The confusingly contradictory lives of Danes

On one hand there is all the smoking, drinking and consumption of pork that makes me genuinely concerned. On the other hand, there is all the running around in spandex in weather that is made for hot chocolate and movies while swaddled in blankets. It boggles my easily- boggleable (shhh) mind.

All the stories  you have heard are (probably) true. A friend told me recently they saw an elderly, seemingly disoriented woman drinking a beer on the bus the other day and I was not surprised. The university bar at DMJX is called Friday bar and I think that is a common thing for universities across Denmark. They open on Fridays, and the drinking starts in the afternoon and lasts well into the night. Weirdly enough, despite this heavy drinking culture I have not encountered any annoying drunk behaviour (you know the kind of stuff I’m talking about…) outside of bars- I wish this was the case in New Zealand but, alas, I guess we can’t have everything. You can’t smoke inside public places, but many of the buildings contain multiple small, open courtyards (kinda like an atrium if you will) and it is very common to see people going to these areas  or even outside in between classes and during breaks to get in some smoko time. I actually have no idea if some of these are designated smoking rooms or free for all as I tend to stay away from them- growing up with a pretty aggressive anti- smoking media culture can leave you with a deep sense of discomfort towards second- hand smoke.

Despite all this, every day that I’m outside in all my glorious layers and winter accessories I pass by those I call ‘unnaturals’. There are always a few of these fit specimens running on the foot path at all hours, in their thin, tight, layers making me reconsider the extent of human potential. Then I console myself by thinking about their Viking blood, go home and eat till I can’t anymore, then eat some more. I’ve been told by Danes that the obesity levels here are increasing but even with that, I’ve seen very few that could be categorised under problematically obese. So I sit here and wonder and wonder while eating Mister Choc (it’s German chocolate and it tastes like heaven), how do I categorize Danes? Ridiculously fit and made for the cold, or crazy unhealthy? I’ve come to the conclusion, that I can’t solve this mystery so if you’ve managed to read this far I’m so sorry that was kind of useless. But now you know what I’m thinking.

First- time solo flyer: Story of a rookie on OE

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When you haven’t travelled by yourself before, the idea of going on an OE can be daunting. I know because I’ve been going through it for the past few months. I got a partial scholarship to study abroad for a semester in Denmark (!!) this year, but the overwhelming happiness in being accepted lasted a few weeks before it was gradually overshadowed by fear and apprehension at this seemingly impossible task ahead of me. Denmark was one of the very few countries I was willing to travel to because of my extremely picky nature, but even the thought of going to this beautiful, relatively peaceful and exciting new country  wasn’t enough to shake out the ‘what ifs’ running through my head. If you are finding yourself in a similar situation and freaking the f*** out, read on…it may be helpful but I won’t promise anything.

  1. You aren’t the only one.                                                                                                       It is always tempting to think that you are special in the way you feel and react to these kind of situations, but it can also be alienating. I eventually started talking to others who were faced with the same exciting albeit terrifying experience ahead of them and guess what? It helps! No one can understand how you feel in these situations quite like those who are in the exact same position, so engage with others and start getting excited!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       DSC_0638.JPG
  2. Don’t always trust the internet.                                                                                         I googled how to fit in with Danes (in hindsight, that was obviously a mistake) and it took me to pages talking about the Viking descendants that are blonde, lithe and unnaturally tall. That is obviously not what a 5’2 midget Indian Kiwi wants to hear. Stereotypes often have some kernel of truth in them (sometimes) and may of the native Danes are taller than the average New Zealander or Indian, but the city I live in is teeming with all kinds of people from different cultures and background which is a dream for a student about to study under the ‘inclusive journalism initiative’. The internet also led me astray in predicting the weather, it is very, very cold here but definitely not as cold as many make it out to be. Anyway, point is- internet is a useful tool and you would be a fool not to use it, but take everything that isn’t from authorised sites with a grain of salt.

3. Stop worrying.                                                                                                                               This is DEFINITELY easier said than done, but I only survived the past few weeks prior to arriving in Denmark by simply refusing to pay attention to the incessant ‘what if’ voice in my head. Think of it as a white noise machine, do what you gotta do and stop thinking about things you don’t need to. Don’t build up unrealistic expectations in your head, but get excited because it will be an unforgettable experience and one that you will hopefully love.na (2).JPG

Finding yourself again

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I’ll start by saying I like myself most of the time. Not in the ‘Oh my god you are so great’ kind of way but content in the inherent knowledge that I am deeply flawed, yet liking who I am or who I have become anyway but lately I’m not sure how I feel. I feel like I’m losing my passion and vigour- everything that was annoying about me but made up the core of my personality. I mean I’m probably still fairly annoying, but I feel like the life force that led me is fading (so close to a Lord of the Rings reference) and I’m losing myself little bit by little bit every day. It’s scary but what is scarier is this shitty attitude on my behalf sometimes to not fight it that scares me more.

So all I have to say to other people who might be feeling the same way is: Don’t stop fighting the crappy part of yourself that wants to give up and be docile. Make some noise, and be unapologetically yourself- and if you aren’t too sure who that person is- go find him or her. Don’t lose yourself forever, your true self is somewhere out there, waiting to be reclaimed.

