A Travellerspoint blog

Home base

Finding what grounds us all

sunny 17 °C

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As I continue my journey here in beautiful Copenhagen, the leaves are slowly starting to change colors, the shadows are getting longer, and the sun has changed position in the sky. It's that time of year that is my absolute favorite...fall!

I love fall. As much as I hate winters here, I get so excited when the air gets that bit of chill in the air, and leaves begin to change and fall to the earth. Maybe its because I grew up in a place where fall is such a fun time of year! Pumpkin patches, fresh apple cider, warm doughnuts, and apple picking. What is there NOT to like? LA was a difficult transition in that way because I didn't get the fall that I had grown up with. Copenhagen can't match Michigan falls, but it comes much closer than California can....

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But as all things go, and the seasons change, so do thoughts, relationships, and life. I had a fortunate weekend which completely blew my mind. At one time, I had 4 different visitors from 4 different times in my life: a friend I met in Oz 7 years ago, and hadn't seen since; a friend I'd known for about 5 years in Denmark, but he moved to Japan last year, and was back for a visit: a sister of a best friend from high school, and one of my New Zealand ''sindicate'' life partners who was gracing us with her presence again after working in the Ukraine for the summer. As I sat looking around a table full of hodge podge friends in a cozy wine bar in Vesterbro, I got to thinking about what security meant to me, and what my ''home base'' is and what it can become.

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We are all different, and it's interesting how little things can define us and our life in a big way. Some people have their family as a home base, and therefore want to stay geographically close to them. Some people call familiarity a home base, therefore never moving much further from what they know and what they grew up in. Stopping and thinking about it all, I am realizing what makes me secure and gives me a home base....and that is my friends. I can be thousands of miles away from familiarity and family, but I can cope with it, as long as I am surrounded by great friends I can just be myself with.

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Of course people who know me best may say, "Yeah ok, but you have family here, and you knew Copenhagen before", but as we all realize, it's the people who make the place, and the memories you fill your days with that remind you why life is so wonderful.

Lately I am starting to make important decisions, and when that happens, big questions come up. What do I want? What is most important to me? What can I handle, and what makes me happy? And I keep coming back to the little things:

Riding my bike through the cobblestone streets
Discovering a new cafe I had never seen before
Meeting interesting people at unexpected times
Discovering the longevity of friendships, and how good ones can overcome time and space
Family is partly who you are born into, and partly who you surround yourself with

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So...I guess in short, I am at a part of my journey where I am content with where I am at because I know that I have, and will always be able to fall back on my "home base."

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Posted by Michelle Nicole 12:59 Archived in Denmark Tagged autumn life love copenhagen Comments (0)

"When are you moving back?"

The ever changing journey which is my life in Copenhagen

sunny 24 °C

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It’s funny about life…where it takes you…how it turns out. I walk down Michigan Avenue in the darkness, with just the streetlights, and buildings lit up. I love watching people walking around the city. Talking, laughing, holding hands. Every place tells a story. I then tend to reflect on mine.

This time home has been amazing….for some reasons I didn’t expect, and of course, others that I had. Returning home always brings up so many emotions, good and bad. And saying goodbyes are never easy. It doesn’t matter how old you get, or how much you travel. Goodbyes are always hard. Especially if you don’t know when you are going to see these people again.

As we get older, life begins to show you how uncertain it can be. In a blink of an eye, a couple years pass. Friends get together, get married, have babies, or even get a divorce. People come into our lives almost as quickly as they leave again. As soon as you hear about a baby being born, someone you once knew abruptly leaves. Life is constantly changing, and that is the only thing you can count on.

Coming home to see my family is difficult because you start to realize that we are all getting older. It’s a blessing and a curse. You view your parents as humans instead of super heroes. They aren’t invincible anymore, and they have flaws just like the rest of us. I tend to ask myself, when did the student become the teacher? You sit down and talk with friends and realize how much you may have missed in the year or so you haven’t seen each other. Families and friend groups grow and change and at some point, you aren’t even sure where you fit in anymore.

