Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Myra's First Day of School...Again

Today Myra started Danish school. The name of the school she is attending is Herstedvester Skole. Yeah, good luck pronouncing that one! Myra was very excited last night to start school, but was a bit more nervous this morning. I walked with her to school, which is seriously so close! It will be so nice not having to bundle everyone up to drive her to school in the morning. Once she gets the hang of things, she can just walk. So, I went with her to class, which was having a music lesson for the first hour. The teacher invited me to stay for her first lesson, so I got to go to music with her! It was actually a lot of fun and I kind of wished that I could attend school with her every day. I'd certainly learn Danish quicker! The music teacher was a lot of fun and really got the kids to interact and such. This is got to be such a difficult class to teach, having all these kids that don't speak Danish and not speaking all of their different languages. Music had 2 classes combined, Myra's class and then the older class that is similar to her's. There were kids from Uganda, Poland,Slovakia, Australia, Turkey and Pakistan. What a great opportunity for Myra to get to learn about all these different nationalities. So, after music I left Myra with her class. She looked a little sad about me leaving, but not too bad. And of course, once I picked her up from school, she was beaming. She didn't learn much Danish today, but she had a good time. And honestly, right now, that is what matters the most.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Settling In

No pictures today and nothing really exciting to talk about. So, this entry is mostly for my record keeping. =) Life is getting better every day here. We are figuring more and more things out and are starting to get the swing of things. There are many things that are still confusing, especially with the language difference. We have spent many of our days here figuring out the stores and what things to buy where. It's very confusing, I'll have to some day post a blog just about the Denmark Markets. But, I am starting to get the hang of things. Our apartment is looking more and more like home to us. We were given a couch and 2 chairs by ward members, bought a desk from Ikea, and Bunk Beds from dba.dk. (Denmark's version of Craigslist.) Now we just need to get some pictures on the walls. It's nice to feel more comfortable in our home.
On Sunday, we were lucky to have a sister in the ward pick us up and take us to and from church. Our ward has been so nice to us. What a blessing! I have to admit that the topic of traveling to church is a major sore spot for us right now. We can't rely every week on someone to take us, especially since we don't have carseats and we don't fit into one car. We are looking into possibly renting a car just for Sunday's, but we just aren't sure what to do. There are just no straight forward answers to this dilemma. Hopefully we'll figure out something soon.
Myra starts Danish school tomorrow. I went with her today to meet her teacher and fill out paperwork for her to start. I feel very nervous about it. I just want what is best for her and I want her to be happy. She is very excited though. She couldn't believe it when they said she could start tomorrow and has been so excited all evening. She will be in a special class just for kids that don't speak Danish. As soon as she has a good grasp of the language, they will move her up to a regular class. The class she will be in for now will have a total of 5 kids, and she is the only girl. She's also the only one that will speak English, all the other kids are from Turkey and Pakistan. I'm just glad that her teacher speaks English, that way she will be able to communicate if needed. Then on Wednesday, Chad starts school/work. Thus ends our little Holiday we've had for the past few weeks. It will be good to get back into the swing of things.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

