You’ll understand that title when I get there.
I’m lame and need to catch up on blogs so bear with me.
Week of 3/6 (Wow that was a long time ago)
- So when we got to CMC class (my core course), there was no professor for the first 5 minutes, and then Professor Maggie (the program assistant who became our trip mom) rolls up with blankets and is like, “Maja (our professor) told me to bring these and move all of the tables out of the way.” And then 10 minutes later Maja walks in and is like “yup so we’re going to meditate.” So that’s how my week started.
- On Tuesday, I stayed at school for a while and hung out with Marina and Trendha, another friend who I met in my Danish class. I really like how DIS classes are structured so that you can make friends in class instead of awkwardly sitting next to people the entire semester without knowing their names.
- One night for dinner, my host family went out for bagel sandwiches, and I ordered the whole thing in Danish! Go me. Unclear if the worker understood me or just watched where I was pointing, but I was still pretty proud of myself.
- On Wednesday, I visited Isabelle’s homestay and saw La La Land with her host mom and sister! It was really cool to see another homestay because it was so different from mine. Isabelle also has a really cute 7-year-old host sister who gave me a flower when I showed up and tried to play Horse-y with me, which I understood even though she said it in Danish (thx duolingo. jer er en hest.)
- On Thursday, I went to practicum and taught my first lesson in a Danish classroom wooo! My friend Amanda didn’t have practicum that day, so she helped me out and took some cool pictures for my activity documentation. The activity went SO WELL – I was a little concerned that the language barrier would be tough (and Mette said the kids were a little nervous too), but they all did great. We did a few Hour of Code exercises, some pseudocoding, and a Scratch activity. The kids seemed to really like coding, and at the end, a bunch of the kids said that they thought it was so fun and much easier than they thought it would be. Which was cool, because a lot of the philosophy behind Code Ignite is to break down barriers that make kids think that coding isn’t for them. Anyway, Mette said that some of the kids were asking if they could learn more coding, so I’ll hopefully be teaching a few more lessons in the future.
- After practicum, Claire and I went climbing, which is always fun.
- On Friday, Zack showed up (lookin like a major hipster in his glasses and sweater with shoulder patches. also i forgot to tell him but i saw a little kid in Madrid with legit the exact same sweater). We had food at Torvehallerne (which Jesper taught me how to say finally), and then walked around the Kongens Nytorv area, and then went to CPH street food, where Zack got a beer and I got a delicious creme brule doughnut that was made by an extremely friendly Danish guy.
- We went to Brussels, mostly because flights were like $15 but also Belgium is cool I guess!
- When we got the the airport, we had to take a shuttle for like an hour because RyanAir only flies to the ratchet airport in Charleroi. It also took like an hour to even get on the shuttle because there were like 200 people who needed to get on a mid-sized shuttle that only came every 20 minutes or so. And you can bet we spent 90% of the wait complaining about how inefficient the system was.
- When we finally got off the shuttle, we were still like a half-hour walk from the hostel, and the metro was closed, so we had to walk through the hood, which Zack deemed the “Oakland of Europe.” It was not exactly how I pictured Belgium would look like, but an adventure nonetheless.
- On our first day in Brussels, we hit a lot of museums and walked A LOT. We got up pretty early, ate waffles because what else does one eat in Brussels, and headed to the Bellvue museum, which is a fun and ~interactive~ museum about Belgian history/society. It was really interesting to look at how Belgium had changed since it became an actual country in 1830, and definitely gave me a good idea of the government/demographics/major industries in Belgium. It was also well-designed and seemed like it paid a lot of attention to providing multiple perspectives on issues. Teacher-Sami-approved; would definitely recommend this museum.
- Next, we went to the Magritte Museum, because 1) Magritte was a big deal in Belgium and 2) I actually am somewhat familiar with Magritte’s work because my high school English teacher Mr. Ross always had a ton of his paintings on his classroom walls. I liked it a lot more than the typical art museum because you kind of get to follow one artist throughout his life and see how he evolved.
- After walking around the park for a little, we decided to walk to the Natural History museum, which was a bit far but we didn’t want to pay for metro tickets. The museum was HUGE and had like 6 huge rooms full of dinosaurs, which was pretty overwhelming and also awesome. We spent so much time learning about dinosaurs and looking at shells and biodiversity exhibits – typical us. We didn’t get through all of the exhibits, which was sad, but we wanted to hit at least one more thing before all of the museums closed.
- Our last major stop of the day was the Atomium, which I thought was going to be about science but was actually just a big model of an iron crystal that you could walk through. It was still pretty cool though, because it was built for the first world fair as a peace offering (ie “let’s use atoms for good things instead of bombing each other”). There was also a weird mascot that they make all visitors take a picture with, and then try to sell you the picture, and ours was so hilarious that I almost bought it.
- For dinner, we went to this nice homestyle place where the menu was all in Dutch, but we managed to get some risotto and shrimp. We were also v thirsty but didn’t want to pay for water, so we just sucked it up and I used some fruit candies to quench my thirst.
- After dinner, we found out that there was a big Museum Night Fever event going on where you could pay a fixed amount to go to some special exhibit at all of the museums. We were thinking about going, but we were pretty tired, so we just walked by them and watched some cool street performers who were breathing fire.
- We ended the day with a waffle topped with mango ice cream, which sounds weird but was pretty delicious.
- One thing we noticed that was SO WEIRD was that fries in a cone are a huge thing. Like when we walked through the city at 9:00pm, literally every fry stand had a super long line and we couldn’t figure out why people could possibly want fries that badly.
