Saturday, September 17, 2011

Student Life in Copenhagen

Here are some of the madness I have been through. My friend told me to write a book about being an active international student at University of Copenhagen :P I don't think I'll write a book, but I can surely blog something about it. Maybe I'll regret sharing my stupid thoughts with you when I wake up tomorrow morning, but nevertheless, let me know and here it goes:

Apartment and Dormitory

Reflecting back, I have realized that I have been through so much in Denmark, from living in a pent-apartment in central Copenhagen to a dorm-apartment, then to a far Sydhavn apartment to a dormitory, then homeless and finally dormitory again. I literally moved 5 times in Copenhagen in 2,5 years. Well, I never expected this apartment madness in my life. 

Good dormitories have waiting list of 3-3.5 years, and I have no idea why it is like that since students get their bachelor degree in 3-3.5 years, and have masters for 2 years. Getting a spot at dormitory is tough! I also moved from 2-room apartment to a 1-room apartment in a same dormitory, and that alone took help from my 3 big guy-friends. I am an international, so I always assumed that I couldn't have that much stuff, but hell no, I have a lot of stuff - BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS, clothes (how on Earth, I have got so much clothes??? I came with only 2 suitcases), basic furniture, basic kitchen sets, etc. A person has, amazingly, a lot of shit!

A room in a dormitory costs approximately between 2,000DKK-4,000DKK (370-740USD) or maybe even more, depending on the location and the size of the room. 

Biking

I used to bike for mere fun in my summer house in Mongolia til my mom gave away my bike to some lucky boy for free, because she thought it took too much space; nevertheless, it was definitely not for transporting myself to one place to another. Here in Copenhagen, bike is your best friend. Kids, drunk college students, businessmen and even grandparents bike and transport themselves around Copenhagen. Mothers and parents would even saddle one kid in the front of the bike and another on the back. My jaw dropped the first time I saw such mom, biking fearlessly with the crazy cyclists along with her kids.

One of the surprising questions I had was whether I had my bike insured or not. I was like what? It's because, apparently, half of the bikes in Denmark tend to get stolen :P Luckily, I have never experienced such a loss during my 2,5 years in Denmark. My bike is very faithful!

Partying and Drinking culture 

Denmark is home to the breweries of Carlsberg and Tuborg, and Danes are proud beer-drinkers. I was not a big drinker when I came to Copenhagen, and when I politely rejected a free offer to a beer, the person who was offering me a beer looked at me as if I was this weird, asocial and lifeless girl. My explanation of not wanting to get wasted did not do any justice either. Well, drinking culture is essential in student life. Most Danes tend to drink till they can't walk properly or unable to control their movement, hence the parties are wild and crazy.

But the most amazing thing about Danish culture is the fact that I have NEVER come across to a person who "agsan tavih"-ed. They handle alcohol well. Danes are simply HAPPY drunkards. They simply pass-out and sleep or just dance really funny. It really shows how happy Danish societies are, where in developing countries (especially former Soviet satellite 'vodka' countries) some drunk people would get aggressive, fight, and hurt other people.

Dating

Men and women are treated equally, hence this applies to a dating as well. For instance, on Valentines Day, I was surprised to see most of the girls at the restaurant paying the bills instead of the boys. Boys seemed not to mind either. I used to think how miserable these girls were in Denmark. But as I lived longer in Copenhagen, I have understood that girls LIKE that, and they would feel insulted if their guy kept paying for every bill, as if she couldn't handle some bills... I was just wow-ed.

The typical guy courting girl style is also not the case - both do it. Girls are extremely "manly" and they can literally man up and offer their crush a beer. When this happened right in front of me, my small eyes just widened to the biggest ball I can manage. It's amazing. 

I find boys extremely spoiled in Denmark. Danish girls are extremely beautiful, gorgeous and educated. Often, Danish girls wish Danish boys were bit more romantic like the southerners, lol. They sign and they admit that it's hard to find a romantic Danish guy. Well, I really hope Danish boys know that they have one of the most gorgeous women in the world. 

