Okay okay I’m catching up on blogs!
- Getting back from Spain reminded me once again of how glad I am that I chose a homestay! I came back to a home-cooked dinner of spring rolls, which my host family calls “duck pancakes” because the rice paper looks like a pancake and we put duck in them. This is one of my favorite things that my host mom makes (alongside the salmon and fried shrimp. YUM). And then I walked down to the candy store with Frida and Mathilde and their friends. One thing that I think is really cute about Danish kids is that they really like to link arms with their friends while they walk.
- My host mom knows about my love for pasta, so whenever she makes pasta on Sundays, she always makes like 3x the amount we can actually eat so that I can have it for lunch for a few days. It’s the best.
- Mathilde and I realized that we like a lot of the same music, so now whenever we do the dishes together, we always sing songs from Moana, which makes doing the dishes a lot more fun.
- This past weekend was the first one in FOREVER that I wasn’t traveling, which was fun because I got to spend soooo much time with my host family. On Friday after I got home from climbing, I helped my host mom make dinner, and then we all ate together. Then, we went to the candy store as usual, and the most amazing thing happened! We were all walking there, and all of a sudden my host dad starts running and is like “Sidst betaler! Sidst betaler!” and it just clicked that he was saying that the last one there had to pay. This was especially exciting because obviously, that wasn’t a phrase we had learned explicitly in class, but I was able to use my knowledge of other phrases and put together what was going on. After I got back from Spain, I started noticing that I was recognizing so many Danish phrases when my host family talked, which was soooo cool. Before, I knew a decent amount of words, but couldn’t really identify them, but now I can hear a lot of simple phrases and questions. Learning languages is cool.
- Anyway, after we got back from the candy store, we watched San Andreas, which was super weird because I think my host family (or at least Frida) thinks that I come from some scary place where earthquakes could destroy the entire city with no warning. Which I guess is true. Yikes.
- On Saturday, I went out for a bit to work on a group project, and on my way home, I picked up some makeup to do a little science experiment with Frida. Background info: while I was in Spain, one of my face palettes broke, so we looked up how to fix pressed powders, and found a YouTube video. We decided to try it on a cheap palette to see if it worked, and it totally did! We even used a hair dryer to make the evaporation process go faster – I might have even fit a mini science lesson in there. The process was also a lot more fun than we thought it would be, and we decided to try a few more experiments later that weekend.
- We also went back to the Chinese buffet in Holte on Saturday night for dinner, which is always a lot of fun. Mathilde and I had a good time laughing at some people who literally just put plates of meat at the noodle-frying station. We also tried to teach Frida how to use chopsticks, which was unsuccessful. Understandable considering the fact that I don’t even use them correctly…
- On Sunday, we took a trip to the first flea market of the season! Frida and I went off on our own while the rest of the family bought a bunch of dishware for Mathilde’s confirmation that’s coming up in a month. Frida bought a scarf and convinced me to buy this cute pink dress for like 25 kr. Too bad it’s not warm enough for sundresses yet…
- After the flea market, we went to a cemetery that’s known for its cherry blossoms. The ENTIRE sky was covered in flowers – I had never seen anything like it before!
- On our way home, Frida convinced her parents to drop us off at the drugstore so that we could buy makeup for more experiments. We picked up two lipsticks, and decided that we could melt them into contact cases to make mini lipstick palettes! We got started right away (well, after enjoying some cake outside…yum), and even decided to film the process. We didn’t have a tripod or anything, so we had to get creative…
- After dinner, we drank Caprisuns and I showed Frida how to edit the video. We were both so proud of our work – Frida did such an awesome job coming up with ideas for our video and speaking English for the voiceover! When we showed my host mom and dad, they were so impressed that they decided to let Frida make a YouTube channel! She was soooo excited because I swear she spends HOURS every day watching beauty gurus on YouTube. Check out our cool video:
- While we were making the video, Frida thanked me for doing this project with her, and I told her that I ALWAYS wished I had someone to do stuff like this with. It kind of clicked when Mathilde was joking at dinner that Frida was “sooo weird,” and it reminded me of how people always say the same thing about me when I get excited about things and start weird projects. tl;dr having sisters is fun.
- When I got back from Italy the other day, Frida showed me that she had made a video on her own while I was gone! She filmed it herself and used the iMovie tutorial to teach herself how to edit it – SO impressive. And she’s made a couple more since then. I’m so so excited that she’s getting the hang of making videos (and so were my host parents when I told them that this skill has helped me get most of my jobs…). And then we ate fried shrimp for dinner and played Set. Traveling is cool, but I love being home!
- Haha remember I take those?
- My core course, Children in a Multicultural Context, is a bit disorganized but still fun to be in and talk about issues in multicultural education. The rest of the semester is basically going to be working on our final group projects. My group is using a couple of different frameworks/theories to evaluate and improve history lesson plans, so that’s pretty exciting. Stuff like this is right up my ally, so I’m actually looking forward to working on it.
