Friday, December 30, 2011

Work & Witness

We need help!!!! We are in a really need to fundraise and to have work teams come and help us this summer. If you are interested in helping us out, click on the project below to get more details. Or email me!
Copenhagen Work & Witness Project!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Holiday Season in The White House, part 2

It was the week before Christmas and all through the house everyone was stirring, but was as quiet as a mouse. There were books and laptops all over the tables and stress hung thick in the air. It was a week of exams and projects; tensions were high and coughing was loud. Everyone got sick, well except for me because I don't get sick very often (i take my vitamins). The last week before Christmas reminded me why I was happy I am no longer a student. And it also made me realize that as Americans we have some good drugs, and not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. But, I got to be the pharmacist handing out daytime and nitetime cold pills. Never thought I would be grateful my sister-n-law is willing to mail me cold pills. They did help everyone make it through their studying.

Little Christmas Eve (or what I call Christmas Eve Eve) brought the much needed break for everyone. This is my third Christmas away from home and I keep telling myself that it will get easier, but it never does. I think that there is something about Christmas that makes you long for traditions and childhood comforts. In Denmark there are three days of Christmas- Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and 2nd Day of Christmas. (I am beginning to think Americans are the weird ones that only celebrate 1 day).

Little Christmas Eve or as I have always affectionately called it- Christmas Eve Eve was our first day with a break. As a house we enjoyed a wonderful brunch together before everyone took off on their separate things. That evening I went to dinner at the Pastor's home. It was a nice "cozy" time where I got to watch the family get ready for Christmas.

Christmas Eve brought on the beginning of celebrations and for me the realization of another Christmas with different traditions and without any family. The homesickness hit hard on this day. But, God has blessed me with amazing housemates. I walked into a room where The Office was being enjoyed and they knew I was not ok. After be prompted to share I cried (of course because I cry A LOT) and my housemate decided that during these days of Christmas we would have an American Christmas. That calmed me some and we went on with our celebrations. I went to the service at church and enjoyed it and then went home to the Pastor's family for celebrations. It was another completely different experience! We ate an amazing dinner of turkey, stuffing, pork, potatoes, and rice almond porridge w/ cherry sauce for dessert. One of the competitions with the dessert is to be the one who finds the whole almond in their bowl. And I found it!!!! :) After dinner we got kicked out of the room while they lit the candles on the tree and filled it with presents. When we returned we held hands and sang different Christmas carols while walking around the tree. Afterwards we opened gifts and ate more candy!  It was a great time! I felt incredibly blessed to be a part of the family.

Christmas day is another family day. I was invited to lunch with the Pastor's family once again.We gathered and ate fish and liver pate on bread. Another new experience for me. It was really neat to see the whole family and watch the family interactions. Once again I was blessed to be welcomed as a part of such a wonderful open family. When I came home us girls got pizza and watched Harry Potter. And I got to skype with my whole family for a very long time! Plus I got a surprise call from 2 great friends in Poland! It turned out to be a good day!

On the 2nd day of Christmas we got to celebrate an American Christmas, well the best we could. I woke up and made American pancakes for breakfast for the whole house. And then I spent the day with my housemate and his girlfriend. They went out of their way to make sure I got to do whatever I would enjoy doing. We found the Raider game from Christmas Eve and they watched it with me! We even ate nachos! (I know not a Christmas food, but a football food!) Then I made dinner for everyone in the house, and a couple extra. We had honey/pineapple glazed ham, twice baked potatoes, and green bean casserole. We then watched a Muppet's Christmas Carrol and played In A Pickle. It was great. Truly like what would have happened if I was with my family.

Even though it is hard to be so far from home during this time, I am blessed to be with people who care about me and take me in. I would have never expected it. I really appreciate my housemate that pushed for me to do something like I would if I were home. To be able to share my traditions while I am learning so many new ones is a real blessing for me. It makes me feel even that much more like I can do this, what God has asked me to do. Because no matter how far away I get sent from all that is familiar, God always brings someone into my life that helps me find comfort in the middle of the cultural challenges.
reading the Christmas Story
the lit tree
i found the almond!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Season in The White House, part 1

The US holiday season kicked off on November 24th. In Danmark we started things a little sooner, but not by much. My first new experience was to go with a group from the church out to the forest to kick roots. I was told we were going to the forest and then going to a little tea house for kaffe and æbleskiver (coffee and these donuts like pastries). I agreed to go, not fully knowing what I was getting into and maybe I didn't actually believe we would be kicking out tree roots. But, that is we did. This is something a group from the church has been doing for years. They find old dead roots, pull them out of the ground, clean them decorate them and you have a great center piece.
The following week was Thanksgiving and even though this is an American, not Danish, holiday I decided I still wanted to celebrate it. And I have never had such a special Thanksgiving away from home. I am able to recognize the fact that I am an emotional person and I know that holidays are especially hard on me. So, one of my housemates very heroically took on the job to make sure that I was busy Thanksgiving morning to keep my mind off of things. We got on our bikes and he took me to the beach/harbor that is not too far from us. We walked around an old military fort down the beach and around the harbor. I loved the water and the waves and the great conversation.
After my morning at the beach I came home and started on my first Thanksgiving dinner in Danmark. I have a wonderful housemate who is an amazing cook and she jumped in and helped me make the perfect dinner. I mean even when I was too grossed out to touch the raw turkey and pull the gunk out she did it! She was my hero in the kitchen that day! We had about 11 people over- the pastor and his family, my housemates, and a couple of the teens. They asked me questions about my traditions and we talked, ate, and laughed A LOT! It was a very special time. And I really felt like I was with family, and I was... my Danish family!
After our Thanksgiving celebration it was time to let the preparations for Christmas begin. We spent a Saturday decorating our house to get into the Christmas spirit. As well as decorating the church juletræ (Christmas tree). We have been combining American and Danish juledekorationer (Christmas decorations). It's always very interesting to see what we consider to be typical and how it is different. I have been learning Jul (Christmas) everything! Now, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
We then spent another Saturday baking all kinds of goodies for Christmas! We filled the house with smells of gingerbread-men, cut-out cookies, and jew cookies. And had plenty of fun decorating them! There was lots of icing!!! :) Now, it's beginning to taste a lot like Christmas!
We still have a couple weeks before Christmas filled with a church party, youth party, and other things so there is still a lot more celebrating to be had. Stay tuned for part 2 of the Holiday Season in The White House....