i got to the airport 4 hours early so i’m making lists to calm myself down, or, pre-departure reflection #2

And away we go!!! ✈️🇩🇰

I’m in the Minneapolis airport and I checked my two bags and it only took one trip to Special Services and I’m through security and I snagged one of my favorite one-person booths and there’s outlets here and I don’t plan on moving until I board the plane.  At all.  I was accepted into DIS in December of 2016, so the anticipation has been building  for literally nine months.  My departure has always seemed so far away but suddenly I LEAVE THE 18TH AND ITS THE 18TH.  I’m super calm about all of it, obviously.

With every new email I get from DIS I get more excited, culminating with an email I got from my LLC coordinator this morning with a schedule of our semester’s events.  Schedules just have a way of soothing my soul.  I now know I’ll have to get a bike, which makes me just a little nervous (“Just a little bit” – Dr. Sonya) (props to you if you get the reference) since I haven’t ridden a bike in probably five years.  So in a few weeks if you read the headline “Girl Gets Kicked Out of Denmark For Being Unable to Follow Basic Bike Rules” sorry in advance.

I’m super, totally, ridiculously excited about this semester.  I know I’ll go on so many adventures, make a community of friends in my LLC, immerse myself in the incredible classes I’ll be taking, and come back to Minnesota with a little piece of me left in this new city I get to call home for four months.  How lucky I am that I get to even write that!

But I think it’s also important to acknowledge that along with this excitement, I’m also super, totally, ridiculously nervous. as. heck.  Leaving the country for the rest of the year is SCARY (even if the state of our country right now is, too).  I know that my desire for every minute of every day to be planned out isn’t always going to happen.  I know I’m going to make mistakes.  My bitterly sarcastic sense of humor won’t always translate perfectly.  I know I’m going to miss things.  Last semester, whenever I would say how much I was going to miss things at Wake while I was gone, people would always say, “Yeah, but, you’re going abroad, and that’s so much cooler!”  Yeah, but, man oh man do I love Wake, and I’m going to miss it a ton while I’m gone.  Since lists calm me down, I made a list of things I’m going to miss, in no particular order:

  • Being way too enthusiastic about the fight song at football games, even and especially when I’m the only person around me who knows the words
  • Getting to soccer games super early to get my favorite spot at the front of the Hill
  • Standing on the Hill at soccer games and losing my voice (and my dry hair/clothes) every time we score
  • Getting my Wake soccer scarf after turning in my punch card
  • Spending Tuesday evenings singing and worshiping in the Green Room for RUF
  • Zick’s Couch Tomato flatbread with no sun-dried tomatoes
  • Seeing all the service-dogs-in-training running around campus
  • Taking aggressive amounts of pictures of Wait Chapel as the seasons change (and all the time, really)
  • The smell of beeswax candles filling the Chapel during Lovefeast
  • Pit. Tater. Tots.

The point is, I know I’m going to miss things.  I know there’s going to be days when I wish I was in Winston-Salem.  And that’s ok.  Missing things is OK—that’s how I know I picked the right school for me.  Missing people means that my life feels just a little bit emptier without them.

But to avoid this post being a complete downer or lest people think that I’m not excited to go abroad (GET ME TO COPENHAGEN ALREADY!!!) you have to know that I absolutely cannot wait for the adventures ahead.  I’m so grateful for this opportunity and will sing praises to my parents, to Wake, to DIS, to my friends and family, to my pets, from the highest rooftops in Europe for the experiences I know I’m about to have.  So since I already made a list that could be construed as “sad,” here’s a list that I hope will be construed as “happy.”  It’s my bucket list for Copenhagen—the things I hope to do, or see, or accomplish.  I know that the semester is going to fly by; sooner than I can possibly imagine, I’ll be back here in the Minneapolis airport, bags a little bit heavier with souvenirs and gifts, brain a little bit heavier with knowledge from classes and travels, and heart both a little fuller and a little emptier, too.  I don’t want to come back with regrets, with things I wish I did but kept putting off until it was time to board the plane once again.  So, in no particular order, here’s what I want to do:

  • Learn how to successfully navigate public transportation from my housing to the school building
  • Bike without breaking too many bike laws
  • Take a cliche Nyhavn picture that will definitely become my Facebook profile picture for the foreseeable future (gotta prove I’m still alive while abroad, you know?)
  • Come back from the Arctic with all my (remaining) fingers and toes still attached
  • Take a day (or longer!) trip to Aarhus to see the ARoS museum
  • Find “my place” to study, kind of like I’ve done in ZSR (round corner table in the basement and last desk on the left of the 8th floor, I’m looking at you)
  • Get to know my visiting host family
  • Intentionally get lost and then find my way back (not at night, preferably)
  • Go to Grundtvigs Kirke (thanks Christian, for that suggestion, even if you didn’t know you gave it to me until right now 🙂 )
  • See my cousin when I travel to London with my Core Course
  • Take a spontaneous adventure somewhere
  • Go to the Louisiana Museum
  • Find the best piece of chocolate cake in Copenhagen
  • Try a new food
  • Not worry too much about how quickly my time abroad is going
  • Live in the moment
  • Leave Copenhagen knowing I can call it a home, should I ever be lucky enough to return

So what now?

Well, after I board this plane, I’ll land in Amsterdam, where I’ll have a layover before a quick flight to Copenhagen brings me to my new home for the next four months.  Hopefully both my suitcases will have made it as well.  Then I’ll meet up with the program directors and other DIS students before being brought to my housing.  Like I mentioned previously, I’m living in the Outdoor Living & Learning Community, super close to my classes and many of central Copenhagen’s attractions.  This weekend will be spent unpacking, attempting to get over my jet lag, figuring out how to get from my housing to, well, anywhere, attending arrival workshops, getting to know the other students in my LLC, and decorating the space above my bed with the Minnesota decor item(s) and pictures that I brought.

If all goes according to plan, this is my last post written in the US for a while! If you want to receive an email notification every time I publish a new post, click the black box with three white lines at the very top of the blog and click follow!

Vi ses snart, København! / See you soon, Copenhagen!

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