Monday, June 27, 2011
In six months we have, travelled together, cooked together, made messes together, cleaned the messes up, gotten lost in forests, been thrown out of clubs, protected each other, carried each other home, gotten angry at each other, apologized, spent way to much money, missed flights, split cabs, made mistakes, laughed together, watched movies together, danced party rock anthem, screamed Barbara Striesand, fallen on bikes, played soccer, broke several bones, realized playing soccer in the rain is the worst and best idea, shared pictures from back home, played poker together, purchased the wrong groceries, slept in each other rooms, Bar B Qued together, tried to learn other languages, and most importantly made memories that we will soon never forget.
Well it all comes to an end. I guess this is where I look back and say WOW! I am so glad that I came abroad. I have made friends over here, who will be with me the rest of my life. It is hard as we all say good bye. I actually miss the normal parties. I am not a fan of the “Good bye Parties.”
I have learned a lot about myself, America, and the world. I know as time goes by people grow up and are influenced by the experiences they have. Studying abroad is one of those experiences I wish everyone could do. It forces you to let go of your home and make a new one, with people who you would never meet otherwise.
I now realize that classes are important over here. However, what I have learned over here is mainly from hanging out with other internationals. I know as much as I have learned about them, I have also taught them a lot about America.
I know Internationals say they don’t believe everything they see in movies about America. The truth is they actually do believe so much of what they see in the movies. So it is good to set them straight. I got a real reality check and have grown so much over here. I know I miss home but part of me will miss seeing these guys/girls everyday.
As you can tell by my writing that my thoughts are everywhere in this blog. The truth is that I am sitting here having a hard time typing this. I may not see these people again. I hope I will and know that thanks to technology they aren’t so far away. I still have to prepare my self for the sad fact that these may be our last days together. One of my friend’s mom after coming and visiting her daughter said the best quote to sum it up.
“It almost appears that you are closer to your friends abroad then your friends back home”
It is so true though. As the second paragraph shows there is so much we have been thru together. I have left so many things out for contractual reasons and because there are to many to list. I realize that in the world we are so very different. The differences lead to wars and hatred. I can see now that while we are different and come from all different walks of life, we are however the same. We share so many similarities.
To think I made the decision to come abroad last minuet. I am so glad I did though. My friend Michael broke his ankle playing soccer. Patrik and I helped him to the train station. It was hard because he has become one of my best friends here. Patrik, Michael, and I sat there and toasted to a great 6 months. We made plans to see each other in 5 years. Also, to invite each other to our weddings. I told them they will be waiting awhile for my wedding. Its crazy to think though that I have 1 more year of college then the real world. We wondered if due to globalization and outsourcing will be be closer together?
I was told one time in middle school by a counselor that, “These are the best years of your life!” I was convinced for awhile, even though I don’t know why because middle school was awful. However, I then got to high school and thought those were the best years of my life. Soccer, girls, parties, classes didn’t matter, fully supported by my parents, and we always got away with warnings. College seemed even better then high school, and going abroad has been amazing.
If could go back in time or if I ever saw my middle school counselor again I would tell him he was wrong. I think the best years of your life are yet to be determined. When I was younger I did think it was as good as it was gonna get. I now know that it always gets better.
So where will I be in 5 years? Honestly, I don’t know... I find the more I plan for things the less they happen. Senior year I though I was either going to LSU or TCU. I never thought I’d be at Centenary. I never thought I would have stayed at Centenary after freshmen year, but then I grew to love the professors and the friends I have there and the memories we have shared, and the best part is it’s not over yet.
I have had so much time to think over here about everything. I now notice that the best things in my life have been when I have taken a risk. I didn’t follow my friends to the “Stratford Americas”(a lot of people from my high school all go to the same colleges and never make new friends) I love my friends I grew up with, and they will always be there. The truth is that everyone grows up and changes. Less and less friends return home after your first summer. You find your true friends after the first year away. I have realized that some one my best friends in life; the people who will be there for the important events later in life, are some of the people I have met in the last 4 years of my life.
