Thursday, March 22, 2012



So last Wednesday (March 14) we went to the quiz night again. But this time instead of 4 people, we had 20! We had two full teams of 8 and then a half team. I came with a group of Danes from my kitchen so they stayed on my team which was lucky for us. There were a lot more questions about Denmark this time so the other teams really suffered. But there was a Doctor Who question!! "Who was the first companion in the new series of Doctor Who?" Rose Tyler, of course! So that was exciting. But we still got second place by 1 point in the first round. Then in the second round we got 4th place. But out of 23 teams I'd say that's pretty good!

Thursday (March 15) I succeeded in doing what I hadn't been able to do in the past. I went out on a Thurday and made it to class on Friday. Congrats to me! And then on Friday I actually stayed in and went to bed around 10:30 or so so that I could wake up at 5:30ish to catch the bus for our Copenhagen Trip!

So Saturday we got up early and met at the Polish house (near the bus station) where we would leave our bikes. But Danni and Nikki weren't there so I called them. No answer, that meant they were probably riding and couldn't answer (or so we thought) we I texted them and said just to meet at the bus and we started walking. Then they replied saying they'd just woken up (25 minute before the bus was supposed to leave). Then they freaked out and caught a cab and made it on time, so that was a great way to start the day. Also, everybody was surprised that this was my first time on a double decker charter bus. It was kind of neat. but anyway...then we started the two hour drive to Copenhagen. There is a super long bridge to cross but it was far too foggy to see the beautiful view that is normally there. o well.

Then we were in Copenhagen! We dropped off our bags and hopped on the metro to our first stop: Christiania. Christiania is a semi-independent area in Copenhagen that Denmark allows to exist. It is their own little social experiment. We met a guide there who took us on a multi-hour rambling tour of the place. It was started 40 years ago by a group of hippies in the 70's in an abandoned military barracks. Since then it has been mostly known for it's "pusher street", a street where marijuana and hash are openly sold. It is pretty run-down, unattractive, and all-around slummy. But it is also an excellent choice of an alternative lifestyle for the mere 900 people that live there. You don't get to "buy a house and move in", you have to get selected to move in. The houses are not owned by the people that live in them, they are owned by the community and you rent them. Even if you build the house yourself, it becomes the communities property. There are jobs, businesses, "government", and other things.

It was a nice tour, but the guy kept talking and talking and extended all the way through our lunch break. We then had to ride the metro back to the city center and try to eat lunch in 30 minutes before catching a walking tour of Copenhagen. I found a subway right away and ate a delicious footlong (30cm according to them) sandwich. I had a BMT (it was their sub of the day), but I noticed that their chicken breasts looked significantly nicer than the ones in the US. Also, only one type of cheese (and it wasn't labeled American) so that made me sad. I miss my pepper jack :-( I also asked the veggie lady if she'd let me taste a pickle first because the ones I find here are sweet pickles, not normal dill. She looked at me weird but complied. I was relieved to know they were normal. Now, if only I could find them in the of my other friends were running late so we missed the best part of the walking tour, visiting the "round tower". Actually, that was really the only part of the walking tour. The rest consisted of us "walking", but not much "touring" through two main streets of Copenhagen. But that's ok, it was gorgeous. This is actually the first time I've really walked around a "big city" (i lived near minneapolis but I never took the time to explore it. oops) so it was really neat. We walked around for a while, spent a half hour in the Lego Store, saw a St. Patty's celebration going on in front of the City Hall, then stopped at an irish pub so the crew could drink a couple green beers and I could enjoy some refreshing water. I'd say they celebrate St. Patty's as hard as we do in America. Not as hard as in Chicago...but as much as we do in Iowa at least.

Then we went to a Turkish buffet (included in the trip) which turned out to be "ok". There was a pretty unflavorful roast, some-what tasty couscous, and some onion rings. Oh wait, those aren't onion rings! Much to us American's surprise, the onion rings were actually kalamari rings! They were squid rings fried in batter and they were delicious. The twins liked them until they realized what they were...and then it was just too gross :P They were really the only good thing served. Mid-meal a belly dancer came out and danced with a couple people so that was fun to watch, but it was altogether unremarkable.

