the last days

It is absolutely crazy that I’m now writing my last update from Copenhagen. (I’ll have one more blog post reflecting on the experience, but that will come later this week.) I have been trying to update the blog every night since I last posted, even though I’m only posting now. I tried to pack a lot into these last 10 days, so be warned that this is a long one. Also, by the time I post this, I’ll be at home, but I’m finishing the post in the airport and on the plane.

On Thursday, I decided to wake up early before my first class to run, as it had been a while since I’d gone outside. Instead of running my usual route, I ran closer to the Marriott Hotel and long the hotels and dock there. It was beautiful, although a bit chilly. Unfortunately, this week’s weather has not been ideal for the last moments of my semester.

Half of my classes met for the last time on Thursday, while two classes still had one more session the following week. In Danish and Psych of Peak Performance, my teachers brought a spread of food and drinks to have while we discussed the lesson, which was a fun break in routine. We got a lot of time in Danish to practice with our oral-exam partners, which we definitely appreciated. Hopefully, the exam will be fine. In Travel Writing, I had a group presentation on a famous writer, and it went very well. My classes, in general, that day were pretty relaxing. Once I got home at night, I was able to submit the papers for them as well that I had written last week, so that was exciting to get them off my hands.

After my last class, I quickly met with my oral exam partner to practice our script one last time, as she was traveling this weekend. Luckily, Adina was also able to practice with me when I studied by reading my partner’s lines. I dropped my backpack off in my room quickly before heading to meet my Danish class at Tivoli for our culminating social event. Similar to core classes, all the beginning Danish classes treat DIS students to dinner and activity at the end of each semester. However, unlike my core class classmates, whom I know pretty well at this point, the people in my Danish class are just the people I chat with before my teacher starts talking each day. After walking around Tivoli (in the freezing, whipping wind–is it really May?), we went inside to have dinner in the oldest restaurant in Tivoli. The ambiance was cool, and we each ordered a glass of wine or beer. Unfortunately, the food platters were not gluten-free, so my teacher had arranged for me to get a separate dinner. This ended up being a few pieces of asparagus with these spicy wasabi-balls, which I did not eat. So, needless to say, I was very hungry. When I left Tivoli, the first thing I did was eat food at home.

I came home in a bad mood, as I felt like many things that day just hadn’t gone my way. Fortunately, Adina suggested we play a game, which just turned into storytelling and doing “casual work” together, which definitely lifted my spirits. We also walked to get a snack at Paludan, and I got laundry and other things out of the way at home.

On Friday morning, Adina and I went to the gym. Let me just say that it is now cold enough that people are wearing winter gear again, which is super strange…a few weeks ago, we were happy that it was finally getting warm enough for short-sleeves. Then, I had to go to a few banks to figure out how to get Danish cash for our tour guide from Wednesday. (Note to future abroad students: bring a debit card! It would have saved so many complications.)

When Adina’s class ended, I met her and Goldie at Paludan for lunch, where I switched up my typical brunch omelet and instead ate a tuna salad sandwich, which was, like everything else on the menu, delicious. The weather was fluctuating all day between pouring-similar-to-hail-rain and beautiful sun, so Adina and I didn’t know whether to follow through on our afternoon biking plans. However, we decided that we should take advantage of the sunlight while it was out, and if it got too rainy, we’d just go inside somewhere. I took my bike, while Adina rented hers from the Donkey Bike app, and we rode them near the hotel board walk I had run the day before. It was an incredible view and it wasn’t terribly cold since we were wearing so many layers, and the bike path was even wide enough that we were able to ride side-by-side and chat simultaneously. After an hour, we went back to the city.

Adina went to do some homework, but luckily Hannah Kahn was in the area, hanging out with her friends from school. We had planned to meet up, so I spent a few hours with them in the afternoon. We walked with Hannah to Tivoli, and then we had a snack at Matcha Bar, where we got those yummy pitaya bowls. I knew I wouldn’t be eating until much later at night, so it was good to eat something lighter beforehand. It was great to see Hannah, and I knew I’d have a lot more time with her the next day.

I went home to change for Shabbat–my last Friday night in Copenhagen! It was very full-circle, as I went to Shabbat with Adina and Goldie on the first Friday night of my semester. It was nice to be back; I don’t think I’ve been there since I took Emma in March. We had a great dinner, and despite our walk home in the pouring rain and wind, it was a fun night.

Adina and I started Saturday morning with another trip to the gym. While we’re disappointed it’s not running-outside weather anymore, at least we’re using our last week of gym memberships here. I came home to shower and change quickly before picking up Hannah from Norreport station to spend the day together.

