Monthly Archives: February 2010

Awesome European Music!

Here’s some really awesome music that I’ve been introduced to since I’ve been here! Enjoy =)

Sidney Samson – Riverside

Sidney Samson’s a Dutch DJ and this song samples a line from Tupac in Juice. Awesome, awesome song to dance to, and the video is so funny!!

Hej Matematik – Party i provinsen

Hej Matematik (or “Hi Mathematics”) is a Danish pop group. Fun fact: one of the guys in Hej Matematik is from Aqua, and the other one is his nephew! (By the way, I didn’t know until I came here that both ToyBox and Aqua are Danish bands!)

Skub Til Taget – Morten Hampenberg & Alexander Brown feat. Yepha

Hampenberg is a Danish DJ and he’s really good! He had a concert at DTU with ToyBox and another group two weeks ago, and tickets sold out within a couple of hours! CRAZYYY. Anyways, I hear this song at… basically every party/club that I go to!

Fagget Fairys – Feed The Horse

Fagget Fairys is consisted of two lesbian chicks and they’re really really bad and nobody likes them. They have one really famous song though, called “Feed the Horse” and the lyrics are really terrible, but the beat is really distinctive. Just warning you now, this song and video is really freaking weird, and it’s not very good, but it’s on here because they had a concert last week and we all went for kicks. I mean – dance beats, even if the lyrics suck – still good!

Italobrothers – Stamp on the Ground

God this song is so much fun to dance to. Contrary to popular belief, they’re not Italian – they’re German! I need to get more of their work!

Amy MacDonald – This is the Life

She’s a Scottish artist, and really really huge in Europe. I’ve never heard this song before, but everyone here (including the internationals) LOVE it. They played it at a dinner party once, and everyone started singing, and I had no idea what it was. Len made so much fun of me =(

That’s all for today! Have a great weekend, everyone!

<3 Tiff

Love and some choice verses, from DTU!

Studying? What’s that? Plus some tidbits on Danish culture!

For those of you (like German Alex) that think my blog posts are too long and wordy, I have made subheadings, so you can choose what you want to read! (For everyone else, the post is meant to be read as a whole, so if you’re reading the whole thing just ignore the subtitles as they sound kind of awkward)

Transportation: Thieving international students!

Three bikes in my room!

I guess the number one thing to do in Denmark if you’re an international student is go on a bike stealing spree! At the end of every semester, the administration ask students to tag their bikes. The untagged bikes are generally bikes that people have left around and aren’t using, and are therefore taking up space. These bikes are then gathered up, chained together, and put in the middle of Kampsax (my housing complex) for the police to take and auction off. Because it’s been snowing like crazy, the police haven’t gotten around to it, so they’ve been sitting around for months. About two weeks ago, somebody cut the chain and since then, the number of bikes has rapidly decreased.I mean, it’s not really like we’re stealing form anybody, since the bikes are unclaimed. And really, are we going to let the police make money off us by selling things that didn’t belong to them in the first place? I don’t think so!

(I did, however, run into two Russian girls a couple weeks back when I was “bike shopping” in the Kampsax bike graveyard. They were running around and cutting locks off bikes that actually BELONGED to people. Danggggg!)

This is actually an old photo – I still have three bikes in my room, but they’re not the same. The one furthest back was given to me by one of my international friends because he found a better one. That one is missing a pedal, so I “borrowed” the one in the middle from the graveyard to steal a pedal. However, Johannas’s bike got stolen, so I let him have that one. The nice one in the front was actually found by another international student as well, but it’s missing a pedal. Now, the third bike I have is actually the same as the Greenfield one in front with suspension, just that it actually has pedals. However, it’s missing a seat and a back wheel. I’m going to try and piece them together to make one working bike!

When it stops snowing (…April) I’ll probably ride around a lot more. Right now, it’s just been so cold that I’ve been taking a lot of public transportation. I’ve spent over $200 on clip cards for the metro/bus/train since I’ve been here… it’s crazy!

