This week we had a huge variety of different activities to raise money for the Danish Handicap Association (https://danskhandicapforbund.dk/en/development-work/honduras/). Today after classes in the afternoon we had a human auction. At the auction, the students got a chance to sell their skills or an experience to the others. It was very entertaining and interesting to see what people were offering. There were for example people selling bedtime readings, morning songs, massages, trips to the cinema, room cleans, etc. I came up with the idea of selling 3 walk and talk therapy sessions with Dr Phil (myself) which everyone cracked up laughing about and it was sold for 250kr ($50). There were also 2 students who sold themselves as gurus who would be able to help complete tasks and get your life back on track which I bought for 260kr. After selling my Dr Phil idea, a whole lot of people came up to me asking if they could get a walk and talk session even though they didn’t get it. This was a very nice experience to see how enthusiastic people were around going for a walk and having a chat with me.
Tuesday I had adventure line where we focused on learning about reading and following maps. The first part of the day we got into groups and had to locate different posts by reading a map. This was a very fun activity and after having done quite a bit of it at home in Australia I was very enthusiastic about giving it a go. We managed to find all posts and mark them all with a hole puncher on the correct numbers on the map. Later on after lunch we received another task where we had to find our way around a specific route where each turn was shown by an arrow with symbols around it so we knew which structures or plants were around that turn. My group ended up being the only group that followed it precisely without any wrong turns. Near the end, it started to rain and so we had to hurry back so we wouldn’t get soaked. When we got back I just hung out with some of the other students while we waited for dinner time. Later in the afternoon there was going to be a municipal of students who would be reading out various dilemmas and answering them as a panel. Two who had organised it and had already gathered together the panel came up to me and asked if I wanted to be on the panel to which I definitely did. After dinner I went into the heated pool for a bit of a swim and just to relax a bit before the municipal. However, it got a bit hectic in terms of limited time when I had to get out as the municipal was due to start quite soon. Luckily though, we managed to make it in time. The municipal was a lot of fun with some very interesting dilemmas which people had written in the morning at assembly. In the role of Dr Phil I think I did quite well and also managed to crack a few jokes without intending to do so.
Wednesday was a very chilled out day where we finished early and I ended up just sitting together with some of my mates over in their room where we just chatted and I wrote a bit in my blog. There was also a second hand shop set up in one of the classrooms where people could buy different items of clothing and other things. Since it was pouring with rain and I was over in one of the outside apartments, I didn’t particularly want to go over to the main building. Instead we ended up playing a drawing game where we had to draw something on our phone and then guess what the others had drawn. Even though there wasn’t much going on, it was a great day hanging out with my friends.
Thursday we had a bit of bango (bingo where you slam the table if you get bingo) in the afternoon where the hall was packed with people. It was very intense and slightly frustrating evening since I kept getting very close to winning but then someone else would get it. However, patience was the key and I ended up winning one of the big prizes which was 2 packets of lollies and 2 concert tickets.
Friday I was out on an excursion with adventure in nature where we went out to see black sun which is a natural phenomenon where thousands of black birds come flying in and almost block out the sun with their sheer number. We drove out to the location and stopped at a parking lot on the way to stop and have something to eat and drink. Here we met a man from Norway who had converted a medium sized bus into a camper van which he could drive around Europe with. I couldn’t quite understand what he said but he seemed like a nice guy and decided to give me a cap to keep. After an interesting chat with him we met with a guide who was going to talk us through the natural phenomenon when we arrived at the location. Before we were to drive out, he briefed us a bit on what was generally expected and that this year there was a much smaller number of birds that would be flying in. It was very cold outside when we arrived and there weren’t too many birds but nevertheless it was still an interesting and unique experience that was definitely worth experiencing. We all sat together watching as these birds flew in and it was a very pleasant evening. Later on we all got back into the buses and headed back to the school jamming away in the bus. Back at the school there was a lot going on as people had all sorts of drinking games in their rooms based on different themes from letters that they had received and people basically toured from room to room experiencing the different themed activities they had going on. It was quite fun to see everyone dressed up and getting absolutely wasted but I wasn’t really interested in getting involved in the activities.
