From Millersota to Copenhannah. I'm going abroad.
Danish princes and Danish danishes await my heart and my stomach.

This is my Trans-Atlantic journey. Come with me!

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So you want to look like a Dane? I don’t blame you. Danes are hot, so I’m going to tell you how to look just like them. I’ve taken The Meaning of Style for the last four months taught by a stylish Dane who I quote “feels uncomfortable” if he wears the same pair of shoes more than once in a month.  Thus, I am qualified.  Listen, learn, look Danish.

Step 1: Take your head and dip it in a bucket of peroxide. Go ahead, throw caution to the wind.  If you accidentally dye your eyebrows, it’s a plus! You can’t look like a Dane unless your scalp burns from too much bleach.  All Danes are blonde, by birth or by bottle, it doesn’t matter.  

 

This guy’s got it!

Step 2: If you are a girl, you must only wear your newly dyed hair in one of two ways. Lazy or lazier.

Lazy- Put your hair on the top of your head in the highest bun possible.  You want people to stop on the street and ask, “Is it even gravitationally possible for her bun to be that high?” The key to this bun is to never look in the mirror after doing it.  If there is bumps or chunks falling out, no sweat. You want to look like you spent all your time dying your hair and none of your time doing your hair.

I Googled “danish bun” and this wasn’t quite what I was looking for, but correct and delicious nonetheless.

The perfect height, the perfect messiness and even in black and white, the perfect bottle blonde. Bun Master!

Lazier- Do absolutely nothing with your hair. Wake up and go.  At the most, part it down the middle. Your hair will look the right amount of messy and the right amount of awesome. Danes have truly magic hair.

This Dane woke up three minutes ago.

What I look like in the morning. Rough. Or should I say, meow. LOLZ ;) :D :) (remember if you are dressing like a Dane, you must also use emoticons like a Dane)

Now, hair for the men. If you want to look like a Danish man, you need to ignore everything I just said about the girls.  You must make your hair look as if you spend a minimum of five hours doing it.  Hair product is your best friend.  Your hairstyle MUST convince onlookers that you skipped school in order to properly gel. The more unnatural swoops, swirls and spikes, the better.

 Nick Carter circa 1995 is a good starting point. You can’t go all out Dane the first day. You probably don’t even have that much gel in stock.

Oh yes. That height ain’t natural.

Now that you have your hair all big and rock hard to the touch, you can do one of two things: leave it the way it is or buzz the sides.  The gelled hair MUST be gelled back in a very gentlemen like swoop, a very large swoop.  Then you must take an electric razor and buzz short everything else on your head that is not considered part of the swoop. I searched and searched the internet and no pictures could do this ‘I can tell what country you come from even if I was only allowed to see you from the eyes up” hairstyle any justice. This Danish man is half-assing the hairstyle. Imagine more hair on top and much less hair on the sides.

And you call yourself a Dane?

Step 3: Put down the bag of chips that is currently in your hands as you are reading my blog in bed. Danes have Viking blood, for gosh sakes, and thus are naturally tall and ripped. You’ll need all the help you can get to fit into Danish skinny jeans.

But, if you ever do come to Denmark, disregard this rule and eat these chips. Imagine the best qualities of all your favorite chips combined in to one chip.

Step 4: Go to your closet, put everything that is not black into a bag and burn it. If you truly want to look like a Dane, you can never wear color again. Ever.  When people look in your closet, you want them to be confused. Are you really a (insert profession here) or are you really, in fact, a ninja?

Is that a ninja? Nah, it’s just a Dane.

Step 5: This is definitely the hardest rule of all.  You can never look like you are coming or going from the gym again.  In layman’s terms: stop looking like a slob.  There is not even a word for slob in Danish because it would never be used.  No more ratty grey sweatpants.  No more oversized gym clothes with stains in the armpits.  And worst of all, no more UGG boots.  (I didn’t just look at my outfit now and describe it or anything…)  If you want to look like a Dane AND you want to go to the gym to get that hot Danish bod, your gym clothes better look nicer than a non-Dane’s every day clothes.  Top of the line matching Nike or Hummel only, please.

Just a Dane (who did not follow step number one ) rocking out in head to toe Hummel.


Step 6: Now that you know the color scheme and the no sweat pants rule, what do you actually wear?  Girls first.  The goal is to make your legs look as long and skinny as possible.  On the top wear a bulky sweater or a structured jacket and on the bottom wear tight black skinny jeans.  Your legs will look like little matchsticks.

Boys next.  Your goal is to look like Waldo from Where’s Waldo but instead of red, everything needs to be black. You need tight pants (your girlfriend’s skinny jeans will work), a striped shirt, hipster thick rimmed-glasses (whether you need a prescription or not) and a beanie for when you run of out gel.

I have to admit that I heard this Waldo thing from someone else, but it was such a perfect description that I couldn’t pass it up. Waldo is just missing a little five-o’clock shadow on his face and his trusty bike.


Step 7: SCARF. For boys and girls both, do not dare leave your house without a large and in charge scarf.  Start wearing your scarf mid-August. Stop wearing your scarf mid-June.  Go to scarf withdrawal therapy in July.

A little on the small side and not black, but overall pretty Danish.

Step 8: Shoe time.  As a Dane, you have three options of footwear.  Three and only three.

Black Converse or Black Nike Frees or Black Wedge Booties (If you are male and want to wear the wedges, Denmark is about as liberal as it gets…so go for it)

Step 9: I’m bending the rules a bit.  You are allowed to wear one colored item and that item must be your backpack.  Your Fjällräven backpack, to be exact.  Go into a store and ask if they have Fjällräven.  You’ll pronounce some word that is nowhere near correct and three Danes behind the counter will laugh for five minutes while they keep asking you to repeat the word just so they can hear it pronounced incorrectly over and over again.  Not that it has ever happened to me, but just to be safe, maybe you should just order it online?

The more obnoxious the color the better because this is the only color you may see all day in Copenhagen.


