Monday, February 28, 2011



Jeg hedder Kimberly. Jeg kommer fra Canada. Jeg tale engelsk.

Hvad med dig?

Dansk lessons started this eve and we all learned how to say "My name is," "I come from," and "I speak," amoung other little phrases like, "And yourself?" WAHOOOOOO I'm practically fluent.

It was kind of a blast from the past sitting there on a wooden chair behind desks set up in a square...(HAHA, that all rhymed)...yes...It was wierd sitting there in a classroom with maps on the walls listening to a teacher repeat syllables multiple times in a row. I felt like I was 2 years old again learning how to speak english, especially considering the absolutely brutal job I was doing at pronouncing Danish "d's."

They're actually silent, so the "hedder" you just read above is pronounced something like, "hilla." The teacher spent a good 5 minutes on that letter alone....just picture 21 adults sitting all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with their tongues hanging out of our mouths as if they were frozen from surgery or something, trying to pronounce "hllllll". HA!

I also now own a Danish grammar CD and 4 gramar and exercise books.

My next task is to complete Lesson 1 in 2 of the books for Wednesday. And practise the Danish pronounciation of the alphabet.

Don't you be fooled brotha. It may sound a bit dry, but I'm actually rather excited about it all! I'm LEARNING a new language! I'm whippin' out consonants and vowels in a whole new way like I own the place! Sure, today was "My name is Kimberly." But by June, I'm sure my Danish novel will be huge in Canadian bookstores.

This day also brings some sad news however...

My triscuits have run out.

Thus ends the stash of Canadian snacks :(

But there's still 2 boxes of Kraft Dinner in my cupboard. Thanks Beth Laidlaw for mailing me one!!! :)

Godt nacht.

Friday, February 25, 2011

So an American, an Australian, a Hollander, a Slovakian, a Canadian, and a Belgian are sitting in a living room...

And they're all watching The Heartbreak Kid on a Friday night.

True story, no punchline.

There's a TV in my common room, and though most channels are in Danish, we found an English one tonight with Danish subtitles! The movie itself sucked, but we decided that watching subtitles are a really effective way to learn a language. Pssh. Mayhaps I'll just skip my first Danish lesson next week.

But in GRANDER news:

While my intention was to edit my second TV assignment this afternoon, I accomplished something else.

I have booked my spring break:




TO BARCELONA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Yes, yes, you're right. A trip like this ain't cheap. My credit card and I aren't on speaking terms at the moment actually. BUT. In this situation, I decided to allow myself to not think and just DO it.

Hugo and I (and Marije, Christina, and Kristine who were watching us like it was a movie) spent a good hour this afternoon sifting through flights on the internet. What's the cheapest route I could take? Should I book a round trip and use trains in between? Should I not go to Perugia? Should I skip Barcelona?

We went at it from pretty much every angle possible in order to save me some dough. But the cheaper options meant that I would be spending 13 hours waiting at an airport, or getting to a destination at 2:00 in the morning, or missing out on something that I may not get to experience again in my life...

So, after biting my lip and listening to some advice from my friends, I silenced the voice in my head.

"NOPE," I proclaimed. "LET'S BOOK IT ALL!!!!!"

And we all cheered each time the computer screen told me a flight was processed. HA! That hour was a liberating experience in itself.

Sometimes you gotta EAT the dough in the form of Italian pizza instead of worrying about it, you know???


Forgot to say...

don't worry about your money!!! Experience Europe!! Once in a lifetime to be there at this age with no ties. Lap it up!!



Thursday, February 24, 2011


It was Saturday night in Berlin, and Lauren and Marieke didn't feel like going out.

But my mascara was on, my boots were at the hotel door, and I was ready for some German adventure.

So! I decided to go out on the town by myself.

Phoneless, friendless, and fearless, I walked out of the lobby into the crispy night air and felt a pang of excitement. Here I was, venturing into this European city alone. I had already picked a bar I wanted to go to before leaving the hotel, so now it was a matter of navigating my way there.

I turned right and made my way to the "U2" train as Common sang into my ears from my iPod. According to the map, if I took that train to "Warschauer Station" I would be close to my destination, "Gluhlamp Bar."

When the subway pulled up to the platform, I walked on it like I owned the place.

It was so felt exactly like Toronto, only the subway car was smaller and people around me were speaking german. It was so strange to hear voices without being able to understand anything!

About 10 minutes later, I came to my stop. I walked outside, looked at my map, and picked what I thought was the right direction.

Turns out, it wasn't, and I ended up looking for Gluhlamp for a good 20 minutes. For 15 of those 20 minutes, I found myself all alone in a dodgy, dark back alley, with nothing but the sound of my boots echoing as they clicked on the cobblestone.

"Kimberly, honestly," I said out loud. "This was a stupid idea. You go out in a foreign city by yourself and now you're going to get kidnapped."