Coursework: Interesting differences between courses at DTU and RPI

This week, I have spent about an hour on CAD, an hour on writing a lab report, and 8 hours putting off doing research for Strategy, Design, and Market. I can honestly say that that is the most time I have spent here so far on schoolwork. I also spent all day composing emails to various members of the RPI faculty to fix my CAPP report and arguing about transferring credits, but that’s a whole other story that is not nearly as interesting as it sounds!

Here are the courses that I am taking this semester:

Manufacturing Tribology: Modeling and Testing – Monday 8-12 (5 DTU credits)
Development Projects in Companies
– Monday 1-5 (5 DTU credits)
CAD/CAM – Thursday 8-12 (5 DTU credits)
Strategy, Design, and Market – Thursday 1-5 (5 DTU credits)

It’s really kind of a disaster that 5 credit courses at DTU only transfer for 3 credits at RPI. There has been a lot of confusion over what will transfer, what might not transfer, and whether or not we will still be able to graduate on time. Ah well… such is life!

I’m really enjoying half my courses, and the other two are okay, but that was pretty much what I expected. I really like what we’re learning about in Manufacturing Tribology – it’s a lot on the techniques and parameters in the metal cutting and metal forming processes. The class has 15 people, and it’s really chill. We meet at 8 in the morning, and after about an hour of lecture we all walk over to another building where his secretary has prepared fresh coffee for us. We sit around and talk with each other for about 15 minutes, then trek back to the class where he lectures for another hour. Then, we have 2 hours of lab time where we split into groups of 5 and rotate through the different labs assigned for the semester. One thing that’s really nice about the labs is that each lab group is assigned a supervisor that helps us perform the lab and goes over the theory with us after. In labs at school, we’re used to 40 students packed into one room, doing the exact same lab while a TA walks around and tries to address everyone’s problems.

CAD/CAM is also awesome. We have lecture for about 2 hours, then lab assignments for the next two hours. We’re learning Pro/E, which is a little bit of a bummer since I already know how to use it, but it will be nice to have a refresher! Also, I can’t wait until we get to the CAM section of the course! The lectures are really good (MUCH better than those videos we had to watch for CAD at RPI) and the assignments are all detailed in a manual. Man. If I had a manual like that when I was learning NX 5, life would have been so much easier!!

Developments Projects in Companies and Strategy, Design, and Market are all very large classes and we have to write group case studies/reports in both. The lectures are a lot like the STSS courses we take back at RPI – not my kind of class. However, the topics are more related to marketing than being eco-friendly, so that’s a plus.

Random culture: Other important life lessons

Aside from school, I have learned a lot here as well. Here are the top three pieces of advice that I have gotten since I’ve been here:

1. What happens in Denmark stays in Denmark. For Erasmus, if your significant other is more than one country away, anything goes
2. Anything can be solved by drinking more alcohol. Sick? Drink snaps. Tired? Drink a Cult Shaker (the Party Maker!). Happy? Celebrate with beer! Sad? More beer!
3. When encountered with a problem and the original tactic fails, show them your tits!

I’m not really sure if I agree with ANY of the aforementioned pieces of advice, but eh? XD

Johannas and Fie! They’re my kitchenmates and they’re terrible influences on me and I love them so so very much! <3

Housing: Defining Kampsax Kollegiet and “Kitchens”

The area with the roof over is for bikes! This isn’t actually my kitchen, but it’s next to Christina’s

I don’t think I’ve explained this before but I live in a dorm complex named Kampsax Kollegiet. It is a housing complex located on the Southeast side of DTU campus. While it is on DTU campus, not all of the residents go to DTU. Basically, the way student housing works in Denmark is that there are many different dorms scattered around the Copenhagen area, and students have to apply to the ones that they want to live in. For example, one of my kitchenmates (I will define this word in a moment) went to a different school and is working this semester, but has lived in Kampsax for the last couple of years because he wanted to be closer to the social life here and at the dorm across the bridge. It’s a very interesting system. Luckily, all RPI students are guaranteed a room in Kampsax. Most of the other international students have been placed in Campus Village (lovingly dubbed “The Containers”) on the Southwest side of campus. Campus Village consists of a bunch of red shipping containers labeled A-Z that have been renovated into student housing. These house about 10 students each and includes singles for all the students, a washing machine, dryer, and kitchen.

