What I’m listening to now

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Ch. 11: The truth about leaving.

Honestly: It sucks- and there’s no better way to say it. I’m not talking about the cliché leaving-home-going-to-the-big-city kind of thing. I’m talking about leaving your life behind. Your friends, your family, your school. The places that make you happy, and the memories that make you sad. The things that make you feel like your still young and innocent, and the feeling of falling in love- with anything and everything.

I’m talking about leaving yourself behind.

The worst part of leaving is that somewhere along the way- you get addicted. As much as you hate the tears and the heart-wrenching pain, you can’t help but be drawn in. As much of you leaving causes you to leave behind, your always left with a promise of something better -something new, and just enough of your heart solid enough to believe it. Inside of all of us, there’s a little girl who grew up too quickly with too much at stake. All that girl ever wanted was to please, and please no one more than herself, she wanted to be perfect. Starting over where no one knows your name- you get the chance to change everything. All of the mistakes you made, the parts of you you don’t like- poof! A snap of your fingers and they’re gone. Your promised a second chance- if only you’re brave enough to take it.

The problem is, we can never get it right.

We’re humans, that makes us incapable of perfection by default. Everything we unconsciously strive for is unattainably out of reach. We try and try to no prevail. We give our all- one-hundred and ten percent only to discover that the only thing we’re fighting for is a lost cause- and we’d give anything to try it over again. So we do, we leave- over and over, cradling the naïve girl who clutches to the fraying rope of a long gone promise, hoping with every atom we’re made of that she was right.

And one day she will be.

The day will come and go in a blink of an eye. It’s not until you’ve left that you realize you’ve come as close as you’ll ever be. Everything you had- everything you were was one stroke from perfection and a shade away from being everything you dreamed. On this day you will wake up and and nothing will different. And on that tomorrow you will wake up and nothing will be the same. Your heart will ache with a dull fire that can only be describes as the as the ache of missing- needing what is, but soon will be once was. Your mind will be lost in the yesteryears of today.

Once it’s gone, it’s too late.

There’s no going back, just like always. And so are the rules in life. Yet you can’t help long for what you unknowingly chose to loose, so we leave again. Praying that you just may get lucky and find yourself where you left her.

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Ch. 10: Llévame de vuelta a España (Take me back to Spain)

Hello Everybody! I hope you had a wonderful winter despite all the snow and cold, and I hope spring is treating you well!  I know this blog is a long time in coming, but better late than never? It was been a very different winter for me, the temperature mostly staying around 1 or 2 degrees, and only having snow for 2 weeks! It rained a lot in the winter and was overcast all the time, so we literally never saw the sun… Now, it is almost summer, with green grass and flowers, and some days even being warm enough to tan, but it was nice to take a break from the cold when I went with my host family for a week to Grand Canaria, Spain, for our winter vacation in February. Grand Canaria is the biggest island in the Canary Islands, a group of islands owned by Spain that lay off the west cost of Morocco, Africa. It was a wonderful vacation, sunny and warm the whole time! We spent mornings going for walks or lying in the sun, afternoons shopping or seeing little towns and harbours, and evenings eating good food and taking in the local night-life. And of course we went to the beach and swimming in the Atlantic ocean (it wasn’t even cold!!) I got to try traditional Spanish food like Paella and Sangria (Both so good!) and a lamb stew I cant remember the name of…  We also found a restaurant that became our favourite, called Café Opera. They had live shows every night, really good coffee and ice cream and really fun friendly waiters. The show one night was traditional Spanish Flamingo dancers, which was really cool to see, they had bight colours, fans and the little clapper things for their hands and everything. Since we were in Spain, I got to try speaking Spanish. I have little to no Spanish experience, but was still able to talk to a man who didn’t speak English and understand his directions to our hotel when we were lost the first night there.  I also learned a little German, because we stayed in a German hotel, so the staff only spoke German or Spanish, and heard a lot of Swedish or Finnish because Playa des Ingles, the town we stayed at is a very popular Scandinavic tourist town. It was a little challenging, especially since I spoke only Danish with my host family, but spoke English to almost everybody else. But all in all, it was a lot of fun to be surrounded by so many languages. It was a really great vacation and I came back home to Denmark a lot browner, and a lot more cosmopolitan, than I went. Over all, Spain is a country that you can’t help but love, from the food to the people to the very atmosphere it emits. All I can say now is ‘Llévame de vuelta a España’!

