Blogging is weird.
I don’t know how else to put it, but I’m sure that fellow bloggers can relate. A blog is an online, public journal. A little piece of your soul that you put on a screen, for being read by other people and, thus, criticized, judged, etc.
So, in relation, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I choose to reveal about myself and my life online. I’m able to curate a particular image of myself that is (as I try) honest, but is really only a small snapshot of everything I’m experiencing. Heck, all social media is the same. It’s all curated, it’s all carefully constructed. I think that is important to keep in mind that a blog is such a small aspect of a person. I’m sure, when I return home, some will expect me to say: “I had an incredible, flawless time abroad! Do it immediately! Every second is enjoyable!” And sometimes, I think this is the impression that one can get from social media, like blogs, where the individual can choose to only write about pretty, comforting things. The truth is, when I return home, I’m sure my response will be much more complicated. Being abroad is a beautiful experience, but it is beautiful because of its complexity. I don’t know if a blog can capture the experience as a whole.
Anyways, I still love to blog. I just think it’s important to keep everything I just said in the previous paragraph when reading and/or writing online. I really like to share what I’m experiencing online for others, but also for myself. The internet is this crazy infinite, eternal entity and it will be interesting to look back on this whole period of my life years in the future.
The weeks go by too quickly.
This week was special. I got to visit the charming town of Skagen, which is nestled at the very top of Denmark, on the peninsula that juts out towards Sweden. When a couple friends and I left Aalborg early in the morning, it was pouring rain and we all considered turning back and postponing the trip for a nicer day. I’m glad we didn’t because during the hour-long train ride, the clouds began to clear and although it was still overcast, the rain stopped for the remainder of the day.
Two things are immediately noticeable about Skagen: the smell of fish and the bright, cheerful yellow that nearly all the buildings are painted. It was a quiet day, the chilly weather kept most people indoors. This left the beaches beautifully abandoned; we were able to enjoy them with just the sound of our own footsteps along the rocky shores, the waves, and the occasional screeching of gulls and other water fowl.
I enjoyed searching for sea glass and other humble treasures that lay strewn across the sand. I collected several items in the pocket of my rain coat: shells, glass, smooth stones. We also found several WW2 bunkers that were used by German soldiers. Some of them looked as if they were being slowly sucked into the sand dunes, others looked as if they were going to be swept into the sea. Graffiti and soot from long-burnt-out campfires decorated the cement walls. If I was feeling especially brave, I would peer into the decrepit bunkers through holes created by vandals and others explorers.
After walking nearly 4km, we reached the very tip of the country, where we could watch the Baltic and North seas smash together in a wild display of splashing foam. The peninsula is called Grenen. Behind me was sand, grass and a lighthouse on the horizon, in front of me: endless ocean, theoretically Sweden, and an angry ocean that insisted on battling itself forever.
We headed back to town for some long-awaited, warm pizza. We we’re cold, exhausted and damp, but incredibly proud of our accomplished journey. The pizza warmed us up, and we began in the opposite direction in search of Den Tilsandede Kirke, in English, the sand-covered church.
A long trail led to the church, through dark firs and grassy sand-dunes. The church was built between 1355 and 1387. This building is older than the United States (!!!) and continues to retain its simplistic beauty. Part of the church was demolished in 18th century, because a sand dune repeatedly was blown in front of the entrance and it became too much work to dig out. I’ve grown to appreciate minimalism more since I’ve been in Scandinavia, most churches are painted white, with simple decoration. I can see how, in some ways, these churches seem more revered in their unassuming appearances. They politely ask for your attention, rather than demanding it.
Towards late afternoon, we decided to head home. As we ran to catch the train, I could feel the shells and stones clinking together in my pockets, little pieces of the top of Denmark that I will always have.