Friday, December 14, 2012

A FOND FAREWELL

I'm sitting in my room in my cozy apartment in the hip neighborhood of Vesterbro after four months of living in Copenhagen and I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around where the time has gone. From the day I stepped off the plane, I knew this semester would go by fast but now that I'm packed and ready to leave in just 24 hours, I'm at a loss for how to summarize my time here. This final post from Denmark is my best attempt to do that though I have a feeling that I'll be mulling over this experience for days, weeks and months to come.

(A cold, cozy and colorful Christmas in Copenhagen)

I knew that studying abroad would be a good thing for me; I expected to learn about myself and grow as a young, global citizen but looking back I'm still surprised at how much has happened and how much I've grown. As much as I love Georgetown, I very much needed a break from the Hilltop. The past two years were full of ups and downs and having a semester away to process it all has been incredible. I've been able to really evaluate the things I want to pursue, the passions I want to stick with and the people I want to keep around. I don't look that different (thought my hair is the longest it's been in over two years) and I still feel like "Hillary" but I'd like to think I'm a better, more capable version of myself now. When I think about where and who I was back in August, I'm proud to say that I feel much more confident, independent and interesting now. Call me maybe?

Walking through the streets of Poland a few weeks ago, a friend and I were discussing what it would be like to go home. I said something along the lines of "I can't wait to make chit-chat with people at parties. I am so damn interesting to talk to now!" I half meant it as a joke but in all seriousness, I feel like I have a much broader view of life in general and I've learned a ton about myself and the world around me by living in Denmark. It's so easy to get bogged down in the details of day to day life that sometimes stepping away for a while reminds you that there's more to this big wide world than the drama-du-jour of college life. I tried to keep a list of all the amazing things that have happened and the things that I'll miss in Denmark but it got too long. This is just a snippet of the things that made my heart melt, my eyes water, or my mind grow.
Seeing the wind turbines for the first time; eating fresh baked bread in Jutland; meeting my visiting family; sailing through the Fjords to Norway; biking through Bornholm; realizing that I can read signs in Danish; walking through Hamlet's castle; rock climbing in Sweden for a day; my first Tuborg and Carlsberg beers; finding out that my last name is Danish in origin; Danish desserts and pastries; my visiting family surprising me with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner; climbing the Amsterdam sign; being in Moscow for the first snow of the season; celebrating Polish Independence day in Krakow; deciding to change my minor after taking an amazing class on feminist art and a trip to the Red Lights District; standing on the Acropolis in Greece; Danish babies in their snowsuits and massive buggies; super dense rye bread; spending eight hours at the Louvre; walking through Auschwitz; waking up to fresh snow in Copenhagen; Tivoli at Halloween and Christmas; seeing Putin drive by at the Moscow Kremlin; stumbling through Danish pronunciations in class; learning to read Russian; exploring Cinque Terre; eating crepes with Nutella at the Eiffel tower; talking with Danish students at my visiting family's school; meeting so many amazing people from all over the US and the world; knowing that a little piece of my heart will always be in Denmark should I be fortunate enough to return and find it.
Goodbyes never really hit me until afterwards so for now my eyes are dry, though I'm making no promises that they will stay that way. At this time tomorrow I'll be on a plane to DC and on Monday, a plane to Denver. It's been 118 days since I came to Denmark and I'm proud that I pushed myself outside my comfort zone and learned something new each and every week. As if I haven't said it enough, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I've made an incredible foreign city my home and I cannot wait to return to the States to see everyone and talk all about my adventures. Traveling is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer and I feel like the wealthiest person on the planet right now.

Thank you so much for following my semester abroad through this blog. It's been a fantastic way to chronicle my explorations and work out my thoughts on my time here. Tusind tak, hej hej, og indtil vi mødes igen!

10 comments:

  1. Lots of love to you from Julie Kring <3
    Farvel!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hillary, your blog has provided me with the best, most interesting procrastination material, week in and week out. You may have inspired me to look into studying abroad. Congratulations on everything that you have done in Europe, and you go girl!!

    Katerina

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