Project Copenhagen

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Here I will decribe my BLOG. Maybe I will feel like this sometime soon.

Something about scrolling down to read more!

October 31, 2019: Hey, it's been a while

Greetings from a gal well-adjusted, home in America with a tall glass of ice water. Oh, how I miss my time in Copenhagen and all the amazing things to learn about web development!

May 30, 2019: On the lack of blog posts

Hey blog-ness my old friend. I've missed you. You've missed me, oh I blush, I blush. Not sure where to take this blog from here--should I be documenting my days or my thoughts, oh so many thoughts I think and have thought these past days. Oh so many things to say, maybe not the right place to put them. Words out of my head always sound worse than in. So much time has passed between the post, I feel disappointed for the lack of documentation I've upheld but also could write some bullshit here about living in the moment and such, which would you prefer, self-pity or self-hatred?

Heres the thing as well, and it might be a tangent, I don't hate myself that much, well no more than your average human these days surrounded by unrealistic, societal expectations of all kinds. I think I like myself alright. I'm learning a lot about who I am these days, call it a journey of self-discovery if you like. I find myself urging myself to be more spontaneous, and adventurous. To not be terrified of riding the bikes through the city, and comfortable being the loudest tourist in the restaurant. But I feel myself, I feel the little me within my skin, pulling inward. Scared of the streetlights, scared of new things, wishing to stay under the radar. "But you'll miss out" they'll say, but "you're only here once, you're here now, and you're going to do this and not that?!" The opinions fly, and sometimes I try to catch up with them. In some ways, I'm grateful. Grateful for those that push me towards the edge of the cliff, toward the edge of my comfort zone. I like to get out of comfort zones when the opportunity affords, but is it the pressure of missing out that pushes me outside those bounds?? How does one make sense of one's thoughts at 2 am other than this, and they still don't make sense. But here is post for troubles. I hope you enjoyed, and realized what you signed up for when you gave me a blog and chose to read it.

May 25, 2019: Rainbow dreams

A blog post written at my current level of energy will not do this day justice. Today we traveled to ARoS Art Museum in Aarhus, and I died and went to heaven a little bit. Art museums are inherently my bitch (am I swearing in this blog? guess so), and the ARoS did not disappoint. Not only does the Modern Art Museum have a rainbow panorama walkway on its roof, but 9 other floors of art. We get a brief tour from a young tour guide, who I find comfort in the fact--looks just like an art student would from the US. Ugh I can't describe my happiness within these walls. We start from the top of the building, with realism from the Danish Golden Age, and view pieces from the Industrial Revolution to later Modern abstract pieces from the seventies. I lag behind the group, trying to glimpse as much as I can. The tour ends with an interactive art installation by Japanese artists teamLab, called Tomorrow is the Question.

And so they saw the rainbow that day. The rainbow, in the form of a giant rainbow panorama bridge on the top of the city. To see the city through red, orange, yellow. Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. To see the city, to see it all--this day was my favorite. (So far) And it wasn't the way the colors changed as you walked through, it was the way you did. In the blue, I was cool, in the green, peaceful, the yellow and orange felt dry. In the red, my brain was hot, in the pink I felt energetic. I thought I could spend days here. But then we left within the next hour. On to the next museum, on to the bus after that, back to Copenhagen.

And the town we hit after that! Tonight was the first real outing, and taste of Copenhagen after dark, except it was--bizarre (in a good way?). It was something. Ok, it was fun. We met up at a hostel bar, I bought an overpriced drink, and mingled around. Pool was played, smiley face emoticon, end blog post.

May 24, 2019: Aarhus Google

Up at 5:30am, packed for the weekend and on the fuchsia bus by 6:45, we make our way to Aarhus-- the second largest city in Denmark I'm told. On the bus I try to catch some z's as we travel to our first stop, the Jelling Stones (pronounce "Yelling"), which are the oldest written records in Denmark, dating back to Nordic Times.

As we arrive to see the Jelling Stones we are greeted by a nice older tour guide in a long purple coat. I forget my rain coat in the bus. I forget my rain coat in the bus and its freezing cold and drizzling outside. I forget my rain coat in the bus and the wind picks up. I forget my rain coat in the bus, but try to push through and focus on the history of Denmark, King Gorm and so on, and really it is quite cool. There’re two mounds on either side of a church, and the Jelling Stones, there’s two, are displayed between one mound and the side of the church. They are protected by glass that I'm told is temperature controlled. The tour guide speaks of how the language written on the stones is Runes, a Viking language carved in stones with horizontal lines. The short story is the older stone was carved by King Gorm for his wife Thyra. On the stone, he honors his wife and declares himself King of Denmark. Here is the first mention of the name of the country and the declaration of one of the oldest monarchies. The second stone is done by Gorm’s son Harald, who is responsible for making Denmark a Christian nation. In my head, I recognize that this spot is significant to Danish history, and try to appreciate it, while seemingly being utterly distracted by the wind and rain that causes my mind to wander toward homeostasis. We leave the Jelling stones, and eat lunch at an indoor food-truck- street-ma-bob-er place I've coined it. The fish and chips are good, and also are $15 or 100 DKK and the tartar sauce is weirdly reminiscent of ranch.

