Thankful for all I have, here and afar
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
After our week-long autumn break, it was back to school with four classes the first day. It was a bit hard for all of my classmates, including me, but we all loved seeing each other again. I laugh now because back at Glenwood Springs High School that is a normal school day for the majority of the students. But here we do not have set schedules. It varies from week to week, day to day. Some days I will have one class, some days four.
Lately, the weeks fly by. I was off on another wonderful weekend with the Rotary exchange students that are in Denmark for the 2010 -2011 school year. I had to travel about three hours by train to a town called Holbæk. It is on the island of Zealand (or the same island of Copenhagen).
It was Halloween weekend when we got together. In Denmark, Halloween isn’t celebrated as widely as in the U.S. There are parties that the teenagers have but nothing with little kids going trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. But at the get together we celebrated it a bit like an American would by carving pumpkins. We also had free time to go around town and do some shopping. One of the nights we also dressed up for a costume dance, I was a hippie. I really enjoyed my time seeing all of the exchange students again!
Another week slipped though my hands just as quickly as the last and I was off to Skagen with my host parents, Klaus and Bente! Skagen is the most northern point in all of Denmark. It is also where the two seas, Kattegat and Skagerrak meet. Three hours of a long drive to the top was well worth it. My host dad, Klaus, said that it was going to be sunny. So my instant thought was, “Oh, I don’t need my winter jacket! I will be fine!”
But I was proved wrong as soon as I stepped out of the car. We went to the top and I took so many photos, but when I look back at them, none of the photos can really show how truly beautiful it really is. We walked along the beach back to the car and I saw bunkers from the times of World War II. It was amazing to see how big these bunkers were! We drove back into town to go to the museum where many of Skagen’s artists have their work. Skagen is also known for its incredible light for painting, thus there are many artists in the town. Another interesting fact about Skagen is that almost every house is painted in a certain color of yellow. In Denmark you can actually go to the paint store and ask for “Skagen Yellow” and they would know exactly what you are talking about.
My last week with my first family also came to a close very quickly and it was time to move in with my next host family, Ulla and Leif Nielsen. I was nervous and a bit scared for the unexpected. I was going to leave the only house I have known during my stay in Denmark. I really felt like I became part of the Johansen family in the short three months of my stay with them. None the less, I know now that I have left, it won’t be the last time I will see them.
Packing was interesting though. Packing your life all up into one suitcase is hard one time, but when you add the things you have acquired in the past three months, it gets a bit tougher. I don’t even want to think about how much all my stuff will weigh at this point because I know I only have about 100 pounds to bring back to the States. When I went to unpack in my new room I found that I have quite a collection of European clothes. The clothes here are just so tempting regardless of their prices.
Despite all of my nervousness, my new family is quite great. I live a bit closer to town and school so that is a defiantly an upside. I don’t have any siblings living with me so it is a bit quieter around the house. I was really surprised to feel how this house is becoming more of a home to me, just as the Johansen’s home did. The first week at the Nielsen’s was great and a refreshing change.
Knowing that we would be missing Thanksgiving at home this year, six exchange students living in Denmark, from Canada and America, got together for the sole reason of having a nice Thanksgiving dinner. We all met in a town up north called Randers with Deanna, from Texas. There were only six friends that lived close enough and were available to attend. It may not have been the best food that we all know from our families back home, but it was so nice to have a cozy time talking about how we all miss these things from back home.
Being at the small Thanksgiving dinner made me realize how I am thankful for everything in my life. I have a wonderful life, both here and in Colorado. Sometimes I take for granted all the blessings that I have been given. But really, I have so much, no matter if it is a small thing such as socks to keep my feet warm in the winter or if it is a big thing such as my exchange here to Denmark. It’s truly a once in a lifetime chance to travel this far from home so young and I cannot be more thankful for everything that I have received in my life.
– Alida Eide is currently studying abroad as part of the Rotary Exchange program.
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