Saturday was a very quiet and relaxed day where the majority of people who were there during the weekend were either sleeping off or feeling terrible with their hangovers. However, in the afternoon there was a bit of salsa dancing where there was an instructor who came in to teach us all how to dance salsa. It was a lot of fun and everyone was getting involved in it. To start off with the girls had to line up on one side of the room and the guys on the other and then the guys had to go over to the girls and ask if they wanted to dance with them. I was a bit hesitant at first but then I managed to muster my courage and go over and ask. We all stood in a circle and once we got the hang of it with our initial partner we then started rotating around dancing with different partners. Afterwards, we also got to try a bit of zumba which was a great way to get the energy levels of the room raised to the max and also a great note to end on.
Today was a pretty chilled day where I headed in for a swim in the indoor swimming pool. It was very relaxing in the heated pool and a great way to spend a Sunday morning. Afterwards there was a cake competition going on in the dining hall where a few groups had competed against each other and there were a few judges about to determine the winning group. There were a lot of interesting looking cakes and looked almost too good to eat. Followed by this, a few of us decided to order some pizzas to have for dinner. I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to finish off a lazy Sunday.
Monday was where the whole adventure line would be heading out on our 3 day canoeing trip. I have to admit I was a bit nervous as to how the trip would go. We packed our bags and prepared some lunch before being loaded into the buses to drive to the starting location. Our driver got a tiny bit lost, but we nevertheless made it only a few minutes later than the others. After a well in depth briefing, we all got into small groups and hopped into our canoes. It was a tiny bit scary for me as I had to lie with my legs underneath a metal bar which would mean broken legs if the canoe were to tip over. We were off, sailing down with the stream and we were going pretty fast, we started by going under a low bridge where the two other guys in my canoe had to lie down as to not knock their heads. It was a lot of fun and we were chatting, singing and laughing. As we kept going, my butt got more and more sore, but I was still enjoying myself being outside listening and looking at the beauty of nature. After a while however we had to stop by the shore to reposition me as I was very sore. Once I was lying comfortably we kept going but were stopped by a shout of “Help!” We called back asking if they were ok which they said they weren’t. We turned around and found that one of the canoes had tipped over and they needed help to empty the canoe of water and also to get back into it. Luckily we were close by and were able to help them and then continue with them in front this time in case they were to tip again. Around an hour later we arrived at the campsite where everyone was loaded out and started to set up camp with tents and campfire. A few headed into the woods to collect some mushrooms for our vegetarian stew which tasted delicious. We all sat around the fire chatting and having a jolly good time together. However it got very dark and I ended up deciding to go to bed where I slept in a tent which I haven’t done in a long time.
Tuesday we started out with a delicious cooked breakfast as it was Frederik’s birthday and he had ordered a delicious cooked breakfast. After brekky we continued down the river in our canoes, but we had to transport them over onto the other side as there was a road with a pipe on the river. This time I sailed together with two different guys, one of which called Rasmus who had a harmonica which he played a few tunes on for us which was amazing. After 2 hours or so we stopped for lunch where I sat and rested a bit lying on the grass. We then continued down the river which was very nice and clear. After a while we were stopped by a canoe in front of us where the two girls in it were holding onto a tree for dear life desperate not to tip the canoe. Since we were a bit slow in stopping the canoe we slammed right into them where they slowly started to tip over. In panic, they took a hold of our canoe and were about to tip us over with them which luckily they didn’t and we were able to stop their canoe from sailing away. Since there was nothing more we could do, we continued to sail until we reached our destination. Once we arrived we had to wait a while as my wheelchair had not arrived yet and so I waited patiently almost asleep in my comfortable position in the canoe. Later, the chair arrived and dinner was not too far behind. We had some dinner and then played a bit of werewolf which was a lot of fun in the pitch dark. After a few games, I headed over to the shelter ready for a well-deserved night’s sleep.
Wednesday we got up fairly early and started to pack everything up ready to leave within the next hour or so. Once we were all packed up, we then headed back to the school in the buses. We arrived back at the school at around 10:30am just in time to prepare for our table group meeting. Since we had forgotten to charge my chair before the canoe trip it had been very flat throughout the whole trip and so I decided to charge it a bit before our table meeting. It was a pretty laid back table meeting and afterwards we just spent the rest of the day resting and getting ready to get back into the swing of things on Thursday.
