a busy week!

On Monday, I woke up feeling tired, as we hadn’t landed until late on Sunday night, when I first needed to look over assignments and readings for the week. Luckily, I only had four classes instead of five, which feels much shorter.

In two classes, we had time to ask questions about the final papers and projects, and then we were able to get started. My Positive Psych paper is due next Tuesday, and that’s the last assignment for the class. In Danish, we did lots of practice for our exam that was coming up. It’s over now! (Keep reading to see how I felt about it.)

After class, I went for a very short run (it was beautiful and sunny!) and then did some homework in my room. Then, I walked back to DIS for a celebratory end-of-semester dinner with my core class catered from the Glass Market! Bonus Smag (the salad place) meal for me. We all enjoyed hanging out together and catching up since we’d departed from Budapest.

Finally, I walked home while admiring the gorgeous sunset behind the Round Tower. I was fairly productive in getting work done and studying for Danish, and I coordinated my plans for Tuesday. Adina and I also made popcorn, which was a fun study snack.

I had a productive day on Tuesday with several fun breaks thrown into the hours I spent working on a final paper. I quickly went to the gym, and then I started my paper at home. I was able to get a good chunk of it done before meeting my friend Chandler (from core class) at Matcha Bar, finally! This time, I went to the right location in Magasin Mall. It is truly gluten-free heaven in there; I’ll definitely have to go again. Everything is vegan and gluten-free, which means I could stand at the bakery cases and look at all the pastries without questioning whether something was okay. I ended up ordering the brunch plate, which included two pastries. My favorite was the cinnamon bun. Chandler and I planned to do work that afternoon together, but before we did, we went on a walk. We walked through Nyhavn and across the bridge, where we found a cute area of street food booths and outside picnic tables. It was a bit chilly to hang out outside, but I definitely want to go back when it’s nice. We went inside this cool art exhibit that literally looks like nothing from the outside. When you duck under the entrance that’s three feet tall, you feel like you’re in outer space. The walls are so cool. That just goes to show you what you can find if you explore; if a friend hadn’t told me about the soccer ball-shaped dome, I never would have known to visit it.

Chandler and I headed to the Black Diamond library afterward to do some homework. Everyone taking Danish has a final this week, and it seems like most people have at least some papers due before break. I’m definitely glad I had that chunk of time in the library; I was nearly able to finish my first paper that afternoon.

I headed home to change for my evening with Goldie, as it was time to see Michelle Obama’s Becoming tour! It feels like we bought those tickets forever ago. We first had a quick dinner with Adina at the Glass Market. Then, we hopped on the metro (along with SO many other people going to the event). The tour was at the Royal Arena, which is actually near Vestamager where I had to go with my travel writing field study. Goldie and I got to catch up during the walk over and while we waited in line, which was really nice. Between traveling to different cities the past few weeks and both having visitors last week, I haven’t seen her much.

Michelle Obama is an incredible person. She is so inspirational. I think my favorite thing about her is that she’s “real,” meaning she isn’t a celebrity who treats herself like a celebrity. She knows that she’s a person just like any other person in the audience. I can’t wait to read her story this summer, although I was glad that there was enough background given at the talk to fully understand everything without having read it yet. Her main message is that it’s okay to know who you want to become and that it’s equally okay not to know what you’re doing or who you are becoming yet. Embracing life’s challenges is part of what makes success what it is, so rolling with punches is an important skill. The thing I took most to heart was when she talked about being a “box-checker” in college: she had a list of things she wanted to accomplish, and she knew how to go about getting them done. Sometimes, I think I fall into this category, too. More often than not, I have several lists on my phone, to-do lists for the coming hours, days, weeks, and years. It’s organized and great to have goals, but Michelle said that it’s okay to “smell the roses” while still checking boxes; you can skip to each box instead of walking in a straight line. I liked that, and I tried to put that into practice this week on Wednesday! (More on this later.) Another thing she talked about was three foundational truths she believes people should live by: love yourself, live with empathy, and treat others with kindness. The talk was moderated by Rachel Ray who asked Michelle the questions and basically had a conversation with her on stage. I feel so lucky to have had this incredible experience, which was even cooler in Copenhagen! One of Michelle’s questions was what she thinks of hygge and how she defines hygge within her home. Thanks for an inspirational evening. 🙂 I took the train home with Goldie (packed, once again), and did a little studying for Danish before bed.

On Wednesday, I had no field studies! Initially, I had wanted to get several papers done this week before my upcoming travels in Berlin and London. However, after realizing that I don’t quite have the necessary information to complete them yet, I settled in my mind that it would be okay to do them closer to the deadline when I return from my trips. Although I hate procrastinating at home, I didn’t want to overwhelm myself so much this week that I couldn’t enjoy the beautiful weather at all. I was able to check the necessary boxes while still getting to make the most of my time in Copenhagen.

So, Wednesday morning I did some necessary work at home in studying for my Danish final, and I finally picked up the package that Josh had sent about a month ago. It is quite a procedure to get packages here, and it took several trips to the post office and conversations with Kia, my RA, to figure it out. Then, I met Adina at Norreport after her field study, and we walked to Plant Power Food for lunch. We both got delicious open-faced sandwiches, and they were really pretty, too! Afterward, we still had room for dessert, so I finally got to try Nicecream, a vegan ice cream place that is a very trendy and popular dessert spot in the city. They have gluten-free ice cream cookie sandwiches there. Lots of good eating this week.

We took a bus to a suburb of Copenhagen with a cemetery filled with rows and rows of cherry blossom trees. It was a crowded area, as the cherry blossoms don’t last for more than a couple of weeks. This visit took longer than we expected because it was a lot of walking plus the time on the bus, but we had a really good time, and the flowers were so pretty. Then, we went back to the Norreport area and sat in Coffee Collective, a cute coffee shop around the corner from our apartment. We spent a few hours planning out our trip to London, and my friend Andrew from school was able to give us further suggestions. We are both getting so excited about our trip there.

When our phones and computers were out of battery, we headed home, stopping at Netto on the way to pick up food for dinner. We have also started keeping chocolate bars as a staple in our apartment, and this week we made popcorn a few times after dinner. A party! Adina and I then got to work at home, and I knew I’d need to spend the night studying for my Danish exam, as well as doing laundry.

Today is Thursday, and I am writing this as Rachel is on a plane to visit me! I am so excited for our week together. We’ll spend tonight in Copenhagen, tomorrow through Sunday morning in Berlin, and Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday actually doing stuff in Copenhagen before we leave for London, going our separate ways from there.

This morning, I had my last Positive Psychology class. We had a “lesson” about mindful eating, which was really interesting and fun. Kamilla brought breakfast, and she included gluten-free goodies as well as lots of fruit. We talked about the sensory experiences involved in eating food, and how we can savor food so much more if we take the time to enjoy it instead of mindlessly inhaling it. In a busy day, I am definitely guilty of eating on-the-go, but it really does make sense to sit and enjoy a meal.

We also talked about what we will take away from the course, and my personal favorite lesson is that we have more control over how inevitable or unavoidable situations impact us than I thought before taking this class. Additionally, happiness is always a choice. No matter what happens, it’s important to maintain this positive mindset.

Then, I headed to my Danish exam—part one. The listening section was a bit difficult, but the other sections were pretty okay. I’m so happy it’s over. And, we now have a break from the class before we begin preparing for the oral section of the final. The rest of the school day was relatively uneventful, and I had some time to relax this afternoon before some crazy days ahead.

Au-struck

I got back tonight from my weekend in Vienna, Austria. I traveled there with Adina, and we stayed with her freshman year roommate from school, Jocelyn. Adina and I realized that we haven’t flown anywhere together since Prague, which feels like ages ago! It was so nice to have company from the minute I left my apartment to the minute I got back; the traveling part went so much faster. Jocelyn was the sweetest, and it was so nice of her to open her apartment to Adina and me while we were there. It is a beautiful and clean apartment. She has two other roommates, one of whom was traveling for the weekend. They also have plenty of common space. Jocelyn was a great navigator, and she knew her way around a relatively big city. I hadn’t realized how big Vienna is, so having her as our tour guide was especially helpful.

Adina and I got to the airport a little early on Friday to have dinner at Yo! Sushi, which is a restaurant in CPH airport we’d both been wanting to try. The concept is cool: you take dishes off a conveyer belt until you’ve had enough to eat, and you can see what you’re taking by the color-coded menu that you have in front of you. It was fun! And the flight was smooth; we both loved the Austrian airline and ended up talking most of the flight to pass the time. Upon arriving at the airport on Friday night, Adina and I followed Jocelyn’s instructions and took a bus to the city center where we met up with Jocelyn. Then, we took a subway for a few stops, followed by a short walk to her apartment. We hung out for a little while in the kitchen before going to bed.

We woke up on Saturday morning ready for a long day of sightseeing and walking. We took the subway again to the city center (it was such a good move to get the 48-hour unlimited subway ticket this weekend, as we took it all over the place). As soon as we exited the station, we were looking up at St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which reminded both me and Adina of the first time we saw La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. It was a stunning building, and we walked around the sanctuary for a bit. Then, we bought tickets to climb 343 steps to the top. It was truly an exhausting climb, as the steps were all pretty steep and spiraled around countless times. We were all breathless by the time we reached the top. The view was beautiful, as we could see the whole city. However, it was a bit disappointing that the viewing area was not outdoors. We spent a few minutes taking in the scenery at the top, and we learned that the roof of the cathedral is made up of 250,000 glazed tiles. The way down was not nearly as tiring but it was extremely claustrophobic, as the staircase did not really allow for more than one person to pass at a time.

When we reached the bottom, we continued walking on the streets of Vienna. I must say that the white and pink colored buildings that lined every street reminded me very much of Prague. The architecture throughout the whole city was absolutely beautiful, and it seemed that the grand-looking castles and palaces were endless. Jocelyn showed us the street where she takes all her classes, which, like DIS in Copenhagen, is in the very center of a heavily tourist-populated area. We stopped in a shop called Cheese and More, where we each had dozens of tiny samples of different cheeses—such a fun snack! I tried pesto truffle cheese, gouda, mozzarella, and many others.

Then, we saw the famous Opera House, and while we collected a pamphlet that advertised the showtimes for later that day, we ended up getting involved in other activities and not going back. We didn’t get to see the inside of the building, but the outside was beautiful, as it was surrounded by water fountains and pretty pillars. We also saw the outside of the Albertina Art Museum. It was fun to see all the tall buildings we had seen from the top of the cathedral earlier in the morning. Then, we decided we were hungry, and we were just about to pass several brunch places Jocelyn had visited before. We settled on Joseph Brot, where I had a vegetable omelet and decent coffee. It was fun to sit and chat, and we enjoyed the break from walking. Especially after all the stairs, our legs were a bit sore.