Back to Kampsax – Kampsax is divided into “kitchens” of 17 students each. Every room is a single with a private bathroom, and the kitchen is a shared area. Each “kitchen” is it’s own enclosed hallway with two doors on each end that can only be unlocked by a key from that kitchen. It’s pretty cool. I was really confused telling people that I lived in “Kitchen 27” for a while, but now it just comes without thinking! Everyone in Kitchen 27 is amazing – pretty much the coolest kitchen ever.

Jo, Michael, and Pernille!

The plus side of living in Kampsax is that you get more chances to interact with the Danes. In Tingbjerg Kollegiet (about 11km away) and Campus Village, you’re mainly living with a bunch of international students, which is still fun, but I prefer Kampsax as I want to meet Danes (I AM in Denmark!)

Cooking: Boys… cooking??! And Tiff cooking in metric!

Baking and cooking here is very different. One thing that I really admire is that everyone cooks their meals. I don’t just mean cooking as in sticking an easy dinner in the microwave or a frozen pizza in the oven – they actually take the time to make their own pizzas (some make their own crusts, others buy pre-made dough), cook dishes that consist of more than a piece of meat, create their own pasta sauces, etc etc. Half the guys in my kitchen make their own bread! I feel like in America, Alex D. would be the only one to put the time into doing something like that =D

For example, here is a picture of Andreas making hamburgers for the Superbowl. Really really delicious hamburgers…!

I’ve always been much better at telling temperature in centigrade than Fahrenheit, but when it comes to baking it’s a whole other story. In America, we’re so used to baking in Fahrenheit because that’s what recipes tell us because that’s what the ovens are set in! Here, they’re set in Celcius, which gave me a lot of problems the first time I tried to cook a potato.

Also, nobody outside of the United States has heard of “cups” or “sticks of butter.” Everything is measured in either ml or grams. This is actually true in Taiwan as well, as I now remember my Aunt teaching me to make fong li shu (pineapple shortcake) a couple years back using weights. I remember being very upset that I couldn’t make them in the states because I didn’t have an accurate enough scale! Luckily, the girl that lived in my room before was from the states and also loved to bake, so she had bought a measuring cup. However, the measuring cup is embarrassingly inaccurate, so I’ve been doing a lot of estimating. Things have turned out okay so far though, so no worries! I am, however, having an issue finding baking soda. People keep redirecting me to baking powder and yeast!

One of the funniest parts of living in Kampsax is when my kitchenmates come stumbling in at 6am. One time, I was in the kitchen because I had just gotten back, and two of my kitchenmates came in right after and we ended up making the most disgustingly-greasy (read: DELICIOUS) eggs, bacon, and cheese EVER.

Christian and ice cream at 3am!

Anyways, it’s almost 12:30 and I have class at 8am! Cheers!

<3 Tiff

Love and some ice cream, from DTU

COPENHAGEN: Salt Supplies Running Out! (and some deer)

Hello all!

Apologies for being the worst blogger on the planet! I’m hoping to be able to do some catching up this weekend! In the meantime, here’s a weather update!

But first, here is a picture of a large deer:

BOO! Read on for more!

It is so unusually cold in Denmark that salt supplies are running out! The following article is from The Copenhagen Post Online:

Salt supplies running out

Friday, 19 February 2010 09:42 JH News

Ongoing bad weather results in low levels of salt across the capital as council warns of disruption to travel

Copenhagen City Council has warned that salt supplies are running out in the face of persistently bad weather and with more snowfalls forecast. For the last two months, council workers have employed a range of machinery to help clear roads and bike lanes of snow and ice. Salt, which is spread on roads and pavements to melt the ice and snow, has also been crucial to keeping the city running, but now the battle is set to become harder as supplies run out.

Kim N. Sørensen, from the council’s Environmental and Technical Department, warned of disruptions to travel.

‘We’re doing everything we can, but without salt it is going to be a whole lot more slippery on roads, so we must be prepared to set off on journeys a little earlier and drive a bit more carefully,’ he said.

