Chinese Moon Cake

My friend Carol came up to get her wine glasses she let me borrow, and brought me a wonderful gift from China!  I was so pleasantly surprised!  What I received tonight was a cake, not just any cake however.  This cake comes in a small box, a colorful little box, glazed in shiny metallic red and luscious swirling gold, imprinted with the label of Moon Cake in a font so boldly screaming deliciousness.

Upon opening the box, you pull out a cake with Chinese writing on the little cake.  It tells the ingredients in the cake, mine come to find out was egg yolk.  The cake itself was very thick, about 2 inches.  I’ve taken a picture so you can see the yummyness 🙂

This cake is eaten only during the month of October in honor of the moon festival.  It is also known as the mid-autumn festival.
Side Note- this is why I love living here.  I get to experience this amazing cultural experience, and it’s not just from the Danes.  I just learned about a very amazing festival, and I might have to make the trip to Bejing next year to go experience the mid-autumn festival and see what this celebration (which is one of the four most important Chinese festivals).  I think the importance with all the equinoxes is very fascinating.  The solstice is another interest.  Anyway, cool festival… google it & learn something new 🙂

This mooncake had egg in the middle and was also made from red bean paste.  It tasted almost like a fudge and Carol was right, it is EXTREMELY sweet so you don’t have to eat much!  Haha Good for sharing !
Had to post a blurb!  HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE: )

A Tivoli Halloween … a blog in pictures

From a Newspaper Article I found on Halloween at Tivoli:

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK — One of the only things Copenhagen is lacking is a good fall season. It was warm and sunny for a few days when I got here, and then suddenly it was cold. But my friends and I got our fall fix at Tivoli, Copenhagen’s famous amusement park.

We enjoyed the Halloween decora- tions, hot cider, haystacks and pumpkin patches. One of my favorite things about Denmark is the country’s use of lighting — it is so dark in Scandinavia that the people have to make good use of light. Shops, restaurants, streets, bars and cafes are full of candles or little lights that create a wonderfully cozy atmosphere.Tivoli is no exception.The pathways were lined with hanging pumpkin lanterns, the rides and structures were all dotted with little bulbs and there were numerous small houses selling cider, apples, caramels and other fall treats.

Halloween is less prominent and less commercialized than it is in the United States. Kids do not go trick-or-treating, and there is not much Halloween hype in the shops or local businesses. Tivoli is the only part of Copenhagen that seems to be in the Halloween spirit, but there is enough of it there to make up for the rest of the city.

 

Link: http://elonpendulum.com/2012/10/amusement-park-brings-halloween-spirit-to-denmark/

 

Stockholm & a birthday abroad

I can’t believe it is the end of October already! I haven’t blogged since the 11th, and that only felt like a couple of days ago! I’ve had a very busy past few weeks, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

First off and my most exciting news. I HAVE A JOB! I crazily tweeted about how I was having the biggest struggle finding work here in old Dane land. I even tweeted this picture which I received a few laughs at, even though I was not the one laughing.

I was hoping to find that magical Job Land in Denmark, where jobs would grow on jobbies, and in my adventures to Stockholm (which I will talk about later) I found the courage to ask around at the place where jobs do grow on jobbies… THE AIRPORT! I honestly don’t know why I didn’t think about looking at the airport sooner. An international environment, the high need for employees, a job would surely be waiting for me there. And it was. At Starbucks. SELVFØLGELIG!

Oh Starbucks. I am so happy to be employed and to stop spending ridiculous amounts of kroners on a ‘cup of kaffe’. (which in Denmark, a vanilla latte is around 50 kroners. That’s about 8.67 US. For a tall. Don’t even ask me about Soy or extra shots. Now I get to have my daily intake of coffee and not pay anything for it:) I had my interview on Friday and they hired me right on the spot! What a GREAT birthday gift:)

Working in the airport is going to be ridiculously fun. I just know it. I had to go through some security training in order to receive my badge to go past security, and even that was exciting. I have to take the train to get to the airport, so my commute is only about 5 minutes.  The transportation system here in Denmark is ridiculously easy to navigate.  I learned it in the 5 days I spent here last summer.  Granted, I don’t know the bus system, but I have never had the need to use a bus here in Copenhagen.  The metro line is so convenient and 5 minutes away from where I live, and will take me wherever I need to go here or outside the city.  Plus, Copenhagen is kinda cool in that you pay 1 price for everything.  Taking the bus is just as expensive as taking the metro, or S-Train (which is what I take to the airport). I wanted to get a monthly metro pass anyway since it has gotten so cold and dark here now (the sun sets a little before 5 now and daily it hovers between 5-7 degrees). and riding my bike in the brutal chilly wind has proven to be a difficult task.  The monthly pass will work on metro & S-train, so I can take it to work and school and not have to worry about paying extra or anything.  A little pricey, its around 350 kroners a month, but hey… i’m not ready to be biking in the snow… I’m not THAT Danish 🙂

