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May 1, 2013

1. I am grateful, and can’t believe, that it is May!

2. I am grateful I had fun at May Day.

3. I am grateful the weather was pretty much perfect for May Day.

4. I am grateful that I only go to school twice a week – finally grateful for that, I can’t believe I wasn’t the majority of my time here!

5. I am grateful I never have to go to another field study again. 


Hi Guys!

So things are getting better here. My extreme moments of homesickness are fading a little bit… but I’ve still been busy. Now I at least know I’ll be okay and that I can make it through the next four months… before I was a little scared. But I guess it’s only day 3 and these feelings are to be expected. Last night we went to a bar with a ton of kids from DIS. It was nice to hang out with everyone, my floor is becoming close and I hope that continues! It was also really nice to have girls to go home with and not have to worry about walking alone. It was a really fun place and I was glad I went. I lost my voice but I keep doing things anyways because I feel like making friends and keeping form getting sad is more important. Last night was the first night I slept ALMOST through the night and the first night I fell asleep quickly. The girls on my floor and I are starting to think about weekend travel plans and want to make some soon. I’m really excited for that.

Yesterday we went on an orientation where we were paired into groups of 5 and we had to navigate our way around the city. It helped me understand where I live and where DIS is, though I have a lot more to learn but I was able to get home from school by myself yesterday. It is also nice because I live near a famous canal called Nyhaven. It is the only word I know how to pronounce (New Houn.. like the dog wtihout a d) so every Dane can get me back home. if I ask I also learned a lot of cool facts about Copenhagen history and how the Danes think and live today which I’ll share in a moment. Afterwards, I had my public health orientation. It seems like the class will be interesting, but maybe a little demanding. There are 34 kids in the class and only 2 boys, hopefully I will bond with some of the girls because I will be away with them for a total of two weeks over the course of the semester. It was too soon to tell because everyone was exhausted from such a long day of orientation.

Okay so if you guys aren’t interested in history there are some pictures of places when it was snowing on Monday night if you want to look at them quickly but feel free to skim if you don’t care about history. This is mainly for mom. I plan to go back to these places and have more information. Our time was really limited so my pictures were snapped hastily. I also didn’t wanna carry my nice camera around during orientation  so I just used my iphone, I so desperately wanted my camera that it is worth it to go back just to get good pictures. 


ImageMe and My Friend Lucy:ImageThe Square 2 blocks near my street, we can’t figure out who the statue is of:Image









The Royal Library:

 The Royal Library is something that Danish architects brag about constantly. It used to be an old red brick building. In 1999, they added on a glass black diamond modern section. The architecture of it is really cool but impossible to take a picture of because it is so big. I think you should try to google search it so you get an idea of what I’m talking about. Danes are constantly studying there. It is made up of glass so that Danes can get as much sun as possible during months like these (yesterday and today are the only times since I really saw the sun since I got here). The library is build right on the water, about 10 blocks from where I live.

When we got inside, a Danish architect was there to tell us about the building. What stuck out the most was how libraries are free to use in Denmark… because of taxes. He was talking about how the starting point for taxes is 50% of your income and it increases from there. He asked us why they didn’t complain. When no one else answered he said how proud the Danes were because they got all of this stuff back. Their tax dollars paid for this 7 story building that they can seek knowledge in so they all own a part of it and as long as that continues they are content. I had some more pretty pictures than I posted but I by accidentally ook them in video from and can’t post them here.

The view from the side of the library:ImageImageThe Church of our Savior

This was surprisingly my favorite place. It was the first time I walked into a historical session on a church ever… and I was in awe. The church is beautiful on the outside, but once again it is very hard to take a picture. You should look it up. It has a spiraled top that you can climb up when it is warm enough. I’m really hoping they have it open when Dad comes. 

So at this church they talked to us a lot about what happens when church and state are not separate entities. Most Danes only come to church on Christmas Eve these days and are not very religious. So, gays have been legally allowed to marry in Denmark since 1989. Originally they could get married in the town hall and the priests would go bless their marriage in a church. This summer, Denmarks parliament overturned the ban on same sex marriages in churches. So now, as government employees, priests are being forced to go against their beliefs and preform same sex marriages in church ceremonies. Priests who refuse once are fined and warned, then they are fired. Some priests are quitting as well. 