Jobs with Danish Language

You'll be screwed. It is extremely difficult for internationals to find a job in Denmark. In this bad economy, even the Danes are struggling. You may find waitressing and bartending jobs, perhaps, but they'll ask for Danish language as well. Hence, one of the first things you should do is to start mastering this weirdest language ever. I gave up in midst of it, but I extremely regretted taking a break from my danish classes, and now I am back on learning process. Well, the lack of Danish language will be the number one reason why they'll not hire you in a position no matter how brilliant your English is, so learn their native language as best as possible. 

Danish labor market really taught me how to fail and fail better. I am not good at failing, and it was really difficult to learn to fail. I know it sounds stupid, but it is one of the biggest lesson I have learnt in Denmark.

Depression and Friends

You mature fast when you're on your own. Living independently from my family, at first, seemed so free and so exciting, but then when you get a simple flu or a fever and need care, you really realize how far you are from your family and most scarily how alone you are. The excitement of a new country fades away slowly, and you feel homesick. You get thin, because you don't eat as good as you used to. You're more likely to stick to the quickly done meals and have cornflakes in the morning. You loose your energy and body balance without even knowing it. You literally will not be able to memorize and understand things as fast as you used to. I was amazed at how tired I was at some point. I was studying full-time, working part-time, taking Danish class and participated in extracurricular voluntary activities at my university - it was too much. My grades started to reflect my tiredness and I realized that I needed to prioritize my choices and the way of living.

Plus, Denmark has a 'winter depression'. It gets really dark in winter in Scandinavia. Nights are long. Wind is stronger. It's "humid" cold. Icy cold. Sun is rare in Denmark, hence people get to sadden without noticing it. It's bit scary. I haven't been in depression, but it's really tough in winter especially when you're alone. You really crave for your family and your family food and care; but here, basically my Danish friends become my family. I am so grateful that I have made friends with such nice people and I absolutely think Danish people CAN be real good friends. The bullshit about Danes not making friends with internationals is just bullshit. Every country is like that. It's maybe harder to attain their love, but that's because they know the value of friendship and commitment; and when you really do attain their love, they'll always catch you when you fall. 

Back home

Going home this summer really cheered me up. It reminded me of my roots, and reminded me why I went to Denmark in the first place - to challenge myself, get to experience different culture, learn from their living style, and most importantly develop myself. I think it is extremely important for internationals to head back home at least once a year. It is tough to be an international in a country, and it is not something a person should do for mere fun. It is the extremest challenge you can put yourself through. Hence, I respect all the people doing their degree abroad - my hat's off to all of you!

Sorry if I made you sleep. It's Friday and I came home from a party, but I couldn't sleep.

Wherever you are, stay strong and stay motivated at whatever you are doing. 

I'll try to sleep now.
Best of love,
B

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

They are horses, not ponies!

Unlike in other countries, Mongolian horses run free in the wild. We don't put fences around them, so they have all the space they need. Fortunately, Mongolian pastureland has been blessed with decent rainfall this summer, hence grazing animals were spoiled to some degree.

Mongolian horses are small, compared to other breeds in the rest of the world. They are horses, not ponies! The strength of our tiny horses is incredible, and it is even stated in our eldest literature, dating back to the XII and XIII centuries, where other countries admired how Mongolians have managed to conquer the biggest empire in the whole world with a transportation of such tiny horses. Genghis Khan himself once said: "It is easy to conquer the world from the back of a horse".

Well, we, Mongolians, adore our livestock - sheep, goat, camel (Bactrian breed with two humps), cow and horse - and horse is admired above all. Horse-riding is indeed central to our culture, where nomadic people still use horse as a way of transportation, and urban city people ride horses for mere fun in the weekends and holidays; but we are also known for our long-distance' horse race we hold every year during Naadam Festival in July.

