WOW! Finally I get to sit down and blog! It has been a crazy couple of days… but honestly (and surprisingly) has all flowed very smoothly. So on to my life from the minute I stepped off the plane!
Let me start off by saying I am so lucky to have an amazing mother to help guide me through this process. It wouldn’t be the same without her here and I feel loads better discovering all of this with her!
The line to get through customs was ridiculous. This is the only time in my life where I have been scared of an escalator. There was a HUGE pile up of people and I mean pile-up. Riding up the escalator we quickly realized that the top was getting closer, and so were the loads of people. It had turned into a crowd SO massive that when we reached the top we had no where to go, the escalator kept moving and we literally started to pile on top of each other. I haven’t been in a mosh pit in quite sometime and now I remember why. Super scary. Around 20 seconds later however, everyone caught on to what was happening and all shoved in massively together. We moved somewhat quickly to have our passports checked but got into another massive line down the ridiculously long airport hallway. Although the process moved somewhat quickly (I thought we would be there for at LEAST two hours) we arrived at baggage claim an hour later. After picking up our bags we stopped at the one (and only) Starbucks in Denmark to get internet access and a beverage. We ended up only getting internet because (YIKES) the Starbucks prices were outrageous! A tall latte (mind you not my Quad Soy Hazelnut ridiculous one) cost around 65 dkk. USD… 10.76. Nope. Not paying 11 bucks for a cup of coffee. Then panic set in. What am I to do without my Starbucks?! I think ill do the European thing and switch to tea!
We got a taxi to my apartment around 10AM. I really like where I live (sans the construction) because it is super close to the airport (it was only 7 minute drive or so) and it’s only a 45 minute bike ride or a 15 minute metro ride. I won’t be taking the metro much because again, one ticket to get me around the city or up to my campus is 29 kroner. About 5 bucks for a one way ride, no thanks… 10 bucks a day will quickly add up. Anyway, the cab driver had a slight issue finding an entrance to the place (construction) so he dropped us off at what appeared to be an entrance to something. I left mom with the bags and walked through a parking garage to see how we could possibly get here. The whole place is covered in dirt and gravel aka luggage transportation hell. We walked around and around, crossed over a little bridge over a canal and dragged our 6 bags through the least gravel-y place. Phew! I was tired after that. We went to the office and Lasse (an employee of Lejebro) gave us a grand tour of Signahuset (signal house). First he showed me the common area that students are able to rent for anything and everything. It’s nice, I think I might try and start a film night or something because there is a giant projector screen in the room. Then we walked around to the laundry facilities where I learned that it costs me 8 kroner every time I was my clothes. But the detergent and fabric softener are automatically filtered in, so I figured I am somehow getting my moneys worth. It costs 50 ore for 10 minutes to use the dryer, so I will be air drying my clothes! Although 3 kroner for 60 minutes really isn’t that bad, but still I need to save every penny, well I guess kroner, while I am here. He showed me my little storage unit in the basement and then finally my apartment!
If I haven’t told you, I am in an apartment with 3 other people (who I have yet to meet, I think I’m the only one here so far). We share a kitchen and 2 bathrooms and honestly it is really cute. My room is a good size and I have a balcony so I can gaze out at Copenhagen. I can actually see Sweden from where I stand! I guess people here don’t really care about cleaning or leaving the place neat, because this place was GROSS when I got here. Mom did a 5 hour kitchen make over, washing every dish and sorting through every cabinet while I tackled the bathroom. The reason why it’s so messy is because when people move out, they are allowed to just leave there things here. Which is good and bad in a sense. Good because I don’t have to buy all new items for my apartment, Bad because they don’t care what state they leave it in. After a thorough scrub down however the place looks live-able!
