How to survive the Deer Park in Aarhus.

I know, I know, the title of this post sounds rather absurd. You must be thinking, what is there to survive at the Deer Park (or Dyrehaven in Danish), when it is full of, you guessed it, deer?

I mean, how can creatures who can give such look be even remotely dangerous?

deerpark1

Okay, you are right. There is nothing dangerous about the Deer Park…

Unless you are an occasional moron like me.

When I was moving to Aarhus, Dyrehaven was one of the top items at my to-visit list. But because it was far and hilly to cycle there I was too busy studying, I put it off until my sister and her friend came to visit me in December. I had the perfect excuse to take the bus instead since it was way too cold and my sister and her friend were not accustomed to cycling on the road in the cold.

It took us quite a walk after dropping off from bus 100 from Banegårdspladsen. We passed by several beautiful winter sceneries like this.

deerpark5

When we first caught sight of the deer, it was pretty exhilarating.

deerpark4
HELLO CUTIES.

But soon we realised something was amiss. The deer came to us for a few seconds, and left, looking dejected. Then they came back again and sniffed at our backpack, and that was when it hit me: we forgot to bring food for them.

deerpark3
This little guy even tried to eat my sister’s camera.

These deer, cute as they were, were much more interested in being fed than being pet. What they wanted was not our love, but our food. I felt rather guilty for seemingly coming to trick them, luring them to me, making them think I had some food and then HA! nothing.

But it was a seriously honest, albeit stupid, mistake from our part. I could not even have given them anything even if I wanted to since I had nothing with me (apart from smoked salmon sandwiches on Danish rye bread, but the idea of a bunch of bambis gorging on salmon just seemed barbaric to me that I decided to save the sandwiches for our lunch). I tried hard to apologise in the most deer-like manner as I could. After a while, the leader of the pack seemed to sense that we were a bunch of liars, so he came and showed himself, angry.

deerpark6

After a few more attempts to make friends with the deer, we decided it was best for us to leave. Good thing a couple other visitors came and gave them some food. I felt slightly better that the deer wouldn’t go starving on that dreary winter day.

So my only tip for going to the Deer Park is: bring some carrots or apples with you if you want to leave with a clear conscience, and if you were to forget them, please, for the life of you, don’t dress up like a giant carrot.

deerpark2

They might end up trying to eat you instead.

Advertisements

Appreciating Aarhus.

I still have a lot of things that I want to write about my trip in December. There is a story about my first encounter with the whales somewhere in the Norwegian Sea, there is something to say about my visit to the charming city of Bergen, or when I somehow found myself in Paris for the last day of 2015 and the first few days of 2016. And I haven’t even talked anything about my (almost) annual ritual of visiting Stockholm yet.

But something happened that completely snatched my attention away from all these things: the arrival of February.

february1

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing bad about February. In fact, February is generally an excellent month: a lot of my close friends’ birthdays are in February, Chinese New Year often falls in February, and 2016 is a leap year, how exciting!

There is just one tiny little detail that is different about this year’s February compared to the previous years (apart from the fact that I am spending Chinese New Year away from my family for the first time in my life): I’m moving to a different continent at the end of the month.

It certainly does not feel or seem like it at all since I don’t have anything sorted out for the big move yet. I have no visa (hopefully it is on its way), no flight booked (although I already have a very rough idea which one I am going to take), no accommodation (okay, this is the real problem I think, although I have a few kind souls who are on the lookout for me).

But I’m not here to complain about my administrative problems. Instead, what I’m trying to say is that the realisation that I’m leaving this month brings in another sinking fact: my time in Aarhus from now on can be counted in days.

It felt just like yesterday when I wrote this post about my first impressions of Aarhus just after my arrival here. But when I read through the post again, it felt like ages ago since my first visit to ARoS, when I lost my wallet and found it back thanks to Danish people’s astounding honesty, when interactions with my class mates were mere awkward exchange of conversations with strangers.

But how times have changed. Back then I had no clue that I was going to leave the place so soon and that some of the people here would be very dear to me.