At this point, I decided to go into a nearby Billiard's bar to ask for directions. The bartender just told me to keep going in the way I was headed.

So I did. And despite my scepticism, and to my great relief, I soon came to the bar I was in search of. SUCCESS. Let the foreign fun begin!!!

As soon as I walked in the door, I immediately felt a whole bunch of eyes fall on me.

"Woah now," I thought. "Either they smell the Canada on me, or I'm too dressed up for this place."

Indeed, it was a rather small joint with wooden floors and red walls, kind of like a mini Mod club, for those Toronto folk reading this. I took off my scarf, and proceeded to the bar.

I really had no idea what to order, so I just went for the local brewski and got a Berliner Pilsner - which turned out to be the size of my face - and headed to the middle of the room.

There I was, Kimberly Ivany, on the dancefloor, holding about a litre of beer, out in Berlin.

Now what?

As I was pondering my state, a man made an announcement by the DJ table. It was in German, so I just smiled and laughed along with everyone else. Right after he left the microphone, he started handing out free glasses of champagne to everyone!

"Well! This place is rad!" I thought, as the man gave me a knowing nod and handed me the drink.

A guy named Ravi started talking to me after that. I told him how I'm from Canada, he told me how he's from Germany, and we talked about random things like the age of which Canadians can drive cars.

"Well, have fun!" he told me before heading to the bar.

I moved to another place on the dancefloor. If I wanted to meet people, I would have to be the one to start talking - loud and proud in plain English.

"Excuse me, do you know what time the subways close?" I asked a guy in a white shirt.

He didn't really understand what I was saying, so it was a really broken conversation. But eventually, he posed the question:

"How did you hear about this place?

"Well, the guy at the hostel told me about it, and it sounded like a cool place when I read about it, so here I am!"

"Oh!" he said. "Because, this is a private party for that guy over there!"


Oh. Sweet. Lanta. I just crashed a German birthday party.

"IIIII am SO sorry," I said with my hand on my head. Although I couldn't help but laugh. Of all the places I could have gone to in the city, I chose to come here and be the un-invited guest of honour.

The guy in the white shirt pulled his friend over, who was wearing an orange shirt, and said something to him in German. They started laughing too. No one was prepared for the presence of a little Canadian girl tonight!

"How about I introduce you to the host!" said Micheal, the orange shirt one.

HA! By this point, why not??

"That would be great!" I replied.

As we walked over to the bar where the birthday man was sitting, Micheal told me his name was Christoff and his birthday was on January 13.

"CHRISTOFF!" I exclaimed when we found him on a bar stool, "Happy belated birthday!!!"

I don't actually remember exactly what he said, but I do remember his facial expression. It was a look of pure confusion.

"I'm Kimberly!"

We shook hands.

"My birthday was on - "

"January 13th, I know!" I said with a smile.

"How do you know that??"

"Micheal told me!"

"You know Micheal?"

Micheal glanced jokingly at his wrist.

"For about 10 minutes now!"

The girl sitting next to Christoff started laughing. I started laughing. Micheal then explained that I was from Canada and heard about this bar from the guy at the hostel.

"I just wanted to say thank you SO much for the champagne and I hope you're having a GREAT night."

I think Christoff then said something like, "I like her!" or something else non-chalant in German as he took another swig of his beer. Either way, Micheal suggested that I might as well stay.

So I did, and danced away to Micheal Jackson, Kate Nash and "Praise You" by Fat Boy Slim.

After about half an hour, I decided it was time to continue by adventure.

"I'm gonna head out now Micheal," as I put my arms into my coat with my beer only half-dranken by my feet. "But thank you SO much!! Maybe see you in Canada sometime!"

"Have fun in Berlin!!!"

Oh, I DID!

I left the bar and went back out into the cold night with my mile-high beer bottle in hand, laughing all the way back to subway station.

Happy belated Christoff, this story's for the grandkids.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Excuse me, but will you take our picture?"

Marieke, Lauren and I in BRRRRRRLIN!!!
It was rather frigid the whole weekend, and we pretty much looked like eskimos the whole time. As beautiful as the city was, I really hope I get the chance to go back again in the summer time. I will be equally lovely, but maybe a bit more vibrant.
And warm enough to wear a flowing german dress :)

The Berliner Dom (or Berlin Cathedral). The architecture all around the city was BREATHTAKING!!!

...and the statues were so life-like!

The Berlin subway system!!!
Toronto has a long way to go if it's underground system ever wants to match this colourful complexity. But truthfully, I think this picture makes Berlin's transit system look way more intimidating than it is. After a couple rides here and there, it was actually pretty easy to follow!
I do thank Toronto for giving me subway smarts that I can carry over to other countries.

On Saturday, we went about 30 km out of Berlin to get a tour of the Sachenhausen concentration camp. It was really something to be there in person and actually SEE history.

