Life in Copenhagen

Exactly Four months in Copenhagen, here I am sharing what I experienced based on the tumblr http://whenyouliveindenmark.tumblr.com check it out ;)

Yesterday everybody was out in Copenhagen!

First sunny day after the winter

 

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I would also say it's the same when people speak to you...

When you study Danish for two years and are meant to understand the grammar

 

 

what is wrong with me

When I am on the public transport and accidentally make eye contact with someone (it happened to me, the person smiles and I had forgotten (FORGOTTEN!!!) how to react to that!)

 

 

Aren't we in Jylland already?

When you go by bus through Store Kongensgade during rush hours (I would rather say, when you take the bus…seriously get a bicycle)

 

 

AHAHAHAHAHAHAH

Every time I open the mailbox and I find it full with crap even though I have pasted the Reklamer Nej Tak sticker. (ugggghhhh every time!…)

 

 

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When you cycle in the opposite bike lane (I used to do it in Jylland…not anymore)

 

 

How I feel after giving free alcohol to Danes (just giving alcohol to them to be honest…)

 

 

When the train inspector tells you that your ticket doesn’t cover the zone you are travelling in and is forced to give you a ticket. Also Keep in mind those people are usually like robot, you can cry, scream, speak a random language they will not be moved by anything close to human emotions…

 

 

Danes know what they want.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking the silence

Alright, today it’s time to write again. It’s as if I was caught in a dry spell the last few months but I didn’t write much. I don’t know why, sometimes I felt uninspired and some others, that I had so much to say I didn’t know where to begin.

I experimented a bit. Join this blogging 101 thing but it wasn’t for me I guess. And I move to Copenhagen.

That’s a big change and maybe I had less time to spend on writing too. I got a job (actually two), join Danish class, taking some volunteering job as well. It has been busy but I haven’t stopped looking at my surroundings, spying on the Danes and …just existing in a foreign land.

I also decided I will go back to study. I am in the process now of applying, but something with culture. Not art …but different cultures, how it affects us and something like that. I don’t know if I will stay in Denmark, or move somewhere else, maybe…go back to France (what?!?) everything is possible.

So here it is, I broke the silence and more articles will come. I have been doing a lot of progress in Danish so…you can expect to read on that soon :)

A guide to Hitch Hiking in Denmark

“I would never do hitch hiking it’s for hippies” says a friend not such a long time ago.

After 3 days of travelling he came back to me and said “It’s so easy and amazing, I am so good at it!”

In Denmark I doubt it’s very common to hitch hike, you would most likely find foreigners or back packers doing it in the summer but that’s where it ends. However, I found it one of the best to travel (as well as car sharing). Because it’s efficient, easy, and most important a way to make your travel an experience rather than some time you are “wasting” on a train. Some like to be on train on their own, letting their mind wandering, I also like doing this but I also feel that when I hitch hike I always meet amazing people.

Hitch hiking is a way for people to meet but somehow there is a selection process going on. Why? Because not everyone will hitch hike, therefore if you put your self out there it means you have energy, time and the will to meet people (it doesn’t mean you have to be talkative but you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable being in stranger car). Plus while doing this you rely on others, you assume being dependent and in an society becoming more and more individualistic interdependance is often seen as a weakness.I see it as strengh because if I can’t do something on my own I am not scared to ask for help.

The selection process continues because not everybody stops to take hitch hikers. I like to believe that the people who stop are inherently good not matter who they are and they background because they see someone on the road and stop to help, they know they won’t get anything in return appart from a nice chat maybe. You also have creeps that stop but I haven’t met any.

That’s where the magic happens, I had the best conversation riding people’s car, it’s such an easy to meet people when you are in a foreign country and want to get into the culture. It’s a very interesting way to communicate because all of sudden the akwardness that people may feel while having to talk to strangers isn’t really there. You have at least one thing in common: going somewhere therefore it’s your starting point.

Learn how to hitch a ride!

Thanks to Emilia, Cecilie and Christoffer for this video :)

Are you ready to put in practice what you learned from our previous video? I am heading to Copenhagen this week end and I am getting ready to encounter this!

 

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Our Europe

I want to share this article from Ana with you! We had a very interesting culture club yesterday about the current situation in Europe for youth

Daily life in Højskolen Snoghøj

Wednesday evening  we had a very interesting Culture Club. Elena and Peter, two young Danes, spent one year travelling around 24 European countries trying to understand the current situation in Europe.