On Friday, I had adventure in nature where we visited Moesgård Forest where we were all going out to pick mushrooms. Once we arrived we got into pairs received plastic bags and then headed into the forest where we managed to pick a whole variety of different mushrooms. There were a lot of funny shaped ones, different sized ones and also many different colours. After we had picked our share of mushrooms we then headed back to the park where we put all our mushrooms together with everyone else’s on a table. The reason for us picking these mushrooms was because there was a mushroom expert who was going to teach us about all the different mushrooms and to tell us what kind they were. It was very interesting and we definitely learnt a lot from it. On our return to the school there were only a few hours until our night run. The night run consisted of a team who was to run out and complete various different James Bond themed challenges. We got to do a obstacle course to get to a diamond, we had to diffuse a bomb on the bridge, put our hands into garbage to find certain items, shoot with a pistol, complete a slalom course, work our way through a mine field and then finally we had to perform in front of one of the other students to try and arouse him. This was indeed all very intense, but we managed to complete it all in an orderly fashion. Unfortunately we didn’t win overall against the other teams but we definitely gave it a shot and had an awesome time in the process.
Saturday was pretty laid back during the day with luckily not too much going on around the house. Later however there was a James Bond themed night where everyone dressed up fancily for the event. Unfortunately I didn’t have any of my fancy clothes but luckily there were a lot of other people who hadn’t put much of an effort in so I wasn’t the only one who didn’t have the correct clothing. After a 3 course meal, we then headed down to one of the student apartments where everyone was playing various different drinking games which was very entertaining to watch. There was a very festive and happy atmosphere around it all and I felt very welcome there. After quite a wild pre party, we then headed up to the main party where there wasn’t too much going on. As a result, I headed to bed pretty soon after.
This week I was unfortunately a bit sick after having been on the 90km hike. On Monday I had a BPA which is an acronym for the carer system where I learnt a bit more about their system. Even though they were speaking in Danish it was still difficult to understand what they were saying as a lot of the language was quite technical. However luckily my mum was able to come along and understood almost all of what was talked about. Since I wasn’t feeling very well, we decided to call the doctor the next day to see if we could get an appointment. Luckily they had an available time in the next 90 minutes so I was able to go down and see the doctor and get a blood test done to ensure I didn’t have a lung infection. Luckily it was all good and I was able to go back to the school without any necessary treatment. Since my class were all down in the sea I decided to take the afternoon off as I didn’t want to risk my cold getting worse.
Wednesday was pretty laid back where in the morning we had toast masters where we had some speeches outside from people who hadn’t said their speech in the previous lesson. The rest of the day however was just spent relaxing and just focusing on getting well again. Thursday, I had psychology the whole day where we looked at mindfulness and what is involved in the practice of meditation. Later in the day there was soccer which I decided to head over to and watch despite my cold and put lots and lots of layers on. On the way out, my chair was very low on power and so we decided to put it into manual mode. We put it back into drive mode again and I was able to just get down to the field. On the field my chair suddenly stopped and wouldn’t start driving again. I was quite panic struck and we ended up having to put it into manual mode and push it along the grass. After the game we also had to push it all the way back and we never managed to figure out how to put it back into drive mode again.
Friday morning we managed to get a service man on the school to come and have a look at my chair and surely within 10 minutes he managed to get my chair back into drive mode which was extremely relieving. The first lesson of psychology was spent doing a full body scan meditation which was very relaxing. After the break, I then had adventure in nature where we went into Aarhus Botanical Garden which was a very nice spent afternoon where we got to see plants from all around the world inside a gigantic greenhouse. It was a very pleasant way to finish the school day. Back on the school we had a party where I decided to take it easy and hung out in the dining hall playing various different board games which was a lot of fun. Saturday was also just spent chilling out where I did a bit of cleaning up in my room and writing a bit in my blog. I then played on the computers together with some of the other students in the computer lab which was a lot of fun. However after a while we went out again to reality and headed over to discussion café where we sat with a table group of people whom we hadn’t really spoken to before and spoke about some very interesting topics.
This week has been a very exciting one as it was the week of our 90km hike on Denmark’s oldest road. Sunday we spent the majority of the day preparing for the trip by washing clothes and packing my bag with all the necessary things. Luckily one of my friends was able to collect my winter clothes from Copenhagen which is about 3 hours away since she was there for the weekend. If my clothes hadn’t been collected I would definitely have gotten pneumonia as it was extremely cold on the hike as winter is coming.
