Danish Liquorice

If there is one food Denmark is famous for, it would have to be Danish Liquorice – “Lakrids” In Danish.  To preface, I’ve never liked liquorice to begin with, it’s taste has always been rather unappealing to me.  Oh how I underestimated just how unappealing liquorice could be…  First of all, there is no “red” or “black” liquorice in Denmark, it’s all black.  Jet black.  In addition, liquorice in Denmark is far from black liquorice in Canada.  Black liquorice in Denmark is incredibly salty.  Salty to the point where it almost numbs the mouth.  In my experience, Danish liquorice is overpowering and unbearable.  As I found out, there is a reason to this.  See, in Canada, black liquorice is made of ingredients you may expect, sugar, liquorice extract, etc.  But, in Denmark, Liquorice is made of three primary ingredients: Liquorice plant, charcoal, and ammonia.  Yes, the same ingredients you’d use to have a barbecue and clean that barbecue afterwards are used in the creation of candy…  As one may expect, it’s an incredibly powerful taste.  However, most Danes love it and defend it.  I suppose it’s an acquired taste.

Canadian black liquorice is hated by many; when Canadians are finished with a bag of assorted candies, more often than not people will leave all the black liquorice at the bottom of the bag – where it belongs.

This post is all in good fun, Danish ways of life are not better, nor worse, they’re merely different.  I’m thankful for the cultural experience, however, my tastebuds are not.1200px-Swedish_salty_liquorice

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I Haven’t forgotten about you

It’s been a while.  But I promise I haven’t forgotten about you or this blog.  I’ve just been really busy recently.  So, perhaps there will be a flurry of blog posts in the coming days.

However, this post will be rather short.

As I approach the one month mark, the idea of Canada is becoming an increasingly difficult thing to wrap my head around.  It feels like I’ve always lived here in Denmark despite it being less than 30 days since I arrived.  Anyway, It’s the little things that remind me of home sometimes.  Like hearing an American accent on the television.  Or seeing the Danish flag draped in a way that it almost looks like the Canadian one.  Or even just someone asking me where I’m from and why my accent sounds so funny. Small things mean the world to an exchange student I suppose.  As a result, the big things mean even more really.  For instance, my parents shipped me a care package recently with a plethora of Canadian/America goodies in it.  I can tell you, every North American takes peanut butter for granted.  Every one of them.

Despite my mind finding it’s way home more often than not, I still find it difficult to miss my homeland.  One must venture away from the known so they can find what “home” actually means.

Talking to other exchange students; they all say the miss the feeling of being home.  But for me it’s different.  Perhaps I always feel at home, wherever I am.  Or, I have never felt at home and must keep searching for it.  Either way, eventually I’ll know.

I’ll write soon, I promise.

Making a Cinematic Video about Canada

 

For weeks now, I have sat upon several gigabytes of raw footage, unseen to the world except to the mechanical eyes of my hard drive.  Well, today that changes.  Today I finally finished my cinematic video about my hometown.  I’ve posted a link below if you’d like to check it out.  I think this will be my first blog post that isn’t about Denmark.  But, I wanted to share the process that lead to the release of this video; from the perspective of an amateur, not only in video editing, but in life as well.

So this project began months ago, before I ever even packed my bags for Denmark.  This began out of a desire to capture the essence of my hometown so I could show the people of Denmark what Canada is like.  However, as with many things in life, desire is easier than delivery.

To make an amateur video like this, I had to first actually capture footage to work with.  So in the few weeks I had left In Canada, I travelled around my local area to capture footage.  Being an Amateur, I had a terrible filming ratio of about 30:1.  This means for every 30 seconds of footage I recorded, I would only actually use 1 second for my final film.  The actual filming process involved me driving myself around with my Drone, DSLR Camera + Microphone, and GoPro.  Once I had several hours of footage, I decided it was time to begin editing.

Now, the editing process is very different than the shooting process.  It involves being finicky, precise, and most importantly, caffeinated.  I currently use Premiere Pro to edit my videos, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of what that program is capable of.  I’m excited to learn even more with Premiere.

Anyways, I have made several videos like these in the past, however, some part of me has ensured they never see the light of day.  Let me explain; when it comes to creativity, I seldom release it into the world.  Be it writing, art, or even videos like these, I never release them.  If one thinks about it, there are so many reasons not to be a “creative”.  What if I release it an nobody see’s it? What if people do see it, but they don’t like it?  The list goes on.  As a result, I’ve never released anything into the world prior to this project – We’ll see how that goes.

