Monday, January 09, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

A lot has happened since I moved in with my second host family a month ago. I've come to realize I really enjoy living with my second family. Even though it's a different pace of life in Denmark, I like to think I've already found my place in their rhythm of school, work, afterschool activities, and weekend life.

Christmas was definitely different from back home in the states. On the 23rd we had "lille juleaften" which isn't really celebrated in anyway, it's really just day with a name. In my host family however, that's the day we go and chop down our Christmas tree during the day and then decorate it after dinner.  I think it turned out pretty well.

The 24th "Juleaften" is the big day here in Denmark. I woke up at 9ish and has a normal breakfast with my family. Then at about 11 I went and spend some time with my first host family. It was nice to be able to see and talk with them for the first time since I had left. My first host Mom, Lene, taught me how to make these awesome Christmas stars and I was quite proud of myself for doing it with almost no help. At about one I went back home and  had a light lunch. For the rest of the afternoon we cooked, and hung around the house. Finally at 6:30 we sat down for dinner. Our meal consisted of duck, flæskesteg (a type of pork roast with a crunchy top), brown potatoes, rød kål (a sweet red cabbage), potatoes with brown sauce, potato chips, and I'm almost positive I'm missing a few things. After dinner we cleaned up and put the presents under the tree. Then we sat down to the traditional Christmas desert of risalamande which is made out of rice pudding mixed with whipped cream, and almonds. Then it's served cold usually with a cherry sauce on top. (I personally think if you don't eat it when the cherry sauce It doesn't taste as good.)  Usually in risalamande there is a whole almond, and if you find it you get a prize! Well since we had so much risalamande plus some isalamande (the ice cream version of risalamande) we hid three whole almonds. And after three servings and having it been my fourth time having it I finally found the almond (well one of them)! Probably one of my proudest moments here so far!!

Finally at around 8:30, we went into the living room to open presents! Yet of course in true Danish fashion we held hands while singing, walking, and running around the tree and through part of the house. At nine we finally sat down to open presents.  My host family has a tradition of everyone opening one present at a time. So someone got a present and then once it was open, they got up and found a present for someone else, trying to keep it so everyone got to open presents evenly. I was absolutely delighted at the presents I received. Everyone kept in mind that I'd have to get everything home at the end of the year. So I got many small meaningful things and a few practical things as well! I received two Pandora bracelets (one of the things on my list that I wanted to buy before I left Denmark) so I was able to go and trade one in for two charms. I got two spinning rings, another thing on my list. Plus gloves, a new scarf, and a hat, (because I'm always commenting on how cold it is here), and quite a few other things as well. We finally all head to bed around midnight with everyone in extremely high spirits.

Walking and singing around the tree. (:

The 25th, "1. Juledag" or "First Christmas Day," was spent with my host Dad's side of the family. We spent a good part of the afternoon eating and talking. There were about 20 of us, and I could not for the life of me remember everyone's names!  The 26th, "2. Juledag" or "Second Christmas Day," was a day of relaxing and a well needed break from the heavy Christmas food.  During both of these days, no mail is delivered and most of the shops are closed. Though some of the shops (mainly supermarkets) are open on 2. Juledag.

All in all I had a really good Christmas! Though I love my family's Christmas traditions back home, there are definitely some of the traditions here are I'd love to take back home…even though I lit my hair on fire. (That's a story for another time!) And since this post ended up a lot longer than I expected, I promise to update about New Year's Eve and my birthday within the next week or so.

Vi ses!
Kelsea Jo <3