We headed across the square to a pretty lookout of the streets below, where we took a few pictures. We were people-watching and talking about our previous travels throughout Europe, especially how it was cool to connect history from high school to real-life encounters abroad. Next, Jocelyn took us to Hoffberg Palace, where lots of horses pulled carriages around the circle. From that spot, you could literally turn in every direction and marvel at the pretty streets. We continued walking through the palace’s back gardens to find more palaces and horses, all the way until we got to an area called Museum Quarter, which is a quad of grass surrounded by several museums on all sides. We didn’t go inside a museum until Sunday, but it was nice to get a preview of the scenery, especially because we got so lucky with beautiful weather this weekend.

The next stop was Naschmarkt, which Jocelyn really wanted us to see before Sunday, when it would be closed. We learned that unlike Copenhagen, Vienna is a city that is somewhat religious, so most stores and many restaurants close for a family-day on Sunday. While this is lovely for the citizens of Austria, it does make it a bit more difficult for travelers to see the whole city in just one weekend. Naschmarkt was so fun; it was basically Vienna’s version of the Glass Market. There were countless vendors that sold stuffed olives and peppers, schnitzel, apple strudel, ice cream, feta cheese, and several snacks like candy and nuts. There were also restaurants with fancy-looking meals and drinks. I got a small scoop of gelato while we were there.

We took another subway to Schonbrunn Palace, which is a bit more secluded than the palaces in the city center. We walked around the courtyard for a while, as it was sunny and warm by this point in the afternoon. We took a few pictures in front of the grand palace, although we were a little squinty. We stumbled upon a strudel-making show, which, although not gluten-free, was an important food for Adina to try over the weekend. I really did enjoy the smell of the strudel, and it was cool to watch the chef roll the dough. We learned that in order to make good strudel, it has to be thin enough to read print through it! I ordered a hot chocolate to drink, while Adina and Jocelyn tried the strudel.

After watching the show, we sat in an outdoor courtyard to regroup and make a plan for the rest of our afternoon. We consulted the itineraries I had received from friends who had visited Vienna last weekend, and we decided we really wanted to try the electric scooters. I’ve seen them throughout Europe, but they seemed to be especially popular in Vienna, where there were plenty of bike paths alongside the walking paths—similar to how it is in Copenhagen. We took a subway to the central area, where we headed to walk through Stadt Park in search of three scooters. Initially, we downloaded the Limescooter apps and tried looking for those, but we ended up finding scooters from a different brand first: Tier. So, we downloaded this app, entered our card information, and scanned the bar code on the scooter. We rode them for about 40 minutes through tree-lined streets and beautiful parks, even passing some big event along the way with dozens of women in wedding dresses. In order to ride the scooters, you have to push off with one foot, followed by holding down a green engine pedal with your hand while standing on the scooter. You stop by holding the brake. It’s pretty simple to operate, and we all had a lot of fun.

We were getting tired, but we needed more energy for our evening out. So, we decided to stop for some coffee. We headed to Cafe Mozart, which apparently was a fancy bakery experience. It turns out that they served several gluten-free desserts, so I couldn’t resist getting a chocolate mousse with my coffee. Adina and Jocelyn also ordered dessert, so we decided that we’d just have a later dinner. It was a delicious snack, obviously. Then, we headed back to Jocelyn’s apartment to change for dinner and a night out. Resting my legs felt great.

After a short break, we took a subway to Veggiez, which had come up on my Find-me-gluten-free app earlier in the day. Jocelyn had already been there and loved it. The menu was unbelievable; I wanted to get at least five different dishes! I also learned that it was vegan, which was incredible given all the amazing-sounding options. I decided to get a gluten-free veggie burger and home fries because it was the most “fun” of my options, although I could have eaten there several times without repeating a dish. Adina and Jocelyn enjoyed the dinner as well.

We headed towards the Sign Lounge Bar, which was very out of our way. However, my friend had highly recommended the drinks there, and it wasn’t too cold for a brisk outdoor walk. Unfortunately, we did get a little lost on the way, and we had to turn around a few times before finding where Google Maps wanted us to turn. It was a bit of a sketchy area, but on the way back, we were able to avoid these streets. When we got there after about 40 minutes of trying to find it, the overwhelmed hostess informed us that we’d have to wait an hour if we wanted drinks. After seeing our disappointed faces, she offered us a little bit of wall space, telling us we could stand in a line if we wanted to stay. The way she suggested we stand single-file was funny and the three of us debated about what to do. We were pretty close to leaving and trying to find another bar when an enormous group left the bar, leaving several tables open in another room. The hostess seated us soon after that, and we were so excited to get a table. We ordered incredible and unusual drinks, including a fishbowl with tonic water presented on an electrically-blue-lit platter. Additionally, we got a butter and kettle corn drink, where the glass was surrounded by delicious popcorn. No complaints here. We enjoyed these drinks while we chatted for a while before heading back to the apartment. We didn’t go to bed until after 1, but it was worth it, as we packed so many activities into Saturday’s day and night.

On Sunday morning, we got ready and went to grab breakfast at blueorange, another place that had come upon my find-me-gluten-free searches in central Vienna. I was excited, as they advertised bagels with eggs. Unfortunately, they said that they needed a half hour to heat the gluten-free bagel, and we didn’t have the time to wait. We got smoothies instead and headed to our first sight of the day: the Kunst historiches museum. While we were walking there, we realized that the Vienna marathon was going on today, so many of the streets were blocked off. It was cool to watch the runners, but we were stuck, as we couldn’t cross the street to the museum quarter. We decided to switch around our plan and go to the Belvedere Palace instead, which required getting on another subway ride. The Belvedere gardens were exquisite, and there were tulips blooming everywhere. We walked around the whole property for a while before we got hungry for lunch, where we actually decided to go back to blueorange since we had more time with our updated itinerary. Then, we’d be closer to the afternoon activity of actually going to the museum. I called blueorange in advance and asked them to warm up a gluten-free bagel, so it was waiting for me by the time we got there. It was a yummy and casual lunch, which we enjoyed. My legs were definitely sore from all the walking we’d done this weekend.

Once we finished eating, we walked back to the Kunst historiches, which we could now access because the marathon was over. This required a bit of research, but once we figured out the marathon schedule, we were able to switch around everything on our Sunday agenda. In the museum, we saw several exhibits of Egyptian and Greek sculptures, as well as mummies, statues, and paintings. The physical building was beautiful as well. We left there at 3:30 in time to walk back to the main tourist street. Adina’s aunt was in Vienna for work this weekend, so the three of us met her for coffee and cake at another fancy bakery. Then, it was time to go back to Jocelyn’s apartment and get ready for the airport. Jocelyn was nice enough to take us all the way back to the train station, where Adina and I said goodbye and headed back to Copenhagen. We reflected on the weekend and talked about our upcoming week and weekends.

I have a super busy work week, especially since I barely did any work with all my visitors last week. I have one last round of papers and projects due before finals, so I expect to be working on those. However, with only 4.5 weeks left in Copenhagen, I’ll be sure to explore something new and make the next blog an interesting read.

Great Neck comes to Copenhagen

I said goodbye this afternoon to mom, Bella and Sherry (and Sheila last night) after a wonderful week in Copenhagen together. I am so happy they were all able to visit me, and they were here for long enough that we could sight-see and just enjoy the time together, too. It is super strange that I have five weeks left now, so it won’t even be too long until I see them again. I actually just landed a few minutes ago in Vienna, Austria, but before I go to sleep, here is a recap on the week!

I woke up with a start on Saturday morning, wanting to get as much done as possible before the Harnicks arrived. I did my laundry, went to the gym, and ran some errands. When Bella texted me that they had landed, I got ready to leave, and I met them at the Copenhagen Marriott hotel, which is about a 20-minute walk from my apartment. I caught Bella by surprise, as I entered through a back entrance, and we had such a fun reuniting moment! It was so good to see them, and I couldn’t believe I was looking at them in Copenhagen. We have been talking about this for so long. Once they settled into their room, we headed out. It was luckily mild outside, so we wore lighter jackets.

Our first stop was lunch at 42 Raw, my favorite. Bella and I shared the acai bowl and gluten-free brunch plate, including pancakes! It was a hit; they loved the food. Then, we decided that the sunny and relatively warm afternoon was too good to spend inside a museum, which was our original plan. Instead, we walked to the Church of our Saviour. We finished lunch around 3:00 and we knew the Church would close at 4, but I thought we could make it anyway. It turns out we were cutting it very close; at 3:59, we finally reached the front of the line and bought our tickets to climb up. A man kept warning us that being on line was no guarantee that we’d get to go, but we had faith. While we were waiting, Adina and her visiting friend were exiting the church, so they gave us a little preview about what to expect (although I’ve already done this activity with Josh). Anyway, it was so much fun to do it again. The views were beautiful, and Bella and I took several pictures, of course. It was so much fun to be back with her. 🙂

I showed them around Christianhavn and Christiana since we were in the neighborhood anyway, which Sherry and Bella both found interesting. It turns out that Christiania goes much deeper than I’d ventured before, so that was cool. Who knew there were full parks and restaurants inside? After walking for a few hours, Bella and Sherry headed back to the hotel to rest before dinner, and I went home to my apartment. I probably should have gotten a head start on my homework, but I was caught up in talking to Adina and Maya in the room, which was fun. Before I knew it, I had to get ready for dinner.

We ate another delicious meal at Simple Raw just around the corner. Aly joined us, and although they are third cousins, it was Aly and Bella’s first time actually meeting each other! It was fun to hang out all together, and we stayed at the restaurant well after we finished eating to chat. Bella and Sherry had come to dinner dressed for the evening, so although it was only 10:15, we headed to check out the night scene on the DIS street. I had forgotten that Drunken Flamingo is 21+, so Bella couldn’t get in. Instead, we went to Miami, where I had been just a week before. The three of us sat upstairs, listening to the music, dancing and talking. It was such a great night, and I was happy to get to bed relatively early that night because of the time change!

This weekend was Denmark’s turn to change the clocks, so we lost an hour of sleep Saturday night. I woke up on Sunday feeling pretty tired. Still, I was excited to start the day, and I was looking forward to all the extra hours of daylight to come. I met Sherry, Bella, and Aly at Kalaset for brunch, and I got a yummy plate of a few different items, while they all ordered the classic pancakes. Then, we took a half hour train ride to a suburb of Copenhagen near the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. I have been wanting to visit this museum for a while, so I was so happy I got to bring Sherry and Bella there. There are two particularly cool light exhibits, but all the exhibits were really interesting and unique. I think it’s crazy how outside-the-box modern art can be. Aly had been to the Louisiana before with her core class, but the light exhibit was closed the last time. Also, we picked a beautiful and sunny day to go there, which was great, as it’s right along the water. There is a beautiful view of the lake and Malmö across from Copenhagen, which we enjoyed after exploring the museum for a few hours. We made sure to see all the exhibits before heading back.

