This week has been very eventful, dramatic and full of great laughs. From my last blog post I realised I never explained what a flødeboller was, the direct translation would be cream buns which is basically a chocolate shell with the inside of the soft core of a marshmallow. Anyway, back to the week just passed. Saturday was spent relaxing at Musholm after having moved the day before and I went down to the beach where we walked to the end of the pier and also went down a bit of an off-roading path.
Now, Sunday is where most of the drama started for this week and let me tell you it was definitely intense! It started like any other day and we were just going down to the train station in Copenhagen. However, when we arrived at the station, Chloe and my mum took all our bags down to the basement where they could be put in storage while we waited for Sylvi to arrive from the airport. I stayed and waited in the car as they had to make 2 trips to get all the luggage and this is where it gets spooky! While I was waiting I saw this dark hooded figure out of the corner of my eye, I glanced up and the same man was leaned against the driver’s door and was trying to force it open. Slightly panicked and adrenaline pumping through me I didn’t know what to do, I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw this dark desperate looking face who looked back at me and then looked a bit panicked and quickly scurried away trying a few other car doors on the way and stumbling over some bikes.
After this slightly frightening, experience mum left to pick up Sylvi. Chloe and I were left to sort out train tickets. After collecting our number to go and enquire about discounts for the train ticket we then headed into DSB. We waited a while and when our number was called, the lady at the counter was very rude and not very helpful. It turns out that you have to book 12 hours in advance in order to get assistance to board the train as they need a lift to get a wheelchair into the train. As a result we tried to see if she could contact them or do something to try and help and instead she kept snapping no and just gave us a number and told us to get lost. Since we didn’t have a mobile with a Danish sim card, we tried asking someone to borrow their phone and she was surprisingly very hesitant to lend it to us, so we ended up just going over to the police station to use a phone there.
Unfortunately they were unable to get something organised so we tried calling the car rental company from where we rented the van. With no answer we went to find Wi-Fi in order to attempt to contact mum who didn’t respond and so we called dad, who was able to send my godmother and her husband to help us out. Luckily mum got a sim-card so we were able to contact her via Lars’ phone to inform her of what had happened and we ended up going to find a hotel where we would stay at for the night. The hotel was found by Lars who spent a few hours wandering around Copenhagen to find a place at a reasonable cost. When Sylvi arrived from the airport, she was quite relieved to hear that we were staying at a hotel, rather than having to go straight onto a 3 hour train trip. It was quite an expensive hotel but luckily we managed to barter with reception to get it for half price. At dinner we all got a litre of tap water in litre sized cups, and I was dared to drink it all which I did in one go which was highly regretted since I did it after eating. Afterwards we were very surprised to find out that we were charged for each cup of tap water and I was happy to have gotten my money’s worth (even though I felt like I was about to pop).
We got up early the next morning to get ready to go to the train station again, to go to Aarhus with the 10:40am train. At the station I went and bought a Danish sim-card before going to the train platform. After a while the train personnel came, and led Sylvi and myself to the platform and we were a bit worried as Chloe and mum were nowhere in sight. We got down to the platform and were put onto a lift so I could get up the 3 massive steps and onto the train. Thankfully after a minute or two, Chloe and mum turned up and got onto the train. It was a very long train ride but definitely a fun new experience. Once we arrived at our destination I was taken down the lift again where Sylvi was filming it, and then it was quite funny because one lady walked up to her and started talking in Danish, and then Sylvi said “English please” and so she said “Why are you filming this boy in the wheelchair, how rude!” to which Sylvi replied “I work for him” and after that the lady was quite embarrassed. The place we were going to was two streets away but with the huge amount of luggage we had, we decided to put Sylvi in a cab with the luggage. The cab driver in front refused to take the job and said he couldn’t fit the luggage in, so we asked the guy behind who had the same sized cab and said that it was no problem and then told off the guy in front for not helping us.
Tuesday we headed in to Muskelsvindfonden (Muscular Dystrophy Foundation of Denmark) where we did a few interviews with some of the employees there. After having lunch there, we then decided to head over to where Cirkus Summarum was being built. There we had a chat to Julia who was the volunteer coordinator and to Kat who we had hoped to interview at Muskelsvindfonden but unfortunately we didn’t catch her there in time. After watching some of the construction, we then headed back to the apartment.
Wednesday we managed to get an interview done with Kat at the circus which went really well. There were some markets on, but we found out they weren’t too exciting, and that there was a jazz festival on so we decided to head down to that. It was a free event and the inside of the hall was packed with people. After the act, we went out to the food markets to get some dinner but I decided to get some chips since I wasn’t too hungry. When dinner had finished, Sylvi and mum went to check out the buses so that we could get on one tomorrow to check out Grøn Koncert (Green Concert) location. In the meantime Chloe and I went around exploring a bit before returning to the festival. Back at the festival, the hall was even more packed and there wasn’t even room for us to get into the hall.