Monday morning we had to get up quite early to pack the last things as well as lunch and have some breakfast. After getting everything sorted out quite hastily, I then headed out to the bus and onto a lift as it is one of the double decker buses where the bottom level is for baggage. Once everyone was strapped in and seated on the bus we then headed off to the starting location of our hike. It was a very quiet and chilled bus trip where everyone was, either listening to music, reading or sleeping. Once we reached the starting location we were then taken out off the bus and then we prepared the Joggers for all of the wheelchair users and were then transferred into them ready for the first 21km part. It was raining quite a bit and the path was very muddy. Søren started off pushing me and boy did we go fast. We ended up overtaking everyone except for the jogger up the front which was going a bit too fast for us and had also had a bit of a head-start. There were a few parts that were extremely tough to push through and had it been completely dry we would have gotten through no problem. There were a lot of steep hills on the first day too which also made it a bit difficult for everyone. When we got a bit closer to the town which our accommodation was in, there was a bit of an asphalted slope with a tunnel at the bottom and then a slope up on the other end. Søren and Christoffer were pushing Jonas and me in joggers and they decided to give us a push, let go, run after us and catch us again. We were going quite fast in the tunnel and Christoffer had given Jonas a push but with more power than anticipated and the jogger was veering ever so slightly closer and closer towards the wall. Suddenly Christoffer shouts “Catch Jonas! I can’t make it!” to which Søren replies “I can’t! I’m going to fast with Philip!”. Out of the corner of my eye I see Jonas all the way over towards the wall before he disappears from my sight. Søren looks back and apparently Jonas had fallen out of the chair and since there was no sound from the crash and the fact that he sounded very calm you would never have known. Luckily he was fine and he hadn’t sustained any injuries from the fall which was very lucky.
The following day, we had a quick breakfast before heading back out on the road again ready for another long day of walking. We started the day off by going to the church where we were shown around and got to look at all of the amazing artworks throughout. After a bit of a wander around, we were then seated again where we were taught a pilgrim song about safe travels which ended up being sung way too much on the trip and almost everyone was sick of it by the end of the week. After a few times of singing the song, we then had a bit of time to wander around the town to have some lunch before continuing our hike. We stopped at a lovely café for something to drink, a candy shop to get some supplies and then a kebab shop for some lunch. Once we were all satisfied, we headed back to the church to meet up with the rest of the group to continue our walk. Today’s walk was definitely a different challenge but definitely not less challenging. It was great having a chance to just chat with people and to get to know them better. We arrived at the accommodation first together with Magnus, Peter and Johannes which was quite an achievement. It was a very nice place and was similar to an old style cottage. The teachers presented the skirt of shame which had to be given to someone who had either done or said something silly. There were a lot of people who nominated others and told stories about the silly things they had done. I decided to tell the story from the previous day with Jonas and everyone cracked up laughing. As a result, Christoffer ended up having to wear the dress all of the next day.
Wednesday was another long day where almost everyone faced a challenge of their own that had to be overcome. The first challenge started pretty early on the walk where there was quite a lot of mud. Kenny decided to try and find an alternate route where there was less mud and ended up falling into the mud leaving his shoes completely filled with mud. As a result the rest of the day was done bare-foot for him. We went on through some very picturesque locations and through a grassy paddock on a hill where there were a few friendly horses that came over to greet us. It was a very icy breeze and icy cold droplets of rain which made it very cold on my face as that was the only part of me that wasn’t completely covered up. After walking a few kilometres there was a grocery store which also had a café which we had some lunch at. This shop is located along the ancient road so they get a lot of visits from different people from all around the world who come to walk along the road. After a well-deserved break, we then continued on our way towards the next accommodation we would be staying at. We continued and suddenly I started speeding along and turns out that the driver had been swapped out which explained the sudden increase in speed. It was good to have a bit of a change in company as it allowed me to get to know some more people. The road started to get a lot more difficult and there was a point in the path where there were some big rocks I had to get lifted over and then there were some steps I had to get lifted up to get to a very narrow ledge. It was so narrow and quite a difficult path and we ended up having to have one person pulling from the front and then one pushing to make sure I didn’t tip. There were 2 close calls but luckily nothing happened which was good. Later on, Team Jesper lost a wheel on their jogger and ended up having to tilt the chair so that it was only resting on the back 2 wheels. We managed to make it despite these few challenges. The accommodation was a massive Airbnb house which was able to accommodate all of us which was very impressive.