Six months seemed like an unbearable time to be away from home. I know that I made a separate home abroad. I found my self traveling and actually getting excited about coming back to Denmark to hang out with my friends. I am glad my life has gone the way it has. Nothing could have prepared me for coming here and nothing can prepare me for leaving.
I know I usually have a problem with assuming things are as good as they’re going to get. Often they actually get better. I seriously think that it can’t get better then this. I have a hard time imagining that it will. I am glad that the risks and decisions in my life have led me too Denmark. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I could sit here and write more and tell you how amazing my life has been over here but I think you get the picture. I would close with saying, take a risk! You’ll thank yourself for it later.
As I look back at how I did my blogs I think I might have left a huge part of me out. Music is a huge part of my life. I feel songs can express so much more. I realize what I take from a song is often different then the true meaning. Just bare with me and enjoy. You’ll get the picture hopefully.
Losing A Whole Year - Third Eye Blind
So much of my time here has been laying around with friends. It seems like we lost a whole sixth months but I realize we didn’t. I’ll look back and remember the time we spent together.
Yogi - Starting Six
The chorus goes, “I know we met last night and partied till the sun went down, but what happens when the sun comes up.” If you don’t know the sun in Denmark now sets at 22:30 and rises at 3. Even before it did this literally is a typical night. We met at night partied till the sun comes up, but what happens when it comes up. Hopefully, the memories we made when the sun came up and at night will always be with us. Nothing beats watching the sun rise together on a beach.
Skinny Love - Bon Iver
Patrik my friend from Finland may be the funniest person I have ever met. He loves Bon Iver, and this song has rubbed off on me.
You will Leave A Mark - A Silent Film
Everyone here will leave a mark in a good way!
Lights - Journey
When The Lights Go Down In The City, Do I Wanna Be There In My City. I think this is an underrated Journey song. I listen to this song and know that I will one day want to get back to Aarhus, the city by the bay. The place where a group of internationals had to survive together for 6 months.
Your Love - The Outfield
So if you don’t know, know this I love this song! I have always and will always love this song. Now the song is about cheating. I know what your thinking what does that have to do with Denmark. A lot. We sing this song all the time when we’re out and about. Daniel my german friend even made the mistake of playing the awful Techno remix in front of me..... Ya that didn’t go well. Either way nothing beats singing this song loudly at 3 in the morning.
Barbara Striesand - Duck Sauce
A really tight club song that I knew about long before Denmark. The best part of the song is the fact that they say the words “Barbara Striesand” really loud. Nothing beats being in a club and everyone yelling it out on que!
Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO
I would recommend watching the music video to get this one. Youtube it, its worth it. So there is this dance that goes along with the song. Spencer one of my American friends lovessss this song so much. So much so that he has memorized the dance to the song. Since its introduction some time in march it has taken the place of Barbara Striesand under songs we request at clubs. The reason being is nothing beats doing the shuffling dance with all your friends. It is amazing. In fact in London when the song came on, it just wasn’t the same without Spencer.
Jack Sparrow/Golden Rule/I Just Had Sex by Lonely Island
Any lonely Island song is hilarious to see the internationals sing.
About Rain - Sequoyah Prep School
A great song by a band that played at Centenary my Soph year. I know this song is about a girl but to me its more about the weather over here and some of the struggles we have abroad. Everything isn’t always perfect. Often things go wrong, its sunny then it rains and ruins your plans. The key is to not let the rain get you down. Rain has caused two broken ankles and many plans to be ruined. In the end though we’re fine and the rain turned out to be the best thing it brought us together.
My Life Is Amazing - Right Side of The Tree
I think this one is pretty much self explanatory. Listen to the song and you will get the picture. My life is amazing!
Nik og Jay - Fest
An amazing danish party song. Fest means party, and this is one of me and Brandon's favorite songs. It always gets us in the mood for the night.
Det Burde Ikke Vaere Sdan Her - Xander
Another Danish song. Its about how there seems to be a glass wall between Xander and his lady friend. He doesn’t want it to be like this. Det Burde Ikk Vaere Sdan Her means It shouldn’t be like this. I realize when I leave there will be 7 hours between me and the a lot of my friends abroad. I wish it wouldn’t be like this but I know its just a fact of the matter.