- On Sunday morning, we got up REAL early and had to book it to the train station to catch the train to Bruges. The only thing I knew about Bruges before going there was that there used to be a really cute dog who sits in the window, but it died last year so I went to Bruges knowing basically nothing about it.
- The first thing we did was walk through this huge park, and you could immediately tell that it was a much more quaint and sleepy European town. Then we got really cheap pastries which Zack deemed “the best pastries ever” and walked around the main areas of the city for a while.
- Our main excursion in Bruges was a brewery tour, except that we skipped the tour and just went straight for the beer tasting (classic). We got 5 beers for 10 euros, which was a pretty solid deal. I really liked the sour beers, probs because they tasted the least like beer. Zack really enjoyed talking to the lady who worked there about different types of beer, except that she asked him how to say “cheers” in Chinese (probs bc there were a lot of Chinese tourists there) and he had no idea lol.
- While we were finishing our beers, I looked for a place to eat lunch, and settled on a traditional Flemish place after about 20 minutes (Zack told me I take even longer than our dad to find a place to eat…I think that’s a good thing?) Anyway my search paid off because we had some v traditional and v yum Flemish food such as beef stew with applesauce, onion soup, and lap chong (jk it wasn’t actually lap chong but it certainly did taste like it).
- After Bruges, we headed to the airport and then back to Copenhagen!
The US Embassy Comes in Clutch
- Ok so here’s where the story gets good. About 30 seconds after I got off the flight, I realized that I’m dumb and left my passport on my seat, so naturally I went back to get it, but the RyanAir people wouldn’t let us back on the plane (classic). The guy working there told me that he would go look for it, but I doubt he looked very hard and then the next flight took off so that was that. Oops.
- This was a p stressful moment but I looked online and it seemed pretty simple to just get a temporary passport. So I showed up on Tuesday ready to camp out at the embassy for a while, but I actually got in and out in like an hour, and the guards were shockingly chill and talked to me about how I was liking Denmark so far. Then this nice man with a British accent looked through all my documents and told me that I could come pick up my new passport the next day! So now I have a nice temporary passport, which looks a little sketchy because they just glued the identification page on, but it works nonetheless.
- Moral of the story is don’t lose your passport but also if you do, you can probs get a new one.
Week of 3/13
- On Monday, we had CMC in a random dance studio with those gymnastics mats that you see in children’s gym classes, and we just sat around without shoes on and ate Turkish food. Good times.
- AI was fun because had another project work day, which meant that Mimi and Laney and Rishma and I got to hang out and do some fun programming together. We changed our group name to “Proud Moms” because Mimi made up a really nice analogy about how sometimes programming is like having a child because you work so hard on getting it to work but sometimes it performs below expectations anyway. We also got the TA to like us so that he would answer all of our questions when we got stuck so that was a win. I really appreciate this class, even though I’m not actually getting any credit for it, because it reminds me of how fun and exciting and ~collaborative~ computer science can be.
- After class, I found Marina in the DIS lounge and we wrote/edited our essays for CMC together, which was a pretty hilarious experience because we were both pretty tired of the assignment at this point. Then I met Zack at Torvehallerne and we got tapas and ice cream and poke (yes in that order).
- On Tuesday, my Danish class went to Christiansborg Palace, because we had watched this really good movie about Christian VII, and were now going to see the ~Room Where it Happens~ I also got to feed a carrot to a royal horse, and this DIS professor named Steffan who mysteriously had special access to certain parts of the palace showed us around. There were these really cool tapestries hanging on the wall that were supposed to tell the story of Denmark, which was actually really cool because I know a fair amount of Danish history now and could trace it through the images. The best part of the trip, though, was that my friend Zach in my Danish class has this weird habit of doing handstands when he goes to tourist attractions, and then our tour guide Steffan sees him and starts taking off his jacket and pops an handstand too. It was pretty absurd.
- For dinner, Zack and I went to this local cafeteria-restaurant thing called Madglad where you could get a homestyle meal for like 60kr, which is very good by Copenhagen standards.
- On Wednesday, my CDD class had a field study. Claire and I signed up for one where we just walked around Norrebro (the neighborhood of Cope where our practicum site is located), which we mostly chose because Amana was leading it. After the field study was over, I went to H&M and bought an embarrassing amount of clothing because I realized I didn’t have any warm weather clothes to wear in Spain. Then, Zack came to Lyngby to have dinner with my host family, where we ate smorrebrod for the first time and it was DELICIOUS. They were all worried that Zack wasn’t going to like it, but I was like “lol I’d be amazed if you actually find something he doesn’t like.” And I was right, of course. My favorite was definitely the one with shrimp and eggs, which was surprising because I don’t usually like eggs that much, but it was soooo good. We also had kanalsnegls (cinnamon rolls) for dessert and hung out with my host family for a bit.
- On Thursday, I went to practicum, and then went climbing with Zack, which was fun.
- On Friday, I went to class and then we were off to Spain. Side note I’m going to say again that Heidi is my favorite person ever because the other day in class, she was like “you might have noticed I’m in a good mood…it’s because I watched this super funny video on Facebook where people fail at making food. There was one where someone dropped his glasses in a cake and didn’t realize it until he took it out of the oven.” And then she proceeded to laugh about it for like 5 more minutes. And then she shut a door really loudly and was like “oops that was more dramatic than I intended.” And at least once a class she brings up how creepy it would be to say “tak for sidst” (thanks for last time) in English. And then she turns around and talks about effective teacher education and it’s amazing.
- Anyway more on Spain in the next post because this post was already really long and that one will likely be even longer oops.