- Artificial Intelligence is also kind of confusing, but we get to work in groups for pretty much every project, so that’s been super fun because my group just goofs off and gets really excited when our programs work. Last Wednesday, we had two field studies in one day, which was a super long day but ended up being pretty fun. First, we showed up at 9 am and played board games – the point of this was to think about strategies that AI could use to play the game, which was a good time because my friends in this class are just as nerdy about analyzing strategy for Mastermind and Clue as I am. Then we had a break until 6pm, so we got lunch at this place with shockingly good vegan bread. During lunch, Rishma mentioned something about bubble tea, at which point we all discovered that we love bubble tea, so we took a little trip to Norrebro. Sooooo good. Then, Mimi and I chilled in the DIS lounges for a while, and we all met up again at a café to work on our group project. At 6pm, it was time for FIELD STUDY #2, which was a visit from IBM. At first I thought it was going to be boring, but it was actually really cool to see all of the implications of machine learning and big data – they even taught us how to build our own chatbot! Mimi made a dating advice chatbot which was hilarious, and Rishma and I tried to analyze people’s personalities using their Twitter bios. Good times.
- Learning in Scandinavian Classrooms is great as usual and Heidi continues to be my hero. Danish is also super fun because my class is awesome. Those are my only two classes on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the day just flies by!
- On one of my practicum days, Mette was visiting New York, so I followed a different teacher around for the day. I got to see a 5th grade English lesson, which was actually really cool because it reminded me a lot of middle school Spanish. They had to conjugate the verb “to have,” and then they had to listen to a cheesy story in English and answer questions about it. The 5th graders were all really cute and excited to talk to me:
- One kid came up to me and asked me if I liked Chipotle. Apparently he went while in Miami and it was life-changing
- Another kid told me that I had to go to Red Robin and get some sort of mint milkshake
- This one girl wanted to know where I was from because her mom was from Vietnam. I thought that was cute.
- The other week at practicum, I went on a field trip with the 6th grade and it was the WEIRDEST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE. They told me it was going to be a classical concert, and I was like “okay cool.” And I walked into the concert hall, and the whole orchestra was set up, so that was pretty normal. But then there was a guy on the side with watercolors and a docu-cam, and he started painting along with the music, which was pretty interesting actually. On the next song, he started doing some crazy animation stuff with a flipbook, and then on the next song, he starts acting out the story of Adam and Eve. At this point, I realize that the entire show has been re-enacting the first few pages of the bible. So he’s prancing around, being Eve, and then grabs the apple and puts his entire face under the docucam and takes this huge bite – super creepy. And the whole time, the orchestra is just playing their usual classical music innocently in the background. I talked to some of the kids after the show and was like “is this what you expected?” And they were like “nope” but didn’t seem all that phased. Interesting stuff.
- The kids are also writing blogs in English as part of their digital media unit, and some of them read their pieces out loud the other day. I was BLOWN AWAY by what they had written – not only was it grammatically correct and complex, but these kids had structure and opinion and purpose and VOICE in their writing, which is something that I see American kids their age struggle with. I think it’s probably because 1) the Danish school system doesn’t do a lot of formal writing instruction, so the kids aren’t “trained” to write essays. And this shows when they actually have to write an essay, but also loosens them up for writing like this – they’re not as stuck on rules and academic voice as American kids are. And 2) these kids learn so much of their English from watching YouTube videos and reading blogs, so this is the English that they’re comfortable with. Anyway, it was cool to see.
- Over the last two weeks, my Spain friends and I have been sending each other a lot of weird Ronald snaps, largely consisting of our favorite dinosaur friend partaking in mundane activities. How nice it is to have found people with the same weird sense of humor as me…
- The other day, I went back to my host siblings’ school to speak – it was “alternative week,” which is basically a fun week where each grade does something ~exciting~ and different from their normal routine. The 8th grade was investigating the idea of utopias and the “perfect life,” so the teachers asked me to come in and talk about what the “perfect life” meant in the United States. I’ve gotta say, making this powerpoint was SUPER weird because not only did I have to think about what makes up a perfect life, but I had to focus on what uniquely American ideals influence what we consider to be perfect. Luckily, I know a lot more about American history than I did about a year ago…It ended up being really cool.
- We started by talking about American values, and when I brought up the idea of social mobility, all of the kids and teachers thought that it was just the most novel idea. In Denmark, social mobility isn’t really a thing, because everyone is supposed to be equal – why would you need to move up anyway? Plus, half your salary goes to taxes, so even if you work really hard, you’re not that much better off than someone who makes a lot less money than you.
