excited reflections from a sugar-filled 20 year old

For the sake of full disclosure, right now I am sitting on the couch of my house here in Denmark. I am seriously procrastinating the reading I have and papers I should write (my unsuccessful study habits followed me here). I think study abroad can have this strange facade of life only being a string of pretty Instagram pictures and I just want to be really transparent about the fact that life abroad is not 24/7 adventure and excitement and happiness and donuts!!! I love it here because those things are so easy to grasp and I am so grateful, but if it were all that all the time, it wouldn’t be life!!

Life, on any continent, has a lot of moving parts and at least for me, is never “all good” or “all bad” at once. What I have been reminded of since coming to Copenhagen is that Christ is the constant one, and he is enough. At church today, we talked a little bit about the story in Matthew where Jesus asks Simon Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” When Simon Peter answers, Jesus says, “Now that you know who I am, let me tell you who you are.” He defines us!

While I feel unbelievably blessed to be here in Copenhagen and be able to travel to other places too, it would be enough if I were in Nashville this semester and grew closer to Christ. It would be enough if I were here in Copenhagen and sat in my house and read the Bible and didn’t get to go to the rest of Europe and see pretty things. It would be enough if I were at home for a semester, if I grew closer to Christ. Christ is enough and everything else is negotiable. And he loves you and me!!!!! What good news!!!

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As I sat down to write this, I put on “Brand New” from Ben Rector’s new album and wow is it good and catchy and joyful. What a good storyteller he is– about love and friendship and Christ. It’s funny how specific circumstances remind you of important places and people even when you are so far away: one of Ben Rector’s older albums came out right before we moved into Vanderbilt freshman year. “When I’m With You” and “Follow You” and “Forever Like That” were the looped soundtrack of our freshman girls’ bible study sleepover. My first two years of college were dotted with Ben Rector concerts and house shows and blasting every single one of his songs at one point in someone’s car and sitting in dorm rooms painting to album after album.

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I’m a little bit joking but mostly not when I say that Ben Rector is one of God’s many, many gifts to my friends and I in this sweet time of growing up. Or emerging adulthood (lol), if you’re in Psychology of Adolescence (took me 10 minutes to spell that) class with Adeline and me this semester. The shared memories around this man’s music are priceless. So I think it is sweet and a little bit sad but mostly sweet and important that there is a new Ben album and I am not at school right now. I think time apart is teaching me to not take for granted how much I cherish blasting Ben along 65 on the way to Chick-Fil-A, and also teaching me how I like Danish music too (yall it is COOL!).

Thanks for sticking with me for all the sentimental stuff. Denmark may be changing me a lil bit but it will not change how corny I am!!!!

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This past week of life was FUN but it showed me how study abroad gets harder when you actually have to study!! Life is big here. It is not lost on me that this place is special. Every new neighborhood and street and bakery and Thursday afternoon is important. I take pictures of everything and dance around and laugh a lot and truly enjoy this place. Sometimes it gets hard for me to write these posts without a ton of exclamation points and capital letters and italics because I don’t know how else to express my excitement!!!! This might partially stem from my fear of ending sentences with periods because they look sad. The Internet is kinda hard.

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Wednesdays are no-class-days. Thank you DIS for our extra day to play around in the city!! We aren’t actually supposed to have nothing on Wednesdays, we have scheduled field studies for each of our classes, usually one or two each Wednesday. Next week I get to go visit Danish day cares with my Sociology of the Family class! But, since most of us didn’t have field studies this past Wednesday, we decided to explore some of the essential Copenhagen tourist spots.

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We started at Saint Peder’s Bakery, known for their 15 kr cinnamon roll “snails” — they’re only sold on Wednesdays! The bakery is the oldest one in Copenhagen, and my host parents told me they’ve been selling Wednesday snails for as long as they can remember. Perfect timing. Yum. They were great. Some days we eat so many pastries that I can’t keep track. I think I felt guilty about that for 3 seconds, and then I decided that never again will it be acceptable for me to do that, so obviously inhaling as much sugar as possible is first priority!

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After the bakery we wandered over to Tivoli, the amusement park located in the center of Copenhagen. Tivoli also hosts weekly concerts and (so I’m told!) huge Halloween and Christmas extravaganzas. Will get back to you on those! The jury is out on whether I will ever grow up because I love love amusement parks and roller coasters and all the other fun decorations and rides that come with being in a place like Tivoli. I think it can easily feel like a childish thing to love, but thankfully I was there with Laura, Mary Marshall, and Liz– and they loved it too! Parts of the park are set up like little streets and alleyways, and it was just a blast to explore! 

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After Tivoli, we decided to go see the Church of our Saviour. This is the place that a lot of people Instagram from!!! I understand why because it is such an incredible view!! We walked around the whole tower, all the way up to the top (definitely stressful because it is outside), and got to see Copenhagen from above in allllllll its 360 degree glory. Wow I LOVED it!

While we were standing in line to go up, Mary Marshall said something along the lines of, “Is it weird that we are all exploring together today? No!!” She is great. Infectious enthusiasm and laughter and personality. I really liked what she said, though, because it reminded me of what someone told me at summer staff last year:

The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.

It’s a Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote, from his book Life Together. And man, is it true. She was referring that from our little group of 6 (Mary Marshall, Liz, Laura, Adeline, Nina, and me) that has formed of girls from Vanderbilt, not all six of us would be together on a typical Tuesday night Jeni’s run or Saturday football game at school. We all have different spots within Vanderbilt: different groups of friends and dorms where we live and places where we’re involved and all that. However, God blessed us with an incredible opportunity to know each other better this semester; we get to “do” abroad together and that is so so so incredible.

The six of us went to Tivoli together again Friday night, and I kept thinking about how when you love the people right in front of you, you have a community. It’s not about who you may or may not get along with, it’s not “well she has so-and-so friends at school that I don’t get along with so I shouldn’t be her friend,” it’s not about a fear of a new community because it’s not your usual community. You have a community and it is a God-orchestrated group of people to support you in life for that season. Being here has taught me something really simple: trust in God’s provision. He is sovereign!!

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This is a wonderful, wonderful place. I love and miss yall dearly and thanks for reading these even when I talk forever and ever!!! Yall are just the best.

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