Jessies Girl - Rick Springfield
If you want Jesse to get mad, throw this song on when he least expects it. If you are Patrik, start singing this song loudly in a large group of people right next to Jessie. Just do it, its funny.
Save Tonight - Eagle Eye Cherry
Save Tonight, Fight the Break of Dawn. I wish I could go back to some of the nights. I wish I could have saved them forever. Honestly, tomorrow people will be gone....
Home Sweet Home - Motley Crue
First, we are a motley crue. All of us are very different. We are all now on our way to our separate homes. I know we won’t forget each other.
Coming Home - Dirty Money ft Skylar Grey
Tell the world I’m coming home. I know that my mistakes abroad are forgiven and I am finally coming home. It has been fun and I am glad I went abroad but TELL THE WORLD I’M COMING HOME. Well July 7th that is.......
Download those songs listen to them to further understand what I mean. You might not get all the songs. A lot are inside jokes, sorry if any of the music is not age appropriate, listen to the age appropriate song, but remember, “music is an expression of ones self.”
Friday, April 22, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Barcelona has whatever your heart desires. It has a great party scene, amazing sights, and awesome food. It was nice to finally get away from the freezing cold and be able to beach it up. Luckily, I had a friend studying abroad in Barcelona. She played tour guide and with the help of her friends got us into clubs. Word to the wise, If you don’t wanna pay 20EUR to get into a club, which who would. Then find attractive girls and go clubbing with them and watch the entrance fees disappear.
It is interesting though to note how nicely dressed Spanish people are when they hit the clubs. The bad part is one of the three Americans I was with didn’t bring something nice to wear. The end result was him not getting into the club and putting a minor damper on our nights out.
Another word to the wise, be aware of your surroundings when traveling and do your research. Barcelona, ranks highest in pick pockets. If you know this and know how to protect your stuff and aren’t an idiot you’ll be fine. However, it is something to be aware of.
The sights in Barcelona are amazing and we spent two days of the three just seeing sights. Park Guell is an amazing place! The most breathtaking place I have seen to date. I could try to explain it but you’re better off just google searching it. Another amazing sight is the Sagrada Familia. These two historic Barcelona attractions are both designed by the same architect and are world famous. I found it necessary to also travel to see where FC Barcelona played. The soccer stadium was amazing. However, due to the fact that we went there on Sunday we couldn’t go on a tour.
The cool thing is that while you can pay to see somethings. The best sights are free in Barcelona. You can pay to go on tours of certain things but we were on a budget economically and time wise. Well, that is about it for Barcelona.
I am feeling increasingly distant from America and my friends. Skype is an amazing technology but it doesn’t make the weather warmer, the sunshine (literally its always cloudy), or bring southern comfort food. The easy fix for this would be to make more Gumbo. Jesse has asked me to make my semi-famous gumbo. I still am not a pro at it like my Grandfather, but feel that soon I will master it.
We hope to invite some of our friends we’re studying with and maybe even Cow Cow. I doubt Cowsert will show up, but one can be hopeful. It should be a good bonding experience and an awesome time with friends. I know I will miss leaving all the cool people I meet. The bright side is I will have a reason now to go to Peru, Germany, Holland, Finland, Norway, and Barcelona.
Classes are the same old boring stuff that you would expect. I am confused on how hard/easy finals will be. I get mixed signals, and considering we don’t have any outside class work except reading I am finding myself bored sometimes here. I fill my time with outside business readings and other mind stimulating things.
My final schedule is looking well weird. I have two finals at the end of May and then two more at the end of June. I basically only have three finals because Aspects of Denmark is a paper. I know papers are my low point however, I already started aligning my thoughts. On top of the fact that the lady basically said as long as you don’t cheat you will pass. That is reassuring!
As for my LearnDansk class. Well, I got an email telling me that’ “because the other teachers are boring and students dropped, that we are being combined with two other classes.” I find this completely absurd! Our teacher is fun and exciting. Our attendance is relatively well but we have a bunch of masters students who have lots of night work. They still are attending a majority of the classes. I find it unfair that we now are being punished and given a crappy teacher who already proved himself inadequate. My plan was to count Danish as an elective of some such and not have as many senior year. Also, knowing Danish has come in handy every now and again.
