Sunday, March 30, 2008


Enjoy this picture of Gothenburg, Sweden (see the blue and white banners on the lamposts, those were for the Figure Skating Championships, selling them at the event!), while I run around like a chicken with my head cut off, as I prepare for two exams for next week.

My entire grade in both classes rests on these individual exams, one is an oral 15 minute presentation, the other is a four hour written open-book exam. I prefer the 15 oral, its more stressful, but at least its less time, thus shortening the ordeal.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Funny signs in Foreign Lands

Imagine this - Gothenburg, Sweden, 11:30pm (at night) and I'm taking the tram back from the figure skating pavilion to my B&B, this sign (pictured above) is on the inside of the tram. I absolutely HAD to take a picture. Why??????

My favorite joke of all-time goes like this:
There are these two tomatoes walking. One of the tomato's is lagging behind. So the fast tomato stops and waits for the slow one. When the slow tomato reaches the fast one, he stomps on the slow guy and says, "catch up!" It makes me laugh and laugh and laugh (I'm laughing right now). And when I saw this picture, with my FAVORITE joke, it was kismet!! If you notice in the fine print (this was an ad for blood donations by the Swedish red cross), it says catch up. From what I could tell it had something to do with the Swedish blood bank being low.

Of course all the Swedes (surprisingly full at 11:30 at night) on the trolley looked at me with that expression, you know the one that says "what a sad pathetic tourist." But I got my picture and that's what counts!

On a totally different note, I've been going through a bit of a mini-crisis these past few days, mostly of my own doing (another non-surprise). But today I went to the simply wonderful flower markets of Copenhagen and realized, 'you know what, my time here is too short to be bogged down with worry, I don't want anything taking away from this experience,' so I'm not even going to stress about it. Whatever will be will be and in the meantime, I'm going to just enjoy my Bridget Jones Copenhagen adventure! (Besides, look at those flowers in the picture above, how can one be bummed when presented with such gorgeous creations of God?? While those flowers in the picture are Gerber daisies, I splurged and got a $2 bouquet of hyacinths, [not pictured above]).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Return to Copenhagen!

I have returned! Have happier words been uttered....I don't think so - I am ever so elated to be back in Copenhagen : ) Why?? Well though the World Figure Skating Championships in Sweden were a lot of fun, and it was nice to catch up with friends in London - the whole thing was a bit too frantic and maybe I'm just older and don't particularly like running around constantly having to think on a vacation (where do I go, how do I get there, how much does it cost, etc). But enough of my caterwauling....some pictures:

This is from the ladies final - where Mao Asada of Japan took the gold. I was happy for her, she skated a relatively clean program, except this major slip at the beginning of the program where it looked she was going to totally wipe out. I thought the best program of the night was the Korean girl, Yu-Na Kim, who skated to Miss. Saigon music, but as she was in 5th place, the highest she was able to move up to was third. The Italian, Carolina Kostner was in second. I've never particularly warmed to Kostner, who is technically good but no real artistry. This picture is my seat view - high enough? (totally unplanned how all the girls wore pink btw)

The second night was the dance event - very exciting (and I had better seats, much closer)!! The gold was completely up for grabs. Above is the Canadians, who skated a deliciously wonderful free dance to this French movie soundtrack "Umbrellas at __" They came in second, their first time on the podium! The damn Russians came in third (there is almost always a Russian on the podium, aye!). The French couple won first and were so sweet - she was crying. They, like the Canadians, have never medaled (1st, 2nd, 3rd) at Worlds and their first time on the podium is gold - how amazing!

Sadly the Americans at this Worlds did not do well, though I cheered my heart out. The ladies all fell at some point and it was madding-ly disappointing, when you know that these girls have the ability and should have been somewhere near the top. The top American Ice Dance Pair Belbin and Agosto, who I was so excited to see, just could not pull it off to come from behind (fifth) to make the podium and all because of a stupid fall/trip in the compulsory portion. The only American to win a medal was Johnny Weir, a bronze in the Men's category - his first time on the podium as well!

I had fun gathering with fellow figure skating fans, I met this great Greek girl, who shares my birthday and had traveled to Sweden alone as well, because, like me, she has no one who loves figure skating like she does - we were staying at the same bed and breakfast! After spending hours over breakfast chatting about the event, gossiping about figure skaters, who we had seen at the event (yes we are figure skating geeks, even getting excited about coaches), we swapped emails and hopefully will keep in touch, so that we can attend future figure skating events together : )

London was London and amazingly I wasn't particularly enamoured this time..have I changed?? I was happy to leave that city and get back to Copenhagen! oh well, now its back to the books...but a nice-ish break from school, if perhaps not all that I was thinking it would be...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

2008 World Figure Skating Championships!!!

Started snowing late last night here in Wonderful Copenhagen, a fellow hall mate (who happens to be a friend of mine) and I thought it would be a lovely idea to go out at 1am and play in the snow. We didn't go out far, just on our street. She wanted to make snow angels, but there wasn't enough snow for that, but we did walk to the end of the street where it meets the canal, nothing prettier than snow falling on water, with soft yellow lights all around. As you can see, I'm utter crap at taking pictures at night - sorry these are so bad. Just imagine a winter wonderland - because that is what it looked like.