The following day, we got on the bus to go and check out Grøn Koncert to see it before any of the construction started. It was basically in the middle of nowhere so when we were walking to it, we thought it was a bit bizarre. After checking it out, we then headed back to get on the bus to head back to the apartment. On the bus trip there was this girl in a pram who was a bit of a brat, and kept kicking my footplates as well as undoing the shoelaces on one of my shoes, which was very irritating. Her mother was on the phone and was completely oblivious to what her child was doing, and the pram also kept wheeling into me as there were no brakes put on. It was a massive relief when it was finally time to get off the bus.
Friday was my first day as a Frivillig (volunteer) at Cirkus Summarum which was very exciting and I also got a volunteer’s T-shirt! After being briefed together with all the other Frivillig, we went off to our smaller groups in charge of different sections within the circus. In these smaller groups we went around introducing ourselves, and then we were allocated roles of which station we would be put in charge of. I was put in charge of the small jumping castle for the smaller kids. It was quite a big job and I had to make sure that only 24 kids were on at one time getting 3 minutes before swapping them out with 24 new kids. At our stand we were given a large box around 100cm x 20cm x 30cm full of popcorn, we were also given a few bottles of water and a plastic cup filled with lollies. This helped us to get through the day as well as having a break to go and have lunch served at the kitchen.
With the circus there is a huge playground where you are allowed to play for the whole day, if you want, while the circus is open. This means that there are a lot of kids who are there for the show and then between the two shows there are more kids coming for the second show, and that’s when it gets really busy and the kids from both shows want to come and play on the jumping castle. Luckily for me, on the first day I had to go do an interview and one of the other volunteers was able to come and take my post for me in the part between the two shows where there starts being queues. At the end of the day we stayed for dinner before heading back to the apartment for the night.
Saturday was a very early start as we were going to Grøn Koncert to check out the building of the concert. When we arrived at the concert we went to check in and were told to go and get some one day volunteer armbands as well as some food to eat. Afterwards, we interviewed a volunteer in a wheelchair, who we found out afterwards was actually going to Egmont Folkschool at the same time as me. We then went and set up for another interview, but unfortunately part-way through; the interview was interrupted by the sound test. Luckily we were able to reschedule, but there was another interview we wanted to do, so thankfully when we did the third interview, we were able to do it completely uninterrupted. Once this was done, we then went and got some lunch to eat. We then had to go back to the Circus via a taxi and on our way out of the concert area, there were people pouring in to come and see the concert.
At the Cirkus I had to be in charge of the busy period between the two shows which I managed to handle very well, despite not being able to shout very loud so I had to go around telling all the parents that time was up for the next group of kids. This seemed to go on forever until finally it was time for them to go into the circus, and during the break it wasn’t quite as busy. At the end of the day I received my volunteer jumper before going to grab some dinner and then heading out to a taxi, to go and watch Grøn Koncert in action.
Here at Grøn Koncert I got to see some of my friends whom I’d met on my last visit and did one interview on my friend with muscular dystrophy who was actually the MC. It was very amusing and entertaining watching all of the drunken people and some random guy actually came up and for some reason wanted a photo with me, which Sylvi took. Afterwards we then went to film my friend as the MC and also a band do a few songs before heading off again. The bus ride home was so much fun and was absolutely packed and two drunken guys were busy telling me their life story, and one of them decided he wanted to give me his sunglasses as I apparently deserved them, which the girlfriend wasn’t too pleased about. Free sunnies! Score!
It was an extremely long flight for us all and I managed to get almost zero sleep and a really sore ass. Our stopover in Doha was 8 hours and when we got off the flight, we were escorted through the airport, through security and then to a quiet family lounge where I could lay down and rest my royal ass.
“Can I please have my phone?”
“Where is it?”
“It’s in my bag.”
“It’s not in any of the bags.”
“WE LEFT IT ON THE PLANE!!”
After realising this, mum went to try and retrieve my phone and luckily the plane wasn’t scheduled for any other flights for the day, so we could hopefully retrieve it before our next flight. After 2 hours, and checking at the customer service desk twice to no avail, we found out the plane had been sent to the hangar for repairs and we wouldn’t get the phone before our next flight.
We arrived in Copenhagen at around 8:10pm on Saturday the 8th of July where we were greeted by my auntie Anita and one of my auntie and mums close friend Benedikte whom they’ve known since they were children. After a hot chocolate and finding out that my wheelchair was limping along, we went and found the rental van which was the exact same one I had last time I was in Denmark, and way too big as this time there was only one wheelchair and not two to be transported.