Step 10: This is it guys, the last step to looking like a true Dane.  Wipe that smile off your face and put on an ice cold stare.  If you are a Dane, you need to look unapproachable and intimidating.  Avoid eye contact at all times, whether in the train or on the street.  And NEVER say hi or nod at anybody that walks by, as we do in Minnesota.

The look

Step 10 b: Once you have mastered the “Ice Queen” look, prepare to completely wipe it off your face once someone starts talking to you.  Danes may not look approachable, but if you get the nerve to ask for directions or to just start a conversation, they are the freaking best.  Danes are the nicest, funniest and happiest people I have ever met.  (For real.  Denmark is ranked the Happiest country in the world right now.  The US is 26th.)  So wear that death stare, but you better be all love underneath you if want to truly look (and act) like a Dane.

Hej Hej,

Hannah

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Vi elsker, vi elsker, vi elsker Parken! Vi elsker, vi elsker, vi elsker FCK!

I never thought I’d see the day when I would be chanting at a soccer, excuse me, fodbold game.  Soccer was basically treated as a second class citizen at my high school while football (American football) always reigned supreme. I never really understood the point of having hands and not being able to use them.  What’s the point of hands then?  Despite my confusion and dislike, I did play on an IM soccer team at Northwestern last year(Gamma Phi/SAE REPRESENT!).  My love for the game wasn’t really there, but the fact that I could hold onto jerseys and “accidentally” kick boys in the shins and get away with it because I’m a girl, kept drawing me back to the turf every Sunday night. (I play in almost every intramural sport at NU and I didn’t get the nicknames Beast, Ironwoman and Psycho from the opposing teams for nothing. I really wish I was joking. You could say I do absolutely everything necessary in order to win, which may or may not scare the small Asian girls that come straight from the library in order to have a fun game of dodgeball.)   So maybe if my soccer team would have taken first and not third because of a stupid side kick that should have never happened, maybe I would be a soccer fan. But I still am not.

Until last night….

FC København vs AGF Århus. FCK was the home team, so the match was held at Parken. Thus the song lyrics, vi elsker Parken. I think this is hilarious because I couldn’t imagine ever singing a song “We love the Metrodome, We love the Metrodome.” Because let’s be real. Does anybody really love the Metrodome? I would maybe sing, “I love Dome Dogs,” but never the Metrodome.  I don’t love things that collapse after a light dusting of snow.

The first great thing I loved about the game:

The fans are allowed to light things on fire and throw smoke bombs. Let me repeat myself: the fans are allowed (more like encouraged) to light things on fire and throw smoke bombs. The main FCK cheering section called the Urban Crew did not stop singing or jumping up and down in perfect synchronization for the entire 90 minute match. Check out the video I filmed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCogfPBGrpY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

The entire game I was angry that I wasn’t in that section.  If I ever go to another FCK match, mark my words: I will be in the Urban Crew and I will set something on fire.

Another thing I loved about the fodbold match was that Danes are so funny when they yell. It’s a lot of this, “Neeeeeeeeeeeej, NEJ NEJ NEJ,” and then followed by a string of English swear words.  Nej rhymes with “lie” by the way and it means no. For my whole first week in Denmark, I pronounced it with the “J” and sounded like a complete idiot.

Another great thing about the match was that the players on the opposing team, Århus, all dyed their hair this disgusting burnt red color, which made them look about 13 years old.  It was so much fun to yell, “Ginge down” whenever anyone on their team fell, which was quite often and yes, I yelled it every time.

The last amazing thing about the soccer game was the hotdogs.  Denmark has got some great hotdogs. Instead of slicing the bun open, the bun has a hole at the top for the extra long hotdog to peek out of.  And the ketchup tastes like freshly mashed tomatoes. Every street corner sells these hotdogs (the Danes didn’t bother changing the name to anything Danish) and I have definitely made my rounds to the various venders.

My hotdog and me enjoying our good view of the game.

A Dane looking really sad because her five beers are out of her reach at the moment.

Jeg elsker fodbold. There, I said it.  I love soccer.  At least, I really loved the soccer match I watched and the funny thing is that the score was 0 to 0.  I can only imagine how much more I would have enjoyed it if even one goal had been scored.  Northwestern needs to watch out when I get back…now that I like the sport I’m playing, things could get a little, well, Psycho.

Hej Hej,

Hannah

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On Thursday, I introduced the beloved holiday of Thanksgiving to my Danish family.  The entire time I’ve been in Denmark, I have participated in countless Danish traditions and it was so much fun to be able to share one of mine for a change. Go America!

So, I’ll be honest and say that I was completely terrified to take on this task.  I realized that as soon as I said, “We should totally have a Thanksgiving dinner and I’ll cook it all,” that I should have kept my mouth shut.  If you know anything about my family or happen to read the Becker Citizen, where I’ve published all the Miller Family secrets, then you’ll understand that in our household we have never used the words “gourmet” and “cooking” in the same sentence.  Actually, we may have never even used “good” and “cooking” in the same sentence.  I’m just going to say it: my mom is handicapped in the kitchen.  She even made it to the second round of auditions for “America’s Worst Cook” when she applied this summer. (Personally, I think my writing skills gave her a boost since I wrote her entire application pretending I was her.)  Anyway, since my mom can’t cook, I never learned.  And thus, I am also kitchen handicapped.  My Danish family makes (asks) me to cook once a week and these are just a few of the questions I have asked them while in the kitchen: How do you cut an onion?  How do you boil rice?  How do you know when spaghetti is done? (Ummmm, taste it?)  So can you see my anxiety about this Thanksgiving dinner that I threw out on the table?

What happened you ask?  Did I drop the turkey?  Did I poison everyone? Surprisingly, no!  Thanksgiving (Hannah style) was a big giant success of a meal.  I might even go as far as to say it was one of the best Thanksgiving dinners I have ever eaten.

