1+1 =11

I was all set to come home and write about all the people I met and what happened at RUC today, but as I just finished registering for classes, I changed my mind. Instead I would like to introduce you to my schedule. Next week I have a four day methodological workshop titled, How to measure power in international relations. It’s based off of participation only, so there isn’t any take-home homework or exam, but from what I understand there is roughly 100 pages of reading.  My main class for the semester is Globalization, Political Culture, Civil Society and Social Movements. It is described as the following. “The core concepts under this theme will be civil society, political culture, social integration and development under impacts from globalization. The interest in political culture and organized civil society has increased in response to the perceived failure of state-led development approaches, which dominated during the 1970s and 1980s. The ‘new policy agenda’ of the 1990s, which typically combines neo-liberal economic policy with a strong commitment to ‘good governance’ has seen civic organizations as efficient and responsive alternatives to the state and as organizational actors with the potential to strengthen democratic processes. Organized civil society – collective organizations, social movements, community groups etc – is in this respect seen as an instrument to ensure sustainable economic growth, a high level of civic and social participation and consequently greater social cohesion between different social ethnic and cultural groups. Under this theme we want to explore the ways that relations of power and authority and political and cultural identities are constructed and challenged in situations of ambiguity and conflict where local institutions and public policies are influenced by but either central state or powerful global agencies, such as multilateral and bilateral development agencies or representatives of the security military complex. A core issue will be the social, economic and cultural consequences of global migration and labour mobility and here the possible outcome of developments such as parallel society, demographical challenges, identity formation loyalty strategies will be scrutinized. A proper global road-mapping of migration will in this sense also contribute to a desired outcome suitable both in a way that it makes a labour-market match possible and prevents a labour market mismatch that at the very extreme case can lead to extreme dissatisfaction at the host societies that can threaten security and social cohesion. These approaches will be empirically broad and concerned with the interplay between different analytical levels, from the local to the global.” This will be what my semester project is based in. This class will run 1 Thursday and 7 Fridays.

With that I have a complimentary seminar which runs five days over 2.5 weeks – Fragile states, conflict and civil society. “‘Weak’, ‘failed’, ‘collapsing’ and ‘collapsed’ state are at the centre of much contemporary debate about development. At the London School of Economics the ‘Crisis States Research Centre’ has been a central part of development studies since 2001, the World Bank has recently published its World Development Report for 2011 on ‘Conflict, Security and Development’, and the Danish Foreign Ministry since 2010 has had ‘Fragile state, conflict and civil society’ as one of its three priority areas of research interest. The background for this focus of interest is a growing integration of development and security policy concerns, and endeavours to have development interventions cohere with other elements of foreign policy such as defence and trade. This again has been strengthened by shifts in the development strategies of governments in the North since September 11, 2001, to counter threats of terrorism from the South, and to stem pressures of immigration from Africa in particular that are seen to be related to security risks. Regional conflicts, crises in governance and political instability are seen as important ingredients in the background to transnational migration and the rise of new forms of violent politics and ‘shadow government’. It is therefore of importance to investigate what constitutes ‘ fragility’, ‘weakness’ or ‘strength’ of governance institutions, and to see this as related not only to structures of state, but also of civil society, and of state-civil society interaction in environments affected by conflict and destabilistation.”

This adds up to 17 days in class with a lecturer. Like the bachelors program I will work in a group on a semester project on a theme/topic of our own choice, but that is done on our own time, most of which will be spent writing solo.

I have one 48hour essay in October for the seminar, and our oral exam on our project will take place some time in January.

When it comes to school, I win.

A thunderous welcome.

I was woken up at 6am to a massive thunder and lightning storm. *This is a pic from the danish news.

They key word here, is massive. I rushed around closing the windows that were open since the rain was blowing in sideways and then stood in the hallway to listen. The storm was directly overhead and my first thought was “I don’t want to get cut by the glass breaking in all the windows”… that’s how bad it was. The thunder was one long, constant rumble and there was a three second pause between flashes of light – almost as if I were at a club with a strobe light (my second thought was, will this make me have a seizure?).

