What up what up – it’s been a busy two weeks.
- I’ve had some friends from home visiting for the past two weekends, which means that I got to do ~fun touristy things~ in Copenhagen with no shame. It was also cool to walk around the historic parts of the city because I got to show off all the Danish history that I learned during DIScover Copenhagen/my Danish Language and Culture class. Mostly I just like to talk about how Christian IV was kind of like the Hamilton of Denmark except a lot less successful in making Denmark a big economic powerhouse. I was also looking at the map of Denmark with people and realizing how much I’ve already absorbed about this country – s/o to ~meaningful learning~
- Anyway, two weekends ago, Catheryn visited. On Friday, we went to this hipster ramen and beer bar in Norrebro which was yum but also very crowded.
- On Saturday, we had a PACKED day. We went to a Meyers bakery because my professor Heidi recommended it, and I ORDERED IN DANISH. Kind of. I was like “Jeg vil gerne have” and then I pointed to the thing I wanted because I didn’t know what it was called.
- We saw the Nyhavn Canal (of course), aka the canal where everyone likes to take pictures in Cope and also home to the brothel where Hans Christian Anderson lived when he was 14. We also walked through Churchillparken to see The Little Mermaid statue, which was, well, very little.
- We also got bubble tea because what else would we do?
- In the afternoon/evening, we went to the Design Museum, which was free for students and at times looked a lot like an IKEA showroom. Especially when they had this room that was literally just chairs. They had a few chairs on the ground too and I am pleased to report that they were quite comfortable.
- We ate dinner at Copenhagen Street Food, which is this big market with way too many options for what to eat. We ended up getting sushi and cheesecake, so it was a pretty good meal.
- After dinner, we went to this outdoor light exhibit called The Wave, which is part of a Frost Festival that’s going on during the month of February. It was the first day of the exhibit, so there was a special “20 minute” light show, which was cool except for the fact that it definitely was not 20 minutes. We kept waiting for the finale to happen, but the lights kept going and going and eventually we got cold and left.
- On Sunday, we had brunch with my host family, during which Catheryn got to try the goodness that is chocolate sheets on bread. Then we played Partners with Frida and Mathilde. And then we played this game that was basically Monopoly, but a lot more fun because it actually ends in a reasonable amount of time.
- This weekend, Catherine (confusing bc they have the same name but not the same person) visited! She flew in on Thursday and then we went to a sushi restaurant, where I got this large and delicious bowl of raw tuna.
- On Saturday, we did some sightseeing, including the canal, The Little Mermaid, the Royal Library, and Torvehallerne, where I got a huge ice cream cone even though it was FREEZING. We also went to the meatpacking district, where I found a little Asian grocery store, so I picked up some Pocky sticks and Haw Flakes for my host family to try. As expected, Pocky is a hit, but the jury is still out on Haw Flakes. Which is understandable, because I don’t even really know why I like them.
- My host family was visiting the grandparents for the weekend, so Catherine and I cooked ourselves some food, which was fun, and then had a nice hygglig night.
- On Sunday, we met up with Erin at a coffee shop and planned our Hamburg trip! Wooo exciting. And then Erin took us to a service at Hillsong Church, which was probably the most hype and contemporary church service I’ve ever been to (which is saying something because I’ve been to church in Berkeley). But it was really cool and I met another girl who lives in Lyngby on the way there!
- Today after class, I met up with Erin and Catherine to go to CPH Street Food again. This time, I got duck and chips, which is basically fried pulled duck with potatoes and it was exquisite.
CORE COURSE WEEK
- Last week was Core Course week, which means that I was traveling with my class to sites related to education! (that wasn’t even a sarcastic exclamation point I love visiting schools)
- At the first school we visited, we worked with 8th graders on a hip hop project. The extent of my knowledge about hip hop is basically Hamilton, which was very much not the type of hip hop that the 15-year-old boys in my group liked, but it was still fun. Tbh it was kind of a weird activity because we were supposed to come up with a “crew” handshake and dance and playlist. But I had a good time getting the boys to teach me Danish slang and shocking them by telling them about America’s “strict” open container laws (because it’s totally normal and not taboo to talk about alcohol during school around here apparently).
- We went to this nonprofit program that runs a bunch of afterschool programs for low SES kids, which was really cool because I really got to see Denmark’s egalitarian principles come out. The staff there was just like “Yeah we got some trampolines the other week. We kind of just do what the kids want to do – sometimes they want to visit Paris, so that’s what we do.” Obviously those were the extremes/highlights, but I guess it’s just cool to see that low SES doesn’t have to mean low quality. There was also a staff member there who teaches robotics to the kids, so I had a nice conversation with him about the (lack of) computer science education in Denmark.
- The first night, we stayed at this v nice hostel that provided us with delicious meals including this homemade bread that I ate like 6 slices of for breakfast.
