Monday, January 31, 2011

"Do you have yet lag?"

asks my new friend from Sweden.

Well, I THOUGHT I was adjusting well to this European time zone, but right now jet lag is hitting me pretty hard. I woke up at the good ol' hour of 7:00 this morning, but I just could not fall asleep last night. My brain knows I'm 6 hours ahead of Toronto time, so now it's just a matter of getting my body on this side of the ocean.

...figuratively, of course. Denmark may be part of Shakespeare's domain, but I have not been beheaded since arriving here.

Despite my school daze, I did snap a few photo-graphays today! Allow me to take you through the Danish School of Media and Journalism.

That's me! Wierd.

The lovely Kristine in the main hallway.

The walls are COVERED in pictures and articles.

Exploring the upper hallways.

The very classy cafeteria, also known as the canteen.

...and the food choice is even classier. It's a daily buffet, and they weigh your plate to determine how much you pay.

My main classroom for TV journalism.

The bibliotek. Cool lights!

The radiostationer.

One of the lecture halls. The professor, Asbjorn, pronounced "Azbion," was telling us about the teaching methods at the school. It was really something to sit in a lecture hall with people from about 20 different countries.


One of the many skylights. The building itself is rather exquisite!

...and I forget this girl's name. I think she's from Russia or something.

The day was pretty chilled out. We're just doing orientation stuff this week, so I'm going to relish the fact that I don't have any homework yet.

BUT. Take a gander at this little excerpt about my program:

"The fourth TV assignment at the International TV course is a current affairs story of five minutes produced outside Denmark. This foreign correspondent workshop has been a product of three weeks concentrating on particular objects connected to the practise of travel to a foreign country and report within a short time table."


So, essentially, I'm going to study abroad, WHILE ABROAD! I think that happens around mid-semester, so for our FINAL project, I can only assume we're going to the moon.

I hear the martians don't do interviews though, so that may be a challenge.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Did you ever play European handball in school? Well it's a big deal over here!! I just watched the "handball" championship game with some of my housemates, and Denmark just LOST to France! HAHA, and I'm actually just as upset as Brit, Martin and Sophie are! I truly feel some Danish pride!

Watching my housemates stand up and yell at the TV just now reminded me of watching the gold medal olympic hockey game in Toronto. Only, if tonight's match was truly the same scenario as that game, Demark would have won. Sadness doth ring throughout the land this eve :(

Yes, there are a million differences between Denmark and Canada, but tonight I found something we have in common: true patriot love, vocal viewings of the game on TV, and...

HA! Coincidence? I. Think. Not.

Denmark's getting COOLER

...and I ain't talkin' about the temperature! It's about 0 degrees on average here, but there's no wind chill that brings it down to -30. I even wore my Cons yesterday when I went downtown!

(For those readers who are over 35, when I say Cons, I mean I wore my Converse sneakers instead of boots...wait, maybe I'm over 35. Do people say sneakers anymore?)


SO! Here I am again, and I'm delighted to tell you that I've had a GREAT 3 months so far in this country.

...Ok. But actually, I've only been in Denmark for one week. WHAT???

It's true. A mere SEVEN days ago, I stepped foot on Danish soil for the first time. And it's actually been thee longest week of my life.

I journeyed from Toronto to Copenhagen, I ran around Aarhus with my Dad looking for a phone, a bus pass, and a CPR number, I made 2 trips to Ikea, I slept over at Emily's, I called the internet guy 823 times, I grocery shopped, I decorating my room, I toured downtown, I went to a dinner party with other international students, I made a trip to my school, I got lost countless times on the bus, I made another trip downtown, AND THE LIST DEFINITELY GOES ON!!!

I've moved across the ocean, adjusted to a different time zone, and have been introduced to a different culture all in a matter of days! WOAH NOW.

But let us back up, if we will, as I finally have some picture documentation of my whirlwind of a week! First stop, my house.