Thanks to Benedikte, we arrived safely at Musholm, however the key to one of the rooms didn’t work so we had to call to get someone to help us out at 1am. Thankfully, someone arrived quite quickly and managed to sort out our keys and get us a hoist, sling and some bed linen. We then got to bed and fell asleep very quickly.
The next day was just spent exploring Musholm, where we had a bit of fun in the sports hall just walking around. There was a climbing rope and a fireman’s pole which went right into a ball pit, which Chloe and my mum decided to climb on which was hilarious.
On Monday we spent the day at Copenhagen getting my Danish identification number sorted as well as the healthcare system at Frederiksberg Kommune. After we had sorted it out we then went to one of Denmark’s commonly found hotdog stands, where I had a French hotdog where there was a clump of mustard in the bottom, which I got all at once and boy was it hot! On our way home there was a couple of very challenging moments where mum thought we were in Australia.
Tuesday we went and had lunch with my grandparents (mum’s side) and I managed to get some open-faced sandwiches, finally - since I didn’t manage to get any last time when I went over.
Wednesday we stayed at Musholm where we put our names down for el-hockey in the afternoon. For el-hockey as we waited for a hoist to transfer me into an el-hockey chair, we got to watch the younger kids zooming around, a bit out of control and there were a few close calls where the instructor almost got hit by the chairs zooming by, at around 14km/h. Since the hoist wasn’t coming, the instructor decided that we would use the hook from the rock-climbing wall to transfer me into an el-hockey chair; the hoist was a very unique but slightly terrifying experience. Once in the chair I had a warm up drive around the court to get used to the chair, since it had been quite a while since I had last been in one. The instructor told me to start on the first speed - which I did UNTIL she left the room where I turned it up on full speed and zoomed around.
Once the previous group had finished Chloe and I got onto the court, together with some older young adults. This was very relieving for the both of us as we had seen how uncontrolled the younger ones had been. When I got on the court I zoomed around a bit more and two of the people on the court were very amazed by my skill, and when it came to us having to decide who was on which team, the two who had seen my skill were extremely quick to decide that I was on their team, and Chloe was on the other team with two others. It was a very fun and controlled game where I managed to score 5 goals and 1 own goal, but still absolutely smashing the other team. Two of those goals played by me were played like a professional.
Thursday in the morning I was very excited after receiving an email that my mobile phone had been found and was at Copenhagen airport. In the morning we went to Frederiksberg Kommune again as I needed to find out about an e-box, which I had to get an id-card for, in order to use it. After that was sorted we went and picked up my grandma (dad’s side) and drove to Tivoli for the day. When we got there mum went and parked the car and we got a bit worried as it took her a bit longer than half an hour to find a spot and return, this was worrying as we have no Danish sim cards to contact her with. Luckily we stayed put and waited until she returned.
In Tivoli our first priority was to get some food. After lunch we then headed in to an arcade game where we managed to win both times and the prize was some gourmet popcorn and flødeboller. Next stop was then to get some ice-cream, (they are enormous but very delicious) where I foolishly listened to the woman in front and got some liquorice ice-cream, which was disgusting. Next Chloe and I continued to wander around as mum drove grandma home, and then to the airport by train to pick up my phone. We had another stressful experience where we weren’t sure which train station it was, and when we thought we were at the right one we were having doubts when it took mum over an hour or so than expected. The thing that made it the most stressful was that there was no way we could contact mum to ask! Luckily it all turned out well and we got home fine.
Today (Friday the 14th of July) we had to move all our stuff to another room in Musholm and we forgot to empty the fridge so when we remembered and went to get it, the cleaning lady was very rude and just abruptly said she had thrown it in the garbage as we were late in getting out and showed no remorse. In the afternoon after we had been shopping, I then had a chat to Julia from the circus and she helped to fast track and sort out me coming to the circus as a volunteer which was really exciting!!
Stay tuned for my next post in a week which will be from Aarhus!
With only a couple of days left – (will be boarding the flight tomorrow night) it is a bit of a mad rush to get everything sorted!
Luckily a lot of pieces to the big puzzle have fallen into place over these last couple of days thanks to various people who have been working hard to help me out.
I have stocked up on medication to take with me, my portable shower chair will (hopefully) be delivered today, my “Ferrari” has been serviced – Yay – and my good friend Scott and his family has kindly offered to take care of “Oscar” – (my guineapig in case you were wondering) which is greatly appreciated. I have my tickets and travel insurance sorted and thanks to many generous supporters, my “Chuffed” fundraising thermometer keeps going up, which is absolutely awesome.
The packing has slowly started – we are still trying to find a suitcase big enough to hold all the stuff I need to take with me.
“Watch this space” – next posting will be from the Northern Hemisphere.