Monday, February 7, 2011

The Land of the Burger

Brace yourself for a lengthy post. It’s been a while so lots to catch up on.

The weekend of bopping around Western Denmark with the Communications program went swimmingly. Our early departure from Frue Plads near Copenhagen University was a dark but comfortable 3 hour ride away from CPH’s island, Zealand, to Jutland, the other island that makes up DK.

We started the trip by splitting into two groups to do the two different activites planned for the weekend. My group first visited a castle in Svendborg, Valdemars Slot. The castle was built by Christian IV for his son, Valdemar, to eventually have. Valdemar died in battle, though, so the castle was passed on through the family; ultimately reaching the current owner of the castle Caroline Flemming. Caroline lives full time in London though, she just uses the castle for parties and other special occasions. Not a big deal.

The next day the groups switched and I went to Brandts Advertising agency in Odense (pronounced Onsa, by Danes). Here 11 other classmates and I put together a newsroom simulation and recorded our own news segment covering a variety of stories. I was the editor of the whole thing so I chose one of the stories that each of my classmates pitched for them to cover, and helped write the script for the segment. With a bit of an Anchorman spin on it, our final product was more like a "rough draft," but had us all laughing the whole time. The story I chose to write was on the current issue of the US working to end Mubarak's reign in Egypt. I came across an article that quoted Mubarak saying that he is "fed up with being president," but was afraid that if he stepped down, he "may cause some chaos." Well Mubarak, in your not stepping down, Egypt is in fact, chaotic. But power to the people! 30 year reign overthrown in 18 days, as of this weekend.

One of the stories two classmates covered was short segment on “How Danes perceive Americans.” Included in this footage were some responses from the Danes like “America’s cool, they have hip hop, and black people.” Ha, funny. Also, of course, the worn-out stereotype of Americans’ obsession with fast food was referenced. A Dane told me one night that he thinks of America as “The Land of the Burger.” Whatever happened to the land of the free? Maybe I am mistaken, but I thought we had a few other noteworthy accomplishments and highlights in history that outshine our perfection of the burger. Apparently not. We may have perfected the burger but no American McDonald’s is as crowded as the golden arches I’ve seen in Copenhagen. They just know how to be active and work it off better than we do. Even in the bitter cold and unpleasant rainy days, little Danish children are running around outside during their school day recess. Come on Birch Meadow Elementary, American kiddos need fresh air and exercise more so than we need practice playing the impersonal and anticlimactic indoor game called 7 up.

I’ve also noticed, just based on casual conversation with Danes, that they all pretty much only care about going to the states if they can go to L.A or New York City. The Danes that have been overseas have gone to NYC or LA, and the ones that haven’t gone say they want to go to…..NYC or LA. They’ve obviously never spent a week with my family in Gloucester or Quonnie.

The newsroom was reeeeeally cool though. I have never had exposure to such hands on and realistic work in the communications field, it's a whole new ordeal that i'm very interested in. Broadcast journalism as a new potential venture, with the lights, the mics, the cameras, the writing, I dig it, we'll see what happens.

The anchor and Sports broadcaster of our news segment.

After the Brandts activity, the two Comm groups reunited and headed to one of the coolest parts of the weekend. We visited M2 Film, a major film production company in Denmark. M2's biggest client, among several others, is Lego and they are responsible for most of Lego's ads. The office was sweet. Very trendy, friendly people, and a professional yet relaxed atmosphere. We were all invited to join them for some mingling at their traditional “Friday Bar.” Every Friday after work around 6, all the employees head to this one room for social beverages, table tennis, beer pong, and some winding down. It was a great opportunity to talk to the employees, including the CEO of the company, in a comfortable setting. Fascinating people. Mette Jellinge, the production manager, gave us a tour of the office and shared with us an interesting perspective. She said that M2 Film does not believe in work that goes without some sort of recognition and payment. At the very least, a bottle of wine, she said. A strange juxtaposition coming from the US where most of us are desperate for an unpaid internship and rarely expect anything more.

Below is a pretty strange and riskay commercial that M2 Film produced. Warning..there is nudity. It is for a grocery store in Germany called Fleggaard. The content of the video and the fact that it’s for a grocery store shows quite clearly a significant cultural difference. You won’t find commercials like this on American networks.