Fig. 1: A great, big, happy and pleasant welcome to my house :D Hahaha.
This picture shows one of the entrances to the big complex I live in. It's called "Skjholhoj Kollegiet" (pronounced Skyol-hoy Collegiate) and it's public housing for about 1,000 students who go to school all over Aarhus.

Fig. 2: The path to my you get that prison vibe? It was RATHER intimidating last Sunday!

Fig. 3: My front foor! Building 15.

Fig. 4: The common room. I only have about 7 housemates, (all from Denmark, with the exception of one guy from Turkey), but Skjolhoj is really popular with exchange students. So when they leave to go home, they apparently leave things behind. There are a lot of lamps, plants and even a TV that are sitting unclaimed on the main floor!

Fig. 5: You're back is now to the common room, and you're looking into the kitchen. The stairs lead to about 5 more rooms on the top floor.

Fig. 6: The view from upstairs, looking down at the common space.

Fig. 7: The kitchen.
I share a mini fridge, but I do have my own cupboard space. A lot of the other international students from my program who live here in Skjholhoj live in the buildings with 2 rooms and a small shared kitchen with no oven! Therefore, THIS is gonna be the place for nacho nights. WOO!

Fig. 8: The view from the kitchen, looking into the common space.

Fig. 9: The steps to the front door. (The kitchen is just to the left.)

Fig. 10: Just to the right of the stairs to the front door. This hallway leads to my room.

Fig. 11 : My chamber, right when you walk in my door!
After a VERY negative first impression, I've spruced up this little nook and am now happy to call it my own :) I even have my very own balcony out that door behind my plant! When I got here, that plant and that random flower-explosion-thing on my bedside table were scattered in disarray in the common area, probably from past exchange students who left them behind. So naturally, I decided to give them a new home.
CLAUDIA! As an interior design student, how do you rank this space?? I was going for "blue zen." Hm. Yes.

Fig. 12: :)

So that's more or less my digs! It's only been a week, but I am definitely adjusting to my new home already. There's something about having a space of your own that makes any foreign place comforting!

But wait! There's more. A 20-minute bus ride on Bus 15 will take you from Skjolhoj Kollegiet to DOWNTOWN:

Kiesha, from California, Katie from Missouri, Marieke from Belgium and Kristin from Slovakia!

And Kimberly Ivany. From Canada. Pretty amazing, EH?

Week 2 starts does school. It's funny, I haven't even really THOUGHT about the school part of this experience yet. I know I came here to in fact STUDY abroad, but I'm just realizing now that it's back to the academic grind. I've been out of school since December 3rd - HAHA - so maybe it IS about time I get back to it, like my Canadian buddies, starting with these 2 articles on Danish government and education systems...

...but first, I shall vaccuum. The crackers I was eating while writing this post have somehow settled as crumbly tidbits all over my floor. Pssh. How dare they?

Farvel så længe!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dad-less in Denmark


I am rather frustrated at the moment, as I have spent all night trying to get a video uploaded of my trip to Ikea. Apparently the HighDef quaily of my little Canon is too much for Blogger. I'll try again tomorrow, AND post some more pitchas!

After 2 days without it in my own room, my ethernet cord WORKS!!! I've probably used up half my phone minutes talking to Tom, the internet guy (whom I consider one of my friends since we've spoken so much - plus he thinks my last name is cool) and with his help I am now free to spend many hours on Facebook and Skype, such glorious inventions for the student abroad!!!

And when I say it was only 2 days without the net outloud, it makes me sound like an web addict. But really, when you're an ocean away from home, it's actually so comforting to be able to connect with friends and familay via computer!

Especially when you're alone over the daddio left on Wednesday!

At 10:01, we said goodbye on the train platform, and my dad, Mr. Paul Ivany, cried. He didn't break down or anything, but there were definite tears in his eyes and a specific kind of silence in him that I had never really experienced before. And as I stood there and watched his train pull away from the station, I didn't cry or run after the train like the end scene of a hollywood movie, but a voice in my head announced loud and clear, "Well, this is it."