First glimpse of København

I have a feeling that I am going to use this blog more and more as a journal. So, be prepared for a lot of entries, many which may seem quite mundane.
I can't believe we've been here for a week already. The first couple of days were so hard, but I feel like we are starting to settle into the rhythm of life here more and more. This week, we've had several outings, mostly to local stores. We've taken the bus, the train and metro and we haven't gotten lost once! I have to give all the credit to Chad. He's done such a great job of getting us to where we want to go (and back again!) On Wednesday this week, we had an all-day long excursion to Ikea. It takes so long to drag 3 little kids all over the place on buses, that we are finding that pretty much any excursion is an all day thing. Our Ikea outing was very helpful and we were able to find a few things we needed. We ate lunch there that day and it was probably the cheapest eating out experience we've had so far. So, our house is finally starting to take shape. Chad is out with a member from our ward tonight picking up a couch and chair that another ward member is giving us. Chad went out last night and got a bunkbed for the kids. And tomorrow night, he'll go out with another ward member to pick up a couple of large items from Ikea. By then, we should be pretty much set. It's nice to finally have the house take shape and feel like we are making it more of a home.
Today, we headed into Copenagen (or København as the Danes spell it.) We thought we needed to go into the Immigration offices to do some more registering, but found out that what we did last week at the Albertslund Commune was sufficient. So, time for sight-seeing! We basically just picked a direction and started walking. It was so bitterly cold today, we weren't into being outside much, but we did manage to walk by the Copenhagen city hall, pose with the Hans Christian Andersen statue and watch the kids chase around a ton of pigeons. We found out that the Danish National Museum is free, so we thought that would be a good cold weather activity. It was really nice, most of the signs in the museum were also written in English, so we were able to understand what we were looking at. We barely scratched the surface of all there was to see there before it was time to leave. It gets dark extra early here, around 4:30, so we try to head home before it's too dark every night. So, after leaving the museum we made a quick detour to the Christiansborg Palace. It's so nice knowing we'll be here for a while, so we can back and look at these places again. We walked along the Strøget, the longest pedestrian only shopping area in Europe.
Mural made out of Lego's at the Lego Store (Lego's are manufactured in Denmark.)

Basically, it's in the old part of Copenhagen where the streets are really narrow, so there just isn't space for cars. It's so nice they've blocked it off so that only pedestrians can walk along there. We just walked along a small portion of it, ending up in Kongens Nytorv (The King's New Square.) That's where we saw our first street performer, if you can call him that. Compared to the ones we saw in England a few years ago, he was pretty lame. But...the kids loved him. Especially Noah. Anyway, it was a fun first glimpse of Copenhagen and what it has to offer. There are a lot of old buildings, palaces, castles and historic sites within just a few blocks, so it'll be great to go back and explore a bit more. Maybe when it's a bit warmer.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Success! We were finally able to successfully navigate the bus system to get to the market today. It was such a relief to finally make it to where we were going with no difficulties. There is a big market in Denmark called Bilka, it's very similar to Walmart.

The kids hanging out with the Bilka Mascot.

On our way there, we also found a tourism information center with maps and such. It was definitely our best day here so far. The sun was shining, no rain or snow and we were able to accomplish a lot.

Chad is now doubling as our car trunk. He got to haul all of our goodies home in his backpack. In the background you can see the kids playing on the playground that is right out our front door. There are so many playgrounds in Albertslund, it's crazy!

So, a couple of different things about Denmark. I'm sure I'll do this a lot during our time here, but it's hard not to compare what it's like here with what life was like in the States. Here are a couple of different things we've had to deal with. First, lighting in Denmark is not typically built into the houses. We had not figured we would need to buy lighting for the house, but the only spaces in the house that have any built-in lighting is in the bathroom and above the stove and sink in the kitchen. Luckily, our landlord has lent us a few lamps until we get our own. Which is not exactly the most easy task either. Most lighting has to be wired and then mounted into the walls. And it's expensive. And lightbulbs are expensive as well. And then all of the lamps all take different types of lightbulbs. So, we've been here now for 5 days and we still don't have any of our own lighting up and the house is so dark! We bought some lamps today, but of course, we got the wrong lightbulbs. Ugh! Someday we'll get our lamps up and running.
Another thing that has been completely different is bedding. We didn't bring any blankets with us. We figured we would just run to the store and buy a few blankets. Well, here, you can't typically find the queen/king size blankets for a bed that we get in the States. Instead, you have your own Dyne - pronounce doona. It translates to the English word Duvet. Basically, your bed will have a sheet over the mattress and then each person sleeps with their own Dyne. And the Dyne here are crazy fluffy and big. They remind me the most of big down comforters. You can buy them in different warmths, for summer and winter, you can find them made with feathers or fiber and then you also have to buy a cover to go over it. We were so confused at first, trying to figure out what to get. We ended up with really fluffy fiber Dyne that I'm sure will be way too hot in the warmer months. But as for now, I'm enjoying my Dyne and Chad not stealing my blanket at night anymore. =)

