2019-20 Paola, outbound to Denmark

Jan 7, 2020


I am just about half way through my exchange and with each day, I see how much I have changed.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it- these past few weeks have been a little rough. This holiday season was a very special one for my family in Florida, so to not be there was very hard. Paired with the grey, rainy and cold Copenhagen weather, it was even harder. Although this month was difficult for my personally, I am so grateful to the friends I’ve made here and the culture itself for helping me through it. Despite the difficult times, this past December was beautiful and memorable. Danish Christmas is an entire being on its own, full of new and exciting traditions and foods. One tradition that really differs from mine back home is that the tree (a real one) was decorated the day before Christmas (here it is on the 24th) with simple and homemade decorations. Christmas night, we danced and sang around the Christmas tree before opening presents. Not only that, my host mother is Norwegian so my christmas was also partially Norwegian! (very different)

I went to a couple Julefrokoster (Christmas Lunches) this month, where friends and family get together and eat traditional foods, play games, and more. I am a big fan of the christmas foods here- Risengrød, Gløgg & æbleskriver, etc. I also basked Danish Christmas cookies with my family- literally some of the same store-bought Danish Chrsitmas Cookies my parents back home buy every year. Needless to say, I am learning how to make these foods and will make them every year from here on out.

I turned 18!! It was great to celebrate on my last day with my first host family. I also had theater rehearsal where they made me stand on a chair while everyone sang to me one of the many Danish birthday songs and yelled “hurah” 18 times. The day before, I got together with my exchange friends for dinner and to watch a movie. Not much has changed since being 18, but I definitely feel different- like I have a lot more responsibility.

Here, the Christmas Elf is a big holiday symbol and decorating with Danish Flag for celebrations is a custom. Loving it all, I bought sooooo many christmas decorations for my mom back home (my mom loves Christmas and so do the Danish- perfect match) I also decided to treat myself as well to little souvenirs and gifts of my own 🙂

It’s important to remember that exchange is for YOU. To discover yourself, to challenge yourself, and to find what makes you happy. So when you’re not feeling happy, the best thing to do is to do something.

As I feel myself slowly transition out of this funk, I am looking forward with a positive mindset and looking for more activities I can do while I’m in such an incredible city.

In fact, I will be going to yoga today 😉

If my legs aren’t dead. I just got out of PE and I have theatre rehearsal after school. Either way, it’s the thought that counts.

Happy new year!

stay groovy

Paola Camacho

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