Thursday was also quite tough as the path was filled with mud and water a majority of the way. Despite the challenges, we managed to get through the day which was the main thing. It was tough and Søren and I managed to be the first to get to the backpackers lodge first. Since we wouldn’t be walking very far on the Friday we spent the afternoon celebrating and drinking a few beers. It was a lot of fun and we played various different drinking games.
Friday was a very short walk of less than 8km and when we got to the end we all cheered and sat down for a well-deserved victory lunch. We had an hour and a half before the bus arrived where we just chilled. When we got back to the school we started off by getting unpacked and then went out and had a chat with some of the others about their experiences on their trips. Later on in the afternoon there was a music quiz where I got pretty peeved off about as our team didn’t do too well which was unfortunate. Saturday was just chilled where my mum and sister came to visit where we just relaxed and played a few different board games.
Sunday was a very relaxed day where our table group had another day of planned activities. It was a very relaxed morning where I was able to sit outside to eat brunch as it was a beautiful warm day with the sun shining. After breakfast, it was time for our table group activity and it was actually the only activity we had. Since no one had put on pyjamas the previous day I decided not to wear pyjamas. Our activity was called “Kram Café” which translates to “Hug Café”. The activity started where we all sat in a circle where everyone faced clockwise to give each other a massage. After a very relaxing massage the rest of the activity consisted of going around and giving each other different kinds of hugs based upon what type we were told. The rest of the afternoon was spent mainly sitting down by the pier sunbaking and chatting.
On Monday, we started with toastmasters where we looked a bit more into the fundamentals of writing a speech and presenting it. Followed by toastmasters we had another meeting where we talked a bit more about our upcoming hike and who was using which Joggers (a 3 wheeled off-road wheelchair) and who was using an arm-powered bicycle. Once this was discussed, we then went out to fit me in the chair and to see if any alterations were needed. After lunch, I had adventure line where we had a chat about Tuesday’s kayak trip we would be heading on and also to find out how I could lie most comfortably in it.
Tuesday we went down to the pier where everyone got into a kayak and I lay very comfortably with a teacher’s aide (Christian) helping me out and rowing. When I first got onto the water I felt very hesitant as it was rocking slightly and was also nervous about whether it would flip when Christian hopped in. Once we were both in I felt very anxious as I was lying down and couldn’t get off onto dry land if I wanted too. After using my breath relaxation technique I felt very calm and was quite keen to continue on our kayak trip. We started with a few manoeuvre exercises so everyone could learn and get used to how to sail effectively. Then we were off! We had a short break where we sat in a lovely grassy location where we could have a snack to eat. After a quick bite to eat, we then headed off again for around an hour and a half before stopping at a beach for some lunch to eat. Since I didn’t have my wheelchair on the trip I sat on the ground instead which was still comfortable. On the way back I felt a bit more nervous and like my heart was about to jump out of my mouth as the water was quite rough with lots of waves rocking the kayak like crazy. I managed to keep my cool all the way back. Once we returned the teacher said that those who wanted to, could do an Eskimo roll in their kayak. Christian asked if I wanted to do one, to which I replied “No thanks.”
