It wasn’t really until I was forced to rest in the hospital last weekend as I recovered from getting my appendix out that I stopped to think about what a wild ride this semester has been so far. As I lay semi-asleep in that mercifully silent hospital room, reveling in the thought that I wouldn’t have to pay a dime for the entire operation and eternally grateful that my doctors and nurses spoke such flawless English, I was dumbfounded to read the date on my hospital bracelet: 4 APRIL 2014. I still have five weeks left here, but the idea that this is my last of four blog posts for the Misc is unnerving. In many other ways, too, I’m starting to become hyperaware that my long-anticipated semester abroad is quickly coming to an end, and on a larger level I’m feeling frustrated with my inability to slow down and savor my time as a college student in general. I’m finally starting to feel at home with my host family, to the point where I’ve really been missing them while traveling this week, and I’m suddenly and unexpectedly dreading the day that I’ll say goodbye to them in the airport next month; how can it be that it’s taken us this long to get to know each other?
And, frustratingly enough, this is all kicking in at a time when I’m more consumed with Vassar happenings than I have been all semester. Sending emails about pre-registration, summer field work, and proposals for my senior recital and independent study projects hasn’t been incredibly complicated, but it’s gotten me feeling nostalgic for Vassar and eager to start a new set of classes. And terrified about becoming a senior.
Now that the bulk of that is over, however, I’m making myself take some time to think about what I want my last five weeks here to look like. And because I’m incurably list-oriented, I’m taping some of my main ideas to my wall:
1. Study/procrastinate on Facebook less, go outside more.
I’m starting to worry that my host family thinks that all Americans, or all 20-year-olds, or both, are incapable of spending more than a few hours away from their laptops, based on the example that I’ve set over the past few weeks. And even though I’m missing friends from home more than I have all semester, I need to reassess my balance between talking to friends from home and getting out of the house to have my own adventures here. The weather is finally not cold and dark every day. Gardens and trees are blooming, and the sun doesn’t set much earlier than 9:00pm anymore. I’m not kidding. Tivoli Gardens is even open. I have no excuse.
2. Stop whining about missing peanut butter and try some new food.
So…I’m vegan, and long story short, I naively forgot how much more convenient it can be to be vegan at Vassar than it can be to be vegan in the rest of the world, at least while still getting acquainted with a new place and its food culture. Most things are ridiculously expensive here (especially food, and especially eating at restaurants), and I’ve gotten into the boring habit of making myself the same meals all the time. Spring is here, and new vegetables are in season, and I hereby declare it time to revamp my food shopping list and hit the farmer’s market for some new ingredients and recipe ideas.
3. Be more intentional about spending time with new friends.
One of the hardest parts about living with a host family has been meeting other people my age. With a nearly 60-minute commute and no way to contact anyone cheaply without wi-fi, coordinating things with friends quickly becomes complicated and exhausting. I feel pathetic simply going home after my classes end every night, but it’s usually so much easier than planning something with a friend who lives on the other side of the city in a crowded homestay apartment. But two of my classmates suddenly left this week to go back to the U.S. for good, and I’m suddenly hyperaware that I’ll probably never see any of these people again after May ends. (What a strange phenomenon that college subjects one’s friendships to, huh?) Time to stop being a grumpy old lady and get out there.
4. Explore Copenhagen more.
Cliche, but I’m slowly realizing that I still haven’t done most of the touristy things in Copenhagen yet, even though I bike into the middle of the city every day for class. This weekend my host family and I were finally able to take one of the day trips that we’ve been meaning to schedule all semester (we went to Hamlet’s castle!), but I still haven’t seen any Hans Christian Andersen stuff, or hung out in Nyhavn (the colorful row of waterfront buildings that you probably picture when you think of Copenhagen), nor have I been to Christiania (Copenhagen’s famous self-governing hippie community). Three months in, and I still feel like I barely know anything about this city and its people. Go figure.
Here are some pictures from the week I spent WWOOFing in Ireland last month!