Monday, October 26, 2009

Joe Cavanaugh is lucky

Hello :) I've had quite a good time this past week. Really good. Great!

Lets start with farming school; That was quite an experience....
I just want to start this whole thing by saying my danish has improved like CRAZY this past week or so. ( or at least I've noticed how much I've actually learned) I can't believe I can actually communicate and try to make converstaion with people in danish. Sure I have to ask them to repeat a lot but once they do, I understand them. I've got the small talk in the bag! (kind of) but it's just weird. I'm not used to it yet. My communicationn with other people consists of almost all danish!
Ok, anyway, farming school; It was interesting. We worked on the farm, we learned in the classrooms, and we drove tractors :) I got to hang out with the cows and sheep, and I even got to ride a horse one day! That was cool. I've never done that. We learned a lot about farming and how to take care of the animales and stuff. I had a good time. I had to get up really early everyday though. The school was in Rosklide. So I had to ride my bike to Køge station every morning ( about 15 minutes), then take the train to Rosklide station (about 25 minutes), then sit at the station and wait for the bus (about 20 minutes) then take the bus to the school (about 10-15 minutes) The sun didn't come up until after I was at the school everyday. I hadn't used the public transport that much by my self before last week and there were some messups. I ended up missing the train one morning. And I missed the bus once too and I had to walk 5k to the school 2 times! But now I think I know the transportation system quite well so thats a really good thing. I have no pictures from farming school. There was never an good time to whip out a camara...
When friday came along farming school was over and I was on my way to Sweden! WOW that was an awesome trip! I'm so lucky I got to go white water rafting AND caving in Sweden. It was sooo cool. We were only going to a southern part of Sweden so I didn't think it would look much differnt from Denmark, but ohhh it did. We took our bus across the water on a huge ferrie. It was crazy. There was a huge parking lot on the bottom and a mall type thing with stores an resturants on the other levels. When we got to Sweden the first city was quite simmilar to Denmark. But we were soon out in the nature and things were sooo differnt. I can't really say how but it was like nature I havn't seen in real life before. When you go out in the woods in Michigan (where I come from) It's like the same as it is in Denmark. But It was...bigger in Sweden. Big trees and big rocks and everything was coverd in thick green mosses and stuff. And it was always misty and wet. And there were a lot of calm little lakes and stuff. And it's fall! So that just added to how nice it all was. It was really realll reallllly cold...
I've never tried white water rafting before so I didn't know what to expect. But we had to strip down and change into our wet suits out in the woods by the river! It was sooo cold. Just try to imagine it. It was rainning, it was cold enough to see your breath, I was freezing and we were about to get into little boats and splash around in a raging river. So what happend next I wasn't expecting at all... One of the leaders took as down to the edge of the water. He was speeking danish of corse and the water and everything was making to much noise for me to understand. But than all of a sudden kids started jumping into the water! They zipped down the river into a lake a little farther down. I couldn't believe it. I thought the piont was to stay in the boat and stay as dry as we could!? But it was my turn to jump in, and I've learend to not really ask questions, so there I went :) It was soooo much fun. 100% freezing but one of the coolest things I've ever done. After that, being wet and cold didn't matter anymore. (Jumping into a ragging river in October will do that for you) We took the boats out and did the same strip of river for hours. It comes out into a lake, you get out, take your boat, walk up the trail, and get in the river again. The boats were for 2 people so we just switched parteners all the time. The was on time I was with this girl and our boat got turned around backwards! We hit a big wave thing and she fell out! I was half way out (one of my legs) and I slamed my knee agienst a big rock. That hert really bad :( We were both fine but my knee still herts kind of. Just brused though. It was an adventure! but there was more to come...That same day we changed in to dry(ish) clothes and headed over to a cave! We crawled around deep into these dark little holes ( not for clasterfobic people) but it was really cool becuase we found that a lot of them lead to bigger "rooms". I love how Europeans (from what I've seen) don't have to worry about crazy parents sueing them If they set there kids free in a cave in Sweden, or tell them to jump into a ragging river :) I really don't think that trip would have been the same if I went with Americans....