Perhaps I’m looking at this wrong.  Perhaps I’m doing it for the wrong reasons.  Who knows.  But I want to continue.

More posts about Denmark later.  I promise

 

One Week Later

One Week Down, Forty Four to Go.

Today I woke up in my new bed, in my new home, in my new country, and I realised I’ve been in Denmark for a week now.  It hardly feels real.  It’s as if I’m expecting to return to Canada shortly.  I don’t think my mind has come around to the fact that I won’t see Canada, I won’t see North America, for nearly a year.

I won’t see home for hundreds of days.

While I have only been in Denmark, physically, for a week, I feel as if I have been in Denmark a lot longer.  In the short week I have been in Denmark, I have already liberated myself of many things I used to hold dear to myself.  For instance, when I speak in English, It is with a Danish accent –It was so nice to hear an American accent in a film I watched with my family-,  I have abandoned half of my wardrobe for it simply wouldn’t be chic, or proper, to wear it in Denmark –I miss my plaid.  But most importantly, I have parted with my sense of “Canadiana”.  People ask me “hvor kommer du fra?” –Where are you from?-  and of course, the immediate answer is “Canada”.  But for a moment after I answer, I find myself unsure…

I mean, sure, I literally am from Canada, I was born there, I was raised there, and my home is there.  But does that mean that must follow me wherever I go? As if my destiny is determined by the portion of earth I grew up in?  I like to think my destiny, fate, and future is determined by nothing but my own will and determination.  To make a long paragraph short, I don’t miss Canada.  I miss my Canadians.

“Parting with People is a sadness; a place is only a place”

It’s Always Rainy in Ejstrupholm

I have been in Denmark for nearly a week now.  Today was my first day without rain.

The idea of a cloudless day seems so far away to me now.  Wherever I go in Denmark, no more than 25% of the sky is blue.  The rest is a bleak grey.  They say it rains almost 180 days a year in Denmark.  Every morning I wake up to the sound of 1000 year old church bells, and the light drizzle of rain.  Each morning I must wear my jacket outside because the temperature never exceeds 15 degrees.  And every night I struggle to understand the nightmare language that is danish.

But, despite it all, I am so, so happy to be here.  Thank you Denmark.

Never change Denmark, never change.

 

Back to School Already

Upon my arrival in Denmark, on my way home from the airport, I sheepishly asked “Hvornår skole begynder?” (When does school start?), My youth exchange officer, Niels, quickly replied “Wednesday”. After a second or two of silence, I clarified: “This Wednesday? like, two days from now?”. “Ja” said Niels.

Well, today is Wednesday. My first day of Danish school. I emphasise the “danish” part, because all my classes are in danish. I was told, before I came to school, that because I was a Førsteårsstudent (first year student) the other students would sing and jeer at me. They would come up to me and throw green paint on me and cover me in green glitter. The tradition behind this is because, for some reason, first year students are referred to as “Frogs”. Well, fortunately, and almost unfortunately, I was late to class my first day (I live 20 kilometers away from my school after all, don’t blame me) thus, I missed the hazing.

At first I was uncertain about my place in the school, my school has 820 students, so it is much larger than any school I have attended before. Before I came to Denmark I was warned “The Scandinavians are a very reserved people. Making friends will be incredibly difficult and my take you several months.” However, within 30 minutes I was able to talk to people and make friends. Thankfully, one of my friends speaks English very well and can understand my Danish. When I walked in the front doors this morning, I had zero danish friends, by the time the day ended I had many.

In Denmark I will have many more, and far more challenging courses. My course load is as follows:

  • Music
  • Gym Class
  • Etymology 1
  • Etymology 2
  • Danish Studies
  • Spanish Class
  • English Class (Easy A+)
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Math
  • Social Studies

As if that wasn’t hard enough on it’s own, every one of my classes (Except for English) is in Danish. Danish physics, Danish chemistry, Danish Spanish!

Wish me luck. I’ll need it.

Velkommen til Danmark

This Post Was Written on August 6th

30 hours.

I have not slept in 30 hours. Furthermore, it is only 3:00pm, so I cannot see myself sleeping until hour 36.