It was actually the most surreal feeling ever. I felt like I was being abandoned, like it wasn't fair for my Dad to just leave me there in a strange country!! But I also felt a massive pang of...I don't even KNOW what! Freedom? Adventure? Intense independence?? Sort of like the feeling you get when you're opening up the page of a new book. If it's a thick one, you know it's going to take a while to finish it, but you're really excited to see how the plot unfolds, and how the characters work together to create something magical. You're ready to get lost in it's pages, to take on a new persepective, to learn something...
I think I shall call this book, The Adventures of Young Ivany in Europe. AH! I'm forseeing a best-seller.

In all truthfulness though, I battled the strong holds of homesickness the day my Pappy left. I kept myself busy setting up my room, and I alsonwent shoe shopping with one of my housemates! Her name is Sophie and she lives in Denmark, just 2 hours away from here. But not having internet to talk to my friends at home was tough. So, I just fell asleep to the sounds of Sandra Bullock acting as Miss. Congeniality. I was actually SO surprised - I ended up sleeping for 12 hours without waking up at all. Waking up was wierd, however. I was like, "OH YEAHHH I'm in Denmark." HA! how often do you get to say that?! The first night and morning alone in a foreign country wasn't as bad as I thought it would be!

And some other good news. I have MET some of the other international students at my school. LAWD JESUS AMEN!

Just like it's comforting to have access to the internet, I was actually EUPHORIC when I got in touch with Emily, another girl from Canada here! (She goes to Carleton Univeristy.) I remember I was at a bus stop when my phone finally reached hers. I'm pretty sure I made a sound of pure joy out loud when I hung up with her. FINALLY, someone to talk to here! Someone who is experiencing similar things!!

I ended up sleeping over at her place and used her roommates internet for the night. Ha! It's funny, being there, I felt like I had known her forever, just because we're from the same country. It's so wierd how such a general factor that like made me feel way less homesick.

But tonight, I boldly ventured out of Canada and into Belgium, England, the US, Romania, Germany and Slovakia.
When I was at Emily's house yesterday, she kindly added me to the International Students' Facebook group. (Way to be with the times, Kimberly.) So this morning before my Ikea trip, I decided to contact some people in the group and see if anyone was up to anything on this eve! I was a little hesitant. I normally just prefer meeting people face-to-face and actually judge the person based on human interaction - (haha) - but! I decided this weekend should not be spent by myself, so I went for it. And it was probably thee best decision ever:

It's 1:33 a.m., and I just came back from the loveliest dinner party at another dorm room in the massive complex where I live. I met about 10 other people in my program, we ate couscous and ice cream together, and we talked about hipsters and languages and told each other stories from our own we've known each other for years! How amazing is it that 10 people from all over the world can sit on a do

And tomorrow, we're going downtown.

AH, yes. Chapter one of this novel is pulling me right in.

P.S - An older Danish gentlemen asked ME for directions at the bus stop today!!! In 5 months it's my goal to be able to provide fluent Danish. Oh yes. It will happen.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2-day whirlwind

Well HELLO and good eve to you!

Or should I say, good afternoon!

It's 10:50 p.m. here in the land of Denmark, but where you are, 'tis the bright hour of about half past 4. Having got here Sunday afternoon, my Dad and I have been in Aarhus for 2 days now, but it actually seems like we've been here for 67.

For the past 2 days, we have been running around this city like we're in a Danish action movie.