Job. Check. Now I can stay in Denmark forever and I never have to leave:) But honestly, I kinda could because after I graduate I just need to be employed here and I can stay for as long as I want to be employed… so why not work at Starbucks while I search for a real job after I graduate in 2 years !!  My stress level has gone way down and now I can put that little voice in the back of my head to sleep that keeps nagging me about money and a job and completely focus on grad school.  ALso the pay here is laughable to what I would be receiving in the states.  I can actually LIVE off of my 15 hour work week…  I have worked it out, people ususally get 90 or 100 kroners minimum here.  100×15= 1500.  OH but what about the HIGH TAX RATE you say?  (for all you haters on ‘socialism’) EVEN IF THEY TOOK HALF OF MY KRONERS (which they don’t they only take like 35%), 1500/2=750 So I would be making 750  per week.  4 weeks in a month ,750×4 =3000 = about 521 U.S. dollars.  Back home I would be working 15 hours at 9 bucks and be making  135 a week -taxes  would be 475  ish?  maybe?  More then likely ill be taking in 1050 a week.  1050×4 is –well– you do the math 🙂  But it is a good amount to live on and all I would need here 🙂  So that makes me pretty happy!  And in summer’s i’m allowed to work full time!  (the only reason I’m not working more hours is that I can only work 15 with my work permit– but I am here for school so it’s nice that they max it at 15).

In other news, I went to Stockholm over the Fall Break (oct. 14-20). Which. Was. GORGEOUS. Walking around Gamla Strand (or the old town) was breathtaking. Picturesque cobblestone streets, beautiful autumn colors seen every which way I turned, and a vibrant pulsing city gave me another view of Scandinavia. I traveled with my friend Stef. Originally we wanted to try out couch surfing, but we applied for the couches too late and ended up booking a room in a hostel. Which I was fine with. I love staying at Hostels because of the increased opportunity for you to meet interesting people. Also, this hostel provided free breakfast and free pasta along with bed linens and towels, and because we are such cheap and chic travelers we opted to stay for the more ‘inclusive’ hostel. We did meet some cool American guys from New York who just decided that they wanted to go to Stockholm, and booked their flights the following week, and some cool German guys who decided to take a quick Holiday.  We shared drinks and pasta with them and I tried to learn some new German words, but I failed.   We spent 2 full days in Stockholm and it was the perfect amount of time to see the city, and do a couple of cultural things like museums and such. We even went to an ICE BAR– which, yes, is a bar entirely made out of Ice. Very touristy, but oh so worth it. We ended up only staying in the bar for about 30 minutes though, because we got super cold and couldn’t feel our toes. haha. Enjoy a couple of the pictures from the IceBar, I haven’t edited the rest from Stockholm, but they are on the way!

The week after fall break I was back in full swing juggling a busy school week and my upcoming birthday.  Monday Tuesday were typical school days, I had my first interview with the Starbucks in Bilka on Wednesday (they first Starbucks in Denmark outside the airport) Thursday I went shopping for my Birthday and Friday was a cooking day anf my interview at Starbucks in the airport!  I wanted to cook delicious food for my party, and since no one here cooks with pumpkin ever I decided to make pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, carrot cake and cookies.  Between cooking dinners and dessert, studying for classes, my Starbucks interview along with attempting to have a social life, the week flew by and before I knew it, Saturday was here and so were the birthday shenanigans! I started out the afternoon by going on the great pumpkin search with my friend Jack. Popular in Denmark are the tiny ‘sugar pumpkins’ which aren’t proper for pumpkin carving. SO the hunt began! We started at the markets at norreport station, and good thing we did because we were able to find the MASSIVE pumpkins required for pumpkin carving. We gasped and ran to the bright orange bins full of Autumn fun, picked up our pumpkins for 45 kroner, and then had some Gløgg to celebrate our success.

