Monday, February 27, 2012

A Sad Day

This morning after sending Myra to school, I received a phone call from her teacher. She had called to tell me that Myra's friend, Katazyna, had been killed in a car accident last week in Germany. What a blow to the heart. She was Myra's best friend here. She talked about her all the time. Myra has been quite emotional and sad over this, saying that today was the worse day of her life. If only I could take away her pain. My heart just hurts for Myra and the family of her friend. What a sad day.

Please keep Katazyna's family in your prayers. Her twin brother and her older sister were injured, but are doing ok. Her grandfather, who was driving, is still in the hospital and they are not sure if he will recover.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Winter Break Day 5

Still sick, we did nothing today, again! The sun was out and it was 45 degrees today! Too bad we were stuck in the house again. Hopefully tomorrow everyone will better. Sorry for this lame series of posts. I had so many fun things we wanted to do this week. I thought I would have a bunch of fun pictures and such to share. Oh well. Hopefully our future blogs won't be as boring.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Winter Break Day 4

Ok, so this should really be titled, Sick Week Day 5. So, I'll make this short and sweet. Noah was a little better today, not the high temp anymore, but still grouchy. Myra woke up with a raging temperature and lounged around in her pj's all day. So, I suspect it'll be Lexi's turn tomorrow. What a great Winter Break we're having. =( The weather was even nice today.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Winter Break Day 3

Ok, so I'm regretting my recent blog titles just a little bit. It requires me to blog every day and guess what, nothing interesting is happening! Today started out raining, then moved to just dreary and windy. But none of that mattered since Noah woke me up at 4 this morning, running to the bathroom to wipe off his runny nose, crying loudly at the same time. He'd had a cold last week, but seemed over it. This time he has a fever and you can just tell he is miserable. So, it was a lay around the house and watch movies type of day. Myra and Lexi did play with play-doh for about 3 hours this afternoon while Noah was sleeping and I finished reading the book I was working on. So, not a total loss. It was nice to have a lazy day. Before moving here, I would have topped off the day with having Chad pick up a pizza on the way home, but that's not exactly an easy (or inexpensive) thing to do here. Instead, I made Chicken Noodle Soup and we are feeding the missionaries tonight. They will be here in about 45 minutes, so I should probably have the kids get dressed and make them a little more presentable. Ok, I'm just kidding about them getting dressed, we weren't completely lazy today. But, they do need to get their hair fixed. Hopefully tomorrow Noah will feel better, otherwise, I see another lazy day in the near future.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Winter Break Day 2

Today...It rained. So much for our desire to adventure out and explore. We spent a pretty lazy day at the house. The kids tried playing hide and go seek around the house, but in 900 sq. feet, there just aren't many places to hide. So, they would hide little toys around the house and make each other find them. That seemed to work much better and kept them entertained for a considerable amount of time. Then they moved onto playing tag, but once again, that ended pretty quickly. Not too many places to run to. It cleared up enough in the early afternoon for us to run over to the bakery and buy some pastries, yum.
I took this picture on the way to the bakery. It's been really wet lately and I've noticed that things are really starting to turn green, not so much the leaves and such, but the stones and tree trunks. I guess it's moss or lichen, but it's covering everything. It gives things an old, European feel to it. I like it!

It still wasn't nice enough for us to stay outside for any sort of amount of time. So, in the afternoon we got out my Silhouette machine and made some pretty lame decorations for the house. Then this evening, Chad went out and got me a bike! Yay! I'm very excited to have a vehicle, especially since we were able to get a bike trailer over the weekend. It'll make it so much easier to get around!
It's much different than any bike I've ever had. Actually, it's probably the most similar to bikes I had as a kid, you can actually brake by pushing backwards on the pedals. Funny, huh! I'm sure I'll learn to love it though.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Winter Break Day 1

This week in Myra's school is Winter Break, so she's home all week long! Thankfully, the weather has warmed up a little bit, so we thought we should get outside and do a little exploring. Albertslund, the city we live in, was re-developed in the 70's. They laid out much of the city to be very friendly to bikes and walkers. There are seriously bike/walking paths EVERYWHERE! It's a very interesting community, there are a lot of apartment/condo complexes and they are all intertwined with paths and playgrounds. It's very nice. They have also planted these wooded areas through the city. So, you'll walk through the apartment complex and come upon a little forest, with nice walkways through it and maybe there will be a pond with a bunch of ducks. Very quaint! Anyway, we had a really fun time exploring a little bit of the surrounding area. Lexi exclaimed that it was the "Best Day Ever!" I'm not sure about that, but it was fun. The kids especially loved feeding the ducks and trying out several new playgrounds. I've been thinking I should take pictures of all the playgrounds we come across. Some of them are really quite unique.

Dirt path through the "woods."