After this we went to a bar that had made a deal with our group for "buy one get one" drinks, so we each enjoyed a double round and then headed back to our hotel to finish what we had brought with us (this is about 10:30am). There we got rick-rolled by VH1 Denmark which was fun. After spending 20 minutes trying to get a cork out of a wine bottle for the girls without a corkscrew, Alexis resorted to just pushing it through. Then we tried to research online and in guidebooks where a nice dance club was nearby...but eventually we just decided to wing it. We walked around and Mateusz and I looked in some clubs to see if they were good enough. Eventually we were enticed by an offer from a club for 130kr entrance and free bar. Then when we got the group over they said it would be 150kr....but we just wanted to dance so we took it. It was just shy of 30 dollars to get in, but some of us would have spent much more than that at a normal bar so I think it was a good deal. Also, it was nice to be able to order things that tasted good rather than worrying about getting your moneys worth. And order we did...and dance we did! Until about 4:30 then most of us walked back to the hotel in the pouring rain. Kamil and Mateusz stayed behind so that they could come in later and be loud and wake everybody up (except me! :D) and ruin their sleep. So I slept from 5 to 730 or so and woke up sober and fine. Or at least that's how I felt. The others were tired, and Kamil and Mateusz remained drunk for the entire day.

We started our day with a recovery ride on a harbor tour boat. We rode around enjoying some great views of the city. I got a couple great pictures that I'll show below. After this we went to the Queens residence or something and saw the changing of the royal guard which was pretty neat. There was some marching, and some marching-band playing, and then it went on too long...but I took some video. We wanted to enter a big Cathedral but it was closed. So we walked to Rosenborg Castle instead. The entrance was something like 80kr so we didn't go in, but got some great pictures of the derpy-looking lion out in front of it. Then we spent time looking for a "China Box", these little stands in the wall that sold boxes of Chinese food for approx. 30kr. I really really wanted one. But the first thing we found was a real restaurant that offered them but also offered a buffet...How could I say no to a buffet? So Tina and I got the buffet, Kamil and Mateusz settled for a box, Roberto ate nothing, and the twins waited and got Subway later. Tina spent the whole meal trying to break the rules and give food to other people while I ate my fill of fried shrimp, chicken, some tenderloin type thing, and lo mein. Yum. It was exactly what you'd expect: dry bland chinese buffet food. Glad to see that some things are universal :D but it was very much worth it.

There were a lot of great things to see (though I don't know what most of them are :P) but the best part was spending so much time with my great friends. We were all exhausted on the trip home and slept through most of it and I think we almost all slept for around 12 hours (or more!) Sunday night.

I took 450 photos on the trip, so maybe I will try to upload them to a flikr account some day, but for now I'll share just a few with you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Settling into a routine

I really do apologize for being so bad at this and waiting so long between makes them long and hard to read, but I appreciate those of you that make an effort to read them :-)

Monday, March 5th:
A pretty standard day, slept in and did nothing, then went to Monday's Cafe for my weekly burger. Delicious as always. The real special thing today was that Anais brought some cards (actually a 70+ card Tarot deck, but we only used the 52-card "standard" sub-set of the cards) and we played what is now called "the slap game", which is Egyptian Ratscrew. Most of the people didn't know how to play, but they now have the hang of it and are hooked!

Wednesday, March 7th:
I was invited by Corina (Romanian) and Juncal (Spanish) to go to a bar called Bodegaen for their weekly quiz night. It was quite intimidating to be in a bar packed full of Danes expecting us to lose, but it went quite well. The first round was 5 categories of 3 questions each (15 total questions). The quiz-master asked questions in Danish and then came over and translated them for us. The first three were computer questions (The answer to the first one was ctrl + alt + del, the second question was "what is RAM?", and the third question was about keyboard layouts and the answer was Dvorak. I think I was the only person in the bar that knew the answer to that one...). Then after the round we handed in our answer sheet and waited for it to be scored. The quiz master began reading off the scores and places and teams cheered, but we didn't hear our name. Then finally we did, and one of the other teams boo'd. That's when it hit us: WE WON! A group of three friends from three different countries just beat a room full of Danish teams of 6-10 people. We were pretty excited and won a round of free beer. I don't know if I have said this on the blog before, but I hate the taste of beer...I barely got down half before I gave up. And that is also how the second round of the quiz went. They started asking questions about danish candy and danish kings and we said "nope...we have no chance". Altogether a great night out, though :-)

Thursday, March 8th
My first Danish lesson...I had missed the one before so I struggled through the beginning, but by the end I was able to say "Hej! Jeg hedder Cody. Jeg taler engelsk. Jeg kommer fra USA. Jeg bor alene på første sal til højre." Which translates to "Hi. My name is Cody. I speak English. I come from the USA. I live alone on the first floor to the right." I will tell you more about Danish lessons in the weeks to come.