Our next stop was the Glass Market, as it was time for a snack, and what better snack than my favorite-ever gelato from Is A Bella: the most perfect place for Is-a-bella Harnick. 🙂 We all ate our gelato in the market and walked around there for a bit, which was fun. We planned to go back later in the week for lunch so my mom and Sheila could see it too. Aly said goodbye to us, as it was the late afternoon at this point. We explored some of the Danish words, foods, and brands inside a supermarket, and then I showed them the souvenir store that’s right near my apartment. They came over to see it before heading back to the hotel before dinner, and I was able to get a chunk of work done during that time.

We had a late dinner so that we could work up an appetite after the ice cream, and we ate at Cafe Katz, which was exactly halfway between my apartment and the hotel. The food was very delicious, and I got the salmon, which was Adina’s suggestion. Then, I headed home to finish my homework for Monday and get to sleep. I also caught up with Adina for a while, which was nice.

I woke up especially early Monday morning to shower and get ready before class, as I knew I wouldn’t want to waste one minute of time when I was done that afternoon. I expected the day to go by super slowly, but it was surprisingly fine. In Positive Psych, we discussed growth after trauma, and we also talked about common “regrets of the flying” —kind of like the dying, except for travelers for a short period of time, like us! Each of us came up with a personal goal for the coming weeks. After using that time in class to re-assess all the things/places/foods/activities I still want to try here, I decided that there is no excuse: every Tuesday, I will do at least one new thing, hopefully, more. Even if I have to get work done and I’m tired, I can still eat in a different cafe and sit there to be productive. I want to make the most of the five weeks I have left here. I don’t regret anything I’ve done so far, and I definitely don’t want to leave here feeling regretful.

In Danish, I got my quiz back, and I was happily surprised with how well I did on it. My teacher said that we were in good shape for our final (the written part is next week already!), so I’m feeling better about that. We talked about immigration in Denmark and what the attitude towards immigrants is. In Travel Writing, we discussed stereotypes and their importance in our writing. We watched a heartwarming video of Danish people who seemingly had nothing in common. Eventually, they uncovered that they actually are much more similar than they are different, which I think is an important lesson for all of us. We do judge too quickly.

One fun thing that happened throughout the day was that Adina and I decided to play an April Fool’s joke on Goldie. We were brainstorming ideas when I suggested that Kia (our Danish RA) could have punished Adina for having a friend stay over this past weekend. Kia did actually run into her with her toothbrush and everything, and although she’s never given us a problem, she could have decided to report it. At the beginning of the semester, she told us that the consequences for breaking a visitor-rule would be severe. So, Adina crafted a fake email from Kia that she was being kicked out of our apartment. Once we edited it and decided we were ready, she posted it in our group chat, and I “fake freaked out” about what a disaster this was. I went on and on, while simultaneously laughing with Adina separately about how funny this was. Goldie responded at first, and she actually thought that it was Kia playing an April Fool’s joke on Adina! Once Adina said “April Fool’s,” Goldie went MIA for over an hour, which surprised us. It turns out she had boarded her flight and lost service, and I feel a little bad because she said she had been thinking about this the entire flight. Well, it was all in good fun.

I was anxious for class to be over by the time 4:10 came around, as I knew mom and Aunt Sheila were already waiting for me at the hotel. I walked as fast as I could from DIS and met them in the lobby. We sat there for a while, chatting and catching up, as I started to tell them a bit more about Copenhagen. Then, they both went upstairs to change for dinner, and we walked to the city center. We met up with Sherry, Bella, Adina, and Goldie at Cafe Paludan for a delicious and fun welcome-to-Cope meal. It was entertaining to hear about Bella and Sherry’s adventures that day in Copenhagen and Goldie’s weekend in London, as well as being together. The food was a hit also. After dinner, we went to Bastard Cafe (the board game bar), which was packed, as always. We ended up creating our own rules for a Danish board game that kind of looked like Sorry!, and we got yummy drinks, too. They headed back, as they were all exhausted. I went to bed early as well. It was a great first night.

On Tuesday morning, I decided to wake up early and run errands before meeting up with the group for the start of our day. I needed to stop at the post office, but I didn’t end up getting my package, as I keep receiving different information about how to access it. What a pain. I also needed more flossers. I walked with a bag of several water bottles (for mom, of course) to the canal, and I had a very exciting reunion with Sam Ng, who is also in Copenhagen for the week! We got to spend a few hours with her on Tuesday, which was so incredibly nice. The crew was all back together; it’s crazy that Sam, Bella and I have all been friends for so many years now, and we got to spend time together in Europe. A few minutes later, Mom, Sheila, Bella, and Sherry arrived, and we all waited for the next canal tour to begin. Although it was cold (a much chillier day than when I had gone on a tour with Josh), we had the best time. Bella, Sam and I sat outside in the back of the boat, while Sherry, mom and Sheila sat under the warmth of the ceiling. We passed all the cool and pretty sights, and it was great to catch up on our semesters.

We got off the boat, and we headed to the Glass Market for a delicious lunch. Sheila guarded a table (always difficult to find in there!) while the rest of us went looking for food. I pointed out a few of my favorite stands, and then we split up to order. Mom and I got salads from Smag, Sheila ate chia pudding from Grød, Sam got pasta, and Bella and Sherry had sandwiches from Vita Boost. Everyone enjoyed their food and the scene at the Glass Market. It was too cold to sit outside, but luckily, it is beautiful inside as well.

Initially, I had planned to take everyone to Kronberg Castle (Hamlet’s Castle) in the afternoon, but after realizing that we would probably not arrive much before the castle’s closing time, we decided to stay local instead. We were literally on the S-train platform when we turned around and rode the elevator back up, and we walked to the Christiansborg Palace. We got tickets to view the interior rooms (the same tickets I had gotten with Josh), and we were actually able to hop onto a tour, which was great and very informational. We learned about the purpose of each room and some of the history behind the tapestries, similar to what I had discussed with my Danish class’s visit. The castle interior is so pretty, so we all enjoyed the rooms.

We still had plenty of time left in the afternoon, so I suggested we check out Illum Rooftop, which I had been wanting to visit for a while. It’s a rooftop area on the corner of Stroget, and there are several bars and restaurants to visit and eat at. We weren’t hungry for a meal, but we ordered coffee and admired the pretty scenery from the warm room indoors. Then, Bella and Sherry headed back to the hotel to change before dinner, while Sheila and mom still wanted to see my room. I gave them a tour of my apartment building and we chatted with Adina for a while, and then Sheila took a short nap on my bed.

Next, we had dinner at La Galette, the crepe place I’d only been to once in the very beginning. I had a feeling that everyone would love the food, and I was correct. We all got savory crepes for dinner, and we shared some dessert crepes as well. It was a fun and different type of meal. And, we sat there for a while talking, which was nice. Then, Bella came back to my apartment with me, and we hung out with Adina, Goldie, and her friend from home. We did a classic Tuesday night out at Old Irish Pub, with the added bonus of running into tons of Cornell people there! I literally kept having to do double-takes, as I saw so many different groups of Cornell visitors. It was a fun night, and I was glad we were able to see Sam again. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a great night sleep, as I had to be up early for my field study.

The field study was for my Sociology of Family class, and I found it to be disappointing. It was billed to us as an opportunity to volunteer at an old age home, which I was so excited about, especially since I normally volunteer at one at Cornell. I took a metro to a far suburb of Copenhagen, and I walked in the drizzling rain to meet a few other classmates at the center. When I got there, a very nice woman from Switzerland greeted us, and she honestly was a bit confused about what we were doing there, even though our teacher had supposedly set this up. Usually, my field studies are so organized and meaningful, and the teacher for this class is constantly overwhelmed and unorganized, so I’m not too surprised. She said she’d take us on a tour of the facilities, which were beautiful, and then we joined the elderly for their daily morning sing-along session. However, instead of getting to interact with and talk to them, the 10 DIS students had their own table, so it kind of felt like we were watching from the sidelines. The songs were obviously in Danish, so we didn’t even understand them. After that, we stopped in to watch a bit of a gymnastics class, which was cute. They were doing these tiny barre-like movements. Then, we just had a question-and-answer session with the tour guide, and she asked us to brainstorm some new activity for the members. It just totally was not what I was expecting, and it was nice to be there, but I do wish I got to interact with the members more. Something exciting that happened, however, was when we walked through the gymnasium. A man using an arm machine looked at us and said “Hej. Hvor kommer du fra?” and I know exactly what that means! (Hi. Where are you from?) It was exciting to be able to understand Danish in a real-life context and have the ability to respond appropriately.

After an hour and a half at the center, I walked with my classmates back to the metro station. I took the train to Norreport, where I met Adina and walked with her to lunch. We met mom, Sheila, Bella and Sherry for an outstanding meal at Souls—it was definitely a favorite of the week. We took our time eating, taking amazing pictures of the food, and enjoying the company. Mom got to ask Adina all about Rochester, and we talked about school, the summer, traveling, etc.

Initially, we were going to do an afternoon Jewish walking tour of the city—offered one time only by Kahal. However, I am so happy I checked the hours of Xocovino, the chocolate and wine bar, as I realized that they are not typically open on random Wednesday nights. They closed at 7:00 that day, and I’m not sure that we would have had time to go otherwise. I knew everyone would love it there. So, after making a pit stop for the famous Danish snail pastries sold on Wednesdays, we headed to Xocovino, conveniently right in the center of the city and near my apartment. We spent a while there. The walls are covered with funny sayings about wine, and we each had three glasses and three topics. Many of us did not finish the wine, though. I particularly was not a fan of the “sweet wine,” which is the first wine I’ve had there that I thought was undrinkable. The chocolates were good. 🙂 After lounging there for a while, I wanted to show them the Round Tower. Sheila decided to sit out, and she relaxed in a nearby coffee shop, while the rest of us walked up the long ramp to the top. We enjoyed the view, the beautiful weather, and many more pictures.

There was still about an hour until dinner, and I wanted to get my homework done for Thursday so that I could enjoy my evening with them. So, I went home to do this, while Bella met up with her Big, who was also visiting a friend in Copenhagen this week. Mom, Sheila, and Sherry walked around my neighborhood and perused the stores. After discovering that there was a large tourist group taking up most of the space in Riz Raz, the restaurant we were going to for dinner, we ate at Cafe Flottenheimer instead. Mom said we had ended up having a “food tour” of Copenhagen that day, and I think we really did do just that. At 10:00, they went back to the hotel, and I finished preparing for my presentation on Thursday.

