Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I can't believe I'm so close to a BEAUTIFUL BEACH!! + more mistakes.

Basically I just had the most gorgeous day.  Plan was, since it was going to be almost 20 C and sunny all day I wanted to spend it outside, reading and with a picnic.  I ended up finally biking to the nearby beach I've been meaning to go to, Daniel giving me the directions.  I didn't have big hopes for it, didn't really think about it too much, just thought maybe some sand I hope, never thought people would be there! And biking there (by the way I passed my favorite store, it is called 'Butt Slaughter') I just noticed sand starting to be between the cobblestones, people seemed to be getting more excited in Danish (or it was just in my head that's alright too), and then suddenly there was a BEACH! a beautiful long pretty beach! sort of like ...double sided too...I'll have to charge my camera that is unfortunately very much breaking *sigh*.  Anyways, it's about 4 miles away from WHERE I LIVE, seriously, I live four miles from a beautiful beach, and what is this by bike? Maybe a 20 minute ride - NOTHING! :) Nothing like having to drive about 14 hours at home to get to one haha.  Ahh so just had this lovely relaxing day in the sun, snacking and such, very happy :)

So other than that I thought I might amuse you (you as in my ...one of maybe three readers, hahaha) with a few more mistakes I have found myself making since I've been here.  I thought I might start off with the fact that I have been taking vitamins for people over 50 years old :(  When I got here I thought 'well since I'm poor I'll have to eat more unhealthily, cant afford all those veggies now!, so I wanted to get some multivitamins.  Gotta keep up the health!  Sadly my woman's daily multivitamins at home that are maybe 5 dollars for 200 pills aren't the same here, I found a smaller bottle with just 100 or something that ended up being about twenty dollars, and I was going for cheap here, that was about how much they all ran.  Being the beginning of my Danish adventure I couldn't read too much, the vitamins said '50+' and so I thought, yeah, lots of vitamins in there, read what I thought was a sampling of them and their amounts on the back and have been taking them daily...

Turns out 50+ means 50+ years...and if you are under 12 you should actually see a doctor about taking them. Amusingly I am a lot closer to 12 than I am to 50...I found out my mistake when I just decided to read a bit more of the bottle one day and realized the bottom said 'for men and women over 50 years', and them my world plummeted. I asked my neighbors what all the back said (depressed, embarrassed), and they laughed a good deal, apparently there are higher than recommended amounts for some things because older people stop being able to absorb some nutrients as well, but also you are supposed to take two pills a day so thankfully I'd only been taking one! Regardless, for being so expensive I feel sort of weird when I take them now, I'm a bit less religious about it and...yeah...I guess I'm fighting oldness one pill at a time over here! No way will I seem 50 and I'm 50, not now that I've got a heads start in nutrition!

What else have I done...well sometimes I sort of suck at biking and run into people, hit the curb, something like that.  It is not as rare as my constant 'I am nervous so I will just stop and use the crosswalk rather than turn left here because the bike lane sort of disappeared?'...but that's not really a mistake.  I think what I'm writing is probably losing any interest because I'm really into this show that involves...some girl pretending she's pregnant all the time...it's called 'Violent Women'...Women in the US of course...goodness....oh wait the TV just corrected me, 'Deadly Women'...anyways...mistakes mistakes...some angry Danish lady yelled at me that I was biking on the area I can't bike on today (in Danish at first and I was all 'Uhm, what?'), anyways, EVERYONE ELSE WAS BIKING ON IT, But I moved  and just biked on the appropriate path RIGHT next to it - but that's not the mistake, the mistake was moving for her because I wasn't in her way she was just a crappy lady.  She was just angry because she was had brown hair and I was more Danish than her, mwahahahaha...oh this show is so scary that I can no longer blog.  Farvel, more later...

Oh wait, massive mistake number 2 (the other bike one wasn't massive it was more mild), loanin g 100 kr, like 20 bucks, to my apparently INCREDIBLY RICH FRIEND here whose German.  I desperately don't have 20 bucks to give away. Yet that is what I did, even though I hounded her for it.  Just a fail really.  Never again!!  Ok food time :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Whoever stole the Danish summer should go to jail.