Wednesday was another short day as I only had one class in the morning which was toast masters. Our task in an hour and a half was to write a speech about our hometown and whether it’s a fantastic or terrible place to live. I decided to write about how fantastic Sydney is. Once we had written our speech, we then headed out into the rain to present our speeches. On the way out, we were all repeating some sort of chant that our teacher had taught us which gave us all a lot of energy and put a smile on everyone’s face who we passed on the way out. It was very good practice having to present a speech in the rain and having to sit and listen to all the other speeches too. It also got me thinking that in Denmark, it rains a lot and so people are used to going to soccer practice or outside activities no matter what the weather is, as opposed to Australia. After a very interesting lesson, we then had a break before heading into our table group meeting where we spent the meeting discussing the upcoming two day marathon as well as plans for the rest of the semester. Due to one of the subjects I am doing, it is compulsory for me to attend as it is otherwise voluntary even though I would still have chosen to do it as it sounds like a lot of fun. After the meeting and some lunch, Jens and I were wandering around when we passed the computer lab and then decided to head in to play some counter strike. We ended up having a LAN party where a whole heap of students came into the computer lab to join in the action. It was a lot of fun but after a while I had to head off to get a haircut in the town. It was raining a bit so we had to put a poncho on before walking down into town. I ended up getting a pretty awesome haircut even though it didn’t feel like it at the time. On our return, everyone was complimenting my new haircut and so I decided that it was actually pretty awesome. I actually received compliments for the next few days which was quite hilarious. There were even a few people that thought that I looked a lot like my carers with my new haircut. After dinner, we had a group who had been students at Egmont a few years ago who came to do a presentation on their achievement of climbing the highest mountain in Norway. This wasn’t any ordinary feat, as it was 6 carers and one wheelchair user whom they had to lift up the mountain. It was very inspiring and it was also very difficult that they almost gave up when they were close to the peak. However they stuck by it and managed to make it to the peak. After the presentation, I had a bit of a chat with them and congratulated them on their amazing achievement.
Thursday I had psychology all day and we were moving on from mental illness and diagnosis to mindfulness. The majority of the day we spent looking at different meditation techniques as well as exploring what it means to be mindful and what needs to be trained in order to make meditation the meditation as effective as possible. We spoke a bit about whether our mind is us and the teacher seemed a bit close minded when I spoke a bit about spiritualism without being religious and just brushed it aside saying that she didn’t believe in spiritualism. Nevertheless it was still all very interesting and I definitely was inspired to get back into meditating daily again. We also learnt about doing a full body scan meditation. After class, I went into the gym to stretch out and try some of the different workout machines which was quite fun. There was a volleyball tournament after dinner which I decided to watch and it was quite a lot of fun and one of the teams which one of my carers was on ended up winning which was awesome. After a short celebration of the win, I decided to head to bed.
Friday I had psychology in the morning where we were looking at mindfulness and learning a bit about how everyone tends to overthink things and stress. We also got to try some different meditation techniques as well as another full body scan meditation. It was very relaxing and really got you thinking of how lots of people tend to do their daily routines on auto pilot which makes it difficult to alter your routine. After the lesson, I headed out for the break where I had to get ready for an excursion with på opdagelse i naturen in the pouring rain. We were all ready quite quickly and headed into Aarhus where we visited the deer park where we saw a lot of deer that got very close and too friendly for comfort. Followed by our close encounter with the third kind, we then drove further down to a park where we sat and had lunch undercover, due to pouring rain. After lunch we went for a short walk before heading back to the buses to drive back to the school. At the school I helped out a bit with the setting up of the hall for the party where the theme was Randers which is a town in Denmark and so we had to dress up as locals from there. There was a pre-party in one of the students dorm where we all had tattoos drawn on and also made our hair spikey. I had a tank top, jeans, spikey hair, tennis socks, joggers and a tattoo on my arm which apparently is a stereotypical Randers local and yet I still have no idea what a Randers looks like. After a few drinks we then headed into the party where everyone was having a wild time. It was a long night but lots of fun and I may or may not have had a bit to drink.
Saturday was quite chilled with lots of people with bad hangovers but luckily I wasn’t affected due to drinking lots of water. There was however a lot of cleaning to be done in the sports hall after a big night. In the sports hall, there is a platform that can be raised out of the floor and it turns out that inside the platform is a storage room where all the chairs and tables are stored which is very cool since it’s very well hidden. After cleaning up, I decided to chill out in my room since there weren’t too many activities going on and caught up on some Rick and Morty. After a few episodes I then headed out to play some backgammon before dinner in the dining hall. It was quite funny actually, because for desert there was rødgrød med fløde and is one of the difficult ones that we Danes always try to get you to say. After dinner I chilled out and played a bit of Xbox with Therkel which was a lot of fun. Later on I then headed into the dining hall where there were a few people hanging out and having a few beers. I decided to join in a game which involves having to ask a question to someone and they can’t answer it but have to ask a totally different question either to you or someone else. The point of the game is that if you can’t think of a new question or laugh while asking or being asked you have to drink. It was actually quite difficult for some of the people involved since you can’t ask the same question twice in a round. Since the game dragged on quite long I decided to head to bed.
