Pre-Departure: Home Run to Home Away

Sitting in an unfamiliar apartment late at night in the heart of Atlanta, I pop open my computer and put on some “Jazz Vibes” to write to. Missing home and my family back in Bloomington, Illinois, I think to myself:

Man, it’s already the end of July. I just got out of school last month and in three weeks I’m going to be flying to Copenhagen? Time is really passing by. It feels like I just started research and now I have to get ready to go abroad for 4 months!

This summer, I have been fortunate enough to do Biochemistry research at Georgia Tech on heme trafficking and availability (really cool stuff!). I’ve been away from home since September of last year, only to find myself getting ready for my next big adventure. But this one feels different. Sure, I’ve never lived in a big city until Atlanta or truly lived on my own. But Denmark? It feels like a beast of its own. Unexplored terrain. A new journey of my life.

Just me enjoying a sip of Coca-Cola with the founder John Stith Pemberton at the World of Coke in Atlanta, Georgia!

It may seem like I’m talking about my expedition to Copenhagen this August as daunting, but I think a different word describes my feeling towards the situation: wanderlust. I’ve never felt this emotion before. The more I think about studying, exploring, and living in a different country than my own, the more this sentiment intensifies. It feels like it’s going to be my home away from Illinois, and I just can’t really explain why.

Overall, I haven’t been reading much on what to do in Copenhagen or where exactly to go. I feel like it would ruin or diminish this feeling of wanderlust. Instead of having a book to tell me where to visit (which I’m sure there are FANTASTIC books out there), I want to traverse the landscape naturally. If I do get the opportunity of living with my preferred choice of a home stay this fall, I want to ask them personally where they think I should spend my time. I wish to experience Danish culture in the best way possible. Interact, talk to, and learn from the people who actually live here. Embed myself in a different style of living.

While I’m frantically preforming experiments and getting a summer research poster readied up, I don’t have that much to pack for Copenhagen. I had to decide this stuff in July because I wasn’t going to be home before I take a 9-hour flight across the Atlantic Ocean. I kept it pretty simple: Clothes, electronics, and myself. I mean, if you forget yourself, I think you might be doing it wrong.

My mentoring graduate student and I in front of a gigantic NMR machine! We don’t use this machine for my research but the lab next to us do and they gave me the opportunity to visit the room one day!

As I reflect and think of the great opportunity the Danish Institute for Study Abroad(or DIS as I will refer to it) has given me with this program and the amazing people who have helped me get here, it really will be a story of its own. A story I hope to share with everyone and to cherish for a lifetime. I won’t be packing up to go back to Minnesota where people say baeg instead of bag. And I won’t be going back to get ready for my next baseball season just yet. Though I will be bringing my baseball glove because you never know when you’ll need to pitch the next big game. I’ll be in a different country, surrounded by people I don’t know.

But that’s ok. Life’s an adventure and we’re all along for the ride.


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