Yesterday, my roomates Michelle, Tyler and I rode our bikes just a short 10 minute ride from our apartment to this beautiful park.  The weather in Copenhagen is finally warming up so we, as well as pretty much every other Dane, have been spending much more time outside.  Danes love the fresh air and appreciate it much more than I think Americans do. It is so cold here much of the year that when it is nice Danes flock to parks, canals, and plazas to socialize with others and get some Vitamin D.  Yesterday was one of those rare (but increasing!) nice days.  The park is a huge area gated off but filled with path ways and manmade lakes that look similar to lazy rivers all throughout it.  There are many types of birds and waterfowl that have made the park their home.  It was so nice to sit on a huge lawn of grass surrounded by unique trees, the blooming tulips, and the wildlife while listening to music with my close friends.  The geese eggs are hatching too this time of year so we were lucky enough to get to see flocks of chicks and their parents. It was so neat how we could see the individual families.  The mother and father would stay on either side of their new borns and give angry calls at the other geese or people if they got too close.  I am much looking forward to going back and seeing the Elephants that they have at the park.  Unfortunately because we went around 7pm they elephants were in their houses for the night, but it should be awesome to see them on an afternoon when they are out! 

-Morgan 

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INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND

BEST TRIP ALL SEMESTER. I think I am just finally coming out of shock because of how beautiful Interlaken is.  The mountains, the emerald blue waters, the sunshine, and perfect weather.  We really got so lucky on this trip.  I went with my roommates, Matt, Tyler, Olivia, Michelle and Hannah this past weekend to the country known for extreme sporting.  I got the opportunity to go parasailing which was the highlight of my trip.  After a slight mishap during take-off we successfully got off the ground and soared above Interlaken.  Everywhere you looked you were surrounded by mountains and the water.  It was so cool to see why Interlaken was named Interlaken. (It’s because the town is locked in between two lakes.)  The first picture is actually from when I was up in the parachute! 

After parasailing we made an American pitstop at Hooters for lunch then continued on to another town in Switzerland to go hiking to Trummelbach Falls.  The caves were so cool.  Crystal clear water pouring through different caves tunnels and funneling down into the streams surrounding that part of the mountain.  The hike to the caves was probably my favorite part though.  Hannah and I entertained ourselves by singing and walking along.  We took tons of pictures, which I would love to post all of on this blog, but I think you all would get sick of the photo montage if I did so! 

I was so sad to leave on Sunday and wish my trip could have been longer but I know I will make it back to Switzerland some day.  I was just too in love with the area to not go back.  Maybe next time I will try white-water rafting or canyoning! 

Photos: The view from my paraglide, a picture of me actually in the air, my friend Matt right before he lands, and the group that I went with at Tummelbach Falls

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Real Family, meet Visiting Family 

One of my favorite nights with my family in town was getting to introduce them to my visiting family.  As mentioned in older posts, students can sign up through DIS to have a Danish family that they can spend time with, eat meals with, and get that feel of home while abroad. Now I might be biased, but I feel I got the best visiting family. Ryan, I am sure will refute this but we will just chalk that up to a difference in opinions. 

The evening was great.  My visiting family cooked us a traditional Danish Christmas meal.  I tried caviar for the first time ever and was obsessed with the pork they served.  For dessert my real sister, Maddie, and Camilla, Jonas and I chopped up tons of different fruits.  You name it, it was in that fruit salad- strawberries, kiwi, apple, raspberries, cantalope, melon- it was ALL there.  Then we added a sugary homemade yogurt type topping.  I was in love. (Tina, if you are reading this, I want the recipe!) 

Overall, the evening was a success.  You always worry a little bit when introducing family members to others.  Of course, you yourself has grown to appreciate and love your family’s ‘little quirks’, but will others find them as amusing? Well, the answer was yes in this case.  I was so happy to hear from Tina that she never felt like there was awkward pauses in conversation or a lack of things to talk about.  Conversation (and wine haha) flowed all night and we had a great time getting to know everyone.  I am so glad I was able to blend my real and visiting families together into one big family! 