And then on Sunday, we explored a couple of flea markets in the North part of the city.
Think you can play this now, Grandpa??

We found a firepit at the flea market, so naturally, I stuck my freezing cold hands as close to the heat as I could. Turned out, I went TOO close and burned my mitts!!!
(They'll look so nice on the shelf beside my burnt leggings. Jeez. I've gotta stop before my whole warbrobe disappears!)

My contribution to the public graffiti wall at East Side Gallery :)

Our last night in the city at the Brandenburg Gate!
(It wasn't so majestic 2 minutes prior to this picture, however. Just steps away from this spot, we passed a guy who was very constipated outside a public washroom. That story was rather pointless to the visual, but I decided to tell you anyway.)

And in keeping with the theme - (AHA) - behold: the classiest name for a train station.
The train ride to Berlin was a slice, but the journey back home took about 10 hours. Blah. Our train got delayed in Hamburg, then we had to switch trains twice en route back to Aarhus. This is one of the stations we had to transfer at. I couldn't not take a picture!

The lovely surprise that greeted me when I got home :) Thanks mom for the bounce sheets and movies!!!


Next travel adventure, you ask?!

Copenhagen next weekend to meet up with Sara and Taylor from Toronto!!! (They're currentely studying abroad in the Netherlands.) And then it's to OSLO for our third assignment!!!

Somebody get me a horse, cuz I'm just trottin' all OVA this globe!

...HAHA! I just made myself laugh.

Sleepin in and goin out

Due to the fact that I was dreaming that I was on an intensive search for Ron Weasley's night-time broomstick, I slept in.

I woke up at 9:08 and class starts at 9. JOYOUS morn.

I shot out of bed in an absolute panic - like literally, BOLTED out of my room. The half hour bus ride from Skjoldhoj to school plus the half hour to shower and eat breakfast meant I would be an hour late for school.

It all worked out rather perfectly, however. I got to class just as everyone was breaking off into groups to do the stand-up assigment, AND I missed the lecture part of the morning :D...I mean, darnit all, I missed the lecture part of the morning.



About 2 weeks ago, Kate, our TV professor, proposed an international dinner party on this day, February 22, 2011, at her own house. It was actually quite comical. The first day of class went something like this:

"Welcome to the international TV program at the Danish School of Journalism! First thing's first, we must plan a dinner party."

And then we all agreed that today would be the day, and proceeded to dot-jotting on the blackboard what dishes we were all bringing...HAHA!! Although this may seem like a typical day in second grade, I am indeed studying in Denmark with adults.

Hugo and I are the Canadians in our international class mix, so we decided to make poutine and "poor man's pudding" - a sweet-tasting pancake-ish thing which we discovered takes a lot less time to make than beaver tails, so we opted for that.

But let me tell you, Canadian ingredients are sparce in Daneland.

For the pudding, the story goes that the poor folk back in the olden days could only afford simple ingredients to make their desserts, such as maple syrup. (Honestly, this recipe calls for about 8 tubs of the stuff.)

However, I think the 2011 version of this dish should be called "poor students in Denmark pudding." We couldn't find unbleached flour, we substituted corn syrup with honey, and there was no electric mixture or measuring cups of any kind in Hugo's kitchen.

So while Hugo went to work chopping up potaters, I started guesstimating how much flour, baking powder and salt the recipe needed before desperately trying to gain the speed of an electric mixture with pure muscle and a wooden spoon.

Big. Fail. The butter and salt mixture was a lumpy mess, and I added way too much milk. And can honey even be used as a substitute for corn syrup???

As you can probably imagine, this is what the pudding looked like before going into the oven:

Now, I've created some great-tasting baked goods in the past, but I was sure these pudgy balls of grainy dough would flop...which they did, when I tried to place them into the syrup pool in the the pan, but I didn't want to be the bearer of a disgusting dessert.

After 40 minutes, there was some hope. This is what they looked like when I took them out of the oven:

They didn't look like an award-winning masterpiece, but they did SMELL amazing. Hugo refused to let me try it for quality assurance though until dessert time at Kate's. Ohhhh there was pressure. Would I wow the tastebuds of my classmates, or simply put Canadian cuisine to shame? Pssh. Obviously, the latter.

Well. After a FEAST of foreign deliciousness consisting of fish, fries, meatballs and mussels, it was dessert time.

And this is what the pudding looked like at the end of the night:

That my friends, is the taste of SUCCESS!!! :D

In hindsight, I guess you can't go wrong when you're mixing butter, sugar and maple syrup together.

Besides my sugary Canadian treat, the night itself was so sweet.

We drank wine, provided by Kate, while waiting for everyone to arrive. We all gave a little speech about the dish we brought, followed by a "Cheers!" every time someone knew spoke. We ate together, in a HOUSE - an actual house that was so homey and inviting. We took a ridiculous amount of pictures. We danced in Kate's living room when she put on some salsa music.

