Thursday, September 20, 2012


Yesterday I didn't have any field studies for any of my classes so I packed up my bag and headed to a cozy, student-friendly coffee shop to get some work done. I was seated at a window bar that overlooked the street out front and was completely absorbed typing on my computer. As I paused to assess the design I was working on, I happened to look up and see this sign in the window of the bookstore across the street.

You are what you read. It took me a minute before I realized I'd just read something in Danish without even realizing it. Is this what it feels like to be a local? If I am what I read and I just read Danish, does that make me a Dane?! It was a major "aha moment" made all the more special by the fact that yesterday was the one month anniversary of my arrival in Denmark. September 19th isn’t really a special day by ordinary standards but I’ve already seen and done so much since I got here that, looking back, I feel the same way I do every year on December 31st. 

You see, New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday. It has little to do with the  flashy parties, new beginnings or anti-climatic ball drop in Times Square (I still think that it would be much more exciting if the ball actually shattered). Every year I most look forward to thinking back on the past twelve months and marveling at how much has changed. There are always so many things, good and bad, that happen that I never would have predicted. I'm always floored by the realization that life can and will continue to you surprise you--sometimes without you even realizing it until later. This was exactly how I felt sitting at the coffee shop yesterday.

Since I started my study abroad adventure, I’ve met some incredible people. I've travelled throughout Denmark, spent hours exploring museums and sailed on a whim to Norway. I’ve mastered which buses get me back to my apartment, can give directions to lost tourists and have conquered the Danish grocery store. I'm amazed that time has gone by so quickly and how perfectly comfortable I feel living here. I've had moments of frustration and bouts of FOMO but I can honestly say that I feel "at home" in Copenhagen even though I'm not quite sure when that exact moment occurred. 

In ten days I leave for Amsterdam and in a month I'll be in route to Russia. Come November I'll be off to Poland and Greece and a few other destinations once I get all my weekend trips booked.  Even with a quarter of the semester behind me, there's too much to look forward to worry about how quickly these past thirty days have gone by. If anything, it's made me even more determined to soak up every minute of my time here and to embrace every challenge and triumph. People weren't kidding when they said these four months would fly by and so far the first one has been one hell of a good ride.

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