I don’t know what to do. I guess I will just wait till tonight see how it goes and then make my choice on to continue or drop. To get credit I can only miss two classes and I have already missed one. I dunno but I’ll work that out later.
Well, I have typed a lot on random nonsense. Sorry, I didn’t tell any crazy stories in this one. I have a few but those are more PG-13. While still hilarious maybe best kept for the state side. As always in closing I’ll leave you with some thoughts.
EU Law is confusing, and having TAs who contradict each other is the dumbest thing I have ever seen.
I don’t know how people learn more then three languages. I found my self mixing Spanish, English, and Danish all together. More Spanglish but sometimes instead of saying No I’d say Nej.
The best quote I’ve heard to describe the differences in drinking alcohol between most European countries and America. “Europeans drink to feel something, Americans drink to not feel at all.” Sad but true.
In regards to the quote above. When Danes get drunk they go crazy. Case and point four guys tried to jump four bouncers at Thursdays club. Ya that didn’t end well for them.
Denmark has two winters, A white winter and a green winter.
Don’t take for granted the Caf. Yes, it tastes awful sometimes, and most people can cook better. Don’t forget that cooking means three things, buying groceries, cooking your meal, and then cleaning up after yourself. All of which takes a lot of time out of your day.
Spanish people know the rules, but often times don’t care to follow them.
Hav en god dag, Centenary. Hej-Hej
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Aarhus seems a much smaller place now! I know my way around the important parts of town (the old downtown, the university, and the square nearest my apartment, Harald Jensens Plads) and am falling into a good weekly routine. The weather has been dismal, but in the last week or so the sun is coming out. I'm starting to believe the many people who've assured me of Denmark's beauty in the spring and summer. When the sun is out and your walking down a centuries-old street, it's hard not to have a spring in your step! On top of that, I've made a number of Danish friends whom I see regularly at the English Dept.'s Friday Bar (yes...every academic dept. has its own bar!). They have been warm, welcoming, and a blast to hang out with. I have found that the Danes, while quite reserved at first, open up quickly and are straightforward and kind.
My classes are quite interesting. I've signed up for my final exams--my grade in all three classes is completely dependent upon one final essay! Quite different from the constant midterms, short essays and presentations I'm used to! I'm taking British, Irish and American History and Society, The Troubles in Northern Ireland, and Eastern Europe under Communist Rule: 1945-1989. The perk to all of these courses is that they aren't available at Centenary, so in that sense these are unique academic experiences. You may be rolling your eyes at American History, but in fact it's been quite interesting taking a course on my nation's history from European perspective. The course is very conceptual, less facts and dates, so it gives me a foreign lens through which to view my own country. Much of the course has centered on discussions of what defines Americans. What does it mean to be an American? How does one become an American? Interesting questions all.
I would be remiss if I didn't discuss my traveling adventures/plans! Several weeks ago, I spent two days in Copenhagen, Denmark's capital city. I definitely felt as though I was in a European capital city. It was a great trip; I was able to see the highlights in two days perfectly, and everything was generally in walking distance. I saw the current royal palace and the changing of the guard at noon (quite a sight, complete with armed, regally-uniformed guards, a band, and an ostentatious drum major)! Rosenborg Slot, an old Danish palace that was essentially a small castle, was beautiful. The palace was filled with the original furnishings and decor of the 17th and 18th century Danish kings. The throne of Denmark was made of narwhal tusk (like ivory), and the jewels in several of the royal crowns made your jaw drop. Copenhagen is also home to Christiana, an alternative squatters' community famous/infamous for its liberal ideals, drug dealing (no hard drugs), and hippie-like vibe. It's a major tourist attraction, despite the marijuana (dealt openly on the main street--"Pusher Street"; naturally, pictures weren't allowed), and was fascinating. It felt like a hippie commune, with bright colors and murals, but also felt like a rough setting, filled with some hard looking faces and people. I also visited Nyhavn, a famous stretch of houses and shops along the main canal in Copenhagen. The canal is full with old wooden ships, and the houses that line the canal are every shade of color. It was beautiful. Also, I met the Little Mermaid! Denmark's most famous author, Hans Christian Anderson, wrote the Little Mermaid, and a statue of her sits near Copenhagen's harbor.
