The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
- Saint Augustine

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Friends in All the Right Places


*Inhale, Exhale* Italy. The cobblestone streets, the wobbly shutters falling out from flower lined windows, clothes lines with undershirts drying in the sun, the canals winking in the morning light. Yes, I went to Italy.

The first part of the trip started with a connecting flight from Copenhagen to Latvia. During my lay over I found that people from this Eastern European country sport bedazzled light wash jeans and painted eyebrows. I enjoyed some tomato zuppe while waiting for the next part of the trip.

After my connecting flight and a train from Milan, I arrived in Florence. As my friend Christine says, "I'm off, like a heard of turtles!" meaning it takes us far too long to get anywhere. 
Waiting for me at the train station (the second train station I got off at- with no phone and no italiano, that sure was fun to find out at 7:00 at night) was my friend, Phoebe. She adapted well to Italian life. The Italian boots she skipped over to me with certainly completed the image. 

And reunited at last. 

We went out on the town the first night- attempted to eat Mexican food at a restaurant, and were off to the club that the entire cast of Jersey Shore partied at the week before. I felt very celeb status. Until we got in. A guy flashed his abs at me and then proceeded to fist pump. Yes, Jersey Shore HAD become all too real of a reality in Florence. The Italian men were quite the contrast from the clean cut danes I was used to sharing metro benches with. These blonde haired, six-foot-something gentlemen read their paper and gave a nice smile. I would assume the social equivalent to this in Italy is an ass grab. No offense, Italians. 

The next day Phoebe and I went to the michelangelo piazza. Pretty huh?

It seems the week was full of michelangelo, girl time and gelato. 

Michel A. and I actually had a little moment. I was running through the Academia Museum looking for a bathroom (if I hadn't drank two water bottles earlier that morning I would be looking at the 'Jesus on a Cross' paintings from the 1300s but my bladder made it a little difficult) and finally after rushing though a corridor, I turn to my right and boom! 

There he was.

I didn't want to move, I just wanted to stare at him all day. It was David. David in perfectly sculpted marble that captured both grace and strength. David, triumphant from slaying Goliath, but humbly accepting the praise of God. David in 17 feet of marble was staring at me. I didn't have to pee anymore. I stared at him in awe. Circling him, again and again. Finding no imperfection, no flaw, just pure, beautiful art. 
To put things in perspective I usually fly through museums. I very tactfully rush to the famous paintings and latch on to elderly tour groups to eavesdrop on some knowledge, but here, I didn't care if he was famous or not, it was just that awesome, in the original sense of the word; I was in awe. 

David and I are engaged to be married next May, by the way, and you're all invited to the wedding. 

Michel A became a regular acquaintance in my time in Florence. I saw the original "Day and Night" and "Dawn and Dusk"statues. Standing in their shadows in their stone church home made me feel small, humble, and so young, so insignificant to their greatness. 

The same goes for "The Birth of Venus" and "The Rape of the Sabine Women". The scenery from the Uffizi main hall didn't hurt either. 

Overall, a beautiful trip, with a beautiful friend in a beautiful place. 

The meat and cheese platter beautifully complementing the palate!

Ciao Italy!

And hello again Copenhagen! But when I returned home, I saw Copenhagen in a new light, because I was seeing it again through the eyes of my friend. The very dear Christine Homan came to visit me. 

As the Americans know, the third Thursday of November is Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving is a time to be surrounded by family and loved ones. Therefore, I couldn't have been more thankful than to have my best friend be by my side through my first Thanksgiving away from home!

We made gluten free pecan pie (shamelessly snacking on the pecans all the while) and my Dad's famous mashed sweet potatoes (shamelessly eating half the pan) before we packed up and met up with the esteemed hostess Brittany to set up for the dinner. 
Look how domestic we both are! 
That turkey fed 35 people and was freaking delicious. 

The Indians even came to dinner! (they're actually German and Australian, but it was their first time!)
After Thanksgiving was said and done, Christine and I promptly got into the Christmas spirit. We got to hear carolers as they lit up the Christmas tree outside my Tietgen dorm, drank mulled wine at the Christmas markets and generally were cheery the whole weekend. 

We also went to a blues bar called "Mojo" and heard a great live band called "CPH Slim"

We got some gluten free goodies at the BEST gluten free bakery in town, Naturbageriet. The banana and carrot cake, the apple tart and the chocolate brownie ball all to be enjoyed at the "hygge" coffee shop "The Living Room" (if you recall a personal favorite) while it tirelessly misted outside. And get a look at that beautiful friend of mine!

A great weekend, getting in the Christmas spirit and seeing a friend whom is such a part of my family was a wonderful experience. 

I am thankful for my family, for my friends, for my loved ones, in Santa Cruz, Pleasanton, and Copenhagen. I am thankful for my health, but most importantly for this experience. I am also thankful for the heated tiles in my bathroom.

I am leaving to visit my family in Sweden on Thursday night and couldn't be more excited about it. Hope I get to see the northern lights when I'm up there! I wonder how you say "Friggin' pumped" in Swedish? Ostersund- here I come!

Vi ses! (meaning: "See ya!" in Danish)


  1. Dear Casey,
    My name is Helle Kiilerich and I work for the language portal
    Every year we organize the “Top 100 International Exchange and Experience Blogs” competition (also known as IX12). We are looking for the top 100 blogs about life abroad because we really enjoy bringing the exchange blogger community together. Last year we had 220 participants and close to 5.000 votes. You can see the last year results here:
    Your blog has been nominated and will enter the competition unless you tell us not to. The nomination period goes from January 16th to January 29th, 11:59 p.m. CET (German Time). Feel free to tell other bloggers about the competition or nominate another blog yourself. Voting starts on January 31st and goes till February 12th, 11:59 p.m. CET (German Time). Results will be published February 14th. The winners will be decided based on user votes.
    If you don’t want to be included in the nomination list, please let us know by sending an email to and we won´t contact you again. You can also contact us if you have any further questions about the competition.

    Kind regards,
    Helle Kiilerich
    On behalf of and the Lexiophiles language blog

  2. Hello Casey!

    Just a quick reminder about the “Top 100 International Exchange and Experience Blogs 2012” (IX12): The nomination phase ends this Sunday (January 29) at 11:59 p.m. German time. In case you want to nominate a fellow blogger/friend - just send me an email with the URL and I'll take care of the rest.

    The voting phase will start on January 31 and go until February 12. I will send you an email with all relevant information that day so you can spread it amongst your friends and promote your blog!

    If you have any further questions about the competition you can contact me by e-mail.


    on behalf of and the Lexiophiles language blog