I have been living in Copenhagen for about a week now. You would think that my social media would be alight with photos bragging about how much fun I’m having. I should be making you jealous of my new life across the Atlantic. But the truth is, I haven’t really done anything Insta-worthy. This isn’t to say that I haven’t done anything at all, because I have (although I suppose this depends on your definition of “doing things.”)
On Friday, I took a free, three-hour walking tour of Copenhagen. It was my first time walking around the center of the city, and I wanted a bit more context concerning what I was seeing than what simply wandering around aimlessly on my own would provide. While on the tour, I made friends with a nice older couple from New Zealand. We ended up getting lunch together and spent a decent amount of time just chatting about everything from politics to what’s good on Netflix. It was a really nice time despite the fact that talking to people I’m not already friends with is firmly outside my comfort zone.
Please forgive me, for on Saturday I spent the whole day on a couch in the common room watching an entire season of The Great British Bake-Off with a few of my kitchen mates. I had originally planned to go out and catch the pride parade but honestly, I was exhausted from my 6 mile trek the day before. I have no regrets, however, because I love hanging out with my kitchen mates. I also love laying on the couch doing nothing.
Before you think that I’m just a lump, I did actually leave Tietgen on Sunday. Some friends from the dorm and I went to a trampoline park which was a blast, though exhausting. I got to break in my new-to-me bike because it was a 40-minute ride to get to the place. I think I did a pretty good job keeping up with the Danes while biking, although they might have been going slow so that I didn’t get lost. Nonetheless, I didn’t crash or get run over by a car/other bike so I’ll call it a win. Actually, it was kind of nice riding a bike without having to worry about getting swallowed by a pothole (sorry, New Orleans).
The ride back was a struggle. I interned in an office all summer and neglected to work out and eat well. I really started to feel all the exercise towards the end of trampolining and I still had to face another 40-minute bike ride home. Of course, the return trip took much longer because the Ironman triathlon was occurring in Copenhagen so we had to detour around and through it. We even biked alongside the course for a good portion, so I’m just going to say that I have completed a small part of the Ironman 😉
Now it’s Monday. Everything hurts, including muscles I didn’t even know I had. I guess I’m getting old. In the interest of not actually injuring myself for real, I have had another low key day today. I did do laundry, so you can’t say I wasn’t productive at all.
While it might seem like I was lazy this weekend, I think it was actually good for me to slow down. There’s this temptation to keep moving and stay busy while studying abroad. You’re in a new country, new continent, and there’s a desire to see everything and make the most of your time. I’ll admit that I thought that my week was going to be like that. A part of me did want to get out and go see and do as much as I could now that I’m here. But this is not a vacation. I don’t have to cram everything into a single weekend. I’m living here. And part of living someplace is slowing down and really immersing yourself in day-to-day life. Had I spent the weekend running around Copenhagen by myself I would’ve had fun, sure but I would’ve missed out on getting to know my Danish hall mates. They’ve all been so lovely so far, helping me get adjusted by accompanying me to the Netto and pointing out the good chocolate milk and the cheap eggs, teaching me how to use the laundry machines, and making sure I didn’t die on my first bike ride.
If you told me before I left that I would be taking it slow in Copenhagen, making fast friends with strangers, and actually hanging out in the common room in my hall I wouldn’t have believed you. I am generally an introverted person and it takes me quite a bit of time to warm up to new people and I certainly did not expect to start connecting with people so soon. Yet here I am, being sociable for a change. I’ve always said that brunch Katie or Halloween Katie is peak Katie, but perhaps European Katie is? After all, I have been thriving while considerably leaving my comfort zone.
That’s not to say that everything in Denmark has been all sunshine and roses. Living in a foreign country is still an adjustment and there are still things I’m still figuring out and getting used to. The Danish language is still confusing and kind of scary. Mountain Dew tastes different. And while the weather is gorgeous (seriously, it feels like “Florida Fall”), my windows are open most of the time so at night sometimes moths fly in and then my bedroom feels like Buffalo Bill’s house in Silence of the Lambs.
Still, I am still perfectly content where I am. I am coping much better than I ever thought I would be at this point. I have big plans for my last week of freedom before law school orientation starts. I just needed a lazy weekend to get ready for everything that’s ahead.