I woke up the next day a little earlier than usual to meet quickly with my group members. We went first, and our presentation was fine. It was our culminating project for studying Positive Psychology in Budapest, and it’s crazy that I only have one more week of that class. Next week will be dedicated to working on our final papers, asking questions, and wrapping up what we’ve learned. Then, while I’ll still have all my other classes until the end of my time here, the core courses end a bit earlier. This makes it so that May isn’t as overwhelming with final projects and papers, and DIS is smart to do it this way. Plus, I’ve spent so much more time with my core class than any of my other classes because of the two weeks we had class trips this semester.

Classes were relatively uneventful, as we received a lot of information about upcoming papers, projects, and finals. We still have one more break coming up, so I guess the teachers will just be trying to squeeze everything in until then. In my Sociology of Family class, we had way too much time to discuss the field studies with our classmates, so after I finished my conversation with a girl next to me, I worked on planning my schedule for next semester with Emma. It’s quite surprising that there are not nearly as many courses offered as there typically are, which is a bit frustrating as a senior. However, I’m slowly learning more about the classes that are offered, and I’m sure I’ll end up enjoying some of them. Finally, I get to pre-enroll first!

In my Travel Writing class, it was my day to workshop my final paper, which means that next week I don’t have to attend the class. I got plenty of feedback on my first draft, which was super helpful. I’m looking forward to refining the paper in the coming weeks. After classes ended for the day, I walked home with Aly so she could leave her backpack in my room. She joined us at Tivoli for the evening, which was so nice. We walked there and met up with the whole gang, and I hadn’t seen them all day. They told me about their experiences at Rosenborg Castle, and I really do need to see an official changing-of-the-guards ceremony before I leave Copenhagen.

Tivoli was amazing. Bella had done some research, and she reported that Walt Disney had visited Tivoli in Copenhagen before being inspired to create Disney. It’s so cool that such a famous amusement park is based off a Copenhagen concept. First, we walked around, looking at all the foods and rides. We walked for quite a bit, enjoying the daylight and pretty sky and weather. Then, we ate inside the food court, where I was finally able to try Glö, a salad place that has a lot of different locations. After dinner and ice cream (of course), we parted our separate ways, deciding it would get too late if we stayed for the opening night fireworks. Instead, I listened to them from my room and hung out with Adina, and we ended up talking for hours before bed. It was fun, but I did stay up a bit too late.

Friday morning, Sheila left very early. I met mom, Bella, and Sherry at the Nyhavn trampolines, which I knew was a must-hit before they left. We had fun and spent a while there, taking pictures and videos, and then we sat by the water to chat. Then, we headed to lunch. I kind of messed this one up a bit, as I had wanted to take them to Matcha Bar, the place Cate had gotten the gluten-free croissants. I thought it was perfect because Bella also loves matcha. Cate had told me it was in the Magasin mall, but when I put it into google maps, it said we had to walk to Vesterbro. After walking all the way there, we saw a sign that it had, in fact, moved to the Magasin mall. At that point, we didn’t have enough time to go back. So, we went to the Glass Market again instead, and then they took a cab back to the hotel. The glass market was super nice, though, as today it was actually warm enough to enjoy the food outside. Inspired by Sheila’s bucket of porridge the other day, I ordered from Grod.

While I was sad to see them go, I didn’t have too much time to get ready before my flight. One last story from today: after going to the gym quickly, I came home to shower and finish packing for the trip. However, when I got to my door, my key randomly didn’t work. It unlocked the door, but the door wouldn’t budge, no matter how hard I kicked or smacked it with my entire body weight. I was a little stressed; we needed to get our passports and all our stuff in order to get on the flight. After texting Adina, who was in class, and messaging Kia and the other building’s RA, I began pacing. I stood in our kitchen to watch Kia’s door in case she came back, and then I decided to call the DIS after-hours emergency number. As I was typing in the number on my phone, I heard a knock from the back staircase coming up from the laundry room. At first, I was confused, as that door is not typically locked. However, I went over and opened it. This was one of those moments where I was sure that G-d was watching me: a man wearing a DIS maintenance coat walked into the apartment. “I’m so sorry to bother you,” he said. “I’m here to fix the door lock on room 210.” My jaw dropped. I could not believe he just so happened to be here for another room! I showed him to room 210, and then I explained that I was also having trouble with my key. He gladly helped me, and he sprayed the door with some kind of locking powder before getting it to open. Phew! I’d be able to shower and get all my things before leaving for the weekend, but it was a close call. He even made sure to wait while I tried unlocking the door myself. I was so happy.

 

Budapesht

Believe it or not, this is how Hungarian people pronounce their capital city!

What a trip. I cannot believe how amazingly organized DIS is as a study abroad program. After meeting so many friends and friends of friends in various cities the past few months, no one has as many trips with their class as I do. I just spent a week in a new city with the opportunity to explore the actual city, learn about positive psychology there, and get to know my classmates and teacher in a new environment. We had academic, cultural, and social elements of the trip that were planned, as well as plenty of time to do what we wanted on our own.

We began our trip early Sunday morning, as we had to meet at the airport at 8a.m. I was about to take my first-ever connecting flight, and I was very nervous that my checked bag would not make it to Budapest. I was also worried about our 50-minute layover in Frankfurt, Germany, as I knew that even a small delay from Copenhagen would make us miss the second flight. Although we arrived on time in Frankfurt, we never stopped within the airport to regroup as a class; Kamilla walked pretty quickly at the front of the group and expected that we keep up. Two girls ended up back in security somehow instead of continuing to our next gate, so Kamilla actually had to ask the flight attendants to hold the plane for them. I can’t even imagine how stressed they probably were. Luckily, the people on the plane were nice about it.

My bags arrived safely with me to Budapest, but three people in my class were missing their bags, so they had to file claims in the airport. All of this ruckus took a while, and we were itching to get out of the airport. It was the warmest day that we’d have in the city, and we wanted to make the most of it.

A coach bus picked us up at the airport to drive us to the hotel, about a 35-minute ride. On the way there, the tour guide gave us some basic info about the city, explaining things like the currency (which is a super weird adjustment—about 280 “Hungarian Forint” is 1 USD—)and our transportation passes. We also learned that Budapest wasn’t always one city; it used to be two: Buda and Pest. The Danube River divides the two areas, and we were driving to the Pest side, which is much flatter. The tour guide made a comment about the city being super accessible for people with dietary restrictions like gluten-free or vegan, and everyone turned to look at me! I was very excited about this.

We finally arrived at our hotel around 4p.m. (long day of traveling!), dropped our stuff in the rooms (I had the same roommate as I did on the core course week trip, Martha), and headed back down to the lobby for some exploring. We had about a half hour before meeting Kamilla and our class at the hotel for a short guided tour of the city, with some suggestions of places to go later in the week. After going to the bridge that divides Buda from Pest and taking some beautiful pictures of the water and the green Chain Bridge, we headed back. Kamilla showed us the largest synagogue in all of Europe (and the second largest synagogue in the world), and she suggested we do a tour of it in our free time. She also took us to the street food market and the Ruin Bars, which we planned to visit later in the week.

Our first group dinner was at a fancy-looking restaurant close to our hotel. The menu was pre-set, and there was a gluten-free vegetarian option for me and my friend Sara. Honestly, the food would not have been my first choice if I ordered off a menu, but I was so incredibly hungry that it was completely fine. I hadn’t eaten real food since much earlier that day at the airport. We had three courses. After dinner, we had the night to ourselves, and I walked with a big group of people towards Fisherman’s Bastion, a beautiful village in Buda that overlooks all of Pest. The view was stunning; we tried to take pictures, but we all agreed that they did not do the scenery justice. I’ve never seen a city so lit up before. (Well, maybe New York…not a European city at least.) It was still fairly early after we were done hanging around Buda, so we decided to get some gelato. I randomly looked up gelato in google maps and directed the group towards a place that was a 20-minute walk away. It happened to be the most famous gelato in all of Budapest: Gelarto Rosa! The gelato was like artwork. The people scooping it arranged each flavor into little flower petals (see pictures!). We were all very happy. We headed back to our hotel, deciding to go to sleep instead of going to a bar, as there were plenty of nights ahead of us. Plus, Monday was our earliest morning.

We woke up on Monday morning and started our day with a group breakfast at the hotel. There were plenty of different options. I was psyched to be able to start my day with a good meal each day of the trip, especially since traveling with a large group is a little hard for me with eating (more on this later). Our first academic session was a lecture at a nearby hotel conference room. A Hungarian economist specializing in health care came to speak with us. Throughout the week, we’d be having different lectures relating to living in Budapest, and we were instructed to think about how each of these topics promoted happiness and well-being in the city. He talked to us about some of the factors that could undermine well-being and economics in a city, such as low levels of innovation, which is something that Budapest has struggled with in the past.

After the lecture, we had a few hours to explore on our own before meeting back up with the group, so I went with 11 other classmates (the 12 of us kind of stuck together throughout this trip) to the synagogue. We waited on a short line to buy tickets for a tour. The area inside the Jewish quarter was a bit confusing, but we ended up just listening to a tour guide who was speaking English, and that worked out well. We started in the chapel, which was beautiful. The tour guide gave us a little background about Jews in Budapest. I have to say that I had no idea how much Jewish history exists within Budapest and within all of Hungary, and it was interesting to learn about World War II and other historical events from another country’s perspective. Then, we went outside into the courtyard to look at the memorial. I learned that we were standing in the very spot—the ghetto that had been built in the 1920s—where 2,271 Jews had been killed in the Holocaust. I also learned that 600,000 of the 6 million executed Jews were Hungarian. Most of those people had been deported to Auschwitz, but the remaining people were sent to the Budapest ghetto. After hearing these heartbreaking statistics, our tour guide ended with some uplifting information about the Jewish community in Budapest. There are currently 27 active synagogues in the city, and Budapest has the 4th largest Jewish community in all of Europe. When the tour guide finished talking, my group headed downstairs to the actual ghetto where we read more posters of information. It was extremely heavy. Many of us are Jewish, though, and it was meaningful to have this experience with other people who had many of the same emotions as I did.

We weren’t exactly in the mood for lunch, but we only had a short time to eat before the next class activity, so we walked down the street to Karavan. This was a place Kamilla had highly recommended to us. Most of my friends got the burgers sandwiched between pieces of fried dough, but because that was not appealing to me for many reasons, there were luckily so many other places inside Karavan to buy food. I ended up getting a hummus/Mediterranean bowl with tortilla chips, which was yummy and filling. We all sat together at a big table outside.