Hello, time for a little Danmark update!  I'll just cover my weather dilemmas real quick - since May there have been some beautiful days, sunny, not too hot, just perfect.  I would have been happy if that's as hot as it ever got, I just want to be able to wear a tank top! But then those days would go away, and give way to these other colder days, 60 degrees, less...slightly frustrating when I find myself wearing sweaters in June.  ...and I'm in the northern hemisphere.  Everyone says that it's never usually this cold, and I wonder if it is the ash hovering above everything leaving lots of Europe in a bit of a weather funk?  Recently we had a summer party at Signalhuset, the complex where I live, and it involved us grilling outdoors...standing close to the grill, hands warming over it, scarf on etc.  I am refusing to wear gloves though!!! It is June and I will not wear gloves!  I have hoped to do a little packing warm things and maybe sending them home, but that is not very possible when I keep wearing the warm things haha.  But some days are beautiful, and on those days I am very very happy :)

May was ridiculously busy for me - I haven't been doing traveling out of Denmark but I did do lots of research and study for classes (finally).  It seems very normal to not do much until the month before exams (and exams last over a month easy, I still have some friends in them), not much like the one exam week back at home!  I don't mind having exams so spread out, it gives you a chance to study more for one at a time, however I also don't mind getting all over with at Purdue and having a larger summer break :)  The whole schooling system is entirely different - one of my classes (well half of it) was attendance based, (which I managed to pass that woo! It was Danish Culture and had all these sweet free excursions).  The rest of my classes had finals worth 100%.  You could never show up for the class throughout the semester and it wouldn't matter! No homework, no tests!  Not at all three rounds of exams, constant studying, constant learning...You definitely have to just learn on your own IF you want to here.  Danish Language took more work, you had to show up 80% of the time (means you could miss 3.5 classes) in order to qualify to take the exam, but Danish being an insane language makes skipping class the LAST thing you want to do.  That was actually my first exam, still worth 100% and broken up into two parts, one day was the written exam, lots of listening exercises, and the other day had an oral exam type interview, VERY NERVOUS.  And I got a 12 ahh! Sorry for my slight boasting, but as 12s are not given out here much and as I sadly have to have my grades here transfer back as grades at home instead of pass/fail like...everyone else I know here, I am excited to have gotten what will be an A.  And ohhhh I worked for that.  I am very tired of talking about Ivan, Jane, Stine, etc....haha.  Those were our main Danish characters.  I do like speaking it even though I think Danes would prefer I revert to English....

My other classes are finished and my exams turned it, yet I have no idea when I will find out about grades, no for a few weeks apparently.  My 'Conflict and Peacemaking in Divided Societies' course is the one I am most worried about - I have never done such an intense research paper.  It is all up to you and I know I have to do OUTSTANDING yet have never ... just wrote a sociology paper I guess.  My paper was on the ICC (International Criminal Court) and the UNSC (United Nations Security Council) and their involvement/uninvolvement in Darfur and why.  I honestly knew nothing about Darfur and especially the ICC or UNSC before I started on that and it was really never covered in class since it's such an ongoing issue, so was really interesting.  If anyone wants to read a ridiculously long paper be my guest!  I worked so hard on it I'm actually overly proud of it so I know I will just be gutted if I get a 7, or a 4! What if I get less!? I will tell you what, I will cry.  And then move on and try to forget it! I will also say 'Damn you Denmark' or something to that effect (pardon my language).  

I also had to write an essay for my Danish Culture final, and well...essays for courses like that are more annoying, I feel like I have to dumb down to write them and I HATE turning in things that are not intelligent.  Therefore I struggled just..figuring how to write a 'what do you think is most characteristic of Danish Culture in your opinion' without just...it being too much BS.  It doesn't help when they want you to list your sources on your OPINION based paper, what do I site? My brain? A time I talked to a random Danish person? No.  So a little BS was involved in just trying to use anything for sources but they are asking for that with a paper like this.  Silly class.  In the end I was actually happy enough with it - did my paper based on the Danish sense of humor/freedom of press coming from a US standpoint.  So now I just wait and see! It wasn't too comforting when I went to pick up my attendance certificate (just to make sure I got it haha) the other day and I saw LAST semesters grades up about the essay, so many 4s, 7s, few 10s and 12s! Some people even got 2s!  I don't want to think about that now though...maybe I should explain the Danish 7-point grading system real quick.

