Monday, 27 January 2014

LONDON WEEK!

The final week, London week was really Jam-packed, so I'm going to try and give an overview of everything that went down in our final week on exchange.

Sunday:
After arriving (see last post) we took (and by took, I mean had the boys carry) our suitcases up the 96 stairs to our room, where we changed out of our uniforms into normal clothes. After a quick meeting downstairs, where we officially met our tour rovers (see what I did there) for the week Matt and James, we set out for dinner. We dined on pizza and pasta, before boarding the underground to SOHO, the red-light district, for some frozen yoghurt dessert. We had a relatively early night that night, as we were all tired from our travels that day.

Monday:
Breakfast was at 8:30 and we left by 9:00am. Due to the fine weather we set off for Tower of London! After wandering around for a while we moved on to some markets for lunch! After lunch we set off for Shakespeare's Globe! After an absolutely fantastic tour of the Globe we went further along the Thames to TATE, the modern art gallery. After a quick look around (as none of us were particularly interested in modern art) we set off back to the underground, on our walk across the foot bridge, featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1, it started raining... then it started hailing... and my water and snow proof boots got wet... inside the shoes. Once we had made it back to the hotel and changed into some dry clothes and shoes we went out for dinner at

Tuesday:
After breakfast we headed out to Churchill's Bunker, it was extremely interesting, and the museum had many great displays and information. The gift shop was very cute and I bought some 'Ration Fudge'. When we had finished in the bunker we headed over to a large court yard where we witnessed the changing of the horse guard, which was really cool. We then walked through a park, where we saw geese and SQUIRRELS, to get to Buckingham Palace. Once finished up there we headed to the underground again to get to Kings Cross Station to visit Platform 9 3/4 to satisfy our Harry Potter Fangirlling hearts! After photo's and a visit to the gift shop we set off on our way again, to Camden Markets! This was both interesting and kinda scary. The markets here were a little 'alternative' but as long as you stuck with a buddy you were sure to be safe. After a delicious lunch of fresh made Hawaiian pizza, that I shared with Amy, and a Nutella waffle (or two) and much wandering, our market time was over. On the way home we did some shoe shopping, where I bought some vans, and eventually made it home, we ran to the hotel and dumped our stuff. That night we went on the ever-so-scary Jack The Ripper Tour (dun dun duuun). The tour guide was absolutely amazing and the tour was both informative and really fun... in a scary way haha.

Wednesday:
On Wednesday we split into two groups, the smaller of the groups having a fancy breakfast, the larger of the groups going to the WARNER BROS. HARRY POTTER STUDIO TOUR!!! It was so exciting! we wandered through the sets, we tried flying on a broomstick and driving the Weasley's enchanted car. We even got to try Butter Beer (which was delicious)!!! Once we had finally Harry Pottered ourselves out in the sets and gift shop we set off on the train, stopping only to grab a quick bite to eat, to meet the others for a tour, called 'unseen tours'. These tours are led by homeless, or ex homeless, people, they take you around the city showing you common homeless sleeping area's and raising awareness of the issue of homelessness in London. Once this was done we went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. For dinner we decided not to go out and instead Matt took a few of us down to a nearby pizza shop to pick us up some dinner... which were six HUMONGOUS pizza's. Each piece was easily bigger than my head! It was delicious and we then spent the evening playing games such as 'cards against humanity' and 'spoons' and 'bullshit'.

Thursday:
On Thursday we went to The Crystal, a science centre focusing on the future, where we spent some time exploring the museum then we went on a cable car ride across the river! This was soo cool! After this we went into Greewich. There a beautiful hall full of wall and roof paintings. After this we went to some markets for lunch, followed by a street art tour! Once the tour was over we went to an Asian restaurant for dinner before heading to two separate shows, one group went and saw Matilda the musical! which I really wanted to see, but it was rather expensive, so the rest of us went to see 'We Will Rock You' the Queen tribute musical... WHICH WAS AMAZING!!! We had a late night that night, we had a quick meeting around 12:30 am after which we went to our rooms to do some quick packing before going to bed and finish packing in the morning.