First, we went to Kunstforeningen GL Strand museum, which was a great activity to do with Hannah, who loves art. The museum is right near Nyhavn, and I had first wanted to go during one of the weekends I spent here in January. However, the museum is only open periodically when there are specific exhibits. This weekend’s exhibits included a lot of abstract art paintings and sculptures, and Hannah and I talked as we walked through, especially about the museums Hannah had been to in Florence recently. We also perused the cute gift shop, and I flipped through a book called “the 500 Secrets of Copenhagen.” It was cool to point out to Hannah all the various places I had visited, but this book also would have been so helpful to have from the beginning! Oh, well. I have managed to do so much during my time here, so I can’t really complain.

It was lunchtime at that point, and we were both getting hungry. I showed Hannah some menus of a few different places we could go, as she had said she was happy to go wherever I wanted for my last week here. I chose a few options. She ultimately picked Café Flottenheimer because, while not a huge menu, it has an adorable ambiance inside the restaurant, and Hannah loves stuff like that. I got the halloumi grilled cheese and she got a quesadilla, and we sat there for a while and chatted. We had gotten so involved in our conversation that the waiter came over twice to see if we knew what we wanted, so by the third time, we had apologized enough and decided, finally.

Afterward, we wanted to spend time in the sunshine, but it was still really cold. We decided to sit along the canal at one of the places with warm heaters and blankets, and we ordered Aperol spritzes there and continued talking. Hannah and I always have great conversations, and I really cherish our time together, even though I don’t get to see her often. While sitting there, we witnessed a protest of hundreds of people walking through Nyhavn. We didn’t know what they were chanting in Danish, but they were carrying signs that said to legalize marijuana. We think it was a protest originating in Christiania. It was interesting to see, especially because later, on our way to dinner, Adina and I saw a completely different protest. That one was much scarier, as the participants carried torches and wore all black.

I walked with Hannah back to Norreport, as she needed to change at her friend’s apartment a little outside of the city. I walked back to my apartment and left a few minutes later. Adina and I had a snack of Glass Market gelato (yum, as always), as we knew we wouldn’t be eating dinner until close to 10 p.m. We came home to get ready, and Adina also helped me study for my Danish exam by practicing my partner’s lines. Then, she tried to guess what everything in our conversation meant based on what she knows about me, which was a fun game.

Dinner and a night out in the Meatpacking District have always been on my Copenhagen bucket list, and I’m so happy it coincided with how Hannah chose to celebrate her birthday! Hannah was so sweet about including anyone who wanted to come to this dinner. Adina and I decided to walk the half hour there instead of taking public transportation, and we arrived at Mother restaurant a little before 8:30. Hannah’s friend hadn’t been able to make a reservation in advance for so many people, but we decided to wait outside for a while, and we all stood around a fire. The waiter thought it was hilarious that Hannah was wearing a birthday hat (we were all wearing party hats, too), and he gave her free shots, calling her Hannah Montana. It was funny.

I figured Mother wouldn’t have gluten-free pizza (I had assured Hannah it was fine because it was her bday and I’d just have something else), and I was able to make my own dish of vegetables and different kinds of cheese, which was really filling and good. The waitress told me that the dough was gluten-free after sitting for 72 hours, but I had never heard that before and didn’t want to risk it. The dinner was a lot of fun. It was Hannah, her two best friends from college, me and Adina, and the friends’ roommates and friends in Copenhagen. After dinner, we went to a bar, where we ran into the same girls we had seen at Shabbat dinner the night before, which was completely a coincidence. We spent a while there, and then we headed to KB3, which is a nearby club. It was birthday-themed for someone else already, which was great, as we were still celebrating Hannah’s bday. It was a cool environment, and it didn’t really feel like a nightclub; it felt more like a bar or bat mitzvah venue. The music was great, and we had fun dancing and singing. We all took the train back after it got late and we were getting tired. Adina and I watched a few minutes of Gilmore Girls, an episode we had started earlier in the weekend. Then, we went to bed.

Sunday morning, we woke up and headed straight to Mad and Kaffe, as we wanted to eat there one more time before the semester ended. Luckily, it wasn’t raining, so the almost-hour-long wait plus sitting outside wasn’t too bad. Adina and I spent a long time deciding on which five plates we would each order, so by the time we were seated, we knew exactly what we wanted. I had a platter of a mix of things I had gotten and ones that I hadn’t, and we realized they had changed the menu since the last time we’d both been there. I got eggs, avocado, salmon, grapefruit, and a different salad. It was really good. We walked home, and I started cleaning my room in preparation for packing. I went for a nice run and then met Adina and Goldie at Emmery’s to do some blogging and studying for Danish. I had a relaxing Sunday evening, looking forward to having the oral exam behind me!

I went to the gym again on Monday, and on the way there, I witnessed a man completely wipe out from the top of his bike. Despite the fact that most Danes ride bikes very confidently, the ground was slippery from the rain. At least eight people ran over to help the guy who fell, and I was struck by how willing strangers are to help. I live in a very special city.