My host mom, Lise, and I went shopping at three different grocery stores to buy what we needed, and we still didn’t find it all.  The Danes do not eat Thanksgiving type food and thus do not carry the things we take for granted when cooking Thanksgiving dinner.  Instead of cream of mushroom soup, we used a pouch of actual mushroom soup.  Instead of cream creamed corn for the scalloped corn, we made the creamed corn completely from scratch.  Instead of stuffing in a bag, we toasted our own bread in the oven.  Sorry if anyone in my extended family is reading this, but sometimes your stuffing can be dry and the one I made was perfectly not dry.  I think I’m officially going to be the new “Stuffing Girl” at all future Thanksgivings!  The big thing that the Danish grocery stores do not carry is pumpkin pie filling.  Oh no!  I watched my host mom ask many grocery store employees if they carried it and I couldn’t understand their Danish, but by their obviously confused facial expressions, pumpkin pie in a can is a mystery.  So Lise bought a pumpkin, cut it open and went to town.

Brian and Lise making the turkey perfect

This was the final menu for the night:

Scalloped Corn with Bacon: A huge hit with my three Danish grandparents and great-aunt who came to the celebration.

Candied Sweet Potatoes: This was the dish that everyone was the most confused about when I was cooking it, but in the end, they loved it!  Marshmallows taste good on anything. Duh.

This little guy got so many weird stares

Green Bean Casserole: My personal favorite and the dish my mom usually brings to our Thanksgiving dinners. Dumping a can of cream of mushroom soup over a can of green beans is something that even she can’t fail at.

Hannah’s Spændende Stuffing: For those who don’t happen to be one of the lucky 5.5 million people who speak Danish in the world, spændende means exciting.

Turkey: Since Danish ovens are pretty small, we had to cook the turkey on the grill for  half the time which is something that I’ve never heard of before.  It turns out that half-oven baked and half-grilled turkey is the best turkey. Seriously.

Look at this masterpiece!

Creamy Mashed Potatoes: These special potatoes had cream cheese and sour cream in them. My host sister, Sine, ate at least two pounds of this stuff by herself. Go Sine!

Homemade Pumpkin Pie: My host mom would like to add that if she had made the crust from scratch, it would have been much better.  I agree, but it was pretty dang good anyway.

Sparkling Cranberry Cocktail: Instead of cranberry sauce, which I’ve never really liked that much, we made a welcome drink with cranberry juice and Fax Kondi (the Danish version of Sprite). Yummy!

I made my sisters come search outside for leaves and twigs for the centerpiece.

While the food was amazing, it wasn’t my favorite part of Thanksgiving in Denmark.  Before dinner, I introduced my Danish family to a tradition that my family at home always does.  We went around the table and said what we were most thankful for.  This ended up being a lot more emotional than my normal Thanksgiving.  I think it hit us all for the first time that I was leaving Denmark very soon.  Now, the rule is that nobody is allowed to mention my leaving and if they do, I either tell them to stop talking or I put my hands over my ears. 

All in all, Thanksgiving in Denmark wasn’t quite the same as Thanksgiving in the States.  Tony wasn’t throwing routes to me in the fresh snow.  Jake wasn’t continually poking me under the dinner table causing me to throw a necessary scene in the middle of dinner.  My Dad wasn’t there to save me the turkey gizzard (and my brothers weren’t there to steal it from me when I wasn’t looking).  And my Mom, well she wasn’t there to wake-up at midnight with me for Caribou Coffee and Black Friday shopping.  But my Danish family was there instead and even though Thanksgiving was a little different than usual, it was equally as fun, delicious and full of love.

Family photo hour!

I love my crazy sisters

Hej Hej,

Hannah

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When I was a little girl (or maybe just last year), I thought that backpacking through Europe meant that you had a backpack and had to climb mountains in order to get all the way from Poland to Spain. I’m not joking. Before coming here and realizing I would be flying to my destinations, I was sure I would be hiking from Copenhagen to Amsterdam.  Thankfully I learned that backpacking through Europe is a little different.  After two weeks, four countries, five flights and an empty bank account…I am back and in one piece. I did about a million things in the last 14 days and I think Tumblr has a word limit so I’ve decided to just share with you the life lessons that I learned while traveling through Amsterdam, Prague, London and Dublin.  If you really must know what I did every second of the trip (cough, Mom), then check out my Facebook album. I tend to have a camera in my hands at all time. Shocker.

1) I am officially a grown-up

Even though I’m 20 (almost 21), I tend to forget that I am a grown-up. I still think I’m in high school waiting for my mom to pick me up outside the Pool Door (yes, my mom picked me up till I was 17)  Well, that’s not the case anymore. I managed to arrive on time for all my flights without forgetting my passport, I figured out countless modes of public transportation in countries with different languages and I never slept on the street once. Go me! I even managed to not panic when I got lost in a Czech forest by myself. Young Hannah would have thrown a forest fit. I think I’m officially an adult.

Grown-ups deserve grown-up sized shoes.

2) I can survive two weeks with a very small suitcase

I am a notorious overpacker.  We go anywhere for a  weekend and I bring a small carload. I think my Dad about passed out when he saw how much I was bringing to college. I didn’t think it was possible, but my two pair of jeans, four shirts and a sweater made it the whole two weeks.  (I may or may not have worn the same pair of two socks the entire time, but that’s a different story.)  I’ll be honest…I most likely smelled. Thankfully the last weekend was spent in the Irish countryside, so the wind and the sheep blocked out my lovely scent a bit. Baaaaah.

Even though we are inches apart, she can’t smell me. The magic of the Irish countryside.

3) It’s okay to break the rules sometimes

I spent five days in London with my friends Meredith and Rachel from Northwestern and boy, was it great.  London takes the cake as my second favorite city (Becker is still my favorite. Could there be a greater landmark with richer history than Becker Furniture World?)  In between eating, shopping, exploring and eating, we managed to snag front row tickets to Jersey Boys, a kick-butt Broadway show. Unfortunately, when we got to our seats, all we could see was stage. Even if we leaned our necks all the way back we could still only see stage and shoe.  So one of my more daring friends suggested that we move back to the empty seats in the second row.  At first, I wasn’t going to move. The 80-year-old lady working the aisles would for sure catch us and we’d get in trouble. No way was I going to deal with that. Thankfully, my friends convinced/forced me to move and let me tell you, it was the right decision. Even though we got spit on every time anyone sang something really loud, which was always, second row seats are where the party’s at! The main character even sang a whole line while looking me in the eyes. Heaven. I broke the rules and it was worth it. 