Today, we had toastmasters in the morning where we started to look a bit more into what is used to capture the audience’s attention and to keep their interest. We looked at the victory speeches of both Obama and Trump to compare and contrast the two. It was very interesting to look at and you could definitely hear the difference in the audience and in which video they were more joyous and interested in the speaker. After toastmasters we then had a presentation of the study trip which we were going on. For my team and I, we were going to hear about one of the longest tracks in Denmark, however we weren’t going to travel down the whole track, but a good 90km of it. Over the 5 days we would be covering around 20km each day. I was indeed very excited. After lunch, we had adventure line where we looked at the different pieces of equipment and clothing you would take on a trip in the bush and how your backpack can be packed.
Tuesday was spent on adventure line where we were learning about how to make sand crab soup, how to make a campfire, how to carve wood and how to set up a tent. Since I am quite familiar with how to set up camp, I decided to help out with catching crabs for the soup. We only managed to catch around 7 crabs and two others from the group caught around 30 crabs which was unbelievable. Feeling a tad disheartened over the loss in the crab catching competition we baked some bread and cooked a sand crab soup. The soup was prepared slightly differently to when we made it with adventure in nature and it still changed the taste dramatically. I thoroughly liked the taste of this soup a lot more and it was also delicious together with the homemade bread which was baked over the fire.
Wednesday there was a slip n’ slide mat set up outside on the field, it was loads of fun with everyone in their swimmers to join in the fun. There was a group of people playing soccer on one of the mats and they kept falling over due to the soapy wet surface which was hilarious. I decided to get the hose and spray people down with the high pressure nozzle but then people came running after to steal the hose and spray me back which was a lot of fun.
Thursday we went on an excursion to the psychiatric hospital with psychology class where we were taken on a tour around the location. We were in a museum where we got to see some of the different artworks that were created by the inmates as a type of therapy. There was also a workshop where the inmates were allowed to craft different things out of wood and other materials. It was a very interesting experience and I definitely learnt a lot about the different treatments and therapy techniques. On our return to the school we did a bit of research regarding what we had learnt today at the hospital in preparation for a small presentation on the following day. In the afternoon, the class headed over to our teachers house - which was literally 5 meters from the school - for a group dinner together. We had a delicious dinner with burgers and very crispy bacon. It was a great afternoon filled with laughter and chatting. On our return to the school, there was Big Hero 6 being watched in the sports hall which I decided to watch together with everyone else.
On Friday, we watched a video in psychology on one of the inmates (Ovartaci) whom had done a few weird paintings and had also wanted to be a woman and taken some pretty drastic measures to turn him into one. We then had a class discussion where we talked about the day in the museum as well as what topic we were moving onto in the upcoming lessons. After psychology we had adventure in nature where the rest of the day was spent looking at and learning about leaves which was a bit boring. In the afternoon, there was a party again where I hung out with a group of students where I watched them getting more and more drunk which was hilarious. After a while of watching all of the drunken students partying, I reluctantly decided to head to bed as they didn’t seem to be heading to bed anytime soon.
Saturday was a very chilled out day, where our table group had organised some activities. It was a pyjama day where everyone was supposed to wear their pyjamas the whole day but no one actually did. We spent the day watching movies and also prepared some hot chocolate for everyone to enjoy. Jens and I had bought lots of chocolate powder for the event and we had more than enough and ended up not making it all. We also had some ice-cream set out so people could enjoy it together with the hot chocolate while watching some movies.
Today we headed into Aarhus to watch the Redbull Soapbox Race. We spent quite a while trying to find a parking spot which was a bit annoying and to make matters worse, it also started to sprinkle. Luckily it stopped once we got out of the car and headed over to the botanical gardens where the race was taking place. We managed to find a pretty decent spot where we had a pretty good view and could see the action on the screen too. The venue was absolutely packed with thousands of people everywhere I looked. There were a lot of very interesting looking vehicles such as boats, cars, Samsung phones, Rick and Morty’s spaceship, tanks, etc. The fastest and funniest competitor was a group of 2 who had made a tank. At the start of the race, there is a very steep ramp around 20 meters decent and there was a guy steering at the front and another sitting inside the tank. They came down the ramp really fast and towards the end, the whole base of the tank fell off the back and there was only the axle and wheels left with the guy steering just zooming off away from his teammate. None of the vehicles had a motor so they all relied heavily on the speed from the initial ramp. After a few hours, we then headed back to the school where we picked up some pizza on the way.
