Core Course Week: Part 1

I’m dividing my core course week recap into two separate posts: this one is about the experiences in Copenhagen (Monday-Wednesday), and the next one will be about my trip to Western Denmark later in the week.

On Monday, I was dragging a little due to my very short night of sleep given the Prague airport fiasco (see my last post). However, it was probably the best day not to feel my best; it was pretty low-key, and I only had school from 10-3. First, we saw a presentation about an organization called Cycling Without Age, which is a non-profit chain that promotes elderly community interaction by allowing them to ride electric bikes. We talked about the attributes of the company and how it promotes happiness.

In the hour we were given for our lunch break, there was enough time to walk around the Glass Market, one of my favorite Copenhagen activities. It was nice and sunny out that day, and that helped wake me up a little. I ate there with a few classmates, and it was fun to get to know them better. We are definitely going to spend a lot of time together this week.

Then, we watched a documentary about Happiness, which was very interesting. I still find it cool that people have default happiness setpoints; even when exceptionally good or bad things happen to people, they normally return to their typical level of happiness. The film also mentioned that a person’s ability to deal with tragedy says a lot about their internal happiness level.

The past few classes, I had been working with a small group to design an observational experiment about happiness. My group wanted to see if there is a correlation between outward signs of happiness (such as laughing) and the person’s ability to generate a list of things he/she is grateful for. We asked several Danes to participate in this study, and because it only required a minute of time, most of them were happy to comply.

Following the nap I desperately needed on Monday afternoon, the highlight of my day Monday was definitely dinner at Bluetaco, which is an all-gluten-free Mexican restaurant, including churros! I never thought the day would come. I went there with my new friends who have Celiac, and it was so much fun. We plan to try more restaurants together in the future, and we even have a group chat called “gf gals” to share pictures of food. šŸ™‚

On Monday night, I fell asleep pretty early, and I slept all the way until my alarm at 8:40 Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, I was still beyond tired. I did have more energy, though.  First, we listened to a two-hour interactive lecture from a representative working in an architecture consulting firm. What she talked about reminded me a lot of the DEA (Design and Environmental Analysis) major at school, which I learned about due to my work with the Human Ecology Ambassadors. We considered the ways that architecture can facilitate human interaction and enjoyment, and studying the psychology behind architectural decisions is fascinating, I think. We even looked at pictures of New York City and Copenhagen to compare some of the ways that Denmark further facilitates the enjoyment of other people and pedestrians, whereas New York’s focus is providing space for cars.

We had lunch included with the DIS program, and my entire class fit around a long rectangular table in Un Mercado, the fancy restaurant next to the Glass Market. We had all pre-ordered sandwiches, and Kamilla had arranged for me to have a salad since they do not have gluten-free bread. Unfortunately, the salad base was tomatoes instead of lettuce, but I picked all the nuts and cheese out and ate my bar, and I had fun anyway. It’s so cool that we will get to know Kamilla as a person as well as a teacher, as she sat with us and chatted. I also met new people in my class that I hadn’t spoken to before. We had a free hour after lunch to explore, and someone suggested that we all go next door to grab dessert at the Glass Market. I had the BEST dark chocolate ice cream at the gelato place; it was so flavorful. I will definitely be going back there. We ended the afternoon back in the classroom, and we discussed the findings from our observations in the community as well as finishing the documentary on happiness.

On Tuesday afternoon, I went to the gym, did laundry, and got a lot of work done at home. It was just me in the apartment, and it was super quiet and weird without Adina, since she was on the trip portion of her week with her class. The power also went off for a few minutes when it was pitch black, and that freaked me out a little because I was alone. Luckily, the power outage was short-lived. Later that night I also planned some upcoming trips with friends, including a weekend in Milan with my friend from class (Natalie), as well as a week in Barcelona with Emma. I’m going to stay with her during the days I don’t have class, and then she’ll come back to Copenhagen with me for a weekend. It’s absolutely crazy that there are only two weekends now of the entire semester that I don’t either have a trip planned or have someone visiting me here. I can’t believe how quickly all the plans happened, and how fast the semester will fly by. I have already been here for almost a month!

Wednesday was productive as well. I met two friends from class at a place called Souls, where I had gluten-free pancakes. Then, I showed them a spot I discovered on the second floor of the Norreport Emmery’s, which is filled with cushioned chairs and tables, and it’s a cozy environment to drink coffee and get work done. I finally finished the work I wanted to do before my trip, and although I’ll have to write one short paper while in Western Denmark, I should be able to take a break for a few days now.

Adina came back from her trip today, so we are having dinner with Goldie to catch up on the first half of our weeks.

In comparison to the last several few weeks, the last couple of days have been not as exhausting, and I am so grateful for that. Between not feeling 100% last week to completely messing up my sleep cycle this weekend, I really needed the time to drink lots of water and get lots of sleep. Finally, today I feel like I’m all caught up. And I’m just in time for my trip that leaves early tomorrow morning. I’m so excited.

P.S. I’ll have more interesting photos with my next post because I know we are going to some pretty cool places on our class trip. šŸ™‚

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