My daring friends helping me break the rules (rule)

4) Be a loner, it’s good for you (I actually already knew this lesson, but now I know it even better.)

Weird as this sounds, I LOVE being alone.  When you’re alone, you have no one holding you back and you can do whatever you want. I can get ice cream, read a book, do a little bit of wondering and then get ice cream again and no one will judge. And I make myself laugh. I don’t know how that’s possible, but I seriously have the most fun when it’s just me. So when I had almost a full day in Prague alone waiting for my friend Alex to join me, you better believe I was pumped.  I decided to take a train to the country side of the Czech Republic and check out the oldest medieval castle. So after my relaxing ride, I stepped off the train and a man grabs me by the arm and says get in the car or you are going to have to walk and he points to a cliff in the distance. Rule number one when you’re young is to not get into cars with strangers, but I break rules now (see above), so I said “sure”.  Who is this man? I don’t know. Where is he taking me? I don’t know.  Could this be the stupidest thing I’ve done? Probably, but I didn’t want to walk up the cliff. The whole car ride up the mountain I was sure I was going to end up in a brothel (my Human Trafficking class has me paranoid), but luckily I arrived safely at the castle and it only cost me 100 Czech kroner, so about $5.  After my tour, I decided to walk instead of risk another drive and it turned out to be the best walk ever.  This is when I got lost in the Czech forest.  Thankfully I remembered my Girl Scout training and knew that moss growing on the left side of the trees meant that a water source was to my right, so I found a stream which lead down the mountain. (Wouldn’t that be a great story though?) Once I found the village again, I ate pork schnitzel and cabbage in an authentic Czech pub. Czech food was definitely my favorite food during my travels. Two words: Dump. Lings.  So lesson #4: do things alone because you’ll see cool castles, ride in strange cars and eat good food! But only if you are a certified Girl Scout.

5) DO SOMETHIN’ CRAZY

I listened to Asher Roth for once and did somethin’ crazy. I let fish eat the dead skin off my feet.  Next to our hostel in Prague, there was this Thai massage place and in the window there were fish tanks with hundreds of little fishes going crazy.  I was intrigued, so I went in.  I had to put on this ugly pair of red pants and climb into the window so all of Prague could see me and I mean all of Prague.  In the 30 minutes my feet were being attacked by fish, at least 500 people walked by and then did a double take and then turned around to stare/laugh/take pictures of me in the window. I hammed it up a bit for the cameras, but deep down inside, I hated the fish. I wanted to get out. There were these two greedy fish that were triple the size of the others and whenever they sucked my foot I could immediately tell they were there. Gah. Never again. But good experience. I did something crazy.

Czech me out ; )

6) Always order the stew

This one is simple. Always order the stew when you are in Ireland. If you don’t, you will regret it and it may just ruin your entire day. Stew. Got it?

7) Make friends with leprechauns

Speaking of Ireland, leprechauns are real. Rachel, Mer and I decided to check out some traditional Irish music one night and stumbled across Stagshead Pub. We were a little bit tired, so we sat in the back and were the only ones in all of Ireland who didn’t have a drink in their hand at the moment. I think we looked a bit sad. Thankfully, Irish people might be the friendliest people in the entire world, even ahead of Minnesotans and Danes, so two guys, a normal one and a leprechaun came to our table.  Our sad little night turned out to be the best night ever. They taught us all about their country and even helped us learn the words to the traditional Irish songs being played because it is impossible to understand the Irish when they sing.  The leprechaun was hilarious because he only had one volume: loud, and didn’t understand personal space.  I’m really going to miss the Stagshead.  Out of the 900 pubs in Ireland, we decided to go back there the next night. We couldn’t say, “No, Nay, Never” to Stagshead. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afO3IQX2Qnc

Stagsheads, it’s magically delicious!

8) White Rice can lead to new friends

After a day of exploring Amsterdam (the Van Gogh museum was the bomb), my friends and I decided to just relax but I was the only one hungry (what’s new?) so I went in search of food. I didn’t have much money and didn’t want to wander through the Red Light District alone (yes, our hostel was in the center of the Red Light District, a cheerful place to be), so I ended up just buying some white rice. I came back to the hostel and a guy at the computer said I looked really pitiful with my sad white rice and offered to have dinner with me. I’m up for some food adventure so I said yes and ended up having dinner with an attractive and funny AussieNow I forever have a friend in Australia. Order the stew in Ireland, but order the white rice in Amsterdam.

I could go on and on and on. These last two weeks were simply amazing. I am so thankful for wonderful travel buddies (Tara, Sean, Nina, Alex and Rachel) and a gracious host who put up with me for an entire week asking if I could borrow things from her dorm (Meredith).  I miss my new little cities I fell in love with but I’m glad to be back in Copenhagen because Copenhagen is my home. And you know what they say about home; it’s where your heart is.

Hej Hej,

Hannah



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It is 7:26 AM….I think. I hope. My computer clock doesn’t match my phone clock, so I am assuming daylight savings has hit.  I never remember to fall ahead or spring behind because I tend to just fall/trip anyway. I normally wouldn’t worry about this in real life because I’ve never been one to care if I’m late to class and I definitely would never show up 10 minutes early and sit in the front row. Loser.  Who does that? BUT today, I really need to figure this out because I got a plane to catch in a couple of hours. I’m leaving Copenhagen and exploring the world!! That’s right. The whole wide world.

This is my plan of action:

Oct. 30th-Nov. 2nd: Amsterdam. I am going with my friends Tara, Sean and Nina from DIS.  My flight leaves today and I have yet to pack because it is IMPOSSIBLE. Someone please tell me how I’m suppose to fit two weeks of clothing into one carry-on with weight restrictions and still leave room for buying stuff.  I guess I’ll be wearing the same two pair of jeans everyday and rotating a couple of shirts.  And I’m fine with being a little smelly. (I only did laundry five times my entire freshman year of college and no on said anything. Maybe they were just being nice?) So in addition to packing this morning, I need to print off five boarding passes, I need to get me some Euro and I need to write a research paper.  Where’s a $9 latte when I need one?