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The Airport in Hamburg

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Coffee and Sandwiches for dinner!

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Dejligt varm!

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Soaking up the sun

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Blue skies, blue water

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My host parents, Lars and Marianne

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Fun on the Beach with Laura!

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Ice Cream at Cafe Opera!

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Diego, the world’s best waiter

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Flamingo Dancers

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Elvis Presley show (The hair was real…)

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The perfect Valentine’s day!

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Søstre altid!

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Flot by!

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Wild Cacti…

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The inland town of Mogan 

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They could tell we were foreign

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Sangria! 

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Paella, a traditional stew of rice, seafood and a tomato/chilli sauce, ordered fresh from a fisherman’s restaurant on the wharf!

DSC_0371 Swimming in the Atlantic ocean!

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Like a scene from a Jurassic Park film (minus the dinosaurs)

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Goodbye my Island Paradise, I hope we meet again

DSC_1001Over the coast of actual Spain

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“At rejse er at leve” -H.C. Anderson

Categories: The Adventure (Denmark 13-14) | Leave a comment

Date a Girl Who Travels

Date a girl who travels. Date a girl who would rather save up for out of town trips or day

trips than buy new shoes or clothes. She may not look like a fashion plate, but behind that

tanned and freckled face from all the days out in the sun, lies a mind that can take you

places and an open heart that will take you for what you are, not for what you can be.

Date a girl who travels. You’ll recognize her by the backpack she always carries. She won’t

be carrying a dainty handbag; where will she put her travel journal, her pens, and the LED

flashlight that’s always attached to her bag’s zipper? In a small purse, how can she bring

the small coil of travel string, the wet tissues, the box of cracker, and the bottle of water

she’s always ready with, just in case something happens and she can’t go home yet?

Yes, a girl who travels knows that anytime, anything can happen and she just has to be

prepared with it. Nothing takes her by surprise; she takes everything with equanimity,

knowing that such things are always a part of life. She’s reliable and dependable, traits

that she’s learned while on the road.

You’ll also recognize a girl who travels by the fact that she’s always amazed at the world

around her, no matter if she’s in her home town or in a place that’s totally new. She sees

beauty all around her, not just the ones featured in travel guides or shown in postcards. A

girl who travels has developed a deeper appreciation for life. She won’t judge you, or

pressure you to do things you don’t want to do. She knows too much about the

importance of identity and self-efficacy, and she will appreciate all the more if you won’t

pretend to be who you’re not.

You can make mistakes with a girl who travels, and you can also be as idiosyncratic as you

can be. Trust me, she has seen so much worse in her travels, and knows firsthand the

vagaries of human nature.

Date a girl who travels, because when you’re with her, you’ll realize that even though she’s

napped at a temple in Angkor Wat, went boating down the Mekong Delta, ran by the

streets of Saigon, or went skinny-dipping in the caves in the Philippines, she still retains

that humility that is the mark of a real traveler. She knows she’s been to a lot of places,

but she’s humbled by the fact that the world is still a big place and she’s only seen a small

part of it. Seeing this in her can make you feel all right with yourself too; there’s no need

for you to do more, to be more. What you are is enough.

When you meet a girl who travels, ask her where she’s been and what she’s going to do

next. She will appreciate your interest, and if you’re lucky, she may even invite you to join

her. When she does, do. Nothing bonds people better than traveling. On your trips, you

will both see each other’s best and worst characteristics, and you can then decide whether

she’s worth fighting for.

It’s easy enough to date a girl who travels. She won’t want expensive gifts; you can buy her

(or both of you) cheap tickets to Thailand for the weekend, and shell be more than

happy to take you to the longest wooden bridge in the country. You don’t even have to go

overseas; you can take her out on day trips, caving or hiking, or treat her to a full body

massage.

You can also buy her the little things that she keeps forgetting to buy for herself; that

carabiner that will attach her backpack to her seat so that she wifi feel easier about

sleeping on her bus trip, or a backpack cover, a small alarm clock, a money belt, or maybe

another sarong that will replace the one she lost in China.