But that is when life surprises you. There is that one thing that always brings us all back together…the thing that ties us whether we like it or not….history. Be it with where we grew up, the school we went to, the people we knew, family friends, or jobs. And that is the magic of relationships. The good ones survive, no matter what. You discover that you really can pick up where you left off.

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In a world where we all have 2 second attention spans, social media bombardment, and advertisement overload, I find it overwhelmingly refreshing to sit down with someone I haven’t seen or maybe spoken to in a year or two, and we have the ease and spontaneity of starting a conversation without missing a beat. Picking up the ball and throwing jokes and puns at other as if we have been doing this our whole lives. Because in a way we have…not every day of course, but because at the end of the day we have something that time and distance can’t break. A shared history and relationship that surpasses everything, no matter where we are in our lives and in the world.

I like to believe I am fortunate enough with these people in my life because, yes I am partial, but I believe that since all of our friendships were formed before the social media saturated Internet, there was real substance there. We wrote notes, talked on the phone, and went to the movies. Or maybe it’s because you decide to surround yourself with good people.

I remember once a friend of mine told me something that made me so angry. We were speaking on the phone, something we only had the luxury of doing once every few years. He told me something that sticks with me even to this day. As I got upset about the fact that we barely spoke, and how I wished we spoke more, he said, “Michelle, there’s no need to get angry. This is just how it is. We talk every once and awhile, get a good catch up, and then we don’t talk for a while. But it makes us value the time we do have together.” At the time I didn’t want to believe it, or hear it. But now that has become my reality. Of course to my own doing. Having moved so much and now having friends scattered literally all over the world, (and working at a hostel meeting more international people doesn’t help) it made me realize that this is what really matters. Some of my friends I will only see every once and a while, but when we are together it is magic, and saying good bye is sad. However, the thing that brings a smile to my face is knowing that the next time we see each other, we can recreate that magic again, with little to no effort. You appreciate the times you see each other more, and realize the true meaning of friendship.

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This last time I went home, I had moments where I started to doubt my life choices. Why didn’t I stay home? Maybe I should move back? I could hang out with my friends and have the same life they are. But walking now down Michigan Ave I came to a stark, maybe harsh realization to some people, but to me, I realized it’s my truth. I love my friends and always will. I love my family even more, and always will. I even love Michigan and the Midwest because it has made me who I am, along with my values, likes and dislikes. But I can’t move back. You can’t go backwards. I don’t belong here now. There are things in Denmark I miss. I miss my job. I miss my apartment. I miss my friends. I miss my life. A life I have been creating the last 14 months, and one I fit into so well. In an imaginary world, I could move back to Michigan and be in the same places I’ve been before, but truth be told, after six months, I would go stir crazy, and probably pick up and move again. And that is something I am definitely coming to terms with and accepting a little more every day.

I don’t know what the future holds. Nobody does. But I know one thing. I feel like I may have done something right when I can come back to my hometown, have a get together with old friends, and shoot the shit as if we were 18 and just graduated. The world is ok when you can sit in a church in a Chicago and watch one of your friends get married. It’s gonna be ok when you can go to a Tigers game with your family, and as you are cheering on the home run, it comes like second nature. I really hope we are all fortunate enough to have these little moments in life where we laugh until we cry, hug someone a little longer than we should, and look at a friend, say, “I love you. See you soon!” And truly mean it. Even if “soon” is 24 months from now. I want to be a good person, and find happiness on this crazy journey we call life. And I couldn’t do it if I hadn’t been so lucky to find some of the craziest people on this planet that I have chosen to surround myself with. Thank you for playing if you are one of those people. And trust me…you know if you are.

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Posted by Michelle Nicole 27.07.2013 14:11 Archived in Denmark Tagged chicago denmark copenhagen michigan detroit carpe_diem growing_up life_lessons Comments (1)

Long time no See....Welcome to Boutique2Boutique!

