With sand still in my hair I came home, to Vancouver, for half a day to repack for Denmark. I was scheduled for a flight to Copenhagen (via Toronto) early the following morning.
Airport goodbyes in my family are frequent. I’m often going off and leaving for periods of time. My sister has become a seasoned letter writer because I’m always asking her to be my penpal whenever I’m away. Her letters and letters from others become the decoration on the walls I temporary call home. Though leaving has become frequent, each time my family is together at the airport to say my goodbyes, my throat tightens and my eyes fill with tears. Letting something go is always hard.
For a second I ask myself, why. Why am I giving up creating roots in a community, am I forsaking a sense of belonging? Why am I trading in the intimacy of relationships of people near and dear for a world of strangers. But I know instilled in me is the desire to explore the world. Trading comforts of home for something unfamiliar has sparked my sense of wonder and made me a better person.
So the moment’s hesitation was quickly replaced with quiet confidence that I made the right choice and I’m leaving for what I hope to be one of my most fulfilling life experiences.
Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. – Rumi
When I arrived in Copenhagen, I met with two other students. I was quickly welcomed and we adventured off to meet others at the bus stop. The bus took us directly to the town of Kolding (pronounced without the ‘d’ and the ‘g’), and we got off at the train feeling exhausted but happy to finally be in the place we would all call “home”.
Hygee (n.) the coziness of a nice relaxed social environment – good food is often included
The weekend was ‘hygee’. It was meeting new people, that felt more like reuniting with long lost friends. The group of students in my program were carefully selected so that we would have a diverse representation – we are 34 people and 22 countries. I feel like I have the world at arms length. My classmates have become and will be my greatest learning asset.
One of my favourite moments in the week was when we initially began our orientation and each student was asked to speak and answer the questions (1) name/country of origin (2) why they chose this program/why they are studying tourism (3) hobbies. The range of answers left me speechless. In ways we were as different as the sun and moon, but in other ways we were so deeply connected through our shared passion of travel, food, life, and hope to create a more sustainable future.
It has now been a week since I’ve been in Kolding and I’m grateful for each experience and encounter. Only one week has passesd and I am learning languages, cultures, and stories that touch my heart. I know that these next two years will be filled with continuous change and growth.
I have just learned the Greek for “the only thing constant is change”, “Τὰ πάντα ῥεῖ”.