The next academic session was with two middle school teachers in Budapest, and they were coming to tell us about how they implement positive psychology within the classroom. The lecture portion of the session was pretty intuitive, as they discussed concepts such as looking at situations with a more positive perspective. Then, we were divided into two smaller groups, and we did a few activities. The first was rating a bunch of statements from 1-10 depending on how stressful we found the described scenario. We then had to defend our numbers and why we stood there. The next activity was finding mutual things we liked and disliked with a partner by counting to three and blurting out a random word we associated with a particular topic. For example, for the topic ‘Budapest,’ my partner and I both exclaimed ‘baths!’. The purpose of doing this was to show us how positive emotions and personal connection can make such a difference in the social dynamics of a classroom. It was a good demonstration.

We had a bit more free time until dinner. Some people used it to nap, but I went with a few friends to walk around the city more. Initially, I was with a few classmates who all decided to look for mulled wine, which I actually hadn’t had since my time in Prague. However, we didn’t find any place that sold it, so we settled for regular wine instead. We walked along the pretty shopping street and the square with the Ferris wheel, the Budapest Eye.

The group dinner was again at a restaurant with multiple courses, dishes that I wouldn’t have selected if I was on my own. The portions were also a bit small, and I left dinner still feeling hungry, so I ended up getting a to-go container of rice closer to our hotel. We walked around a bit more before heading back for the evening and meeting in front of the elevators to check out the pool’s sauna and indoor pool. My friends were excited about the sauna, but I was a little skeptical. I decided to try it, but I only lasted about 30 seconds before feeling like I was choking on hot air. It wasn’t too pleasant, so I kept some other friends company in the main pool area. I didn’t go in the pool, but it was really fun to hang out with everyone. When we took the elevators back up to our floor, we walked out to a bunch of Hungarian people in business suits, and they all started laughing at us! Yes, we were wearing our towels and bathing suits, but I didn’t think it was THAT funny. It was something we talked about throughout the trip.

Tuesday started with a group meeting at breakfast, as we needed to discuss our research questions in more detail to prepare for an activity later that day. In lieu of writing a paper about what we learned about Positive Psychology in Budapest this week, we have a group presentation in class next week, where each group will present on a different aspect of Hungarian culture and its relation to psychology. I’m in a group with four other classmates, so we all got a table together to eat breakfast and discuss. Our topic is “current level of well-being in Budapest, focusing on generational differences.” We decided to break ourselves further into two groups, one focusing on people under 30 and another focusing on 30 and older. We would each walk around the city later that day, asking people “What do you do to live a happy life?” and “What do you think Hungarians do in general to live a happy life?” I suggested that we ask the questions in this order instead of the reverse order, as I learned in my research methods class that it is easy to bias people’s answers if you ask them what “people do” first; they will report that they themselves conform with the general population instead of giving us more specific answers.

The main morning activity was a class visit to the House of Terror, the site of so much Holocaust-related abuse. People there were tortured, slapped, whipped, and killed, and we walked through multiple floors of dirty and depressing cells where this occurred. We all received audio guides when we entered the exhibit, and Kamilla told us to meet outside in two hours, as this was a museum that we all needed to experience individually. In addition to listening to the audio portion about each room in the museum, there were many videos playing, mostly recorded bits from people experiencing the war firsthand. Since I had learned about a lot of the Hungarian Jewish history the day before in the synagogue, learning about World War II in this part of the world was familiar. What was most moving and difficult to absorb was physically walking through all the places people were terrorized and killed. It was a well-done museum, but it was extremely heavy, and after two hours of being alone with my thoughts and my audio guide, I was emotionally exhausted. We gathered outside as a class, and the mood was somewhat solemn. As difficult as it is to learn about history sometimes, I’m glad I got to see that.

Next was lunch at a nearby cafe, which was fairly uneventful. I had a spinach risotto, which scared me at first because of its deep green color, but it ended up being really good.

We had an hour to explore the city, but we needed to interview the local people before spending the time to ourselves. I walked around with Martha, and we decided to target an area near the university since we wanted to find people under 30 years old. We actually found it a bit difficult to pinpoint which people were locals and which were tourists, but at the end of the hour, we had spoken with six different Hungarians. It was interesting to speak with so many different people, and it was even more interesting to hear their responses to our questions about happiness. While some young students and adults told us expected answers as to what they do, such as spending time with boyfriends/girlfriends, friends, family, and sleeping, eating, and relaxing, a few people were genuinely confused by this question. It could have been a language barrier, but people in the younger generations have learned both Hungarian and English, so it probably wasn’t. One girl told us that no one in Hungary is happy; another girl said that Hungary is not a happy country, so if she really wanted to be happy, she would move. I found this shocking at that point in the trip, but as we started to interact more with locals throughout the week, I slowly began to understand why (more on this later).

After the hour of walking around the city, we met up with the rest of the class at a metro station for our next academic visit, the Invisible Expedition. I honestly didn’t know much about what this experience entailed, except for the fact that Kamilla found it extremely worthwhile for us to do. We took a metro, a tram, and walked for quite a bit before reaching the destination. We were introduced to Yvette, who split the class into three groups. I was in the third group, so I chatted with my classmates as we sat in the waiting room for a while. When it was our turn to prepare, we locked our belongings in a locker and sat around a table. I don’t know what Yvette’s face really looks like, as she is blind and wears huge black glasses. She taught us how to write in brail, and then instructed us all to use these typewriter-like things to write our names, when she could then “guess” our names. She got all of them correct. Then, she told us what we were about to do. She would guide us through a completely dark room, through which we would visit several different rooms inside. It was ironic that a blind person was our guide, but the idea was that we would be using our other senses to make our way through, all of which would be heightened. Kamilla waited outside in case anyone freaked out and needed to leave. At first, I wasn’t nervous at all, but once we stepped inside the maze and darkness literally wrapped around us in every direction, I blinked quickly, trying without avail to catch even a bit of light. I found that even if I closed my eyes and then opened them again, the darkness level was the same. It was a darkness I had never experienced. Yvette instructed us to “explore the room” and tell her which objects we could find, so with our hands in front of us, we walked around, bumping into each other occasionally. There were no stairs, but there were definitely corners and big objects, so we had to be careful when reaching out and touching various things. We learned after a while that we were in a kitchen, as there were pots, pans, different fruits and vegetables on the counter. When we discovered something new, we would report to Yvette, who was always amused by our incorrect responses. The next room was a cabin in the woods, followed by a simulation of a busy street with traffic. We needed to use the bumps on the ground and the sounds of the crosswalk to guide us as to when we should walk over. We walked through a bathroom and then a Farmer’s Market. Finally, we went into a room with comfy couches and chairs, and we had a conversation about what we experienced—still very much in the dark. I asked Yvette when she had become blind: 5 years old. I also asked what the thing she missed most was…what did she wish she could see? She said that although she remembered her parents’ faces and her baby dolls and the blue sky and green grass, she’d never quite know what her children look like. As we emerged from the expedition room into the fluorescent lights of the waiting room, I blinked, adjusting. I glanced around at each of my classmates, and I almost started to cry. I was so grateful for my eyesight in a way that, prior to this hour of blindness, I hadn’t experienced. I could see each person around me; I know the faces of all my family and friends. I am so lucky. If you’re wondering what the connection is to positive psychology, there are actually a bunch. First of all, gratitude is something we have learned helps people capitalize on their previous experiences. Additionally, having this museum is a terrific way to employ blind people who may otherwise have difficulty getting the same job opportunities as someone with complete eyesight.

It was 5:30 by the time we left, and we had the rest of the evening to ourselves. A group of us had a dinner reservation for 6:30 though, so we decided to go straight there, as we needed to figure out how to use the tram and metro ourselves this time. We were eating at a trendy restaurant called Mazel Tov, which is primarily Mediterranean and Israeli food. The environment was also so pretty and fun, and the drinks were named after different cities in Israel. I had Tel Aviv, a fruity cocktail, which was really good. We ordered bowls with various combinations of hummus, feta cheese, cucumber and beet salad. It was delicious, and we had such a good time. We were also happily surprised that the restaurant was able to accommodate such a large group, so we didn’t have to split up into two smaller groups.

We walked around again at night. A bunch of people got a classic dessert called a chimney cake, where they didn’t have gluten-free cake. I could have ordered ice cream, but I was so full from dinner anyway that I decided to skip it.

We went back to the hotel for an hour before changing and getting ready to go out to the Ruin Bars. I was close to bailing, getting more tired by the minute, but I did really want to experience the nightlife in Budapest, and we were able to sleep until 8:30 the next day. We didn’t even end up staying out that late, which was perfect. We got drinks at the Ruin Bar, which actually has several different types of bars within the same area. I got “the Ruin Experience,” which was sweet and yummy, and we all sat at a big table and chatted. It was a fun night.

The first event on Wednesday was an “optional” academic visit to the famous Thermal Baths of Budapest, where we could spend time in a place dedicated to enjoyment. Of course, no one wanted to miss out. We took the metro there, and I carried a separate bag of my change of clothes for afterward. Although I was pretty sure I’d have time to come back and shower, I expected to be freezing when I got out of the bath and entered the 57-degree air temperature. We were all really looking forward to this part of the week, as the baths are something everyone who visits Budapest comes back talking about. It was fun to experience the baths altogether, which were super warm, even though they weren’t hot tubs. We took lots of pictures with the pretty buildings outdoors before going inside and checking out some of the different mineral baths. Some of them were flavored, which weirded me out a little, so I sat on the side. Kamilla and our TA both enjoyed the baths as well, and although we could be there until noon, our little crew had had enough by 11:30. We changed in the locker room and went to walk around Hero’s Square, which is a beautiful area of the city right nearby. We started walking back in the direction of the hotel, looking for a place to each lunch simultaneously. Even though our group of 12 ended up splitting off into six and six based on lunch preferences, I was getting tired of wandering around and not knowing what I could eat. This trip was very different than my other traveling experiences in that I was with many more people with many more opinions. I also hadn’t previously mapped out the best gluten-free spots in Budapest because I knew that where I’d be eating would just depend on where I was at a given time. Of course, people wanted to be sensitive to me, but there were also other allergies in the group, and not everyone could be pleased. It’s totally fine; it was just different. I had a very-okay omelet quickly before we headed back to the hotel to shower.

We met Kamilla and the rest of our class in the hotel lobby for our afternoon academic visit, which started with a long tram ride and a long ride. We entered what looked like someone’s house, where two women greeted us and welcomed us into their living room. They talked about their style of community housing, very similar to where we had visited in Western Denmark, except with a more urban and vertical feel because of the location.

