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

 

https://i1.wp.com/media.tumblr.com/224205635e8f5425e8c86e7f71f591b3/tumblr_inline_n0kqe1gRE01qfuiaz.gif

image

image

image

image

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!…)

 

 

image

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 :)

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 :)

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!!!

Hello my middle name is confusion, I am from China

It’s 2014 and I am still in Denmark, unbelievable.  So I came back to the højskole in January on the 9th.

I had training just before in Copenhagen which was very nice and I didn’t really know what to expect from the Danish when I would go back because well they have very different social skills right but it was a good surprise because they were so nice and some literally jumped on me (weird, you have to be away 3 weeks and people love you! good to know).

I also noticed that a lot of them aren’t scared anymore and talk to us ( maybe they weren’t scared of us but now they acknowledge our existence, it feels odd! but good) and the one we “knew” before are more friendly so that’s cool.

But some people were missing.

The class of International students is completely new. 18 new faces from Ghana, Nepal, China , Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, Turkey and Japan.

Communicating is always a challenge,so imagine now! For instance we have 6 Chinese here. Some have a decent English you can have a conversation with them, some….well it’s complicated. It’s funny because we learn Danish together and sometimes they try to use it but we don’t get anything because we don’t speak Danish either.

That's how Chinese must feel here

That’s how Chinese must feel here

But what is odd is the “group effect”. All of sudden they forget everything they know of English and stare at you with a blank  face, like you are an Alien from another planet! And you do silly moves speak slower, louder, eventually they will nod but you will have given up before they really understood anyway.

So when you have crucial information you realise you talk to them like you would to simple minded people, and it makes you sound very rude! I literally said once to them “Asian!!! Go there now!” how awful!

There is this one Chinese guy I love to talk with, even though I don’t think he ever understood me. With the girl from Hungary we asked him “where were you?” and he said ” I am fine”…. but at least he answered!

This girl from Hungary is pretty cool, we realize that it’s easier to bond with Europeans because we are similar in so many ways. But something we can’t beat her at is drinking vodka! Once I saw her sipping it like water, and I had pretty good training at the kibbutz but now I suck.

So imagine this weird combination trying to mix with the Danes. My dear Danish that I still can’t figure out but at least I have one good friend now so I can ask her, she is a bit like my guide here. For instance I come to her when I have all this stupid question, like why do you guys don’t say hello all the time like we do? Why don’t you confront and argue all the time like French? Why the word please doesn’t exist in Danish?

So it was pretty funny to see how the Danish girls reacted to the guys from Ghana asking “hey , are you married?”. It reminded me of all the wedding proposal I had in Zambia, even though Ghana is pretty different. So their Danish teacher made them a Danish session about how to ask out girls in Danish. Not sure it worked but it’s just beginning.

We also have new Nepalese but they are the complete opposite of the one we new before: the first group was loud, noisy, crazy, drunk, troublemakers and the most lovely guys on earth.

This new group is much more chilled, sweet and …behaved!

It’s good to realise that you can’t generalise about a whole culture just knowing some of them, like the Nepalese, we expected to have crazy boys. They are all different. My Danish friend keep telling me that this school isn’t Denmark and I believe her, the students here are “special” (not in this way…) and that I need to get out and experience Denmark differently…

And now it’s snowing it’s awesome!!! I realised I had one talent, maybe I can’t sing or dance or act but I am pretty good at snowball fight!

1476657_10151901985213611_1709622453_n

100 ans ce n’est pas tous les jours!

Aujourd’hui un article un peu particulier. Et oui aujourd’hui on fête un anniversaire! Celui de l’école où je suis volontaire.

Mon école est spéciale (pour ne pas dire étrange mais bon ça c’est un autre débat…), c’est le genre de choses qu’on ne trouve qu’au Danemark. Ils appellent ça højskole (si tu trouves cela imprononçable et bien….moi aussi!).

Tout à commencer avec Grundtvig, un gars avec de multiples talents (écrivain, poète, pédagogue…merci wikipédia!) qui pensait que ce serait bien d’éduquer les masses plutôt que seulement les nobles, et à l’époque c’était assez révolutionnaire comme concept. Donc ces écoles sont apparues partout dans le pays. Pas d’examen d’entrée ni de sortie, le but c’est d’apprendre sur divers sujet pour soit, d’être “éclairé” (ouais l’influence des Lumières t’as vu! La France est PARTOUT).

Mon école est donc l’une de ces højskole, mais elle a bien évoluée depuis 100 ans. Je sais que pendant un moment il y a eu des gymnastes qui s’entraînaient ici mais aussi des pêcheurs, dans les années 90 des geeks, pour apprendre l’informatique. Mais depuis un moment c’est les comédies musicales.

J’en entends rigoler dans le coin. Mais les comédies musicales au Danemark c’est du sérieux, ce n’est pas les trucs minables à la Kamel Ouali qu’on a en France, où avouer qu’on aime, c’est être rejeté par sa famille et ses amis! Ici non, il y a même une école nationale de comédie musicale, oui je suis sérieuse! Et c’est dans cette école que les élèves de cette classe veulent entrer, donc ils se préparent ici.

Mais il y a aussi théâtre, internationaux et “jeunes”. Les jeunes c’est un programme un peu particulier, ce sont des jeunes (oui comme le nom l’indique) qui ne peuvent pas suivre au lycée pour diverses raisons, donc ils sont envoyés ici pour pouvoir rattraper leur retard et être plus soutenu en cours et d’un point de vue personnel.