Biggest To Do: Convince my travel mates to visit the Anne Frank House. I’m a little more nerdy than them.

Nov. 2nd-Nov. 6th: Tara, Sean and I are heading to Prague. Tara and Sean are with me for two days and then my friend Alex who I know from school but doesn’t actually go to Northwestern, is with me for the other two.  Alex studied abroad in Chile last Spring semester, so I haven’t seen her since Thanksgiving of last year.  I am pumped!  The problem with Prague right now is that I don’t have a hostel booked for Saturday night because I have to be at the airport at 4:00 AM on Sunday.  So I decided to just wing-it.  I might be sleeping in the streets. It might make for a really good blog entry. Anything for my craft, right?

Biggest To Do: Figure out what country Prague is in

Nov. 6th-Nov. 11th: Off to London to see Meredith and Rachel! These are two of my best friends from Northwestern and they are both studying there this semester.  Out of all the cities I’m visiting, I am most excited for this one. I originally thought I wanted to study abroad in London, so it will be cool to see what I could have been doing if I would have chosen differently (Not that I would want to be anywhere else than Copenhagen though). I haven’t seen Mer and Rach since June and I’m going to jump into their arms as soon as I see them.  They’ll most likely be in their pajamas since my flight lands at 6 in the morning. Sorry girls.

Biggest To Do: Find Kate Middleton and tell her to eat a burger

Nov. 11th-Nov. 13th: Dublin.  Wanna know a cool fact? After I visit Dublin, I will have been in every country of my heritage: Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Ireland. Meredith, Rachel and I are taking a $30 flight to the land of rolling green hills.  I think they are most excited for the Guinness.  I will order one in order to be polite to the Irish and take a “Look, I’m in Ireland drinking a Guinness picture,” but I’ll be giving mine away as soon as that camera flashes. 

Biggest To Do: Find a four-leaf clover

I need to stop writing this blog and get my butt ready or I’m not going to make my flight.  I have a mission for faithful readers while I am gone for the next two weeks: ask me questions about my life studying abroad and in Copenhagen.  There is a little question mark button on the top of the page and I want tons of fun questions in my inbox when I return.  Feel free to ask me anything.  I having a feeling this could make for a good entry.

Catch ya on the flipside!

Hannah

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You might be a Dane if…

You might be a Dane if…You are obsessed with “How I Met Your Mother” and ask every American you run in to if they watch it too and then are visibly shocked if they say no.

I hate this show personally. No one has heard of Modern Family. What the heck?

You might be a Dane if…You actually obey the rules and remain dead silent (coughing not allowed) in the Silent Car on the train.

As painful as it is, even the littlest of Danes don’t talk in the Silent Car

You might be a Dane if…. You use four smiley faces in one text ; ) and then contemplate adding another one :D A text could always benefit from additional smileys, right? : ) LOLZ

No joke: If there is no smiley face in a text from a Dane, you should be worried. Very worried.

You might be a Dane if… You look like this (see attractive people below)

Tall, mostly blonde, skinny and in the words of Derek Zoolander, “Ridiculously good looking.”

You might be a Dane if… You wait for the crosswalk light to turn green even if there is no car in sight, it’s raining and it’s 4 AM.  (The Danes are my kind of people.  Rule followers!)

He’ll wait all day if necessary.

You might be a Dane if... You smoke.  For how much the Danes care about being “green” and also being healthy (ex: a recent fat tax put on all food with fat in it), I’m surprised by how many smokers there are.  For all you Danish gentlemen out there, smoking is not attractive. Yuck.

Only the most intellectual will get this one.

You might be a Dane if… You complain about driving anywhere over 20 miles away but will happily bike for an hour to get to a destination…in the rain.

You might be a Dane if… Your everyday outfit consists of the “top-knot” (hair directly on top of your head in a bun) and a scarf that eats your face.  And by everyday, I mean summer too. (I’m so confused. Do Danes get colder easier? Seriously this question is bugging me. Somebody fill me in please.)

She’s committing social suicide. Where’s her scarf!?

Look Ma, I’m a Dane!! (Technically, I am an eighth Danish.)

You might be a Dane if… You think sheets are lame and pointless. Duvet covers are the only way to go!

Even Danish cats love duvets! And so do I…my sheets are coming off my bed in the States as soon as I get home.

You might be a Dane if… You put candy bars and butter on bread and call it a meal.

This is seriously what I eat. Daily. Sometimes twice daily.

You might be a Dane if… You drink more beer than water.  You drink on all forms of public transportation.  You drink beer while biking.  You drink beer while walking.  You take shots at breakfast (with the chocolate bread of course). BUT are never noticeably drunk nor out of control (let’s play the “who’s the American college student and who’s the Dane in the bar?” game).

All the different types of Danish beer that my host family bought for a little beer tasting lunch

You might be a Dane if… You push your baby around in a giant old fashioned buggy.  You might also be a Dane if… You leave this giant (and probably expensive) buggy AND your baby outside of all stores and restaurants even in the winter.  Babies don’t need to shop or eat, so what’s the point of bringing them inside? And besides, this is Denmark…crime is rarer than a girl not wearing a scarf (and that’s pretty dang rare).

I’m not exaggerating at all. EVERYONE has this exact buggy. One takes up an entire car on the train.

So I would like to apologize to all the Danes I know. I might be stereotyping a wee bit and lumping some Danes in that don’t deserve to be lumped. But it’s my blog, so I can write whatever I want and call it a day. But truly, my favorite part of Denmark is the people.  The Danes are genuinely nice, warmhearted and funny.  All my conversations with Danes have been the opposite of superficial, even if I only talked to someone for two minutes.  I look forward to meeting new Danes everyday and I wish I could surround myself with Danes 24/7 instead of sitting in a classroom with American students (no offense American students). I want to raise my children as Danes and I myself want to become a Dane. I’m not sure how these two things are going to happen, but I’m a pretty determined person, so they’ll happen. I’m going to miss the Danes when I leave over everything else (even Danish pastries).