We still only have one bed, for Chad and I and then a mattress for the kids. And for some reason, we've all slept in the same room since we've been here. Usually Noah wakes up in the middle of the night and crawls into bed with us. Chad is going out to look at some bunkbeds tomorrow. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will work for us.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

We've Arrived

Where to begin…..? We are here in Denmark. Our flight here was uneventful. We had a somewhat turbulent flight to Newark, which by the way, is just across the river from New York City. I didn’t realize we would be so close. It was pretty cool being able to see the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building in the skyline. After our layover there, we headed to Denmark. The kids were pretty good, a little antsy, but not too bad. Noah did manage to spill water all over both him and me in the first 30 minutes of the flight, so we both spent the rest of the trip somewhat damp. Our arrival in Denmark was a little hectic. Because we don’t read Danish, it was a bit of struggle to figure out where to go to get our bags and then our ride wasn’t there waiting for us, like we’d expected. But, he finally found us and took us to our apartment. Our landlord was waiting for us and we were able to get in and check out our new home. The past few days have been a bit of a blur. We are still struggling a little with jetlag, but overall that hasn’t been too bad. That first day, our landlord was extremely helpful. He left us with some bedding and towels and took us to the local market to get a little food. Then he took us all down to the local Commune, kind of like a city hall. We had to go there to register for our CPR cards. I don’t know what that stands for, but it’s something we need to be able to live here. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things we can’t do until we get our cards, like open a bank account, get access to health care, etc. Hopefully they will be here within the next couple of days. Then Chad went around shopping that afternoon with Per (our landlord.) While he was gone, the kids and I all fell asleep on the same bed. The nap really helped us get through the rest of the day. That night we cooked our first Danish meal, spaghetti. Food has been a bit of a challenge so far, mostly because I can’t read/understand the packaging and things are just so different. I’m starting to get a few things figured out though and we should be having a decent meal tonight. Anyway, on Friday, a woman from our ward, Annetta, brought us a few things that ward members had brought for us and took me shopping. We mostly looked around at things, while she explained pricing and good deals. It was very helpful. While I was with her, the bishop came over to meet us and he took Chad and the kids back to his house for lunch. That evening, we decided to take the trek into Copenhagen to go to Chad’s lab. It took quite a while to get there. We had a 30 minute walk to the train station, then the train trip into town and then a hop on the Metro and another short walk to Chad’s work. It was quite an adventure. It made us realize that Chad really needs to get a bike, or it’ll take him a really long time to commute every day. We’ve also realized that if we are going anywhere with the kids, we need to plan for a lot of extra time. Saturday was a very frustrating day. We decided to try out the buses for the first time, so we got online and planned out our route, to a local store, but the weather turned bad not too long after we left, so it was raining and cold. Then, once we got on the bus, we didn’t know where to get off at. It was kind of frustrating, there were no obvious signs of what stop we were at, they didn’t announce it on the speaker and we have yet to find a really good bus route map. Needless to stay, we missed our stop, ended up at some shopping center where we wandered around for a few minutes, but then hopped back on the same bus again to head back home since the kids were freezing. It was a very frustrating and cold experience. Chad ended up going out later on to get a few things from the store, without dragging all of us along. That night, we were invited to Annetta’s house for dinner. They cooked us a typical Danish meal with pork, potatoes, cucumbers and red cabbage. It was pretty good and surprising, the kids ate pretty well also. The dessert after was also very good, I can’t remember what it was called, but she said it was basically a mixture of sugar, milk, eggs and flavoring. Not cooked. We all liked it though. So, that kind of sums things up until today. We have been fretting the past couple of days about attending church this morning. Some things we didn’t realize before moving to this apartment is that church is really far away, it’s inconvenient to take public transportation to and on Sunday’s, there isn’t a lot of public transportation available. All strikes against us. Oh, and I didn’t mention that taking the buses would take about 1 ½ hours to get us to church. And we have 9am church. So, this morning, we got up at 6:30, hurried to get ready and took off. It’s about a 25 minute walk to the bus stop and of course, we underestimated the time it would take our children to walk there. So, we just barely missed the bus. And the next one wouldn’t come for another 40 minutes, so we ended up finding a taxi and taking that to church. Church was really great. Most people had heard we were coming and were very eager to come up and talk to us and offer us more things. It was strange listening to all the Danish, but several people were so kind to sit behind us and translate the meetings for us. The kids absolutely loved their classes and came home with big smiles on their faces and talked about all their new friend, that they can’t talk to, but just had a great time with. And then to top it all off, a sister in our ward offered to drive us home today. I can’t tell you what a relief that was. And several ward members have talked about ways they can pick us up and take us to church each Sunday! What a blessing. So, Denmark has been a challenge so far. I’m sure our challenges are far from over, but I hope that soon, many happy memories will be made.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Florida Good-byes