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Their project “Our Europe” focuses on the young generation. They wanted to know how the young Europeans are, what are their challenges and possibilities with the current crisis. Is anything being done to improve the situation or are they a “lost generation”? Is this crisis temporary or do they have to change the system completely?

After a year of talk, life, laugh and cry with about 500 young people, they have a better picture of Europe. Sometimes you need live the things to understand them. They realized that the situation in Europe isn’t good; the economical crisis has affected a lot of countries, especially Southern Europe like Spain, Portugal, France or Greece. Young people can’t get a job after…

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Your difference is your strengh, use it!

You are abroad and your plane just landed, the first person you see wears a huge cooking pot on his head like a hat. You may think “mmh that’s the custom, I should probably do that to fit in culturally”.So you go the first store, get a pot and here you are, ready to embrace this foreign culture.

What if the person was part of strange sect, or maybe lost a bet. He could also simply be crazy. He isn’t the majority, he is one of them but he isn’t all of them. The line between individual differences and cultural differences is blurred when you are abroad because you don’t know the custom, therefore you could think that if someone seem rude to you it might be cultural whereas they could simply be a jerk :), to what extend culture affect one’s behaviour, and to what extend is it his own personality? That’s a question I would love to answer someday.

Therefore if you want to integrate to what extend should you strectch your values and change? To the point when they break and you aren’t even yourself anymore, too scared to be put aside?

Well the good news are that as a foreigner :

  •  You are weird anyway for everybody else. They will pobably blame it on your culture, therefore don’t worry too much about any social faux pas, some use alcohol as an excuse (a quite bad excuse if you want my opinion) , be creative use your nationality!
  •  If you are a great person, people will like you. If they don’t want to make the extra effort to be friend with a foreigner, they may not be worth your extra effort to be friend with them (they are foreigners to you aren’t they?). It’s great to be curious and want to know different people, but friendship goes both ways. So be true to yourself, don’t try too hard to fit in because you won’t and they are tons of different individuals in a country, the one you met, that could be careless aren’t the majority, they are a part of it, a part you can put aside, to spend your time with the one that matter, the one that prefer that you don’t become danish :)

We are all different no matter where we come from still we usually want the same things: connecting with others, feeling we belong somewhere.

While trying to be culturally aware and sensitive when we travel it’s good to keep in mind that nobody likes to be seen as walking cliché. We are all individuals and especially in western society we like to emphasize how unique we are, how different we think from our neighbour therefore, therefore don’t jump into conclusion when you meet a foreign person (or background it can apply to any situation) , they might be like that because of their cultural background, or because it’s their personality…probably a mix of both but at the end what matters is how open you are to the communication between the two of you.

We had good rides together

The road less traveled or my EVS experience

Travelling is suffering?

I was visiting one of my Danish friend I met in the kibbutz and we talked about travelling one of our common passion. He had read somewhere that somehow, travelling is suffering. It’s not easy, it will change you.Maybe not a week of holiday in Hawai (but who knows?) but that’s not what we were thinking of…

Hitch hiking is the prime example, it takes time, you don’t know when you will get to your destination, you have to rely on others and you have to be patient and flexible. It’s really much like my EVS experience.

When I started it we could say I was on the side of the road ready to catch a ride to get to my destination. But I wasn’t alone I had this partner I had never met before, Helena this really awesome woman from Spain. I had just finished another hitch hiking trip in Israel so I was seeing everything behind this israeli glasses that I had forgot to remove. I was making the same sign as in Israel to stop a car but in Europe you use your thumb….We were like Jon Snow,we know nothing!

 

When we were trying to get a car I had something in mind for our direction. I had read in my description I would do something with students, like activities or workshops. However that description was outdated but I still wanted to go there. My friend Helena kept telling me I should try another way but I woudn’t listen, so it was very difficult to get a ride it’s like going to a closed road…not gonna work!

Nobody cares for hitchikers here? So what!

So people would not stop, I felt nobody cares here, why they don’t talk to me why is it so hard to socialise, what is wrong with THEM?

But finally after a month of struggle and not understanding anything on my side of the road some help came up. I had this EVS training in october and the two amazing trainers I met there, Anja and Tobias, gave us a good hand, driving us much further down our way and helping me to understand that the road down there was closed so I could try something else.

I agreed with Helena it was better to be a bit flexible but still all these people were terrible to socialise with. I wasn’t so good myself anymore. Imagine a hitch hiker sitting down on the road that can’t even stand up to get a ride, nobody will stop!

