Welcome to my blog!
As you may know, I’m going to be studying abroad at the Technical University of Denmark (Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, DTU) this semester in Lyngby, Denmark! Lyngby is just North of Copenhagen, for those who need to orient themselves geographically). Therefore, I’ve set up this EXTREMELY AWESOME travel blog to keep track of the epic and undoubtedly exciting adventures that I will be going on as I rampage through Europe! I’m a huge fan of blogging, but I’m also a gold medalist at forgetting to blog, so I’ll be trying my best to keep this updated with new expeditions, accompanied by what I’m sure will be an onslaught of photos, as I’m also a huge fan of taking ridiculous amounts of pictures. (This also serves the dual purpose for you people who are stuck in the hellhole that is Troy to live vicariously through me! MWAHAHA! Just kidding <3)
I’ll be leaving on January 24th from beautiful and sunny (or if you’re looking at this week – bipolar and climately-confused with chance of tornado) California via SFO with a transfer in O’Hare, and arriving midday January 25th at Copenhagen Airport. Transportation to DTU has yet to be determined, as the choices are a myriad of public transportation options, or an overpriced taxi. But I am a very small person with two very large suitcases + a carry-on… what to do? The possibilities are endless!
You may have noticed the beautiful scenery in the header image above. You may also have noticed that it doesn’t really look like Denmark or winter. This is because I have not yet arrived in Denmark, so I have opted to use a photo my father took in the summer of 2008 when we took a trip along the coast of Northern California. This photo, if I remember correctly, was taken outside of Pigeon Point Lighthouse. Isn’t California just gorgeous?? Anyways, my plan for now is to constantly change the header image with pictures from the places I visit, so rest assured – it will become a more relevant picture shortly!
The past couple of weeks have been full of catching up with my wonderful Saratogans, eating large amounts of Californian fruit and other delicacies, then hugging them goodbye as they disappear to their respective UCs and private schools. I have also spent a lot of time listening to my dear mother’s constant reminders of things to do to prepare for Denmark, and then sometimes actually doing those things. Here are some lessions that I have learned:
1. Here are the sizes of bedding in Kampsax Kollegiet (where I am living):
Fitted sheet: 200 x 130 (78.7″ x 51.2″)
Pillow: 50 x 50 (19.7 x 19.7)
Bed sheets: 220 x 150 (86.6 x 59.1)
This size is in between the sizes for a full and queen bed in the US. And while this is excellent because the bed is much larger than a standard twin in a dorm (not that it matters, because I have my amazing queen-size in Salsa Shark-partment!), it is also somewhat of a crisis because I can’t find sheets in that size. It was just rather amusing when I found this out, because I was originally just going to bring twin size sheets, but then on a whim, emailed accommodation to find out if the beds were twin or twin XL. Good thing I did, eh? Looks like we’ll be making an IKEA run! (How fitting that my first trip to IKEA ever will be in Denmark!)
2. Still no word on whether my classes will be transferring for credit at RPI… I should probably get on that
3. If you are taking two different airlines during your trip to Denmark, you cannot check in for your international flight until you arrive at that airport. This means that I can only check in for my Scandinavian Airlines flight when I arrive at Chicago O’Hare half an hour before my scheduled flight! W00t! It’s okay. I walk fast, and O’Hare is awesome and full of moving walkways! =D
4. My personal favorite: phone lines at the VISA office in NYC are only open for an hour and a half, four days a week! BUT, they are all extremely nice people with cool accents who sent me my passport and VISA back within two business days – nice note included! Of course, this was after the catastrophic fiasco of following the directions which failed to tell me that in addition to what I sent, I had to include a printed bank statement (I glance snarkily at REACH for this one), my actual passport (this was probably obvious…), and a $220 processing fee. Ah well, at least I’m not a certain foreign citizen who sent her VISA app to NYC instead of the one in Canada! (Much love <3)
5. Bank of America no longer has a traveler’s checks service. It also costs $45 to wire money, and withdrawals at ATMs not affiliated with BOA charge a 1% fee + a conversion fee. Credit and debit card usages require a 3% fee. Also, if you don’t tell them that you are leaving the country and you use your card, they will block your card and you will have to call all sorts of people to prove that you are actually who you say you are and that yes, you really are in a foreign country. Pretty cool little security feature that I didn’t know I had!
6. Pete C is the awesome. Like, hella awesome. I had one of those lightbulb moments that you see in cartoons when I suddenly realized that outlets were different in Europe. However, I didn’t know where to get an adaptor, the best solution for traveling, yadayada, so I sent a quick message to resident studying abroad in Denmark expert slash man with this kind of knowledge most likely to be online, Pete! In about an hour, I got a humongous (no really, it was HUGE, there was a lot of scrolling involved) essay response on everything I had ever wanted to know about outlets, complete with pictures and external links! Amazing. Also, he made a kickass map with a ton of locations, bus stops, cell phone providers, etc etc. I am beyond excited to start using said map!
7. Cabin baggage policies – one carry-on and one personal item. Usually, this means one carry-on within the size requirements, and I’ve always been able to pass off the obnoxiously large RPI backpack with obnoxiously large RPI laptop as a personal item. However, customer service has informed me that personal item on my flight means a purse or a small backpack. Noooo! Also, my usual carry-on bag is TOO BIG! Nooooooooo!!!
I have also finally acquired a phone that WORKS! I was originally planning on using my old unlocked LG M6100 (also known as my “terrorist phone” because it has Arabic characters on the keys and came with a different plug). However, it’s tri-band and drops 75% of calls, which sounds like it would probably be an issue, especially using pay as you go. But! Good news! My mom updated her phone line, so now our family has acquired a new phone that I got unlocked and will be stealing for Europe. SCORE.
In any case, I am super excited, and the past fee days have been full of hella packing and errand-running. I finally unpacked last week (e.g. exploded all the clothes out of my suitcase) and now I am slowly unexploding things back into my two open suitcases while spontaneously fielding (and a couple times, initiating) frantic calls from Laryssa, the latest news being that she forgot to pack her snowboarding pants (we all REALLY REALLY REALLY want to go to the Swiss alps) and her parents will be shipping those to me soonish.
This is going to be EPIC.
Love and a biscuit, from Saratoga, CA
P.S. This post is lacking in photos, so to compensate for my lack of greatness, here is a picture of my friend Jess, followed by a picture of mushrooms:
Studying abroad in the UK this semester!
These randomly grew in my yard overnight. It was weirdddddd