Before heading to Denmark, we were able to spend a week in Florida with Chad's parents. It was so nice to get out of the cold weather and spend time in 70 degree weather. Not all days were that nice, but still, no winter coats needed! We spent a good portion of the time there just relaxing and enjoying each other's company. We walked along the Sandbar in the Intracoastal a couple of times-looking for conch's, starfish and other sea life. We even saw a couple of Manatee's poke their heads up out of the water. On another day, we went to "Engagement Island". I'm not really sure what's it's called for reals, but that's what Judi calls it since that's where Jordyn and Ben got engaged. It was beautiful. I especially enjoyed the part when we were sitting on a low wall and we were going to take a little family picture, when suddenly we hear this snort behind us and there was another Manatee. Then, as we were leaving, we saw another Manatee just beyond the shore and we were able to follow it for a while and got some decent pictures. We also went swimming in the ocean a couple of times. The kids mostly loved playing on the beach in the sand. We also had a manatee swim by us about 10 feet away. Crazy! A little side note on Manatee's, they are endangered and not seen very often. But, this time of year, they are in the area. Chad's parents have lived in Florida around 6 years now and haven't seen any Manatees up until now.

On another day we went to the Florida State Fair. Weird that it's in January, right? We had a fun time eating greasy food, watching the kids ride the carnival rides and enjoyed the petting zoo that was complete with Zebra's, a camel, llama's and a variety of other animals.We also did our old stand-by favorite of visiting the Turtle Rehab center. They always have these sea turtles that have been injured that they are working on rehabilitating so they can put them back in the water. We've always enjoyed going there.
The best day though was our last day in the States. Chad and Kent went out golfing that morning, while Judi and I took the kids down to the Intracoastal one last time. It was just perfect weather. We saw a bunch of starfish and a few other sea creatures, but mostly we just enjoyed walking around in nice weather. Then when the guys got back, we loaded up the waverunners and headed down to Peanut Island. It’s actually a man-made island in the Intracoastal that is supposed to have a lot of Manatees around it this time of year. We rode around for a little while and spotted a few manatees before docking the boats on the beach. As soon as we got off the boats, we saw a few more manatees in the water. We were able to go right up to one of them. We spent the next 2 hours snorkeling with this one super friendly manatee. It let us touch it and even as we would swim away from it, it would follow us and come right up to us. It was so amazing! I wish we’d had an underwater camera.

(We didn't take this picture, but I wanted to show what they look like under water.)

It’s really hard to see it very well from above the water. The Manatee even came close enough in so that Myra was able to pet it. So neat!

Well, that was a great day to end our time in the states. The next morning we got up early, headed to the airport and flew off to begin our stay in Denmark.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

♫ All our Bags are Packed ♪♫

We have moved out of our house in Hyrum, have packed all our bags, have spent a week at my parents house in Sandy and are currently in Florida, visiting Chad's family. We leave for Denmark in 3 days. It still doesn't seem real. We are feeling a variety of emotions including sadness, excitement and anxiety. We are ready to just get there and start setting up our life there. But on the flipside, we are so sad to leave everyone behind. Like I said, a variety of emotions. Here's a picture of all that we are taking with us. Mostly just clothing, books and toys for the kids and a few other items. It looks like a lot and feels like a lot trying to navigate the airport with all of it, but it's really not much considering it's for 5 people for 3 years. What an adventure!