I absolutely adore horses, hence I dislike eating horse meat. It would feel like I'm eating my dog (I've never eaten a dog meat, btw). Rest of the Mongolians share the same idea, I presume, but we do eat horse meat if there is a lack of meat from other livestock, which is highly unlikely, since we have more livestock than our population! But Western culture has influenced us in somewhat, hence people do eat horse-meat, just like how French women would enjoy it.


Here are some of the photos I have captured this summer, so enjoy!




Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex: Facts

The world's largest statue of a rider on a horse is erected in Mongolia, where Chinggis Khaan (1162-1227) gazes into the distance with a golden whip in his right hand. We do have a crazy "Chinggis Fever"!

The statue is surrounded by 36 columns representing 36 Mongolian Khaans; and it is covered in 250 tonne of steel. It will also be surrounded by over 200 ger camps and examples of XIII century tribes' lifestyles with trading using coins from the 13th Century. Construction of the whole complex will also include a spa, hotel and golf course.




A traditional Mongolian boot below - endeavored by the artist B. Nomin - is claimed to be the world's largest shoe. The raw materials for this project are quite impressive: a total of 225 cattle's skin, 4500 meters of cord, 300 liters of glue, a 180 square meter canvas, 120 square meters of felt (esgii), a 72 square meter sponge and a 13 meter tree are the main supplies that have been used by Nomin.

As of now, the biggest shoes in the World is 6 meter height and located in Minnesota, USA. Nomin hopes that the Mongol boot will be registered in the Guinness Book of Records because of it's size: 39х195=7605, that is, nine meter height, six meter long and two meter wide.

 

Inside the Chinggis Khaan Statue, you'd find this shoe and knife, but you'll also find a museum, short film of making-the-statue in 7 min, restaurant, and you'd get a chance to get on top of the horse head and see Mongolian landscape. 



I have been here couple of times to show around my international friends; and this has become, without doubt, one of our best tourist attractions. 

I'm looking forward to see the whole construction to be finished! Hope you liked this post.

Best,
B

Friday, September 09, 2011

Kids, don't watch this.



Music videos are having more and more nudity these days! Sex sells, for sure.

Enjoy!

Love,
B

Friday, September 02, 2011

Fashion Blogs

Fashion blogs are not just mere webpages anymore. Vast amount of internet peepers consult fashion blogs for fashion advices and the latest trends these days (and yes, we all know magazine subscriptions are decreasing tremendously). Especially in this past global recession and its terribly slow recovery from crisis, people have shifted their love and passion elsewhere - BLOGS! Why? It's free. It's fun. It's available to everyone. And it's dynamic. 

I have about 30-40 fashion blogs and "street styles" I follow; and I would like to recommend some of my favorite must-see blogs:
  1. Stockholm Street Style - I LOVE SCANDINAVIAN STYLE, and this is the perfect representative of how beautiful people are in Scandinavia. I love how they put huge-sized photos on their blog, where you can see all the details. It's always a man or a woman posing or walking on the street; and if you would like to see the latest wearable trends out there, this is where you can get some ideas and inspiration. Moreover, often, famous people appear on the blog. There are many other sections where you see various mode; and hey, Swedish people are gorgeous!
  2. I Love Wildfox - It is another big-size photographed blog, but it is different from Stockholm Street Style, since it includes magazine muses, old 80s-70s-90s-famous-photos-and-trends, wedding pictures, fashion shows, etc. It is no street style blog, but everything is just beautiful and you can not not-love Wildfox!
  3. Street Peeper - It peeps through the street styles from New York, Paris, Tokyo, Milan, Shanghai, London, Melbourne, Seoul, Sydney and yes, Copenhagen! So peep peep!
  4. Sincerely Jules - Jules is a sweetheart. She puts a photo of 'what she wore today'. Her style is sweet and very wearable. She also tells each of the brand names she's wearing, and they are not too expensive
  5. Style & the City - Paris Street Style and Fashion Week. I think the name tells it all.

Well, enjoy!

Love,
B