Hey hey! Or should I say Hej!

I apologize for being MIA since my crazy long bus trip. The morning after returning from Esbjerg started my busiest week since I’ve lived here in Denmark. Although my sleep that night was short-lived, I was very excited for the morning as I would be starting my first day of Danish school. First, I had to be at the club at 7:30 to coach and then it was off to school. It is about a 5 minute bike ride from the club to the school. The school I am going to is AOF Hjorring Daghojskole Sprogcentret.

In Danish hojskole does not mean High School like us English speakers would think it would be referring to. Instead, in Denmark, any schooling which is done outside of the required nine years of basic education starting at the age of 7 is consider “higher education” which makes perfect sense. After you finish the 9th class as they call it here, you have the choice to continue on to what they call gymanisum. If you choose to go to gymnasium then it will take 3 years to graduate. Otherwise, you can go to a teknik skole (technical school) where you learn a trade of choice. Pretty much for anything that you might want to do for a vocation in Denmark 2 years of schooling is required. For example, if you want to paint houses, you go to teknik skole for painting and it will take you 2 years to move through the program. Thanks to the way the government works here, all this schooling is free as long as you are a resident. The bad news, your attendance is controlled and monitored by whichever kommune (county/community/city overseers) you live in (aka BIG BROTHER!).

Since being enrolled in an education program as a resident of Denmark, I am beginning to understand a lot better how their whole system works. I’m not so much a fan of being monitored of when I come to class or when I am late or when I don’t feel like showing up. It doesn’t make too much sense to me because going to Danish class is only for my benefit. I don’t get graded. I don’t have homework. I don’t have tests. I only get evaluated when my teacher feels I am ready to see if I can move on to more advanced lessons.

I feel like I could go on and on with describing what my school is like here. I’ll just add a couple more things for today. The Danish classes are only for foreigners ( I hope that is an obvious statement, but you never know) with a refugee or resident status and a work visa. Since I am a resident of Denmark while working as a professional soccer player (ha, sometimes I just like saying that. It is still funny to me that playing soccer is my profession right now) the government pays for my schooling, as I alluded to earlier. Unfortunately they, the government, is making me go every day of the week except for Thursdays from 8:45-1:10 and until 2:50 on Wednesdays.

Picture this: you are sitting in a decent sized classroom with 25+ other people ranging in age from 21 to 53 all from different countries. For example, at my table, I sit with a girls from Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Germany, Poland, Burma, and a guy from Poland. Fortunately everyone at my table speaks a little english, if not a lot, but in the other groups around the class maybe 2 others speak english. Being that I can’t communicate in Danish yet other than saying my name, where I’m from, a little about my family, and where I live, I can’t talk with any of my other classmates…yet…I sit in the same place all morning/day working on these workbooks, or looking up words in the dicitonary, or writing about my family or apartment, or talking with my teacher trying to learn how to speak. That is all that happens. No lecture, no instruction (unless you call the teacher over to you and ask specific questions for her to help you with. Then she is very helpful, but otherwise nothing is taught like in an American school setting which is all that I have known up to this point), only self-motivated work and learning. I could (and will admit have) sat for an entire day and accomplished nothing. It is all about what each person wants to get out of it. I try to take advantage of my time, but sometimes I really can’t sit there for that long working on the same thing over and over and over again. I mean it is things like Jan eats breakfast. Jan rides his bike to school. Anne cleans the kitchen. Very elementary because I am probably at a 1st grade level, if that, with my own Danish, so it isn’t possible for it to be more exciting.

Hopefully I will take some pictures of what my school and class are like before I leave for vacation so you can see a little bit of what I am talking about. I really could sit here and type up stories all night, but I am tired.

It has been a very hard past 2 weeks of training. We haven’t had any games with the first team because the Danish national team has been busy playing games, which in turn affects our entire league. Therefore, Flemming (my coach) has been running us into the ground! It isn’t just straight running that we do like back in the States. It is more practical fitness. We play absurd amounts of 3 v3 , 4v4, 5v5, for a very long time and it makes me want to curl up in a ball and go to sleep. The intensity level is so high during every single practice. There is never a day where I am able to just sit back and roll through the motions. I have to have such good concentration during practice, which is difficult for me, but I think I am getting better at it. I still enjoy going out to train every day! There hasn’t been a day where I’ve wished I didn’t have to go so this is definitely a positive thing.

We have a lot of big, important matches coming up. We play Sunday, Thursday, Sunday, Thursday and then its over. We have our biggest game of the season on Sunday against Brondby just outside of Copenhagen (Kobenhavn). I think we are in 1st and 2nd place in our league. Then Thursday is the first leg of the second round of UEFA Champions League at home against Lyon! Should be a really exciting and good game. Then we have one more home game on the next Sunday against Viborg, which is a cup game, which means that it doesn’t count for us in our league but for this ongoing tournament that we play in all year round. Finally on the next Tuesday, November 9, we will travel to Lyon, France until Friday to play in the 2nd leg of the 2nd round of champions league. Sorry if this is confusing to any non-soccer savvy people reading this. It kind of makes my head spin a bit when I think about trying to explain how all the different leagues and tournaments work over here and to be honest, I haven’t totally figured it out myself.

So after that week, I am going on vacation for a month and half! 🙂 ha…I love how long I get off! I will spend my first week in Charleston with my friends who are still in school, and then head back home for the rest of the time! Wow, I am so excited about everything. I cannot wait to talk to people face-to-face instead of email or instant messaging. It will be great! I am also looking forward to seeing the mountains again and to just be back in my home country. I know I haven’t been gone for long, and the time has gone by quickly, but I am still very much excited about coming back for this break!

Sorry if this has been a bit of a sporadic update, but a lot has been going on. Hopefully I will start posting regularly again soon.