Well, where do I begin?
It has been a whirlwind of a time since my last post: I have moved myself more than 14,000 km north from Singapore to this city called Aarhus, a city of just over 300,000 inhabitants, of which 10% are students of Aarhus University. Bringing just two (oversized) suitcases and a (gigantic) backpack (well maybe with a big handbag), I have now pretty much comfortably settled into my dorm room, put up some fairy lights (I am very proud of them), bought my bike, got drenched in the rain a few times, started classes and attended more social functions than my introvert self could handle.
Oh and I have managed to lose my wallet too. In a bar. And I miraculously got it back.
So all in all, it has been extremely eventful first 10 days here in Aarhus, and tonight is the first night that I have had some time on my own to sit down and take in everything that I have experienced so far about this city and my new life here.
Here are some of the more coherent thoughts I came up with after sieving through my brain for a few hours and having taken a look at all the pictures that I have taken so far.
Danish (and non Danish) people are awesome.
From the moment I landed on this land, not a single person has treated me less than awesomely. The Danes may look reserved, but they are unbelievably friendly and helpful. I have had people offering to carry my luggage, walked me to my destination when I asked them for direction, and urm, return me my lost wallet with the content still intact. Not to mention Danish classmates and buddies who have been incredibly enthusiastic in helping us find our way around the city. Apart from that, I have been incredibly lucky to meet wonderful new friends who gave me moral support when I was in dire need of it and provided me with directions when I got lost. I still am amazed by how amazing people have been so far, and that’s one of the main reasons I have been coping well here.
It is possible to live on a budget here.
For the first week, some of us have sounded like a broken record and complained about how expensive things are here. This shouldn’t come as a surprise – Denmark IS expensive. But as it turned out, it is possible to live on a budget here if you are really disciplined. Cooking and packing your lunch is one way to save tons of money. And for shopping, secondhand markets are the way to go along with online shops and having a keen eye for good bargain at shopping malls. A case in point, I have just purchased a purse for DKK 10 (SGD 2) in relatively good condition. Now if only I can find a raincoat for a reasonable price here…
It is, however, not possible to live here without a bike.
The first time I truly feel settled was not when I had moved to my dorm, nor was it when I had purchased all the essentials from IKEA (although that was crucial too). It was only when I had got my bike did I truly feel that I have finally got a handle on living here. Before that, it was just too much walking was painfully slow and nothing felt worse than watching those cyclists zooming past by as we were slouching up the walkway with our umbrellas. The only faster alternative to walking was a DKK 20 (SGD 4) per trip bus ride which would do nothing good to my already bursting budget. Hence, the moment I got hold of a bike, it felt so… liberating – I could go practically anywhere here – well, if only Aarhus was just a tiny bit flatter. Which brings me to my next point…
There are WAY too many hills and slopes in Aarhus.
According to Wikipedia, Denmark is characterised by its flat landscape, but I am very convinced by now that Aarhus is possibly the exception. The landscape of this city feels like an undulating wave – with my dorm at the peak, the campuses somewhere in the middle and the downtown at the trough. This means that coming home after class or a day of shopping downtown would literally be an uphill task. And my legs have definitely been abused over the past week from cycling.
The weather is cranky.
This was the weather that greeted me on my very first day in Aarhus.
On the same day, the sky darkened as if someone had just spoilt its mood (and ours).
The weather changes so drastically in a day, so much so that there is a saying, “If you hate the weather in Aarhus, just wait for ten minutes and it would probably get better.” True enough, after 10 minutes of raining, the sun sometimes shows itself again (though more often than not it is followed by rain afterwards for the rest of the day).
Having said that, for the past few days the sky has been in unusually excellent mood. I am crossing my fingers that it would stay this way, at least until I have seen the beach and the Deer Park.
Rainbows are my personal theme here.
You would probably have noticed the rainbow on top of a squarish brick building in the previous pictures. That was the rainbow panorama on top of ARoS, the modern art museum of Aarhus. To most people, that would be THE rainbow of Aarhus.
But for me, my days here have been nothing but rainbows.
From me failing spectacularly at doing a jump shot at the rainbow panorama.
Or me walking in a technicolour mist.
To me witnessing nature’s very own rainbow on the day I realised I had lost my wallet.
I wouldn’t lie and say that I have seen much of my new home. There is still so much to explore, and I haven’t even started travelling yet, so I guess this goes without saying that from this point on, this blog will be about my life and travels here in Denmark and Europe.
I hope you stay tuned and follow all my upcoming (mis)adventures. You can also follow me on instagram @missruslee for snippets of my life up north. 🙂
P.S. To my family and friends back home, this means I’m well, alive and kicking here in Aarhus.