She won’t mind if you get lost on your way to a date. She knows that oftentimes, the

journey is more important than the destination. She will help you see the lighter side of

things. Shell walk along with you, not behind you, pointing out the interesting bits of

things you’ll see on the way. Before long, you’ll realize that yes, the journey has been more

memorable than the destination that you’ve planned to take her to.

Is a girl who travels worth it? Yes, she is. So when you find her, keep her. Don’t lose her

with your insecurities and doubts. Because when she says she loves you, she really does.

After all, she’s seen so many things, met so many people, and if she had chosen you, better

grab that opportunity and thank the gods that you were lucky enough she’s chosen you

and not that bloke she met while watching the sun rise in Angkor Wat, or while

whitewater rafting in the Padas Gorge in Sabah.

If she says she loves you, she must have seen something in you, something that can always

call her back from her travels, something that can anchor her to the world in the way that

she wants to after weeks and months of being on the road.

Date a girl who travels. Make her feel safe, warm, and secure. Make her believe that no

matter where she goes, and however long she’s gone, you’ll always be there for her, the

one that she can call home.

Find a girl who travels. Date her, love her, and marry her, and your world will never be

the same again.

I didn’t write this, but I wish I did. I really can’t explain any better how the feeling of travelling feels, or emphasize how special the people are who understand. When you find someone like this, hold them tight for as long as you have them; love them in their wholeness, flaws and insecurities, adventures the made them and stories not yet written. Treasure every moment with them; because sooner than you had hoped for they will be ready once again to spread their wings and fly. If you really love them, you’ll let them go, or you will be right next to them. If you’ve captured her heart enough for her to let you love her, you’re the person that she’s been looking for all these years. You’re the one who keeps her grounded when she has he head in the clouds. You remember to water her roots while she spreads her branches. You’re the person who brings her home, whether physically or only in her mind. You are the one that causes the flowing thoughts of I wish you were here to see this, the cramping days of homesickness, the next impromptu trip she plans being to a place she’s been thousands of times before. Some people would say you are the summet of her weaknesses; the only thing from letting her leave completely. But, you’re also the greatest thing holding her together.

(Date a Girl Who Travels original post: http://www.solitarywanderer.com/2012/02/date-a-girl-who-travels/)

Categories: Hi Ho! It's the Traveller's Life for Me! | Leave a comment

Ch. 9: Home of the Memories

My favourite place in the whole world is my garage back home in Canada. My garage is not my favourite place because there is a spectacular view or it is anything out of the ordinary, but because the memories and feelings associated with it. The garage is something that my family ourselves had to create, to mold it into what we wanted to be, not just what it had to be; which has made it one of the most important places not just for me, but for my parents and little brother Nicholas too.

Our garage started as an empty shell left by our house builders and it was up to us to make it into what it is today. This meant late nights of drywalling and sanding, leaving Dad and I whiter than ghosts from the dust and having to change outside because we were too dirty for Mom to let us into the house. Next came the painting, and with it, ugly face masks so we didn’t inhale the spray paint. On these nights, my job was to hold the ladder while Dad was up painting the 14 foot tall ceiling, because there was no way I’d let him do that dangerous job by himself. We had to work, really hard, to make our garage the place it is today, and we have to work just as hard to keep it in tip-top shape. This is why, last fall, we were on top of the roof in 95km/h winds to fix the shingles so they wouldn’t blow off. In the winter, we had to fix the big door because it would not close and it was -30 out. We’ve made it part of our home, so it is only fitting that it has become the home of some of my favourite memories.

With every season comes new scents and new sights within my garage. You can find the hockey net set up in the corner, tennis balls strewn across the garage, goalie pads tossed on the concrete floor and hockey sticks lined up in a neat row against the wall as my brother and I sit, laughing and joking, taking a break from practicing. While this sight remains all year, only in the winter will you find the smell expected to come with it, cause by the two sets of ice hockey equipment and skates spread all over the workbenches and floor to dry after a long game. Also covering the floor in the winter time, you will find the puzzle of car parts that make up the 1968 Chevelle that Dad and I have spent years finding time to redo. Winter nights too cold and dark to be outside as a child were used to completely take apart the candy apple red car, paint it, fix it, update it and slowly put the car back together again. Our garage, with the towering red metal toolboxes and the shelves holding rows of oil jugs has become an escape from the long winter nights.