I returned my textbooks and transportation pass, and then I headed to my Danish classroom for my exam. It went pretty well! We messed up a few times, but we were able to take a deep breath and recover, hitting all of our points and sentences eventually. And, I found out later in the evening that I aced the test, so that felt great. I had my last Sociology of the Family class, where we did not do much. Then, I went to get Grød at the Glass Market before trying to figure out the cash/bank situation once again. When the ATM machine still didn’t work with my Danish pin, I went to the H&M kids store, where the cashier was willing to charge my card extra kroner so I could receive cash. Unfortunately, the card was declined there, so then I spent a while with dad on facetime to figure out what to do. Once we were talking about the same credit card, he was able to get another Danish pin, so that I could use an ATM machine. What a ruckus! All was well, however, as I had the money for our fabulous tour guide from last week, who I then emailed to set up a time to meet.

Finally, it was time for my last class of the semester, Travel Writing. Tommy was definitely one of my favorite teachers here, and he organized a very cute ceremony for our last class. First, he handed out copies of the book DISoriented, which is where my story is published! I am excited to have this in a printed format. Then, he called us up one by one and gave us each a certificate that denotes us “travel writers.” We had some snacks, and then, before we filled out the class’s online evaluation (we have done this for every class), we reread the syllabus and talked about how we fulfilled each of the course objectives. I don’t think I have ever had a teacher do this before, at least on the last day of class, and it was pretty cool to see (1) how much I have learned in that class and (2) how each piece of the class fit together like a puzzle by the end. Tommy has been nothing but extremely committed to my personal growth as a writer, and I really appreciated how he made time to meet with me outside of class, offering as much guidance as any student could want.

When I walked out of that classroom, I was effectively a senior for the first time, as I was then done with all my academic obligations. That’s a crazy feeling! I walked around my neighborhood for a bit to enjoy the feeling of being done with school for the summer (although this is typically much more pronounced after finishing a semester at Cornell), and I came home for a bit. Then, I met Adina and Goldie at Paludan for a great dinner. We all had a lot to catch up on (so many stories in just one day), so we stayed there for a while before heading back. Adina and I made popcorn and finished the night by watching Parent Trap, which was so fun, especially as we were able to name all the landmarks and sights in London that we visited together a few weeks ago. I have always loved that movie, but after the chance to visit the Parent Trap house in person, I have a new appreciation for it.

We stayed up fairly late, so I slept in a little on Tuesday. Adina and I went to the gym later in the morning, and then, after getting ready for the day, I went with Goldie and Aly to Reffen for the last time before I leave. I wanted to get that gluten-free crepe I’d seen with my dad, as well as the polenta fries. The polenta fry truck was closed (so sad!), but the crepe was really delicious; it was made of buckwheat. Although it was pouring rain for a few minutes, we were sitting under the tent, so it didn’t bother us. The weather has been so spotty all week.

I came home for a relaxed afternoon of sending a few emails and getting myself organized, and I also biked around for a bit. I decided that I would try to get myself lost for one last time (it’s been months since I did that), but I found that it was very difficult, as I know the area pretty well at this point. As I enjoyed the sunny day, I realized I hadn’t done anything for try-something-new-Tuesday. I have been very confused with the days of the week since I stopped having a normal class routine. So, instead of getting a cinnamon bun as I had planned, I tried a gluten-free Danish Dream cake that day, which is a sugary cake with a cinnamon layer on the top. It was very good. Then I went to Paludan to sit and do a few things on my computer, as I didn’t want to do them at home yet. I ate dinner with Adina at home, and then we got ready to go out with Goldie to Old Irish Pub for our last “American Tuesday” there. It was a fun night, and the music was especially good.

On Wednesday, I spent most of the earlier part of the day packing, cleaning, and organizing everything I have into suitcases, so I won’t bore you with those details. I also had a few errands to run.

I met up with my host mom for the last time on Wednesday afternoon, and our original plan was to get coffee together in the city. However, once we found each other outside the Round Tower, Pernille asked if I’d want to walk a bit to her friend’s vintage shop where we could also have coffee. I agreed! That sounded way cooler than sitting inside an Expresso House or another chain coffee restaurant. We caught up as we walked to the shop, and I realized that this was my first ever time walking through Denmark with a Dane. I was even more aware of how my tendency to walk quickly and pass other people taking their time was so not something my host mom (and probably most Danes) would ever do. I was so happy I was getting this experience with her inside the city. We arrived in 10 minutes to a shop filled with vintage dresses. The owner is a friend of Pernille’s, so we were introduced, and she then explained that most of the products are from Paris and London. Pernille and I browsed the items in the storefront while her friend was in the back preparing our snack, and I looked at all the different rings and bracelets. Then, we entered into a back room of the shop to the CUTEST (ever) area. The couches were all pink, and the table and chairs looked like they could have been in a dollhouse. The shop owner came back a few minutes later with two plates of gluten-free delicacies (marzipan, chocolate, and marshmallow desserts), as well as two steaming mugs of “pink” hot chocolate. I’m not really sure what was in it to make it pink, but I think it was the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. Pernille and I had a nice time chatting, and we also talked to her friend for a while. It was such a lovely way to end a semester with Pernille, who has been such an important part of my Copenhagen experience. Not only was it fun to have the experience of interacting with a Danish family on a regular basis, but each time I met with them, I was challenged to consider topics from a joint European and American perspective. It was so helpful to have them here, and they welcomed me into their home and their city. I hope I’ll be able to visit in the future!