April will be a busy month for me! From April 2-5, I will be in Gdansk, Poland! Random, I know, but the roundtrip flight was incredibly cheap ($45) and combined with a hostel, the whole trip will be very inexpensive. April 18-23 I will be spending spring break in the Eternal City....ROME! Very excited about this trip! Not very cheap, but it's spring break, so it was worth it! I hope to visit Hamburg, Germany in the next few weekends...it's not too far away at all. In May, I hope to visit London and Oslo, at the very least.
To wind this post up, I must give myself props for learning some basic cooking techniques...okay, really just how to make a good pizza from scratch. Quite proud of myself! That's all for now, but I'll update you with future adventures!
Monday, March 7, 2011
I have found that it is perpetual winter here! I am kind of ready for warmth so I can start enjoying the city more. I am looking forward to tonight. My friend Brandon from Bama is coming over to talk about his amazing trip to Venice, Rome, and Holland. I can only imagine it was a very wild time. I’m sure his pictures of venice will be amazing.
I was originally going to go and booked a few flight to get to Venice. However, when I tried to book flights home i found that the cheapest ones would cost 550usd. That was way way way to much and I definitely wasn’t going to pay that. Oh well, Venice will always be there. Unless it sinks.... and I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
As you may or may not know March 2nd is Texas Independence day. Sadly, I could not do my normal routine which is listen to Texas country, eat BBQ, drink a shiner, and wear my boots every where. I did improvise here though. I listened to country, made semi-BBQ chicken and fried green beans with danish beer. I wore my boots around town just so everyone knew. Actually, I usually wear my cowboy boots around town and to class so it wasn’t anything different.
I got a package from home and it was like heaven. We got instant hidden valley ranch to mix with sour cream. I know this will be amazing however we have to find sour cream. I got instant roux mix so I don’t have to take a long time making roux anymore, even though i have mastered it now. We also had a huge relief in the seasoning side of things. We were running low on Tony’s Creole seasoning. My mom though came through in the clutch and packed a hugggeeee can of it. If we ran out I don’t know what I’d do!!!
So today, March 7th, I woke up to go get my hair cut down the road. On arrival I realized that a mens hair cut was 65usd. Ya needless to say, I got the heck out of there. I knew things would e more expensive coming here but really Denmark?! Oh well, I am just glad to be up and moving early. Now, I have some much needed time to work on my danish. It was nice to use danish out and about. The only problem is I know the basic stuff. After all I have only been in a week of classes. I did however ask someone their name and where they were from. They quickly started spouting off all these sentences and all I said in danish was “I speak english.” The perplexed look on their face was merited. After all I had started out a conversation in danish, only to tell them I spoke english.
Well see you around. I decided to end each blog with something I find troubling, weird, or just awkward about Denmark. Also, maybe throw in a little something interesting. I will make up for the other blogs not having these and put a bunch in here. Once again these are things I have noticed. I realize that not everything I come across here is actually a part of every Danes true culture. I am merely commenting and bring up things I have seen.
Why don’t people clean up after their dogs. I find that disgusting and annoying. It isn’t just off on the grass people literally leave it on the sidewalks.
People always say American’s are racist. I realize that racism is still very much alive and we are worlds away from a truly colorblind America. However, I see racism even over here. Bottles are worth money over here if you actually take the time to return them. It is not strange to find people at night walking around picking up bottles. Saturday when I asked a Dane about it he responded, “Stupid Greenlanders!” I realize much like America a few bad apples can ruin the bunch, and not everyone holds the same idea. However, I find there is some air of distrust, towards some of the immigrant populations by some Danes I have ran across.
Manners, I was raised with southern manners and would get a whoopin’ if I did otherwise. Manners are very different here. I am especially someone who hates lines. I am patience! However, I am not big on lines. I will however wait in them if I absolutely have to. I have noticed the Danes cut. A lot! If they would just realize that if they waited in line we could all get in, in a timely manner. Plus, It is just flat out rude!