- The kids were asked to prepare questions, and most of them were VERY interested about Donald Trump and politics in general. I’m not a super political person in general (but hey maybe living in DC will change that), so it was a little weird fielding their questions. But being forced to answer them made me realize that I do know more than I think I do, and since I was literally the only American in the room, I wasn’t as nervous about being critical of certain aspects of American politics and culture.
- I know this wasn’t even a real school assignment, but this little project was probably one of the most eye-opening cultural experiences for me, because it made me put myself in the shoes of someone looking into America all the way from Denmark. It made me realize that so many of the things I consider “my” values are actually very American values, and how the “perfect life” sits at different threshold values depending on how you look at it. This one kid asked a question that really made me think – she asked if I thought the perfect life was easier to achieve in the US or in Demark. It made me think about how Denmark is the happiest country, and also about how I read this article in my Danish class about how Danes stay happy by keeping their expectations low and not trying to be better than anyone else. So maybe in that sense, it’s easier to be content in Denmark, because you’re not always trying to be exceptional. Which is very opposite from the American mindset. (can u hear “my shot” playing in the background???)
- I registered for classes a few weeks ago! I got all of the classes I wanted (yay for being a senior). Registration was smack in the middle of AI class, but luckily Mimi had the same registration day as me, so we could do it together. One more registration until graduation yikes.
- Isabelle and I went to Edinburgh a few weekends ago to visit Rachel! I realize now that this was almost a month ago but bear with me…
- We stayed in Rachel’s dorm room, which, as a result of living with Rachel for the last year and a half, felt a lot like home. The first activity we did was eat pizza and watch the first half of Sound of Music, so the weekend was off to a good start.
- On Saturday morning, we ate breakfast at the dorm halls, which felt like being back at Vanderbilt. I know it hasn’t really been that long, but it felt like FOREVER since I had carried a tray around. I also discovered during this meal that I really like poached eggs. Fun fact. I also apparently like Nutella now.
- We took the bus into town and walked around Edinburgh for a while. There were a lot of pretty buildings and people playing the bagpipes on the street (classic). We didn’t go into the castle because it was v expensive, but we got some nice views.
- Rachel took us to her favorite ice cream shop, which was v delicious. She also advised me to go into this pulled pork shop where you could get a custom sandwich with whatever toppings and sauces you wanted. Soooo good.
- Our next stop was the National Museum of Scotland, which was SUPER FUN because it just happened to be SCIENCE FESTIVAL. That basically meant that there were a bunch of special exhibits about all of my favorite things, including ed tech, robots, and code education. There were a bunch of interactive exhibits and of course I got such a thrill out of watching kids learn about science. Rachel and Isabelle were less enthused by this, and went to the other parts of the museum, but luckily we ran into Mimi and some other CS majors from Vanderbilt, so I hung out with them. We did this sweet virtual reality simulation, which featured a guest appearance from the Microsoft Word paperclip. After a few hours, Rachel and Isabelle found me in the exact same spot they left me lol. I love science.
- I’m not really sure the order in which we did the next couple of things, but we definitely climbed a big tower in the middle of a park to get a nice view of Edinburgh, and then went to another #elevatedsurface/park and took a lot of cute pictures.
- Before dinner, we went back to Rachel’s room to take a quick nap. I forgot that we weren’t in Spain anymore, and that if you slept past 7:30 you actually had to kind of rush to find a dinner place (whoops), but we ended up at a nice Scottish diner where we had the best fried brie ever and also some other things. We also hung out at a pub for a bit, but were all exhausted and decided to call it a night.
- The next morning, we got up v early and went hiking, which was sooooo fun because I ❤ hiking way more than I like normal tourist things. We went on a hike called Arthur’s Seat, which is one of the highest points in Edinburgh and featured a lot of steps/inclines, but was totally worth it. On the way back down, we sang Hamilton songs because why not?
- Then we put on “nice” clothes and headed to high tea, which of course was delicious and a nice tbt to London. I am such a big fan of the little sandwiches at high tea, and the scones are also always delicious. I would literally go to high tea every weekend if I lived in the UK (and if it weren’t so expensive).
- After tea, we did a bit of shopping so that Isabelle and I could get scarves. The scarves in Edinburgh are sooooo soft and you can get them in pretty much any color you can ever imagine. It also came in handy because Copenhagen decided that it was going to be v cold again this week.
- Our last major stop of the trip was the royal palace. One weird thing about this was that the parliament building was right next door, and looked v modern, so there was some ~juxtaposition~ going on there. The palace was pretty cool to check out, and the audio guide was free (I usually never do them because I don’t want to pay the extra $2-5…), so I got a nice overview of what all the rooms were used for.
- We had a few hours left after the palace before we had to head out to the airport, and the sun was just starting to come out, so we headed back downtown, laid on the grass, and watched the end of Sound of Music. Goooood times.
Coming up (even though it already happened lol blogging takes forever)
- I get employed
- The reunion of Ronald and Friends
- Poking holes in our ears
- Lots of teaching