Monday, June 25, 2012

Culture chok in your own country?

Today I've been in Denmark for two weeks.
It's weird, & I find it hard to describe it in another way.
It's weird thinking about I just spent what feels like a week or so but what really was 10 months in the US.
The people I met, the things I saw, tried & last but not least, ate.
I warn everyone who's reading this, as it is about to go from normal writing mode,
to ultra-nostalgia-cliché-let's-talk-about-our-feelings-I-can-so-relate-to-this mode. (with a bunch of random pictures from the last 10 months)
The first thing I thought when I arrived in the Airport, when I saw all these Danish people everywhere, speaking Danish & doing Danish things, was:" Holy Cow, I'm a stranger in my own country!"
I still get that feeling from time to time. Most things actually come in waves. Some days I'll be jumping around looking forward to this & that, while other days I might sit on my couch thinking about the past year and reminiscing like some old man.

I feel bad for my friends when it comes to talking about America so most times I just stop myself right there before I start blabbering.
And all the changes that ocurred while I was gone.
To see how old playgrounds have been redone and I remember passing an old park that had been cut in half for the benefit of some new subway system. I don't approve.
Most of my friends and cousins have also changed, some more than others. Either they've grown taller or broader or they've gotten deeper voices or they've become more aware and mature compared to what they were when I left.
All in all it's a minor culture chok. It was for me. I'm not saying every single exchange kid reacts this way, I've heard of people who went up in the plane, arrived in the airport, came home and just went about like nothing had changed. Others have experienced coming home to the loss of a family member or a dear friend. Every single experience is annoyingly unique but in a way the same.
I met a Norwegian guy in New York 10 months ago who had just lost his best friend in the Utøya massacre & couldn't attend the funeral because he had to leave.
I knew a Russian guy who had to go home for two weeks for a funeral and I lost a family member myself during the past year.

But I can't complain, I've come home to a sweet girl and some good friends & a loving family.
Of course I miss Judson & 'Merica and most things about it & I'd strongly consider it, if I was offered a scholarship to College (Only God knows what they would sponsor me for).

I don't know if this is the end of this blog. Maybe I'll change it into something else it really depends on what happens. Thanks for reading my posts and supporting me through this year including the competition a couple of months ago I couldn't have done it without you guys! (the king of clichés!!)

ps. If you have any questions about returning to your home country or just interested in anything related to this blog don't be shy to contact me or comment I'll do my best to answer your questions.

And I leave you with a picture of mi familia.

- Niels Brandt Højlund Hansen

Friday, May 4, 2012

When you find yourself in a new situation

That's what happened Monday night for me.

During school that day, one of my good ol' pals Grant came up to me and asked if I wanted to go see his brother perfrom with his band "Kellam" at a mini-concert with a few other bands.

Well, the kind of music they play is not really my type - it's like a delicate mix of screamo, indie rock and hardcore. (Sorry, if I'm incorrect)
Me being more into other genres, everything but that kind of music actually, made me kinda doubt if I wanted to come.
But being an exchange students is all about pushing limits so I thought: "Screw it"

After Track practice I came home, changed my clothes and was picked up by mi amigos and we were on our way to Chesterton!
In my mind I pictured the place as an abandoned barn with loads of emo's, punks and that type of kids.
It wasn't like that. At all.

First, the place was a coffee shop.

Second, the people looked like this.

Now, I thought we'd taken the wrong turn somewhere
because this did not even closely
look like what I had in mind.

But as the night moved on, the bands were getting ready and Kellam was first to perform.

The music was actually pretty good. Music, in general, always sound better when it's live.
People went semi crazy already with Kellam. They started pushing eachother and screaming with the lyrics
and I'm pretty sure one guy fell down to his knees and started punching the floor to the music.

Then a band called "chinxup" came on to the little stage and this time people went a little bit crazier than before. At first I thought it was pretty lame to see how people bashed up against eachother and going nuts but when the third band "Droughts" came on I had the so called "Screw it"-feeling and decided to join the crowd.
Best decision ever.
From the first note to the last all I could think of was "Holy crap, this is awesome!" I don't know what happened but following the rest of the crowd and being so close to the singer was an amazing feeling and everything would've been perfect if not for this one fat kid who kept on trying to crowd surf.

Now, I'm glad I went to the place and I'd love to go one more time before I'm heading home.

 Next time though, I gotta remember to stuff something into my ears because I had tinitus for two days afterwards.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

That Awkward moment

So errybody's had awkward moments before right?

Well this one is definitely in the top 10 of awkard moments of my life. You know what, I'm just gonna call it an AM from now on.

Here it comes.

Sunday, I had a family gathering, a rather large one and distant host family relatives were everywhere to be found. Well, at least 3 times, people came up to me and my family, consisting of my host dad, host mum, host littlebro and me.

"Oh my goooodneeess!! They've grown so much since I last saw them!! You better put bricks on their heads (something they all say)!!"
Then they'd look at me: "And Oooh myyyy, the last time I saw you, you were just a toddler!"

My brother and I looked at eachother, then at the person.