When the winter nights fade and snow begins to melt, you know it is almost spring and there is mud everywhere. Shoes will constantly be left out instead of put away on the rack so that they can be cleaned and dried from the mudpuddles forming a mine zone outside. The garage will have the smell of rich black earth from the mud and from the tomato plants that we have started to grow in pots, being still too cold at night to plant them outside. Gone are the tomatoes come summer time, instead you will find carpentry projects, all in various stages, left out until completion, piles of sawdust and wood chips being swept up and tossed into the trash can. Bikes, kites, footballs and other summer toys will be haphazardly laid in the entrance way as all the neighbours’ kids, my brother and I run around causing mischief in the school-less summer days. Also in the summer will you find the days where the garage has actually been cleaned up enough for it to be presentable. Friday nights filled with casual shop parties, family and friends. You can hear the sound of laughing and singing as people converse, scattered with the metallic crack as cans of beer are opened. Wafting in through the open doors, you will be able to smell the mouth-watering scent of steaks on the barbeque, and the clean air as the day begins to cool and the frogs begin to croak.

Fall brings a lot of change. The nights are freezing and the days are windy and grey. The only colour can been seen in the bright reds, yellows and oranges scattered across the tree beds. The party chairs and summer projects will be put away, to be replaced by rakes and tools, trying to finish the last of the handyman jobs before winter makes it too late. In one end you will hear the steady drip drip, as fresh moose meat hangs to dry from the fall hunting excursions. Mom’s car will once again be parked in the garage as it begins to get too cold to park outside. Stacked in the corner will be the pile of logs and scrap building wood, making you anticipate fires with hot chocolate and marshmallows set under the clear star speckled sky in the cool nights to come.

Although, with each season, the sights, the contents and the scents may change drastically, the heart of it will always be the same. Lying at the core, you will always smell the perfectly balanced combination of exhaust, brake clean and wooden planks, a smell that is refreshing and reminds you where you are at the same time. You will always see the organized mess of tools, hockey equipment and projects meant to be finished lying around. And you will always hear the steady stream of good home country music flowing from the battered old radio in the corner. A place doesn’t have to be something magical for it to be special; it has to feel like home. A place will be your favourite because of the memories you associate with it, and if you are comfortable with it. I am familiar with all the complicated workings of my garage and the changes each season brings, it really does feel like home to me, and that is why it is my favourite place.

Categories: The Adventure (Denmark 13-14) | 2 Comments

Ch. 8: Jeg Elsker Ost

So I have to say the Danish food is really quite good. Some of it takes a little while to get used too, like rugbrød, but it’s still pretty good. One thing I fell in love with since coming here (although it is not exclusively Danish, but they eat a lot more of it than at home) is cheese. Yes, I know, cheese. I’m serious though. So, I am going to introduce you to my 3 favourite kind of cheeses that I’ve tried since being here.(but there are a lot more than just these) Here goes:

1: Brie

Okay this is a cheese sent directly to earth as a reward for actually managing to hang on for 65 million years. I cannot explain how wonderful it is. Its got that creamy spreadable consistency to it and just yum, I’m literally at a loss of words. So good on bread or toast with butter. Or on crackers. Or rice cakes. Or just anything. I eat this minimum once a week, but probably a lot more. It’s so good on its own, but when you want to class it up (like if your eating it with wine) put some pecans or walnuts (I can’t remember which one they are) that have been canned in cherry syrup on top and place it all on a wafer thin cracker. (;  Just so good. And using this wonderful tool called google, I’ve found recipes for baking it with brown sugar and pecans and cranberries and all these other delicious things. And it makes me so excited for when I get to go home and try making them all.

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Okay just look at that. Perfection. Delicious perfection. Am I right or am I right? (And this is literally the Brie my host family buys.)

2: Prima Donna

Lets list the wonderful things about this cheese:

-A crossbreed between Gouda and Parmesan.

-Similar texture of parmesan, hard and crumbly, but still soft. Like what?

-Dutch.

-Thinks It’s Italian.

-Tastes like heaven.

