Happy Halloween!

Except for a couple housing dilemmas, it’s been a quiet (but busy) week here in Copenhagen.

We fell back an hour on Sunday. Even with the time change, it is still (still) dark in Denmark by 5PM. We go to class, do our work – and at night my floor tries to be as hygge as possible. The Danish concept of hygge, or “cozy”, resists direct translation. It’s a certain atmosphere. And we Americans do the best we can! We try very hard to be hyggelit. We light candles and have grilled-cheese-and-tomato-soup dinners. We push the couches together to make what my floor affectionally calls “the Pit”. We turn the lights down low and wrap ourselves in blankets.

I’m increasingly grateful for my floormates. The ten of us get along like ten peas in a pod, like ten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Like ten characters of some new NBC sitcom. We’ve become an indispensable support system. We’re there for each other in good times and bad. No matter the emotion - homesick, elated, frustrated with the dumb washer – we’ve got each other’s back.

My floor (the first floor AKA the best floor) is a micro unit of the Arts & Culture LLC. I’m also very happy to be living in an LLC. Tonight we have a Halloween party. We have one tomorrow too, of course, because the more Halloween the better but!! Tonight is the Halloween party for the whole LLC. We’re making the scariest dinner we can think of – Mummies in a Blanket, Witch Fingers…..

Halloween isn’t really celebrated in Denmark. (Neither is Thanksgiving. Cheers to America for working some pretty fantastic holidays into the fall season.) But since I live with Americans, we’re bringing Halloween to Copenhagen and inviting all the Danes we know!

The party is going to be a nice way to relax – everyone has been working pretty hard since we got back from our second travel break. Although I did most of my midterms before I left for London, I just turned in my final project for my 20th & 21st Century Danish Architecture class. I studied Egebakken, a senior co-housing project located an hour or so outside of Copenhagen.

So, anyway, Happy Halloween! Some mood music for ya.

The Pit, all candlelit (ahhahahaha the rhyming). Akshi is putting on some music.

The Pit, all candlelit (ahhahahaha the rhyming). Akshi is putting on some music. There might be someone underneath those blankets…… Also, I apologize for the bad quality. My camera hates taking nighttime photos.

Missing my flock this Halloween!

Missing my flock this Halloween!

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Touched Down in Londontown

Hey team!

I just got back from an amazing week in London.

I may have mentioned it before – but the DIS program allows students three week-long travel breaks. One of the first two is dedicated to our core course, which is why I spent a little bit of time studying architecture in Switzerland/Austria/Germany this September. But the other two breaks are freeeeeeeeee for us to organize.

So for our second travel break, Kelsey and I booked cheap round-trip tickets to London. Lindsay (my incredible roommate from Wofford) met us in the city. I can’t tell you how good it was to see her. You can read her blog, which is full of tips and tricks for visiting London, here.

The three of us travelled really well together, luckily, and had some great adventures. We found henna at the Camden Lock markets and Kelsey (a graphic designer) tattooed us. Lindsay washed Kelsey’s hair in a hostel sink, and Lindsay and I bought a batik for our dorm room next semester.

We did a lot of hunting while in London – for the world’s best fish & chips (we found them), for an ele-octo mural (no luck), for the perfect Harry Styles t-shirt (check), and, of course, for Kelsey’s next boyfriend, Harry Styles himself (an elusive chap, really).

We walked along the Thames, ran through Platform 9 ¾ (but decided Wofford was better than Hogwarts), and met Fiyero after a pretty wicked Wicked performance. We made a real phone call from a real British phone booth and got our very own Oyster cards (so we could ride the tube and the double-decker buses).

The trip was practically perfect in every way – and it made me want to move to London. But I’m back in Copenhagen, deep in the Land of the Danes, which I guess isn’t half bad either. *wink*

Until next time! CHEERS!

My roomie looking gorgeous in London

My roomie looking gorgeous in London

Kelsey with her Harry Styles t-shirt

Kelsey with her Harry Styles t-shirt

This British coin (50 pence) explains offsides - how funny is that?

This British coin (50 pence) explains offsides – how funny is that?

DSCN4193

Oh, also. The British drive on the wrong side of the road. (Although our tour guide maintained that WE, the Americans, drive on the wrong side of the road. Silliness.) While we were in London we had to be super careful not to get hit by traffic. Luckily, the Brits have painted helpful reminders on the road.

Oh, also. The British drive on the wrong side of the road. (Although our tour guide maintained that WE, the Americans, drive on the wrong side of the road. Silliness.) While we were in London we had to be super careful not to get hit by traffic. Luckily, the Brits have painted helpful reminders on the road.

We stopped at the Globe! I was so excited. The lady at reception told me that performances in the Globe only occur during the summer months, so it looks like I'll just have to go back to London.

We stopped at the Globe! I was so excited. The lady at reception told me that performances in the Globe only occur during the summer months, so it looks like I’ll just have to go back to London.

Me & Kelsey on our walk along the River Thames

Me & Kelsey on our walk along the River Thames

 

PS. I’d just like to say that the free wifi in the London Starbucks felt like a gift from America.