So after complaining going on strike and so one something we French really master, I stand up on my feet, I tried to smile and I also used my thumb to get a car and little by little we would get some ride down the road. When you hitch hike you have different cases, either nobody goes all the way to your place which is often therefore you will take a lot of small ride or you are lucky and someone take you almost all the way down. Our situation was more like the first one.

However we also got better, we were talking with our drivers, taking their advice about how to get further down. So we learnt. For example you don’t socialise the same way in Denmark than in France or in a kibbutz with a bunch of young volunteers. You need to adapt, to be open and really patient. It’s as if Danes are like ice cubes but they don’t melt in the sun, or very very slow. Therefore it will take you time to break the ice! Being too direct, something that could work in Israel quite well, will never do there.

I had never struggle making new relation abroad so I had to change a lot, it was good I realised all the annoying I would do (I observed how my mom was when she was mad, well I was doing the same :) ) and try to change but i wrote about that before

Then I was still unhappy about this road close down there because it’s something I really wanted to do. However talking with colleagues I realised that some other way would be nice to explore. I was there so why not take a chance right? That’s how helena and I started the blog. I am really happy about it and Ana the new volunteer is keeping it going! It’s right here and it’s lovely!

We also decided to write a sign with some direction we would like to go. This way we started to help on the shows that the school was doing, with lights, recording, editing.I tried some ways I have never been before. I really improved my editing, I discovered color grading and had the chance to develop photography, that I really love now.

Another path

Then you become more daring. With Helena we thought we could try some different ways and meet further down. I started to do some more personal projects, especially related to photography.

Finally at the end we met again, we had learnt a lot on our journey together, through a lot of nice and friendly people among the crowd that woudln’t stop. They helped us, we had great time with them and all of them gave us something that we keep for our next trip. It was indeed difficult, it took time, sometimes we would stand under the rain for an hour and another would get a long ride under the sun with very nice Danes. We also learnt the social cues, to use our thumb, learn some Danish to not get lost, be flexible, not judge hastily especially if you don’t want to be judge.

When you hitch hike you do something very different, not some many do it or approve of it so you start with this difference. Well being in a foreign country is very much the same, I was different the day I step a foot in Denmark, but I had forgotten that in Israel because i was different together with 40 different people from abroad! The trick is to keep this difference and use it as a strength, not be scared ,go for it anyway.

Now Helena is in Spain, I am still on the Danish road. I don’t know where I am going but where I am right now is very nice, with really good people that are open and take the time to show me around. Maybe they will start to hitch hike themselves somedays and then I will have given something to them in return :)

Stockholm

The end and the beginning

The last post was quite a while ago. But the past 3 months I have been quite busy. First my EVS has finished then I went to Sweden and France but now I am in Denmark.

May was the last month we had with the students, so we were quite busy with work and feeling the end approaching. The summer was starting so that was really nice, I wasn’t expecting much but it’s pretty nice, a lot of sun a bit like France but not as hot, starting and finishing earlier I would say. With the beach, the lake and the little forest the school look like paradise so that was really nice to be there!

Then in June the students left. We were alone with Helena and some people from the staff the first week. It was quite strange, the school was so empty but we were working a lot and then enjoying, meeting with the neigbours, swimming…It was odd to walk in corridors remembering this year and all the people that came, all the mess they did …

Finally I met with Hanna again! when I say the kibbutz is a life experience it’s not cheesy, I still can’t believe the friends I made there , how weird awesome they are! So I went to Stockolm it was really nice and we had such a nice time at the summer house, swimming in the lake (even my iphone enjoyed the water!) and her family was so nice to me!

The landscape is quite diffeent, a lot of forest but most of all….  it’s not flat! hehe big change from Danmark the flatest country in the world! It’s really peaceful when you go in the nature as well. Otherwise a lot of blondes and people cycling, typical scandinavian country. We spent a whole day baking amazing cinnamon bun and chocolate balls, crêpes also, it was so delicious! We also made quite a show in the modern art museum, miming the paintings, I think the other visitors liked it!

Then, I went back to Denmark and after my last week there working, I finally went back home. But that was a short trip. I had planned already to stay in Denmark, so after a week during when I did absolutely nothing it was time to move to…Samsø.

 

if you haven’t heard about it , well most people haven’t either. It’s the heart chakra of Europe :). The island is exactly at the center of it yes it’s quite funny! There are maybe 3000 inhabitants, and of course more in summertime becuase it’s really beautiful and quite preserved. I have been living the past month and a half in a little house 2 minutes away from the beach, I have an amazing view of the sunset everyday from there. Because it’s an island it’s small but if you don’t have a car it takes a while to go to places so I have cycled a lot everyday to go to work. Overall it has been a nice summer. Plus I didn’t get one but TWO jobs there!

