2006-07 Outbound to Denmark
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
School: Bartram Trail High School
Sponsor: Bartram Trail Rotary Club
Host: Hillerød Rotary Club
District 1470, Denmark
Goddag, for the people that don't know Danish that's good day (the formal way of saying hello). My name is Ramsey, I am 15 years old and going to be sixteen in May. It's too bad that I'm going to have to leave soon right when I get to drive, but oh well. I was born in Atlanta but only lived there for 2 months because my family moved soon after. We moved around Florida a bit because of my dad's job, but I finally ended up in Jacksonville when I was five just in time to start school. I can't really say I love Fruit Cove, which is a small suburb kind of place, because it can get so boring here. After the first ten years things can get kind of old.
As of now I like to play baseball with my friends. I've never really stuck with one thing in my life, I'm kind of an indecisive person. When I was little I did baseball but HATED it with a passion because the coach always stuck me in right field and all I did the whole time was pick grass and mess with the ants. So as soon as I got my chance I quit that and moved on to skateboarding. I liked to do that in middle school a lot with my brother and friends. We would go to construction sites at houses and make old rickety ramps that were basically death traps. I still skateboard from time to time but not as much as I used to do.
In middle school I played the saxophone for two years, but then my teacher said we had to choose between band and P.E. I was out of there. I couldn't stand having to be in a chair all day and never getting to run around. Playin' baseball now is a lot more fun because I'm not obligated to be on a team and I can just mess around with my friends, although I am thinking about joining one because now I can play what position I want.
My family is kind of big, four kids and two parents. It can kind of drive my mom crazy because I have three brothers and there are no other girls in the house. Two of my brothers are twins (Price and Wesley) and then there is Louis who is the eldest and he is 17. We are all very close, but Louis and I are the ones that go off and do our own thing. When the weekend comes me and him are gone until Monday. We both can't wait to move out and just have our own place. That is why I am really excited to see how well I can do away from the family. I'm am really hoping that it is going to be completely different than America, that is why I chose Denmark. Farvel Saa Længe!
September 1 Journal
Hej alle, it's Ramsey and I have been in Denmark for a month. Wow. I know it doesn't seem a long time to you but in a way it does to me and in a way it doesn't. Well time really flies by here; this month has seemed like two weeks but when I look back on what I have done it seems like a lifetime has gone by. It's crazy.
Well shall I get started on what has happened? On my way over here I had to take a couple of flights and all of them were horrible. I flew from Jacksonville to Detroit and although it was a short flight I had the most upset baby right behind me screaming it's head off. I thought I was gonna pick it up and kick it like a football but I held myself back. I was unbelievably thankful to get off that flight just to get on another horrid flight. Fortunately I met up with a bunch of other exchange students while looking for my gate. One is actually in my district too. Well we all boarded our international flight and with my luck I got to sit next to a three year old little kid who apparently thought the plane and me were his playground and took the opportunity to use it at his disposal. I thought to myself "you think the parents would do something about this" but they didn't. There isn't much to that flight except for that. When we landed in Amsterdam I think we went through customs there but I'm not sure because it took like two seconds. The line was huge back it didn't take long at all I was astonished. I didn't know why people complained about customs because I don't remember going through anything in Copenhagen so the security in Amsterdam had to be it. After that we got onto our flight from Amsterdam to Copenhagen. Luckily I had another baby right by me who liked to scream his head of so that made me happy (sarcasm for the slow ones out there). Besides all that the flights weren't all that bad, just boring.
My family is really cool. It consists of Mette who is my host-mom, Jakob who is my host-dad, Jonas who is my thirteen year old host-brother, and Anne Sofie who is my host-sister. Unfortunately they have been having trouble with Mette's parents who have apparently gone insane. Her dad is paralyzed on the left side of his body and her mom is not well in the head. Our house is really cool though. We live on a hill and it is really hard to explain. It is a two story house but since we are on a hill you have to go up to the second story to get to the back yard. It is so beautiful though because the first day as I walked out on the balcony I looked out over the protected forest in the middle of my neighborhood (I know it's hard to imagine but try) and I found myself not able to look away from it. It is on the country side I guess you could say but it is like five minutes bike ride to the city which is really cool. The train systems are also incredibly amazing. I still can't believe that I can hop on one and in thirty minutes be in the center of Copenhagen WHEN EVER I WANT. It is truly an experience.