Speaking of bad - I did a very bad thing last night, in the euphoria of the falling snow - I emailed my crush in London. Yes Virginia Gal very stupid indeed, and I have already mentally beaten myself up about it. I am heading to London this weekend, as it is Copenhagen Business School's Easter/spring break. Thus I thought, at 1am last night, that it would be a good idea to email him and suggest meeting up - which he completely dismissed, this afternoon. I felt bad for a second and than said "screw 'him, what a jerk,"...hey that is progress, right?

Tomorrow I'm off to Gothenburg, Sweden for the 2008 World Figure Skating Championships - woohoo!! I can't wait!! No predictions this year, as I've been already reading the results and am totally bummed about the Americans (not doing good in the first few days, but I'll write more later).

oh and I had to mention, someone asked me if I would like to live in Copenhagen and I said, yes but only if my family and American friends could move here with me. I miss my wacky but lovable clan and good girlfriends, otherwise everything else in Copenhagen is great!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Foggy Day Ruminations

Foggy day in Copenhagen - made me feel like I was in London, yet it was very beautiful. I woke up this morning for a walk (Copenhagen is often at its prettiest early when most are asleep and you can appreciate the city without all the people) and decided to attend the English Church services on this Palm Sunday. Quite interesting to learn about those last days of Jesus (pbuh).

The church did the reading of this gospel with various people, so that there was a different voice for each role, i.e. one guy played Judas, one woman played Pilate's wife, a group of old ladies playing the crowd etc. As they read, I could feel the emotions in the voices and it vibrated in me. I was angry at the Disciples for running away, I was frustrated that Pilate ignored his wife and I was befuddled by the betrayal of Judas. Also, I was mad at the temple leaders and mob (made of Jewish people) who wanted Jesus (pbuh) dead. This made me remember something I had read about before WWII. How Jews in Poland would disappear or lay low during Easter because they would often be targeted. I could see how this story kind of raises that fervor of the ignorant and given the right sermon or church leader fueling that rage - one could leave the Church very mad (you know the same kind of people who stampede or think all Muslims are guilty for 9/11 and should be watched).

Living in Europe, I am reminded so much of how despite claims of liberalism, these countries are quite religiously intolerant in that they don't really work to learn about other faiths or integrate very much, i.e. the white Danes hang with the white Danes, the Muslims hang with the Muslims, the people of Asia hang with the people of Asia; and those in the minority don't feel a part of Denmark. Its a sense of us vs. them syndrome.

Unlike what I feel in America, where everyone is an American, regardless of religion and where we work so hard to honor all religious traditions (i.e. wishing Eid Murbarak on the television). Perhaps because everyone in America is an immigrant from somewhere, there is a group mentality, similar to what I see here in the Exchange program, were we all bond together no matter which part of the world we are from, because of this shared experience of being foreigners in a foreign land. Maybe its Pollyanna-ish but I think of us Americans as saying, "yes we are different but we are all in this [life] together."

What I mean to say and am doing so poorly, is that unlike in America where people would leave the church and I don't think they would go and desecrate the Jewish temple down the street, I DO think they might do that still in Europe.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Peep Show and stuff

Title of picture above, Peep Show - get it?? I laughed and laughed at this picture.

Below is a snap of my $1 red and yellow African Violet sitting on my desk, that I bought on Saturday. Sadly I had to move the poor thing to the window, it has already started to droop by today (Wednesday), I'm hoping closer to the sun will perk it up.

Was going to post on the Copenhagen Metro but wasn't in the proper ranting mood (oh its ranting material my friends, definitely ranting!).

I'm feeling a bit bummed because I've applied for two jobs here in Europe, with well-known big firms (NOT AIRLINES), and got curt rejections from both. Here I'm at this school with great connections (Madeline Albright was speaking at the school last week) and somehow I'm not making the it something I'm doing or maybe just kismat, since I wasn't 100% keen on these companies anyway (preferring to work for an airline back home)???

On a more positive note, this cute Danish guy in my HR class called me pretty today (Virginia Gal does snoopy happy dance).

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Wacky Copenhagen Weather

A wonderful shot of the Copenhagen Botanical Gardens - taken by yours truly yesterday, when the weather was gorgeous. Today the weather was wet and gray. This Danish weather is so contrary, one day beautiful, the next miserable. It's like Mother Nature can not make up her mind, she keeps teasing all of us here in Denmark - yesterday was so lovely!! I spent all day out with some friends in the large Botanical Garden that sits quite close to the center of town, the flowers were blooming, the ducks were waddling (quite aggressive here in Denmark, greedy little buggers, use to always getting fed!), and outside we stopped at a flower market.

