Tuesday, May 15, 2012

SGY i Prag

On the 28th of March, only five days after returning from my Manchester trip, I found myself on a bus headed to Prague with about 50 other Støvring Gymnasium students.  The 12 hour bus ride, was nearly killer, but totally worth the 4 days we had in Prague! There was no one in my class with me on the trip, so for the first time in almost 8 months I was pushed way outside the comfort zone I didn't realize I had created here in Denmark. I knew a few people from my music class, and one of the other exchange students at my school was going, but other than that, I found myself branching out and meeting people that I would have otherwise never met. I loved getting to know them because we had something in common, music. And everyone knows that when you have something in common it becomes much easier to talk! Over the course of the 4 days I spoke so much Danish that it started to feel weird when I did speak English. It was one of the most incredible feelings in the world, and one that I definitely knew was a milestone for my exchange.

Even though as students we just wanted to have fun, the real reason we were there was for a music competition called YoungPrague. My school entered two groups, one choir and one folk band. Since I can't really sing, and I brought my clarinet with me to Denmark, I was apart of the folk band. There were many other groups in the competition from the United States, Serbia, Puerto Rico, Ireland, Russia, Britain, the Chzech Republic and Scotland. The choir ended up sounding really good, and I was really impressed! And our folk band didn't do too shabby if I do say so myself. My gymnasium is definitely full of some talented people… The weekend was full of events for the competition, that really were for us to get to know the other groups in the competition. We had an introduction night, where we all introduced ourselves and where we came from. We had a large parade through Pargue's city center, all of us chanting for our countries and carrying flags and signs!  At the very end we had an awards ceremony where our choir received bronze level and second place and the folk band received silver level and second place. Even though we of course would have liked to win, we were very pleased with ourselves and had a wonderful time, so we headed home with our heads held high.

Even though we were there for the competition, we still had plenty of time to see the city and take it all in. We got to visit several churches and I was absolutely blown away by the archetecture and the artwork inside them all. They were all just breathtaking. They also had their Easter market going on. So there were little huts lines along the walking streets that were selling all sorts of food and trinkets, and they were covered in bright ribbons and little chickens. It was absolutely adorable! But by the end of the weekend we were all exhausted from our long days running around Prague and almost everyone slept on the 12 hour bus ride home. I can't wait to go back on EuroTour!

Vi ses!
<3 Kelsea Jo

First time getting Starbucks in Prague, surprisingly they pronounced it right, despite the crazy spelling!

CREPES! Om nom nom.

Late night hot chocolate run with the girls!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

2c i Manchester

March started off quite slowly. My class was really looking forward to our  class study trip to Manchester, England, and so was I. Exchange has given me a bit of a travel itch and I was now ready to see some other parts of the world and this gave me a great opportunity to do so. We all got a class sweatshirt (that perfectly show cased Danish humour) and we wore them on the way over there which made it easier for everybody to find each other as we found out way through the Copenhagen and Manchester airports. Which were huge!

We started out by leaving our school at midnight  on Saturday the 17th (or Sunday the 18th, depending how you look at it) and after riding it for five hours we finally arrived at the airport. None of us got to sleep very much so we were all very tired and as we tried to sort through the confusion of checking in. Since two classes from my school were going to Manchester, there was about 55 of us to check in, check our bags, and get through security! Immediately after arriving at Manchester Airport we headed through customs. Now if you haven't travelled to a country that is apart of the EU, then you should know that when you go through customs you have a line for people coming from an EU country, and then there is a line for everyone else. So everyone headed over to the EU line while I headed through the other line all alone. Luckily they didn't really give me much trouble, the girl sitting there was training so she had to ask all the questions "Why are you traveling? How long are you staying?" but it was a little nerve wracking because for some reason she kept looking to the person next to her to approve my answers! I think the fact that I was an exchange student in Denmark traveling with my Danish class to England may have confused her a little….

After we all made it though we took the train closer to the center of Manchester and closer to where we were supposed to stay. After dropping off our bags at the hostel, we went for a walk around the city for a couple of hours. It was very exciting (and I may have been having a little bit of a mild freak out) but we were really tired after the long journey so most of us wanted to go back to the youth hostel and sleep. But instead sleeping we had for our first dinner in England together at this wonderful Indian restaurant before finally making our way back to the hostel and crashing into bed.  After that the week went by much too quickly! We were treated to a English breakfast every morning by the hostel. It was the traditional English breakfast with eggs, bacon, fried tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, and beans, but not a lot of us dared eating the beans. While we were there visited Caritas, a worldwide organization that helps the homeless in the community become functioning again, they help young mothers so they don't lose their children, and then help in foster care and adoption. We also visited the Manchester University campus and spoke with a few students. Many of my classmates were curious as to how the students felt about having to pay for their university, since here in Denmark they don't pay for university. On our own time we visited Arndale, a huge shopping center with over 200 stores. Mia (my first host sister ) and I enjoyed some Taco Bell for the first time in 8 months!  It was nice to be back in a country where the prices on things made a bit more sense. It was nice not having to pay the equivalent of 4 US dollars for a 20 oz bottle of soda! Of course while I was there I took advantage that there were Starbucks (almost) everywhere. It was great to drink a white mocha, white chocolate americano, and vanilla bean frap again!

Sadly our time in England had to come to a close. We all thought that it went much to quickly, but at the same time we were all ready to go home and sleep in our own beds and drink some normal tasting tap water. The trip home seemed to drag on as we moved from train to plane to train to bus, with lots of waiting in between!  But finally we made it home at about 7:30 the next Friday and I fell into bed sleeping for a solid 11 hours before waking up again.

Vi ses!
<3 Kelsea Jo

Just before we headed back home.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Six Months and Counting

Fastelavn boller!

February 6th was a huge milestone because it marked my sixth month here in Denmark! It was a huge revelation to realize I have spent half a year in this amazing country, and it also made me quite sad because it reminded me now that I only have about 5 months left in Denmark. I made a vow to myself to live it up even more than I already have! February also marked the Danish tradition of Fastelavn. The best way I can describe this holiday is a happy Halloween. Little kids dress up in costumes and come around singing for candy and money. There is also a usually a piñata that is made out of a barrel filled with candy. Back when the tradition first started in the beginning of the 1800s they actually used to put a cat inside! Poor kitty...

Fastelavn fest at school. (:

This past week my school had winter holiday. The week was well spent relaxing, hanging out with my host family and friends, and getting a head start on the next weeks homework. Yesterday (Sunday) we had a welcome meeting in my district for the Winter 2012 team, my newbies! There are only ten of them, compared to the 35 of us that arrived back in August but it was fun talking to them and realizing that was us not to long ago. They were incredibly sweet though and I can't wait to go on EuroTour with them!

This is inbounds (S11 and W12), outbounds for '12-'13, some rebounds, host families, club counselors, club presidents, and district chairs. We have about 45 exchange students in 1440!!

Now that I'm back to school, my class is really looking forward to our upcoming trip to Manchester, England.  We'll leave early in the morning on March 18th, and then return late on 23rd. It should be a fun five days. I promised I'd help translate for them if I have to, since they translated a lot for me in the beginning. Soon after I return from Manchester, I leave on the 28th for Prague. My school choir and band is participating at a competition there! We're going to take a bus…so it should be interesting. We'll return on the 1st of April  ready to start Påskeferie (Easter/Spring Holiday)!

I'm pretty sure I'm missing something! But I think I got most of it. (:
I hope you have a great next month! I'll probably post again in April on Manchester and Prague.

Vi ses!
♥  Kelsea Jo