After that, we were done with academic commitments for the day. We decided to see the Fisherman’s Bastion area in the sunlight, especially as sunset time was approaching, and it would be a beautiful look-out to watch it. We went supermarket nearby and purchased wine, cheese, grapes, and dark chocolate—an amazing pre-dinner snack. Then, we hiked up the steep hill to the gorgeous village, took a few pictures, and sat with our food, talking and enjoying the view. It was a great way to spend time there. The view—and the sky—was stunning. Next was dinner. Again, we had a reservation for our big group. After my food came wrong twice (it was funny, although the waiters were not so nice about it), I ended up eating the risotto I had ordered initially. We decided not to go out at night, but my friends Hannah and Chandler came to my room and we sat on my bed talking for a while, which was fun. I’m glad I got to know them better during this trip, as well as several other people in my class. And, after hearing a fair share of roommate horror stories abroad from my classmates, I am that much more thankful to share my room and experiences with Adina.

Thursday was our last full day in Budapest, and we had a packed schedule after a bit of a sleep-in, which was nice. We had breakfast at the hotel and then took the elevator to our own hotel’s conference room. A woman who is an educational school mediator—which sounds similar to the American version of a school counselor—came to talk to us about education in Hungary, as well as some methods with a positive psychology twist she uses in her own school. Her first demonstration was about the power of connection, which seemed to be a common theme of lectures this week. We played a game where we had one minute to walk around the room and discover a non-physical similarity with other classmates. We recorded each similarity on a small post-it. I won the game by “connecting with” 12 other people. Besides getting a sticker, I’m happy because I think that connecting with others is such an important skill to continue to cultivate, especially when I embark on new experiences such as studying abroad. The woman also mentioned that connection within Hungary was important to promote in her school, as oftentimes, Hungary is kind of stuck in the middle of a lot of European politics. Some people consider it Eastern Europe while others consider it part of the West, and no one but Hungarians speak their language, which can feel isolating. It can also lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications even with Hungary’s closest neighbors.

After the lecture, we had a few hours for lunch and exploring on our own. It was a beautiful day outside, and I went with my group of 12 to the famous shoe monument on the Danube River. We took a tram to get there a bit faster, and we then walked along the water until we saw them. Dozens of shoes made of metal are built into the ground to memorialize the Jews who died there. There were lines of people tortured on this very boardwalk; the Nazis tied the people together and pushed one into the fast-moving river below, sending all those people to a tragic death. The memorial was difficult to see, similar to other experiences we’d had in Budapest. However, again, I was glad I got to see them. We stood together, arm in arm, all lost in our thoughts as we looked at them. It was nice to have company for this, as I felt like everyone was empathetic and sensitive to each others’ emotional needs and feelings.

When we had looked at the shoes for a while, we walked around the grounds of the stunning and very old Parliament building, which we had seen from across the river the night before at Fisherman’s Bastion. Then, we went to the Budapest Market for lunch so that everyone could get something they liked. Unfortunately, most of the options were Hungarian food, which I have decided is my least favorite cuisine I’ve had so far this semester. Nearly every dish has meat, tomatoes, or bread—often a combination of these foods. All my favorites—ha! I was fine because I found a place that had a salad with feta cheese and rice with mushrooms. We walked quickly back to our hotel for the next academic lecture, which ended up being a favorite. For this academic session, three young Hungarians came to chat with us. They were 22 years old, so we could easily relate to them. We basically just had a question-and-answer session so that we could learn about Hungarian culture while they learned about American culture. I was shocked by some of their responses. First of all, I hadn’t quite realized up until this point how conservative the viewpoint of Hungary was. It’s not only illegal for gays to get married, for example, but it is completely shamed by society, and they said hardly anyone acts on gay sexuality. They asked us some questions about the Trump administration, to which one student assured them that we likely represented a cohort of people who does not favor Trump, and we are not representative of all American viewpoints. The Hungarians told us they felt trapped and unwanted in society, and that if they had the resources to move (and if their families moved also), they would move elsewhere in Europe. They said Budapest is a safe city, but it’s not a classy city.

After our new friends left the room, we debriefed as a class about that experience, as well as all of the experiences we shared over the week. Kamilla asked us to share some of our favorite moments so that we could relive them together—similar to what we had done in class. Then, we all went back to our rooms to change before the dinner cruise, our final class event. The cruise was absolutely incredible. Not only were the views unreal from all sides (and we got to hang out on the roof to take pictures), the food was the best we had all week, and it was a buffet, which was fun. Additionally, DIS gave us three alcoholic drinks… We entered the dining room and had a glass of champagne, and the waiters brought wine and cocktails with dinner.  We all had a great time, and it was a fun way to wrap up the week.

The boat docked around 8:30, and we headed back to the hotel to change for our final night out. First, we stopped at the ruin bar to enjoy that atmosphere again. We ended up talking to some people visiting from London. When I was standing at the bar with one of my friends, two men who were much, much older than us asked to buy us drinks that we obviously turned down. However, they kept trying to talk to us, so we decided to leave the area. Some people went back home after that, but I went with a few friends to a club called Instant, which was so cool. There were all these different rooms, each with its own bar and dj. We hopped around from room to room for a while, following the best music. However, I generally felt uncomfortable by many different people’s stares while I was there, and after a while, I was tired of being so on-edge. The young people had told us gender roles are really defined in Hungary, and I worried that someone creepy would do something scary to us. I stayed in a big group though, and I was very aware of people around me. We headed back around 1, and we packed up for the morning.

This morning, I went with two friends to a nearby gluten-free bakery that I had researched. I was sick of the hotel breakfast, and I wanted to visit at least one place with something specifically gluten-free. We got chocolate croissants, and I was very happy. Then, we spent most of the day waiting in airports and traveling, as we had a longer layover in Munich. Tonight I am catching up on this blog and my journal before the Harnicks arrive in Copenhagen tomorrow. I am SO excited to see them, as well as mom and Aunt Sheila in just a few days. It’s going to be such a fun week, and I can’t wait to show everyone around Cope. Adina also has one of her best friends visiting, as does Goldie next week.

a full week with no flights

Traveling is so exciting, but it was equally nice to stay in Copenhagen for a whole week. I am always happy to return after a weekend away. And, there was a moment when I considered traveling and the end of this week prior to Budapest, but I’m glad I stayed here instead. Here’s a summary of how I kept myself busy in Cope:

Monday

  • I had classes as usual on Monday, though it was a relatively quiet day. I was also very tired from my weekend, as even the one-hour time difference threw me off in going to sleep on Sunday night.
  • Adina and I went to the gym, as it was too cold for our typical Monday run.
  • I spent the rest of the evening working on a paper for my psych of peak performance class, and I was very productive.
  • I tried to go to sleep early, but I wasn’t able to fall asleep, which made me frustrated, so I decided to study for Danish instead. Adina took a funny video of me counting in Danish while in bed and wearing my retainers, and after getting all my giggles out, I tried to go to sleep again.

Tuesday

  • It was really sunny outside, and I woke up in a good mood. I headed to the gym, and I also needed to restock on things like paper towels, so I did those errands on my bike. Then, I went to pick up lunch at a new place from my list of places to try (Nordic Noodles) and ate it by the water while making flash cards for Danish. Then, I did some work in a cafe, and I attempted to nap but was unsuccessful.
  • I went out to Old Irish with Adina, Goldie, and Goldie’s friend from high school who is visiting her this week. We also met up with Yoni and his friends there. The music was so much better than it was last week, and we had a really good time. I fell asleep immediately when we got home.

Wednesday

  • I had to wake up very early for a field study with my Travel Writing class. We were given instructions to meet at a metro stop at the very end of the line that’s not near the airport. It took about 20 minutes to get there. We walked with my teacher to a park about 10 minutes away, where we were introduced to a novelist and traveler-hitchhiker. She told us about her recent experience hiking and hitchhiking from the top of the Mexican border all the way through the United States to the Canadian border, which is a well-established trail that takes five months to complete. She was very graphic in describing her journey, including all her injuries and bruises along the way. She embarked on this trip to “find herself,” and face her fears of being alone, and she kept a blog while she was away. A publisher contacted her and asked to make her blog posts into a book, which she had not expected at all. Now, she is publishing that book, and she may write others when she does other backpacking trips. It was interesting to hear about her experiences, although hitchhiking is really not something that sounds appealing to me. We talked with her and asked her questions while sitting in this hut on the water; it was freezing! We didn’t do anything specifically in the outdoors, though, so I was confused as to why we couldn’t have listened to her story in the warmth of a building.
  • I was tired and a little wet after my field study, but I was really looking forward to brunch with Adina when I got back. We had decided we would try Dalle Ralle, which is a brunch buffet place just down the street. Goldie had been there with her host family before and she enjoyed it. I ate so much food! We had eggs, potatoes, cheese, fruits, vegetables, greek salad, and chocolate pudding, and it was really yummy and fun to have a buffet.
  • I stopped at DIS to print my paper for Thursday, and then Adina and I did some work on the second floor of Emmery’s, my favorite spot. I couldn’t stay for too long, though, as it was my second cleaning week in the apartment and I needed to wash the dish towels. I figured I would do my own laundry while I was at it.
  • As I was doing laundry, I saw that the sun had come out, and I was itching to get outside. I decided to go for a bike ride, and although I started on my initial route to the path I usually run, I got myself a little lost (intentionally), as I haven’t done that in a while. It was fun to explore an unknown area for a bit before coming home. I also stopped and chatted with Bella for a while, as we needed to catch up and discuss her upcoming trip to Cope!
    • I was home for the rest of the night, and I finished studying for my Danish quiz on Thursday, as well as getting to sleep early.

Thursday

  • Although Thursday was a long day, it was very exciting, as it was the last day of classes before another week-long break. (Do we ever have school?) I had a guest speaker in my Positive Psych class about the history of Hungary to prepare us for our study tour, and then Kamilla explained our itinerary. It looks like it’s going to be such a fun and informative week; I’m so excited! We also get a lot of time on our own to explore the city, which is different from Core Course week, where we had to be with the class most of the time.
  • My Danish quiz was challenging but fine. I’m glad it’s over. Now I just have to remember what I studied for our written final, which is actually coming up very soon.
  • In my Travel Writing class, we had another guest speaker, who happened to be friends with the hitchhiker from the day before. This person spoke about her experiences working in the North Pole and journaling about the wildlife she sees there. Because it is so cold there, she explained that she needed to sleep on an insulated mattress, and she said that her body lost so many calories just by sitting still that she would eat chocolate at all hours of the day. That sounds fun. 🙂
  • Adina and I went for a run after class, as the temperature reached the mid-50’s. It felt so warm outside that I didn’t even bring a jacket.
  • I had dinner at Simple Raw with Dani. She lives downstairs and although I don’t see her often, we always have a good time when we hang out. She’s good friends with Hannah from school, which is how I know her. The dinner was so good. We had both been to the restaurant before, but we didn’t know that they changed their menu to add more items! Everything there is gluten free, which is so fun.
  • Adina and I booked our hotel for London, as well as looking into Seders we can have there because it will be Passover. And, Rachel and I booked our hostel for Berlin. I am all booked for the rest of my trips!