-You can eat it on it’s own, use it in cooking or practically however you want too.

-You can buy it online. (I Didn’t even realize that his was possible. But they literally have online cheese shops.)

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3: Port Salut

I’m pretty sure this cheese is made by monks. Just thought I’d throw that out there. It kind of tastes like mozzarella cheese, but way better. And its soft and spreadable but you can also cut it into slices. Needless to say, its delicious. I like eating it on crackers with red or yellow peppers, but one time we were eating tomato soup and I had it on bread and dipped it in my soup. Lets just say it was beautiful, and I like this cheese.

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Honorary Mention:

My favourite kind of cheese ever. You cannot buy sharp cheddar cheese here, you can’t really buy cheddar cheese at all…. I mean as much as I love these gourmet European cheeses, I really do miss having a slice of good ole’ cheddar. <3

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The Secret Door

Getting a drink at a Classic Rock Bar in Chicago. Reading in a Inuit Library in Nunavut. Staring at the paintings on the roof in a Cathedral in Europe. Watching monkeys bathe in Hot Springs on a snow covered mountain in Japan. Little moments in amazing places such as these are what make memories you want to remember. It’s not just being somewhere completely different, although it helps, its all the little things that tourists miss but travellers live on, that fuel our need for travel. Sometimes you can’t travel. Whether its work, money, illness, you want to go but you just can’t, I know that feeling. That’s why everybody needs a secret door. Full of magic, like the wardrobe to Narnia. Step through the door to see where it takes you, you might just end up Scuba Diving in Australia or exploring Diagon Alley in Britian (Not sure if Muggles are able to see this one, sorry.)
(Click on the door for an adventure!)
The Secret Door

The Secret Door is presented by Safestyle UK

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Ch. 7: The Empty Seat

I was in English class one of my first days here, and as an alternative assignment so I wasn’t doing nothing, my teacher told me to write for 10 minutes. To take an experience, the smells and sights and feelings associated with it, and make it into a work of fiction. She said “just write.” And this is what I wrote:

The Empty Seat

Rolling over in the upright seat, my mind was snapped from the deep state of consciousness of sleep by the flittering stream of light caused by the open window shade. Not bothering with fully waking up, I muttered “Close the window, would you?” and began drifting off to the land of hopeless dreams once again. Frustrated with my travelling companion, whoever they may be, for not responding to this one simple request; I began to prepare myself for the reality this I would have to do it myself. After the four hour layover and the eight hour flight before that as an end to my day of flying, packing and driving, sleep had not seen my face in almost twenty-four hours. He was probably in the same situation, so if he was tired, he would be out. He’s probably one of those lucky people who get into a deep sleep and don’t wake up until they are ready to or they have to, whichever comes first. I cracked my eyes open and was startled to see the empty seat sitting still beside me. Trying not to panic, I closed my eyes and forced myself to think about this reasonably. He was probably just in the washroom or got up to stretch his legs, he would be back any minute.

I could hear the heavy rolling carts and the clinking of trays coming down the aisle just a few seats up, as breakfast was handed out with smiles too big for this hour in the morning. The smell of microwaved Egg McMuffins and burnt coffee filled the air around me, making me stomach sick yet want to eat at the same time. I widened my eyes and yawned, trying to stretch as well as I could in the cramped economy class seat. I took in the sights surrounding me, the baby just beginning to wake up across the aisle, the young couple coming home from some tropical destination, hands intertwined and fast asleep. I cast a glance to the never-set sun out the window, and my eyes were led astray by the still empty seat paired with mine. I could not remember my seat mate from last night and I became curious as to who I was sharing my adventure with, who he was and where he would be heading. Trying not to snoop but really wanting to know, I searched around me with my eyes for any clues to his identity. Not seeing anything at all, I was caught by the sight of the red blazer stashed on the floor under the seat in front of me. The bright red stood out like a fire in the lightening grey interior of the plane. By the time the tray of breakfast had been set in front of me, my appetite was gone.

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Ch. 6: Efterårsferien

So I decided I would try something different, by writing a little bit and then having a galley of pictures at the bottom instead of in the post. You can hover over them and captions will pop up, and you can click on it and it will be a full screen thing you where you can look at them all. (I thought it would be easier, but I’m not sure how I feel about it… Comments?)

