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 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 ;)

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