alright, grades are as follows, -2 (or is it -3? doesn't matter), 0, 2, 4, 7, 10, and 12.  A zero is their fail.  A -2 (or maybe -3 I'm starting to think) means that you somehow screwed up so much you have to redo something, it's not a fail it's more of a pending incomplete.  A 2 is a pass and so are the ones above that, 12s being VERY exceptional and everyone is even really happy with a 10 or a 7.  Even a 4!! They don't think about grades like we do nor do they hand them out the same, some hard classes (like physics) might not give anyone over a 7, which is unheard of at home.  Also your GPA is just the average score you get but it's not something employers really look at, they look at the classes you took.  If you got 4s in your hard classes that's totally fine.  And, as the beginning of my Peace course involved the professor saying 'All these Americans come in and say they want 12s, we don't give 12s' (don't know if I've  mentioned that before)...I am a bit concerned AND I also think Purdue and really any other American school should realize the system is just different here and shouldn't transfer back.  Of course if I get all 12s I'll be thrilled, but I don't think I will, and that is depressing.  Just how they DO their grading system though makes it just...stupid to transfer them as grades.  There is a reason while people from other countries don't have to transfer them, people couldn't believe that I have to get 12s really if I want a good shot at grad school.  So here is how the grades will come back (keep in mind a 2 is a pass here and normal to get).  12 is A, 10 is B, 7 is C, and get this, 7's are considered really good, like no shame in getting a 7.  A 7/C is the lowest I've ever gotten at Purdue AND I HATE IT, it's embarrassing, I'm never proud of myself, though sometimes I am happy I just didn't get a D (Microbiology, Calc 2, 'Quantitative Analysis Chem' those sucked so much I actually was happy with a C just so I didn't have to retake them).  But regardless it's never really GOOD. Anyways, 4 is a D, and 2 is a fail.  Yet a 2 is a pass here.  So, crappy situation!

But enough about grades, and a little more Denmark updating.  

It is light outside until midnight till around 3 am it seems, and I like it. I wish I could stay here until August so I could see how it is when it never really gets dark.  I also now love soccer.  I think I like watching sports here more because I don't know what they are saying and I've never really liked HEARING about whats going on the whole time when sports are on TV at home.  I guess I just would rather watch it and pretend I'm there - do they do announcements of everything at home DURING the game for people to hear? Like Johnson passes to Smith, blah blah blah'? I don't know.  I think I block it out if I do or hopefully can't hear it due to good crowd noises.  I don't mind it at a football game that much or when I cant see whats going on.  But when it's on TV, I can see enough of what's going on.   Maybe that's why I've so far only really liked seeing tennis on TV, they are quiet and only say what's necessary.  So I feel more there.  Anyways watching the world cup here is pretty sweet, they have screens set up around Copenhagen that you can go sit outside and drink and watch, or stand :) I went to the Denmark vs Netherlands one (we lost sadly but the Netherlands are just amazing apparently), and it was sunny and warm mostly outside, good day.   They show it everyday, every match, outside until the world cup is over. Which is cool :)  And watching it on TV is fine too because all I hear I hear is the normal Danish background noises, well also that ridiculous 'there is a bee in my ear' instrument South Africa is quite obsessed with. 

Other things other things....I don't know yesterday I just cleaned and was overly productive, I've realized I say the phrase 'but yeah' way too much...need to stop that...

Oh! I went for almost a week to this BEAUTIFUL little Danish Island of Bornholm (German's definitely like it there), where they have a crazy accent (sounds a bit like Swedish/Danish).  Anyways, I had amazing food, saw the entire island, conversed with the sweetest Dane's ever (I went with my neighbor Daniel and so tried to talk to his grandparents who live there).  It was a perfect inexpensive trip full of seeing round churches, amazing food and sweets, have I mentioned I'm in love with marzipan yet? Because I am...and herring! I had quite a bit more of Danish food :)  Walks on beautiful beaches...just...the most refreshing week for me.  And Bornholm is just a very calm country place basically, fields, beautiful houses, small towns, definitely all of my family would have liked it and found it cute.  Needless to say I love Bornholm :) And their ...troll mascot haha.

