I recommend the Rødgrød med fløde
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Glenwood Springs to Denver, Denver to Chicago, Chicago to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Copenhagen, Copenhagen to Billund (Denmark), Billund to Horsens. All that traveling took 26 hours to go from my home in Glenwood Springs to my new home in Horsens, Denmark. On my long adventure to Denmark I was with about 15 other Rotary Exchange kids from Canada and the U.S. We had some bumps in our travels – I almost lost my luggage and the Danish and German people were getting frustrated because we couldn’t communicate very well. And when we arrived in Frankfurt, three exchange students were put on stand-by for their flight to Copenhagen, because the airline had overbooked. In the end, we all arrived and made it to our host families safely. Although we just meet, we were all very comfortable with each other. It’s amazing how exchange students can become good friends in a short amount of time. We were sleeping or resting on each other and laughing until our stomachs hurt.
Once I made it to Billund, my final destination, I was greeted by Ivar Ravan – my host counselor – and his family, as well as my first host family, the Johansons. I was extremely tired after about 26 hours without any sleep, but it was exciting to see the people I will get to know very well over this year. It was about a 45-minute drive from Billund to my new home in Horsens. When we were driving, I got to see the beautiful rolling hills of Denmark, which distracted me from my fatigue. Once home, we had a traditional Danish meal. It was definitely different from what I am used to. The meal consisted of Danish meatballs, green beans, potatoes and gravy, and then for dessert, “Rødgrød med fløde”. It has the same texture as jam, but is a little bit sweeter and you add milk to it. It’s very good.
I stayed up a little bit late that first night to try to get used to the time change so I wouldn’t have bad jet lag in the coming days. After I got my rest, the real fun began. With the last week of my summer break I got to travel all over the western part of Jutland in Denmark. Jutland is the largest island of Denmark. I traveled to the city of Aarhus to go shopping and see a historic park that shows how the Danes lived at the turn of the century. The town of Vejile, near Horsens, hosted a bike race. I felt like I was at the Tour de France watching the finish of the race. It was really interesting to be so close to a bicyclist riding so fast. I was able to see an outdoor theater presentation of “Grease” with my host father’s Rotary Club. It was fun to see an American play in Danish.
My host family loves talking about how they live very close to the highest point in all of Denmark. I even got to go and see it. The highest point is 590.7 feet. When they told me that, I laughed and had to explain that there are mountain peaks over 14,000 feet in Colorado.
School started on the 10th of August. The school here is very similar to the U.S. We switch classes and such, although you don’t get as much freedom in the schedule. I got to choose biology as my “major” and Spanish as the foreign language I wanted to study. That is about all the freedom you get with classes. That means I will study the base classes of religion, history, English, Danish, Spanish, chemistry, physics, and physical education. All classes are made up of the same students. This makes it very easy to get to know your classmates who share the same “major”. My classmates are very kind to me, but it is hard to communicate with each other due to the language barrier.
Danish is said to be a language like Swedish or Norwegian. As of now it doesn’t sound any different to me than Russian or Portuguese. Every once in a while I will catch a word that I understand. That’s the only time I know what’s going on while those around me are speaking Danish. My host family helps me to learn things around the house, so I can slowly start speaking in and “switching” my mind to Danish. I try to practice about a half an hour of Danish each day, along with trying to understand what others are saying around me.
Little did I know that before I leave I would have four older host brothers. And on Aug. 10, my oldest host brother got married near the town Aalborg. It was a big wedding with about 90 people. It started at noon and ended at 3 a.m. the next morning. All the guests sang, danced, toasted the bride and groom, dined and enjoyed each other’s company. I met a lot of my extended host family members. It was quite an experience to see how they celebrate a new beginning of two lovers in a different culture.
Just in this first month I can already see why they call Denmark the happiest country in the world. I love it here.
– Alida Eide is currently studying abroad as part of the Rotary Exchange program.
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