Traveling with Alida: Familiar faces in a foreign land |

Traveling with Alida: Familiar faces in a foreign land

Alida Eide
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

In between my studies, my time has been filled with so much traveling. It started out in the town of Århus, a town north of me. I went to visit two close Rotary Exchange student friends. One is Denna, from Dallas, Texas, and the other Meagan, who is from Ottawa, Canada.

We had a wonderful weekend going to the discoteks, shopping, watching movies and having a cozy time at the coffee shops. An interesting thing about going to see a movie over here is that it is not just something you can do at the last minute. In Denmark, you have book your seat in advance and you get to choose where you would like to sit in the theater. It was a tad bit of culture shock for me.

Another school week passed with my classmates. I am really starting to make friends with them. We may have some language barriers at times, but, nonetheless, they are very nice to me.

Some of you might remember our wonderful Dane in Glenwood Springs last year, Sif Jensen. Sif is back in Denmark and lives about four hours away by train in a town called Fredrickvæk. I had the chance to visit her one weekend, so I hopped onto the train and off I went to see her. I arrived to see the Sif for the first time in about three months. We squealed with delight from finally uniting after so long. Most of the weekend was spent catching up and seeing her beautiful home town.

We went to the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, which is about an hour train ride from where she lives. We started our trip by going to a castle that was once the queen’s back in the olden days. It was really interesting to learn more about the Danish history and be in a real castle.

We then enjoyed a boat tour around the harbor to see some of the tourist attractions. There were man-made islands, the opera house, one of the queen’s current houses and the parliament. Unfortunately, I did not see the famous “Little Mermaid.” It’s currently in China on exhibit, in which countries from all around the world donate a famous landmark. The interesting thing is that China even imported some of the water from Denmark so she could feel at home. But I was able to see the famous Nyhavn. If you were to directly translate this to English it would be new harbor.

But it is not anything close to new. It was built back in the mid 1600s. It is quite famous because Hans Christian Anderson lived and also spent a lot of time there. He is the famous author that we all know by his story the “Ugly Duckling”. All of Copenhagen was so beautiful! I said goodbye to Sif and boarded a train for Horsens on what was supposed to be simple trip home. But I had to switch trains in a larger town and I didn’t have much time. This resulted into me getting rushed and getting on the wrong train which headed in the wrong direction. Whoops! This added about two hours on to my ride home.

There was no rest after my trip because I had to pack for my trip to Rome with my host parents. We departed from the same airport that I arrived in when I first got to Denmark. After arriving in Rome, we had to get from the airport to the city center. This was one of the few times I was in a bus or car in Rome. It is definitely not the safest thing. I figured out very quickly that they really don’t follow the rules of having lanes and just randomly cut people off. Our first day, we took a bus tour of Rome to see a lot of the main features.

When we drove by the Vatican, I even got to see the Pope! The second day was our day to see the Vatican. It was truly amazing to see all the art! I got to see the Sistine Chapel, too! The next day we went to the Coliseum and the Roman Forum and we decided to go with a tour guide around these places so I learned quite a lot. Did you know that more than 700,000 people died from the fighting in the arena? And they believe there is even more that are unaccounted for.

Sadly, the next day was our last in Rome. We went around and looked at the Pantheon and different Plazas. Going by foot was a nice way to see more of Rome. I can’t believe I saw so much – The Sistine Chapel, The Coliseum, The Pantheon, Saint Peter’s Square and Church, Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps, Saint Angel Castle, The Vatican and Rome Forum. If you ever go to Rome, I recommend a good pair of walking shoes. Wow, were my feet tired from the trip!

I was now officially on holiday, according to the school, so I had one day of rest before I traveled some more. I went up to Århus again to see my friend from Canada. We went out to the discoteks and such. I am really becoming great friends with her. After my train ride home, I was greeted by one of my great friends and fellow Rotary Exchange student from Colorado, Chris Chi. He’s from Aspen, but currently lives north of me in the town of Nykøbing Mors. I say he is my “little piece of home” here in Denmark. He was able to spend two nights at my house. I showed him around my town and we had a nice chance to catch up and have a cozy time together. I really enjoyed him coming and visiting me.

Because Danes are very proficient in English, it has been about half Danish and half English in the household. I have recently decided to quit all English in the household. It really helped me to understand more and take into action all of the new words I hear.

At this point, I can hold a decent conversation. As long as someone talks slow to me, I do pretty well. I get frustrated at times and wish I could be a lot further along with the language but I have to look how far I have come and I can only go up from here. I know with each passing day I will improve and before I know it I will be fluent. I just have to take it one word at a time.

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

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