(The hashtags are because I literally just heard the grandfather clock strike 12, meaning it's Christmas day)
What a week I've had. We pick up on Monday, which was a fabulous morning as I actually got to sleep in (Praise the Lord!), as the new week signalled officially stopping school for the year (Literally a month after I finished at home, yay me). Helene had the idea that we go check out the Kolding Castle, which was built in 1268 (500 years before Jimmy Cook landed in Oz).
Let me tell you, it's impossible to get a sense of the history unless you are actually there (I know I say that a lot, but seriously, everything has been touched by so many people, going back centuries. That is the kind of culture we're missing in Australia).
Philosophical rant over, let me tell you about the castle.
When we first went in, it showed us a whole bunch of models of the castle throughout the ages, detailing the numerous times that the castle was burned down and rebuilt over the centuries (You'd think they'd think to avoid candles after the first two times, but you'd be wrong).
Next we headed into an awesome art exhibit, where I got a lot of inspiration for my art class next year (I wonder how my art teacher would take me bringing in a dead moose for a project?)
We then did some more exploring of the castle, which actually has more than 4 stories built up inside. Being a bit of a history buff, I was loving all the old artifacts and and the historically accurate costumes (There was a room where you could try on costumes, but the average age of the children trying them on was 3 and a half. I was still down, but for some reason Helene didn't want to, so I missed out)
We then climbed *Many* stairs (Up a fabulous spiral staircase carved out of stone) up to the tower. Once I finished panting like a walrus with a collapsed lung, I was able to appreciate the stunning 360 degree views.
This thing was huge. Easily as tall as three Macquarie school dictionaries stacked on top of each other, this thing needed a rod to hold this thing for the most part upright. Inside this thing was an astounding array of seemingly random fillings for my delight and confusion. This is including, but not limited to- Australian style bacon (really not sure where the hell they got that from, since bacon is sliced thinner than Jenny Craig here), a calamari ring, a hashbrown Macca's threw out yesterday, a 2 cm thick cross section of tomato, and a deep fried mozzarella stick that seemed just confused as me as to what exactly it was doing there.
Being a very classy individual, I decided that the current arrangement simply wouldn't do, and took out each purplexing ingredient and sat them on the side, leaving me just with the patty, cheese, vast array of condiments and the buns which resembled a middle ages criminal that had gone through trial by fire. After all, there was no way I was going to fit all of that in my mouth to take a bite, unless I suddenly acquired a python like ability to dislocate my jaw at will.
I'll tell you where I went wrong in this situation. Unlike the Aussies, the Danish haven't quite grasped the concept of finger food. I saw evidence if this the other week as Markus devoured his entire Pizza with a knife and fork, but it wasn't until this point that I realised quite how extensive this issue is. I was sat there, burger happily perched in my hands, three solid bite in with a drip of tomato sauce slowly making its way down my wrist, when I took a second to look around. It was then I discovered that I was the only person in this crowded cafe that had their burger in their hands. Not one other person had discovered the wondrous ability of bread to make messy foods holdable. I then grasped exactly how uncivilised I actually looked, as compared to their elegant slices of burger they had miraculously managed to pile onto their forks and eat while remaining completely pristine, I was a primate escaped from the zoo. Never the less, I made a decision that since I had started, I was going to stick it out and eat the rest of my burger that way, much to Helene's embarrassment. After all, I'm an Aussie- they expect me to be strange.
Later that afternoon, Mathilde and I played a concert with the Orchestra in the "Christ Church"next to the music school
My mother has a theory that I manage to weasel my way into the center of any performance that I've ever been a part of, be it dance, choir, music, drama, etc.
Let it be known that I had no part in choosing where I sat in that performance. That said, this is the view from where I was sitting to play.
Like the other church I went to the other day, this church was hella grand, with a massive organ at the back (the instrument, not a giant liver or something)
Overall, I don't think I performed to badly for only having played with the Orchestra twice previously.
That brings us to Tuesday, and Tuesday catapulted me straight back to school (something I thought i had freed myself from, but apparently not). All hope was not lost, however, as I was this time going to school with Mathilde, and on a day that she was having Music. The first lesson was Danish, which we'll scip over since I understood about 7.6% of it. Music class turned out to be awesome however, despite the fact that I was little more than a glorified music stand for Mathilde. The next day the class was to perform in a end of year concert (for once I would not be gate crashing), and the class warmed up with a Danish Christmas carol that they sang (complet with a three part harmony) around a grand piano.
Let me take the opportunity to explain just how much better their music department is than my school- They have three dedicated music rooms, that include countless instruments including a double bass, about 30 electric guitars and bass guitars, multiple complete drum kits, ukuleles and countless other small instruments, and even a three thousand dollar electric violin. One room even featured 8 microphones permanently hanging from the ceiling in a row, incase a choir should appear from nowhere and want to perform.
The group broke up into individual bands to rehearse a song that they had chosen to perform the next day.
Mathilde's group had chosen a spoof christmas song called "Jul i Angora", which was hella entertaining to listen to despite the fact that I couldn't actually understand most of it. I later googled the lyrics, and they're actually hilariously inappropriate, at least in English (let's just say that there is no way that my school would have approved such a song, I'd probably get suspended for suggesting it). Mathilde's group actually performed it better than the original that I heard later, which is quite the testament to the quality of the school. Andreas (I don't know if you're still reading these, but if so, Hi) was fantastic on the drums (the drum solo was sick man) and the guitars were awesome.
After music, German class was cancelled (lucky for me, since I literally know about 5 sentences in German) Mathilde and I went to the shops and then I was tasked with taking the bus home by myself., since Mathilde had to go to a Viola rehearsal.
