Sunday, 24 October 2010

Seaside Serenity :)

This weekend my roommate Clare and I went with my 'visiting family' to their summer house near the small town of Gilleleje on the coast.

(side note explanation and a bit of recap)
 originally i had wanted to live with a host family while i was in Copenhagen, but they ran out of host families so i was placed in my apartment. but i also signed up for a program through DIS that would give me the chance to meet and get to know a 'visiting family'. a Danish family who i am paired with by DIS and once they make the connection it is up to us how often and what we do when we get together. It is a chance to make a connection without the pressure/responsibility of living together. i really lucked out with my family!
John and Inge are the parents and they have 4 girls;
Camilla (25), Christina, (23), Natalie (21) and Lisa (19).
it's about a 45minute trip form my apartment to their house in Birkrod outside of the city.

on the 26th of September, I went to their house for a birthday party for Lisa and Camilla. I don't remember why i didn't write about it in my blog, i think it was right before the long study tour and i hadn't taken any pictures that day and just didn't have time to really write about it.
But that was was really fun.
The whole family was there: grandma, cousins, nieces, the age ranged form 95 to less than a year :) all in all there were about 20 to 25 people there for a sit down lunch and cake and presents. they day was full of Danish and family. the special birthday layer cakes were delicious, i got to hold and play with one of the babies for over an hour, and i met and talked with so many new people! 
by the end of the day I went home missing my own family but feeling lucky to have the chance to get to know this one :)

OK back to this weekend!
Clare and i took the train up to Birkrod Saturday morning and met Lisa at the train station to drive up to the summer house. I really did not know what to expect of the summer house but it was so much more than anything i had imagined. it was right on the ocean and the walls were mostly windows in the main living area. It was a cozy getaway with a fireplace and everything.
The first thing we did was run out to the beach while Inge finished getting lunch ready.

while we were gone Inge had laid out a buffet of sandwich stuff. a classic Danish meal is called "smorrebrod". they are open faced sandwiches with all kinds of things as toppings. we had tomatoes, avocado, cheese, onion, mayo, remoulade, sausage, ham, herring in curry, plain herring, and a crab salad, there was more but that's all i can remember right now.

After, as we had coffee and tea in sitting area, i showed them my pictures from London and told them about my trip. then we all went for a long walk on the beach together.
we met a puppy! (i miss Nikki Luke and LC so much!!!)
We had some beer and played a few games of pool when we got back.
While Inge finished pulling dinner together, Clare, John and I had a great conversation about vegetarianism and some of the biomedical research going on in the world (Clare is a vegetarian and in the BIO TECH program here), and the difference in the American and Danish school systems.
Lisa's friends who were coming had a mishap at the train station so they were late. They ended up not getting there until halfway through dinner. Dinner was a great meal of pesto turkey, potatoes with carrots and parsnips, salad, and brussel sprouts. the dessert was beautiful and tasty :) vanilla ice cream with strawberry sauce and on top it had melted chocolate, raspberries and almonds. YUM!
the rest of the night we played pool and a game called sequence and talked some more as we enjoyed wine and cider by the fire. 
the whole night we had music playing and everyone was singing along. :) the Beatles, Madonna, the eurithmics, Phil Collins, Norah Jones, the who, it was SO HYGGELIGT! exactly the homelike atmosphere i needed :)
 This morning, after breakfast and hanging around the house, we went for a good last walk on the beach.
On the drive back, we went through the town of Gilleleje to see the harbor and small fishermen's cottages
During the drive, the countryside was SO COLORFUL! fall has definitely come to Denmark, i just don't see much of it in the city outside of the parks.
we also took a detour and went to Hillerod to see Frederiksborg Castle (a Scandinavian version of Versailles)It was built in the first decades of the 17th century by King Christian the 4th (it is seriously amazing how many places this guy built while he was king). The Renaissance castle is surrounded by the castle lake,  the Baroque Garden and other romantic gardens. We did not take the tour and explore everything, but what we did see was impressive.
(here's a poster of an airal shot of the Baroque gardens)
We got back to their house and had lunch before searching through their winter clothes to find warm things for Clare to borrow during her class trip to Greenland in two weeks! She was sooo relieved to have real snow gear!

Overall the weekend was so much more than i had expected it to be! The relaxation, food and family time was exactly what i'd needed and Inge and JOhn went out of their ways to make the weekend great for Clare and I.
i am so lucky to have been paired with a family like them :D

thats all for now
missing you at home
(sunset from my bedroom windows)

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