Arriving in Denmark was far easier than I imagined. From the time I left the plane to the time I was out of the airport, it had only been 20 minutes. I think that’s some sort of aviation record. Flying into Iceland for my layover took longer than arriving in my final destination. When I walked up to the customs agent, to declare my maple syrup – perhaps the most Canadian thing I’ve done – he took one look at me and said: “nej, anden, linje” – no, other line . I believe it was due to my red Rotary International blazer I was wearing. If the Rotary blazer allows you to bypass airport security, I think Rotary has a promising future as a drug smuggling cartel.

Anyway, after I exited the airport I met my host families, my youth exchange officers, and had my first experience of Danish culture. The first test of Danish food I had was an open faced sandwich called smørrebrød. Smørrebrød is a food with endless possibilities, pictured on the left is a simple dessert smørrebrød consisting of bread, butter, and a thin piece of delicious milk chocolate. Pictured on the right is German ham, salami, and a cheese I had never heard of, but it has come to be my favourite cheese since I have arrived. Oh, the Danes love cheese. Within the span of 24 hours of being in Denmark, I have tried 6 different cheeses, including “rejeost” or, shrimp cheese.

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In an unexpected turn of events, I apparently begin school this Wednesday. My summer break has been slashed in half, but I am thrilled to begin my Danish school year. As to what I will be taking; I barely know. All I know is that I will be learning German, French, Danish, oh, and English – so at least I won’t fail all my classes.

I am finally in Denmark; after 11 months of waiting.

Farvel Canada

This blog post was written on August 5th.

Goodbye Canada,

I’m sitting in the airport lounge waiting to board my flight. So far I have spent $10 on ice tea, only to have the waitress come out and tell me there are free refills as she brings out my third separate purchase. Thanks. I can only hope I manage my finances better than this…

I’ve been wandering around Pearson Airport with my bags, blazer, and camera; making timelapses, shooting videos, and taking photos. Today I said goodbye to all my friends and family. I won’t see a single one of them until summer 2018. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to grasp the concept of time when I think about this trip. How long is 11 months really? I mean, 11 months is roughly 5 percent of my life thus far. So how can I comprehend and quantify 11 months? Well, 11 months ago:

-Obama was still president

-I began grade 12

-Went on a camping trip up north with my best friends

-The weather was warm

-I told my parents I wanted to go on exchange for the first time

-I had never been to Europe

-I had never heard what danish sounded like, let alone actually learned any.

-I just travelled alone for the first time on my United Nations trip

-And finally, I had no idea what I’d be getting into in the coming 11 months, let alone the next 22 as I begin my exchange..

Suffice to say, 11 months is a long time. I honestly forget who I was 11 months ago, how am I supposed to adequately gauge who I will become in the months to come? I suppose the proper thing to do is just relinquish all desire to control who I become.

Don’t take a trip, let the trip take you.

Leaving the Known World Behind

Today is my last full day in Canada. It is the last time I will sleep in my own bed, or brew a pot of coffee, or even cook myself a meal. For tomorrow I’m leaving it all behind in search of something new. Tomorrow, I will be boarding a plane and departing to Denmark for a year.

Saying goodbye is never easy, but neither is staying put.

To be honest, I’m kind of awful at getting ready. I’ll leave the house without my watch, or without headphones on a regular basis. And now, I’m packing my suitcase trying to ready myself for an entire year. And what am I doing right now as I have less than 24 hours until my flight leaves? Well, I’m procrastinating and writing a blog post. Unpacked, unready, and unsure. But at least I won’t be unblogged.

It’s weird to think that in 48 hours I’ll be in Denmark, laying in a bed that isn’t mine, surrounded by people who don’t speak my language, and in a world that is completely unfamiliar to me. People keep asking me if I’m nervous, or if I’m excited. But honestly, I don’t feel nervous at all. I don’t mean to come across as brazen, or an overconfident teenage boy, but I’m not feeling what I should it seems. Should one not be nervous to leave his friends and his way of life behind? Apparently not. I suppose it’s probably because of the sheer amount of “unknown variables”. One can be afraid of what they know, or afraid of the fact they don’t know things with certainty. But I’m finding it increasingly difficult to work myself up over things that I’m not even sure are real. Every situation I dream up in my head is dismissed on the same grounds I would dismiss the boogeyman.

Despite my lack of preparation; I feel ready. My Danish is conversational enough that I occasionally dream in Danish. I’ve had my first taste of Danish beer, and I have properly invested in enough rain gear that I could probably take it scuba diving.

I am ready. As ready as I’ll ever be…