- On the second day, we went to a preschool, which was really cute because the kids were kind of just running around doing their own thing (aka kind of what you’d imagine after reading all the articles about the Danish view of childhood). At one point, the pedagogues just dumped a bunch of water and potato flour onto the table and let the kids play with it. They also told us about how they helped the kids to hatch and raise chickens, and then proceeded to kill and eat them (yes the kids were involved in that part too). It was totally normal for them, but it was funny for us as American students because imagine the parents’ horror if that happened in the US.
- We also went to this BOMB children’s museum that was all based on using space to prompt creativity. There were big areas with pillows and forts and stages for kids to role play, and also this CRAZY room with paint and glue and scrap materials and wood for kids to make literally whatever they wanted. It was especially crazy because they just casually had saws and glueguns lying around for kids to use. Keep in mind that this is designed for kids under age 10. They turned us loose at the end of our visit to play in the museum for a few minutes, so I sawed, sanded and painted a little block of wood (tbt to carpentry class).
- During our lunch break, a few of the girls in my class went shopping and we all bought black booties that we are OBSESSED with and have been wearing like every day. I got mine for $14 and am still v satisfied with this purchase.
- In the evening, we took the bus to Aarhus, which is the second biggest city in Denmark. And, by most American standards, v. small. I walked around for a few hours with some friends and feel like I saw most of the city.
- We had a nice Italian buffet for dinner, during which our study tour leaders treated us to wine, so that was cool. After dinner, we did some ~deep class bonding~ at the hotel
- On our last travel day, we had a traditional Danish brunch, aka a bunch of small dishes that you can mix and match to your liking.
- We then went to our last school, which was this BEAUTIFUL “multicultural” school that was an “Apple Distinguished School,” which basically means that Apple pays for TVs in all the classrooms and iPads for all of the kids. Everything was VERY technology-centered – I doubt any of these kids even had to bring a pencil to school because it seemed like literally every assignment was done on the iPad. They also had a room with a green screen for filming, a rock wall (and other fun jungle gym activities) in the hallways, and a cafeteria that literally looked like a restaurant. My favorite part was that all of their classrooms are named after cities, and their library is called San Francisco. And then there’s a little isolated room for group work called Alcatraz. Hilarious.
- The principal came in and gave us all these stats about how much the school has improved over the past few years, and then a teacher came to demo how he uses technology in the classroom. It was nothing revolutionary (flipped classroom, using apps to help students create things, etc), but still cool to see these ideas being implemented for realsies. It would have been nice to see how the students actually responded to that much technology in the classroom though. It seemed a little too focused on the fancy technology on not enough on actual meaningful learning (and that’s coming from a big supporter of educational technology). I also have some concerns about deficit thinking and difference as a problem and colorblindness in the classroom, but we can save those for another time.
- Our last stop on the tour was the Aros Art Museum, which is home to the rainbow room, aka the Nyhavn Canal of Aarhus, aka you have to get at least one good picture there. The rest of the museum was cool, but it’s hard to match up to this.
CLASSES, CULTURE, ‘N MISC THINGS
- IT SNOWED. Actually a decent amount, both on Jutland (the big section of Denmark where I was during Core Course Week) and in Cope. So it’s been pretty cold. On the flip side of that, it was so warm yesterday (aka like 40 degrees) that I got pretty hot while I was walking (granted I had been walking for like an hour but more on that later.
- On Tuesday, I went to a ballet called Dans2Go at the Royal Danish Theater with my friends Natasha and Amanda. It was apparently a sampling of a bunch of other ballets, which was good because I know literally 0 about ballet. So it was a good introduction. Also side note – the theater has all these huge rooms outside the main room for classy people to be social and drink champagne and look at chandeliers.
- In artificial intelligence, we officially started our group projects. Which I was a little nervous about, because it’s hard to choose groups when you don’t really know anyone in your class, but I ended up with a BOMB group. When we got the depth-first search to work, we all started cheering and one of the girls was like, “yo this is the most positive programming group I’ve ever been a part of” which was funny but also true. And then after class we went to get doughnuts together, so I think this is going to be a fun group project.
- On Wednesday, I was going to meet Claire at the climbing gym, except that the buses decided to not, so I just walked the 50 minutes to the gym. Luckily, it was actually a really nice day and a fairly scenic walk. Good times. We also were able to get a climb a bunch of the walls that we couldn’t get last time (go us), and I have some nice blisters on my hands to prove it.
- This morning, Claire and I went to a coffee shop in Lyngby and ate some delicious muffins/studied, and then met up with Erin and Catherine to go on the Carlsberg Brewery tour. The tour itself was fairly underwhelming and I’m still not really sure how beer is made, but I got to pet some horses and the $10 ticket came with two free beers! We thought they were just going to be little sample cups, but nope they were full-sized beers. Which was great, except that none of us particularly like beer that much, so it was a struggle to finish both of them. But I got a nice IPA and it was good*
*by beer standards
- Adventures in Hamburg this weekend with Erin and Catherine
- More climbing woooo
- Me teaching computer science to Danish children
- Study tour in ~LONDON~
- Trying to save $$ but seeing too much delicious food