It has been a crazy, information-filled first few hours in Europe. After a long overnight flight, during which I did not sleep for more than an hour total, we were greeted at the Copenhagen International Airport by DIS representatives. I was relieved that it was very clear exactly where I should go. I passed the time by talking with some people I had met on the plane, and we were directed to a waiting area to sign in and get settled. After waiting for a while, we loaded our luggage onto a shuttle bus and headed to our assigned housing. It was pouring rain, and we were soaked. I live in Kannikestraede 13. I must admit that I do not yet know how to correctly pronounce that word, despite many people repeating it for me in Danish.
My apartment building is in a central area. It is a short walk both to DIS buildings and to the center of Copenhagen, which is amazing. Slowly, I carried my wet luggage up the stairs, and I was greeted by my roommate, Adina. I was looking forward to settling into the room, but I learned that my Residential Advisor was taking people to buy toiletries, so I decided to join them. I met several people on my floor, and we made our way through a pharmacy-like store nearby. We also went to the Flying Tiger, which is known as the Danish target. When I paid for my purchases at the register, I was asked (in Danish) if I wanted to buy a bag, and I quickly apologized, replying that I only spoke English. I had been warned that I would need to bring a reusable bag when I went shopping, but I had forgotten about it in the chaos of arriving.
We ate dinner in a restaurant next to our apartment called Riz Raz, which was a vegetarian Mediterranean buffet-style meal, and it was also very gluten-free-friendly. I ate a ton, and it was only then that I realized how hungry I was after the flight. We were a large group of American students, still in our plane clothes, and I felt like the Danes were looking at us a lot. It was a strange feeling of not belonging that was unlike any other I have experienced. The food was excellent.
After dinner, I finished unpacking and talked to Adina in our room. We get along really well. I fell asleep at 9:30p.m., only to wake up at 1:30a.m. and stay up the rest of the night. I couldn’t help it; I was wide awake. When I finally felt myself getting tired, it was already time to wake up. We had an 8a.m. meeting with the entire housing unit. We learned over a delicious breakfast (with amazing gluten-free bread) about the rules of the apartment. The RA also told us about some cultural norms that we should expect. For example, Danish people are not shy to ask you your opinions about politics, and they also tend to be very liberal. We were warned that they may hold some pre-conceived notions about all Americans before meeting us, especially given the state of American politics, so we should be careful not to offend anyone. I definitely want to check out that place for brunch again; it’s called Paludan’s Book Cafe.
We broke out into our apartment floors to complete a scavenger hunt throughout our neighborhood. The tasks included items such as riding the metro and stopping at the local grocery store. We had fun, and we completed most of the items. There are 9 people in my apartment, 7 girls and 2 boys.
Afterwards, we walked to Nyhavn, which is a tourist attraction in Cope. It’s the street with all the colorful houses on the water. We stopped to take pictures, and the sun even came out for a few minutes. Then I had lunch at a Pub near the canal with my apartment-mates. The food was okay; it was more to have the experience of eating on that street.
We came back to our neighborhood and went grocery shopping, and we stopped at a few miscellaneous stores to try and get all of the items on our lists. We’re almost there! I went with Adina and a few other people I had met before to dinner at a yummy restaurant called The Nova. It had everything there. We ended up staying for a while and talking. Then, we went to a bar called A-Bar, which was relatively crowded with DIS students. I am very ready for bed now, and we have another early morning.
I’m still overwhelmed, but I already feel so much better than I did yesterday. Although it was embarrassing to not know what we were doing in stores today (for example, it’s not customary here for the employee to separate and bag your grocery items; instead, they quickly pile them up on the counter together), I know it is all part of the experience of learning about a different culture. I can’t wait to learn more about the program and neighborhood tomorrow.
P.S. I am also posting photos I took today.