Hmm, well if I think of anything later I shall post it. Right now maybe I have a little food, craving some meet, would be great to be home for father's day right now!  And I could wear shorts! Haha.  At least I am now going to Thailand and hopefully Cambodia (maybe others) as well for 3 weeks in July-August. NICE and hot there, and CHEAP, ohh I can't wait for the food! And then back home on August 6th!  So I will leave it at that and chat to my computer via a blog later. Vi ses ;)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Broccoli Worms

I suppose before I start this post I should look up what these worms in broccoli are...bad timing to start a post, here comes a little research - AHHA I'm not nuts! Ok.  I will just start at the beginning like a normal person...

Ages ago back home in Mt. Vernon I was cutting up broccoli/washing it.  As broccoli is very pretty it is fun to inspect closely, but even not inspecting closely I remember finding a little worm looking thing up near the green tree part, Just sort of huddled in what looked like a cocoon.  Ever since this has totally freaked me out basically, I still love broccoli and I order it, eat it when people cook it, even eat it raw sometimes, but I never buy it.  

Recently I wanted to make amazing-stir-fry-number 2, and I thought adding broccoli to the mix would be a fantastic idea, momentarily forgetting about previous worm scares.  While I was cutting it up I remembered to check for them, thinking that since I'm far away from home I wouldn't have to look too close so wasn't too worried about it UNTIL I FOUND ONE.  Once again, cocooned, just like at home. I threw it down the sink and mentally freaked out a little bit because all the rest I had been throwing in the stir fry I hadn't checked too much, so I just thought surely there was nothing else in there and sort of got over it.  Later when I was having the last of my leftovers I just happened to see what looked like a curled up little worm...which I promptly threw away before looking at it too much.  Upon telling Daniel about my broccoli worm troubles, I managed to half-heartedly convince myself that it was just some of the wild rice I had eaten with it, because some of those can maybe go a little crazy.  However I have been dreading using the rest of my broccoli in the fridge...but since I paid for the food I have to use it eventually right?

So. Making a nice healthy soup, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, and oh why not throw in the rest of that broccoli?? I spent at least a good thirty minutes going through the broccoli sooo carefully, finding one more worm in it, and taking the broccoli apart big time before I put it in the soup.  I had maybe two bowls that night, delicious (took me forever to make I was positively starving by the time I was done, which was maybe 10 30 pm), Anyways, recently while working through my massive leftovers I have found two worms :(:(:(  Once just sitting on a carrot and it was right when I was thinking 'I wonder how many bugs blind people accidentally eat', and then there is a worm. No tricking myself there. So I threw it away.  THEN another one!!! AHH! and it was more wormish than the rest, I could see it's little black feet things.  Ok these actually are more like caterpillars...anyways, I have tried to convince myself these last times just to eat it, just make myself eat it and realize that I can't taste it (I'm assuming so anyways), yet I just don't want to eat these worms so I throw them away.  Here is the issue though - I have at least 6 more meals with my leftover soup still...but...it's just not as good anymore. :( I just keep thinking about worms and looking through it, I wish I could just throw it away or something but I can't do that food costs money!  So...for the next week I will be sifting through soup for worms.  Meanwhile here is what I have found on google to enlighten you-

"Broccoli worms are smooth and green, and they tend to hide in the branches of broccoli florets. If you don’t want green worms to cook along with your broccoli, dissolve a few tablespoons of salt in a pot of water, separate the broccoli into serving-sized florets, and soak the florets in the salt water for twenty minutes. Almost all the broccoli worms will die and float to the surface. If you’re not convinced, inspect the florets before you cook them."

So the question is - will I bother to get more broccoli even though I know I will be forced to inspect the florets after any salt soaking? Or will I just avoid the delicious healthy treat....I'm even a little grossed out to try the salt thing and then just see all these little worms floating in it.  I wish I liked eating worms :(

Monday, June 7, 2010

Undskyld, jeg kommer for sent....

Ahhhh that means 'sorry I'm late'- unfortunately I have to run off in literally one minute - catching a tiny flight to the Danish island of Bornholm! I know I have been failing at updating this but the entire month of May I was frantically working on essays, etc - BUT NOW I AM DONE! Just going to wait for grades now (nervously) Ahh have to run I'll update when I get back on Saturday!!

Laura :)