. I am actually writing this post in school. I had a bit of a tough time with my French teacher here (she didn’t seem to realize that I am an exchange student and am not fluent in French or Danish quite yet) but we sorted things out. I am in a language class with the one other exchange student in my school. We meet weekly with a teacher here and learn how to to speak Danish. It has been helping my Danish a lot. My class is also the most helpful class in the world. I feel soooo lucky to have these people who I can count on. I do most of the English, French, and some Danish assignments. I try to pay attention but sometimes, when you cant understand natural geografi, you want to just go to sleep. But I dont. I go on skype instead 😉

Language: The language is really tough sometimes. I feel like I am learning fast, but some days I really feel discouraged.  I understand about half and sometimes more of regular conversation and almost all if somebody is speaking slowly. I can also read a ton. My main weakness is speaking. I am trying to speak more and more. It just seems so impossible sometimes to learn a whole language. I also find that my English has also gotten a TON worse. I rarely make sense anymore. Before, I sometimes made sense when I was talking but now…not at all! Also, learning a language like I am in extremely exhausting. At night, I feel like I have been doing nothing but calculus all day long. My brain just can’t think by the time I go to bed. Total immersion=total exhaustion.

Family: I LOVE MY FAMILY! They have been SO kind to me. I am so lucky to have had such an amazing first family. I feel so comfortable with them. Being with them has been so great. Their house truly feels like my house and they really do feel like a part of my family. Once I got homesick and when I told them, they said “Just know that we are SO pleased to have you. So many people here are so happy to know you.” They are the kindest people. When I had problems with my French teacher, they called and sorted it out. My host mom buys me Oreos whenever she sees them. I regularly request spaghetti for dinner and she always makes it. I love them so much. I am changing families on the 25th of November. I am not really sad to leave my current family because I know for a fact that my next family is just as perfect. 🙂

Health: I get sick here on a regular basis. I think it is because there are so many new germs here which I have not been exposed to or something…But anyways I have had a ton of colds which last only a few days, a few sore throats, and a KILLER FLU. One morning I woke up feeling sick, and let me just say I spent the next few hours dying on the bathroom floor. My host parents took such good care of me, even though it was a bit awkward to have my host dad bring a bucket in my room…

Activities: I took my first train ride the other day!!!!! It was really awesome. On Friday I left for a town called Holbaek. Rotary had organized an event for ALL the exchange students in Denmark. I was really excited to see everybody again. I was reunited with my best friend, Andrea. We spent the weekend being awkward with each other and getting into really awkward situations. Every time we are together, the most awkward and embarrassing things happen. We love just being antisocial and laying in bed in the corner eating and acting strange. Andrea and I decided we were going to sing “Lean On Me” for the talent show during the weekend Rotary event….So we spent ALL day getting ready. We got about 18 people to agree to sing it with us. We were PUMPED. So when the show rolls around, we are sitting at our table waiting for our names to get called. We heard nothing…SO the show ends and we realize that our act got cut! It was a depressing moment.

Two weekends ago, Andrea came to visit me. We went to the aquarium where we acted like we had mental problems the entire time…We also ate at McDonalds..and Burger King…twice. We went to the movies to see Paranormal Activity 2…Andrea was literally screaming and throwing popcorn all over me the entire time. She was holding my hand and almost snapped my arm in half. I think we embarrass whoever we are with. We have a tendency to take pictures of our food. My host brother and his friend were just dying when they decided to take us to Burger King and we ended up just taking pictures of us eating our burgers. We are SO cool.

I also had  a school vacation. I had a week off school! It was the best. I went to a summerhouse with my host parents. They took me to Ribe which is the oldest town in Denmark. We went to the Viking museum and I saw some truly amazing things. My host dad and I got lost in this medieval church…We ended up accidently stumbling upon a class of French carpenter’s apprentices and we got to see a part of the church which the public is not allowed to see. We saw original wood from the 1200s and we even got to climb up an original tower. I guess it is really rare to be able to go up in that part of the church…We are special!!! I had a great vacation! 

