2013, assignment, creative, creativewriting, denmark, fiction, writing

Creative Travel Writing Assignment

I wrote this for my Creative Travel Writing class. At the time, I was feeling like I wasn’t allowed to admit that study-abroad wasn’t always perfect. I wanted to explore how similar events can be portrayed so differently, depending on who the audience is. 
Assignment 1
Debbie in Denmark Blog
Monday January 28, 2013
Hello friends and family! I can’t believe I’ve been in the wonderful land of Denmark for two weeks now. It feels like just yesterday I was sitting at home in Ohio dreaming of what Copenhagen would be like. Today was a pretty remarkable day and I’m excited to share it with you.
When I stepped outside to walk to the train station, the air felt crisp and refreshing with the breeze. I looked up at the clouds. They caught my attention because they were moving quite fast, as if they were on a mission. They looked like the color of the nearby Baltic ocean. Through the small holes in the clouds, I saw the sky barely peeking out. I thought to myself how I’d never seen a sky look that gorgeous until I came to Denmark. I swear, the clouds in Ohio never appeared that marvelous.
I leisurely walked through my host family’s neighborhood to the train station. The Danish birds were chirping loudly all around me. They seemed to be singing just for me. Since I catch the 10:30 train every morning during my walk there aren’t very many people out and about in the neighborhood. At Denison, I usually put in my headphones when I walk to and from my dorm because the music keeps me entertained. Here, I feel I’d be missing out if I did that. The noise of the wind and the birds are my new music. After walking ten minutes, I reach the train station five minutes early.
Dear diary,
            I’ve been away from my friends and family for two weeks now. I’m starting to adjust a little, but it’s just hard. Everything is so different from what I’m used to. I keep wondering if I made a mistake by coming here. I ask myself why I chose to come to Denmark and I always come up with some sort of half-ass answer like, “I thought it’d be cool.” I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be this hard. I’m keeping a daily blog online and I feel like I need to always be cheerful there and only tell my family the good parts of my day. I don’t want them to feel bad for me or think I’m ungrateful for this opportunity.
            Skyping with my parents is also hard because I feel like I’m acting.
            “How are you doing? Are you adjusting okay?” my mom asks me.
            “Yeah I’m fine. Everything is so great here. Don’t worry about me,” I lie. I feel guilty not telling them the truth, but I know they couldn’t do much to help if they knew how I really felt. 
            Today was a pretty boring day. My morning was very rushed because I thought my host father’s dad would give me a ride to the train station like he has done in the past. He comes over and walks the dog around the time I leave for the station. But he didn’t come in time so I had to speed walk to the train. My face went numb from the cold wind whipping my face and my back started to sweat from hiking up the steep hills in the stupid neighborhood. The birds were squawking from the trees, giving me a small headache. I mixed up the times that the train comes so I got there actually five minutes early. I sat in the covered area where I saw a big brown rat last week and spaced out.
Debbie in Denmark Blog
Monday January 28, 2013
            During my train commute, I sat down by the window in a seating area that had two seats on each side that faced each other. At the next stop, an older woman sat down in the seat across from me. I nonchalantly tried to glance up from my iPad and was struck by how much she looked like my mom. The same short brown hair and permanent slightly frazzled appearance. She pulled out a juice box from her purse and started drinking from it. It was very…unexpected. I viewed it as some sort of sign from above that I was being watched over. It couldn’t have been just a coincidence that a woman resembling my mom, happened to sit by me.
            When I was walking to class today, there were two little chubby pigeons that followed me for a block. I don’t get to see pigeons in rural Ohio so it was a delight to watch them waddle on the sidewalk next to me. They wouldn’t win a pigeon beauty contest but they were nice company.
Dear diary,
            On the train, this weird guy was talking very loudly in front of me and it was distracting. My train rarely gets wi fi so I can’t do much besides play a game on my iPad. I tried to read my homework and stare out the window but this woman came and sat directly across from me. How rude! Give me some personal space, please. There were plenty of other seats she could’ve sat down in. To make things worse, she pulled out a fucking juice box. How old is this lady? 40? And she spent her commute slurping on an eight-ounce box of liquid. Unbelievable. 
To be honest, the language barrier is becoming a serious problem for me. Everything at the train station and on the train is in Danish. I can’t understand any of the important announcements. They sound like someone is playing a scratched recording backward. I was told that everything would be in English here so it was a terrible shock to find out I was lied to.
            When I walked to class, I looked down and was horrified to see a bald pigeon travelling next to me. He was completely normal except for the top of his head had a round patch of grey missing. An obese pigeon was trailing behind the one that resembled Curly from the Three Stooges. I’m pretty sure the bald one was being henpecked (or should I say pigeon pecked) by the fat one. I guess my train ride wasn’t that strange for Copenhagen because even the animals in this city are weird and rude to each other.
Debbie in Denmark Blog
Monday January 28, 2013
            I thoroughly enjoyed all of my classes today. They are very different from my classes I’ve taken at Denison so far, but they are still interesting and challenging.
In my Strategic Communication class, we talked about the 2006 Mohammed Cartoon Crisis in Denmark. We also discussed whether a U.S. newspaper should reprint the cartoons when covering the news about it. It was neat to discuss a realistic communication related question in class.
In my Human Trafficking class, we talked about the Palermo protocol which sounds like the most important document in defining human trafficking. We got into small groups and looked at three situations and decided if they were prostitution, trafficking, or smuggling. It was harder to do than one might think.
After my classes, I went to train station and while I waited on the platform I ran into a guy I recognized.  That morning, I actually recognized him on the train because of his jacket but didn’t say anything to him. Feeling confident after my good day, I approached him. We sat together on the train and talked about all the traveling he’s done in Europe.
It was a nice end to another perfect day in Copenhagen.
Dear diary,
            My least favorite part of the day was going to class. My classes are always boring and the DIS buildings are so gross. I went to use a bathroom and it had a huge puddle of piss by the seat. The whole bathroom smelled like shit. It was so disgusting that I couldn’t breathe with my nose.
My embarrassing moment of the day was when I found my Strategic Communication classroom, I immediately opened the classroom door. 20 wide-eyed students and one startled professor stared back at me. I asked what class it was and they said Danish. Really embarrassed, I quickly shut the door. Note to self: closed door equals class in session.
When I was finally done for the day, I headed back underground to catch the train. On the platform, I recognized a cute boy from orientation. I’d been meaning to talk to him because he looked pretty laid back but not a douche bag. I can’t tell you why I suddenly felt the urge to go up and say hey, but I did. It was probably a little creepy because I said, “You’re in DIS right? You’re Jacob right?” We made awkward small talk at first, which was made even more awkward by my nervous sarcastic jokes. I used to just giggle around boys but now I’ve matured into making weird sarcastic jokes.  We talked for like twenty minutes until his train stop. I was just proud of myself for talking to a boy. That was my okay ending to an okay day.

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