The Halfway Point

It’s hard to believe I’m halfway through my semester abroad.

Two months ago, I boarded a plane and landed in Copenhagen. I spent the first two weeks with my nose pressed against my iPhone, religiously following the white arrow on Google Maps, my existence reduced to a bright blue dot. I got lost often, spent way too much time drinking overpriced but delicious cappuccinos, and lived in constant fear of being hit by a bike.

Today, I still fear the Copenhagen cyclists. They’re aggressive, confident, and overall badass. I’ve seen multiple Danes text while biking. (I’m both impressed and slightly horrified.)

In addition, I no longer feel the need to whip out my cellphone to get to class or Paper Island. Honestly, I could probably navigate the path to the pulled duck booth with my eyes closed. Instead of getting lost, I’m taking shortcuts. I’m playing tour guide for visiting friends and family. I like to think I’m an expert, like to think I’m a Dane.

In reality, of course, I know that I am neither of those things. I’m about as Danish as the Danish pastries in America. A fake. A clear one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other. I can’t pronounce the town I live in. (Those ø’s trip me up every time.) I fail at trying to match the Danes’ sharp wit and devastating sarcasm, I don’t know the difference between Christian IV and Christian V, and I most definitely cannot rock the black skinny jeans and sneaker combination like the Danes do.

I am obviously American.

Nevertheless, the world continues to spin and my life in Denmark carries on. Each day I create new memories in a city almost 4,000 miles from Pennsylvania. I wake up in a house that’s become my home; eat breakfast with strangers who have become my family. Pet the dog. Let the cat out. Pop in my ear buds as I head towards the train station.

When I’m least expecting it, though, the thought that I’ll eventually have to leave will sneak up on me. It paralyzes me while I’m riding the S-train on a sunny day or when I’m walking past a peculiar piece of graffiti art. An overwhelming wave of sadness and fear washes over me, but it leaves as quickly as it came.

It’s impossible to dwell on goodbyes when you’re so busy putting down roots.

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My wish hangs at Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree Garden, an exhibition at Copenhagen Contemporary

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