The whole event had such a strangely zen atmosphere...I left Toronto a month ago today. I've known these people for such a short time, but there we were, dancing away in our prof's house like we've known each other forever.

It's like I have another family here!! Which is so cheesy, much like our make-shift poutine, but I think that might be the best way to describe it.

And as the cherry on top of this delectable eve, if I happen to dream about another quest at Hogwarts, Kate declared that school starts tomorrow at 10 a.m. instead of 9.

Doncha just love it all?!

Goodnight for now, but come back tomorrow! I owe you Berlin tales!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hoppin off at Hauptbahnhof


After a 6 hour train ride from Aarhus, to Hamburg, to Berlin, followed by a chilly walk into the city centre with a printed Google map as our guide, Lauren, Marieke and I MADE it to our hostel. Country-trot-hoppity hop YES!

I haven't stayed in a hostel since my trip to New York City 3 years ago. That one was a bit on the sketchy side, so I wasn't sure what to expect this time...

But after getting breakfast for free from Bernie, the desk man, (who greeted us in Spanish), followed by free bread and Dr. Seuss-like paintings on the walls, I give "Heart of Gold Hostel" 5 stars. Hands down.

(Although, we're only here for one night. HA! Lauren's dad got us a sweet deal on a Holiday Inn Express so we're heading there tomorrow morning!)

We're currently planning tomorrow's adventures in the lounge (pictured above) but just WALKING through the city for that 10 minutes from the station to the hostel has left me ridiculously excited for this weekend!!!

We're actually fitting in a week's worth of touring in 3 days. It will happen I tell you, starting with the Holocaust museum and Checkpoint Charlie tomorrow morning.

ah HA!!! Can we just bottle this up for a second?

I'm in Germany. In a hostel. Planning a 3-day tour of the city. My parents are across the ocean, I'm surrounded by a symphony of languages right now, and people are swaggering to R&B music by the palm trees in the corner of the room.


Leonard, I took Manhattan. Now I'm taking Berlin.

Have a little looksy...

...about 3 posts down.

"Rage against the machine," which started on Sunday, has just been published.

I shall speaketh with thou tomorrow, or the next day, from the land of Berlin, Germany!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chill out

Kristine the Oompa Lompa,
Christina the Chocolate Bar,
Me the Soprano,
Marieke the Adventurer,
Lauren the Eskimo
and Zach the Carpet Man,
waiting for Bus 12 this morning.

Ain't no such thang as a Snow Day in Denmark!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Hey y'all (as Lauren from Tennesse would say),

It's freezing in Aarhus and for the first time on my cross-continent escapade, I'm feeling under the weather.

In fact, I feel very much like the lumpy chocolate soy milk I discovered in my fridge today. You could say I'm like a sloth in 45 degree heat, or even a red blob in a lava lamp. I could also be a disoriented goldfish. Or perhaps a cactus.

To combat this prickly situation, I've poured a massive mug of tea, bought some Halls, and I'm currently sucking on a zinc lozenge.

But I must tell you. I feel like I've cheated you out of a big Danish event...

Unfortunately, due to this droopy state, mixed with a editing session at school and a pancake dinner complete with maple syrup yestereve, I was unable to finish a blogspot of epic proportions yesterday. It's a post that promises to be a mixture of action, suspense, and climactic explosions, but sadly, when I post it later this week it will be dated. Poo. I really want to finish it with the same vim and vigour I started it with however, so stay tuned!! (Also, I do beleive that's the first time I've used "vim and vigour" in my life.)

In the meantime, here are some current tidbits of Kimber in Daneland:

  • My nails are currently purple
  • My friend Ahmed is coming back to Aarhus from Egypt this week
  • I have to send an updated resume to Ryerson to start applying for my 4th year internship
  • We discovered the Skoldhoj music room tonight and played the grand piano!
  • I'm editing an economics paper that was translated from Slovak to English
  • Denmark doesn't carry canned soup, but they do sell it in bags like hamburger helpersI paid for my 20 kr lunch with a 1000 kr bill
  • An orchestral group called "The Baguette Quartette" just started playing on my iTunes,
  • It SNOWED yesterday, and I was colder than Zach, who had never seen snow before in his life. How's that for Canadian eh?
  • It's Valentine's Day on this continent too. Go tell someone you love 'em :)

Healthy thoughts, HEALTHY THOUGHTS.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rage against the machine

It all happened last Sunday...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and it definitely wasn't the laziest of times. For on that particular blizzardy afternoon, it was time for Kimberly Anne Ivany to take her place on the front lines.

Yes, the infamous Laundry Day had arrived.


I know what you're thinking. "Kimberly, you've been in Denmark for 3 weeks. How have you not cleaned your clothes yet?"

