learning danish from subtitles, or, an evening with my visiting host family

Yesterday I saw cows, stood in a farm field, and played fetch with a dog.  Yes, this is basically exactly what I did all summer at home as well, but this time I did it in DENMARK!  WITH MY VISITING HOST FAMILY!

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The backyard patio at my host family’s house.  We were lucky enough to have some beautiful late summer weather that meant we could eat outside! In Denmark! In September!

Through DIS, you can apply for what’s called a “Visiting Host Family.”  It’s a program for students who aren’t living in homestays to give them the opportunity to have cultural engagement with a Danish family.  I met up with my host family for the first time this past Sunday and spent the day at their house near Ballerup, outside of the Copenhagen metropolitan area.  One of my host sisters (they’re both right around my age, which is awesome!) spent a year in high school as an exchange student in Wisconsin, so we automatically bonded over our love of lakes and cheese curds and deep fried everything.

My host family also loves traveling, so we spent a long time looking through their books of their most recent trips to Greenland—yes they go to Greenland every four years and yes they are the coolest and most wonderful people ever.

For dinner, we had delicious bread from a local bakery and some to die for chicken & mushroom risotto.  Later, we took a walk with their dog (also the coolest and most wonderful dog ever, sorry Buddy) through their neighborhood.  The area they live in was settled by the Vikings, and there’s a monument set up along one of the paths that memorializes some of the items that have been found in the area, like gold bracelets, axe heads, and more—some of it dating back to centuries BC.  What an amazing place to live that this is your local history!  There’s also a hill with two massive trees on it in the middle of the neighborhood—it’s where a viking chief is buried.  No big deal.



We then ate ice cream from the ice cream truck (I freakin’ love Denmark, people) and watched a Danish television show about singing.  I had less than zero idea what was going on; the Danish subtitles didn’t help that much.  As it turns out, when you don’t know Danish, even seeing the words doesn’t help your comprehension a whole lot.  My host sister tried to translate some of the songs but music just doesn’t translate in the same way as words do.  She translated one of the lyrics as “jump out into love,” and regardless whether that’s the exact translation or not I love it so much.  I wrote it down in a note on my phone and I just can’t stop thinking about how much I love that little phrase and what it suggests.

After a not entirely uneventful train ride—the metro may or may not have been broken and also moving?—I made it back holm sweet holm.  Get it? We live on Holmbladsgade.

That’s all I’ve got for now—good night from our sweet and slightly messy apartment!



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