Friday

  • It was a fun first day of break! I had been feeling a bit run down after my lack of sleep this past week, so it was nice to have a more relaxed day and get myself better. I definitely need to feel energized for my trip.
  • Adina’s friend Kristina visited her this weekend, so I spent an hour in a cafe with her near DIS while Adina had class. It was interesting to hear about what it’s like to study as an exchange student in Milan. We also met up with Aly.
  • Goldie and Adina joined us after their classes, and we all headed to the Glass Market for lunch. My friend Cate (the one with Celiac) told me I needed to try the gf crust at Gorm’s there, so I took her suggestion, and I was not disappointed.
  • I had a quick meeting with my Travel Writing teacher in the afternoon to discuss my upcoming paper, as I had a few questions about it. He was very helpful, and he even offered to read it and give me feedback before it’s due!
  • Goldie and I headed to Vesterbro for a few hours in the afternoon. She wanted to get jeans at a mall called Fisketorvet, and we also browsed some other clothing stores along the way. I hadn’t been to that area yet, so it was fun to explore.
  • Then, we came back to my apartment, where we talked with Adina and Kristina for a little while. We went for an early dinner at Cafe Paludan, a favorite. We decided it’s one of the best bang-for-your-buck places around here, as the portions are enormous, and no one has ever had a bad meal.
  • At night, we finally went to Desserthuset, which has been on my must-try list since the beginning of the semester. I was honestly just expecting to get ice cream, as the crazy milkshakes certainly don’t look like they are gluten free. However, I learned that the brownie is actually just made from eggs and sugar, so I was able to get the most outrageous and delicious dessert ever.
  • We went out to Miami, which is half-bar and half-nightclub. We were all tired and very full because of the desserts, so we decided to sit on the lower level, which was more of a bar. It was a fun place; I would go back.

Saturday

  • I slept in a little, and it took me longer than usual to pack for my trip this week.
  • I ran on a different route, and I also biked around the city for a while before getting lunch with a friend from class.
  • I hung out with Adina and her friend in the afternoon, finishing up things before I leave.
  • Tonight, we are going to Bluetaco for dinner, which is the gluten-free taco place I’ve been to once before. I’m so excited. And we may go out, but I need to get up at 6:30a.m. tomorrow for my flight, so I definitely won’t stay out too late.

My next post will be after Budapest!

 

Luck of the Irish

This weekend was one I had planned for a very long time: meeting up with my school friends in Dublin, Ireland in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day. I had booked my flights and hotel back in October, so I was excited to finally experience an Irish St. Paddy’s celebration with so many people from school.

I landed very late on Thursday night, and I had planned to take an AirCoach bus to the hotel, as it was a cheaper option than a taxi. However, people were pointing me in different directions as to how to get to the bus line, and it was dark and pouring rain, so I decided to take a cab anyway. Luckily, the hotel was pretty close to the airport. My roommates had gone to sleep by the time I got there, as I arrived well after midnight, and we were getting up at 5:30a.m. for a day trip we had booked. I knew I was going to be exhausted, so I planned to sleep on the bus.

Sure enough, I woke up very tired on Thursday morning, but I was excited about our adventure. It was still pitch black as we walked to the bus stop, but we were able to board at the front of one of the busses, and I was able to curl up next to a window. As we pulled away, our (very ecstatic, coffee-hyped, and thick-Irish-accented) tour guide, Phil, explained the schedule for the day, laying out exactly when we could use bathrooms, when we would stop to eat, etc. It seemed like we would have a very full day, and I also knew we had gotten lucky with our bus driver. The bus company had dozens of busses we could have gone on, and Phil was not only enthusiastic but extremely knowledgable about all of Ireland. Additionally, Phil was obsessive the entire day about “beating the other tour companies” at each of the stops, and that made a huge difference in our day: we were first for the bathrooms, the lines at lunch, and the first to see all the sights, minimizing our time spent waiting in the cold. Phil briefly told us about Dublin as we left the city, pointing out some of the major landmarks like the cathedral and Trinity College. Then, he was quiet for a bit, and I was able to fall asleep!

The first leg of our trip was a three-hour ride, but we stopped for a bathroom and convenience store along the way. This was a perfect stretch and breaking point, but I was happy to have plenty of time to catch up on a little sleep I had missed the night before. Phil started talking again about a half hour before we reached the Cliffs of Moher, our first stop, and he explained some of the history behind them. Here’s a fun fact: scenes from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince were filmed there! Additionally, Obama’s great-great-great (Phil didn’t remember how many generations) grandparents were born in a small town of Western Ireland, and he pointed out this village as we passed. We also passed a “Leopercan Castle,” which was so tiny it was pretty funny. Also, Phil mentioned that the Cliffs overlooked the Atlantic Ocean, which I hadn’t realized. It’s amazing to think that I was looking at the same ocean I can see from Long Island.

As we got closer, I was talking across the aisle to Emma and her home friend, who was also on this trip with us. She’s very nice, and Emma talks about her a lot, so I was happy to spend time with her. Then, two solo-travelers joined our conversation, and we small-talked about where we were all from. John had just finished his term in the army, and he was on a 6-month travel adventure before he starts USC in the fall, while Justin currently serves in the navy and he was just taking a weekend trip to Ireland.

Although muddy and very wet, the Cliffs were absolutely beautiful. I felt like I was on the edge of the world, and the foggy atmosphere made it especially interesting. We walked all the way to the top. I was incredibly happy I had brought my gross sneakers to wear on this expedition, as they got so muddy. Phil told us that it is basically always raining on the Cliffs, but that we were very lucky because that day it was only a slight mist. We were given a little over an hour to explore the area, and we took in the scenery, as well as taking some pictures. Then, we went into the gift shop, where I got a postcard of a sunny version of the sight. As I paid for it, I realized that for the first time since I’ve been abroad, I was in a country where the predominant language spoken is English. Although it’s cool to hear so many different languages, it is very comforting to know what everyone is saying around you, so I was looking forward to that aspect of the weekend.

We boarded the bus to head to lunch, where we had the option of buying food in either a cafe or a pub. My friends wanted to eat in the pub, but I decided that the cafe would probably have better gluten-free options, so I headed there to be first on line, and after buying a salad, joined the rest of my group in the pub to eat. Then, we had another long drive to see Galway, another city in Ireland. On the way, we stopped at another look-out spot called DOOLEY CLIFF, which was beautiful as well. It was super windy, and I was glad I had so many layers to wear. Something that was especially unique about this trip in comparison to my other weekends so far is that because Ireland is such a small country, I was able to see three out of four of the main regions in the entire country during my stay, whereas I usually just focus on one city.

When we got closer to Galway, Phil started talking about all the things there were to do, and he gave us a few suggestions of how to spend our 90 minutes to explore. I remarked to Emma that Phil was incredibly animated about his description of Galway, despite driving the same tour multiple times every week. He said we would love the city, and that he wouldn’t be surprised if we decided to stay there instead of coming back with him. Galway is a small city with a hipster-vibe, and it has a lot of good shopping and food. I asked Phil if there was a relation to the song Galway Girl by Ed Sheehan, and he explained that the music video was actually filmed in a pub there! We stopped inside to take a picture, which is pretty cool. We also got a snack in an indoor mall and walked around the shopping streets. The forecast had been for rain all day, but we were super lucky in that it was clear the whole afternoon.

We met back at the bus for our last three-hour drive back to Dublin. I took another short nap after admiring the scenery for a while, including rolling hills and cattle, sheep, cows, and horses on the grass. We arrived in the city at 7:30p.m., avoiding most of the traffic that Phil had been concerned about. He gave us a few suggestions of where to have dinner and go out that night, but we had already decided that our first stop after the bus was the hotel: we wanted to freshen up before heading back out. I also hadn’t been drinking a lot of water that day because I knew the bathroom opportunities would be limited, so we bought water bottles from a grocery store and drank them on the way back.

We changed for the evening and I decided to bring my umbrella, as it had started to pour. On the way into our hotel, we met up with Amanda from Cornell, who was also staying with us. Then we headed to dinner at one of the suggestions we had gotten, but it turns out that they only took people with reservations. The main area of Dublin called Temple Bar was packed with people eating and milling around, even though it was raining. We looked around for other dinner places, finding an Italian restaurant called Milano that had a very big menu. It turned out to be an incredible last-minute find, and after snacking on random chips and bars the whole day to stay fueled, it was nice to have a filling meal. We headed to the bars straight after dinner, and I was surprised when we were carded at our first stop. Although I’m 21, not everyone in the group is, so we had to find somewhere else. Luckily, there was a pub called Buskers just down the road, and it was apparently hopping.

As soon as we walked inside, I saw three people from high school as we made our way to the bar, which was super weird. We waved quickly, but it was pretty crowded and loud to start having a conversation. I also ran into people from camp and others from Cornell, as well as Lindsay, my second cousin. We had been texting because we knew we’d both be in Dublin for the weekend, and somehow, we found each other in this incredibly crowded pub. We caught up for a few minutes, and then we were pulled away by our respective travel groups. I was meeting up with Rachel (finally!) and Ben from school, and I was super excited to see them. It took me and Rachel a long time to figure out how to describe where we were in the bar, but our reunion was so much fun when they arrived. Throughout the night, I continued to run into people from all different walks of life, which was crazy! I mostly hung out with the Cornell people there, and it felt a little like a school mixer, especially with all the aephi/sammy people: a taste of home. The music was good and the environment was fun, and we ended up staying there until we were all yawning and ready to turn in. We walked back to the hotel (again in the rain, yuck), and went to sleep. Just as I was falling asleep at 3a.m., people in the room next to us started BLASTING music, which was super annoying. Emma’s friend even went out to ask them to be quiet, and they weren’t too nice to her. I finally fell asleep when they quieted down. It was a super long day since I had gotten up before 6, so I was very tired.

I woke up Saturday before my alarm to more people screaming in the hallway. I should mention that aside from these crazy neighbors in the hallway, the hotel was super nice and in a prime location for the weekend. It was a close enough walk to the Temple Bar area but far enough from the parade on Sunday that the streets to the airport weren’t affected, which meant we didn’t have to leave an insane amount of time to get there. Anyway, our first booked activity of the day was the Guinness Experience, the famous beer company. Although I can’t drink beer, I decided it would be fun to learn about the process anyway, and so I headed there with Emma and Rachel. It was a 45-minute walk, and it was pouring…again. Although I had my umbrella, the wind was so intense that the handle kept whacking me in the face and nearly knocking me out several times, so Rachel and I decided to buy cheap green, ridiculous-looking rain panchos at a store we passed. I was glad not to be the only one in this get-up, as we got very funny looks. But, we stayed dry, so I thought it was a worthwhile purchase. We also stopped to grab breakfast foods in a grocery store along the way.