If the current forecasts of snowfalls materialise over the next few days there is a major risk that roads, pavements and bike lanes will not be cleared.

But it’s not just Copenhagen running out of salt; stocks are reportedly at an all-time low across much of northern Europe. At present, Copenhagen is waiting on a delivery from a ship which is currently making its way through the English Channel.

Sørensen said he expected the situation to improve when the temperatures get above freezing point and the snow stops.

Fact File| Copenhagen’s snow patrols:
– 100 large tractors fitted with snow removal equipment
– 13 salting trucks
– 21 medium sized tractors with scraping blades
– 35 small tractors
– Snowblowers used for first time in six years
– 6000 tonnes of salt spread on city roads so far this year, equating to 240 truck loads
– 70 council employees working in shifts and 44 private contractors

I really hope they don’t start using soy sauce to melt the snow like they do at RPI… seriously, that shit is GROSS. It’s brown, looks like soy sauce, smells like soy sauce, destroys my pants and shoes, and smells like a freaking Chinese restaurant everywhere I go. FUN FACT: in Denmark, soy sauce is called “Soya.” Weird, eh?

I’ve been watching a little bit of the Olympics, specifically, Christina and I watched SEAN WESCOTT PWN in snowboard cross! We were so obnoxious – sitting in my kitchen chanting “USA! USA! USA!”

In other news, last Wednesday, Len, Arne, and I went to Jægersborg Dyrehave (The Deer Garden)! Here’s some quick info that I paraphrased off wikipedia:

In 1669, Frederik III wanted to create an awesome deer park, so he planned to fence in a wood of beech trees and heard in hella nearby wild deer. However, he died in 1670, so it was never finished.

Frederik’s son, Christian V, spent time at the court of the Louis XIV in France and learned about parforce (hunting with dogs), so he increased the boundaries to 16 square kilometres and ordered inhabitants of Stokkerup, to tear down their houses. Today, Jægersborg Dyrehave houses about 2000 total deer and is maintained as a national park.

These deer are all on facebook; total photowhores

Arne (from Belgium) with some deer! You can see a feeding station behind him

Originally, the park was built so Christian V could go hunting, but now I *think* except for certain designated hunting days, hunting is banned and it’s more of a tourist location. There are still a ton of deer though, so the park has “feeding stations” so keep them fat and happy. Maybe it was just me, but I was a little bothered that deer in a national park are fed by humans. I guess it’s just we’ve always learned not to feed wild animals. I wonder if those deer would be able to survive if they were let loose into the wild outside where humans are living? Either way – kind of a cool concept for a park: rich king decides that he’s bored and wants to herd a shitton of deer into a park so he can hunt them – works for me, I suppose!

A larger feeding area, and a white deer!

It was FREEZING so afterwards we went to a little cafe within the park. The entranceway had SO MANY deer skulls – I really regret not getting a photo of it. The rest of the cafe was kind of cute, so it was a very strange contrast.

Jægersborg Dyrehave also has an amusement park inside it – it reminds me a little of Happy Hollow Park & Zoo. Do any of you from the Bay Area remember it? It was a zoo and amusement park all in one – in half the park, it was like a petting zoo with goats and other animals that you could feed, some really cool endangered animals, and the other half had animal-themed rides (remember the dragon ride from the parking lot to the park!?!?!) In case you can’t tell, I LOVED that place =)

I bet Jægersborg Dyrehave is GORGEOUS when the snow melts and the greenery starts coming in. We want to go back in the spring and do an afternoon picnic in the park, then go exploring some more. The part is 16 square km, so there’s a lot to explore! I really want to check out other areas in the park, such as Eremitagesletten. It’s an area in the North end of the park that also houses Eremitageslottet, the castle that was built during Christian VI’s reign.

I’m going to try and get some more updates up this week, along with some obligatory “catching-up” posts. There are more epic adventures to come, however! Check the sidebar to see my updated itinerary and planned trips!

<3 Tiff

Love and some choice verses, from DTU

Hello world! More posts to come!

