The last time you heard from me I was still in Orlando, stressed at the airport. I am so happy to say that I am no longer there and no longer stressed. I’ve been in Copenhagen for two and a half-ish days and I think I’m in love. Of course, it was a struggle to get to this point. Transatlantic travel is exhausting at best and in my case, it took me an extra day and a hotel night before I could check into my dorm.
Before I bless you all with the tale of my journey, I would like to take a brief moment to apologize to my brother and my great aunt. I failed to mention them in the shout out to my family in my first blog post. There was definitely no malicious intent, I was simply rushing through typing while surrounded by the mass of humanity that only the Orlando Airport can provide. So Tad, Aunt Carol, please forgive me. I went back and edited my previous post to add you guys.
Now that I’ve cleared the air, I can talk/complain about actually moving to a foreign country. Let’s start with the plane. It takes about nine hours to fly direct from Orlando to Copenhagen, and while that seems long I am so grateful that I didn’t have to deal with any layovers.
The flight could have been worse, but it could’ve been better. I flew Norwegian, which is a budget carrier, although a step or two above other low cost airlines (think Spirit or Frontier). I definitely won the lottery because the person who had the middle seat in my row never showed up. Unfortunately, the guy in the aisle seat manspread all of his belongings into the extra seat, but at least I got some extra leg room out of the deal. Otherwise, the flight was barely tolerable. This is through no fault of the airline. I was entirely responsible for my own misery. Enticed by the idea of a direct flight, I flew out of Orlando with so many children. There was screaming and crying for most of the whole nine hours. Whether it was one child or many, there was no sleep for Katie. I arrived to Europe exhausted and slightly on edge.
My exasperation only increased at immigration. I have this special skill where I always choose to join the s l o w e s t line. This ability really exposed itself waiting for the passport check. Obviously I would join the line with all the delays. I watched the guy who stood directly behind me before the queue split choose a different path and leave before I had even moved ten feet. The people directly in front of me had some sort of major visa issue that took at least twenty minutes to resolve. It was soul-crushing.
Then the train I needed to take to my hotel was delayed (by only ten minutes but at this point ten minutes was too many). I crashed hard once I finally made it to a bed. I had originally wanted to walk around and check out some stuff. I was in Copenhagen after all! Unfortunately, I was so worn-out that my plans went out the window and I did nothing more than visit a grocery store for a meager pre-made salad dinner. While disappointing, this first night was a necessary evil because I couldn’t actually check into my dorm until the next day.
My second day in Denmark started just as rough as the first. I had to drag my two overstuffed suitcases onto the metro which, on its own, was difficult but nothing that I couldn’t handle. That changed when I got off at the metro stop only to find that the elevator wasn’t working. I had to struggle up the stairs with my unwieldy bags. I don’t know how I made it without falling but I’m proud to say that I beat gravity that day, even if my arms are still sore today. As you can see, it was a comedy of errors leading up to moment I moved in. The trials and tribulations were so worth it though.
I’m living in Tietgenkollegiet, which is a dorm located in the Islands Brygge neighborhood in the southern part of Copenhagen. It’s shaped like a giant circle which is so cool. I have my own bedroom and bathroom and I share a kitchen and a common room with 12 other people (hereinafter referred to as the kitchen). There are two exchange students in my kitchen and the rest of the students are Danes.
I am honestly so thrilled with my accommodations. Everybody in my kitchen is so nice and willing to help. I lucked out because the day I arrived one of my kitchen-mates was making a common dinner. A group of us ate together. It was so lovely and a wonderful welcome into the community. I’ve only been living here for a short amount of time, but it’s already feeling like a home. I have yet to venture outside of Ørestad/Islands Brygge as I have been trying to not over exert myself and I want to make sure that I have everything taken care of before I run all over the place. I have wandered the neighborhood a bit and took a stroll alongside the harbor and it’s just been really nice to be here.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect coming into my study abroad experience. Moving to a foreign country is a big change and so much could have gone wrong. I was so afraid I was going to hate it or feel uncomfortable or anxious the whole time. I am pleased to say that nothing of the sort has happened. I knew I would enjoy my time here, but I didn’t think that I would feel so content and so soon. Of course I miss my family and friends back in the States, but I think that being here in Copenhagen is exactly what I needed.
I’m going to be honest here: law school hasn’t always been the best for me. It’s been stressful and terrible for my anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some fun times, learned a lot, and met great people at law school. But overall, these past couple of years have certainly not been great for my overall mental health. It’s been wonderful to be in a completely new environment, far from the pressures of school. Of course, my attitude and emotions may change once classes start and my 17ish page final paper starts looming. For now and for the first time in my life, I’m going to try to stay in the moment and let myself just be.