Long time, no see!
Over the past few weeks, I have been extremely busy with schoolwork, family events, and just enjoying the last few weeks I have in Copenhagen. The past week has been one of my most jam-packed, but also the most fulfilling. On top of having two tests in my core course and my immunology class (each had quite a lot to cover) and having my third photoshoot due in Photojournalism, I also hosted a Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday! I invited three of my friends over that had not been to Hillerød before, so they could meet the rest of my host family and learn more about the Danish lifestyle. Most of my friends live in kollegiums or RCs, so they don’t get as much exposure to Danish culture like I do, which I am very grateful for. I also wanted them to get a glimpse of how I’ve been living this semester! So here’s my highlights from the past week:
Starting on Wednesday, EJ and I started getting one of the desserts ready for Thanksgiving dinner the next day. We made my infamous chocolate/toffee crackers, which is one of my favorite sweets to make for the holidays (I’ll link the recipe here – minus m&ms). After this I did have to do quite a lot of studying, because my immunology test was on Friday, and I did not want to spend a lot of time on it Thursday.
When Thursday came around, my host mormor (grandma) and morfar (grandpa) came over to help me start preparing the turkey! I also had a lot of help from my grandma back home, she was so excited for me to cook a turkey in Denmark and celebrate with my host family. She was actually so amazed (as was I) about how expensive the turkeys are here. For a 4.6 kg (about 10lbs) fresh turkey it was around 320 kr (~$47). Back home, my grandma was able to buy a 20 lb turkey for about $20. It’s so crazy how different the prices are…
But back to preparing the turkey! My mormor showed EJ and I how to clean the turkey and what we should do over the next four and a half hours to get the turkey crispy and not dry. We had to baste it every 30 minutes! She also helped us make her special gravy while she was over, which turned out really great.
At around 3pm, one of my friends (Jenna) arrived at Hillerød station, so I biked over and walked back to the house with her, which is about a 15 minute walk (7 min bike ride-ish). Jenna was super excited to cook the stuffing for the dinner and immediately got started on it when we arrived. A little later, my other two friends (Kara and Josh) showed up and we got cooking on all the other dishes!
One of my friends, Kara, has a few dietary restrictions–she is gluten, dairy, and meat-free (here you can read how she is able to accommodate in Copenhagen, if this is something that you are concerned about when coming to DIS). But we still wanted to make sure she would have food to eat at Thanksgiving, because this dinner is usually very heavy on everything she can’t eat. So in addition to the turkey, bread stuffing, gravy, and chocolate crackers, we also made some super yummy options that we could all enjoy: mashed butternut squash, lentils, roasted vegetables, and an apple crumble.
My host family had so much fun at dinner that night and my host dad was so excited to ‘cut the turkey.’ He said he always sees pictures and movies of American Thanksgivings and the dad always cuts the turkey, so he was really looking forward to it. We also went around the table and said what we were thankful for at the moment and it was filled with nice gratifications: food, family, ‘being alive’ (Valdemar), and so many other wholesome things. I was so happy that I was able to provide a comforting, family space for some of my friends on this holiday, I know its days like these that can be the hardest when you miss your family.
Something also interesting was that my friends were all commending me on the commute to my homestay, because they realized how long the train actually takes each day. They were all wondering why I would want to live so far away, but when they got to my homestay and met my family, they automatically realized exactly why I am ok with the commute. I am so thankful for my wonderful host family, and I will be so sad when I have to leave them next week…
I spent Saturday afternoon with my host family and some of their closest friends in a tradition they have been doing for the past 16 years. Marzipan making!! It was so amazing that I could take part in their holiday traditions.
Before coming to Denmark, I didn’t really know marzipan that well, I’m not sure I had even had it before. But for everyone that doesn’t know, it’s kind of like a sugary dough, candy that can come in all different flavors like coconut, chocolate, and even licorice
(EW). Everyone in Denmark loves it! So for this gathering, my host family and friends brought all different types of marzipan, chocolates, different toppings, and chocolate melting pots, so we could dip the marzipan in them. What you end up doing is rolling the marzipan into balls, dipping them into the melted chocolate, and topping them with your favorite ingredients. We had pistachio, raspberry, salted caramel, gold dust, and even more licorice…
It was so fun to make all the different combinations, EJ and I even made a marzipan snowman!! Also Emma’s boyfriend, Helene’s daughter (if you remember her from a few blogs ago), was so meticulous when it came to his treats. He made mixes of toppings and even used tweezers to place little bits of silver onto the marzipan. I actually had some of his creations and they were quite amazing!
Then after marzipan making, we had a lovely meal with pork stew and avocado salad, and finished the night with a but of curling (table version). The food was SO delicious and I had never curled before so this was an extremely fun night.
I have also recently become obsessed with the Danish elves they have here: “nisser.” They are literally the cutest thing ever, and I’ve started a small collection of them. Helene also had a really cute one in her home!
Well that’s all from me this week!
This weekend is going to be very exciting. My host family and I are going to be celebrating an early Christmas this Saturday and Sunday. We are going to go pick out a tree, decorate the house, run around the house singing Christmas songs (a very Danish thing to do), and just have a very hygge day :). We will also be heading to our grandparents on Sunday to have an amazing meal as well as play the Danish version of ‘white elephant/yankee swap/dirty santa.’ I am very excited!
Speaking of Christmas, it is currently the 3rd day of December, and my host parents bought EJ, Valdemar, and I advent calendars for the month, so we’ve been having little candies to eat every day! Valdemar and I are currently trying to guess which candy will be in the date tomorrow. I think it is going to be mentos, but Valdemar is confident it will be a KEX bar… Well I guess we’ll find out tomorrow who’s right!
What do you think?
Vi ses! (See you)
P.S. We have our Danish oral exam on Friday, which I am a little nervous about because speaking Danish is very hard, but my host family has promised they will help me with the pronunciation… wish me luck! Also I know I said that I had a lot of tests last week, so it might seem daunting to have all these things occur in one week. And to be honest, it was a bit overwhelming at points, but this was probably the busiest week I have had at DIS and it was pretty comparable to a week back at Bowdoin (very busy and always studying). So don’t worry about finals period, you got this!