Hej Hej,

Hanne (the Danish version of Hannah because I’m practicing for when I become a Dane)

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Don’t tell Hannah, but her mom has stolen her blog!  I spent 10 days with her in Denmark and had the chance to experience her life as a Dane.

I arrived in Copenhagen on Thursday and spent the first 3 days learning how to be a good American tourist in Denmark,  I never walked in the bike lane, always crossed on a green light, made room on the train for bicycles and prams, said Tak, and figured out that 50 kroner equals $10.00.  Well, to be honest, I never figured out the kroner!

Then came Sunday and I learned how to be a Dane.  Hannah’s host family invited us to spend the day with them in Smørum, their hometown.  Brian, Hannah’s dad, picked us up at the train station and took us to their house.  We were greeted by Hannah’s two beautiful sisters, Ditte and Emma, her sweet mom, Lise, and two big black dogs.  It felt like home from the beginning, and I know why Hannah loves it.

The Parents

Lise and Brian wanted us to experience a day in the life of a Dane so we started with morgenbord (literally: morning table), a traditional breakfast.  The table was set with very fancy napkins (I’m lucky to get a paper towel on the table at home) and beautiful place settings.  Very inviting and you wanted to sit and enjoy the company and the food.

Morgenbord started with a shot of Gammel Dansk, a type of bitters liquor (it’s 5:00 somewhere!) and a toast to new family.  Skoll!

A Minnesota dish towel for Lise.  We can’t wait for you to visit!

We then had three different types of pastries (in America they are called danish, but the Danes call them “wienerbrød” (Vienna bread), as the first wienerbrød was baked and presented in Denmark by an Austrian baker around 1840).  The first pastry tray was filled with a pastry more like white bread which you put butter, strawberry jam, cheese, and chocolate candy bars on…yep…I said it…chocolate bars on bread!  Breakfast has become my favorite meal.  The thinking behind this first course is to fill up so you don’t eat as much of the sweeter wienerbrød.  The second and third trays had pastries rolled out thinly, coated with butter, and then folded into numerous layers.  These were topped with chocolate, sugar, icing, marzipan and custard,  The third tray was the sweetest of the danishes, which was meant to be the dessert.  I think we actually had dessert three times, but I am not going to tell the Danes.

After a delicious breakfast, we loaded into the car and headed to the “summer house”.  Lise’s parent own a small home on the Baltic Sea and her parents, Søren and Inge were waiting for us with hugs and lunch.  Many Danes name their homes and display the name in big letters on the outside.  HELLE means prosperous and successful.  I would add welcoming, comfortable, family, home!

Lunch was a traditional Danish “smørrebrød, which of course, started with a toast to good friends.  Snaps was the drink of choice and Søren had four different kinds for us to try…from very strong to very very strong:)  Danish beer is also served with smørrebrød and Carlsburg (local beer brewed in Copenhagen) was enjoyed with our sandwiches.

Now what is a Danish smørrebrød?  Basically open faced sandwiches with a very fancy name.  The secret to a good sandwich is rye bread and butter completely covered with vegetables, cheese, meats, fish (lots of herring), eggs, beets, salad dressing and whatever else you can think of to put on it.  Delicious!

Brian and Lise preparing the Smørrebrod

Chef Ditte

After lunch we took a walk along the beach…or should I say coast!  It was a clear day and we could see Germany across the way!  We walked into town and visited the local bakery, fish mart, and smoke house.  This quaint fishing village was like a postcard and when I think of Denmark, Enø comes to mind.  Peaceful and inviting!

Back at Helle, Inge was waiting for us with tea and æblekage…a dessert best described as fancy apple crisp.  Mashed apples, crumbles, and lots of whipped cream made this traditional treat a nice ending to a wonderful day!

A big thank you to Søren, Inge, Lise, Brian and the girls for a sharing their country with us!  I must also apologize for anything I said that wasn’t accurate…my kids say I have a way of embellishing stories!

Hej hej

Margi

   

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Hej Hej! Hvordan går det? Det går godt. Jeg hedder Hannah. Hvad hedder du?  Jeg kommer fra Minnesota. Hvor kommer du fra? Jeg er 20 år. Hvor gammel er du?  Jeg har fødselsdag i maj.  Hvornår har du fødselsdag?  Jeg bor i Smørum hos en dansk familie.  Hvor bor du?  Jeg cykler og tager toget til DIS.  Jeg læser historie. Hvad læser du?  Jeg vil gærne have en lille latte med flødskum.  Hvad skal du have?  Jeg kan godt lide lakrids og stykke wienerbrød.  Jeg kan godt lide at dyrke sport. Jeg kan ikke lide øl. Jeg vil gære have en sandwich men kylling, tomat and salat.  Hvad vil du gære have?  I weekenden, sover jeg eller laver hjemmearbedje eller rejse. Jeg vil gerne være journalist.  Hvad vil du gerne være?  Hvor skal du have?  Jeg skal på diskotek.  Blå, enogtyve, et glas vand, fredag, ost og  fløjte. Vi Ses!

This is a little snippet of what I can say in Danish.  I really enjoy speaking Danish and Danes have told me that I’m rather good for an American, but I only know the basics…so the conversation tends to stop after I find out what mode of transportation they take to school (because that’s a crucial fact to know).  So deep conversations don’t really happen in Danish, but luckily, Danes are whizzes at English.

Here’s a translation for all you uncool non-Danish speakers out there:

Hi. How are you? I am good.  My name is Hannah.  What is your name?  I am from Minnesota.  Where are you from?  I am 20 years old. How old are you?  My birthday is in May.  When is your birthday?  I live in Smørum with a Danish host family.  Where do you live?  I would like to have a small latte with whipped cream.  What would like to have?  I cycle and take the train to DIS (my school). I study history.  What do you study?  I like licorice and pastries.  I like to play sports. I don’t like beer.  I would like to have a sandwich with chicken, tomato and lettuce. On the weekends, I sleep, do homework or travel.  I want to be a journalist. What do you want to be?  Where are you going?  I am going to the dance club.  Blue, 22, a glass of water, Friday, cheese and flute.  See you soon!