My next plan is to move to Copenhagen. if you haven’t heard it’s quite terrible to find a place to live there, but I will figure it out :) it’s in two weeks so that’s fine!

Look at Sweden it’s so nice :)

On the road one year ago

One year ago…

Exactly one year ago I landed in Tel Aviv and I was on my way to Bar’am.

My flight was on the 6th at night and my mom called me like 3 times asking me if I was sure I wanted to go because she had heard on the radio something about Syria…But I really wanted to go even though I wouldn’t know until the following where I would live for the next 3 months.

After I left the office I had 5 hours of travel. 5 hours to wonder if I had picked a “good” kibbutz, if I would enjoy it there, if this wasn’t a big mistake after all? But as soon as I met the volunteers it was fine. Better than that actually.

So what happened since?  Where am I now ? What did I get from this?

In the kibbutz I lived surrounded by people 24hours a day, with so many different nationalities and languages spoken. My Bar’am family spreads all over the world. In June I will visit some of my closest friend from the kibbutz, in Sweden :)

After 3 amazing months there I left. That was heartbreaking. I have never cried when leaving a place or a country because I felt it was time to move on, but the kibbutz that was something. I cried in the volunteer office, while handing my keys, in the car to Tel Aviv, in the hostel, at the airport, in the plane. Almost non stop until the plane landed in Paris and when my mom asked on the phone if I was happy to be home I said “NO” I didn’t want to speak because I was too sad.

I was very excited to go to Denmark then because I hated being home but what wasn’t good is I still had in mind the kibbutz and how I missed it. So I was a sad person for some time.

Have you heard of the cultural shock ? Because in September I was right in. Basically you can’t deal with the “strangeness” of the new place you are so you close down. After being extra social 3 months, I was “extra alone” for a little while. Luckily the volunteers with me were incredibly sweet and nice.The Danes I met weren’t so terrible people, it was just..the circumstances were difficult.

The Danes are probably the most individualistic people I have ever met, (not in a bad way) comparing to other places I lived in. So imagine the transition between a place where people come to be social all the time and have fun, and a place where people have a specific goal, want to work hard on themselves, stay focused.Plus they have their life here already, with friends etc…So it’s understandable it was harder to connect at first. It was a bit like the Israeli members or the kibbutz, they have their life their and you are one more volunteer passing…

It was challenging but I adapted ok I guess, even if it took time. I became more flexible at work.

I wasn’t so convince by my volunteer work here, however I really like how people work in Denmark. You don’t have the hierarchy like in France, where the boss give you order you will follow, I feel it’s more equal, my mentor give me ideas and what he has in mind but then we are really free to try what we want. So I developed skills and tried things I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to do elsewhere.

I also had to question my self a lot. Especially because I was very negative when I came to Denmark, and it was easier to blame everyone else but myself for that.

It may seem a contradiction because everybody thinks Danish don’t express their feelings but I improved a lot with this here!

In France we like to be emotional, sometimes dramatic and we think that we communicate well this way. Well not really, we just hope everybody will guess what is on our mind just looking at our face and being angry when something is wrong will be enough for it to change. Here it doesn’t work (it didn’t work in the kibbutz either…I didn’t realize it, that’s all) so even if it might be hard for me I have to use words and not my face because I understood people aren’t psychic. I feel happier this way trust me :)

I had incredible experiences in both places (and more to come!): hitch hiking, meeting amazing people ( I am proud to prove my dear Martin, that yes there are actually nice Danes in Denmark, and some have empathy!!! ;) ), visiting beautiful places, trying new food…

Today I am happy because the friends I met one year ago in Israel are still close to me, we manage to see each other and I would have not imagine having such friendship. I wonder if in one year I will still be in touch with the friends I have here, I hope so, but I don’t even know where I will be so…for now I will just enjoy it :)

I think I am a happier person now that one year ago even if it wasn’t easy everyday and that’s nice!!!

Tu veux être mon ami?

Le plus difficile plus si difficile?

Il y a environ un mois j’avais écrit ici à quel point cela pouvait être dur socialement au Danemark.

