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Celebrating the New Year, Danish-style

Alida Eide
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
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“Fem, Fire, Tre, To, Et, Godt Nytår!”

That’s the sound of 12 classmates and me, jumping off our chairs and screaming “Good New Year” in celebration of the New Year. Before the screams, we all sat down at exactly 6 p.m. for dinner, after watching the Queen’s speech about the past year.

After the meal, we went outside to light off fireworks and see about an hour’s worth of fireworks from the neighbors. Then it was time to turn the music up even louder and have a better time. We all went to sleep around 5 in the morning.



It took me a day or two to recover from my late night celebrating of the New Year. Nonetheless, I still had to make the best of my winter break. This was a chance for a day trip to visit my third host family, the Pedersens, on Endelave Island.

I took a large ferry for an hour-long ride to the island, home to about 200 people. My future host father, Joergen, greeted me and we drove to his house for tea and then made a tour of the island. We drove from tip to tip in about 45 minutes. On the way, Joergen introduced me to about half the island residents. There are quite a few icebergs around the beaches and I even got to walk on some of them.



My future host mom, Lene, is very crafty and we spent the rest of the day knitting and getting to know each other before I took the last ferry home. It was a cozy day and I definitely look forward to living there.

School started and it was nice to get back into a schedule again and see all of my Danish friends on a daily basis.

Another week zoomed by and it was off to another island up north called Mors, where Chris Chi, an exchange student from Aspen, lives. I also got to see the west coast of Denmark. Coming to the beaches in Denmark always takes my breath away – it is so beautiful. There were still some crazy surfers out in the ocean in the middle of the winter!

The next weekend, my current host parents, Ulla and Leif Nielsen, traveled to Esbjerg for folk dancing. So I visited my first host family, Bente and Klaus Johansen.

In this past month I have celebrated the halfway point of my year here in Denmark. I do miss home, but I am happy to have done so much. I have been to three countries, and met wonderful people who opened their homes and hearts to me. I am slowly becoming fluent in a language that I barely knew just a year ago.

Being an exchange student is exciting, new, difficult and different than anything I’ve experienced before. I love thinking, dreaming, and speaking in another language. I love seeing so many new things.

Before I started my exchange I thought, “Oh, a year is such a long time. I will have enough time for everything.” In reality, I am now seeing how short a year can be. One year is not enough for me to do everything.

– Alida Eide is studying abroad as part of the Rotary Exchange program.


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