Speaking of government, the church’s entire makeup says all too much about the government. The church is made in the shape of a Greek cross, where all 4 sides are equal and symmetrical. This was the governments choice to show stability, order and power. In every corner of the ceiling amongst gold stars are the most detailed white porcelain statues of Angles.Image

Elephants, the highest order that you can receive from the Danish monarchy stand holding up the organ as a sign to remind people of the governments presence and involvement. Image

At the exact center of the church and layout of a cross between the pews, there are carvings of elephants  (they are what forms the circles on the left and right) around the chandelier because the government is at the center of it all. Image

Christian the third decided that on every building he made while he reined, there must be a C3 to show his involvement. Every consecutive king after copied his idea. So this Church was made by Christian the fifth.Image

The baptismal fountain:Image




The Home of the Royal Family

So when I heard we were going to a castle, I thought I was going to be in my first huge royal castle, but the Danish royal family’s castle is nothing like that. It is four buildings around a circle and reminds me of a college quad. On one side there is a church, on the other there is a harbor and then another Copenhagen village. When the “castle” was created, there was nothing near the village so it symbolized a line of God & the divinity, Royals and eternity. 

It is interesting that the Danes still have a monarchy considering they are so liberal. Everyone says that it is okay because parliament is in charge, but the Queen has complete veto power over decisions of parliament. At any time, the royal family can ignore the people’s wishes and overrule, but they do not. The last time a king vetoed parliament was in the 1970s. Danes often get into debates over whether they should still have a ruling family, but they choose to keep it, putting all there trust into the royal family not taking over.

Queen Margaret, born without any brothers took over the thrown. The rule was changed from the eldest son should rule, to “the eldest daughter if no sons are born” but recently parliament even changed the rule to the oldest child, which is pretty cool and shows Denmark’s respect for equality.ImageIf I’m not mistaken, this is the house that the queen sleeps in. But definitely where the queen waves to her people on her birthday in April.ImageImageImageImageI hope you can tell how cold it is from my face!!




DC Comics

DC comics, now well-known throughout much of American culture, was first seen in the National Allied Publications in 1935. Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, the original creator of the strips partnered with Harry Donefeld and Jack Liebowitz before creating Detective Comics, inc. Although I don’t know much about comics, after watching the move Secret Origins: The History of DC Comics, I would have to say Superman is my favorite superhero because his originality made him the icon of DC comics. Superman was not characterized as a typical nice-to-all-of-humanity superhero, instead he saved the world in a more aggressive way. Instead of having all life saving qualities because he is a hero, Superman’s strength is risky if he uses too much of it. It is also cool to see how Superman has morphed over time, changing from having a few powers to many depending on the story. The creation of Superman has forever been imprinted into American culture and he should be appreciated by all.

Photo Credit: Superman.wikia.com

Both movies Pride & Prejudice and The Piano are similar in that they are both focused on the female main characters’ experiences with love. Many movies throughout history focus on this same idea. What sets these two movies apart from others is the way that the sentiments are expressed. 

In The Piano, the main character, Ada, does not speak. Therefore, the movie must rely heavily on imagery. This is often a dangerous task for movie producers because the human race greatly emphasizes language as the main form of expression. The visuals in The Piano seem way more thought out than in Pride & Prejudice – each facial expression and each moment must be slow and visually capturing so that the viewer can remain very engrossed in the happenings of the film. One last thing to mention is that due to Ada’s reliance on her Piano as a form of expression, the movie does use sound as a sense that truly adds to the meaning of the movie, not just visual images. 

(The Importance of Capturing Facial Expressions in The Piano – http://aso.gov.au/titles/features/the-piano/notes/)


In Pride & Prejudice, Elizabeth is characterized as a very verbal, expressive young lady who relies on her words. Most likely due to the fact that the movie is based off of an esteemed novel, verbiage takes an extremely important role in the movie. Where Ada expresses her love through physical and facial expressions, Elizabeth expresses her love through words.

(Verbal Communication in Pride & Prejudice – http://novelreaction.com/2010/07/pride-and-prejudice/)

Both movies are very deep and I enjoyed them both a lot, but I did think it was easier to connect to Pride & Prejudice due to its use of words. I feel as if many humans rely on verbal descriptions and explanations to understand themselves and others, therefore it was more easier to relate to the way in which Elizabeth communicated with others. Needless to say, The Piano was still successful due to Ada’s narrations and its use of imagery, showing the importance of imagery when verbiage is lacking.

It is common for an American to think of a dragon as a large, fire-breathing monster. In western fairytales, dragons are considered signs of evil – the main beast that traps princesses or endangers a hero’s success. It is often hard to think of dragons as being anything else but dangerous creatures that we are supposed to hate in legends. On the contrary, since 3000 BC, the Chinese have viewed dragons as sophisticated calm animals that are a symbol of happiness, immortality, procreation, fertility and activity. The Chinese dragon, Long, is an important part of their culture; the main star of legends and festivities. Long is believed to have many positive characteristics: power, excellence, vallancy, boldness, heroism, perseverance, nobility and divinity.

