WOW IT’S BEEN FOREVER SINCE I’VE WRITTEN SOMETHING HERE! AND TO MAKE UP FOR IT THIS BLOG POST IS SUPER LONG! SORRY!
Life got hectic and crazy and all the sudden I found myself with three presentations in four days and the reality that I am indeed here for school has hit me like a ton of bricks, if you can get hit by a ton of bricks in a good way that you’re still really glad about because how could I ever complain about the fact that I get to spend four months going to school in Copenhagen???
As I’ve written before (check out the posts under the Outdoor LLC tag) part of living in an LLC means dedicating yourself to being immersed in that theme. Along with weekly activities and meetings, every LLC spends a weekend on a retreat, more closely engaging in the topic and learning more about yourself and the people you live with. This past weekend was the retreat for my LLC and it could not have come at a more perfect time. Getting away from the pressures of city life and classes and homework and always wanting to do things and heading into the peace and tranquility and calm of the woods for two days was just what my soul needed.
Saturday morning we packed up and got on the metro looking like fools standing next to the ever impeccably dressed Danes with our bulging backpacks and haphazardly-attached sleeping pads, sleeping bags, and cooking pots. We headed out to northwestern Copenhagen to meet our coordinator, Atanasio and started our first activity of the weekend: canoeing. We split off into pairs for the two hours we were on the water, paddling through lakes, rivers, canals, and a couple of very small tunnels where you kind of just folded your body in half and hoped for the best.
We all eventually made it back to land dry, which is more than we can say from our last water-related adventure (see the title of this blog post) and ate lunch (and bought french fries) before heading out on our next adventure. Our group of twenty was split into five groups of four, and within those groups we were given a map and tasked with finding our way to our campsite. The catch was that our starting location was not, in fact, on said map, though we knew our approximate location. My group headed out about 1pm and made it to our campsite just before 4, spending those three hours meandering through the woods, by a lake, across a highway, and through some more woods. We also played more than a few rounds of Contact along the way! After a stressful week of classes, it was so calming to have a day when our only task was to walk. We didn’t have to think about what was next (except to try to figure out where we were supposed to turn), all we had to do was walk. My good mood was also bolstered by the fact that we got to the campsite first 😂
Our first order of business when we made it to the campsite was to build our shelter for the evening before it got too dark to see. Every group was given a tarp and a length of rope and set loose to build the shelter of their dreams. I can’t really explain the final shape of our shelter because it’s been a while since I’ve taken geometry but I think it was some sort of parallelogram. That sounds good, anyway. We made sure to construct a roof, two walls, and have the tarp wrap under each end of our sleeping pads so if it rained we wouldn’t wake up in a puddle of mud. It might have looked a little funky, but it was the coziest little shelter you ever did see!
Next came the fun (said sort of sarcastically but also sort of not)—building our fire for dinner. Because it’s Denmark and it rains ALL THE TIME (except not really this weekend—thankfully), all the wood in the surrounding forest was wet. Greer and Margo were both firewood-finder-extraordinaires and found Ben and I (fire-maker-extraordinaires, sort of) some bomb firewood. After a few failed starts, we got the fire roaring (it involved a lot of matches, toilet paper as fire-starter, and a significant amount of babying).
Atanasio had purchased the materials for our dinner, so we made a lentil curry with peppers. I’m not the biggest pepper person, but making it was definitely one of the most fun parts of the weekend. We also briefly started an oil fire and could have started a forest fire but we didn’t and that’s what matters.
While we were busy cooking our meals, Peter (our SRA) and Atanasio built a big bonfire and cooked us some potatoes wrapped in salt dough in the fire, which you crack open like an egg and are truly delicious. I’ll pretty much eat potatoes in any form, but this was a particularly good one.
No good bonfire and/or camping trip is complete without s’mores, so we broke out the marshmallows and feasted. Also, as if I couldn’t love Denmark more, there’s a Danish campfire treat that involves wrapping cinnamon dough around a stick and baking it over a fire. I need to eat this always and always.
We also engaged in some good personal and group reflection through a game called Rose, Bud, Thorn. It’s similar to my favorite Overland tradition of High, Low, Cheers—the “rose” represents something good, the “thorn” is something that didn’t go well, and “bud” is something you’re looking forward to. My rose of the semester was twofold: 1) Living in the LLC that I do with the people that I do. I couldn’t imagine living with any other group and I’m eternally grateful I was placed where I was; and 2) being chosen as a DIS Student Blogger. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be able to share my DIS story with my family, friends, the DIS community, and prospective students (that being said, if you’re a prospective student reading this, drop me a line! I’d love to hear from you and help in any way I can ☺️) My thorn of the semester has been my knee—my tendinitis is flaring up again, making biking (something I was so beginning to enjoy!) next to impossible. But I have a brace and an ice pack and I’m confident that I’ll be back to normal in no time. My bud was that I’m really looking forward to the personal and group growth over the next (less than, WHAT) three months we have left. The thought echoes the sentiments of a few of my apartment-mates around the circle: that we feel like this is where we’re supposed to be, who we’re supposed to be with, and, most importantly, who we’re supposed to be, period. I am frankly pretty happy with the person I am here in Copenhagen, and that feels pretty good.
We woke up warm and dry under our tarp—pretty impressive for the fact that it was cold and drizzly all night—and made quick work of dismantling camp. It’s pretty easy when “dismantling camp” means folding up a tarp and untying a rope from a tree. We hiked out to Atanasio’s house, which is officially the cutest place ever which makes sense because Atanasio is officially the coolest person ever. Peter and Atanasio made us some amazing brunch (there was chocolate involved, and how can brunch be bad when there is chocolate involved) while we finished up some small group reflection.
OK—this post is officially too long for its own good, so I’m going to call it quits here. I have a few more long overdue posts up my sleeve that I’m going to try to get to in the next week or so, so be on the lookout for those—hopefully they’ll be worth the wait.
This week kicks off the beginning of a crazy month of mine—so here’s to the adventures ahead!