Here's what you've all been waiting for, or at least what I've been waiting for: Aarhus Google! We bus to the small branch located next to the university in Aarhus. The exterior isn't quite impressive, just more of the same Danish minimalism I'm truly a fan of, but as soon as we walk in you get that Googl-ey "damn this is nice, and look at all the cool modern furniture" vibe. I'm ecstatic, despite the deep-set fatigue I fight back underneath a waning dose of caffeine. And then we meet Mads-- Mads Ager, one of the original engineers of the V8 JavaScript engine. Which is a big deal in the world of the internet. And he was something else. The man is obviously well-versed in his field of work, having accomplished significant success in his career since V8, but more than that, he is incredibly likable. I'll admit, I was expecting a quiet, impressive- yet reclusive Mads of a minimalist-keep-to-yourself- Danish fashion, but the Mads I met was a human full of energy, excitement and passion for his work, that spoke in a way that didn't make you feel confused in a bad or overwhelming way, but in a way the inspired. He was funny, expressive, and real. He was full of earnest, genuine passion for his job, and his ability to impact the web. He wasn't boastful of his enormous success, he humbly presented himself and his past projects, but emphasized his current work. The takeaways were extensive-- I was annoyed to realize the value in COMP 411, and theoretical time complexities of COMP 410, both of which I found boring last semester, but mainly just inspired to find something in computer science that made me as excited to come to work as Mads. His enthusiasm was infectious. And even if it's not about programming languages and their optimization, I want to find that. I want to find that enthusiasm.

And so, we all left Google with goofy smiles, and Google mugs, settled into the cutest hotel in the middle of Aarhus, and headed to another group dinner. This one might be my favorite so far, some sort of chicken burger with fries and ice cream for dessert (apple, cinnamon, and lemon flavored). The sad part of this day is that I crashed after dinner and slept through a roof-top bar outing, and cute little swing. I've decided to not be bothered by the loss and live in the moment not the past.

May 22, 2019: Commuter Biking but make it an extreme sport

Let's just state for the record--I don't bike for function, or for sport that matter, or really even for fun as of the last couple years. Good to get that off my chest.

Today the class meets across from colorful Nyhavn, at Copenhagen Bikes, to do something terrifying and join the fleet of probably ba-gillions (this is accurate) of Copenhagen commuter-bikers. I know how to ride a bike, I learned when I was ten. I did not learn this kind of biking. Imagine every street with a bike lane and little bike stoplights at each intersection--except take out some of the bike lanes on certain roads, add in hand-turning signals I keep forgetting, and take out left-hand turns completely, and you still won't get it--because I certainly didn't. Traveling in a clumsy band of 20 amateur cyclists, our fearless leader Kris led us to the meeting spot with the tour guide across town. And the tour began.

A single file- line of 20 foreign bikers that are unaware of the rules of biking in Copenhagen, then taught the rules, and inevitably prone to immediately forget/confuse said rules--pisses Danes off on their morning commute to work. I can't say I blame them. Traveling from Nyhavn through Frederiksberg and the next part of town (I can't remember) we learn about how the city of Copenhagen was planned around "green spaces," how circular benches open people up to conversating more freely with strangers, and how much money is saved by the number of citizens of the city that commute by bike. Our tour guide weaves in her political views as well, as there's an election happening as we're here (I think, I've forgotten to mention this). There’re hundreds of posters that fill every space of the city, with candidates faces, and their affiliated political party (there are 10 here I learn). She says the Danish are not very “politically correct" and speaks of Sweden’s opposite views (She's Swedish), I enjoy the sassy lines she has to say about the political environment, and the passion of her delivery.