                Where westerners view dragons as a threat to the living, the Chinese tradition remarks the dragon as a life force – the ruler of lakes, rivers and seas. Dragons are the source of life – providing water, the key to growth and survival.  Since the Shang and Yin dynasty, the dragon has been a key protector of the Chinese people, bringing good fortune, warding off evil spirits, providing protection and preserving safety.

                The dragon is seen in many key cultural festivities. This includes the Chinese Spring Festival, the Day of the Lanterns, the Chinese New Year. It often appears in parades with groups of people standing under the shape of a dragon to enable its movement. There are many types of dragons that the Chinese use in legends and festivities:

  1. The dragon king is made up of four dragons which rule over the seas.
  2. The wood dragon is connected to the creation of new concepts. He is driven by logic and ambition. He is considered to be outspoken and fearless.
  3. The fire dragon, the builder of empires, is competitive and expects a lot from everyone. He is considered impatient due to his ambition.
  4. The earth dragon is even toned and reasonable, emphasizing cooperation. He thinks carefully and slowly, respecting others opinions.
  5. The metal dragon is strong-willed, inflexible and self-centered. He tries to rise to a position of authority, but destroys meaningful relationships.
  6. The Water Dragon is inhibited and not as power-hungry as other dragons. Being able to accept defeat, he makes a good negotiator, knowing how to apply pressure.  
  7. The celestial dragon supports and protects the gods’ mansions.
  8. The spiritual dragon generates wind and rain for mankind.
  9. The dragon of hidden treasures keeps guard over concealed wealth

There is also a horned dragon, yellow dragon, coiling dragon and winged dragon.

Though the dragon is a huge piece of Chinese culture, it is also valued heavily in Japan, Egypt, Korea and many other countries.


Special thanks to http://lair2000.net/Chinese_Dragon_Pictures/Chinese_Dragon_Pictures.html for the photo. http://www.allaboutcreation.org/different-cultures-believe-in-dragons-faq.htm and http://www.beijingservice.com/beijinghighlights/chinesedragon.htm for the wealth of information.

My Day at the Newseum

I am very torn about my experience at the Newseum. Although I was impressed by the enormity of the Berlin wall, I was very disappointed in the amount of information they had about it. The Berlin wall is a great representation of the effects of closed societies. West Germany’s side of the wall displayed artistic images of the resistance of oppression. While East Germany’s wall showed nothing. Standing beneath the concrete tower, I imagined living in East Germany, clinging closely to the information provided by West Germany’s news. It is hard to believe present day may have been changed by the absence of this information.

Although this is a quite powerful message, I was very unimpressed with the Newseum’s representation of the Berlin wall. I felt as if there was too much of a focus on the actual pieces, instead of the facts behind them. Museums are supposed to generate knowledge and I felt as if I was at an aquarium, only generating visuals. This applied to a lot of the Newseum – the excess of information on New Media (do they really need to have a model of the iPad already?), or, the lack of information about all of those encased newspapers.

My favorite aspect of the Newseum were the images from the president’s first photographers. It reminds people of how the leader’s of our nation are just like us, they are not just political figures. When I looked at this picture of John F. Kennedy cheering his children on as they danced, I was reminded of my own family.



My dad is a huge hero of mine and, having three daughters, my dad spent plenty of time cheering my sisters and I on as we danced and sang on Saturday mornings. In this picture, the president shows a break in his political duties to be just like every other loving father. This exhibit was almost comforting in a way as I realized that the most trusted people of our country have all been people, just like us.

Eat Your Fruit!

As an avid junk food eater, I never took the time to appreciate healthy foods. I’d enjoy an apple every once a week or so and that was about all the fruit I took the time for. Slowly, I started to eat more and more fruit. My love for healthy foods  started to overpower my sweet tooth.

As a Public Health major, I spend a lot of time studying and considering new possible ways of “public health propaganda” – a way to convince people to be healthy. Many professionals focus on bigger public health goals, like reducing obesity or increasing AIDs prevention plans. I am always more interested in the smaller, little lifestyle changes people can make.

I made this piece of visual propaganda to convince people to eat healthy foods, like fruits. I chose fruits because they are extremely beneficial to the body and you can even see how flavorful some are. The yellow font at the bottom attracts the viewers attention, but blends in just enough with the bananas to look natural enough. I added smaller, lighter font next to it listing some of the benefits of fruit so the viewer gains some base for knowledge. The font is straight and simple to not overpower the look of the fruit.

photo from: http://smashingtube.com/fruits

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