-Side note. Gløgg is delicious. I tried it first in Stockholm after hearing about how amazing it was from my European friends. Gløgg is usually red wine, with spices and served hot or warm with cranberries and almonds. It is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas and Halloween. It is magical, and the most delicious thing you will ever drink! I highly recommend it!

Then it was off to continue my birthday celebrations!

-Second side note. Lugging two giant pumpkins home in your bike basket looks really hilarious – all in the name of Halloween!

I went to see a Danish version of the play Alice in Wonderland for my birthday on Saturday, and although I couldn’t understand any part of it (since it was all in Danish) I still found it very enjoyable and entertaining. Something about the theatre… I think acting is another universal language, or I just really like Alice in Wonderland so much that not understanding the dialogue didn’t bother me one bit. The play was in Christiania (my favorite place in Copenhagen) and I had a great time. That night I had friends over to carve pumpkins and help me celebrate turning 24. Some of my international friends had never carved a pumpkin before and didn’t understand the significance of Halloween so I, being the great friend I am, hosted a pumpkin carving session 🙂 I also baked yummy Autumn treats like pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, carrot cake and cookies. My international friends seemed to be continuously impressed with my cookies. I laugh every time my friend Anne-Sophie talks about my “ammerriicaann cookies’ with my ammerrriicaaannn chocolate chips. It just makes me laugh. I guess pumpkins are not popular here but come on, it’s pumpkin. It’s delicious. How can it not be popular EVERYWHERE

Sunday my roommate Amy (even though we don’t live together anymore I still call her my roommate) treated me to Brunch. Which we missed because we got to the restaurant at 14.00 and they stop serving brunch at 13.30. Oh well, I had the most delicious veggie burger instead. I think it was made with carrots and beets. It was very very good. We also had smoothies which were a perfect treat  Amy is so wonderful. She got me a necklace from Amsterdam that says ‘Eat Me’ on it. It’s perfect and yellow and above All, ALICE! But seriously, it’s the cutest necklace ever and I love it. I don’t know how she stumbled on to that treasure but I am very glad I did! We then cycled around and went to my favorite bakery Lagkagehuset and Amy bought me a yummy blueberry white chocolate cake, which we ate for dessert at home. What an excellent birthday I should say! Also, the weather was celebrating with me and we had sunny skies with little wind all weekend long. It was the perfect end to a pretty perfect week. I think I’m starting to find out why this is the happiest place on earth!

Goodness and that was just last week!   I will write a separate post about Halloween at Tivoli.  it does deserve it’s own!

Folkekøkken!

My new favorite thing in Copenhagen is the folkekøkken or soup kitchens… yes that’s right, soup kitchens!  These are not your usual soup kitchens, but are ‘activist soup kitchens’ or the people’s kitchen; started as a part of community networking and to help strengthen the community in the area.  The concept behind the creation of the kitchen is right up my alley.  Each day of the week at a different location you can get a delicious meal (usually vegan or vegetarian, sometimes meat is 5 kroner extra) for 20 kroners.  All the food is provided from local restaurants, greengrocers and bakeries… essentially ‘dumpster diving’ these locations generously donate their leftovers from the day to the various people’s kitchens throughout Copenhagen.  Anyone who volunteers to help pick up the food, prepare the food, or stay after to help clean gets a free meal and everyone else donates 20 kroner which goes straight to paying rent for the café.  At Kafe-X everyone is also required to clean up their own plate; which I happily did after the delicious meal I enjoyed.  You would think leftovers would equate to eh/okay/questionable food.  You are wrong.  This is not your average plate of food, you pile up on deliciousness!  I had the pleasure of eating lentil curry over rice, with a plethora of fresh greens and homemade dressings, with bread and lentil and apple spread.  Also served was tea and coffee.  If you have 20 kroners in your pocket in Copenhagen, you might as well drop it on the street, as it won’t buy you ANYTHIHNG… well maybe a side of ketchup but honestly 20 kroners won’t get you far.  I was very surprised by the spread at Kafe-X.  

 As I mentioned briefly earlier, folkekøkken goes on throughout the week in various locations.  Tuesday is at Kafa-X which is a declared feminist and anti-fascist café and has been open in Nørrebro since 1993.  Kafa-X also operates as a weekly meeting place for a number of projects on the extra-parliamentary left.