Bien sûr le fait qu’il n’y ai pas d’exam n’est pas la seule différence, l’enseignement est très différent de tout ce que j’ai vu, c’est très relax comparé à la France. Rien que la relation prof-étudiant, le vouvoiement, les noms de famille on oublie. Je trouve que le dialogue est bien plus présent aussi. Et on est vraiment libre, que ce soit les étudiants ou les professeurs, ici prendre des initiatives c’est bienvenue même très encouragées. Du coup l’école évolue sans cesse. Après ça peut être déstabilisant parce que la méthode de travail est très différent mais je reviendrais là dessus

Bon je vais arrêter de parler et laisser parler les images (oui je fais de la pub pour mon taf, aucune honte!). Je vous encourage bien sûr vivement à regarder toutes les vidéos! Voici la chaîne et aussi notre blog!

 

 

Français, English….Dansk?

While traveling  I experienced a lot of things while discovering new culture and lifestyle. One of the most obvious is of course…language.

I think my interest for language grew while traveling. I always liked English and then love it when I started to learn more and moved to London. And then it became natural for me to use it, of course you can still tell I am French, but I am vok using it. And being abale to speak 2 languages is so amazing, it opens up your world. Because you will understand so much more of the culture and you have more means of expressing your self.

A nice experience I had was with this friend, half French, half English guy. He had grew up between France and the UK and could speak both perfectly . When we met (through couchsurfing) we started using…both. How nice it is to be able to switch language, that it adapts to what you want to communicate, because if you aren’t an interpret it’s not as easy to translate everything and some ideas will come more naturally in one language than the other. I really like that!

I have to say I was quite satisfied for a while just speaking 2 languages.

As you may have heard French have a bad rep when it comes to learning language and yes we suck. It might be the teaching, some say pride in our culture, I would also think that we may need English less than my Swedish friends for example, because it’s a language used worldwide. So being able to speak more than French was already good enough for me.

But this feeling changed, when I started travelling more. First I thought spanish would be great and useful. But I kind of hate the idea that you would learn a language because it has a use. Of course you can’t deny it and I think this is why so many of us learn English, but I think you need to be attracted to it.

I really liked Hebrew for example, and apart from Israel I don’t see where I could use it. Being there 3 months I only catches few words and expressions but if I have the opportunity I will learn it. I am also very interested in Portuguese.

But first, Danish is where I will start . Denmark is very good when it comes to teaching language. As a foreigner I have 3 years of free Danish lessons. Started this week. I don’t know if I will make it but it’s worth trying and I am very curious. It would be very interesting to learn something that is so different to my mother tongue (ok chinese or japanese could also be a nice challenge). From a French perspective it sounds so …odd. A lot of the sounds are impossible to reproduce for me, but when you start reading Out of Africa, you just think of a new world that will open to you once you can speak the language!

Wish me luck!

whaaaat

That’s my expression when someone try to communicate in Danish with me…for now!

How I hitch-hiked your mother

sun

Few weeks ago, I had a little surprise: Some students had an assignement: travel in Denmark for 2 days, with 200kr each, the goal being to meet people.

One of a the team had a free spot so I could join them and here we are, dropped in the middle of nowhere, the rain starting…The first people that stopped for us were a brother and his sister. He was driving her to the hospital because apparently she had trouble breathing, however they still turned back to pick us up! How nice :)

The things I learnt during those two days and a half of traveling:

  • Raincoat can really save your life, thanks to the one someone lend me 5 minutes before I left!
  • You will look weird if you dry your socks with the blowdryer in public toilets…this should be done in private
  • How to ask a spoon in Danish. You never know when you need one! So go back to your lesson.
  • Most Danes can speak very good English. It doesn’t mean they will speak it :) get over it
  • Italian wine is very good. Especially when offered by a lovely Danish family that just open their door to you. And provide dinner. And a bed. And give you a ride to Graasten the next day after you sang a song with the children at the school!wine
  • You can shoot a short film with a phone and random people in a park. Just ask nicely.
  • Writing a sign when you hitchike is super effective (in 5 minutes we were on the way)
  • If you can hitch hike instead or walk, hitch hike. My leg will thank you.
  • Bread with ham and beans is a pretty good lunch. Cold the beans, of course…
  • You can sleep in a strain station, in your sleeping bag no one will wake you up, because Danes are so in love with privacy.
  • Not everyone knows where they are going even if they are the one driving.

stop

Images d’Israel

It’s really hard for me to keep the pace and write regularly. First of all I doubt you would be interested to know every details of my every day life, like how do I cut the carrots when I am working in kitchen or how long did I stay at the pool the other day… I want to focus on topic that everyone can find interesting even if not living in a kibbutz and it takes time! One coming soon about volunteers, who volunteers in a kibbutz nowadays is a big question and one of the first people ask you when you are here!

And once you get to know more Israeli thousand of questions pop up in your head and there are so many subjects to write about!

In the meantime I want to share some pictures I took while here.

First This one is one of the first place I visited. We went on a hike to the Mount Meron which is the highest in the official borders of Israel. It was cloudy that day but the view was incredible!

Second and Third Our First day trip was to the Sea of Galilee. For lunch we went to another kibbutz that is right on the sea, Ein Gev. We also realised that we are lucky being in Bar’Am, spoiled kids really! However this is what the Ein Gev volunteers can enjoy everyday

Yes that’s us on the platform (well not me I was taking the picture…)

Fourth Here some volunteers trying to look as fierce as pirates, while we were sailing on the Sea of Galilee. Liora our coordinator made us a very nice surprise renting a boat with music and we sailed for an hour.

Last The view is terrific!

That’s all for now but I promise to be back as soon! In the meantime if you wish to read about any specific subject related to Israel feel free to post in the comment or contact me :)

Yalla bye!

Africa

A man cycling on the road near my house

A man cycling on the road near my house

I took this picture while I was in Africa, it’s one of my favorite even if the quality isn’t the best. I took it with a Diana so it explains it all!