Oh! What is this? An update!

But not really =( It is, however 6:47AM and I just finished making some caramels! I wanted to make my kitchenmates Valentine’s Day candies, and due to an ingredient-acquision crisis and just general misaligned priorities, I didn’t get a chance to make them until now! Normally, I would make them when I woke up the next morning, but considering that they need about 8 hours to set before I can dip them in chocolate, I figured now is the time. Also, I had coffee around 9PM so I am widddeeeee awake!!!

I have also just downloaded 163 photos from my camera that were taken in the past three nights in København (Copenhagen). And oh, what a crazy three nights! Thursday evening was an excursion with some Belgians, Frenchmen, and other internationals from welcome week to Copenhagen Business School (CBS); Friday evening consisted of fajitas(? this question mark will be explained in a later post), a trip to the Kulørbar (80DKK entrance fee – about $16, free beer between 11pm – 1am) and 10 scrambled eggs with too much bacon and butter and drowning in cheese with Rasmus, Andreas, and Ann; this past evening (Saturday) was an awesome adventure with Joyce, Laryssa, Poul, and Alex to a “Mediterrenian” buffet followed by Discotek In (120DKK entrance fee – about $24, free beer), delicious pancakes, courtesy of Poul, and then caffiene-induced caramel making. I love it. And here is a photo!

Laryssa, Alex, Poul, Joyce, and Me at Discotek In in København!

All of this will be elaborated on in posts to come! That, and everything else that has happened since I’ve arrived in this awesome, albiet freezing cold, country. In these posts, you will hear about the kickass people I’ve met, Kampsax 27 – probably the coolest kitchen ever, random escapades, exploring København, a day trip to Lund in Sweden, bike-stealing Belgians who are really cool but somewhat smelly (<3), the superiority of European beer and chocolates, why stilettos and snow don’t mix, how all of us RPI girls are broke, rambunctious Americans missing the last bus back to DTU, how my phone almost got stolen on the Metro insert-lots-of-swear-words-here, other exciting things, anddddddd school. Sometimes I forget that I’m here to study =)

In any case, I will hopefully have many many more photos up soon (and a change in layout, because it’s still a picture of NorCal) and an influx of posts!

Ah – the sun is rising. I am wide awake and have a sudden urge to go running, but considering there is quite a bit of snow and it is currently -3C (feel likes -8C) that is probably not a good idea. Maybe I’ll clean my room? Nahhhhhhh

To all – I hope you have all been happy and healthy! I wish you a wonderful wonderful Valentines Day and Happy Chinese New Year!! 恭喜发财 (gong xi fa cai)! If you’re in the states, or Asia, or anywhere else that has access to legit Asian cuisine, eat hella fried nian gao and scallion pancakes for me! Much love to all =)

<3 Tiff

Love and some choice verses, from DTU

Hello ma’am, your flight today includes a complimentary side of engine failures and crying babies?

Note: This post is really long overdue, and a lot of excitement has happened after this. Denmark is AWESOME, and I’ve met a lot of really great people, especially in my kitchen! =) There will be a post on exploring Denmark/Copenhagen soon when I get all my pictures off my camera! =D


ABRIDGED VERSION, for people with short attention span/can’t read good and wanna learn to do other stuff good too/German Alex:

Saturday January 24
– Starter valve on engine broke, flight from SF to O’Hare got delayed
– Missed my connection to Copenhagen; stayed in a hotel in Chicago

Sunday, January 25
– Woke up at 7 to catch a flight to Dulles
– 6 hour layover in Dulles
– Flight to Copenhagen

Monday, January 26
– Arrived in Copenhagen at 7:15am; no luggage
– One hour later, the agent find my bags (which had been retagged w/o my knowledge) and it turns out they never made it out of Chicago
– I was running late, so took a $100 taxi to DTU
– (The taxis in Denmark are all MERCEDES BENZ!!!)

Then I spent all Saturday cleaning my room – I am too lazy to shorten this part XD

For the long version, told with great amount of detail and lots of punctuation(!), read on! (It’s much more interesting than the abridged version, I promise!)

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