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These Are Danish

LEGOs! Headquartered in Billund, Denmark, the LEGO Group was in the news most recently for a potential partnership with Shell, the oil company. (See this article from Forbes for details.) Greenpeace stepped in with a pretty powerful video – the video went viral and the contract was canceled.

The Sydney Opera House. I know, right? Did you see that one coming? Jørn Utzon, a famous Danish architect, designed the building. Although he didn’t see the building through to its completion (and actually refused to ever return to the Sydney Opera House, quite a drama), Utzon’s plan for the building was hand-selected by the renowned Eero Saarinen during the design competition. My current studio professor, a native Copenhagen-er, was living in Australia at the time and worked with Utzon’s son on the Sydney Opera House. She laughs it off, saying that she was only selected because she is also Danish, but I’m in awe.

Aqua. Remember this song? Well, guess what? It’s Danish.

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Punk 101

Hey, remember how I live in the Arts & Culture LLC? And remember how every week we do something artsy and cultured, just for the heck of it and (actually) because if we didn’t we would lose our street cred as THE Arts & Culture LLC of DIS?

Well, last week was graffiti.

(Whoops. No, I mean “street art”.)

It was totally legal (pretty sure) and it was possibly definitely the best LLC event so far. We discussed the history of street art, as well as some issues related to the street art movement – the lack of consistent documentation, for example, or the impermanence of the art and its questionable ownership.

And then we put on some plastic gloves and got messy. I painted “DA QREW” in honor of my Spain friends and “WINN” with a skull and crossbones (family secret). I’d like to assert that – indeed – there is an art to graffiti. It’s harder than it looks. See my dripping paint? My lack of spatial depth and wacky 2D lines? I’d like to say that was done purposefully, in the true spirit of street art, but in reality I was just fighting with the spray can.

I don't love this photo but it's the only action shot I've got SO

I don’t love this photo but it’s the only clear action shot I’ve got SO

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Traveling with Architects + A Bad Day

Alright.

Let me tell you something about traveling with architects. I have never met a group of people more inclined to walk into a building and immediately begin diagramming roof structures. Or argue about window placement. The Architects are super observant, likely to point out street drains that match building designs, and they’re smart, drawing on an extensive knowledge of buildings in order to make intelligent comparisons on reflecting pools and curtain walls. What’s more – the Architects are artsy. Brilliant photographers, all of them, and good at sketching. They have tattoos, of course, but the tattoos are about architecture. Geometric houses, Frank Lloyd Wright quotes, Mondrian paintings, the window of a childhood home, the negative space of the letter A, for ‘architecture’.

They’re passionate. Very passionate.

Our study tour through Switzerland, Germany, and Austria was an architect’s dream come true. We flew to Basel and took day trips to see the Vitra Design Campus and Freiburg, Germany. We walked through buildings by Hadid, Ando, and Gehry – and made a pilgrimage to get cheese fondue. I found out that “passive house” doesn’t mean having neighbor hippies, and we saw a real-life Popeye.

our route

our route

On Thursday, we left Basel and spent a night at Therme Vals, a beautiful spa built into the Swiss mountainside. It was wonderful. (And very different from my last spa experience, in Morocco.) I didn’t want to leave the Vals – but I got back on the bus and traveled with the group up through Germany.

And now, I have to tell you a story. I have a confession to make.

Our last day of the trip (Sunday) was mostly spent on the bus driving back to Denmark. But we did make one stop: a huge, beautiful park in Potsdam, Germany. We got off the bus to sketch some of the historic buildings on site, and our plan was to grab lunch and get back on the bus by noon.

Anddddddddd I got lost. I got separated from the group. Not in a funny way, or in a “this-is-fun-let’s-explore” kinda way. In a very scary way. I didn’t have my wallet or my phone and I was lost for almost two hours, walking around this park-thing, getting sweaty and missing lunch and looking stupid. No one knew what I was talking about when I asked if they’d seen my group (if they even spoke English to begin with). I felt a huge surge of hope when I remembered that I had the address for the restaurant, but when I went to the restaurant no one was there. The address was wrongWhen I decided to skip lunch and go back to where the bus dropped us off, the bus wasn’t there. Everywhere I checked they weren’t there and nobody could help me contact them because most of the park didn’t have internet. I very obviously cried in the middle of the visitor’s center at the information desk in front of all these strangers because I thought the group had left me in Germany by myself. (The DIS policy is to leave people who don’t make the bus. It was my tour leader who decided to stay and find me.) When my group realized I was missing (and without my phone), and they called the DIS Emergency Line and sent out a search party. It was pretty humiliating.

They found me and there were hugs. Everyone clapped when I got on the bus because I’d been missing for an hour and a half, and my classmates gave me all of the Nutella they’d stolen from the hotel breakfast buffets. I felt really terrible. Really terrible. And I made the group so late that we missed our ferry to get from Germany to Denmark. We didn’t get back here in the city until 10PM (instead of the planned 7:15PM) and I cost DIS an extra 250 euro because (since we were so late) they had to buy everyone dinner.

Anyway.