I ended up back in bed after a half an hour once the storm moved away (and I could actually count between the thunder) and slept until my alarm went off at 11. I’m tired again, but am making myself stay awake until bedtime. I won’t make it into the city today with how it’s raining (and might possibly have heard thunder again in the distance).

I am hoping to make it out around here, but with the rain coming down… not sure that’ll happen. Guess I’ll spend the day putting my stuff away.

Yeah, no…. that was certainly thunder. Time to sign off.

** I might have to change my blog – I think I screwed up some settings while trying to change a few things. We’ll see.

I’ve arrived.

So let me start off by saying that I arrived in one piece AND I’m already unpacked. And if by unpacked you’re assuming that I just took everything out of my suitcase and put it on the floor, then you’d be correct. If it’s on the floor I’m more motivated to put it away. If I keep shit in my suitcases, I’m more likely to just gradually take things out over the next three months. Everything will be put away by the end of the day tomorrow.

My flight out of Seattle was delayed due to some ‘important lightbulbs needing to be replaced’. How a couple of lightbulbs took 30 minutes, I am unsure, but it cut down on my transfer time in Iceland. I had roughly 45 minutes to unload, go through customs (AGAIN) and get to my flight to Copenhagen. Luckily the Iceland airport is roughly the size of Target (the small Target shops, not the bigger ones with grocery items), so I got to the gate in the middle of boarding.

I didn’t follow my usual routine of benedryl & wine, but I managed to nod off for the last 2-3 hours of the longer flight. Overall both flights were fine, though it made me miss the direct flight from Seattle to Copenhagen and not just because of the two added hours of travel.

Let’s compare, SAS vs. Iceland Air:


* Free meal & 2 free alcoholic beverages            *Free water/soda/juice.
* Free headphones if you forget yours           * Pay three euros if you forget
* Hot towel                                                     * No hot towel
* Serve coffee tea throughout flight.              * Sad face, no.
* Friendly staff                                                * Friendly staff, but not much                                                                           interaction if you don’t purchase anything.

It wasn’t a bad flight. A little (ok, a lot) bumpy, but that’s nothing that the airline can do anything about. I guess overall Iceland Air just feels like a budget airline. It was much smaller, with only one aisle compared to the two-three-two seating that SAS had and feels a little cheaper. When I flew SAS I felt like the staff wanted to make the best of my flight whereas on IA, I felt like they were there if I needed them, but no one went the extra mile.

But anyway, flight is over and now I’m just chillaxin’. I arrived at the apartment around 2pm, met my new flatmate Eva (super sweet) and we went for a little walk around town so I could see what was quite literally outside our door. Then I came back and napped for 3 hours. I’ve been up for about four hours now, had a bite to eat, scrubbed the airport stank off and am slowly headed back to bed to try and sleep a ‘full night’.

I think I will head into Copenhagen for the day to ‘explore’ my old haunts and reaquaint myself with my favorite places.


In the beginning.

Apparently I have so much to say that I should start a blog. Thanks Leslie.

I’m not quite sure where I’ll be going with this, but it’ll likely be a mix of daily life in Denmark, my thoughts on current events and (as always) my never-ending swoon over my NCIS dvds…. (<– that’s a link, click it).

My first flight back to Denmark takes off in roughly 14 hours. I’m mostly packed (just my carry-on with my computer which I’ll do tomorrow morning) and much further ahead on my usual packing schedule. Sadly, I won’t get everything I’d like over this first time, but seeing as I’ll be home for Christmas, it’s only 3.5 months until I can re-up my supply of cool things.

I have to say – I’m not as nervous or worked up or… excited… as I feel like I should be? I am excited to get back and to see my friends and to be in the city that I absolutely adore but for some reason I’m not getting the butterflies in my stomach that I usually get. Is the excitement over for me? Am I ready to fall in love with a new city? Is Copenhagen just so safe for me, that going back is just like going home after a long vacation? Returning this time is certainly different from how it has been before and I’m looking forward to see what this trip will mean for me and my future.



*Link is Mark Harmon saying ‘hi’ to me. ME!