Dear Copenhagen...

Dear Copenhagen,

I am going to miss you so much. In five very short months we have become closer than I could have ever imagined - which makes it very hard to leave. It's going to be wonderful to see all of my friends again, but I know there will still be a hole in my heart where you belong. Before I get on the plane back to America I wanted to thank you for all that you've done and all that you've meant to me.

Thank you for introducing me to so many amazing people. After dealing with tidal waves of loneliness and culture shock, I was in need of some good friends to keep my mind off of home. You provided that and more. From my host family to my actual Danish family, to my friends, I was enormously blessed with the amount of support and love that they showed me. They showed me around castles, islands, coffee shops, countries, libraries, museums and everywhere in between. They were my eyes to see new sights and my sounding board to understand and appreciate opinions different than mine.

Thank you for the amazing food that will be sorely missed. The fresh, crunchy bread that I woke up to in the mornings with a piece of cheese and chocolate on it. The rich, sweet chocolate that I bought in literally every city I could (Danish chocolate was still the best). The dark, aromatic coffee that made my eyes burn and my mind churn at a frantic pace as I sipped its goodness. THE PASTRIES. Oh my the pastries. Buttery, succulence that melts in your mouth. I know that once I go back to America I will try to recreate some of the amazing things I tasted, but they will never taste of Copenhagen. People in America will laugh when I eat a rye bread smørrebrød with a fork or when I salivate over the thought of amazing beet/carrot/cabbage salad or when I go on and on about an amazing chocolate milk called Cocio.

Thank you for opening my eyes to both the bad and the good. I have seen a lot of the world during these five months: Denmark, Scotland, England, Germany, Sweden, Kosovo, Albania, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech-Republic. I have been able to understand so much more of the European politics to actually be worried about the future of our world. I have also seen things that I never have the desire to see again. On the flip side, I have been so fortunate to see people go out of their way to help me. From the homeless man who carried my bike up the stairs, to the lady who opened up her apartment to me so I could go to the bathroom. My faith in humanity has been restored. I have seen how change is a good thing. Denmark does not have to be the same as America. They both are amazing countries with some great differences between them but one is not better than the other.

Thank you for the loneliness that I experienced. Besides being one of the more challenging and dark times of my life, it taught me so much about myself. Through my loneliness, I was forced to examine myself in the mirror with no one around me to hide me from myself. The loneliness made me realize how I can rely on Christ to strengthen me and that I don't need others to do that. Tears were shed but those tears allowed me to grow, and strengthened myself as a person. After hiding behind the shadow of others for 18 years,  I have finally been able to stand on my own as a person and be so strong and so confident in myself and my abilities.

Thank you for the adventures we had together. From midnight bike rides through the city to coffee shop hopping to American festivals with real Ford F-150s to Star Wars nights with Danes, to deep conversations at 3am to hearing crazy people on the S-train, belly-laughing at the antics of my host families children to not understanding a word of what someone said to me to crazy Hungarian ticket ladies who don't speak a lick of English to eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at the concierge in Budapest to that one time I accidentally took out $700 in Budapest to feeling violated by all the people at a twenty-one pilots concert to crying over stupid love stories to watching friends with Danish subtitles to eating so much food at Dalle Valle to just living and loving life here.

Thank you for the laughter that we shared. No one may have understood my silent chucking during culture class at a meme, or my guffaw at the guy with a little tiny man bun, or my sarcastic jokes that Danes don't understand, or my belly-laugh when I ran into someone's mailbox and dented my bike basket, or my constant laughter at the Danish language and the funny nuances of it, but I still laughed. Whenever I was lonely or homesick all I had to do was laugh and life was significantly better.

Thank you for new perspectives. Copenhagen is quite different from Cary, NC in the politics, people, lifestyles and so much more. From my many encounters with those who think/believe differently from me, I have been able to understand and appreciate the perspectives of others, even if I don't agree with them. I know I'm going to go home and utilize some of those perspectives in my own life, but I am thankful that I have been exposed to so many different views on life, the universe, and everything.

Thank you for affording me a glimpse of a different future. From going to Kosovo to being here in Copenhagen to being in Albania to thinking about back home there is so much that I could do. You have showed me that the world lays at my feet. I could be a Science teacher, get my Master's, get my Ph.D, go volunteer for a year, go intern. I can do anything and everything and I don't know what I want to do, but that is ok. I don't have to know the future, I just have to live in the now.

Thank you for the beauty. I never believed that one country, filled with only 5.6 million people, could be so gorgeous on so many different levels. Everything I saw, blew me away. The grounds in Fredericksborg Castle, the many colored bikes riding beside me, the modern tapestries in the Queen's Royal Reception rooms, the sun setting at 3 pm, the families laughing and smiling together, the tall, attractive Danish men, the design of Danish homes, and the nature all around.

Kære København, jeg siger ikke farvel. Jeg siger kun vi ses til næste gang. Jeg elsker dig og jeg skal kommer tilbage snart. Jeg skal kommer tilbage snart. Mange tak for alt.


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