Just a story to let you know that I made a huge mistake while abroad and it could have gone really badly. (Although I did find out later that my friends from the LLC had a back-up plan, if they couldn’t find me before the bus left, to stay in Potsdam with my passport and take me to Berlin before coming back to Copenhagen.)

I think everyone is doomed to a couple bad days per semester, but my bad days abroad feel exponentially worse than bad days at Wofford. I’ve never been so happy to see a tour bus in my life.
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Study Tour: Photos

Cathedral in Basel, Switzerland

Cathedral in Basel, Switzerland

Basel, Switzerland

Basel, Switzerland

Soaking wet, but we finally found the restaurant with the cheese fondue!

Soaking wet, but we finally found the restaurant with the cheese fondue!

Factory Building of the Vitra Design Campus by SANAA, 2012

Factory Building of the Vitra Design Campus by SANAA, 2012

Although the architecture of the Vitra Design Campus was interesting, my favorite FAVORITE part of visiting Vitra was a small exhibition featuring the plans for the Alhambra's new visitor center, to be made in 2015. Isn't it funny - serendipitous, fateful maybe? - that the Alhambra showed up in Germany? I feel like my experience in Spain follows me everywhere.

Although the architecture of the Vitra Design Campus was interesting, my favorite FAVORITE part of visiting Vitra was a small exhibition featuring the plans for the Alhambra’s new visitor center, to be made in 2015. Isn’t it funny – serendipitous, fateful maybe? – that the Alhambra showed up in Germany? I feel like my experience in Spain follows me everywhere.

St. Benedict's Chapel by Peter Zunthor, 1988

St. Benedict’s Chapel by Peter Zunthor, 1988

Classmates sketching at the Beyeler Foundation in Switzerland.

Classmates sketching at the Beyeler Foundation in Switzerland.

the Alps, Switzerland

the Alps, Switzerland

the Alps, Switzerland

the Alps, Switzerland

Annie sketching in Potsdam, Germany!

Annie sketching in Potsdam, Germany!

This is the last photo I took during the study trip..... it's the map of the park where I got horribly, horribly lost.

This is the last photo I took during the study trip….. it’s the map of the park where I got horribly, horribly lost.

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Travel to Copenhagen

Photos + stories from study tour week are coming soon!!

Until then, please enjoy this video about Copenhagen. It’s beautifully made and accurate except for the weather don’t let them fool you it is cold here. 

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The Wofford Family

Last night all of the Copenhagen Terriers got together for dinner!

Professor Green (from the Finance department) is guest-teaching at DIS, and seven Wofford students are studying abroad in Denmark. We don’t see each other that often because we’re enrolled in different courses and DIS is huge, so we caught up over some beautiful dishes of salmon, chicken curry, and (yum) lamb kebab! Professor Green treated us, which was really kind of him, and we talked about our experiences abroad. From what I’ve heard, everyone is loving Copenhagen, loving their classes, and still completely stumped by the Danish language.

It was wonderful. We were only missing one student, Brittany – she was studying for a midterm exam and couldn’t make it. I loved seeing some familiar faces. I didn’t realize how much I missed a Southern accent. Can travel all over the world, but really, truly, absolutely: there’s no place like Wofford.

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No Swedish Fish in Sweden!?!

IT’S AN ABOMINATION. Shouldn’t they give you a complimentary pack upon your arrival?

Nah, I’m just kidding. Sweden was great!! We did try to find some Swedish Fish so we could check “eating Swedish Fish in Sweden” off of our bucket list – but since we were unsuccessful, we’re just going to have to prepare a little better and go back. Which would be super easy, since the train ride to Sweden was 45 minutes. It takes me longer to get to Philly.

Although devastated by the lack of Swedish fish, my friends and I found plenty of cool stuff to do. After our 10AM arrival in Malmö, we visited the nearby castle-turned-museum and its beautiful gardens. We wandered through Swedish streets under a lovely blue sky (such a nice break from the Copenhagen grey), and shop-hopped. (<– I made that word up. Think testing wacky make-up, browsing Scandinavian furniture, and getting matching rings from H&M.)

We ran into a wicked good street band, took a train to Lund to see the discovery-place of dopamine (our neuroscience friend was so excited), and drank hot chocolate in the shadow of a cathedral. It was one of the most wonderful days of the semester so far. And as a sidenote: nobody checked our passports. Lotta freedom within that Schengen area.

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Day Trip to Sweden

Me & Tia (the neuroscience friend) on the train to Sweden

Me & Tia (the neuroscience friend) on the train to Sweden

 

The gardens!! Can you see the windmill in the background?

The gardens!! Can you see the windmill in the background?

My friend Kelsey looking super cute in front of some street art

My friend Kelsey looking super cute in front of some street art

This band (theoriginalfive.se) played bluegrass music that made me feel like I was back home in South Carolina. They were really, really good live - and they played on top of this truck, so extra cool points

This band (theoriginalfive.se) played bluegrass music that made me feel like I was back home in South Carolina. They were really, really good live – and they played on top of this truck, so extra cool points

Serene church window in Lund

Serene church window in Lund

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