NOW NOW, dont' judge me. There are 2 reasons for this 28-day delay.

  1. I got a lot of underwear for Christmas.
  2. The thought of putting my wardrobe through a foreign soapy abyss is simply frightening.

When it comes to washing machines, automatic checkouts at Metro, gas pumps (especially) or any other type of machine that requires man-to-machine communication, I tend to experience a unnecessary amount of anxiety.

I really don't know why, but my mind always just goes to the worst possible scenario. For example (despite how unusual it may seem), I have a fear of filling up the car with gas because I think I'll pump for too long, cause a gas spill, and set my car on fire.

Or in the case of automatic checkouts at grocery stores, I think I'll press the wrong button, causing the thing to beep loudly and obnoxiously, and in turn cause my face to turn as red as the cherry tomatoes I am so desperately trying to purchase in peace.

But on Sunday, the clean pile of undies in my closet came to an end, and with it, the end of my procrastination.


I awoke at the hour of 10:30, one hour before go-time. It was planned that I would meet Marieke at 11:30, since she had already battled it out with the Danish contraption the week before. Indeed, I was heading into a warzone, so I was thankful to have a veteran with me. There was still hope.

As the hour of truth approached, I filled my empty IKEA bag with the Darks. Shirts, sheets and socks, all sitting there in the large tarp-like bag, staring up at me, pleading softly "KEEP US SAFE."

I took a deep breath.

"I will," I said, trying hard to calm my nerves so as not to scare them too. "I will."

I put on my coat, stepped into my boots, grabbed my weapons:
  • Detergent
  • My laundry card
  • My room keys
I then headed to the front door, where Marieke was waiting for me. I knew this mission wasn't going to be easy the minute I stepped out of the foyer.

The snow stung my face like little flying pinpricks. The wind caused me to bury my neck into my coat like a disoriented turtle. It was me against the elements, the poor Darks lying helplessly in their bag on the way to meet their doom.


The white out we were trudging through was enough to make me want to give up. But there was no turning back.

100 impossibly brutal steps later, we made it to The Laundry Room. I reached into my pocket and used my black fob to unlock the chamber's heavy red door.


The room was empty. The air was silent, except for the hum of the Machines surrounding Marieke and I. We had to be on our guard. This was foreign territory and an explosion was just bound to happen at any moment.

We proceeded to Washing Machine No. 4, as it's door was wide open, taunting me with it's seemingly welcoming demeanor.

Then I did the unthinkable. I put the Darks into the small vaccuumed space in front of me, carefully, quickly, making sure not to miss one piece from the tarp bag.

I then poured the purple detergent on top of them and shut the door with immense fervour. I meant business.

Things were going according to plan...that is, until I looked at the little square screen on the Machine.


I froze in absolute panic. I looked at Marieke. She too had a look of despair. A language block. The Machine knew how to fight back.

I had to act fast. The Darks were sealed tight inside it without water, in danger of being stained by the purple goo I had just drenched them with. In a great twist of fate, I began turning the big dial to the right of the screen.


I had done it. English was found in the midst of Danish consonants. I could now understand the Machine's functions and thus have a better chance of defeating it.

I held my breath. I pressed more buttons. I touched the screen....

I pressed START.


Water came into sight. The Machine whirred. The Darks started spinning. I looked at Marieke.

We had done it.


I went back to my house, the clock ticking away. All I could do now was wait.


45 minutes later, I forced myself to leave the safety of my own room. I had to go back to the battle grounds to retreive the Darks. Had they had survived almost an hour in that chaotic cyclone hole??? I could only hope.

I bolted the 100 steps to the scene.

I pushed open the large red door. I was good at that now.

I proceeded to Machine No. 4 and in a quick flash, I pressed the orange unlock button.



Sweet, sultry, savoury satisfaction.

Mission. Accomplished.

I had to bypass the Drier until the next clothing battle, however. It was all too much. My nerves were shot.

I put the Darks back in the tarp bag and sped home through the snow for the second time, ne'er to return until the hour of uncleanliness came again.


I had done it. On that Sunday, I had overcame a deep fear, and consequently had a room full of sweet-smelling blue shirts and black socks. Since I had chosen to combat the Drier on a later occasion, I had to hang the Darks around my room to let them air dry. It was the least I could do. They had been through enough.

But it's with a sad eye and a heavy heart that I report that not everyone made it out untouched.

Lieutenant Leggings took a blow to the face. But the irony is is that it wasn't during the Battle of The Laundry Room. It was after, in the misleading serenity of hanging up to dry.

I smelled the smoke the minute I turned on the lamp...

Lieutenant, you've been burned. But your courage is inspiring.

May I keep your resilience in mind in my inevitable quests for clean freedom in the future.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday morning

Play first, in a new tab.


