Monday, January 27, 2014

I'm so sick of jet lag.

I've been home for about two weeks now and every day I have been thinking about writing this blog... my closure post, but I have been so tired or busy that I have just kept putting it off. Today I finally came to terms that I just wont write anything but I don't like to leave things unfinished so here it is. I don't really have a theme or an idea that I've been thinking about which would normally create the post or I would try work in so bare with me if it is a bit scatter brained.

I'm home and its hot.

I had a swell last three weeks in DK. The first week was Christmas which has been covered in another post and the later weeks consisted of spending money, sleeping... a lot of sleeping, a comedy/magic and orchestra new years concert and finally catching up with Host families, a few friends with an odd Rotary and Inner Wheel meeting thrown in for good measure.
Gosh, being back in DK was just so refreshing and so normal. It always feels like coming home. I just kept being reminded after every visit to my host families how fortunate I was to fall into this little community and have these people in my life. Never has my heart felt so full and happy. I get this warm feeling and I just have so much love and appreciation for them.

and I guess that's what this whole venture has been about these last ten-ish months. I've really found that the world is filled with wonderful people and if you open yourself- your heart, the world comes flooding in. Sometimes you have to filter out the bad and make choices to find the good, but there is good there and I feel fortunate to be breathing the same air and sharing the company of these wonderful people. I have always known this I guess- it's not a new revelation but it's just something I really felt this year.  It comes from being able to call a strangers house a home, it comes from spending Christmas with a family you barely know and being spoilt rotten, it comes from a stranger holding the door for you while you struggle up the tiny hostel stairs with 20 kgs of luggage or a few strangers adopting you for the night because you are travelling on your own. I have had so many wonderful encounters with people from all walks of life on all sorts of journeys and I feel privileged that our paths have crossed. The more people we can understand the smaller the world gets. The smaller prejudice and intolerance gets.   

It feels different coming home this time. A wonderful lady mentioned to me that this time she thought 'I was calmer' or 'more ready' to be coming home than I was when I was coming home from exchange. I definitely get that, I definitely feel that. My whole life was changed after exchange and because it was my first big venture and everything I had left had changed. I had no idea what I was coming back to and if I was ever getting back to DK. a whole 'era' had ended- that's what scares me really about life, how it can be so one way and then so not. Time just moves on. However, I do find peace knowing I know what it takes. I know, how easy it is to come back and to create something so wonderful, I think that's why I am calmer, that's why I'm not so devastated.  I just feel strange because this time is all over. I've spent my whole life really working towards this and it feels strange that its been and gone. Travel and living overseas is something that I have always been aware of mainly because of my British side. I've always known of the countryside in England where my relatives live, I've always known about my parents 18 months spent living overseas and various other relatives travelling, so all I have ever envisioned was spending a 'gap year' living and travelling overseas. I always thought about university and relationships and all that domesticated life that happens later but I never really saw past my 'gap year'- my dream. I'm almost 21 years old and I've achieved really all I've ever dreamed of doing and now I don't really know where to go from there. I'm working on a few new aspirations but I know it wont be long before I am back venturing.

I have discovered through all this that I love starting fresh, starting new and creating a life somewhere else- even if it is just for a while. I feel that is definitely something that I will spend my life chasing and delving in and out of. I find my home within my self and my happiness. I find my home in streets, landscapes and in smiles of other people. It is lovely to have familiar hugs, the sound of our whinge-y accent and the company of my family but you know what, I know I'm ok when I don't have the familiar. I can survive and I can be happy.

I'm excited to see what this next chapter of my life brings. I'm not too fussed on going to university or be back in aus, but I do know that I am grateful, that I am lucky to be able to come home. I am lucky that I have education easily available to me, that I have family and friends that welcome me with open arms, I am lucky that I am healthy and I that I have choice and opportunity, purely the opportunity to do well in my life if I choose to do so and that's, that's more than enough for now.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

There is no snow and the temperature isn't under 0. What sort of Winter do you call this love?

Here is such a belated Christmas but I simply felt I could not combine it to my leaving Ireland one, so here it is.