Je ne dirais pas que tout à changer mais presque. Déjà, j’ai changé, et mon opinion à changer. Il faut dire que beaucoup de chose ce sont passées ici depuis fin mars. Si vous avez suivi ou pas bande de feignasses je suis dans une sorte d’école qui entre autre prépare une des classes à l’école de comédie musicale (ceux du fond, je vous entends rigoler, c’était ma première réaction mais ils ne sont pas cons, elles ne sont pas faites par des français c’est tout de suite mieux! Personnes ne se cachent ici, ils ne se font pas lapider quand ils disent aimer les comédies musicales! ). Cette école recrute 8 élèves par an. Ici 25 postulaient déjà…Vous êtes fort en maths, donc bien sûr une bonne claque pour la majorité et même moi qui ai un coeur de pierre parfois je me sentait triste pour eux (j’ai quand même vu une amie PRESQUE pleurer! C’était effrayant…un danois ne pleure jamais).

Mais une fois cela passé ainsi que le stress avant les auditions et bien ils étaient bien mieux lunés. Puis j’ai pris l’air à Copenhague. Je trouve cette capitale vraiment sympa, certes ça en mets pas plein la vue comme Paris ou Londres mais c’est agréable à vivre, ce n’est pas stressant et c’est jolie. Je pense que je vais rester ici en tout cas c’est ce que j’ai décidé. Sauf que du coup je panique un peu beaucoup (ouais déjà!) car il faudra trouver un taf, trouver un appart et puis surtout payer même ma nourriture (ben ouais en tant que volontaire dans une école ma vie st drôlement facilitée et pas très coûteuse..). En plus tous les danois de l’école sont aussi en recherche de taf et ils stressent, et ils ME stressent :) Oh joie!

Et donc la situation sociale, c’est améliorer en partie grâce à une dispute. Je me dis parfois que c’était un de nos modes de communication préféré en France (comparé à ici j’entends) mais au Danemark ça peut servir aussi. Un danois en colère n’est pas très différent de son lui-même normal. Il a juste le coeur qui bat plus vite mais il ne crie pas ou ne devient pas tout rouge, c’est presque drôle quand vous n’êtes pas la cible.

En fait tout a commencé avec cette amie, je n’étais pas de bonne humeur et elle parlait d’un sujet qui m’énervait (la fourrure dans la mode je crois… ouais on a des débats de dingue ici ) et ne voulait pas en changer donc je l’ai planté, je me suis juste levée et je suis partie. Apparemment ça ne se fait pas ici (ouais je sais c’est mal je suis méchante et immature mais on fait souvent ça dans ma famille…). Je suis revenue 5 minutes après et on a du mettre les choses au clair. Je reprochais souvent aux danois tous mes malheurs  d’être super gentil un jour et de m’ignorer le lendemain. Alors imaginez ma tête quand mon amie m’a dit la même chose sur MOI! En fait quand quelqu’un me fait ça perso je ne veux plus faire d’effort et je me ferme. Ouais c’est con mais réflexe de protection si on s’ouvre trop on prends le risque d’être triste :) Le résultat c’est qu’elle me percevait de la même façon et ne voulait plus faire d’effort. Du coup ça nous à forcé à changer.

Puis en changeant avec elle, j’ai changé avec les autres et ça marche tellement mieux. C’est difficile de se remettre en question. Ca blesse mais c’est un mal nécessaire. Un des volontaires que je connais, un espagnol, déteste le Danemark, il ne fait que de se plaindre il a un avis très tranché. Je l’ai vu avant ce gros changement et j’avais moi même une expérience pas très facile et finalement il m’a soûlé, parce que c’est lourd de se pencher juste sur ce qu’on aime pas et surtout je me rendais compte qu’il ne se remettait jamais en cause lui. Et je me suis dit peut être que je suis pareille…Au final, j’avais peur d’expliquer ce que je vivais ici, aussi car je pensais être incomprise et que personne n’écoutait. Ce qui est sûr c’est que ce n’est pas en gardant tout à l’intérieur que la situation allait se régler. Un ami danois (Martin mon coloc du kibboutz, et oui on se voit toujours) m’a dit la dernière fois de changer ce que je n’acceptais pas et d’acceptais ce que je ne pouvais pas changer.

Donc je ne sais pas si j’aurais des amis pour la vie ici, si je vais en revoir certain ou pas mais pour le moment je préfère m’amuser, on passe de bon moments et je verrais dans deux mois, ce sera un nouveau départ. En attendant après ce post jeracontemavie.com voilà quelques photos, on a voyagé avec ma famille (tout un programme, je pourrais en faire un film d’auteur français…) à travers le pays.