Pictures: Real mama and host mom (L), the delicious pork (C), and all my siblings (R) 

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Being a tour guide 101: 

When showing someone around Copenhagen there are many ‘places of interest’ that you should visit.  I had the opportunity this week to re-vist many of the more touristy places Copenhagen has to offer.  I even got to see some that I hadn’t been to before, like The Little Mermaid. I know, I should have seen that by now…With my Mom, sister and Grandma in tow we boarded the bus for our ‘Grand Tour of Copenhagen’. http://www.stromma.dk/da/SIGHTSEEING-TURE/Grand-Tour-of-Copenhagen/

The bus was a great way to see the city and not have to worry about using public transportation or cabs to get you to sites. It was a completely guided tour on and off the bus.  We got off in several locations such as Nyhavn, The Little Mermaid, and Amalienborg Palace.  The palace was my favorite stop because we got to go when they were doing the changing of the Royal Guards (happens at 12pm every day). 

It was also so much fun to eat out at restaurants with my family this week.  Dining out in Copenhagen is very very expensive which is why I cook all my own meals.  Grandma wanted to treat me though so we ate out every night! We had some great meals, Dalle Valle, Italia (in Tivoli), Wagamama and Midtown Grill.  

I got really lucky because Tivoli opened the last day my family was here.  It is BEAUTIFUL inside Tivoli, and especially at night.  There are tons of lights on the buildings, lanterns in the trees, lights on the rides.  I think I loved it there more at night.  Maddie and I rode the swing ride that goes up way above the skyline so you can see the entire city from up there.  It’s a lot of fun for about the first 15 spins, then I just got so dizzy.  I can’t handle rides the same way I could when I was younger, I guess.  Tivoli also has some really cool shops for souvenirs, gifts, or just for fun.  Maddie and I were trying on ridiculous wigs and sunglasses in one of them.  

We had so much fun pushing Grammy around in the wheelchair, or her ‘chariot’ as we liked to call it. That probably caused us the most laughs trying to use a wheelchair on cobblestone! We almost lost her a few times on the bumps and got stuck on every curb, but Grammy was a trooper laughing about it.  

Overall, it was so much fun having the family here and showing them around my city. They’ve only been gone a few days, but I miss you guys already! I can’t believe how fast this semester is flying.  I only have 5 weeks left here! 

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MY FAMILY IS IN COPENHAGEN! 

I could not be any happier or any more excited than I am right now to have them here.  For the past 2 months I have known that my Grandma and sister, Madelyn, were coming to visit me.  What I did not know, until I got to their hotel Saturday afternoon, was that my Mom was coming too.  They surprised me by bringing her to Copenhagen.  It was apparently a birthday gift for her that my Grandma also surprised her with. You can bet that there were lots of tears of excitement first when I saw my sister and Grandma.  Even more flowed when my Mom came up behind me a few minutes later! 

I have been showing them around Copenhagen the best that I can considering it has been pouring rain. Yesterday was very nice though (minus some morning snow showers!) and we took a bus tour around the city.  It was neat to have a guide tell me fun facts about the city that I did not know before.  Surprisingly, I had never been to The Little Mermaid before yesterday.  The Little Mermaid was Maddie’s favorite movie growing up so she was so excited to see the statue.  

It’s amazing to have all three of them here.  I knew I was missing home some before they came, but I realize now how important my family really is to me.  We have had the best times laughing and catching up.  Whether we are wheeling Grammy down the street in her wheelchair and getting stuck on the cobblestone, or dropping marshmallow smores on the dinner table making a mess, or just hanging out in the hotel room, we are all together laughing and just enjoying being together.  Having them here is exactly what I needed to help me stop missing home and fully enjoy my last 6 weeks in Copenhagen.  

I know you are sitting in the hotel bed next to me now Grammy but I want to tell you thank you so much now, so you can read this when you get home.  You are such an amazing grandma to plan all of this and come all of the way here with Mom and Maddie to surprise me and spend time with me.  I can’t wait to spend the rest of the week with you all making memories and showing you ‘Wonderful Copenhagen!’ (like the song!) 

