reflections of reverse culture shock

After resettling in Minnesota the reverse culture shock, shock from living as an American again, has hit me and made me think. While I have loved being home with my cats to cuddle, sleeping in my own bed and catching up on Grey’s Anatomy, it does feel a bit strange to be home again.

Zola the black cat

Zola the black cat

The coming home part of studying abroad is not something anyone ever really talks about. Yes, you’re asked a million times how being abroad was and the adventures you partook in, but no one asks about the weirdness of being home again. It’s not something dwelled upon, as its seen as almost regular, basic life.

I spent the last four months trying to document each moment including taking photos and trying all the varieties of coffee in the area, but that feeling of enclosing time is no longer an issue. I am lucky to be spending my summer in Minnesota, where I’m from. In a way, my reintegration seems so strange because of the non-encroaching time frame. On another level, its just the interesting factors of my life here and the different importance placed on things I once thought were normal across the globe, or in those qualified as developed areas of the world.

As I try to get over this reverse culture shock, its also led me to realize how maybe such shock isn’t necessarily from traveling in Europe for a semester. A friend explained to me, as I realized how bored and un-purposeful my schedule seems ( I don’t start working until next week) that its a perspective thing. This feeling of change isn’t just a study abroad feeling, but its actually a growing up thing. It’s not necessarily possible to quantify or classify the change amounted each time you go into the world, and then back home. It’s life.

traveling with parents

One part of studying abroad I have taken for granted is the part of my parents visiting and then traveling elsewhere with me. This past week, traveling with my parents through Denmark, Norway, and Iceland, I have been trying to be extremely observant and grateful for their random idiosyncrasies and different perspectives of the various communities and people we met.

my favorite memories from this past week include:

  • feet pictures everywhere (had to get it from someone)
  • driving across Iceland (saying hi to the sheep and ponies!)
  • riding rides at Tivoli with my mom
  • eating fresh seafood in Bergen, Norway and lobster in Stokkseyri, Iceland
lobster & lobster soup

lobster & lobster soup in Iceland

  • frantic search for Airbnbs after a sudden hotel shutdown across Norway (due to a workers union strike)
  • waterfall chasing through the fjords
Dad almost falling into the fjord

Dad “almost” falling into the fjord

  • swimming at the Blue Lagoon; they were recounting how it was 20 years ago, the last (and only) time they were in Iceland

live clips from my adventures

From my days of journeying around I took random videos of my favorite moments and places. Here are some of those times collaborated into one, enjoy!

feet of the "men at sea" (and me)

feet of the “men at sea” (and me)

https://youtu.be/jDY5ShS-dao

 

wanderings about

photos of travels and experiences from this past week;

Oslo Opera House

Oslo Opera House

train view capturing

train view capturing

aerial view of Bergen

aerial view of Bergen

Roskilde Church

Roskilde Church

Syttende Mai in Norway

Syttende Mai in Norway

Tivoli Park

Tivoli Park

Men at Sea, Esbjerg

Men at Sea, Esbjerg

Roskilde Viking Museum

Roskilde Viking Museum

bridge from Denmark to Norway

bridge from Denmark to Norway

Lunch with a family friend, Peter at his boat club in Copenhagen

Lunch with a family friend, Peter at his boat club in Copenhagen

a family dinner

A wonderful opportunity I had last evening was getting my host family (Danish family) and my biological family (mom and dad) to meet and have dinner together. While I did expect the dinner, which was at my host family’s house, to be awkward, it was actually really fun. Each family was really excited to meet the other as I assume because they had heard my version of each other on various occasions.

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me and Jette

me and Jette

It was fun to see their humors interact and just fun for both sides to see who had influenced me, and shaped me–the person they know me to be. I am so happy that my parents could meet and understand fully the wonderful people who opened their house to me this semester.

me, Peter, Dad, Mom, Jette and Hans-Erik

me, Peter, Dad, Mom, Jette and Hans-Erik

winding down of Cope-time

As the semester comes to a close my schedule has been crazy busy with trying to see and re-visit my favorite places in the city, spend time with my host family and also study for my finals. Unfortunately, finals do exist while studying abroad but studying in various coffee shops across town has made it all much more fun than normal finals studying.