The next day we did some more white water rafting. But it was less the the first day becuase we had to hit the road. I was home by 8:00pm on Sunday and I had to make sure I was ready for my first day at Solrød Gymnasuim! I don't think my first day could have gone any better :) My class is great. They were all really nice and interested in me. We had math and I was able to do the work. I worked together with some other people and I was actually able to discuse the problems in danish. I was lost with some of it but I knew what we were doing. then we had a geogrophy type class were the teacher gave a test (just to see what we knew) becuase they were starting somthing new. I could read almost all the questions and even answer some of them. haha. It was cool. Then we had gym class were we split up into 2 groupd and had a dance off. haHAHAaa. Not something I've done in gym class before. They were all really welcoming and I even got invited to a class party on friday! yay! I can't wait for the rest of the week so I can get a real feel of what its like and let you guys know. But for now I think I've written enough. I've got language school tomorrow so I've got to study. I havn't had time all week! Bye.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I hope thats spelled right. It meens Fall Break! I know I mentioned it already. My break was sooo nice:) For the first half we were in a little town in north west Jutland called Blokhus. On the map you see 3 main bodies of land. The three parts of Denmark. The 2 to the right are islands. I live on the east coast of the island on the right side. In english it's called Zealand. The part thats not an island (on the left side) is Jutland, which borders germany in the south (not in this picture. haha) Were we stayed was in the north west part of Jutland.
On the way over we stopped for lunch at one of Mor's friends houses on Fyn, the middle part of Denmark. Is was nice to be able to stop because now I can say I've been there and not just driven through. All in all I think it took us about 4 hours to get to Blokhus (were we stayed) We stayed at a hotel type place but there were a lot of seprate buildings and we had our own kitchen. So we made dinner every night just like at home. The place was right on the beach. The beach was BIG and beautiful with sand duns and people driving cars all over. And the sun set over the ocean every night. It was nice, but freezing cold. You wouldn't think of swimming. But they had a nice indoor pool so we were in there a lot. They had table tennis too and I must say I think I've improved my skills this past week. We did that ALOT. We all played a lot of cards to together too. The trip was great bonding time :) On the way home we got to see Århus, the main city in Jutland. We went to a place called "den gamlle by" It meens, the old town. It's a collection of really old danish buildings that they moved into one area. It's not that exciting if your comming from Køge (it looked like our town. haha) but it was a fun thing to do.

When we got home Simon and I were off to a party that same night. And the next day I finally got to use that canoe thing I won. It was me, Simon, Ramus, and Sigurd. We got up at 10 in the morning and went cannoeing (?) in the freezing rain. Yes it really was freezing rain. We spent most of the time under bridges :D It was cold. But just really dumb fun, you know? And we got free lunch after :)

The rest of the the break we just relaxed, I went to some parties, studied some danish, and slept :)

And today is monday, break is over, and I had such a good day today!!! It started with a long awaited meeting at Solrød Gymnasium. I'm switching to that school! It was so cool walking in and seeing how nice and "un-grade schoolish" it was. There were no little kids, no screeming, no running, and it was fancy and bigger and better! I got a list of my classes and I even met some kids I know that go there. I'm very excited to start but.....I don't start till next monday. This week I'm going to farming school :) It's one of those "bridge building" things with 10 klasse. I decided it's not something I want to miss. How often do you get a chance to spend a week at farming school?! come on! After my meeting at Solrød, Far took me to the farming school and when he dropped me off he said "have fun, it your first and last time to do this." And from there I was sooo happy. After getting to see Solrød and knowing that was ahead for me, and then walking into this "farming school" where I knew no one and nothing about, I just felt good, off to do another random thing in Denmark. I felt refreshed and ready and confident, and I had such a good day. I met new people with ease. And in Danish! I was sooo surprised at myself. It's the most Danish I've ever spoken. In fact I think I said 2 sentences in english the whole day, and I talked a lot! I had a hard time switching over to english at the beginning of this blog! It's by far the most fluent I've ever felt (but still far from it) The hard work is paying off :) I really think I'll learn a lot of Danish this week. Becuase I met these people in Danish we speek in Danish. It's wierd but...english just doesn't seem like an option when I'm with them. It's a really good thing!
Today we got a tour of the farm and school. The kids who go to this school live there! they each have there own rooms too, with a bed, and desk, and belcony, even their own showers. They eat really good there too. The whole place reminded me of a much smaller, much more modurn Hogwarts :) The kids who go there are kind of like family, they eat together, they have a nice big common room, and when they're not in class they "rome the grounds" The main loby felt more like a big living room than anything. I wont talk to much about the school, I'll save it for my next blog. But here's my timeline until I blog again:

- the rest of the school week at the farm school!
- white water rafting in sewden over the weekend!
- my first few days at Solrød Gymnasium!

The next one's gonna be good :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I've Got Some News...

So after a long time of leaving this little "problem" out of my blog I'd like to say....I'm switching schools! The class I'm in right now is called 10 klasse. I wrote about it a long time ago way at the start of my blog. The thing is that it's just to....pointless. I don't feel like I'm in school enough. And when I am in school we don't get much of anything done. I came here with the impresion that school was going to be really hard here. I was mentally prepared for it and now I just feel....lame. I feel dumb being tired becuase I don't do anything taxing (except language school)
and when I go out and have fun I don't feel like I earned it.....It's difficult to explain. but any way. I've talked with AFS and my host family about it and they found a place for me at Solrød Gymnasium :) The one in Køge is full so I'll have to take a train to school but thats OK with me. I have a meeting at the school on Monday but I don't know exactly when I will start school there. Right now, as of yesterday, we are on efterårsferie! ( fall break) So nothing can really be done with the school right now....but I'll wait :)

In the morning we're all going to Jutland! Mors sister has an apartment in a little town in north western Jutland that they use for vacationing. It's right on the water and I've been told the beaches are really beautiful there so I'm excited. Simon and Anne say there's not much to do up there, but It'll be nice. They have a pool and table tennis and we'll be there for 3 days. I'm looking forward to it.

