Hi again, it’s me!!!
In the last verse of Psalm 16, David declares, “You make known to me the path of life,” which I taped on the back door of our apartment this summer as a reminder to trust in the Lord’s provision for all the laughing and crying and eating and dancing and mourning and living to be had in this little life I’ve been given. This Psalm, along with a few others, is given the title “miktam”, meaning “to cover.” The Lord covers David. Even while being persecuted by Saul, he declares that he knows how good his God is, and how faithful he is to his children who love him. He shows that he knows the Lord’s power can protect him.
Even in a time of persecution, he also declares the eternal joy that comes from this relationship with a savior: the 9th verse exclaiming, “No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice!” Or, if you’re Danish, “Derfor glædes mit Hjerte, min Ære jubler!” (Please don’t ask me to pronounce all those words just yet!) The title of this post comes from that verse–it means “I rejoice!”
Psalm 16 just feels relevant because gosh, have I felt like rejoicing these past few days. NAFSA, the association started to assist students coming to study in America after World War II, now publishes statistics on the demographics of study abroad students. Only about 1 percent of all students enrolled in higher education institutions in America study abroad in some capacity. Wow. To me, this statistic reads as, what an enormous blessing I have been given.
Laura and I got to spend some time wandering this afternoon on our way to the train station, which prompted a bunch of photo ops. Down every corner are sweet storefronts in a Crayola-box-sized selection of colors. I feel like I’m in a movie every time I step out of class. And even while we’re in class, we keep the windows open! Buildings aren’t ever skyscraper-height here, but they are pretty crammed together around tiny cobblestone roads and alleys, so it’s a great distraction in class to listen to the chatter of conversation and idle meandering of shoes down a few floors on the streets below.
I don’t think I have ever taken so many pictures in my life! Today my host mom and I were talking about how being abroad requires you to live life with an intensity not often required in a childhood home or home university: you are so used to those places but abroad, you’ve probably been lovingly brainwashed that this will be a wonderful experience, preemptively wanting to make the most of it. So that’s one part of the “intensity”, but truthfully, it doesn’t have to be forced–there is just so much to see! We’ve been here for just about a week and a half, and it feels like at least a month.
The librarian-genes in me (hi Mom!) were almost magnetically attracted to the closest bookstore to my house, a cute little place called Books and Company. The store is tiny, but absolutely packed with books, and they’re in English!
Growing up, my mom had a worn-out t-shirt that she wore all the time that bore the quote, “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” I guess you really do become your parents, because, well, I think that same thing! And although this is a bookstore, where I’d assumed you generally buy the books without spending a lot of time lingering, I was so excited to see a couple girls comfortably settled in armchairs when I first walked in, shoes off and everything, leafing through page after page. I already love spending time here–thinking this will be a tradition, just like my trips to The Donut Shop!
When I first got here, it was easy for me to recognize the differences between Denmark and America that I considered “too different to handle,” but this attitude does not flow from the joy in Christ that David professes so eagerly. Once I could see this place as a blessing, I began to fall in love with this ridiculously photogenic city that I knew nothing about only a year ago.
There really is a time for everything–a time to be at school with a community that knows and supports you, and a time where that story gets a little bit rewritten, in favor of quiet times at the kitchen table of a new house and hours spent exploring new coffee shops and tourist sites. I am over and over again in awe of the fact that this–this place, these people, this new setting to experience Christ–gets to be my life right now. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!
It’s amazing to me that there are dozens of cities, all over the world, all with God’s precious creations living in them, walking their streets and sitting in their cafes and laughing until it hurts in the homes of their friends. The world is a beautiful, if daunting, place to explore. It is the best feeling to realize how small you are and how much God has left to show you.
The famous Donutella donuts. Man. I love them. In the past week and a half, I think I have generally subsisted on meat, potatoes, danishes, croissants, and donuts. And tomorrow, there are 15 kr ($2) cinnamon rolls before we go to Tivoli. What a life. I’ll eat vegetables back in America.
This is me, maybe a little too excited about the automatic light (and automatic everything else!) in the bathroom of the central Copenhagen library. Thank you thank you thank you to y’all for coming along to this incredible place with me! I have found writing about this place and my life here, even in just the first few days, to be a ridiculously helpful way to remember little details about these days. And these days are sometimes hard but mostly sweet, awe-inspiring, glorious, so I want to remember! I love y’all!
I am glad, and I rejoice!