Best of the Emmys Red Carpet 2015

These dresses take the lead for being daring and original. Except for Lady Gaga, her dress takes the lead for being daring and different by being kind of normal. Ironic, huh…

Joanna Newsom

Danielle Brooks

Laura Prepon

Carrie Brownstein

Taylor Schilling

Teyonah Parris

Zoe Kazan

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Lady Gaga

Jaimie Alexander

Jessica Oyelowo

Disclaimer: I own none of these images, and all images link to the url they were retrieved from.

Sadness has feelings too guys!

Light cannot exist without darkness, shadows are bits of darkness that can only be seen in the presence of light.

Light cannot exist without darkness, shadows are bits of darkness that can only be seen in the presence of light.

Went to the movies recently to see Inside Out, I was a bit worried going in with high expectations after all the positive review statuses on Facebook and you know, the critical acclaim. But it was actually good, really good…I don’t think it’s as good as say Finding Nemo (I may be a little obsessed) or The Incredibles but it was a solid movie and one that would definitely recommend.

Having said that, what I don’t understand is all the hate on the character Sadness! You can’t have sadness without happiness, and their co- existence is what keeps our emotional state in harmony (more or less, most of the time…hopefully). At least, that’s what I took away from the movie. So, I decided to google to reaffirm what I believe (classic, I know) and this is what Psychology Today told me:

“Sadness can fill us with appreciation for the good we’ve lost. It can help us treasure the good we haven’t. It can make us more tender. It can make us more empathetic and compassionate toward others who’ve gone through or are going through what we are. It can connect us to others by signalling we need their support. It can incline us to give support to others who’ve supported us. It can fill us with appreciation for the times we don’t feel sad.”

Alex Lickerman M.D.

I didn’t actually think about all those good reasons, so I’m glad I googled but the last sentence is what I want to emphasize- Sadness helps us to appreciate Joy, when we aren’t feeling sad. The more involved sadness is, the greater the appreciation for Joy will be because of the contrast between the two ends of the emotional spectrum.

Anyway, I just wanted to let Sadness know, that I get ya, and I know you are important although we don’t really like to talk about you or appreciate you.

I uploaded some of my favourites from last year’s roadie ages ago, but there were so many beautiful places, and a trigger happy camera girl eager to capture it all so here are some more pictures from our trip of the beautiful South Island, New Zealand

To think they are considered weeds is so many countries...

To think they are considered weeds is so many countries…

Scenic point on the way towards Dunedin I feel.

Scenic point on the way towards Dunedin I feel.

Walk to Tunnel Beach.

Walk to Tunnel Beach.

Tunnel beach, Dunedin

Tunnel beach, Dunedin

Penguin watching

Penguin watching

Tekapo

Tekapo

Queenstown

Queenstown

Glenorchy

Glenorchy

More Roadtrip Photos

Relaxed Androgyny

I’ve been trying to post this to Lookbook.nu for a while now, but my account isn’t working properly so I thought I would leave this here instead. There’s something about putting on a pair of pants/jeans, and a blazer that just makes me feel more focused and on to it. All of a sudden, my stride has a purpose (who knows what that is). Ahh, it’s one of the best feelings.

I was first attracted to androgynous dressing, when I was going through my ‘reject anything remotely feminine’ phase but now I like it just because. No ulterior motives: today I’ll dress like a man, tomorrow like a princess, the day after like a homeless person.

I coined this 'business hobo' : how a person who does not own an iron  dresses for work.

I coined this ‘business hobo’ : how a person who does not own an iron dresses for work.

I feel change

I’ll start by saying if you don’t want to read about fitness, then pass on this post.

I’ll follow that by admitting, I’ve had a rocky on and off relationship with gym and food in the past. I would either gym obsessively, or not turn up for months, I would over train and spend a week recovering or try to make up for not being active by eating little (or eat way too much because I was being active). For the past couple of months or so, I’ve been following what I think is a more sustainable path to achieving my goal (which is being able to use 14 kg dumbells, and lose some body fat and put on muscle mass)- 3/4 days of gym with some combination of bodyweight training/resistance training, HIIT variations, uphill walking and cardio group classes and its actually working. I can see subtle differences in my body now: less pronounced love handles, quads look slightly smaller but starting to show some muscle, arms getting bigger in a good way, and finally FINALLy being able to see my traps from behind. The physical changes helped me after feeling like nothing I was doing was actually having any effect, and it has motivated me to keep going. But what’s really gotten me excited is how my body feels, I can run a little faster, go a little further. It takes more to tire me out. I don’t feel too guilty about having my off days. If I screw up my eating, or eat out too many times this week, I can just do some damage control and keep going which is pretty great. And most importantly, I feel good- moving around more, and being able to feel and see the changes in yourself over time is rewarding.

I haven’t really embellished this post, and it’s alarmingly to the point for something that is written by me and the reason is I don’t have time right now to make my words sound pretty or my sentences flow. In the middle of completing deadlines, and then its on to a short study break then exams. Promise I’ll do better, and post more photography stuff once that is all out of the way thought this blog is really more for me than for anyone else. :p