Denmark Fifteen Years Later

How have fif­teen years already passed? Has it been that long?

In case you’re won­der­ing, that’s me with some of my Rotary exchange friends, includ­ing Sarah and Jeff, whom I’m both in con­tact with again thanks to the won­drous pow­ers of Facebook.

I don’t remem­ber the exact date we left Newark air­port for Den­mark, but I remem­ber how it felt. It was the first time I’d been away from home for more than a week or so. I was ner­vous and excit­ed. I was glad I was­n’t fly­ing alone. I remem­ber meet­ing up with all the oth­er gawky exchange kids in the ter­mi­nal. I was car­ry­ing around a copy of A Clock­work Orange. Yes, I was THAT guy. Are you surprised?

(Ed. note: Turns out that day is today! I guess I could’ve checked my old pass­port, but Jeff was kind enough to remind me over on our exchange class’ Face­book page.)

That it was an amaz­ing time goes with­out say­ing. I made some great friends while I was there. Our trip back last year was fab­u­lous and I was thrilled to recon­nect with my host fam­i­ly and friends. For me, Den­mark is the sort of place I could vis­it every year and not be dis­ap­point­ed. I love it that much.

My exchange year had its ups and downs. It was a glo­ri­ous sum­mer that end­ed in drea­ry dis­ap­point­ment. It was a bru­tal win­ter that year, but I was warmed by a lov­ing host fam­i­ly and some won­der­ful new class­mates, to say noth­ing of the Gam­mel Dan­sk and Tuborg beer they plied me with!

The year end­ed with a fran­tic tour around Europe. 14 coun­tries in 17 days. In a bus. Some­how that seemed like a good idea at the time. In the pic­ture above, we’re about mid-trip, on a fer­ry ride to or from Venice, a city I did­n’t like for rea­sons I can’t artic­u­late today. I got very drunk that night.

Wish I still had that Ill Com­mu­ni­ca­tion-era Beast­ies tee.

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