Hannah

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Bonjour! I’m back and ready to light up your newsfeed again. I went to Paris with my core class, European Memory and Identity, for four days and then preceded to Reims-Champagne and Verdun for two more. Going to Paris has been a dream of mine since I watched Mary-Kate and Ashley’s Passport to Paris.  On the first day of school in 1st grade I wore a beret, my room at home has more Eiffle Tower items than any room should have, and I had a Moped that I would drive around pretending I was in the streets of Paris (Mary-Kate and Ashley style) until I crashed it. I was so ready for Paris. And it was truly everything I ever dreamed. Let me break it down for you.

Carbs.  Carbs were a very prominent part of my trip.  I honestly don’t think France has heard of vegetables or fruit (unless you count the banana in a nutella banana crepe).  We stayed in this adorable old hotel about two blocks from the Eiffle Tower and every morning for breakfast they gave us a basket of fresh baked crossiants and baguettes. White carbs, such as these, don’t fill you up.  So our teacher would buy us more crossiants (this time with chocolate) as we walked the streets of Paris.  We would go for lunch with our class and have three full courses and everything, once again, was carbs. I’m not complaining, but I did rip a pair of jeans on the trip (fact).  My favorite part of the French meal is the espresso after dessert.  I’m used to having my coffee with caramel, whipped cream, shaved chocolate, vanilla—anything to mask the taste of coffee.  The French don’t do that.  Their espresso is the best, so you should drink it plain.  By the end of the week, I only needed a little sugar (not 4 or 5 cubes like before) and I was fine.  I already miss the taste of French coffee and the price ($5 compared to $9 in Copenhagen).  My favorite carb I ate while in Paris was a macaroon. Macaroons are shaped like tiny hamburgers with the buns being puffy cookies and the burger being filling.  Ladurée is the world’s top macaroon shop, so of course, I had to see what the hype was all about.  I bought six with the honest intention of savoring them throughout my day wandering through Paris, but they were gone by the time I got to the end of the street.  Now I’ve pretty much eaten my way through the continental United States, and I would say that these macaroons are the single greatest thing my mouth has ever touched. Ever.  Your life is incomplete if you do not try one.  They also have the most precious website.  http://www.laduree.fr/

The goods

The inside of Ladurée

Me, my carbs and my maid

Next word: Breathtaking. I would be walking on a street in Paris, turn the corner, see something, and have my breath instantly taken away.  The Eiffle Tower beat the hype that I had heard about it.  I never knew that on the hour, the entire Tower lights up and shimmers as if a million twinkle lights had been attached.  My friend and I even climbed the Eiffle Tower and the view was spectacular.  Luxembourg Garden was another one of my favorite breathtaking places in the Paris.  The temperature was 85 degrees and the garden was filled with people reading books, old men playing bocce ball and children riding on the carousel.  I think the overall most breathtaking thing I saw on the trip was the ceiling of the Paris Opera house.  The Opera house was built in 1860, but the painting on the ceiling was done by Mark Chagall in 1964.   I think the mix of old and modern is what did it for me.  I probably could have stood and stared at the ceiling all day long if the 90-year-old tourists didn’t keep pushing me.

My first trip to the Tower

My class in Luxembourg Garden

The Paris Opera House

Last word: History. I love history and, boy, did I get to experience it.  Paris is filled with famous landmarks and statues and monuments, and I saw as much as humanly possible in four days.  My favorite historical spot was the Palace of Versailles. King Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI lived at this palace but the most famous inhabitant of all was definitely Marie Antoinette, the wife of Louis XVI (they both got their heads chopped off).  The Queen’s Hamlet is a tiny area in the gardens of Versailles (2,000 acres) where she would dress up in farm girl clothing and run around with her ladies-in-waiting while the people of France were starving. In addition to experiencing the history of Versailles, my class went to the Battlefield of Verdun.  The Battle of Verdun is one of the most notorious and deadliest battles of WWI.  Everywhere you drive in Verdun, you can see the impact of the war.  Entire villages were destroyed and only shell holes remain.  We toured a French fort that was the key place during the battle.  The conditions inside the fort (which is now a museum) were horrible, so I can only image what they would have been like in 1916.

The biggest palace in the world

My room at my Danish family’s house


Most of the flowers were gone in the gardens but I like autumn best.

A little part of Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet village

The Fort at Verdun

A few more things:

Got sang to on our dinner cruise on the Seinne River, visited Notre Dame, toured Reims Cathedral, gave a presentation at St. Remy Basillica, can-canned at the Moulin Rouge, ate 15 crossiants, contemplated Mona Lisa’s smile, stood in awe of Monet’s Waterlillies, explored the Marsais district, shopped on the Champ de Élysées, bought a gelato with 9 different flavors and visited the Sacre couer!!

Oh, and visited a champagne cave in Champagne and had a tour and a tasting!! Fun Fact: Champagne can not legally be called champagne if it is not from the actual champagne region of France. So don’t be fooled by imposters!!

Au Revoir,

Hannah





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Last Saturday, I woke up bright and early to meet my Holocaust and Genocide class for our trip to Hamburg, Germany.  We hopped on a bus and rode for two hours and then our bus, along with an actual passenger train next to us, drove straight onto a giant ferry. (How cool is that, people?)  We had a 45 minute boat ride, during which the entire class loaded up on the cheap chocolate in the grocery store on the ferry.  Grocery store? Yep. The ferry basically had a little mall on it. But I just went for the duty-free chocolate and not the shoes. (I am the “candy girl,” remember?)  After the ferry ride, we loaded back onto our bus for two more hours and finished our journey to Hamburg.