Friday:
Our Last day in London and on Exchange :( We spent the morning finishing off our packing before heading into the city to do our last minute sight seeing. We started with 'The Monument' Climbing a large spiral staircase that seemed to go on forever, but were rewarded with amazing 360 degree views of London! After this we headed over to M&M world. We had a classic English Fish and Chip lunch. After lunch we hit up the cheesy tourist markets, Eliza and I had a look through the Transport Museum, then Matt showed us an old-style toy shop. Once we were done here we headed back to the hotel to grab our suitcases and struggle through the peak hour rush onto the underground to get to Heathrow Airport... we managed to get there across about 3 different trains, but we all made it in one piece (except my suitcase... poor thing lost a wheel). After weighing our bags (all safely under the 30kg limit) we thanked Matt and James for looking after us, gave them cards and chocolate, and James left while Matt got us safely checked into our flights, even posing as legal guardian for one of the boy's who had forgotten a spare 'unassisted minor form'. Eventually it was time for us to go through customs. After a lengthy and reluctant goodbye we all made it through customs. Once through customs I got 'random drug tested', the poor customs officer had so much trouble with the swab stick he ended up submitting an unused swab for analysis and so obviously it came up clean.. not that I'm complaining!

We had two uneventful flights home, and made it safely through Australian customs. It feels so good to be home, but I can easily say that the 7 weeks in Denmark and 1 in London were the BEST 8 weeks of my life! I am so glad that I had the opportunity to experience all that I did and encourage any Venturers in Australia, Denmark, London and Japan to get onboard the SISEP experience.. you won't regret it. For more information on the SISEP program follow this link: http://www.international.scouts.com.au/main.asp?iMenuID=17658024

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Final Days In Denmark/Getting To London

Guess what!? I finally made it to LONDON!! However getting to London meant that one really, really sad event had to occur... I had to say goodbye to my AMAZING host family.

Thursday:
It was just another day at school, but we received the English essays, that we submitted in the first week of my being in Denmark, back. I got a 12 on my essay,which is the best score you can get, so that was reassuring. Natacia had her first day of work that day after school, which meant that I had to catch the bus home by myself and spend the evening by myself with my host mum and dad, which wasn't so bad. So Natacia spent 8 hours at work, earning herself some money, while I went home, had some afternoon tea with the parents, spent some time on my laptop, then we made dinner of left over lasagna and left over curry, meatballs and rice... it was really quite delicious. Susanne and I then watched a movie until Kurt brought Natacia home. Unfortunately Natacia's work asked her to work again the following afternoon/evening. We had planned that we were going to spend the afternoon together in Slagelse, so as a compromise Susanne said that instead of going to school the next day we could spend the day together.

Friday:
We went into Slagelse around 9:30 ish, and wandered around the shopping centre, I bought some chocolate to take home with me. For lunch we went to a cafe and ate some nacho's, which were quite nice, though nothing like what we call nacho's in Australia... After lunch we went into the school so I could say goodbye and give the class a small gift of thank you and farewell. I gave them Tim Tam's and Ipswich Pride pins, and after a quick photo Natacia and I were on our way again. That evening Natacia went to work and Susanne and I collected Oliver from the train station.

Saturday:
On Saturday morning I made a Pavlova, we pulled out some Danish and Australian flags, set the table, plated up the Pav and Lamingtons (courtesy of Alice, last year's exchange scout), and invited the whole family over for a farewell morning tea. It was a lovely morning getting to have a final chat to everyone. Saturday evening we had a lovely family dinner at home, with just the five of us, and it was a really nice evening to end such an enjoyable time together.

Sunday:
The final day. Natacia and I had had a bit of a late night, staying up into the wee hours of the morning talking. We all had breakfast together, the final items were placed into my bags, I dressed in my uniform and got ready to leave. It was absolutely heartbreaking to have to say goodbye to such an amazing family who had done so much for me during my stay. I honestly can not thank them enough for making my stay the best it possibly could have been, they went above and beyond what I expected from a host family, I truly felt as though I belonged, and they have become my family. Saying goodbye at the airport was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. THANK YOU SO MUCH KURT, SUSANNE, OLIVER and especially NATACIA FOR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE DONE FOR ME!

The flight to London was filled with absolute disbelief that our 7 week host family stay was over, and the sharing of stories from all the things we had done and shared with our host families. In just under 2 hours we had arrived in LONDON! The final week of our trip was about to begin. However first we had to get to the hotel...
We dragged our suitcases through the airport, hauled them on and off the tube (the underground train network), and then very slowly (and slightly painfully) dragged them through the streets of Notting Hill til we made it to our destination... a hotel, which you may notice is not BP House, Kensington Court Hotel, Notting Hill, London! Home for the next week. Of course, just to make things difficult, my room was on the top floor, 96 stairs up.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Last Week In Denmark

Monday 6 January:
So, School has started again, and getting up at 5:55, after spending two weeks sleeping in, was very difficult. However, we managed and were keeping better time than we had been before the holidays. Monday was a long day at school finishing at 3:25. I didn't really know what was happening, but I used the time wisely to catch up on blog (not that I was behind or anything *cough*). I survived the day though, it was my 4th last school day in Denmark...
After School Natacia and Susanne took me to Bilka, which is an everything store (food, clothes, everything...) to buy a Jacket, which were on sale for 150 Dkr ($30 aud), because on my stay I've been borrowing one of theirs, and forgot I needed one for England... silly me.