Monday: Day One (or really, first FULL day)
  • Stop at the Visit Aarhus centre to pick up bus information
  • Try to get a Danish SIM card for my Bell phone = FAIL. Freaking bell locks their phones, so I am forced to buy a new one.
  • Take Bus 3 NORTH to Ikea
  • Make a quick stop by my school, which is along that route, and explore a little bit - looks really CoOol!
  • WALK the rest of the way up the highway to Ikea
  • Shop at Ikea = always an enjoyable time.
  • Take Bus 15 back to my residence, all while carrying, (between the 2 of us) a bedside table, a carpet, a shelving unit, a garbage can, tupperware containers, and a lint roller.
  • Drop my new stuff off at rez and try to set up internet in rez = FAIL. My computer isn't recognizing th network.
  • Meet a person in rez (FINALLY) --> His name is Martin, and he's from the Faroe Islands (a part of Denmark)
  • Get told that it's my turn to clean the kitchen, or else I'll be charged.
  • Clean the kitchen while my paj sits in my room.
  • Take bus 15 back to downtown Aarhus.
  • By this time it's 9:00, so Subway restaurant outside the hotel is closed. I got a salad from 7/11 for dinner.

My residence room, day one. Now, it may not look THAT bad. But trust me. Ya gotta be there to get the vibe of the place. My plan it to take you on a walking tour soon, starting from the outside in.

Ultimately, this day was not so great. By the end of it, I was EXHAUSTED, but also felt really defeated. I didn't get a phone, the internet wasn't working in my residence, and I had only met one person in my building. I also found out that the program that I'm taking at school isn't necessarily an undergraduate program...which explains why many of my classmates are 30 years old!! I was rather on the stressed side, and I didn't fall asleep until about 2:30. The next day, and all I had yet to accomplish, felt daunting...

TUESDAY! Day two (second FULL day)
  • Wake up at 8:30 for breakfast downstairs.
  • Go to City Hall to register for my CPR number (to acknowledge that I am indeed a citizen in Denmark)
  • Search for a phone --> After going to 3 different stores to find a cheap one, we were successful!!! I now own a crappy little Nokia - the iPhone1999 - and I have a Danish number. (I'm gonna look into how must it costs to send texts and call internationally, or if it will even work between your phone and mine. I'll keep you updated.)
  • Take Bus 15 up to residence.
  • Meet with Ernst, an colourful old man, with a dry sense of humour, who is very genuine and warm, but a little distant and the same time, who smells of smoke, and who is also the caretaker for my residence, (of which 1,000 people live in!!!)
  • Take a trip to the "furniture room" and pick up a free desk, chair, lamp and armchair!! Very garage sale-like, but I really got a bang for my buck.
  • Set up furniture in my room
  • Walk to "Bilka," a Wal-Mart type store 20 minutes away to buy a hammer and screwdriver, and a few other things (like a hair drier that is compatible with Danish voltage)
  • Walk back to rez from Bilka and set up my shelving unit and new clock radio
  • Take bus 15 back to downtown Aarhus
  • Make one more stop at Telenor, the phone place where I bought my SIM card to ask them some final questions
  • Walk to "Pinden," a restaurant in the older part of Aarhus with real Danish food...I'm talking herring with capers and curry sauce, boiled potatoes and bread served with PORT FAT instead of butter. AHOY.

Residence room, day 2!!! Ikea does some magical things.

PHEWF!!! So here I am in this hotel room for the last night. I feel more at ease than I did yesterday, but my Dad leaves at 10 a.m. tomorrow and I'm actually dreading it. I wish I wasn't dreading our goodbye...I know I'm a big girl who is more than capable of living on her own and figuring out new things by herself. I conquered Toronto, a city of 3 million people, so why should this city of 300,000 be such a challenge?

...It's because everything here is in Danish...It's because I have no idea how to use the bus system...It's because I don't know anyone...It's because I live in what resembles a prison...It's because my friends are across the Atlantic ocean...

BUT. On the flip side, how often in life am I going to get to say all of that?? I am in Europe, about to spend a semester studying in Aarhus, Denmark. There are people to meet, places to see, fried pork and potatoes to mange, and for better or for worse right now, it's an adventure!!! And it continues tomorrow at 8 a.m.

So goodnight for now. The internet is my residence wasn't working today, but the Danish chap on the phone said hopefully by tomorrow they would make it compatible "something something something" with my computer. May not be able to blog for a few days...but I'm thinking it might be a tad sad tomorrow lad, so here's hopin' for skype!!

