The first two ~official~ days of my time in Copenhagen were spent with my host family, which has been the coolest experience EVER. You might think that it must be super weird to live with a family you just met, and you’d mostly be right, but it’s also been amazing how much easier it gets every day. For example, I figured out how to use the shower and I no longer have to ask where the plates are every meal! Amazing.
Saturday, Jan 14
- We had official check-in at the Hilton so that was convenient, because I just rolled downstairs, checked out of the hotel, and checked into DIS. All of the homestay kids got corralled into a room to wait for our new families to pick us up so we all got to be nervous together – yay. Coincidentally, I ran into Charmaine there and she decided it would be a good idea to tell all of our new friends that I only pee twice a day. Nice.
- My host dad, Morten, and sisters, Frida and Mathilde, came to pick me up! On the way home from the airport, we took a few detours to look at the queen’s castle and some other famous landmarks. We also stopped at the bakery to get some pastries for breakfast.
- “There are 5 of us, so I think we will get 10 pieces” -my host dad
- On the way home, which was about a 20 minute ride, we talked about a bunch of stuff including education (my favorite) and the geography of the Copenhagen area. Frida asked me a bunch of questions about my favorite things.
- Me: What’s your favorite food?
- Frida: I like all food, but I really, really, really like bacon.
- Morten: Everyone likes bacon. I think the only thing bacon doesn’t go with is cake.
- Me: Oh in America we put bacon on cake sometimes.
- We drove up the eastern coast of the island that Copenhagen is on, which was pretty cool. Theoretically, we should have been able to see Sweden on the other side, but it was a bit too foggy (and snowing!). Then we drove inland through a forest to the suburb of Lyngby, where my new house is!
- When we got to the house, I met my host mom, Laila. She owns a hair salon located in the basement of the house, which is also where my room is.
- We ate the pastries and some bread that Laila made for brunch and it was delicious. To their surprise, I tried some liver patty (I call it “meat butter”) on my bread. And right after brunch, Frida and Mathilde showed me their guinea pigs. Good times.
- After that, Frida took me on a tour of the house, which mostly consisted of her giant makeup collection. I can relate to that life. It made me (and her) sad that I left most of my makeup at home. She’s only 11, so she’s not allowed to wear makeup to school, but she showed me how she puts it on at home, and it is AMAZING. The girl could have her own youtube channel.
- Since I wrote in my intro letter that I like hiking with my family, Morten decided that we would go on a walk! There’s a big forest in Lyngby that’s perfect for walking, so he, Frida and I walked for a few hours there. We made a mini snowman and Frida introduced me to the joy of eating fresh snow. At first, I was surprised that Morten didn’t stop her (he just laughed and ate some himself) and i was pretty much a perfect embodiment of what I’ve read about childhood in Denmark. The walk was a great way to get to know Morten and Frida – we got to talk about our lives, and he told me the story of the Hollow Tree – the first of many times I will hear about HC Anderson while I’m here.
- On the way back from the hike, we went to the grocery store to get food for dinner.
- Frida: Do you like red meat?
- Me: …yes
- When we got home, I unpacked for a bit, and then we all sat around and ate dried sausage. This is the only family I know besides mine who has snack time together. Then, Frida and I went to her room and played some games and took some selfies with her selfie stick. We played Mancala (which is called something that starts with a “k” here…), Connect Four, and this game that was basically like a Mario Party mini game – it’s in the shape of a shark, and you open the mouth to reveal a row of teeth. Then you take turns pressing the teeth, except one of them will make the shark’s mouth close and play a really creepy laugh sound. It’s fairly terrifying but also extremely entertaining.
- For dinner, we ate steak and potatoes. Yum. After dinner, we watched some TV, and then went to the candy store. I filled my bag with some candy, and Morten took one look at it and was like “This is embarassing. We’ve never bought a bag that small” and made me put more in. And then when we got home, we watched Gone Girl. Which was a fairly odd movie to watch with people you just met, but it was actually pretty good. At this point, it was like 11pm, and I was EXHAUSTED, so I went to sleep.
Sunday, Jan 15
- After breakfast, I read for a bit while everyone else watched Danish TV. Some interesting shows that I’ve seen so far:
- Handball. (ALSO FRIDA JUST STARTED PLAYING HANDBALL I’M SO EXCITED TO WATCH HER GAMES)
- Some show that’s been going on since 2000 where they basically just follow kids through their lives to highlight different types of childhood/growing up
- Danish version of Man vs. Wild
- Some show that’s basically like Supernanny, but instead of bad kids, it’s kids who are unhealthy, so she makes them eat healthy and exercise more. My mom would really like this show.
- Then, we went into the city and Morten showed me how to take the train and get to DIS. I was so impressed because he knew the history of literally every building and what year it was constructed. (Side note I met the neighbors today and they told me that he LOVES to talk about stuff like that). We also took a driving tour around the city, so I saw all kinds of interesting things, including a small fishing village, workers’ housing, the royal library, and a cute little seaside stand where we got “toasts” which are actually grilled cheese sandwiches with ham. It was nice to (sort of) orient myself in the city. I have no idea which streets are which still, but I can at least kind of point in the direction of different landmarks or parts of the Copenhagen area. Side note: memorizing those public transportation maps has proven to be a helpful and impressive skill. More on that later.
- Mathilde’s friend/cousin came for dinner, so I got to meet her. I also helped make burgers. After dinner, I watched some more Danish TV and then went to bed.
You’ll get to know my host family more in the next few posts, but overall I’m so glad I chose this housing option. Today, I came in from the cold after a long day of orientation and exploring, and it really was like coming home.
Ok enough cheese. Peace ’til next time, aka I still need to write about orientation but I’m tired so it’s going in a new post.