My room feels warm.

my eyeslids peel open,
to a radiant hue,
out the window beside me.
The most significant blue
this country has seen
since I've been

I push back the curtain within reach of my bed,
just a crack,
cuz I want to go back
to sleep
and finish my dream.
And it seems that I will
because past this window sill
is the sun.
Crackling through bare branches,
casting perfect shadows
before landing onto my blankets and face.

This place
is my own,
and beautifully serene,
and my dream
takes off again.

I doze in Danish light.

Friday, February 11, 2011

You've got mail

When I got home today, finally inside and away from the blizzardy cold Danish outdoors, I discovered a letter on the common room table addressed to Kimberly Ivany. It wasn't a Facebook inbox message or a post on my virtual wall, but this little envelope with familiar writing on it made me more excited than a red notification flag.

Thanks Auntie Cathie for my first mailed item from home :D

And I would love some more!

If you ever have a spare moment and an extra stamp, feel free to send me some hand-written lovin'! (Or Kraft Dinner. I need something to take to the international dinner next week.)

Kimberly Ivany
Skjoldhoj Kollegiet
Spobjergvej 15, Room 7
8220 Brabrand
Aarhus, Denmark

That would be pronounced "skyold-hoy collegiate" and "spob-jer-vie." HAHA!

Fiesta in building 15

The foreign Canadian girl, who knew no one in the country of Demark 2.5 weeks ago, just had 18 people over for a mexican dinner party.

Her roommates were (very) annoyed, there weren't enough plates for everyone's fajitas, and Hugo squirted lemon juice in his eye on purpose.

And then we all said, "See you tomorrow!"


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hole-y Kroner!

If I were to draw a Venn diagram featuring Canada and Denmark, there would be intensely extensive lists in each separate circle.

Indeedily do, there ARE similarities between the 2 countries, but during the (almost) 3 weeks I've been in Europe, I've come across about 8,000,001 differences.

One being the way the Danes pay for things.

Exhibit A:

No no, it's not a jazzed up dollar, it's a "kroner!"

Unlike it's neighboring countries, Denmark decided to stay off the band wagon and deny the euro monetary system. Thusly! The exchange rate of a dollar to a kroner is about 1:5, so when I'm walking around with 100 kr in my pocket, it's really like I have 10 Canadian dollars.

That was definitely something to get used to at first: I'm not as rich as I may seem.

The first big chunk of Danish money I took out of the bank was to pay for my February rent. I took out around 3,000 kr from an ATM at a "Danske Bank" near my school and started singing "Rich Girl" by Down With Webster...but then I did the conversion, realized I was giving all this money away moments later, and proceeded to sing "If I Were A Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof.

My mental math skills have definitely been getting a work out. I have to make sure I keep doing the conversion in my head when I buy things in order to avoid deathly booby traps that can lead to overexpenditure.

Not to mention that the tax rate here in Denmark is about 40%, or something redonkulous like that!!! There's this one coffee place called "Baresso" that makes Starbucks look cheap, since they charge about $8 for a hot chocolate!! Also, last week I paid 28 kr for a green tea. Do the conversion, and that gives you 4 Canadian dollars. Um, WHAT NOW? I think from now on I'll be sticking to H20 on the rocks when I eat out.

The cool thing though is that the coins have holes in them! The gold ones you see in the picture are worth 10 and 20 kr, the brown ones are called "ores" (so like cents in Canada) and the silver ones are 1, 2, and 5 kr...I think. HA! I'm still getting used to the system. It's actually comical when I'm paying for something since I have to look at the coin to read how much it's worth. (I would especially like to thank the stamp lady at the post office for her patience on this matter.) Honestly! It's like I'm handling monopoly money!

Hopefully I'll still have some leftover at the end of the semester, because a few of us have decided to make necklaces out of the holey ones when we go back home.

So for all you stylin' bitties in Toronto, look out. A new wave of foreign accesorical beauty is hitting the streets in June.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Slovak lesson 2

"Do-bray-vetchair! Vo-lam sa Kimberly. Shtooduiem journalistico a atzela be somme ca statz dobro re-port-er-co."


Slot that into a Google translator, and that will read:

Good evening! My name is Kimberly. I am studying journalism and I hope to be a good reporter.

...but really, I'm lying. Not about the meaning of those slovakian words - (and by no means do I want to be a BAD reporter) - but I can tell you 110% that Google won't have a clue what those letters mean.

Marieke and I had a slovak lesson from Kristine this evening, but I merely wrote down the words she taught us phonetically. So! When I go to Slovakia in June, I will SOUND slovak, but I still have a ways to go if I ever hope to write Krisitine a postcard in her language.

But really, it's ok. Once I conquer Danish, that will be as easy as pie...or, easy as a danish.

You know how it is.