Catching up....new beginnings....springing forward! #boutique2boutique

overcast 1 °C

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It's been almost a year since I moved to Denmark, and in that time a lot has happened. I found a few jobs....eventually got promoted to event coordinator...and found my first apartment in the city! Life is good! However, my biggest accomplishment would definitely be my first exhibition in our new exhibition space....Boutique2Boutique!

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We have this great space in our hostel on the ground floor, and one of my responsibilities as event coordinator here is to find new and interesting ways to utilize the space. Being Fashion Week in the beginning of February, we thought....Vintage Fashion! Why not? Everyone can participate, and everyone loves Vintage! It's hip, fun, trendy, and so Copenhagen! We have so many great vintage shops scattered throughout the city, with a wide range of styles and genres, it is any second hand shoppers dream!

Being my first exhibition, I didn't know where to start, how to even go about it, but I went about it the old fashioned way...door to door, speaking to local businesses and seeing who wanted to be involved. A lot of places were up for it straight away, and were more than happy to donate clothing, jewelry, and accessories! With the help of my coworker Lea things started to come together.

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Then came the night of the party! We had a good attendance list, and our amazing in house photographer Matthew Harrison came and documented the whole night! We had mini burgers from Hache restaurant, which were a HUGE hit, 7 local shops were involved: Posterland, Frolov Jewlery, ManneQ.com, Carmen Vintage, mania, FN92, The Second Way, Wasteland, and Mariajot. Once all the different pieces were brought in, it was so cool to see the mix between all the different styles, and decades. The fun part was that some of the guests who came worked at the shops, and they decided to dress up in the theme!

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So yummy! Burgers and old fashioned candy!

It was really a fantastic mix of people, with a great energy and vibe We even had a vinyl spinning local Dj! She spun the perfect mix of funk and vintage music that really set the mood. All in all I was very pleased with the whole event, and amazed at how different the space became since it had just been a photography exhibition!

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I love my new job! Creating parties for tourists, showing off this amazing city, bringing in the local crowd, and creating exhibitions with local artists and collaborating with local businesses. Sometimes I feel like I won the job lottery, and being able to bring these things to life just makes it that much more exciting! I can't wait to see what the rest of the year brings in terms of exhibitions and parties. I have a feeling 2013 is going to be VERY busy here.....

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Check out my Current and upcoming events here!

Posted by Michelle Nicole 15.03.2013 02:41 Archived in Denmark Tagged vintage exhibition boutique2boutique generator_copenhagen Comments (0)

Just the tip of the Iceberg...

In transition

sunny 23 °C

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I have to admit, like most blogs, this one has gone a bit neglected, as my life has somehow gotten crazier and busier by the day. Not sure how it happens, but in an instant, life just takes off.

Right now everything is right with the world because my Mom is visiting, which is AWESOME! Life is so much better when your Mom is around. Well…at least MY life is better when my Mom is around. She is my best friend, so it’s nice to have her to talk to and confide in.

There are so many things I want to talk about, and so many nights I ride home on my bike, and I think, “Oh this could be a good thing, or this could be a good thing.” It really depends on the day, and my mood and what I am going through.

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The most common question I get from my friends in the stares is, of course, how are you? How is life? Are you happy? And it’s such a complicated answer; I never know where to start or where to end. I have to admit that I am pretty sure I have filled the gamut with every emotion in the last four months. I have felt happiness, fear, sadness, love, hate, sickness, and consciousness on every level.

On the tour guiding front: The tours are going great. It’s a good thing I enjoy it, and frankly, that’s the only reason why we all do it is because we all love it. Otherwise, it’s not for the money because it can fluxuate so much. It’s like acting for me. It is my personal three-hour one-woman show that promotes my favorite city. I love it, and get a high from my live audience, so it fulfills the actress in me, which is great. I have taken a brief hiatus from it while my Mom is here, so that is nice, but I will go back to giving the free tours, the occasional pub crawl, (which I STILL can’t believe they pay me for) and possibly learning the Harbor Tour, but we will see….