Also, the sunny, beautiful weather in Cope this time of year is just wonderful, then again how could it not be! Such weather has made all the crazy days of sleet/rain all that much more worth it. Therefore, another trip to the Nyhavn trampolines was most definitely in order!

jump to free from the stress

jump to free from the stress

adventure mates

I always seem to forget (block out) the strange ending of how a camp, school year, travel seminar, or school trip feels. After making all these wonderful connections, and crazy memories you’re just expected to move on and away without much thought to the wonderful humans you have just met. Yes, Facebook is a massive convience these days, but it doesn’t make the distance of those bonds any less disappointing to leave behind physically.

So, this post is just a thank you to all of the wonderful people I’ve been able to meet through my travels. I have enjoyed coffee shop and brunch spot hopping. Running from different types of public transportation to the next. Hearing different perspectives, life stories, adventures and struggles.

fewnds

Biking round ‘burbs

As the time is flying by, my host family and neighbor decided it was the perfect day to go for a bike ride through a few parks and natural reserves. We were out biking and exploring for around five hours and ended up biking around 30 kilometers.

We were able to walk around an old Scandinavian village, which had different types of homes from different areas across Scandinavia. We were also able to see an old mill factory, which has been repurposed into a restaurant.

cheesing at the king's home in his hunting park

cheesing at the king’s home in his hunting park

Bakken, the first amusement park (ever!) which is located inside the King’s hunting park was one of the places we visited. Hans-Erik played a fair game, which he of course succeeded in knocking a “clown” down not once, but three times!

the games master

the games master

We saw all sorts of animals, baby fuzzy ducks, herds of deer and some interesting types of national Danish birds, like Swans.

I am exhausted from the adventure, and am so happy we were able to squeeze in this adventure! I will definitely be sleeping well tonight!

selfie of the biking crew

selfie of the biking crew

Ascension Day

Yesterday was a special holiday in Denmark with no classes or work. Due to this, and the wonderful weather we’ve been having, my friend Rita and I decided to visit the Arken Museum of Modern Art. This museum ended up being quite a trek to get to, in the middle of a harbor town. Luckily, we enjoyed the adventure and it was a wonderful treat to our technical last week before finals.

 

One surprise was that the painter Gerda Wegener’s portraits were one of the featured exhibits. She is the woman whom painted her husband Einar Wegner(Lili), the first person to have a sex-change operation.  The Danish Girl the movie with Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, which was nominated for multiple awards came out this past winter.

"Gerda and Lili" Painted by Gerda

“Gerda and Lili” Painted by Gerda

 

favorite things

Surprisingly, the end of the semester is already here. While I have had the opportunity to travel to nine different countries during my four months here, Copenhagen will always hold a large part of my heart.

I have been re-writing my lists of things I need to still see or re-visit before leaving. I am realizing that I have done quite well in “checking things off” my list. Below are a few of the quirks, places and things, that I highly recommend. Thanks to my adventures, here are a few of my favorite things;

  • Jumping in the sea, and sauna. [ yes, you can do it in Budapest, Malmö, or Copenhagen ]
  • Sitting by the fireplace, watching a futbol match, and drinking some tea
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my host family’s fireplace

  • chatting up strangers on public transportation
    • variety, and amount of coffee shops in every city across Europe, which allowed me to switch up my daily caffeine intake on the reg.
  • Church of Our Savior (Spire), Copenhagen
  • St. Peter’s Bakery and their delicious selection of pastries, Copenhagen
  • Trampolines at public playgrounds, all across Denmark
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Nyhavn trampolines

  • historical fountains, their history and also their beauty
  • how pancakes are actually crepes in most parts of Europe
pancakes amsterdam

Pancakes Amsterdam

  • the benefits of good friendships with your neighbors, Hi Peter!
  • Prince cookies [really good cookies you can buy across Europe]
  • relaxing in public parks, wandering among the trees and seeing how the landscape is used by the community [which was a main focus of my core course class, Why Cities Matter? ]

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