The Great Dane
Portrait by Kimberly Ivany
225 Kroner

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vi har landet i Danmark!!!

Greetings from AARHUS!!!!!!!!!!!

After a 8-hourish, perfectly FLAWLESS flight, my Dad and I are livin' it up in the 300,000 personed-ville of Aarhus - (did that make sense?) - and by livin' it up, I mean desperately trying to keep our eyes open in this hotel room just across the street from the train station. Indeed. We left Toronto at 5:30 yesterday, so we've been awake for about 30 hours now, minus the few we slept on the plane and train.

And like any true journalist, the first thing I did at the Copenhagen airport was pick up a paper...I should really brush up on my Danish.


Quirky story: When my Dad and I got to our gate at the airport yesterday...or today...or...MAN, time goes slow when you don't sleep...whenever it was! There was this 20-something-year-old woman lying on the floor in a pink valeur "Hello Kitty" tracksuit, complete with a "Hello Kitty" suitcase with a pink "Hello Kitty" blanket over her head. Soon after, she sat up and started taking pictures of herself with her laptop webcam.

Moment-of-realization story: It finally hit me that I'm GOING TO DENMARK FOR HALF A YEAR TO STUDY ABROAD when I sat down on my seat in the plane. I called my mom and cried for about 3 minutes. Ha! It passed when we took off. In fact, when I turned my iPod on shuffle, the first song that come on was "There Goes The Fear" by Doves.

Inventive story: On the plane, I was beside the window, and therefore pretty much freezing cold the whole time. I was wrapped up in 2 blankets Air Canada provided, but out of no where, one of the flight attendants came and gave me a 2-litre bottle of Dasani, filled with boiling water to keep me warm. AHA! It actually worked so well.

Spontaneous story: Oddly enough, my first thought when I landed at the Copenhagen Airport was, "I WANT TO TRAVEL EVERYWHERE!!!!!!! :D"

Scary story: My. Residence. Is. A. Concentration. Camp. I kid you not, my room is a jail cell, and I am certain I will be woken up at the crack of dawn for drills and my morning meal of potatoe broth and sawdust bread. My Dad and I met up with my mentor this afternoon who drove us to the building, which is rather far from central Aarhus. Inside my room, there is nothing but a bed. A single, crappity bed. No desk, no chair, no nothing. I didn't bring any linens (due to lack of packing space),and since it's Sunday, no stores were open to buy any! So! I am currently sitting in my Dad's hotel. HA! Our plan is to trek to Ikea tomorrow to buy things to make my room more "liveable." I e-mailed the international coordinator at my school to see if there are any openings at any other residences closer to my school. We'll see what happens. AND I'll get a picture of my room tomorrow to show you. Honestly. Those digs be dodgy.

Tasty story: After the room episode, my Dad and I came back to the hotel and ventured through town to look for a place to eat. We ended up at "Kaffe 67" which is a small little bistro with candles and wine bottles literally everywhere! We got there at about 5, but our server told us the chef doesn't start serving until 6. So he brought us menus, and was nice enough to tell us everything listed in English since it was all Danish on the menu. It was SO helpful, as I have NO idea what "Vdar ge Hygle" is! (And I just made that up. But that's legit what everything on the menu looked like!)

My Dad ended up having "Ox Bone Marrow" (he LOVED it, while I...made a bit of a face) and I had goat cheese salad. But for dessert, we both had an assortment of cheeses. But this is no ordinary Cracker Barrel cheddar, people. This is the REAL deal!!! So rich and creamy and FLAVOURFUL! And the waiter carved it right from big wheels of cheese at the front of the restaurant! (Big shout out to SARAH ROBINSON. You would LOVE this!!!!!!)

The waiter, (his names was Hans), also drank wine as he poured US some, and judged how many glasses we drank by leaving the bottle on the table and looking at it when we were finished.

"I don't have a register to punch it in," he said with a shrug.

He also told me he's not a tea drinker, so I got to smell all the teas and pick which one I wanted, AND he didn't know the fish of the day..."Something like cod!" he said.