So I am still having an amazing time. Of course I really miss home sometimes. I really try not to think about being home…There are tiny things that I really miss that might sound ridiculous. I miss coming home on cold Massachusetts days from school and walking into my warm house. I miss eating dinner with my parents and watching Netflix with them on the weekends. I miss shopping and dying of laughter with Gabby. I miss my bed and drinking my tea on the bus as I freeze to death. But I would not go home right now. I love it here too much. I have tried to control the homesickness, and I have not cried or anything because of it…It just is like this almost constant ache sometimes.

I have a lot of free time during school and decided to maybe start sending letters or something!!! So if you want to write to me, just send me an email at : emmajoyyy@gmail.com and I will give you my address. I will also send postcards or whatnot. 🙂

I will update next week!!!!! If you have any questions or want to know anything, just comment and i will get back to you with an answer or whatnot!!! 🙂

Right now I am working on having a site other than my facebook where I can upload all my pictures. So I will edit this post when I arrange that. 🙂

-Emma

Denmark 209

Me in Ribe.

Hey guys!

I am writing this because I can’t be home for September 11th. This date is so important to me…as it is for all Americans…and even other people in the world.

Today, 9 years ago, my country was attacked. I was 7 years old, but I can clearly remember what happened. I remember teachers crying and telling us gently that our country was under attack. I remember standing for what seemed like hours in a dedicated silence as the Towers collapsed. I remember going to a friend’s house and seeing the falling buildings and jumping people and thinking it was a movie. I genuinely thought that NOTHING like that could ever happen to us. I think a lot of Americans felt that way. I was very young, but I still remember everything about that day. I am just a girl from West Brookfield, Massachusetts…but I was touched directly by tragedy that day.

I used to fly on American Airlines Flight 11 all the time. My entire family lives in California and I visit them frequently. Flight 11 went out of Logan Airport in Boston and flew to Los Angeles International Airport. A few years after the September 11th attacks, I found a tag on one of my suitcases. It said I was flying on Flight 11. I had been on that plane numerous times. This almost makes the attacks more personal. I was just a normal young kid on her way to visit family on the same plane where other normal people went to go visit their family…and never made it. I sat in the same seat as somebody who died as the plane smashed into the World Trade Center.  This touches me profoundly.

Every September 11th, I always feel very close to all of my fellow Americans. We are truly united on that day. This year however, I am not in my country with my people. I am patriotic and I love my country. I never realized though, until today, what it really feels like to be American. I was thinking about the people who sacrificed themselves on that plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. I feel SO proud of them, yet I have never met a single person on that plane. This feeling made me think about everybody else who died, not only on September 11th, but on any day fighting for my country. Of course, before I left, I felt proud, but this is a different feeling.

I hurt so much for the families who lost somebody on September 11th. Before leaving for Denmark, it almost felt like I myself lost a family member, when I actually hadn’t. I think that this is where I have changed since living here. I have realized that I really HAVE lost somebody, many people in fact. I have lost fellow Americans. They were Americans, like me, and now they are gone. I feel their deaths now more than ever before. I was proud to be an American before leaving the country. Now, I can truly say that if I ever had to, I would die for my country. It may sound dramatic, but something has changed in me today. I may not be physically in the United States for this day, but I am remembering just like everybody else. I would LOVE to be able to home just for today so I could just be another American remembering the deaths of other Americans. I am not able to be home…But I am still remembering.

Time has gone on since the September 11th attacks, and Americans have obviously not forgotten what happened on this day. We never will. I truly believe the attacks brought our country closer together. It is kind of like this line from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:

“that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

The people that died were normal citizens, but they have not died in vain. Their deaths have made our country and people stronger. We are all Americans. Americans displayed such bravery and heroism that day. I am so proud of them. This is what it feels like to be an American. And I am proud.