Monday, February 7, 2011

EXCITEMENT on this side of the ocean

HERE YE, HERE YE, Kimberly Ivany has enrolled in a Danish language course.

OH YES, by the time June rolls around, (and with it, the time of my return home), it's my goal to have reached the bottom of Modul 2 in the 6-Modul staircase that is Danish lessons!!! A few of my friends here at Skjoldhoj rode the bus into town tonight to attend an information session. Turns out, lessons for 5 months are FREE. The only price I will have to pay is to do my Danish grammar homework. (Which will probably be much like the times in grade 9 French.)

BUT! Speaking of homework, this brings about MORE exciting news!!!

Today was the first day that my class met our actual teacher. She was in Australia this past week, so the first 2 days of school were spent working with Hans, the TV technician, on shooting and editing.

So today we got the COMPLETE overview of the semester, including what assignments we will be given and due dates and all that wonderfully academic information.

Ok. Before I let you in on my semester in Aarhus, let's first take a look at my last semester at Ryerson:

  • TV Broadcast
  • Radio Broadcast
  • Ethics and Law in the Practise of Journalism
  • TV Production Techniques
  • Elizabethan England

And now, what THIS semester at DSMJ looks like:

  • TV Broadcast

...and that is all. HA!!!!

School is very different here in Dane Land. Instead of having 5 differnet classes at the same time, Danish students have the luxury of focussing on ONE class at at time. Therefore, there's never a point where a student would have to juggle a history essay, a radio mini-documentary and a TV production exam all at the same time...(in simple terms, we call that November at Ryerson.)

Now now, I know you're saying, "Seriously Kimberly?? How can you possibly say you're "STUDYING" in Denmark??" (...or maybe that's just my Father's voice being heard across the ocean.)

BUT...(Dad)...BELIEVE ME! The TV program I'm enrolled in is still a full course load. I will certainly be busy with assignments and workshops and lectures. There will be plenty of group work, lots of interviews, and even a final exam.

...but even still, it seems that these next 5 months are going to be WAY less intense than my semesters back in Toronto. At Ryerson, every Friday my classmates and I would come into class at 9:00 in the morning, then have a full half-hour newscast produced at precisely 3:00 that same day. Here in Aarhus, the focus seems to be more on methodology of TV journalism, and taking time to understand the theoretical side. Mind you, they do advertise to be very hands-on and a "learning-by-doing" school, which they are! But you don't know hands-on until you've met Mark Bulgutch.

But not being in a constant state of stress isn't the only perk of Aarhus journalism.

In the middle of March, for our third assignment, our class will be taking a little field trip. To Oslo.

....AHA!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, I'm just flying to Norway to shoot a story for school, NO BIG DEAL!

In addition to THAT, my cousin Joel will be in Oslo during that time directing opera!!! AND - (I can't say 100% that this is the final plan, or it will actually go through) - BUT WE'RE PLANNING A BACKSTAGE TOUR EXTRAVAGANZA OF THE PRODUCTION OF RIGOLETTO FOR MY STORY!!!!!

OHHHHHHHHHHH man, I'm actually squealing a bit out loud. Norway is definitely in the future!!!

As is Berlin.

...oh wait, did I not tell you? Lauren, Marieke, Kristine and I are taking the train there, not this weekend, but the next.

AHA. Life is grand, people.

Go outside and take a big breath of air and be glad for it :)

To football.

...but not soon enough.

It's 1:20 a.m. and I'm back in my room after watching the kick-off and about 5 minutes of playing time. One of these years I WILL see the whole game...although I did manage to see the Dorito commercial. Hi-LARious!!

Goodnight y'all. Tell me how the half time show is!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

To football, or not to football

Some facts about Sunday, February 6, 2011:

  • I took an afternoon trip to the OCEAN today with Wendy, Marieke and Kristine! It was cloudy and rather chilly, but it got us excited for future picnics in warmer weather.
  • I had baby food for dinner. Oh yes. But it wasn't your typical Gerber mashed carrot mixture! It was rather a Slovakian concoction made by Kristine! I'll have to ask her again what it's called, but it's an interesting mixture of milk, sugar, and a mystery ingredient from Slovakia that I also can't remember the name of. She boiled those 3 ingredients together, then serve it as a porridge-like substance with butter and chocolate sprinkles on top!
  • Superbowl Sunday isn't just a big deal in America.

It's 8:00 p.m., but Danish football fans have to wait another 4 hours to watch the big game on TV since it will start transmitting at midnight!

Naturally, there's a party happening at the Skoldhoj bar (right in the middle of the Skoldhoj Kollegiet complex) complete with wings and nachos and banana cream pie at the 4 in the morning. It was my plan, and a whole bunch of other peoples' plans, to head over there at midnight to show some American spirit...but then I realized that I have to leave for school at 8 a.m.

It's not like I'm a diehard football fan. I mostly just like the funny Nissan commercials and the half time show...but it only happens once a YEAR!