Noah fell in the mud. He wasn't too happy. Luckily I put him in his little clown suit for the outing.

This random "statue" was just sitting up on a hill next to the bike path.

One of the many playgrounds we came across. This one was nice, it had astro-turf.

I can just imagine how beautiful this will look in the spring/summer time. I can't wait!

Myra dubbed this the "Harry Potter Tree." It was very uniquely shaped, and easy for little kids to climb.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

One Month In

I can not believe that we've been here in Denmark for a month now. It still feels like we've just barely arrived, yet at the same time, it seems as if we have been here much longer. This past month has been so full of ups and downs. We've had some very difficult experiences, yet we've also begun making some good memories here. I still feel that we have a long way to go before we are able to call Denmark our home. Everything we do just feels so foreign. Even sitting here in our apartment, things are strange. But, we are getting there. We are starting to learn the language, we are beginning to feel comfortable navigating the public transportation, and a trip to the market isn't quite as awkward as in the beginning. The weather has begun warming up, just slightly. And we are excited for what spring will bring. We are finding that we learn something new here every day and are happy that we are starting to feel more comfortable here. We love that there are walking/bike paths everywhere, that there are bakeries all over the place that have some of the yummiest pastries, and that the people here have been so kind, loving and helpful. I'm glad that we have this first month under our belts. I'm certain that life here will just continue to get better and better.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Saving some Money

Chad's been needing a haircut for a while, but since it's about $55 dollars here for a men's haircut, he's continued to put it off. Then, he came up with the brilliant idea of buying clippers for about $17 and having me do the cutting for free. I've never cut anyone's hair before, so I was pretty nervous, but luckily it turned out alright. Nice to save a little bit of money and learn a new skill. =)

Door Jams

For some reason, ALL of the houses in Denmark have these HUGE door jams leading into every room. Our first day here, all of us tripped on them at some point and went flying. We've gotten a lot more cautious, but I think someone biff's it at least once every day. Usually Lexi. So, being the good Mom I am, I took a picture of sad Lexi first and then comforted her second. Seriously, these door jams are like 2 inches high! I'm sure this won't be last time someone goes flying.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Myra made these masks for Lexi and Noah at school today. Too cute not to share.

Culture Diversity Night

In Myra's school class, they have been learning about all the places that the student are from. They been watching videos, looking at pictures and talking about different customs from each others native lands. Then to top it all off, they had a big party for all the students and their families. There are 3 different classes that are set up for non-native Danish speaking students - they are separated by age. Everyone brought dinner and dessert from their countries to share. And then the older students gave power point presentations on the country that they are from. It was a fun evening and I especially enjoyed seeing all the diversity. I think it's such a great opportunity for our kids to get to spend time with people from other cultures.
This is the ONLY other girl in all of the 3 classes. She's 10, speaks Polish, but her and Myra are best friends.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Walk home

This little pond is near our apartment on the way to the train station. I step off the path to take this picture and all the ducks flew to me.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Do you speak english?

           The two phrases I probably say the most here are: Do you speak English? and Sorry, I don't speak Danish (I am not sure why I have to apologize for not speaking Danish but with out the "sorry" it feels rude). Everyone in Denmark knows at least two languages, and a lot of the time they know more. That has been really nice; anytime we are lost or need help at a store we can approach just about anybody and they will be able to speak English. Not just broken English but really good English, almost so good that you would not guess that it wasn’t their first language.
            That being said, we are still in a foreign country whose national language is unfamiliar to us. Danish is really hard to understand, it is not very pretty and they use a lot of sounds that we can’t duplicated (mostly they sound like grunts). When we do try to say something like the name of a city we want to visit, it usually either results in a lot of laughter for how we said the word wrong or a vague expression followed by us having to spell the word we are trying to say and them saying the word exactly the way we said it. The written words are sometimes really long, but half the letters are silent so you would never guess the spoken word goes with the written one. They use the Roman alphabet so all the letters (except three weird ones) look the same as English letters. Unfortunately this is some times more confusing the helpful. For example see below.

              Even though we have been here almost a month now we don’t really understand anything said in Danish and only can use a few words. One of the surprising things is how much we can understand without really understanding. I often will try to go as long as I can at a store or on the train without letting on that I don’t know what anyone is saying. We have found that usually just by paying attention and smiling and nodding you can fake comprehension pretty well (actually people are probably just really annoyed with our lack of response but we don’t understand that part either). The three words we know are: hi (hej, pronounced hi), Goodbye (hej hej, you just say hi twice) and thank you (tak, pronounced tac). With those three words we get along pretty well. This week I am hoping to add excuse me to my vocabulary, but it’s a bit more difficult.
           We are really hoping to at least get to a point that we understand Danish pretty quick. At church each week someone has to sit by us and translate everything. I know that this is difficult for them and we feel like a burden (although we pay much better attention). A lot of the time the translator seems to summarize what is being said - we are not sure we always get the whole message.