God bless all those who perished 9 years ago today, and those who have given their lives in our country’s history for our freedom. We will never forget. God bless the United States of America. 

 world trade center

I have officially been here a whole entire month. Time has gone SO fast. I can honestly say that I am in love with this country. The people are SO nice and the lifestyle is truly amazing! I think how lucky I am to be here every single day. My exchange, so far, has been so enriching and positive. I already can feel myself seeing the world differently. Before I left, I thought that life would be so much more different in Europe…But now that I am here, I have realized that no matter where you are in the world, life goes on. I am used to daily life here. People who have not really traveled have such grand visions of European life and people. Now that I live here, I can say that there IS a daily life. Not everyday is an exciting European adventure. But it is this daily life that I have grown to love. It was a bit shocking to me that life (despite being culturally different) is still life all over the world. People are people, everywhere. It is this realization that has really made me love the world. I know I have only been here a month, but I can say with certainty that I will travel for the rest of my life. I feel like being here has opened so many doors while also opening my eyes. I hope everybody can understand what I mean with this strangely deep paragraph :p

So, on a lighter note, I just came back from “Introcamp”. Introcamp is basically where all the Rotary students in Denmark (students in their host countries are called “inbounds”) meet up and live together for a whole week. I left on the 22nd of September and returned the 29th. It was SO MUCH FUN. We all lived in a giant boarding school. We had Danish classes for about 6 hours on a normal day. We traveled to Århus and Viborg. Every night we had “evening activities” which were pretty fun. A band also came to play a surprise concert for us. You should check them out.  I have a feeling they will be quite famous one day. They are called: The Striving Vines. They are really really good and it was an amazing show.

I met so many AMAZING people and made so many new friends. This one girl, Andrea, became my best friend. We were literally inseparable all week. When we said goodbye we both got really sad and even cried a little. I miss her so much already but we are already planning a weekend together! I am counting down the days!!!!!

The few things about introcamp that I will remember are: the starvation, the sickness, and the exhaustion. These things may sound negative, but introcamp was definitely one of the best weeks of my life. I will explain each subject.

The Starvation: We had three meals a day. Breakfast at 7:30, lunch at 12, dinner at 6. NOTHING in between. At all. We basically starved between meals. I have seriously never been so hungry. For those on my facebook, you will notice most of the pictures include food. I have never been a person with a big appetite, but I seriously turned into a food crazy pig last week. I ate SO much at meals and thought about nothing but food in between. I think back and think that I was quite pathetic. Andrea and I starved together.

The Sickness: I swear to god, the plague was at introcamp. Everybody got this mankilling cold virus thing. It got me my second day at camp. Only this morning have I started to feel better. Everybody was SO sick. The teachers had to buy cough drops for the students because we were literally dying. This cold spread so fast and it was so vicious. I was miserably sick during most of the week.

The Exhaustion: Everybody stayed up very late during the week. We were just busy talking and relaxing. This combined with that killer cold that I mentioned equaled…EXHAUSTION. We had 15 minutes break from classes every hour. I slept every single break. I slept on my desk, on the floor, and on the couch. Kids were passing out everywhere. We had an hour break between lunch and classes. I spent that hour curled up in my bed sleeping. I also slept during the hour before dinner or after dinner. Everybody needed naps. We were way too tired.

Don’t get me wrong, the week was GREAT. I even kind of miss it. So many silly things happened. Like when Andrea and I walked into a room searching for food and didn’t see a whole table of people in the room watching our desperate search. Or when I discovered a HUGE spider in the shower and refused to use my shower for days. Or when Andrea and I thought we were going to miss the bus home. This little story actually deserves its own paragraph.

So. Andrea and I were wandering around Århus after spending almost an hour and a half inside of a Mcdonalds dying from happiness. (I ordered my burger like this: “Can I have BURGER?!” Because I completely forgot that Danes are like fluent in English. The worker promptly replied (thinking I was stupid) “Of course! What would you like on it?!” That experience was embarrassing.”) Anyway, we were meandering around the city, fat and happy, when we walked into a cute clothing store.Here, Andrea discovered she NEEDED this shirt. Now, earlier in the day the teachers told us the bus was leaving at 4. If we were not there at 4, we would need to find our own transportation back to the school. Andrea gets in line to buy this shirt at like 3:50. We think we know where we are and that the line will go fast. Time passes. We haven’t moved in line. I get nervous and force her to abandon the shirt. We begin to try and get to the busses when we realize we are lost! We ask somebody and we get on the right path. Then, we can see the busses…But we can’t cross the street! It is 3:59. We call our teacher and beg her not to leave because “We can’t cross the streeeeeetttt!!!!!!” When we finally arrive, we see that only 5 people have arrived on time…It was depressing.