We make it through the tour alive, ending in another section of the city I forget the name of, which is terrible for documentation purposes I realize. The tour guide brings us to a community center that fills the space of an old church, said to have cheap coffee and games. We enter to find a colorfully painted space, serve a few pings and return a view pongs, snap some subtle pictures, and then break off into groups to find lunch. My group comes across a pizza place and orders individual pizzas to eat outside the cutest cafe area I think I've seen yet. If I figure out if I want to put pictures in these posts, remind me to include it here:

After the pizza is eaten, we manage to make it back to the bike rental place. Even though I've hated pissing Danes off all morning, doing the wrong things at intersections, accidentally cutting people off, and tripping to start at every green stoplight, something in me compels me to rent a bike for the month when the man asks us. Some others are interested too, and still terrified of biking, I spend the $23 to force myself out of my comfort zone (something about being comfortable being uncomfortable I think they said). We have class once we're all back. I hit a wall once we're all back. A day of simply doing the wrong things, and the Danish people letting me know it—caught up to me. I felt a little disheartened and discouraged by the day, feeling like a complete stand-out tourist, which I hate. A bubble waffle with Nutella and a chat with Sabrina makes me feel better. I haven't seen her since our flight landed, as she lives a metro ride and hop/skip away. I meet her flat mates, and catch up, show her my apartment, which I find out is significantly cooler than hers, and see her off to the metro again. A friend this far from home is a blessing, and even though I find myself becoming quickly close with those on in my program, it’s really great to see her.

May 21, 2019: FDOCICAIE (First Day of Class in Copenhagen and I'm Excited)

Today I'm woken up by the weirdest rumbling noises outside the window, and immediately excited for the day, this time I think genuinely. We all get dressed for the DIS opening ceremony at 8:30 am. It’s held in an old circus building we're told --and we weren't prepared for what that meant. We walk through an entry way into an enormous room with a domed ceiling. There's a large stage and stadium seating arranged in candle-lit tables of 4. The room is mainly dark and glows with a dim purple light. We hear from the director of DIS and a cool music group called Drew. We're dismissed to class.

On the way to our classroom, Lydia, Maggie and I manage to get overpriced coffee at a small coffee shop out of the way of the main street. I get a single espresso shot in the attempt to save some money, and down my decision regretfully. We get lost trying to find the right building for our class, and see the city a little in the process. We make it to class, Kris Jordan assures us we should be embarrassed of our websites at this point, I'm relieved. And excited to learn.

Burgers for lunch—oh how we love immersing ourselves in Danish culture, I know. But, there’s a nice waiter who teaches me how to say "Thanks" in Danish, it's "Tak" for those at home. And then there’s more class, and more learning. Family dinner at RizRaz, which is now home to my favorite falafel—scoot over MedDeli, and thoughts of the Ice Bar.

Bail on Ice Bar, try to rally the troops for some sort of celebration for Emily's 21st birthday, which we must honor with copious amounts of drinking simply in principle! After gathering those willing to venture out to bars on a Tuesday night, we do just that, and honestly, I'm hoping I don't have to document what happened next, because truly it was disappointingly lame, and I'm banking on better nights out. Please God let me be right about this, Tuesday is not Copenhagen's night. But we persist in the pursuit of gosh dern fun times to come.

May 20, 2019: Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean

Flying into London (the first destination en route to Copenhagen) listening to Here Comes the Sun as I watch the literal rising sun, and I don't even care if it's just for a 3-hour layover,

Or if it's incredibly corny.

And the plane touches down in Heathrow, Sabrina and I navigate to our connecting flight, and completely pass out so when our sleepy eyes open, it’s to the sights of Copenhagen below.

May 20, 2019: So this is Copenhagen

Copenhagen is confirmed: a beautiful city, as far as I’ve seen, so far, this far, from home :-) Upon the arrival and navigation to the DIS dorms I've noticed a lot of fashionable locals on bikes wearing weird black neck pillows (??), and smelling of smoke of all kinds (!!). I'm settled in Store Kannikestæde (and yes have no idea how to pronounce that word, c'mon) with Selina, Taylor and Anna--all of whom I have only met once before. We're set up in a beautiful building, on the ground floor, in a spacious room with four twin beds, three large windows that let in all the sounds of the street, and all Ikea furniture, as one expects and appreciates. And as I settle in, I’m unsettled, nervous. And as I gush generic sentiments about how excited I am about the program, I’m not excited, I’m scared. Ignore that last part though this is supposed to be a chance of a lifetime.

We venture to a grocery store around the corner. And I find it hard to do Kroner-Dollar conversions in my head, but make it to the checkout with a loaf of fluffy seed bread, peanut butter (which looks suspiciously pale), 3 bananas, a case of water bottles, dried papaya and some sort of waffle candy wafer. I'm elated when my credit card doesn't get declined at the register, and consider the trip a success.

Pizza for dinner later and a Game of Thrones marathon. A very weird shower. And a very good sleep.

May 19, 2019: Departing Tomorrow

Tomorrow I’ll board a plane with my best friend to Copenhagen. Tomorrow I’ll contemplate buying a ridiculously overpriced neck pillow in the airport when I arrive there far too many hours before my plane boards. Tomorrow I’ll sit next to a stranger, and decide if I should keep to myself or exchange life-stories. Tomorrow I’ll land in Copenhagen, Denmark, a city and a country completely unknown to me.

Until tomorrow then.