Tuesday 7 January:
3rd last school day down. This day was just as long as Monday, but it seemed longer as we ended the day with three lessons of the same subject- Technology, where they were writing a report for their projects completed before the holidays. It wasn't too bad though, and again I survived. Tuesday evening we had Scouts. This was my last scout meeting before I leave on Sunday. The scouts spent the evening making posters, in groups of 2, about different topics such as, stopping the spread of HIV/AIDs, Malaria and other diseases. At the end I presented them with some thank you presents for letting me temporarily join their group. I gave them: 1 Australian flag, 1 Queensland flag, 1 Australian scarf, 1 Queensland scarf, and every person got a cling on Koala and and Ipswich Pride pin, as well as an Australian scout badge each. They then gave be a special Green Girl Guide pin, which is given to members who do something 'special' and a Fugleberg badge, which is their group name, which was really nice. Thank you Fugleberg Green Girl Guides for letting me join your Scout Group over my stay in Denmark.

Wednesday 8 January:
Australian's Copenhagen Day. Today all the Australians in Denmark (except for Jaqui) went to Copenhagen for the day. This meant braving the trains alone (eek!) and managing to find each other. Luckily for me my host Dad drove me to the train station near where he works and made sure I got on the right train. Once in there it was discovered that one of the Australian's whole host family had come (apparently if one goes to Copenhagen, they all go to Copenhagen), but that turned out to be nice, because they did a bit of tour guiding for us. we started off looking at some of the tourist attractions in Copenhagen, then had a bite for lunch in McDonalds, before heading off to the shops. Once we were shopped out we went back to the train station, where the host family made sure we all got on our correct trains. I made the hour train, half hour bus, and 5 minute walk back to my host family safe and sound. It was a fun day, catching up with the Australian's before we leave for London on Sunday.

28-30 December

So the last time I wrote, I wrote about New Years... but I never told you what I did earlier in the week, so It's probably time I did.

Saturday 28 December:
Today we went to N├Žstved to the Shopping Centre. There were a few things we needed to get. New Year's Eve supplies, Natacia and Susanne needed some clothes for a party we were going to on Sunday, and they also needed some thing to hold a special song that would be sung at the party. So we wandered around the shopping centre going in and out of stores, both Natacia and Susanne found clothes, we managed to get our NYE supplies, but we didn't get anything for the song... When we were finished in the shopping centre we went home. At home Natacia and I lazed about in our room while Susanne, Oliver and Kurt tried to make a cardboard car to put the song in, it turned out pretty well.

Sunday 29 December:
On Sunday we went to a party to celebrate Natacia's Uncle's 50th as well as continued celebrations from the Uncle and Aunty's 12.5 year (Copper) anniversary. It was really Lovely, the food was delicious, and there was lots of singing and speeches. Before dessert all the children (18 and under attendee's) went for a walk to the beach, as we were right on the waters edge. Dessert was amazing, vanilla Ice cream cake, Strawberry Ice cream cake and a raspberry tart... YUM! and just when you though the food was over the brought out bowls of Tom's Chocolate, and I can't resist chocolate, so sadly I ate a bit too much chocolate. But that's ok, because I thought that the party was winding down, turns out we just reached the next stage... Soup! it was a broccoli and potato soup with bread, it was soo good. I also got to meet someone who spent a year in Australia at university, which was interesting, as she understood the differences between Denmark and Australia. The party was lovely, I also received some more Christmas gifts there, Kurt's Sister's family gave me Danish biscuits, a pictorial guide to Denmark, Reisen (kind of like Fantales) and an extendable Danish flag, which was lovely.

Monday 30 December:
On Monday Natacia, Kurt, Susanne and I went into Copenhagen for some more sight seeing. We went on a Canal tour, which was super cool, both metaphorically and literally. After that we made our way down the main street, going in all the tourist shops, buying all the souvenirs. Then after a spot of Lunch/Dinner Natacia and I went on our merry way into clothes shops. We finished the day by going to Tivoli to see the light show in the lake, which was really cool. Once the light show was over we made our way home, we're we snacked on left over sausages from dinner earlier in the week, It was a fun day.

So that was what happened before New Years... and Now It's Thursday I only have 2.5 days left...

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

New Year's To Roskilde Viking Ship Museum








The Balloons Had Lights In Them













Obviously The Correct Way To Light Fireworks






























































Lovely Chalkboard Display in Natacia's Room


Basically, We Were Going To Die










































After Making It To The Top








































































































One Month, One Week, One Day