I wish I had taken a picture of the flower markets here, they are so big and lovely; every color and shade of the rainbow - pink Gerber daisies, purple tulips, orange roses, blue hyacinths, and oh the bouquets they make here! Just as if one has come from a wedding...I splurged bought myself $1 potted plant - red and yellow African violets (now pray I don't kill it).

This is one thing I'm mostly definitely going to miss about Denmark - the if only Mother Nature would usher in spring and leave winter behind, ahhh that would be truly lovely.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Environmentally Sound

I absolutely had to post this picture - from my Oslo trip this past weekend. My friends and I came upon this adorable car purely by happen chance. It is so reflective of how environmentally friendly Scandinavia is; this car is electric and plugged in on the other side. Plus it takes up so little room (my height is 5'1 and I was taller than the car). Here in Copenhagen, they recycle everything and most stores will not even give you a plastic bag, you have to pay for it. I collect empty beer cans whenever I'm walking around town, because the grocery stores pay when you recycle those cans. Also, as I noted in a previous post, Denmark relies heavily on wind energy, a renewable source. I would LOVE to get this car for my dad - he's a tiny Indian man and I think he would look so cute driving in this, in the States.

On a totally different note....

Funny short story - During a break in Danish language class this week, a few of us native English speakers got talking about children's programming. Somehow we mentioned Cookie Monster and the French girl sitting next to me said (in a thick French accent) "what, a monster on a children's show?" She was befuddled.
So I said, "no he's really cute,"
And she replied "but he's a monster," and we tried to explain that's he just a monster for cookies - she wasn't altogether convinced. We suggested she youtube Cookie Monster. I think its funny how somethings just don't translate - even sweet ol'Cookie Monster.

"C is for cookie, it's good enough for me; oh cookie cookie cookie starts with C." - Cookie Monster

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Oslo Cruise

This weekend was the big Oslo cruise - specifically arranged for us exchange students by the Copenhagen Business School International Office. I was hesitate to go (its optional cruise) because the unofficial nickname of this cruise is the "booze cruise" and since I don't drink, wasn't sure if I would have any fun; but I was convinced otherwise by hallmates. Above is the ship we sailed on - my first cruise!
Itinerary - Friday the 29th, leave CPH for Oslo, Norway.
Saturday - dock in Oslo, 9:30am, spend all day there, ship leaves at 5pm back for Copenhagen.
Sunday - Back home by 10am.

Lots to do in seven hours for a big European city, but my small group of four (three girls and a guy, shout out to Peter who was so sweet to act as our Oslo tour guide and to hang with three shopping crazy girls), managed to see the Munich Museum, the Norwegian National Art Gallery, The Royal Palace and even stop at TGIFriday's for a bit to eat. This guy in the photo above was standing up high playing the trumpet on the big main avenue leading to the National Gallery. He did a fabulous rendition of Amazing Grace and waved and smiled at me when I took his pic, so sweet.

Here is a photo of the changing of the guards in front of the Royal Palace. It was nice (and short!), but the soldiers looked all the age of 15 - aye! I would have taken a picture of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" but no photography was allowed in the National Gallery and the Munch Museum's "The Scream" is being repaired for damage (so I posted the image from 'net instead). In person I have to say "The Scream" is not that dramatic, and Munch did some other portraits that are MUCH scarier, goodness some of his early work is just pure frightening, lots of horror film material, death, ghosts, there is one he did with this little boy and girl staring at each other, the boys face is this pale green and eyes are black, so creepy! But it was neat to see this famous artist's work.

After a long day, lots and lots of walking around, (man I'm getting so much exercise here, much more than I ever did in the States), we boarded the boat. Oslo was a fun city but it is definitely not Copenhagen and I'm glad I chose Copenhagen to do my exchange. Oslo is very much like the Northwest of America, it reminded me of Alaska, lots of forest with evergreens, snow, dark and overcast, not helped by the propensity of gray buildings in Oslo (ugh if you could have seen the city hall, so communist, it was horrible - as someone in my group pointed out, very socialist). The ride home was very rough, as we encountered a storm and much of the group spent the night sea sick - I danced till midnight in the nightclub to 60's music, with a group of friends, it was fun, despite the ship rolling back and forth and causing us dancers to all shift to one side of the floor and than to the other side (think cartoons, it was that comical).

Oslo is situated in a fjord, and as we sailed away I snapped this shot of a boat going past us, that is the beauty of Norway, its natural beauty, stillness and peacefulness and I'm glad I went on this trip after all.