I don't think I need to describe my weekend's pretty standard at this point haha But I met some people from the Czech Republic for the first time, so that was neat. Also, next Saturday we will visit Copenhagen for an ESN trip, but this weekend they visited us and there was a big party at Club Retro. Somebody brought an ESN flag (reminder, ESN stands for Erasmus Student Network) and inspired me to put in an order for one myself. Then I will have all my friends here sign it :D

Monday, March 12:
I woke up later than I should have and raced to the bank to withdraw 1450dkk so I could rush to the university to pay for my Seabattle Tickets. [] For just over $250 I am going on a 5 day trip including a 48-hour cruise from Stockholm, Sweden to Talinn, Estonia. That includes transportation and dinner buffet on the cruise. There will be some other expenses along the way, but there is no denying that at that price this trip is a STEAL! That will be April 21-25. Oh, and all my friends got tickets as well :D After we got our tickets we went to the cafeteria which was an interesting experience. They had a buffet where you pay by weight, 8kr per 100g (if you convert it then it's 7 dollars for a pound or so). I got some rice (driest rice I have ever eaten) and some spicy meat/vegetable/slop that i put on it. I also cut off two slices of bread and grabbed some turkey for one and some salami/spiced sausage meat for the other for open faced sandwiches and a strawberry yogurt drink (the Dane's love yogurt drink) all for about 7 dollars.

Then I dragged Danni and Nikki to the city center to go to Lidl. That is where I bought frozen pizzas after arriving during my first walking tour of Odense. To keep myself from having to go back again soon I bought 10 pizzas. The American way :-) Then we rushed home to drop off our groceries before leaving again for Monday's Cafe. The meal of the day was "coq au vin med mos" - Rooster in wine with mashed potatoes. The meat, "gravy", and potatoes were GREAT, but there were these mini onion things in it that I strongly disliked. Also, it was not enough then I ordered a burger. It was a large meal, but only 14 dollars for both meals. I can stomach that (pun intended!) Then, as is our new custom, we went back to play egyptian ratscrew :-)

Thanks for reading, I have many exciting trips coming up so stay tuned for many great pictures and stories!

Ewelina showed up after we won the first round at quiz night and was able to share in the spoils of our victory :-)

Totally inspired to get one of these flags now! How cool is this?

Coq au vin med mos - It was good! But not enough for me...

The back staircase in Ungdomshuset/Monday's Cafe has cool paintings all the way up. Upstairs we play Foosball :-)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Getting a little warmer...

Things are getting a bit warmer here in Odense which is good because when I went to leave for the "Monday's Cafe" (yes, they say "Monday's" as a possessive) in the city center on Monday I found that I had a flat tire! So instead of staying home I decided that the weather was nice enough to walk. It was a gorgeous day and 40 minutes later I found myself at "Ungdomshuset", or youth house, which is a place that is a cafe for young people and serves cheap meals on Mondays. They have a daily meal which was brisket, potatoes, and cole slaw and they also have a delicious burger meal which was a burger and fries with two types of mayo for the fries (which are clearly homemade). Most of us ordered that. It was actually very filling and most of us felt like we'd won a major battle by finishing it. Except Anaise...the tiny French girl was talking about eating cakes and chocolate and wanting ice cream after finishing her meal. It was really nice to get out and just talk and have a good time with friends in the city. I also got a pitcher of water for our table, but everybody was drinking beer with their meal (no thanks) so I drank a liter and a half of water by myself! After spying on our Greek friend George across the room talking to a girl (and not-so-sneakingly trying to take pictures of him) one of my friends asked me "did you get your project done for tomorrow?" to which I replied "nah, i'll have it done by class Friday." "but Cody, the delivery is tomorrow" (they say delivery rather than "it is due tomorrow") so then I had to leave early and walk all the way back to my dorm to work on this programming project. I worked from 9pm until 6am and made almost zero progress. But, I did double check that the lesson notes from the previous lesson said "if you do not finish the project in this period, finish it by next lesson" which conflicts with the due date on the calendar, so I emailed our professor (and got an automatic reply saying he is ill, and he is still ill so he couldn't look at it anyway) and said that I would get it done when I could.