We learned about how Guinness is made and processed, and there were interactive parts of the storehouse as well. I happened to think the “experience” was a little underwhelming, but I’m also not a beer person. I was glad that my ticket allowed me to get cider at the rooftop bar while my friends got the famous beer. The sky bar was a nice view of the city, and we hung out there for a while before going back down all the escalators—the building is enormous. We were starving for lunch, and since we were four people and it was still raining heavily, we split a cab to get back to the main area. We got lunch at a place called Taste Food Company, where I had a phenomenal gluten-free sandwich.

There was no set agenda for the rest of the afternoon aside from enjoying the St. Paddy’s festivities, which was a super nice change of pace to the rest of my weekends, which have been jam-packed with tourist sites. Although we passed a few of these in Dublin along our walks, there aren’t too many well-known places to explore in the city itself, so this weekend was more about spending time with my friends. After lunch, we planned to meet up with a few Sammy people and some other friends back in the main Temple Bar area, and the weather alternated between super sunny and pouring within seconds. During one of the rains, we went inside and I got an Irish coffee. We also popped into a few other pubs and bars, and I saw many people I know again.

Someone had spilled an entire beer on Rachel’s jacket, and as she is traveling for a full month with this one jacket, she was not a happy camper. Then, we walked outside, and a bird promptly pooped on her head, so we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel. We were all able to shower and hang out for an hour before dinner and the evening, which was relaxing.

We decided to have dinner at our hotel’s downstairs restaurant before heading back to Temple Bar. The menu didn’t have a ton of options, but we actually all ordered the same thing, risotto, and it was probably the best risotto I’ve ever had. It was butternut squash and pine nut flavored, and it was very filling. Then, we headed out for another night, and our first stop was Buskers. I knew from texting Lindsay that she and Taylor, another second-cousin, were hanging out there, so I met up with them for a while. As we introduced each other to everyone’s friends, we surprised people by explaining that we were all cousins. It was so much fun to see them, and I wish I was able to see them more. I also ran into Adina’s best college friend’s roommate abroad, and we figured out that we actually worked at Sunrise together in 2017, which is why she looked so familiar. Everyone was in a great mood that night, and I saw a lot of people that I know, so it was a fun few hours. We decided to check out some other bars afterward, although it did take us over an hour to actually leave Buskers, as we hugged and chatted with so many people on the way out.

Rachel, Emma and I walked through the Temple Bar area, and it was finally not raining, so it was nice to walk around and get a better feel for the nightlife of the city. After spending a few minutes in other heavily-populated bars, we decided we were hungry, so we met up with a bunch of the Sammy guys at a nearby fastfood restaurant and ordered a ton of food. As I was sitting there at 2:30a.m. eating ice cream after a night out with my Cornell friends, I felt like it was freshman year again and we were back at Nasties. Then, we walked back to the hotel, and I fell asleep almost immediately. I said goodbye to Rachel, as she had an early flight the next morning. It wasn’t too sad, though, as I see her again in a few weeks, and we will have a lot of time together then.

I woke up before my alarm again on Sunday, as everyone staying in the room aside from me and Emma had to go straight to the airport. Emma and I decided to get up and pack up our stuff to get ready for the day. When you only travel with a backpack, that doesn’t take too long. We left our bags at the front desk, and we started walking towards the parade streets. Although I planned to throw out my rain pancho before leaving Dublin, I was happy I still had it, as the rain was pretty strong again. We stopped at an Irish breakfast place for brunch, where I had an omelet with potatoes and coffee. Emma and I were talking about how well we travel together, and how many cool memories we now have together from our time abroad. It was said to say bye, as now I won’t see her for the rest of my time in Europe. Her program ends fairly soon.

After we finished brunch at 11:30, we had a perfect amount of time to find spots to watch the parade starting at noon. The sun was finally shining. We stopped in an apparel store to buy these fun and cheap green clover glasses, and when we exited the store, we had a very amusing experience. For whatever reason, several tourists came up to us and pointed at our glasses, asking to take a selfie with us. Hysterically laughing, we crouched to get in a picture with these people; we felt like celebrities of some sort. Then, they began clapping. It was particularly funny because many people were wearing far crazier accessories along the streets. Feeling festive, we walked to the parade and planted ourselves within the crowd. We weren’t right up front, so we had to look into people’s raised phones sometimes to see what was happening, but only when the floats were short. We were able to see the taller ones just fine. The parade was different than I had pictured it, as the floats seemed kind of random and not related to St. Patrick’s Day. However, it was fun with everyone cheering, and the sun felt amazing. We stayed there for about an hour before we had to head back to the hotel to grab our bags. Emma’s flight was an hour earlier than mine, but we traveled together to the airport, so I ended up with extra time to wait there. It wasn’t a bad thing, as I knew I’d lose an hour on the way back to Copenhagen, so I started my homework for Monday.

I got back fairly late on Sunday night, but luckily, my first class on Monday was canceled, so I was able to sleep in a little later than I typically do. Between my varied sleep schedule this weekend and the short time difference, it was tough to fall asleep. I have a few papers due this week as well as a Danish assessment on Thursday, so I’ll definitely need to do a lot of work in the next few days. However, I am so happy to have shared this weekend with my Cornell friends, and I’m glad I got to see so much of Ireland!

halfway point

Despite having very few commitments outside of classes these past few days, they have seemed like a whirlwind, sandwiched between two trips. I am so glad I had some downtime to get work done this week, get back to the gym after a little vacation, and catch my breath before leaving for a long weekend. This blog post won’t be super long, but here is a quick recap on my week in Cope.

Monday

  • In positive psychology, we had a discussion about savoring our best moments from travel week. Kamilla said that in order to reap all the possible benefits from positive experiences, we should be sure to share our feelings with others, as the process of telling someone about an event that made you happy actually has the same psychological impact as does witnessing the event itself the first time. Each person described her favorite moment from traveling the week before, and it was fun to see each person’s face light up with a happy memory.
  • I ran with Adina at sunset, and although it was colder than usual, it was nice to get outside exercise.
  • I spent most of the evening writing my blog from last week in Barcelona and in Copenhagen with Emma.

Tuesday

  • On Tuesday morning, I visited Cafe Mellem Rummet (the place I had gone for my first ever field study with my Travel Writing class) for a paper I have to write. The assignment is similar to others we have had in the past, in that I must approach a stranger with an interesting story in a place with “good reportage potential.” I ended up talking with an older woman who was volunteering there, as well as several customers who I thought may be able to contribute some details to my essay. This class is constantly putting me outside of my comfort zone in that I have to talk to strangers, especially Danish people. However, even though it may seem awkward at first, I usually leave these conversations feeling like I learned something, which may not happen as much if I kept to myself.
  • I met up with Goldie after her classes, as we were going to get manicures, but after trying three different places that were all booked for the afternoon, we gave up.
  • I worked on a Danish assignment for the rest of the afternoon. The paper is due on Monday but I don’t expect to have too much time this weekend for homework, so I’m glad I got most of it done.
  • I went with Adina and Goldie to Old Irish Pub on Tuesday night for an “American Tuesday,” and we had fun. We left on the earlier side, though, because they both had early morning field studies.

Wednesday

  • I was able to sleep in a little, which was nice. I still feel behind from last week.
  • I booked my trip to Berlin with Rachel via facetime, and then we did a workout video together. I think I have all of my flights booked now for travel this semester, which is exciting. I may decide to do one more trip at the end of April, but I would book that more last minute.
  • I had lunch with Adina and Goldie at Paleo, which is very close to my apartment. I forget about the food there and 42 Raw, and I really should go to those places more often. They are both healthy, filling, and quick restaurants with food that is entirely gluten-free.
  • I spent the rest of the afternoon getting more work done and getting ahead on starting some assignments due in a few weeks. I have a bunch of papers due immediately when I get back from my class trip, and I want to avoid having to do work while I’m traveling, as there is hardly any time for it.
  • I took the train to my host family’s house for another exceptional dinner. Pernille made lentil soup with bread, broccoli and cauliflower patties, and roasted potatoes. It was very, very good. We also drank tea and sat in the living room, and I told her and Oscar about my recent travels and experiences in Denmark. Some topics we discussed were divorce in Denmark vs. the United States and family lifestyle in both countries. I always love spending time in their house, as it is very home-y.

Thursday

  • In Positive Psychology, we had a super interesting guest lecture about the psychology of time, which is actually a class that I was super close to taking here. We learned about how we subjectively appraise time in different capacities and for different tenses, such as the past and future. We also did a survey that measured our “temporal profiles” based on how we answered a bunch of questions.
  • In my Psychology of Peak Performance class, we did a bunch of exercises in studying the theories behind concentration. They involved finding specific numbers within a grid, and we had to zone out the other distractions in the room.

Before ending this post, I also wanted to write a little reflection about my abroad experience so far, as this week officially marks the halfway point in my semester, which is crazy! On the one hand, I can’t believe how much I’ve already seen and done, it feels like I have been here for way longer than two months. On the other hand, two months sounds like a really long time, and days feel long, as I have been packing a lot in. I still have so much ahead of me.

I have been journaling a little bit about my personal goals for this semester, and I just re-read them to make sure I was following what I set out to do. Although I have a lot of learning and seeing left to do, I am so proud of everything I have already absorbed. In addition to learning about the customs of a whole new country, I have learned how to plan itineraries, book flights, and navigate my way confidently around Copenhagen. Things that seemed overwhelming and nearly impossible in the beginning have become so much easier, such as supermarket shopping. I have been trying to “go with the flow” when it comes to traveling, especially because people’s plans change last minutes with flights, and there is really very little to do about that.

I’m learning more about Denmark with each class and each day that passes, especially as I have been trying to talk to more locals and tourists about their experiences, even if it’s a quick exchange. I have been open to exploring and trying new things, sights, foods, and routines, and I have tried to vary my Tuesday and Friday schedules so that I’m never really doing the same thing each week.

I miss the comfort of my friends and family at home, but I have been so fortunate to meet amazing friends here, especially Adina (full credit to the DIS housing placement system for matching me with someone so compatible) and Goldie, who may as well be our honorary third roommate. And, I also feel lucky to be abroad during a time when keeping in touch with people at home isn’t so difficult; no one is more than a phone call or facetime away.

I leave for Dublin tonight, so I’ll update you on that when I get back.