 Wednesday you dine at Støberiet and the atmosphere surrounding this people’s kitchen is ‘community needs care’.  Støberiet was established after the shooting incidents in Blågårdsgade in 2009 to show the community that they shouldn’t be afraid to stay in Nørrebro. 

 Thursday find yourself at Dortheavej dining on ​​one hundred percent vegan cuisine which is usually all organic.  Found on the website, “Everyone in the house is not vegan, but all should be able to eat with. And when vegan food is a fully viable alternative to food with dairy products or meat, so we see no reason to put them in – on the contrary. The production of meat and dairy products deplete the soil far more violent than the production of vegan food. In addition, there is an ethical problem in production, where living creatures are treated as a material or production machine”.  If you would like to participate in cooking, you can show up at early and the food is free. Otherwise it costs a whopping 20 kroner. 

 Friday you can stumble in to Café N which is a regular café during the day, and turns into a people’s kitchen every Friday night.  It is also a vegetarian café where you can buy a delicious meal for 25 kroner

 In keeping with the Danish tradition of brunch on Sunday, at the Folkets Hus you can find a delicious vegetarian and vegan selection of brunch food. 

Folkekøkken! Folkekøkken! Folkekøkken!  My new favorite thing 🙂

My Danish Life

It’s been a busy blustery start to October here in Copenhagen.  It’s practically winter here now, and Mother Nature seems to have skipped right over autumn.  Currently it is 8 degrees Celsius (which is about 46 fahrenheit).  Brrrr it sure is cold here in Scandinavia.  As you can see from the map however, I am way up in the northern parts of this world… it only makes sense that it would get cold this quick!

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School is keeping me quite busy, and I’m starting to feel the pressures of graduate school work.  I think I’m stressing myself out more then I need to though because I don’t quite understand the Danish education structure.  In terms of work there isn’t much besides weekly readings.  Our one and ONLY grade is based off of a paper ranging anywhere from 10-25 pages that we have to turn in at the end of the semester.  I like the way my media organizations and institutions class is structured, I chose ‘Exam form A’ which requires writing 3 smaller papers throughout the semester and then a 10 page paper at the end on the organization or institution of our choice.  I think I am going to write about my favorite topic, Hollywood Hegemony.  It’s provocative and I know I can find information on this topic.  For my Audience and User studies class we have to create a study and then write a 10 page paper on our research and then orally defend it.  We also have to combine a list of 600 pages of relevant readings linked to our research.  I chose to do a study on audience perceptions of culture when viewing ‘international film’.  My third and final exam is going to be the hardest, as my professor has broken his leg and hasn’t been to many classes I feel very lost in regards to what I am supposed to be doing for this class.  My final paper for this class has to be 20-25 pages, and I have no idea what topic I’m supposed to be researching/writing about.  Slightly stressful only because the American style of education and learning has been beaten into my head for the past 2 decades or so.  I am used to weekly assignments, tests, quizzes, projects, groupwork, you name it… Here in Copenhagen you have about 600 pages of reading you have to finish throughout the semester (ranging from articles to chapters from texts) and then one final paper you write at the end.  I think my brain is going crazy from the lack of ‘structure’.  I have too much free time!

I am working on filling that free time with activities however, as I am far out of vacation mode.  I joined a gym to work off all those croissants I have been munching on since I’ve been here and also joined the Copenhagen Youth Ambassador Corps which is a network of international students that help promote Copenhagen as an attractive environment to study, work and live in.  It seems interesting not only from a networking standpoint, but also to meet like minded students here in Copenhagen.

I went to Malmö last Friday and thoroughly enjoyed my first taste of Sweden.  Malmö is a 20 minute train ride across the sound (which is just a fancy term for crossing the ØresundBridge, which connects the North Sea with the Baltic Sea).  I went with a friend who showed me the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants and also an all organic/vegan/vegetarian/gluten free grocery store.  I stocked up on vegan cheese, soy butter and plenty of other healthy vegan snacks and sides.  It blows my mind that it is so hard to find vegan alternatives in Copenhagen and then BAM they are out in full force 20 minutes away in Sweden.  Also, the Swedish krone is about 20% cheaper then the Danish krone, so I technically saved some kroner’s shopping in Malmö.  Even though it was a rainy dreary day, I managed to get some great shots of where we went exploring.

Fall break is coming up next week (October 14-20) and a friend and I are going to Stockholm for 4 days.  I’m very excited to explore more of Europe!

Enjoy the Malmö pictures:)