The day after I got here I had to go to language school which was not that bad. I got to meet all the kids in the district and we are all really good friends now. Despite the distance between us we can get to each other so easily. By train it's like ten minutes to anyone's town. The cool thing is that our language school is in COPENHAGEN. How crazy is that? It is so cool. When we first started the language school we had it for two weeks straight until we went to a language camp for a week and now we only have it on Tuesdays and Thursdays for four more months which is so great because it gives you a break from regular school and all the exchange students get to hang out. Almost every day after language school my host dad and two host brothers took me around Copenhagen and showed me all the sights. We also saw Bill Gates' boat with a helicopter on top of it too. It was crazy big and I couldn't believe he had it in Denmark haha. Copenhagen is truly a wonderful city and so beautiful. I am so glad they have put all the work forth that they have to preserve it. After a week of that though my host brother Mathias left to go to Wisconsin and I officially took over his room. Anyways let me tell you about the language camp.
The language camp was in Jutland and was the best. The train ride there was a little hectic and I feel bad for the train employees because it was a bunch of kids stuck in the back of the train cart cramping everyone because we all wanted to meet each other but it was out of my hands. Because I and all the other exchange students in my district all had gone to language school I didn't learn much that was new but it was still great. I think I learned more about the culture than anything. Every night was like a party haha because all the Brasilians through dance parties. Of course I had to show everyone my skills but I tried not to embarrass anyone too much but I may have haha. All the exchange students became really good friends during the week and we were all sad to see everyone leave but we knew it couldn't last forever. Everyday though we all had huge beach volleyball games and they had these sauna things at the school too haha. The train ride back was surprisingly more pleasant because each district was split up in its own group. It was some nice relaxation.
I started school the next day after I got back. It is really cool and all the kids are really nice. Although I am so confused on which classes I take but fortunately I don't really have to do much, just one worksheet in each class pretty much. We get like twenty million breaks in school though it's crazy. The way they set up their schedule is also crazy. I don't get it at all. I have to check online everyday to find out what classes I have although I have no clue where they are. Fortunately I have made a couple of friends and they show me around and help me out. The kids are all really cool and I can see myself becoming really good friends with them. The school system here is so different and can you believe the school throws the kids parties, talk about culture shock. How crazy is that? I almost couldn't believe it myself but apparently they do. I am going to one tonight. I'm just starting my life here and getting into a routine because I have been busy with the tourist things and the language school and language camp; it is like I haven't really started living here until this week came and I started going to school. To me this is when my exchange begins. I hope all the other exchange students are having a wonderful time in their countries and I wish everyone back in America well.
December 6 Journal
Well, it’s been about three months since my last journal. I guess all I can say is sorry - feel free to e-mail and yell at me.
Well, let’s get down to business. Denmark is awesome. I have wonderful friends here, the language is coming along nicely, and I don’t want to leave. It’s so weird because when I got here I had a completely different feeling of Denmark but now it just feels right. It is so hard to explain and I guess you have to be an exchange student or at least go to another country for a while to understand. For the people reading this and thinking about whether they want to be an exchange student stop thinking and start acting. It is only one year out of your whole life and you won’t regret it.
As of right now everything is going good. My only problem is my school wants to switch me into another class and I really don’t want to. They put me in second year at my gymnasium and I should have been in the first year to begin with but there were no open spaces in the first year. Now there is an open space and they want to switch me. I love my class and everyone is so cool in it and I really don’t want to have to make friends all over again or anything like that. But I think I will be able to stay in the class I am in now so I am not worrying about it.
I have recently switched host families and my new host family is great. We get along so well and it is nice not having younger siblings in the house that I have to put up with. I have a 16 year old brother named Jeppe and a 15 year old sister named Mette.
OK rewind to about two and a half months ago. I got a call from my counsellor saying that there was a weekend in Sweden so I thought great I’ll go. Then I remembered oh yea Glenn is in Sweden I wonder if she will be at the rotary get together thing. Turns out she was. What a small world. I though that was pretty weird. We had fun on the weekend, we even took a six hour hike through the woods. Yea the walking part sucked but the Swedish forest is absolutely amazing. We went to this gorge thing where there were these massive rocks just lingering over your head just waiting to fall, it was probably the coolest thing I have ever seen in my life.
Rotary has been awesome to us here, they even threw us a thanksgiving dinner for us. It wasn’t like home but close enough and the turkey was damn good. The Rotex for here even threw us a Halloween weekend. All the exchange students in Denmark went to Holbæk which is a beach town on the middlewester coast of Zealand. We had this huge costume party and some Brazilian guy dressed up as a transvestite and won the award for best costume so that was pretty funny. We explored the city and had a huge indoor hockey tournament. My team didn’t lose a match but the catch is we just tied all of them. The funny thing though is that these three Canadians that play hockey couldn’t beat us so we rubbed that in their faces and it made for some good jokes afterwards.
After Sweden and Holbæk I was talking to some of my friends and they were like oh did you hear that the MTV European awards is going to be here. So we went and got tickets for them. You had to try out to get the tickets though. It was probably the most embarrassing thing I have ever done but it was worth it. Me and my friend got front row to where the bands were playing but it was really crowded and everyone would not stop pushing everyone around.