I had such a big a hole in my stomach leaving Ireland. I was exhausted from the past two weeks which consisted of longer days, later nights and sad goodbyes that by the time I got to DK late on the 22nd evening, all I wanted to do was sleep for days and wallow in my 'leaving Ireland misery'. Seriously, leaving two little girls in the car crying made me feel terrible.

But Alas, I landed in the sweet arms- or home, of my lovely friend Astrid and her family. They were kind enough to let me share Christmas with them this year (last year) and I could of not of felt more welcome and cared for.

Christmas this year consisted of four days of non stop eating. Seriously. The 23rd, was spent making goodies. We made Danish Floedeboller, which for aussies, is a better version of a Snowball. The 23rd also consisted of putting up the Christmas Tree. The family got the tree in and we set the lights on and then they let me decorate it. Normally at home we all do it together but I think because they knew I wasn't in full christmas spirit it might get me going if I did it. So I got to decorate the tree and even complete it with putting the star on the top! Oh, and the tree was a real one. No plastic!  Then that evening we had a pre-Christmas dinner with consisted of Steak, Duck, Potato and a lovely white sauce.

The 24th evening is when they celebrate Christmas in DK, so the morning we went off to Church. I'm not religious at all but it was a great thing to experience, we just sung danish christmas carols and the Priest had a speech. All over within 45 minutes- my kind of service ;)
Then we just relaxed until the evening when it was officially Christmas. We had Fleskestej (pork with crackling), Roedkod (red cabbage), Potatoes and Gravy. A very traditional Dansk meal and it is always one of my favorites (not bad for a girl who didn't eat pork before she came to DK a few years a go!) ! Dinner was followed by Ris ala-mande which is basically a rice pudding with an almond hidden and you eat it with a jam like sauce. Yum yum yum.
Following dinner we did the traditonal dance around the christmas tree singing christmas carols and then we sat down and unwrapped presents. My presents this year came via the bank account, but my host families and Astrid's family were so kind to get me some little things, so I had some things to unwrap on Christmas. I enjoyed that Astrid's family follow the same idea as my family, that the youngest hands out the presents!
I also skyped with my Family which worked out to be Christmas Day in aus, so it was wonderful to see their faces and to hear their voices on Christmas Day.

Eating day number three- the 25th, begun around 2pm when the first dish of food was set on the table. Fish. Lets just say the day started off slow for me. Most of you will know that I don't eat fish. I cant stand the smell and can't stomach the taste. However, the day quickly picked up when glazed Ham, Chicken tartlette's, Potatoes and bunch of other yummy foods which have escaped my mind circled the table and by the end my stomach was bursting and I still had dessert to go! I was in control of Dessert this time around which was nerve wracking for me but also exciting because it was lovely to share something from home with everybody. I made Pavlova- My mum also made one this year so I didn't feel too left out ;) Traditionally a 'Pav' is one whole thing about the size of the cake but for a much safer option I made small dollops so everyone had their own mini Pav. I whipped some cream and put Strawberries, Blueberries and some crushed mint choc on top. It was delicious and it felt like a light dessert after the mountain of food we had just eaten! Oh and it was a success too so maybe I can add Pavlova to my small repertoire of foods I can cook! ha!
It was my last night in this lovely family so Astrid and I finished it off with Bridget Jones and a good chat. I had a brilliant time with her family and I am just so thrilled that I got to experience another Danish Christmas. I can't thank them enough!

My final day of eating was 'Julefrokost' at Claus and Hanne's, where I am currently residing until my dreaded departure (kidding Mum.... sort of ;) ). The dinner was very similar to the day before so I wont go in to too many details but it was another lovely day of stretching my stomach and spending time with people I love.

I was so relieved to get back to 'my' old room in Korsoer, it always feels like coming home. Since then I have been sleeping better and enjoying the fact that I have had no alarm. So much so, that when a buzzing noise woke me up yesterday morning at the absurd time of 8am, I was like 'what on earth is that?' to which I quickly remembered 'oh, my alarm'.

I'm thoroughly enjoying my time back in DK. I'm a little disappointed in the fact that there is no snow. However, I had five minutes of some sleet-like snow in Ireland as I was walking home from a goodbye on my last day, so I figured it was the universe giving me something.
I haven't managed to get around to all my host families yet, but I will and I need to hurry because I don't have long left!