Monday, January 11, 2010

First Days

I left the States last Sunday morning and arrived in Århus on Monday local time so I have been here for a week now.

The past week was a mirror-image of the first few days of college: moving in, finding the grocery store, going to the grocery store, figuring out bus routes. Though it's a very distorted mirror since this is a whole different country. The day I move in, a German girl was also moving in to this house. She and her parents drove up from Germany with their car packed full. Much of her belongings were in plastic tubs. My mom would have fretted over my accommodations the way her parents did, saying that the kitchen was small or the room was cold or the bathroom dirty. It reminded me so much of moving into my dorms and my parents helping me. It made me miss my mom right away.

Meeting new people made it seem the most like starting college anew. The past week has been non-stop introductions. Then followed a series of formulaic questions we asked one another countless times. It starts with introductions: What's your name? Where are you from? What are you studying here? Which dorm do you live in? Next we moved on to chitchatting about the weather: How cold is it where you're from? Oh the Australians must be having a hard time adapting. Oh I should have brought warmer clothes.  Then we complained about our living situations. Oh I live so far away. Oh my rent is so high. Oh I live with all Danes. Oh I don't live with any Danes. Then we compared who got the most money to study. Americans are the clear losers. Then we talked about drinking. It seems that students the world over drink a lot.

Throughout the week, there were events I wanted to go to and events I felt I should I in order to get to know people. I know that like starting college, many of the people I meet in the first days will become my friends for the durations. It's not the time to be anti-social. At times I really wanted to meet people, but other times I had to drag myself out into the bitter cold to meet more people. It was mostly great fun but all quite exhausting.

On Sunday I finally had a less hectic schedule. I went to Risskov, a seaside park with a few friends -- not too many. Walking in the woods and along the sea was much more relaxing than I thought it would be. Then I came back to the house and had some quiet time to myself. Blogging is really relaxing. I feel recharged and ready for the next week.

I hope now that I'll gotten over these introductions, I can get to know some people in greater depth. I think that will be very rewarding.

Right now I'm craving a bagel with cream cheese. The latter is available in all grocery stores, but the former, not so much.

A view of the harbor from Risskov


Taz said...

Just remember to allocate a little personal time to yourself. Meeting people -totally important, but keeping a bit of privacy to help you adapt to the change is paramount.

Katherine said...

Sending you an internet bagel-fragel-bagel. I really like your blog, Chen.