P1410455

And as for Aarhus, after almost 6 months, I have managed to take the place for granted – for a good few months up until before Christmas, I had formed a view that the place is a mere small ‘city’ where you could get nothing done and nothing much to do – accompanied by perpetually horrible weather which ‘sucked the energy out of you’ (to quote a friend), you would practically want to do nothing else but escape from the rain and get into the comfort of your room (although I have to admit I’m extremely fond and proud of my room – see above picture). For someone who had previously lived her whole life in the world’s capitals (Jakarta, Beijing, Singapore, Copenhagen), I found this change in energy level unexpectedly hard and unsettling.

It was not until my last day in Aarhus in 2015 before I left for Oslo for my trip that I realised I had not taken enough time to appreciate the city and its beauty. I had been so engrossed in my little bubble at the outskirt of the city (hereby known as ‘the countryside’) that I failed to notice some of the beauty it had to offer.

february2
This practically looks magical.

Continue reading “Appreciating Aarhus.”

A crazy month that was December.

I realised that this turned out to be a very long post, so I have decided to give subtitles to each event (it must be the influence of all the academic writing that I had to do last semester) and you can just pick which of these interest you the most. I could have broken these into a few posts, but I think it is paramount to put them all together to show what a month it had been.

Happy New Year!

First thing first, I figured that most of you would probably not realise that I have updated the ‘about missruslee‘ page, so do check it out!

Now that it is January, I feel I can very safely talk about December last year (!!!). Some people might refer to the month as a series of unfortunate events for me, but I prefer, as I told a friend of mine who faced similar predicaments at one point in the month, to think of it as Murphy’s law being at its full force and me somehow having guardian angels in the form of strangers, neighbours and classmates.

So here goes, in chronological order:

The Prequel

To be fair, it was not entirely December’s doing. It probably started some time late November when, for reasons only the dear bus driver knows, the Aarhus Airport Bus decided to leave without me even though I was already dragging my luggage to board the bus. It was probably the first panic attack that I have had in years, when it sank on me that there was a real chance that I could have missed my flight to Copenhagen, which would mean that I would have missed my connecting flight to Shanghai, which would mean that I would have had to miss my best friend’s wedding where I was the maid of honour.

But I made it to the flight in the end. In the midst of my panic attack, two very kind strangers saw what happened (including me running after the bus with my luggage flailing), approached me, and sorted things out for me. They called a taxi, and one of them waited for me until the taxi arrived to explain the situation to the driver (since I was in no condition to speak due to the said panic attack), and the driver assured me that I would still make it for my flight and I would be compensated by the Airport Bus company for the cost of the taxi (which amounted to a whopping DKK 567 or USD 82, unheard of for me even if I decided to take a tour of Singapore in a cab).

december11
Still can’t believe I made it.

The Flight Delay

I think I was not destined to take the airport bus during that trip. On the way back to Aarhus, my flight from Beijing to Copenhagen was delayed by more than an hour due to the horrible weather in the capital of China.

Continue reading “A crazy month that was December.”

A walk in the park.

I grew up in South East Asia where the sun is constantly shining, save for days where there are thunderstorms. There are no seasons – just sunny, rainy or cloudy days (with no chance of meatballs unfortunately), with the sun shining for 10 hours consistently throughout the year. People would complain about the heat and the glaring sunlight, and they would go by all means to avoid them. If you are lucky to live in a country like Singapore for example, you can go pretty far by walking through the network of underground concourses built throughout the country without having to be exposed to the sun at all.

So when I first arrived in Denmark, I came with this sense of entitlement for sunshine – that its presence is given and to be avoided. It was not until I have experienced several continuous gloomy days and had to cycle in the pouring rain on the day I needed to submit my paper that I started having the urge to do everything out in the open when the sun is shining. I start cursing the days when I have to stay in my room to read when the sun is shining. I may have also developed the habit of staring idly at the blue sky in public or stopping after every few metres to take pictures while I’m cycling.

In short, I have grown to love the sun, like a proper Nordic person does.

So it is perfectly understandable that last Sunday when the sky was clear and the sun was shining, I took a very long detour on my way home from badminton – what would have taken 30 minutes ended up to be a 1.5-hour journey. I cycled through the University Park of Aarhus University and decided to park my bike and just take in everything around me.

Uniparken-1

Continue reading “A walk in the park.”

Aarhus, first impressions.

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.

aarhus3
My new home.

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.

Continue reading “Aarhus, first impressions.”