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On the school front: We are on summer break, which is awesome! Waking up at 7:30 three days a week is slowly eating away at my soul…don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my class, and my classmates are gold! But as most of you know, I have not been…and will NEVER be…a morning person. Whatever happened to noon classes?? But in seriousness, my Danish is coming along slow and steady. I force myself to use it, while enduring the occasional teasing and tormenting from my Danish friends with my butchered translations, but it doesn’t stop me from trying…especially when I’ve had a bit of wine…

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On the Bedstemor front: I am experiencing a relationship I have never had before…and it’s amazing. We talk every day about everything....from little stuff to big stuff. We have our moments where we may not totally understand each other, but we muddle through it, and become closer because of it. We have this funny bond, and on some days we giggle like two high school friends next to our lockers.

Mom with Bedste
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On the bartending front: I love my job…I really do. Some nights I am just having such a blast, and also think how lucky am I that I am getting paid for this. But I also have those nights where I can’t deal because I only work 4 days a week, but the nights are long…sometimes 12 hours. And then waiting for the night bus, and then coming home on my bike, just renders an exhausting evening where it takes me 3 days to recover anyway.

My partner in crime and coworker
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On the acting front: I think I have booked my first job! I don't wanna jinx it, but I got a script so I should be recording voiceover for my friend's video game!!! SO exciting! Details to come for sure!!!

On the family front: It is fantastic to spend time with them. I am hanging out more with my cousins, which is nice, and we have made two trips down to Lolland, another island in Denmark, where my uncle’s summerhouse is. (It used to be my bedstefar’s.) It’s amazing to think it’s been in the family for over 40 years. That’s a long time! I feel like I am making up for lost time.

My cousin Catrine and me!
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As for the friend front: This one is a bit tricky. I am still in transition mode, and the only thing I can compare it to, is that all your senses are on high alert and is feeling everything to the extreme. I went from living in a city where I had a big community of actors, friends and acquaintances, to here, where it obviously is much less. However, from this, I have realized the value of quality vs. quantity. In LA, you can have 300 “friends” but in actuality, you only have 10. Here, I have maybe 15 people I would consider friends, and I talk to on a semi regular basis.Yet they really are friends. I really trust those people, and they have proved already that they help me in tough situations, and protect me and count me as one of their group. That is a feeling that you cannot put a price tag on, and it makes me smile when I think of the memories I have already had, and the history we are slowly creating together!

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As most people know about me, I am an emotional individual. If I am happy, you know, and if I’m upset you know. I wear my heart on my sleeve a lot, which some people see as a bit different, and others maybe as crazy J In my line of work, I am learning the value of that too. Every day I meet new people from all over, and sometimes you make great connections with people. The problem is, they leave again…and THAT is something I am trying to come to terms with. If you meet cool people, you want to keep them around, and keep having great times, but for my coworkers, and me that isn’t really an option. Thus, you learn to meet cool people, enjoy the brief time you have with them, maybe exchange info, and then say goodbye. I would like to think I am getting better at this, but at times it’s tough. I am not good at goodbyes, but I am hoping maybe this is all part of the journey. Some people are meant to be around for a long time, and others are not. Sometimes it is hard to understand, but in the end it all works out the way it’s suppose to, doesn’t it? Life lessons that I continue to learn every day, On the plus side, I hope this will enable me to embark on a world tour full of fun-filled stops and happy reunions at some point!

But all in all, I CANNOT complain. I still pinch myself on some days, looking down the cobble stone streets, sharing a glass of wine with a friend in Nyhavn, or sitting at my summerhouse with my Mom, bedstemor and Uncle. I think I was dealt a good hand this round. People keep asking me how long I plan on staying. It’s kinda like…the tip of the iceberg has just been discovered, and there is so much more to the rest, including an exciting mystery surrounding it. Anyone would be crazy to put a time stamp on it or stop exploring now…. :)

The song I am LOVING right now

More yummy Danish food!! I love my food pictures!!

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Posted by Michelle Nicole 05.08.2012 14:55 Archived in Denmark Comments (2)

So...what's YOUR story???