After class Thursday I lamented to Anaise that my bike was still broken and I needed to get it fixed so I could go get groceries because I had no food. She offered to make me lunch, so I went over to her place and enjoyed a piece of chicken and some potatoes cooked in a french cream with a cooked cream apple thing for dessert. It was really good and certainly the best lunch I've had since I got here! We talked and she told me about her school and how every year they rent out an entire hotel in a town in Spain for about 1000 students to go enjoy for a weekend. It sounded really fun and they had a video about it and everything. Perhaps it is because I go to a bigger school (28,000), but it seems like it is more common in Europe for an entire school/class/department to do something big like that. Another example is the new freshmen bio-chem (or something similar) students here in Denmark just went on a weekend trip to get to know each other. Definitely a cultural difference from America that I wouldn't mind seeing adopted back home.

After I left Anaise's dorm I went to a bike shop to try and get my bike tube fixed. Naive me thought they could just do it on the spot. Nope, the next opening was Monday. So instead I bought a tube and walked home. I then proceeded to walk to where I thought my Danish class was. We signed up for the course at the University, so I just assumed the classes were there. Nope. Wrong. So then I was embarrassed and walked back to my dorm and found somebody to help me fix my bike. It was actually really hard because the gear shift on the back is an odd contraption that we weren't familiar with so we it took a while to figure out how to get it off. I still don't actually understand the mechanics of how it changes the gears, but o well. My bike works now! Everybody went out to A-Bar again (like they do every thursday) but I decided to stay in and enjoy a night at home chatting on facebook and plowing through Vampire Diaries until 6am (class was cancelled Friday due to the professor being ill).

Saturday afternoon (after a late night of watching movies. It had been a while since I had seen Zoolander XD) I met up with Nikki and Danni to go walk around the city center taking photographs. It was supposed to be nice out...unfortunately the wind was SUPER cold and numbed our hands, but I still managed to take a lot of pictures. Good ones? Doubtful. But I took them, nonetheless :D Though I have no idea what most of them are pictures of...but it is pretty! Prettier than Des Moines or Ames at least haha That night found us all partying in Anaise's kitchen in HCO which was nice because I didn't have to ride all the way to the City Center and back. Or at least I shouldn't have had to. But I'll get to that in a second. We listened to terrible music on youtube and played with play-doh. Ewelina takes the prize for the most interesting creation: a blue whale (made of orange play-doh) using a jump-rope and wearing a gold crown with emeralds. Corina is the runner up with her pretty multi-colored flowers. But somewhere in the night I thought it was a good idea to put my keys in the pocket of Ewelina's shirt. Which was fine and all...until she left. With my keys. Why my friends let me do that (or why I thought it was a good idea in the first place) I will never know, but it meant that at 3AM I had to ride across town (on a borrowed bike) to get my keys back.

Today's group supper was prepared by my Spanish floormate Sandra and was a spanish omellete: A circle cake shaped thing of eggs, fried potatoes, and onions (called a tortilla? but not like a flour tortilla, so I am confused) and then "pan con tomate" (break with tomato) which was little bread circles with minced/crushed/something tomato and olive oil. We also had chorizo and a special spanish ham. This chorizo is just too rich for me. It was VERY delicious, but more than a bite and it just hurt to eat. The ham was a bit more mild but still quite rich and oily (if that is the right word?) and is now my favorite hors d'oeuvres meat.

Enjoy my pictures below and thanks again for reading!

Just chillin' with my bro H.C. Anderson. (from now on he will be called H.C. Hammer)

My Bro H.C. Hammer wrote a story about a King and a Mirror or something. This is a statue (near A-Bar, actually) depicting the story

Me taking a stroll down a gorgeous, winding, Odense street

I had to beg them to do this, but I am glad they did :D

A food cart just driving down the street. It sells burgers and hotdogs and stuff. I very much regret not buying something from it :-(

Ewelina's king whale and his jump rope next to a cute turtle and a not-so-cute blue whale or dolphin or something lol what did YOU do on Saturday night??

Spanish Omelette/tortilla something with tomato, chorizo, and some ham stuff.