HOLY GUACAMOLE!!! It has been a hot minute since I have written about my daily shenanigans (shania-gans?) on this blog. Yes, the rumours are true: I am still alive. Believe it or not, I’ve actually been swamped with school work (what, I went on exchange for school??? Unbelievable).
I’ve been in Copenhagen for four months now, and one of the thing’s I’ve come to realize is that I am a homebody. I love being at home and surrounded by my family. My parents both come from big families, which means that both sides of my extended family can easily fill a movie theatre.
Growing up, we would have some WILD family dinners. I’m talking my aunts teasing their nieces/nephews until they cry (the only way to build strong skin, in my opinion), having to constantly ask the person you’re talking with to repeat themselves because it’s so loud (or going deaf because the decibel levels are off the charts!!!!), and there being a mad dash when the food is served (it’s essential to line up as soon as you see the dishes are being put out, otherwise try waiting in line for twenty minutes). Think of us like an Italian family, where if you miss Sunday dinner everyone starts screaming and throwing pasta and saying you’ve brought shame to the family name. Needless to say, family dinners always leave me with a food baby and a complete inability to eat until lunch the next day. Time with my family is never a dull moment and something completely absurd always happens, so I’ve taken to live-tweeting dinners. The world needs to know how hilarious the Clarke/Kee Clan is.
When I was younger, I couldn’t go to sleepovers because I would cry at the thought of being away from my parents. Uh-oh, my parents thought, we’re never going to get rid of this one. As I got older, I would panic (and feel slightly offended) when my mom wouldn’t invite me to go grocery shopping with her. It seemed only natural that I would live in Calgary 5ever, probably becoming my parents’ next-door neighbors. 2+2=4, right? Simple math equation. Bing bang boom, there’s my life story, the end. EXCEPT HOLD UP. I dIDn’T EvEN aPPly To uNIVersitIES iN CaLGARy?????? You can imagine everyone’s surprise when I told them I would be leaving my safety bubble in the fall.
Having moved from Calgary to Vancouver for university, feelings of homesickness and distance aren’t unfamiliar to me. Even though I see my parents relatively often, I still can never say goodbye to my parents at the airports without some tears. As hard as I try to keep it together, I always go through security crying, which makes for a very awkward moment when you’re randomly selected for a pat-down. Thankfully, pangs of homesickness have become more manageable as I’ve grown up, and have stricken (stroken? strucken?) a minimal amount since I’ve been in Europe. I mean, there was the initial break-down when I first got here and it finally hit me that this was really happening, but otherwise we’re gr8.
Most of my fellow study abroad-ers had family/friends come to visit them this semester. And while I would have loved to have my parents come to Copenhagen, it just wasn’t a feasible option with their schedules. Instead, I brought Copenhagen to them by sending them 3-5 pictures a day for them to wake up to. By the end of my time in Europe, I will not have seen my parents in almost six months, which is the longest I have ever been away from my parents.
I had been in Denmark for 100 days before I had my first visitor, and then I had three other people come visit back-to-back. After all this time by myself in a foreign country, it was a bit startling to suddenly see a familiar face from home. My roommate from Vancouver and one of my best friends both happened to be in Copenhagen, so I played tour guide and tried to make them fall in love with the city, which really isn’t hard to do because this city is #goals. We drank some beers, ate some kebabs, gossiped about our friends back in Vancouver. They brought a piece of home with them and shared it with me.
My aunt and uncle moved to Europe before I was born, so I only get to see them once every few years. It was very very very very very very very very very very weird to see them removed from the context in which I am used to seeing them, but it was also very very very very very very very very very very nice to see some family (and get their undivided attention). It’s funny how you can go months – or even years – without seeing someone, but immediately pick up where you last left off.
And now, after barely having seen any of my family for months, ironically half of my immediate family is going to be in Europe for June. In a few days, I’m heading to Paris to crash the first part of my sister and brother-in-law’s honeymoon. Ten days later, my #StudyAbroad comes to end and will be replaced with #ShaniaAndJustinsEuropeanAdventure (still working on that hashtag), where we’ll stay with my aunt and uncle in Germany and visit some more of Europe.
ps, I was at the airport last weekend, saying goodbye to my roommate and one of my friends, and there was a group of people waiting to greet their friend AND THEY ALL HAD A MASK WITH THEIR FRIEND’S FACE ON IT. Just leaving that out there for my family to consider when I come back home.