It’s the last day of the semester. The day that I would have been leaving Copenhagen. Being stuck at home, inside, it is easy to wander back to my time there, to think of what would have been different if the Coronavirus hadn’t ravaged across the globe. I let it happen, I miss the people I met–my host family mostly–and I think of what I wanted to do but didn’t have the chance to–Tivoli Gardens, Copenhill, biking around the city, eating more local food–all these things sucked away from me.
But I also find that when I think back to Copenhagen, and think of everything I did and did not do, it’s all too easy to become sad, to essentially have FOMO, and to mope. But I’m not sad for having gone to Copenhagen. I am grateful. I am so happy for the time that I had there and everything that I got to do and learn.
I know that I said in my last blog post that I would be doing a series of retrospectives on my time abroad but, if you haven’t noticed, that didn’t come to fruition. Time moves in weird ways in quarantine, equally slow and fast, and as such I quickly found myself caught up in schoolwork and finals. I figure, though, that this will work as that retrospective, a post to reflect on what I miss the most and what I look forward to seeing again when (not if but when) I go back.
The Things I Miss
Am I allowed to say all of it? Okay, maybe that defeats the point but I do really miss a lot of my time there. There was so much that happened in between blog posts, things that I simply couldn’t put in the blog because it either had little relevance to the post or to keep things from getting too bloated, but much of that I will miss.
I’m going to miss having a rabbit walk into my room with my host sister Caroline giggling then walking in herself. We would sit and talk, bonding over the weird antics that the rabbit would do when exploring the room. It made me feel at home, welcome in the house that was full of strangers only two months previous.
I’m going to miss the late night talks with my host family, discussing religion, education, politics, or whatever else we felt like discussing on a given night. Those nights felt like the definition of Hygge and I wouldn’t trade them for everything.
Moving more distant from the homestay, I’m going to miss the commute. The train and metro system in and around Copenhagen felt so revolutionary that I never really felt that I took it for granted. I loved having my morning space on the train, having time to read and listen to music or podcasts is something that I wish I had even now.
As we travel along the metal rails into the city, I’m going to miss DIS and all the students I met there. My fears of not fading the right crowd, not fitting in, were washed away as I cobbled together a group of friends, making me feel more welcome and at home in the foreign city. From finding new places to eat, like an amazing (and cheap) shawarma place, fun game nights at Bastard Cafe, and watching films with the DIS Film Club, the experiences wouldn’t have been the same without the other students there.
DIS, the academics, were also instrumental in bringing me into the city, experiencing new places and culture. Scandinavian Moods in Cinema brought to light a plethora of amazing Scandinavian films. New Nordic Design and the Tuesday field studies revealed what architecture can be when it is oriented towards the inhabitant, and Battlefield Europe peeled back the modern layer of the city, revealing a city steeped in history and battles. All of the academics felt so inclusive towards the overall culture and area that we were in that they felt integrated, a perfectly symbiotic relationship.
What I Hope to See Again
As I said before, it is all to easy to bemoan the loss of half of a semester abroad. While it does suck, it is only a blip of the fallout of a global calamity, and so without getting to sad/morbid, I find it important to keep into perspective that it is a temporary event and that I will have the chance in the future to go back to Copenhagen.
With that said, let’s look to the future, to what I want to do when, one day, I go back:
As I started the things that I miss with my host family, it only feels appropriate to have them in this section as well. I do hope that some day I cross paths with them again and have the chance to give back the generosity that they gave to me. I look forward to seeing them again and hopefully, one day, having them meet my actual family.
Copenhill, biking, Tivoli Gardens, all those places and experiences in the city luckily aren’t going anywhere and so I look forward to having those experiences some time down the road. All the things that I missed out on when I was there have now moved into a list of things to do when I go back, in addition to things that I want to do again or show to friends and family.
I cannot express how eternally grateful I am to have had the experience of staying abroad. There are so many cliche things said about the experience, about how it is life changing, how it brings you out of your comfort zone, how you make life-long friends, and so on. But all those cliches must have originated from some kernel of truth, otherwise they wouldn’t have become cliches.
And, to an extent, it is true. Going abroad did push me in many directions and forced me to grow and change in a short—painfully short—time. It has, undoubtedly, helped make me who I am today. So instead of being sad about what was lost, I find it much more enjoyable to reminisce about what I gained, what I experienced, and what I will see another day.
That’s it. That is this blog done. My job as a DIS Student Blogger has certainly been an interesting one, and has made me chronicle an event and happenings that I never imaged happening when I stepped on the plane to Denmark. I thank everyone who read the blog at some point, whether it was just a skim or a full read of every post, you didn’t have to but you did read the words that I put down in ones and zeros. Thank you to everyone that left comments as well and kept engaged. It’s all too easy to forget about the humans on the other side of the screen so thank you for your insight and keeping me motivated.
That’s another overly long blog post finished. Thank you to everyone who I met/who helped me on my journey and I hope to see you all again some day. Stay safe, stay healthy, and air hug your loved ones from a socially safe six plus feet away.