On the last day of the short study tour, we went to an incredible art museum in Arhus called AroS. Saw so many cool exhibits and the piece they are most famous for is below. You can tell how big the young boy is by looking at it in comparison to me standing to the left. It was crazy and looked so realistic. My favorite exhibit was this one room that was made to represent 24 hours of the day in 8 minutes. The lighting in the room changed from darkness with stars to a bright early morning feel as the sun rose in the window. There are pictures below that show the transformation of the room throughout the 8 minutes. I just sat in the room for about 25 minutes and watched it go through, so many little details to pay attention to throughout "the day." After the museum we went with the group to a traditional Danish lunch where we had open faced sandwiches, one roast beef, one smoked salmon, and one potato and chive. They were pretty good but I haven't exactly acquired a taste for it yet. I still would always rather Bertucci's. To conclude the trip, our Comm group had the privilege of trying out paintball! It was a good time, I wasn't crazy about it because we had to run through mud and a lot of us just hid behind trees so it was nearly impossible to actually hit each other. But I did run out of ammo twice so obviously I was shooting at something ( looked cool when it exploded and splattered everywhere).

The room with 24 hours of the day in 8 minutes---->

Danish open-faced sandwiches
Game faces on.

The short study tour was fantastic and this past week has been fabulous. We had loads of sun at the beginning of the week and my whole mindset flipped 180 degrees. I just needed a little burst of sunshine to help me look at this place from a new perspective. Instead of letting the gray sky hinder my appreciation of the precious Scandinavian life, i’ve made it an insignificant backdrop, allowing the dazzling architecture and glamorous fashionistas to shine brighter.

Look how lovely it is....
At the Top of the Round Tower

The Old Royal Theatre
View from the top of the Round Tower
Borsen, a trade market by Christianborg Palace.
A cool art display in front of the palace.
Church of Our Savior -i'm in love with it inside and out.

I was able to experience the traditional European football obsession the other night. On Wednesday night, some fellow Tasingegade hall mates and I got tickets and DK flags and headed to the stadium for the friendly match against England. I bought a DANMARK scarf that I’m borderline obsessed with it’s awesome. Catherine and I got in a little after everyone else and some lady directed us to the completely wrong seats so for the first half of the game we were right behind the goal line, so close up to some big time football celebs. It was aaaaawesome. Then for the second half we decided to join our friends and watch the game from the upper deck of the stadium, which was equally as cool because it was so high up and had a great view. Loads of fun. They lost but whatever.
The stadium from our seats on the upper deck.
Die hard fans.

Close up of Ashley Cole..big shot Englishman

This past weekend Kendra Gravelle came to visit!! We did some hilarious things together, definitely a trip to remember. Today we took her to Christiania and then met up with Catherine’s cousin from Ireland (she’s studying at Copenhagen University, coincidentally) to watch the Ireland Vs. France Rugby final…at a pub called the Dubliner, of course. It was great!! Ireland lost, it was a bummer even though I'm not partial to either side, I was just surrounded by sad Irish people. I really am loving these popular European sports though, handball being my favorite so far. After the match the three of us went out to dinner at this place where all the food was 50% off. We went a little crazy and got a bruschetta app, an entrée each, and a banana split for dessert!! Only came to 100 kroner (20$) with the discount so it was a great success. Banana split lasted maaaaaaaybe all of 1 minute. And I acquired another fork to add to my collection that some of you may know about. (If you don’t know, just ask). In the four weeks I’ve been here I’ve already accumulated 7 new forks from restaurants. International forks, awesome.

I’m going to Barcelo0o0o0na in 2 weeks with Catherine and my friend here, Zoe. We’re meeting Connor Foley and Jeff Goulet there IT’S GOING TO BE INSANE. I cannot wait to see them!!

Also, sidenote – I love hearing that I have loyal followers of my blog! Namely, Brock Manheim, a friend from 2 doors down, what a guyyyyyy. I love even more getting comments so keep it coming!

Yikes I’ve gone a little crazy with this blog post, can’t shut me up. I have plenty more to say but I’m going to have to call it quits. Look at my pictures to find out more. Oh and Happy Valentine’s day! I’m missing all my family and friends back home and in VT big time. And especially missing Mr. Johnny Brussard. I love you all!

Until next time,

1 comment:

  1. OBSESSED. I'm glad you guys had an awesome time with Kendra and all your pictures are fantastic expecially the die hard fans one. My brother is visiting the weekend after this long one and I'm so sad you aren't here to enjoy partying with us. Happy Valentines Day girlie <3