After we dropped off our things we got straight to work. First stop was the Danish Immigration Service so I could get my CPR number. This is vital because you can’t do anything without it (open a bank account, get phone and internet etc etc). I love street view from Google and thank goodness I do because I knew my way to the metro instantly. We metro’d into Copenhagen and found the office following a map I had printed off at home. Super simple! I was expecting so many lines however we were in and out in less then 30 minutes! I am now officially a temporary Citizen of Denmark! YAY! While we were walking around Copenhagen I took a minute to breathe it all in. I can’t believe I am really here! I live in Denmark now! UNREAL! Next stop was to get my biometrics recorded at another immigration office but they didn’t open until 3:00. It was only 1:00 by the time we were done registering. We stopped at a couple of bike shops to inquire about the costs of a bike. I think I found the one that I will be purchasing my bike at… they seem to have the most reasonable prices from what I have seen so far. I just hope I find the perfect bike! We wandered around a little more and found a Danske Bank so I could open my bank account—again everything went smoothly—and finally meandered over to the office. Which already (at 2:30) had a crowd of people outside. At 3:00 the escalator scene played over in my head again while everyone pushed and shoved to be first in the queue line. In Denmark (and most European countries I think) everyone gets a number and waits for their number to be called. No standing in line once you’ve got that number! I got my number and hurried inside to find a seat. The office didn’t actually open until 3:30, which actually worked out in my favor because it allowed me to lazily lift my glance to the scroller on the TV, which promptly informed me that if I had to get my biometrics taken I could simply proceed to desk 11, 12 or 13. When they opened up, I ran straight back and was finished getting my fingerprints, picture and height officially taken in under 10 minutes. PERFECT! Mom and I quickly left the madhouse, and I gave my ticket to some pour soul who was in the back of the line still… your lucky day ma’am! We then took transport back to the apartment, had a crazy cleaning session, and went to Fields (the biggest mall in Denmark) to go to Bilka (Denmark’s Walmart) to shop for some apartment supplies and dinner. I had a slight breakdown while shopping, I really need to find a job here because everything is SO expensive and you get so little of it. This is not over-sized America for sure. I practically bought travel size bottles of shampoo & conditioner for about 30 kroner 6-bucks each. A Bed sheet and pillow cover cost around 145 dkk, and the cheapest pillows cost 90 kroner. I am going to have to get used to this currency really quick and hopefully be able to come up with a monthly budget so I can at least feed myself! Also a factor in my breakdown was how foreign everything is to me. I figured food is food, ill be able to tell what I am eating… WRONG! Fruits and veggies I can decipher by looks but everything else is a mystery. I want to continue eating healthy, so only fruits and veggies until I can figure out what exactly I am putting in my body! I have finally gone Raw! Yay!
We came home and cooked up some dinner on all of our clean dishes and then I began to unpack some of my things into the one cabinet that was left in my room. I constructed a closet with an extension rod I brought from home and began to hang up some of the clothes on some hangers that I found in my living room. Then I threw the rest of my clothes on a pile in the floor, because that’s what me and mom were sleeping on that night! (I had my bed set to be delivered on Friday, which turned out to be Saturday because I read the date wrong… sleeping on the floor again tonight—ouch)! What an awesome first day I had though! We were able to get so much accomplished and really no hassle. Onto day 2!
We woke up at 7:00 this morning, Friday July 27, 2012 (thinking we were getting up at 8) ate breakfast (cheerios and bananas) and then realizing it was only 7:00, went over again to Bilka to see if we could get some more apartment things. We bought lunch and dinner for today and some other cleaning supplies. We came back all ready to wait for the Ikea delivery people. We waited outside because we were afraid that they would run into the same issue we did with finding an entrance, and waited and waited. I eventually went to the housing office to use the phone to call ikea, and then realized the delivery date said the 28th of July, not the 27th. It was a good mistake however, because I was able to let the Ikea people know that the whole area was under construction and they had to cross a little bridge and then page me so I could let them up to my apartment. (oh yeah, I have to buzz you in if you want to come up and see me—super cool). Mom and I realized we had more of the day then we thought, so we went to the post office to get a no spam sticker, but the post office was out of these. No problem, I just had to order it online. We then went to Fields Mall again to inquire about a cell phone. This super cute Danish guy Thomas helped us pick out a phone. It’s only an HTC wildfire—not the best of the best—but it does everything I need and it was FREE! I love free! And I only have a 6 month contract so in 6 months I can go back and get the new IPhone when it comes out, and I get a discount on my bill and a discount towards a new phone—hey I like this Denmark, no two year locked in bullcrap—I also got a free premium Spotify membership, which is great for me because I actually use Spotify as my main music player! Sweet Deals! He also signed me up for internet, which is just a little USB drive that I plug into the side of my computer and then, voila! I have internet access! I only have up to 2 MB per month of internet access from this little thing, and I have 10MB on my phone. Hopefully that will be enough to cover everything… and if not, I can change it all in 6 months. Mom and I came back after that grabbed our recycling and went to a place where you turn in bottles for kroner! All the mess that we cleaned out of our house left us with a lot of bottles! We just popped them into the machine and got our money! It ended up only being 8 kroner or so, but we only turned in 4 bottles. I know I will be dumpster diving if I need cash! Then we came back to my apartment and mom cooked lunch while I set up my phone and internet. We ended up falling asleep for longer then we thought, and ended up having a lazy evening. Which is great because I (obviously) have a lot to blog about, and I am super exhausted still—I haven’t caught up with the time change.
Womp. Well that is enough for now! I think you all can get a picture from this long blog! I can skype call everyone for free so please skype call me! I also have FB messenger set up on my phone and that can act as text messaging! I got to talk with my Brother for a little bit which was extremely comforting!
Eek! It’s 10:41 now, the sun is just going down. I have to be up early tomorrow to wait for the ikea people! I love you all! Denmark is Fabulous!
Peace & Love!