I find that many people who have cars over here haul ass everywhere.(pardon the expression)
Coolest place I’ve been to since going out here. Ping Pong Bar! Everyone was nice and social and it was a lot of fun.
People dance like it is a middle school church dance over here. Not like its a problem, after all some of the dancing that I have seen in America is way over the line. The Danes just leave a little bit to much room for Jesus. Or maybe it is just because I am an American.
I find it funny when people ask where I am from and I say America. They then say oh which state and I show them my boots and they say, “TEXAS!” Sometimes I will just show them my boots and they will still get it right. It makes me veryyyy happy!
Also, Yes my writing style is one that is not grammatically correct. I apologize for those I offend by my terrible writing abilities. But honestly, I am blogging not writing a research paper. In other words, DEAL WITH IT. Now that that’s over with. I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts. See you next time I blog.
"Sure, I've been called a xenophobe, but the truth is I'm not. I honestly just feel that America is the best country and all the other countries aren't as good. That used to be called patriotism."
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
America, I love where I come from. Some people though don’t love where they come from and I feel sorry for them. We live in truly a beautiful country. Yes everything isn’t always sunshines and rainbows, but I can say without a doubt our country is amazing. Many countries start wars and we are always there to help end them.
I know what you are thinking, Colton what a weird intro. I only write this because of the recent experiences I have had. Much of this trip is kind of like a vacation with school involved minorly. No I still do school work, but I am just taking in other cultures. In doing so I have come across some very interesting people. Sadly, not everyone likes america. I love the people who hate that english is the universal language of business. It is especially funny when the people who say it should thank their lucky stars they aren’t speaking German. However, I am learning to be more culturally accepting then I once was. Prior to being here I would have gotten very mad at some of the terrible comments people make about america. One, being because I would never ever say such things about their country.
I have learned to take a step back and to listen to why they think our country is so bad and out of line. 9 times out 10 they are not a good reason but every now an again you come across a well thought out argument. I often get called on in international management to talk about american perspectives and defended what we do as americans. I don’t mind it but when Jesse gets called on in class it is very easy to see one of us lives and breaths america and the does but to a lesser degree. We are different kinds of American’s. Our class doesn’t understand that Texas is way different the Massachusetts. I try to always make sure they understand that mine is a more southern perspective.
So off the intense convo because I definitely am not intense. Life is great in Aarhus. I went to Copenhagen last weekend and it was awesome. It was very very cold. It was nice to see the sun but it was about 13 degrees without windchill. It was so cold the saltwater was frozen! We walked for about 28 miles in all the entire trip. It wasn’t my best trip ever some crazy dumb things happened friday night that couldn’t have been controlled. Also, I got really sick saturday. I guess I caught what everyone else has now early. I still am a little sick but that is part of this cold weather. No one who is from warmer climates is handling this cold weather well.
Mucinex seems to be the wonder drug. It last 12 hours and makes you feel amazing. All this snow though you would think its cool but its not enough to be exciting. Part of me wants to have a snow ball fight with all of our friends then part of me doesn’t wanna go out in the cold. I enjoy the warmth of my room. Well, I have to say the vacation period of my trip is over and I have been working much harder on school. I don’t think the test will be that hard but there is still that degree of uncertainty. The truth is they like to say they are ridiculous and we’ll be lucky to pass and then others say its really easy. A lot of people don’t go to class so I could imagine that would make it hard to pass.
Maybe all the drinking they do here could make it hard to pass the exams. I honestly have never in my life had a professor tell me, “sorry that the slides are not right, I uploaded them drunk last night.” I started cracking up just because it was so honest and clearly evident. The only time something like that has happened is when Dr. Hoaas takes allergy medicine it makes him a little loopy and he will tell us ahead of time. I guess it just goes to show how much drinking is a huge part of this culture.
I am deeply sadden that i could not go to Carnival in Venice Italy. I planned on it but in the end the return flight was way to much money. They make you believe that there are deals on flights. There are deals on flight there just not returning. I guess I’ll have to save that one till I am older and on my own. Well I have typed enough. Peace out hopefully y’all are living it up in the south. I can’t wait to get home to southern living. Back home I felt like I had to much money, here I feel poor!