Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I'm going back to Denmark

July 9, 2013

After 35 years, we are going back to Denmark! I was an AFS exchange student from July 1977-July 1978 and I was placed with a family in Ringe, Denmark.  Back then, I had to look in the encyclopedia to find Denmark! As a 17 year old, after high school graduation, I flew to Stockholm with the other 35 students from around the world who were being placed with families in Denmark and we took the ten hour train ride through Sweden to Ollerup, Denmark to attend a language camp for six weeks. It was there I met Terri Bowles, from Morganton, NC, who would become my best friend and confidante through that year and the following years.

We’re going back. That is to say, we’ve been back many times and have enjoyed each visit but this time, we’ve invited as many as can make it from our 1977-78 year abroad to a summer house for a week. We’re leaving early to visit our families and relax.

Terri is now living in Knoxville, TN and she arrived via Megabus to Washington, DC on Monday night. I drove from Bear, DE to meet her and we slept at my dear friend’s house, Nancy.

Nancy left for Portland, Oregon and we were picked up by Supershuttle to go to Dulles airport for a nonstop SAS flight to Copenhagen, Denmark.

July 10 – For the first time ever, I read a book for the entire flight. No sleep and no movie and no music. Terri works as the Executive Director at Bethany Christian Adoption Services and one of their clients had written a book about her family’s open adoption process with Terri’s office. It was interesting to hear all the details of her long adoption process and the joy and tears along the long road. And Terri is mentioned. I really enjoyed it. “The Eye of Adoption” by Jody Dyer.

Elsebeth and Hans Jorgen met us at the airport. Elsebeth , a year younger than I am, was my “sister” for the year. We’ve traveled many times together around Europe and the USA and Gene and I have been fortunate to meet the family in Hong Kong twice as Els and HJ and their three boys have lived there for seven years now. It was a treat to be greeted and driven to HJ’s sister’s home. We ate our first meal as if we had not eaten in years. They bought all the best Danish breakfast breads and we savored each one; the fed our memories. It is a treat for them also to be out of the Hong Kong summer humidity and return to “dejlig Danmark” (lovely Denmark) for the summer. We collapsed for an hour and then headed out to the Copenhagen Jazz Festival! Yahoo! It was great and even more special when we heard my Danish “nephew” play in his band, Crunch House!! What a privilege for him and a proud moment for me. Jonas Ladegaard, drummer, and his partner playing the Hammond organ, won the “New Jazz Band 2013” contest and had the privilege of playing at the festival. It was a wonderful afternoon in the open square with cafes surrounding us and people tapping their feet and moving their bodies to the rhythms.

Luisa, Jonas, Hans Jorgen, Emil, Kristian, Elsebeth

Jonas Ladegaard - drummer in Crunch House!