At the end of the meal, he gave us a bill that he wrote on himself. The whole experience was SO laid back and inviting and friendly!!! People have told me that this is what dining in Europe is like. It's so cool to be able to experience it first hand!!!

Scary story 2.0: My Dad just said, "Ohhhh this is going to be a good sleep..." SOMEONE GET ME SOME EARPLUGS. STAT!!!!!!!!!!!!

AHHHHH yes. Time for BED. Finally. Talk to you tomorrow! The adventure for a phone and bus information and other things happens then.

(And also, I'm so tired I feel drunk, and therefore have decided not to re-read what I just wrote and instead go to sleep. I do hope it maketh senseth!)

God Nat!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Well HELLO there!

So, I am somewhat askew at the moment. I decided this "Travel" layout for my blog may not be the best one. The font is really white and really small and for some reason, I have to have my name above that fabulous quote by Gilda Radner! --->

SO, I tried to change it, but Blogger has become rather confusing since the days of Online Journalism class. I decided to just delete the whole blog and start over by picking a new template. I opted for a black one that seemed it would have big and easy-to-read fonts...but that one ended up being too boring and bland.

SOOOOTHEN, I deleted THAT one and came back to good ol' "Travel" with it's small white font. Claudia and Martha, sadly I lost your "following," and I'm annoyed because I had to re-post my first ever Denmarkian blog post, thus changing the date it was posted. But as Lindsay said,

"Kimberly, it's just a blog. The only thing people care about is reading it!"

And to that I say, HOO HA!

Basically, I apologize for the tedious font situation, but I do hope we can both get past it and just bask in tales of Denmark.


It is I, Kimberly Ivany, coming to you live from the living room floor of our house. BUT. In precisely 5 hours, I will be getting on a plane to go to OUR HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!

Oh yes, you read it right. I am embarking on a 5-month journey to Our-House, Denmark...otherwise spelled as "Aarhus." ;)

Am I nervous? Excited?? READY TO DANCE AROUND TO DANISH TUNES? Well. The only anxiety I've felt this morning was over the truly insignificant issue of my blog template. Which has been a lovely and unexpected surprise!!! It's definitely in my nature to get nervous and worried before a new situation, but this morning, I feel peaceful. I still have some last minute things to pack, I have NO idea what my mentor's contact information is when I actually get to Denmark, and I'm not bringing for my residence bed when I was clearly told I was supposed to. (I blame you and your luggage limits, Air Canada.) BUT. Despite these things, plus the many other ends that have been left untied, I am calm.

I'll finish packing when I'm done this post. My mentor will probably have e-mailed me by now with his contact info. And - who knew - Denmark is an established civilization where people sleep in beds. Surely I will be able to buy sheets the second I land in Copenhagen if I so desire! Plus, my Daddio is comin with me to help me get settled! Not that he can speak Danish, but just picturing him trying to pronounce Danish signs when we land makes me happy. (He was also listening to Danish music when I walked in the front door yesterday..."Look! I found a jazzed-up version of the national anthem!!!")

Hard to believe I'll be across the ocean by tomorrow!! Denmark is 6 hours ahead, so it will be 7:30 a.m. their time when I get there. I've never been to Europe, so we'll see how I deal with the jet lag...if the next post is lacking in a pleasant and sensical narrative flow, I apologize in advance!

But right now? 1:17 p.m. Toronto time. With this peaceful state of mind, I'm going to enjoy these last few hours in Georgetown, Ontario, Canada and just let the adventure unfold!

Like Gilda says, life is about not knowing...

Here we GO!

"Have an amazing time out there kimbo. Bring back many tales of Danish adventures! And show big ole Europe some tiny g town lovin'. :)"

"do crazy things. have wild adventures. eat food that makes you sick. swim around like the little fish in the giant ocean."

"Do they have Facebook in Denmark?"
-Danielle Ott


See ya on the flip side!!!! AHHHHHHHHH :D