Those are pretty much the big things that have been happening. I have just been living my life here and loving it. Oh and I found a baseball club here too, which is extremely rare from what I’ve been told. Thank you Rotary for making this possible.
April 1 Journal
Hej, how’s everyone doing? Well I’m doing great. Well, better than I was. It’s been awhile so I have a lot to tell you but not as much I should have. Well here is what’s been going on.
When January came around after Christmas break I was starting to feel a little crappy. Is this homesickness? No it couldn’t be - I knew I had gotten over it a while ago. Then what is this, I feel like crap all the time. Well, two weeks passed and I hadn’t been to school much because I was feeling sick. I got a call from the lady at my school that handles the exchange students and she said that she had finally decided to switch my classes because I was supposed to be a first year from the beginning and I wasn’t really doing anything in my second year class. So I went to visit my first year class and I met them and they seemed really cool. I started feeling light headed and I thought I was just nervous but I knew that couldn’t be it because I have basically gotten over any public things that make me nervous so that doesn’t happen anymore. I finally knew I had to go to the doctor’s office when I went to the principal’s office and passed out in a chair.
The next day my host mom took me to the doctor’s office and they took some blood tests and said I had a minor infection which they said was no big deal. But they wanted to test me for mono too. I ended up having to take myself back to the doctor’s about a week later which was less than fun and get a blood test. Well, it turns out that I had mono and that “minor infection” they were talking about was actually a pretty big sinus infection. So that put me out of action for about 2 months. My tongue was swollen I couldn’t bend my head back or forth because there was so much pressure in my head that it hurt to do that. My throat was on fire. I barely ate anything. I basically laid there in agony for two months. It basically was the worst time in my life.
I finally got over that though and have been having a great time. My host families have been somewhat messed up. My second family had dropped out on me so I moved in with a last minute family which I think I have already told y’all. But then their next door neighbor’s daughter became anorexic so they had to take in their neighbor’s other daughter while the anorexic one went to Odense for therapy for a month. So I had to leave, so there was room for the other daughter. My third family wasn’t ready for me and because I still had mono I was less than desirable to have. I would have stayed with my counselor but he was in Austria for a week. So I was going to stay with the club president but he changed his mind at the last second.
I ended up staying on a farm for a week with two of the coolest people I have met. It was a great place to rest up and so relaxing. They had two hunting dogs that were so well trained they would do anything and they kept me company. I even got to drive a tractor almost everyday. The guy at the house whose name is Jens took me to his mom’s old summer house which is one of few that are right on the beach with a private beach. It was awesome. Even though it was winter we had a great time walking up and down the beach with the two dogs looking for sharks’ teeth and just messing around. I even got to sleep in this humongous bed which is completely different from the usually 3 and a half foot wide bed.
After that week I moved in with my counselor Erik. He lives in probably the coolest town I have ever seen in my life. Okay to start, it’s a small town on the north coast of Nordsjælland. It’s a small town so everyone knows each other. It’s right on the beach with a nice harbor and my counselor even has a small boat we fish off of. His house is on a hill about a ten minute walk from the beach looking over the whole town and the town’s lake. Waking up in the morning and going out on his deck and peering out over the sunny town and the golden lake is probably the best way of starting your day that I can think of. He is even part of the local boat club so if we go out on the boat we usually go back up to the club house and sit down at the bar and talk it up with everyone.
I was a little depressed to find out that I was going to be moving from there in about two weeks to my third host family. Well, I had a London trip in the middle of March and my counselor decided that after that I would move to my third family. I talked to him about how I would only have basically a month and a half there because my Euro Tour is in the middle of May and asked if I could stay at his house. As luck would have it, his wife and son wanted me to stay too, so I get to stay in that town for the rest of my stay here which is probably the best news I’ve gotten since hearing about Euro Tour.
Well, speaking about my London trip, it was awesome. I had to wake up at about three in the morning and left the house at four to go down to Copenhagen Airport. Needless to say I was a little tired. Our plane left at about 7:20 and we got there around 8:50. I had to stand in the non-EU line for about two hours because of all the people coming back home from spring break but I was too excited to care. We checked into our hotel which was in the middle of London by Queensway and Bayswater station. We had everything around us so we were in a perfect spot. We saw everything from Buckingham Palace to The London Bridge.
We flew back from about a week of being there and I was tired. The most sleep I got a night was at a max of five hours. I was ready to just pass out completely. After my London trip my counselor informed me that he was going on a cruise in the Caribbean and that I was going to stay with the second family that dropped out on me. I was at first very displeased with this because I didn’t want to stay with the people that decided they didn’t want to have me. But I’m here now and have been for about four days and everything is ok. I’m relaxing on my Easter vacation and enjoying the warm weather that has finally arrived in Denmark. Yes the high 50’s is warm weather to me now. I hope all the other exchange students are having a great time. I miss you all.