Well, right now I am in old history class in school. I am going to wrap this post up because it is quite long. I will post more quite soon.

thanks for readingggg!!! ❤

-Emma

IMG_6297  Andrea and I in line at McDonalds. We are SO happy.

IMG_6082 Me with a BUNCH of junk food in my purse. I later sold the Doritos and the pop tarts  to starving desperate students.

IMG_6340This is me eating the remains of a cake that the exchange students found on an abandoned tray in the hallway. It was ALL over the floor and everybody. We were starving to death.

Hej Everybody!

I have been in Denmark for 19 days now. Right now I am in school in Danish class. The teacher told me just to go on the internet so I have decided to update my blog!

I really really love it here. The people are SO nice. I LOVE my school. Everything is perfect.

I feel really at home with my host family. They are so nice to me. I get along with them so well.

School is going really well. Today my schedule is: English, Danish, and Music. It’s pretty awesome!! We all bring our laptops and can go on the internet. School here is SO much more relaxed. It is extremely modern and there is artwork everywhere. It is a really pretty building.

School makes me really tired though. All I do is listen to Danish. It can get really tiring. I try to make sense of everything. At the end of the day I just am exhausted.

The language is going well. I understand WAY more then I can speak. I try to learn new words everyday. My host dad and I work on the language a lot together. He is a really good teacher. 🙂

Yesterday I had a Rotary meeting. We went fishing in the FREEZING cold. It had been raining all day and thank God it stopped before we went out fishing. It was so cold. And dinner was nothing but COLD fish. I ended up eating a bunch of bread. I don’t mind fish but there was just WAY too much. I did catch my own fish though. I kind of liked fishing. After the meeting I went home and took a long shower. I go to meetings on Wednesdays.

So the class I was writing this in ended and I had to leave. It is now 24 days since I have been in Denmark. I will write about what has happened later!!!!

-Emma

Hej Everybody!!!

I am leaving in…. 5 DAYS! I can not even believe how fast time has gone. I am so excited but I feel a tad nervous as well.

I want to thank all my friends who attended my going away party! It was so much fun!! We all tried to play pool and darts. There were only a few injuries caused by the darts, so..it was a success!!! It was such an amazing night and I am so thankful to have such amazing friends. I will miss all of them so much!! This year has been so important to me. Not only have I discovered who my true friends are, but I have made new ones. So I want to say another quick thank you to ALL of my amazing friends for being hilarious, positive, and understanding. I love you all!

My family has also been SO important to me this year. I want to thank my parents for supporting me like they have. They are so understanding and supportive of this exchange. Not once have they doubted me going. When I first mentioned the idea, they were for it. I am so lucky to have such great parents. I will miss them so much. I also want to thank my amazing Auntie for being the most generous and loveable person EVER. She has made my life so interesting and I am forever thankful.

This Friday, I got 50 more pins to give out! So thank you to Representative Gobi! Between Senator Brewer and Representative Gobi, I have been given almost 100 pins!! That means so much to me! The community has been so interested and supportive with my exchange. Everybody seems to know about it! My school has been so excited for me right from the beginning!

I really am fortunate to have such amazing and positive people surrounding me. I think that is another thing I have learned this year. If you have negative people in your life, I can almost guarantee they will start to bring you down. So surround yourself with people that make you happy!!! That is such an important lesson.

Another awesome thing has happened since my last post. I GOT MY ITINERARY! Here are the basics: On July 31st I leave Bradley Airport at 11:08 a.m. I fly to Chicago. I fly to Germany. I fly to Copenhagen. I fly to Billund. Overall: 22 hours of nonstop traveling. I hope I can get some sleep!!

My next post may be coming from Denmark!!! I am not quite sure if I will have time to post again. Anyways, thank you for reading and I will write again soon!!!!

Love,

Emma

P.S. Here are a couple of pictures from my party!

IMG_5792 All of my friends!!!!

IMG_5810 My cake and I. It says “Good Luck Emma. We Love You.”

 

 

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