This post is about the vacation week that I had in October, and is mandatory for all school aged children in Denmark. Friday the 11th was my last day of school, and it was alos the day of my first school party! We had to dress up like different people from around the world, so I wore a toga and went as a greek. Before the party started I went to one of the girls in my class’ house, because it was Heidi’s 18th birthday! It was a lot of fun to help her celebrate and then to go to the school afterwards, I can’t wait until the next one!

Saturday was spent cleaning up and getting ready, because Georgia and her family were coming to stay with us for part of the week that day. On Sunday we went to Ebletoft, which is a small harbour/vacation town on the northeastern part of Jutland. (The peninsula where I live.) Apple in Danish is æble, which sounds a lot like the name of the town. My hostdad had to convince us that it actually had nothing to do with apples, which was hard because there was a giant apple by the Tourist center, and when we were exploring the town, we found out it was their annual ‘Apple Festival’. But it was okay, because we got to watch them make homemade apple juice and taste it. (It was sooooo good!) Then, we got to explore a giant antique ship that was actually used for war! It was just like the ones in the pirate movies and was such an amazing experience.

Monday (which would’ve been Thanksgiving for all of you back at home) was spent in the southern part of Denmark and Germany. We visited the city of Ribe, which has one of the biggest and oldest churches in Denmark, and has also switched between German and Danish rule many times because it is so close to the border. In the church we got to climb up the bell tower (the square on in the pictures) and look out over all the city! We drove on a road to an island in the ‘West Sea’. It was a road that you could only drive on when tide was out, because when the tide came in, the road was covered in water! They have these poles in the ground that somehow catch the sand when the tide goes out and makes more land? It didn’t really make sense to me, but it was cool because it takes a couple of years and then they have land perfect for animals to graze on! They have to constantly move the dikes further out to sea when they build new land so it doesn’t flood, because that part of Denmark is below sea level. We also stopped at another very big beach on the western sea that you could drive on. Lots of people were flying kits because the western part is so windy. I absolutely loved the beaches and could’ve easily spent all day there.  Then we drove to the Danish-German border, which happens to be in the middle of the road, right up and down the center line. I stood with one foot in Germany and one in Denmark, it was an exhilarating experience and it makes me want to travel so much more. Afterwards we stopped to watch all the birds come to a special field where they all go at night during what the Danish call ‘Det Sort Sol’ or the Black Sun. There where thousands and thousands of birds! It was getting cold, but we had a lot of fun and it was worth the wait to see all of them. Before going home we stopped at a border shop. It was neat because even though it was in Germany, they had all Danish stuff and all the prices were in Danish Crowns. Then we drove home. It is still mind boggling for me that in less than the time it takes to drive to Edmonton from G.P. you can be in a whole other country.

On Wednesday, Georgia helped me make Thanksgiving dinner even though she doesn’t celebrate it in Australia and it was a new experience for her too. We had to improvise on some things, but everything turned out really well. And I am so proud of my turkey! (: For dinner it was Georgia and I, our host parents, my Host sister Laura and her half sister Tine, Jack from the USA, his host brother Jacob and Alex, a rebound who went to Colombia. It was a first Thanksgiving for most of them and they really enjoyed it. It was a very hyggeligt (‘Cozy’ -no actual translation) day!

Thursday, Georgia and her family went home and I was sick, so I spent most of the day in bed…

Friday, one of my closest friends, Mariana, and exchange student from Colombia who lives on the island of Fyn, came to visit me for the weekend. We spent a lot of time talking and catching up and just being with each other. Saturday we went to the rainforest zoo and met with Will (USA), Alex (Rebound) and Jonathon (Outbound). We went to McDonalds for lunch and spent the afternoon together in town. Then in the evening Will and Joao (Brazil) came to my house and we watched a movie. When Mariana had to go home the next day, we were both so tired!

This was an amazing week, I got to see a lot of Denmark and a lot of my friends! It was a well needed brak from school and I absolutely loved it. After this vacation, I think the week long school vacation we have in February is going to be epic!

P.S. 3 Months yesterday! How the time is flying!

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A Canadian Mugging

How it happens in Canada, eh boys? (;

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