My cousin, who is currently living in Japan with his family for three years, shared this clip on facebook a while back. It is more appropriate for them (Danish is not quite as intense has Japanese) but I think it demonstrates how we feel a lot of the time.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


One of the most difficult things for us to get use to since moving to Denmark has been not having a car. Before, running errands to 4 or 5 different stores could be reasonably done in a morning; now we plan an entire day around a trip to a single destination. We knew before coming that we would not be able to afford a car in Denmark, so we shouldn't complain about it, but all the same I think it is going to be awhile before we stop missing our van (if ever). Hopefully, once the weather warms up, we won’t mind waiting outside for the bus so much.
            One of the most disheartening realizations for me was how long it took me to get to work. It is only 9 miles from my house to work, but getting there involved a 2km walk (I could take a bus but I usually miss it and am not patient enough to wait 15min for the next one), a 30min train ride, a short metro ride, and then another walk. After all was said and done it was taking me about 1.5 hours to get to work. I was leaving at 7am and not getting home until 6pm or later and really only working normal hours. It was pretty frustrating knowing that I was going to have to spend so much time commuting.
My first attempt at a solution was to buy a bike. 
It is not a very nice bike, or and it has a bit of rust, but it runs…sometimes (having a beater might be good if it keeps it from getting stolen). The bike is kind of old; I have to reach down to the lower frame to shift, and I have never had a bike with curved ram-horned handle bars, so the leaning over is taking some getting use to.
            Right now I use the bike to cut the walking and metro portions of my commute off, still taking the bike with me on the train; maybe in the summer I’ll try to find a good way to ride the whole distance. One of the best (by best I mean most intense) parts is my ride from the train to work. It is downtown - the city is old and was not built for as much traffic as there is. Denmark has rules that cars yield to bikes, bikes yield to pedestrians and pedestrians yield to no one. Unlike the US bikes are not considered vehicles and have their own rules of the road (I am still trying to figure these out). A lot of streets have bike lanes and bike lights at the intersections (they are just smaller then car lights), but just as many don’t. Even with it being winter and freezing cold outside a lot of people bike to work. The road that I take is a busy two-lane road with lots of cars, bikes, and people. Bikers ride very close to each other and are constantly trying to pass one another. 

This is the intense part, everyone is huddled together trying to get out ahead while not getting hit by a car or running in to a bus (I went and bought a helmet at the grocery store after my first day riding). It is fun for me because I feel like I am in some sort of bike race and have to take first (my bike came with a bell and I am not afraid to use it).  Summer will be really fun as the number of bikes is likely to increases a lot. 
             I only paid $70 for the bike, so I don’t have very high expectations. The main reason that I bought it was that the seller was within walking distance from our apartment. The first day that I tried to take it to work the tire went flat and I could not figure out how to work the European air values or their bike pumps. I ended up taking it to a bike shop and was told that I should probably replace the tire and tube, which I did (costing me another $70). After two more days the plastic clamp holding the front derailleur snapped. Luckily I was able to figure out that as long as I don’t care to shift between the front gears (there’s only 2 and not a lot of hills in Denmark) then I don’t need it (it is about $80 to replace). The front tire is going to need to be replaced probably, and I am going to have spend more money make it street legal (Denmark requires bikes to have lights and reflectors and other safety things or you can get a ticket). So when all is said and done I don’t know if I will have really saved any money by buying a cheap bike. But for the moment, despite my face being frozen by the time I arrive and the possible money I may have to keep pouring into my ride, I am happy - having a bike has cut my trip down to about 40 minutes (and I bet I can do it faster once I get a little stronger and more confident).

Monday, February 6, 2012

Baby, it's Cold Outside! ♫

Most of Europe right now is going through a bad cold snap! And Denmark hasn't been left out. Luckily, because we normally have pretty mild weather anyway, it hasn't been quite as bad here as in a few other countries, but it has still been cold! And the humidity has made it feel quite a bit colder. From our understanding, Denmark doesn't usually see a lot of snow and it doesn't last for long. We have had a couple of snowstorms that have left 2-3 inches, not a lot compared to Utah, but a lot for here. Our temperatures have been around 9-10 degrees Fahrenheit and with the humidity, it makes it feel -2 or lower. Brrr! Needless to say, we have stayed inside most of the time. A lady in our ward brought over these snowsuits for Lexi and Noah. ALL of the kids here, until they are around 6-7 years old, wear these 1 piece snowsuits. We took our first outing in them today, a quick trip to the market, and the kids were happily warm and cozy the entire time. Now I'm just wishing they made them in adult sizes. =)Noah's looks like a little clown suit, but he was happy about it. And of course, Lexi was a bit sad her's wasn't pink.