Before heading to our hostel, we stopped at Bullenhuser Damm School.  This was a school during WWII that was used by the Nazis as a sub-camp of Neuengamme concentration camp.  The entire city of Hamburg was bombed by the Allies, but this building remained standing.  A Nazi doctor wanted to publish something that would make him important in his field.  He chose to study Tuberculosis and used Jewish children.  The doctor ordered 20 Jewish children and 4 Jewish adults from another camp to be brought to this place.  The children were as young as six and had no idea why they had been brought to a different camp. They didn’t speak German.  Pictures show that the children were injected with Tuberculosis into their arm pits.  One month before the end of the war, the Nazis decided that the children knew too much information.  The 20 children and 4 adult caregivers were hung, one-by-one, in the cellar of the school.  While our teacher was speaking, we were standing where the kids used to play. I’ve read so many things about the Holocaust during my life, but I’ve never been so close to the actual event. It was surreal. I can’t really put the feelings I felt into words, but immense sadness comes close.

Today the building is being used once again as a school.

In the back of the school, a rose garden has been constructed in memory of those who died in the school.  This sign gives a brief history of the event.

After the war, attempts were made to discover who exactly these children were.  Some families were located and some were not.  This picture shows a brother and sister, and their mother, who survived a camp, dedicated this plaque to them.  The pictures used in these plaques (which almost all the children had) were taken by the Nazis during the experiments.  The pictures are cropped in on their faces here, but all the children have one armed raised in order to be injected.

One rose blooming in all it’s glory for the children

After visiting the school, we headed into Hamburg. We had dinner, unlimited steak (Germans LOVE their meat) and also got to explore the city on our own. I got to try a legitimate German pretzel which was a major highlight! Hamburg is a really beautiful town, but during WWII, it was severely bombed by the Allies, and the city was never quite the same. In one night, 35,000 civilians were killed in the mass bombings.  On Sunday morning, we visited Nicolai Kirche (St. Nikolai Church), which miraculously remained partially standing, while every other building was demolished.  Since my class’s topic is genocidal studies, my teacher asked us if mass bombings should be considered genocide.  After about five minutes of blank stares at our teacher because we had no clue what to answer (or maybe we were scared to give the wrong answer), he told us that they can’t be considered genocide, but might be classified as “genocidal.” The reason the Allies’ mass bombing of Hamburg is not a genocide is because the Allies did not have the intent of eliminating the German race. A genocide is only considered a genocide if the intention is to kill in whole or part an entire national, ethnic, racial or religious group.  After our short lesson, we took an elevator to the top of the old bell tower, and we could see the entire city of Hamburg.  A happy moment during a very sad day of learning.

Oktoberfest cookie things that everyone is currently wearing around their neck in Munich!

Fountains, fountains everywhere

STEAK…too expensive in Copenhagen to eat

The Church—I was standing outside, but it used to be the inside of the church.


The last thing we did on our trip (and the thing I’ve been looking forward to the most) was visiting Neuengamme concentration camp. Despite what everyone thinks, concentration camps, for the most part, did not hold Jews.  Concentration camps were for political prisoners and criminals.  Jews were sent to extermination camps, which were tiny compared to concentration camps because Jews only survived on average two hours, thus no need for housing.  Jews were also sent to work camps. So three different types of camps: concentration, extermination and work. All bad.

Side note: So after I learned this fact, I felt mislead/kind of lied to my entire life. We always hear about the Jews in the concentration camps, but that’s not the truth. So now you know as well.

This a brick barrack that remains standing.  The rectangular piles are crushed up brick  representing where wooden barracks used to stand.  This camp was actually turned into a normal prison after the war until 2001, which caused much controversy. How can you properly honor the dead if a prison has over taken the place?

This is a memorial for the Internal Prison at the camp.  Prisoners were sent here for punishment for 1 to 2 weeks at a time.  They were made to stand in one cell (can you see the outline?) with 8 to 10 men.  This was a common feature at every concentration camp.

This is where the crematorium stood. 50,000 men died at this camp and cremation was the easiest way to discard and hide the remains.


Our professor Tørben is sitting on a train that transported prisoners into the camp.  80 men would need to fit into one car with one bucket of water and one bucket for the bathroom.  Once the men were thrown from the train, they had an average life span of 6 weeks.

This is the canal that was dug by the prisoners.  The land had perfect brick making soil, so a brick making factory was the main job at the camp.  The canal was used to ship the gravel in (to form the bricks) and ship the bricks out to build but what else…more camps like this.  The average death rate at a the typical concentration camp was 35%.  This camp: 50%.  The wet conditions of digging the canal and digging for clay were the reasons.

This is a map of all the Nazi camps (concentration, extermination and work).  I never realized how many there actually were.

This is where the title of this post comes in.  When there was a prison on the site of the concentration camp, people did not like it.  Somebody wrote this on the prison wall in the middle of the night: “And here there was once a concentration camp…” Thankfully, German officials finally listened to the protests and the prison was torn down and now the concentration camp will never be forgotten.

My favorite subject to study and read about has always been the Holocaust.  Like I said earlier, it’s really difficult for me to describe how I was feeling during this tour. When I reread this post to myself, I found it quite dry.  It’s almost impossible to properly describe what I experienced and put it into words. I feel like my words would not do any justice to the victims.  I think the best sources to read about the Holocaust are from actual survivors.  Historians do a pretty good job, but survivors of camps were there. Nobody but an actual survivor can describe the emotions and feelings of living and watching those all around you die day after day.

When I read from a history book about the Holocaust, these thoughts went through my head: The Holocaust was so long ago. I don’t know anybody that died. Thank goodness I wasn’t there. There’s nothing I can do about it now. But being in an actual concentration camp changes everything.  I see what the prisoners had to endure. I can picture them digging holes. I can picture Nazi guards dumping bodies into the crematorium. I can see their frail bodies attempting to remain standing on Roll Call Square. The images evoked anger more than sadness to me.  Along with anger, I walked away feeling confused and disturbed.  It’s difficult to wrap your head around the fact that the Holocaust happened, and it was allowed to happen for so many years.  Human life meant nothing to the Nazis. The Jews and other “undesirables” were just mosquitoes to the Nazis; one quick swat and they were gone with no remorse from the swatter.  

I am so thankful that I got the opportunity to visit these sites.  I recommend any travelers to Europe to visit a concentration camp.  It’s a life altering experience.  

Hej Hej,

Hannah


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