-Morgan 

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Mom and Glenn are in Copenhagen! They’ve rented bikes and we’ve been able to see the great majority of the city! We’ve had dinner at a variety of different restaurants: Cafe Norden, Post/Tele Museum Brunch, Cap Horn, and Peder Oxe. They met my visiting family for dinner and my friend Alexa over brunch at Cafe Paludan! We took a tour of the Rosenborg Slots, saw the little mermaid, climbed the round tower, and visited all of the government buildings including Christiansborg, Amalienborg, and Børsen). We even visited Christiania to see how the autonomous area in Copenhagen differed from the rest of the city.

So far they love the danish cuisine from the smørrebrod at the glass market to the herring, pastries, and beer. Today we museum hopped from the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Post/Tele museum, and David’s Collection. Tomorrow we’re going to Roskilde (for my first time as well!) to visit the famous cathedral (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and the Viking Museum. Then we set sails for Dublin Ireland to start my spring break!

-Ryan

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Sorry to keep y’all hangin’! As the halfway point of the semester has past, school/traveling/getting the most out of Copenhagen have taken us by storm! Here are some picture selections to hold you over :)

-Ry

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HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY RYAN!!!!! 

Today is Ryan’s 21st Birthday.  While this is no big deal in Copenhagen like it is in America, it still does not mean the day should go uncelebrated.  Yesterday, which this photo is from, Ryan hosted an ‘All-American birthday cookout.’  It reminded me so much of home. We had football, soccer, hotdogs, potato chips and beer to properly celebrate the birthday boys day.  Per Ryan’s request people wore their Ray Bans, Sperrys, lax pinneys, croakies and brought their coozies.  It was great to bring a small part of America to Denmark through this celebration.  Though it was a little chilly out yesterday I had one of the most fun afternoons since being abroad.  I think Saturdays out in the sun with friends will start occurring more often as the weather warms up.  I cannot wait to get back from travel break and be able to retire my winter coat once and for all.  

So Happy Birthday Ryan! Can’t wait to go out for some good ol’ American burgers with you tonight! Check out the menu to this place- the food looks AMAZING! 

http://www.sporvejen.dk/

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As Morgan mentioned, we just got back from Brussels, Belgium for the Sensation White electronic music festival. Before attempting to describe the grandiosity and extravagance of the concert, exploring the city of Brussels made me make some realizations. Namely, it made me really appreciate Copenhagen. Copenhagen has cleaner streets, more efficient transportation system, less crime, lower rate of homelessness, and better maintained infrastructure. Visiting Copenhagen was my first European city and therefore it will always be the role model that I will compare the rest of Europe to. It’s no wonder why Danes are considered the happiest people alive. Although the cost of living is high in Denmark, Danes can enjoy preferable social systems to support them in times of need such as unemployment, disability, and retirement. Also, these taxes go towards maintaining the city by keeping it clean, renovating old buildings, building efficient transportation systems, and enhancing the overall quality of life. I was lucky enough to meet up with my friends from Maryland and we were able to compare and contrast their host countries with Brussels. 

I had a wonderful time enjoying the niche experiences that Brussels had to offer including the best beer in the world, tasty mussels, and delicious chocolate. But I was more than happy to return to Copenhagen, which in my opinion is the perfect live-able city!

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Yes, we are both still alive!

Hello all, 

I apologize for the long absence from blogging.  Ryan and I have been, and continue to be, swamped with homework and traveling the past few weeks.  It is midterms this week so all of our classes are laying on the work and studying heavy.  In addition Ryan and I went to Belgium this weekend for ‘Sensation’- the show we posted a video of several weeks ago.  With all of the traveling and work I know I have been exhausted and I am sure Ryan is in my same boat.  We may have time to post again this week but if not with all of the studying, group presentations, and papers, we will be back in action the week after! 

-Morgan 

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Danish-do

This week, I faced my fear that I had been long procrastinating: getting my haircut in Denmark. I made all of the necessary preparations: converting lengths to centimeters (i needed ~5.5 cm off), scouted out salons, and brought old pictures of myself to show my stylist. Eventually, I held my breath and settled on a hair salon located near my bus stop in Østerbrogade.

