I’m sitting on the couch, the window behind me ajar. The slight breeze adds a calming element in the midst of silence. Flanked by my friends, I am staring at the clock on the wall. My eyes glance over to the coffee table, where an IU mug rests next to my roommate’s car keys.
“Keveeen?” creaked in a sheepish voice. My head snapped left to look over my shoulder. Upon making eye contact with Mia, my 5-year old host sister, she continues, “Color?” I respond with a smile and a quick nod as I stood up from my chair…
When not much is going on, my mind has a tendency to wander off. Around the time that this event happened, I was not feeling like my usual self. This led me to reflect on how much I missed the feeling of being in a familiar environment, hence why I found myself on the couch back at my college house in a day dream. I have a feeling my host mom and host sister caught onto how I wasn’t being my normal, high-spirited self. My mood instantly changed when my charming, little host sister offered me the chance to color with her. It’s the little things that add up and affect your well-being. The thing is, my host family don’t just help me on a small scale; they SPOIL me.
Upon arriving at the door of my house for the next 4 months in Rungsted, they already began offering their assistance, food, and other amenities to make me feel welcome. At first, I thought that they were being extra hospitable during my first couple of weeks in Denmark. However, they continue to spoil me to this day. My host parents alleviate a lot of my responsibilities by doing my laundry, majority of the cleaning, and cooking. It’s as if they pamper me like a young teenager, but still give me the sort of respect and privacy as a young adult. Furthermore, and most importantly, they make me feel like a part of the family. As such, I feel the obligation to return the favor by offering my assistance in cooking/cleaning, particpating in family activities, and taking the family Golden Retreiver, Chino, on walks.
My host parents take genuine interest in my stay here. Besides all the pampering, we engage in a lot of interesting conversation topics. It’s fun to compare and contrast our cultures, up-bringings, tendencies, and most importantly, FOOD. Apparently, black licorice is a nationally enjoyed dessert. I have squirmed at every taste test I have done of black licorice (I think I’ve tried at least 5 different variations). I cannot say that it’s compatible with my taste bud, but Mia swings her head in enjoyment when eating licorice.
When I have free time, my host mom would spend the day to take me to various sights in Denmark including the Kronborg Castle up the coast in Helsingor. Other places she’s taken me to include the Christiansborg Plaza, a local farmer’s market, the Karen Blixen Museum, and on walking paths to the beach. Which, by the way, it is worth nothing that I live on the coast (hence the town name, Rungsted Kyst; Kyst = Coast). It is beautiful to look out the harbor and into the neighboring lands of Sweden. Being in such a place also means an abundance of fresh air and calm nature views. As much as I love the city, it is really nice to escape back into a more cozy atmosphere after a long day.
The combination of having such a supportive/interactive family and a great living environment enables me to make the most of my time in Copenhagen. With less worrying to do and a more rich experience with an actual Danish family, I couldn’t have chosen a better housing experience for myself.
P.S. Feel free to leave a comment if you are a future student and have questions about living in a homestay.