Lastley: you might be wondering how my danish is coming along. We're 10 days into October and I havn't writen at all about my atempts at speaking ALL dainsh at the start of this month. It's very hard! I'll be honest and say I'm slightly failing, but still improving a lot. Even though I use english still when I need to, I think It's safe to say that it's finally more danish than english, especially around the house. And there are A LOT of things I never say in english. It's just automaticly danish with some words and prases that I happen to use a lot. Simple danish conversation is also become much less foriegn to me. I can uderstand a lot when people are talking and I don't translate it in my head anymore. And we're reading books in language school! They're ment for people who are learning danish so that not very hard but still, I don't read baby books anymore. They're are no pictures and I still know what going on! I whipped through 2 books last week, each about 50 pages (haha) Reading is the easiest part becuase the words are right there in front of you. You dont have to try to say them and you don't have to make sure you heard right. I'm working hard! Learning a second language the way I am (living with it) is really fun and really rewarding. I'm lucky to get to do it. And there's not gonna be a day were I just say "hey! I'm fluent now!" With certain conversations I have (when I'm lucky) I feel like I already am fluent becuase I can understand and comunicate back easily. But I'm not even close to being able to say everything I want to.I'll be learning all the way up to the day I leave. There will be no crossing over, just building up from here :)

So, I'm off to a family birthday party but I'll blog again when I get back from Jutland. Hopfully by than I'll be able to say more about my school situation, and I'll have pictures from our trip.

Monday, October 5, 2009

AFS Fall Camp

Once upon a time there was a lady named Abigail. She was in love with a man named George. She lived on one side of the river and he lived on the other. One day there was a big storm. The river flooded, and all the bridges to the other side were washed away. Abigail had no way of getting to George. The only person on the river with a boat was a fisherman named Carl. Abigail asked Carl if he would take her across the river to her man. And Carl said he would but only if Abigail would have sex with him first. Abigail didn't know what to do. She was very confused so she went to ask her mother, but when she explained the situation her mother told her she didn't want anything to do with it. So Abigail decided to have sex with Carl. He took her across the river and she went to go see George. She told him everything. She felt very bad about what she did but it was the only way to get back to him. But George didn't understand. He got very angry and told Abigail that they were no longer together. Abigail was very hurt. As she walked away from George's house she met his friend John. She told John the whole story and John became very upset. He thought George should have understood. John decided to go back to Georges house and beat him up. Abigail was very greatful and the too of them fell in love.

????? This is a story they told us at the AFS camp last weekend. After they told the stroy, they put us into groups and asked us to order the 5 people in the story from best to worst. They wanted us all to agree on who was moraly in the right place. Each group had kids from all over the world of corse, and we were supposed to try to agree on morals.....It was impossible. It was really intersting hearing the other kids opinions about who in the story haden't done anything wrong. The more I listened to each explination, the easier it became to put the charecters into any order. Even fisherman Carl could be seen as the inocent one. It all depended on your set of morals. And we had a lot of differnt sets of moral in that room. The whole thing helped us realise that none are really better then another. They're just differnt. Very interesting....

The camp was a really good thing and it was at a very good time I think. It was really helpfull to be able to talk to other exchange students and to see were they stood and how they felt at this point. We spent a lot of time talking with the leaders and hearing about each others problems with family, school, friends, ect. And the leaders (all passed exchange students) had really good advise and ideas for everything. I learned a lot at the camp. they gave us a lot of advise and really help all of us to kind of stop floating around and start moving forward again. They had us all write a list of goals. simple things and big things, and it was so easy to just write and write and write. I remember in grade school when we would have to do that and I would never know what to write so I'd just make somthing up. haha. But as an exchange student you have so many goals they're just all bundled up in your head. It was really helpfull to write it all down and be able to see it a talk about how we could make them happen. It's really got me thinking about some things...

And of corse it was also great to just be with all these people who are going through the same thing. It's so easy to just talk and talk and talk. In fact, there was a group of us who stayed up until 5:30 am Saturday night! The only complaint I have is that when we slept, it was on the floor, and we were in my school of all places! Some kids traveld for 2 hours but I could have walked home and slept in my own bed. but couldn't. Anyway, It was just great to be able to pause my exchange for a few days and think and colaberate and all that. It was fun.

P.S. When I got home I discovered that Simons bike had been found!!....and a tree fell down in the back yard :(