It was quite the traumatizing experience. The stylist looked nervous and understood my english but wouldn’t reciprocate my requests. He barely wet my hair and then attacked my head wielding two sets of cutters Edward Scissorhands style at 100 km/hr. At first, he made my sides really short and barely paid the top any attention. This look is very populor among Danes at the moment. Unfortunately, it was not a good look for me. After making necessary touch ups, the outcome wasn’t too shabby. I got plenty of compliments on my fresh cut, but was it worth the heart attack?

It’s not easy being this, ridiculously, good looking.

-Ryan 

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Scotland

Hi all, please excuse my long absence from blogging.  I was in Scotland for the week with my Positive Psychology class studying the principles of positive psychology in a more worldwide context.  I absolutely loved Scotland.  Maybe it was the sunshine and green grass that awaited us when we got out of the airport that started my week of fun or the adorable Scottish accents that everyone had- one way or another, I love the country.  Everyone was so friendly and excited to talk to us.  This is a drastic difference from the Danes.  It’s not the the Danish are unfriendly, they just take a while to warm up to people.  The Scottish needed no warming up though.  Whether it was in a store, at a restaurant, or in the bathroom, I was constantly being engaged in conversation with a Scott.  

The first day of the tour we visited Edinburgh Castle which is pictured above.  We got audio tours which explained the different monuments, sites, and rooms of the castle. We got to see the Royal Crown Jewels. So the jeweled crown, necklaces, the appointing sword- very impressive.  The war memorial was probably my favorite area of the castle to learn about. They have books where every soldier that ever fought for the country is listed.  There is a shrine with a Saint Christopher statue and a large marble slate.  The walls had beautiful stained glass windows and murals depicting war scenes and battle outfits throughout the decades.  The entire shrine was just very peaceful and sentimental. I could tell how much the church meant to the Scottish.  

The other picture is a West Highland Cow.  This is Scotland’s national animal.  I was in love with these furry creatures.  Apparently the Scotts are very proud of this animal because in almost all the gift shops they had fluffy earmuffs and hats shaped like the head of this cow.  I was so excited that we got to see some live ones during a walk on the second day in town. 

For now I am still exhausted so will continue to update about the rest of my days throughout the week.  Goooodnighttt! 

-Morgan 

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11th
March
Well I don’t know if I quite the same was a Ryan, feeling ‘like a boss.’ At least not today. I am feeling more like this after my long day of traveling and then the late night catch-up-session with my roommates.  Of course we all stayed up way too late telling funny stories from all of our study tours.  So I’d say I’m feeling more like this cat today.  I keep falling asleep during unpacking, trying to make food, reading for class- I’m literally falling asleep as I try to do anything.  I had such a fantastic time on study tour. Like Ryan said, stay tuned for the day-by-day play-by-play coming soon! 
-Morgan

Well I don’t know if I quite the same was a Ryan, feeling ‘like a boss.’ At least not today. I am feeling more like this after my long day of traveling and then the late night catch-up-session with my roommates.  Of course we all stayed up way too late telling funny stories from all of our study tours.  So I’d say I’m feeling more like this cat today.  I keep falling asleep during unpacking, trying to make food, reading for class- I’m literally falling asleep as I try to do anything.  I had such a fantastic time on study tour. Like Ryan said, stay tuned for the day-by-day play-by-play coming soon! 

-Morgan

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11th
March
We’re back from our long study tours to Scotland/Vienna! The image pretty much describes how I felt all week, living the dream exploring another European city. Stay tuned for our coverage on each day of our trips!
-Ryan

We’re back from our long study tours to Scotland/Vienna! The image pretty much describes how I felt all week, living the dream exploring another European city. Stay tuned for our coverage on each day of our trips!

-Ryan

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Long Study Tours: Scotland and Vienna!

"Wiedersehen", "Guid cheerio the nou"! (Goodbye in German and a Scottish dialect). Morgan and I are off on our long study tours with our programs! I left for Vienna with my European Clinical Psychology class on Sunday and Morgan should be arriving in Scotland with her Positive Psychology class as we speak! Can’t wait to blog about it when we get back to Copenhagen this weekend. Until next time!

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