Thursday morning, I needed to clean the apartment’s dishes, pots, and pans, as that was my “chore” for the end-of-semester cleaning. I was excited for later in the day, though, when Adina would finally be done with her tests and I could truly enjoy my last 24 hours in Copenhagen with her and Goldie. We had so much fun, but it was also a very bittersweet feeling. I am so lucky to have found such amazing and close friends here, and I’m not sure what this semester would have been like without them.

First, to celebrate the end of our junior year (!), we met at La Glace, the very-fancy bakery in the city center. Goldie had a gift card to use there from the very beginning of the year, and she didn’t want it to go to waste. We got five different cakes to split between the three of us: two were ones that Goldie could eat without nuts, and three were ones that I could eat without gluten! The options for nut-free were more limited than gluten-free, which is very unusual. I was very excited to try them. It was certainly a fun experience, and I think my favorite cake was an almond layered cake with mocha creme frosting and powdered sugar. The three of us enjoyed the cakes outside, as it was unexpectedly a sunny afternoon. We sat there for a while, and it is safe to say that I was extremely full from cake.

We then went for a last look at Nyhavn canal, the most classic of Copenhagen sights. The street is truly breathtaking, and it is even more beautiful in the sunlight. I appreciate it each time I pass, but knowing it would be my last time (at least for a while) was sad. We took our time making our way through the heavily-populated area with tourists, and we took many pictures. Adina and I also wore our Kobenhavn sweatshirts we had bought earlier in the week. I was thrilled that it wasn’t raining, and we were even able to jump around on the trampolines for a while. Then, we walked back into the city.

Goldie needed to go and finish a final paper, so it was just Adina and me for my last evening. We first worked up our appetite by staying in our room for a little longer, as we were still full from cake but wanted to be hungry for dinner. We went to our backdoor neighbor, Cafe Flottenheimer, which Adina actually hadn’t eaten at yet, but which has recently become one of my favorite Copenhagen restaurants. I have always gotten the same thing the few times I’ve been there, but it’s always delicious: a haloumi grilled cheese sandwich. In addition to talking about camp and other topics, we reminisced about some of our favorite memories throughout the semester, and it is crazy how much we have experienced together! Then, we walked home (the long walk of two minutes), and we changed into sweatpants. We sat on her bed and began to work on a song to the tune of ’Sucker,’ the song recently released by the Jonas Brothers. As Adina and I are both camp people, we couldn’t help ourselves: this song was somewhat similar to a camp comedy song for Sing, where we tried to include as many shared jokes and experiences as possible in the lyrics. We had started compiling this list a few weeks ago. We did not get to include nearly close to all of what we had written—but, given the amount of time we’ve spent together, this was to be expected. We laughed a lot while making it, and then we each recorded it on our phones to save as a keepsake from the semester. Even now, as I just listened to it on the plane, I smiled to myself as I remembered all the funny things that have happened.

After finishing the song, which took several hours, we finished the Parent Trap movie and talked some more, going to bed pretty late. My goal was to slowly transition myself back to New York time, although I ended up waking up early with the anticipation of my flight later that day.

I woke up and finished packing everything into my bags, which really felt like the end. I’m still shocked at how lightly I was able to pack for this semester, but it was really great to have all of my belongings in two suitcases and a backpack because it made it easier to get to the airport. Goldie met me and Adina for a final brunch at Paludan, which was delicious as always. They pretty much told me we could do whatever I wanted for my last morning, and I really wanted to walk around more, but unfortunately, it was pouring. After staying in Paludan long after we finished eating—not a bad place to kill time—we headed across the canal to Norrebro for dessert at Nicecream, the vegan ice cream with gluten-free cookie sandwiches. They were all out of cookies, but we all still had delicious scoops of ice cream. The rain had let up for our walk back home, where the three of us spent the last few minutes together in my apartment. We listened to sad music, but it was hard not to laugh as we reminisced some more. All of these coming-to-an-end activities were quite emotional, and by the time they walked me to Norreport station, I was crying. And then, I was off.

Stay tuned for one last blog post reflecting on my semester!

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