That's a very good question

sunny 20 °C

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These days it seems that this questions is haunting my daily life! Now that I am settling into bartending and also have successfully begun my tour guide job, every person and traveler looks at the random American girl, and wants to know..."What's YOUR story?? How did YOU get here??" Very good questions people...I ask myself the same thing every single day...

Good news is that I am VERY busy with Danish school, bartending and now giving walking tours, and the occasional pub crawl! Check out my bio and mugshot here!! I am proud to say that, from this job, I have learned what it is like to be in a 3 hour, one woman show. You MUST keep their attention, be entertaining, and not miss a beat. The good news? They don't know what is going to happen, so at one point, I'm just like, "F*** it! Go for it! The bad news? You are talking nonstop for THREE HOURS! At the end of that three hours, needless to say, I don't want ANYTHING to do with ANYONE!

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YeahNah (Picked that up from all the AUSSIES I'm meeting on a weekly basis!) Life is good here. I am not posting as much as I would like, but I am desperately trying to as much as possible! Danish school is tough because it is still VERY hard to write in Danish, but luckily, Denmark has so many holidays, lately I have been having a class off a week so that is a good thing! Also, I was lucky enough to have one of my bestie Miss Kristyn Barrons come and visit with Alan, and we had a BUNCH of fun! I got to show her what I have been talking about my whole life! They both now understand how beautiful and wonderful Denmark is, (and expensive!) And they also got to meet Bedstemor which was a ton of fun! And the weather was PERFECT! They really lucked out!

Bedstemor's coffee table she set up for us!
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A beautiful day to walk through the gardens!
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So many flowers!
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After they left, I began to prep for the street party of the year....DISTORTION! I cannot even BEGIN to describe how cool this is!!! You can read about it here, but it doesn't really do it justice! Basically it's a 5 day street festival where they play music, and basically just rock it out all night starting at 5 pm. I had heard amazing things about it, but seeing it and experiencing it is so much different!!! I had the best time, and can't wait until next year!! Anyone who loves music, DJ's, parties, this is it!! Calling all American friends, get your butt here next year! I took some photos but it doesn't really capture it!

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I went for two days with my Danish friends, just enjoying each other's company, and then hitting the streets to party! It was a long, but exhausting weekend. My next goal...Octoberfest in Germany! Bring it on!

Lunch with the girls!
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But back to the heading....what's your story. How many times have we all heard that? And it makes you think...your story is whatever you make of it right? Because the person asking doesn't know it, so you can tell them anything. SO many things happen in our life, and we are the ones who choose what to include, and what to leave out. We edit our own stories to see fit, and put us in the light we feel best defines us. But what is interesting I think is that, at the end of the day, it IS just a story that we create. It's a subjective view of our own lives. If we just go by the facts, and told it like it is...how different would it be? What would people say? It's also cool to tell people your story because it reminds you of your accomplishments because we always seem to forget it since we know our OWN stories so well. We've heard our triumphs and defeats so many times we become immune. But when you tell a new person who has never heard it, they think, "Wow..that's pretty cool! Nicely done!" At least that's what I find myself doing while meeting all these new people, hearing their journeys and paths. It's kinda amazing. It's insane the amount of people you talk to in a week, coming from every country you can imagine. It's totally unreal. I would be lying if I told you that at least once a day I say to myself, "When did this become my life?!?"

And of course more pictures of food and Bedstemor's cooking. Cannot leave these out!

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Next up..prepping to survive June, hoping the weather gets better, and getting excited that my Mom is coming! I also may have a friend from Australia visiting, so that is giving me something to look forward to. I also may be lucky enough to have my friends traveling the world, Anastasia and Ryan pass through. I love having visitors :)

Words of the Week

fuldstændig (full-sten-tee) - totally
fortalt (four-tahlt) - told
skat (scat) - sweetie or taxes
kvalme (kvel-ma) - nauseous
forklare (four-clahr) - explain
rygsæk (rick-sack) - backpack

Posted by Michelle Nicole 04.06.2012 12:14 Archived in Denmark Tagged distortion Comments (1)

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