We just smiled. Waiting for some kind of miracle to dissolve the AM.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2 months

With an internet speed that beats snail speed by a jiffy I've finally gotten into my blogspot account (took me about 40 tries, pushing the "refresh" button) and I've decided today's update is going to be about the mixed feelings of departure one experiences when one travels abroad for a year.

It's weird. It's really weird because, personally I'm looking forward to it, and dreading the moment at the same time. I mean, on one hand it's flippin' awesome!! You're gonna see your family and friends again and reconnect and talk about the past year (even though I doubt people are gonna be half as excited to talk about America as I will).

On the other hand what about all the people you barely just met? They're obviously not gonna freeze up and wait for you to come back and you gotta go home no matter what..
I feel like there's so much left to talk about, to do, to go see and to experience.
It's like giving a hundred teddy bears to a baby and then ripping them away from the poor kid after a minute.

Speaking for myself I have 3 weeks off school before it actually ends in Denmark so I have plenty of time to just stare into a wall, trying to realize what just happened because this whole thing kinda feels like a dream.
Not a Wee-I-can-fly-look-at-me kinda dream. It's just unreal.

I don't know about other fez-kids but dropping into a whole new life where you're constantly getting blasted by new stimuli and suffer from culture shock in the beginning, just to acknowledge that you have settled down but not really is somewhat surreal.

And it's over in 2 months.
It feels like a week ago I had 5 months left.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The 5 golden excuses

I sat in class this week thinking about what I was suppose to answer when my teacher asked me where my vocab was. I didn't answer. Therefor I thought this might be helpful for other exchange students in future cases you do something stupid and need to get out of it fast:

When your host family is freaking out because you served them food for dinner that made them all sick.
- No, no, no. In (insert country) "Best Before 1-11-2012" means "Best Before 1st of November, 2012"

In school when you curse out loud.
- In (insert country) we all have tourettes.

When you were supposed to be home 7 hours ago.
- I was running on (insert time zone in your original country) time.

When you haven't done your home work.
. Oh, in (insert country) we never turn it in. We just... ehm.. make our home work and burn it?

When people ask you, if you did it.
¿Yo no hablo Inglés?

Monday, February 27, 2012

When things need to be done

You know that feeling when you're looking at your dirty clothes and really aren't feeling the whole cleaning process with washer, dryer and hanging up and ironing... I never heard of it.

Of course I have and it sucks big time! There's dirty clothes around me everywhere and I have a 100 other things that needs to be done... I have letters to be sent, people I need to talk to, things I need to sign up for, money I need to make.

Okay the last one wasn't true but it sounded pretty gangster so I'm gonna stick with it.

But wait! There's help for those in need of it!
I have one advice and one only. Because it works with a bit of will & discipline.
I got it from my dad when I was 6 years old:
"You might as well do it now, because later on, you'll regret not doing it."

I usually just sum it up to the Nike motto: "Just Do It"

And it's so funny because it's true!!

Next time you look at your pile of dirty clothes and have an extra hour of nothing - do it.

I dare ya.

btw this goes for decision-making too.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

No doubt, the weirdest day of my life

So going home from Hawaii was sad, bad and depressing...
But the sadness quickly got replaced by weirdness.

It all started when we arrived in San Francisco airport - my home for the next seven hours - my Danish room mate and I decided to see if we could leave the airport to go see the city.
Unfortunately we found out that driving there would take two hours back and forth.

Very depressed, we went back in again. This is where the first really weird thing happened: We were going towards my Victor's gate on those weird flat escalators (they're pretty funny if you're bored, which I was)
And I saw the sun just above the mountains to which I uttered: "Look Victor, the sun's going up!"
He then went silent and said: "Niels, it's going down..."
At first I just laughed because I was confused but he just kept looking at me with this face and I realized my inner clock was messed up bad.

At this point I was pretty uncomfortable with myself. I knew, if I closed my eyes I would wake up an hour later... You know that bad feeling you have right after an unexpected nap? Yeah I had that a couple of times during this trip...

2 hours before my departure from San Francisco I was waiting for one of my Swedish friends to come in from Hawaii and after some small talk he took out a pair of used underwear and looked me in the eyes: "Hey dude, we found Victor's underwear and since he's Danish we figured you're gonna see him again."
So that's how Niels ended up with another guy's used underwear in his bag...

When i finally arrived in Chicago airport I was waiting for my bags when this little kid started crying... I thought: "poor guy".
His mother then walked over to him and the little "bad word for a kid" started pointing at me?!!
I then established eye contact with the mother....
I swear, if eyes could kill...

As if that wasn't enough, on the way to the train station I had to pay 5 bucks for gas and when I walked into the store that's when the big finale was waiting.
First the lady handed me a receipt to which I replied: "Where's the pen?" After some awkward silence I realized it was a receipt and not one of those papers you sign after you pay with card.
Then I quickly said: "Have a good night"
It was 5 o'clock in the morning and I was telling myself: "fail, fail, fail..."

And that's not all! At the train station I had to wait two hours surrounded by homeless people.. I mean I was sad because it was harsh to look at but them but then two old guys starting pointing at me and my suit case mumbling stuff and the empathy quickly turned into mild fright...

For sure the weirdest day of my life... 30 hours of transportation, never again.