OH what to DO, what to do.

I believe I will do some readings, send some e-mails, and continue listening to Ace of Base, I Saw The Sign until I decide when the hour of 11:59 doth arrive...if I'm not asleep on this keyboard before then. These 3 a.m. weekend nights really catch up with ya.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Food for Thought


It's a blustery day here in Dane Land. 6:11 p.m. and already dark out, but I do have some bright news.

I'm happy to report another decorative addition to my room: an abstract hand-painting on canvas, taken from another common room here at Skjoldhoj Kollegiet. WOO!

But this post gets even tastier!

I think it was the second blog I wrote after arriving in Denmark that highlighted my first dining experience in this foreign land. The danish cuisine that my dad and I feasted on for the 2 days he was here was really something else. In reality, however, I really don't see myself cooking something as exotic as ox bone marrow or horseradish-glazed duck on a regular basis.

So! What does a foreign student in Aarhus do when she's hungry?

Well, first thing's first, ya gotta make the journey to buy some good eats.

Sadly, Denmark is unaware of No Frills and FreshCo. The equivalent to these cheaper grocery chains here is called "Netto." (It's actually amazing. You can buy like, 583 kg of carrots for about 2 canadian dollars.)

But for the many brand-powered shoppers who may prefer to buy groceries in a store where flourescent yellow lighting isn't the main light source, "Foetex" is kind of like Canada's Metro (a little more pricey, but a little more quality). Meanwhile, "Bilka" is very much like our Wal-Mart (pretty much a modern day convenience store, filled with everything from avocadoes to monkey wrenches to pleather shoes that try to look fashionable while hanging messily on white hooks in bulk.)

My first grocery excursion was the day my dad left, and since I really had no idea where any of these stores were located, I stopped at Foetex, the first one I saw on Bus route 15...

...and then I realized I don't speak Danish.

The meat aisle featured things like"oksekød," "kylling," and "malt svinekød," while the milk section has about 20 differnet kinds of cartons with alien-looking brand names. I had NO idea which little container was "butter" and I probably spent a good 5 minutes trying to decipher between spaghetti sauce and salsa. Was that pink package oatmeal or cereal? How much are these cucumbers, since there are 3 different signs above them?

I remember that first grocery trip being really overwhelming. That first day being completely on my own, I was craving familiarity. I just wanted to buy some Triscuits, but I could only find Wasa crackers. I searched the shevles for regular marble fromage, but I eventually gave up since there were literally 49 different brands, names, sizes and shapes of the stuff that I could not have said "cheese" if a person had asked me to at that moment.

I left Foetex with a cart full of pasta, however. Penne looks the same even on this side of the Atlantic!

But today marks the second week I've lived in Europe!!! And with more time to adjust to living in here, and as I keep making trips to Bilka (the grocery store closest to my house), I'm getting more adventurous and way less overhwhelmed by the bombardment of Danish texts.

When I look at this situation objectively, I'm actually really thankful for a chance to BE the foreigner! Imagine how it must feel for non-English speaking people to come to Toronto, walk into a grocery store, and only be able to tell what a food product is based on what it looks like!? English is indeed a universal language, so how often will I get to experience shopping without it?

It's actually funny going grocery shopping with my fellow international students:

"Is this soy sauce?"
"I don't know! Let's buy it and find out!"

"Does this look like chicken?"
"Hmmm, maybe this one more so."
"Ok, let's go with that one!"

That's another thing I love about my Denmark experience so far. Just about every night for the past week, I've made dinner with my friends, and their friends, from all over the world! We buy the ingredients together, we cook it together, we eat together, and we clean up together, all while sharing stories about where we're from and where we want to be in the future and how we miss our cats. (Yes Snowflake, I'm talking about you.)

Maybe this is rather stereotypical, but it seems to me that people from places outside of North America delight in the process of making a meal. Unlike back at home where everyone is drained by routine and caught up in busy schedules, people here actually have a desire to take the time to make something delicious! And not just a desire to make this deliciousness, but a desire to share it! There is a joy here that comes from taking time to communally enjoy good talks accompanied with good tastes. We've had about 3 pot lucks since I've been here!!

...haha, re-reading that sentence makes dinner hour in Aarhus sound like a romanticized world that you read about in cheap paperbacks. But it's true!!

Maybe it IS because it's only the first few weeks here and we're excited to hang out with each other, or maybe we only have this kind of time to set aside for dinner because school is just getting started...Hm. That does make sense. But really, I think that regardless of how busy the weeks get, there will be many more stirfrys, spring rolls, and homemade apple crisp complete with raspberries and chocolate chunks in the future :)

OH YES, dinnertime is sweet.

(Apologies go out to my pal Kraft Dinner. Looks like you'll be staying in your box for a few more weeks.)