The anxiety I get when on buses since I got here is insane. Literally, the whole time I felt panicked, despite only having to press the button to let the driver I needed to get off and get of at the right stop. It seems simple enough, but I was so stressed about knowing when to press the button, my brain had me wondering if I knew what the road to the house looks like. I wasn't actually sure until the last minute, when I saw the house in the distance, at which point I frantically pressed the button about 4 times, then got off the bus as soon as the slow-opening doors would allow. I spent the evening finishing my gift wrapping and watching Danish Christmas programs (rather unsuccessfully).
Wednesday was a great sleep in day, something that i took advantage of. Rolling out of bed at half past nine (the sun was up and everything) I lazed the day away drawing with freddies tablet. This was my first attempt at using one to draw digitally.
(I feel like she looks like she's puffing up her cheeks, and once you see it, you just can't unsee it)
At half four, however, Helene and I left to go to the "Trapholt Museum for Moderne Kunst" (Trapholt Museum for Modern Art). There we met up with Helene's Grandmother, who was very excited to show me the museum.
The theme of the main exhibition was "Eat Me" and it was one of the coolest, grossest things I've ever experienced.
Thursday consisted of cleaning the house top to bottom in preparation for the extended family coming over for Christmas. This included mopping and dusting, processes that I honestly haven't done in years (If that doesn't say something about the cleanliness in my life, I don't know what does). I got pretty good at mopping, and in the process trapped freddy in his room. I gave him strict instructions not to leave it for an hour so the floor could dry, but I caught him outside it 20 minutes later, getting into my fudge (the cretin)
Afterwards, I had a brief panic when I realised that I had only 323 days until my formal, and spent the rest of the afternoon looking for prom dresses online (somewhat unsuccessfully) until Freddy thought it was a good idea for us to go for a walk to the forest I had wanted to go see. In my head, I had pictured all of us going and playing hide and seek in the awesome forest. What actually happened? Freddy grabbed the dogs to come with us and we walked a couple km to the forest. Things started out pretty well, and I got some lovely pictures of the deciduous landscape.
All was going well until Freddy uttered the words "Short Cut". There are few words in the English language that have as bad reputation as those two; the foreshadowing from the use of those words would be obvious in any novel. Naively, I ambled onwards. Freddy lead the way, off the well defined track and up a steep, overgrown hill. I was walking Timone (Burly German Shepard cross), who was quite helpful at pulling me up. He did come with some drawbacks, however. The hill was hella muddy and slippery, and unbeknownst to me, covered with blackberry vines. Vines that look very much like this-
Now I'd figured out that I was getting stabbed by the vines as I pushed through them, so I was trying to avoid them, but Timone apparently had different ideas. He ducked under the devil's favourite vines, and then gave a "helpful" tug on the lead, which caused my hand to be dragged along them, on the back of my hand and knuckles. Lucifer's vine also managed to run between my thumb and pointer finger, ripping flesh like a dentist flossing. I eventually made it to the top of the hill and then started the 2 km walk home, all the while discussing the the multiple infections and diseases I could get from my minor injuries.
With some antiseptic and some bandaids shoved on (Cheers man), I was all patched up and ready to go. Freddy wanted to go buy some new pants to replace those lost in the "Bowling Incident of 2017", and I tagged along. I was astounded when he bought the first pair of pants he tried on (He didn't even look at different styles?). While he was getting changes, I did some casual browsing, and came across a super cute pair of jeans in my size for 15 bucks. I did some quick calculations in my head-
-Super-Stretchy material = hella comfy
-look heaps good on
-I've been wearing the same 4 pairs of pants the whole time I've been here
-Fake pockets- two whole sets of them!
The maths checked out and the pros just outweighed the cons, so they were coming with me. Freddy had a whinge about buying things that we didn't come for, but we came to buy pants and we left with pants. I really don't see the problem.
We had some really great dinner, featuring some more DIY pies, and some pork, as well as the hands down best thing I have put in my face since I've been here. Known as "Jordbær Rødgrød", The dish consists of whole strawberries in a liquidy jam and topped with milk. The recipe is definitely coming home with me, as it was simply divine. I didn't think to take a picture, so google helpfully provided one-
(I poured the milk just as majestically, I swear)
Friday required an alarm, as we were going to the Museet Ribes Vikinger (The Museum of Ribes Vikings). We met up with Nina's Mum again, and together we drove to the Township of Ribe.
The museum was full of awesome artifacts and history about vikings, and the way life was for people that had lived in the area over the past millennia. My inner nerd went a tad crazy, I'll be honest.
We then went to the Ribe Cathedral, which was the most amazing church I've ever been inside. I got a few pictures before my phone decided to spaz completely, and start shutting down repeatedly until it ran itself out of battery (Don't panic Tommy, Nina has worked in IT and managed to fix it somehow).
We then walked around the town and had lunch, before returning home. Later Helene took me to the shopping center once again, and once again we failed to come to a compromise on an outfit for New Years Eve (It's exactly like going shopping with my Mum, we never like what each other likes.)
Today was interesting, as anticipation for the 24th (The day the Danes celebrate Christmas eve and Christmas all rolled into one). To start off with, we went "Annoyance Shopping", which involves deliberately making shopping unbearable for those foolish enough to leave it to the day before- minor irritations include:
-Bringing not one, but three cars to take up as many car parks as possible
-Taking up as many chairs at cafes as possible by having one for yourself and one for your bags
-Each person taking a trolley to take up space in the aisles
(This game is a great addition to slightly mean spirited traditions my family has, such as "Craptacular")
There wasn't as many people as I had hoped, so next year I'm going to have to try it at the Sunshine Plaza, because that would be much more intense.
After Dinner, I was given the honor of preparing and placing the bowl of rice pudding with cinnamon sugar (the thing I had for dinner the other day) out in the barn for the Christmas elf that looks after the farm. Apparently each family has their own elf.