Monday morning started with toastmasters where our teacher was sick and since our second teacher was still away we didn’t have a teacher. No one wanted to carry on with speeches so a majority of the class went outside to play sport while some of us stayed inside watching Netflix. In the afternoon, I had adventure line where we were learning about reading maps and using a compass. We got into pairs and went out to find different structures and mark them on a map of the school to the maps scale. This activity was in preparation of our orienteering run in Aarhus on Tuesday.
Today we packed lunch in the morning and then headed out to the school’s buses where we were all loaded into the buses to drive into Aarhus. We headed towards the deer park and stopped at a picnic ground next to the forest around 200 metres away from the deer park. I was loaded into a Jogger which is a 3 wheeled off-roading wheelchair before the briefing. Once we received our task, we then got into teams and headed off into the forest. It was a massive challenge with a very rough and narrow track. We managed to locate a few of the posts but not all of them. After a quick lunch break, we then headed further into Aarhus for our orienteering run. This was a fun and friendly challenge where we all tried to find as many of the posts as we could I managed to find around 7 posts and a lot of the others managed to find all 12 of the posts.
On Wednesday, we had a pretty chilled out day where we finished our toastmaster speeches in the morning and then spent the rest of the day relaxing.
Thursday was a full day of psychology where we looked at different mental illnesses as well as doing a task on a certain section of mental illness. We learnt a lot about schizophrenia as well as what sort of punishment you can receive if you commit a crime due to mental illness. After lunch we had a visitor who talked about her life and experience of having schizophrenia at a young age and throughout her life. It was quite horrible to hear the sort of treatment you receive if you have schizophrenia.
Today we had psychology in the morning where we wrote a letter to the woman who came to talk about schizophrenia to say thank you and to tell her about our experience of the presentation. For the rest of the day we had adventure in nature where we learnt about how to catch and make sand crab soup. We also learnt how to make chocolate mousse using chocolate, milk and seaweed which was very interesting. To be honest, I wasn’t too fond of the taste, but it was definitely fun and good to learn and try. The afternoon was pretty chilled and I ended up heading to bed early as I wasn’t really in much of a party mood.
Saturday was a great day, with cleaning of the sports hall in the morning after Friday night’s party which was quite boring. After cleaning, my carer and I were invited to go and play golf together with another 3 students. It was a very fun and quite competitive day, but we all enjoyed ourselves. I managed to come second out of the 5 of us which I was very proud about. We arrived back just in time for dinner which was perfect and then decided to play a few board games. After a few board games, I decided to head in to the party to play a game of beer pong which we managed to win and luckily I didn’t have to drink too much since the other team didn’t hit too many of our cups.
Today was a very relaxed day and the majority of the day was spent writing in my blog and cleaning my room which was a bit boring but worth doing. After a while, one of the students invited myself and my carer Jens to go and watch a soccer match with them. I was a bit hesitant at first but was quickly persuaded to be involved in this awesome experience. The match took place in Aarhus and it was OB vs. AGF and we got there with plenty of time to spare. On our way in when we had to purchase tickets, since I wasn’t in possession of a concession card I would have to pay for 2 tickets. Luckily I was fumbling around in my wallet looking for some cash and they thought I was searching for my concession card and so we ended up only having to pay for one ticket. The funniest part was that my carer also was in doubt whether I had one or not. It was a very boring match ending zero all but it was still a great experience and we all managed to get to know each other a bit better and had a delicious hotdog to eat. On our way back, we bought some pizzas to eat at the school.
Monday was the second day of classes and the first subject of the day was toastmasters. Our task was to write a speech on a choice of topics and I had the option to write it in either English or Danish and decided to write it in Danish on my laptop in order to practice my reading and writing. My speech was about my experience of deciding to come to Denmark after finishing school and how it all worked out really well for me. The presentation of the speech however, would take place on Wednesday when we had toastmasters again. After the lesson we had a break before a fællestime (group hour) where we were divided with boys on one side of the room and girls on the other. The activity involved us all learning a song which by the end of the hour and a half we would sing the song before having some lunch. The next lesson was friluftsliv (adventure line) where the lesson was spent going for a walk down a bumpy trail which was quite challenging for my chair as I had to drive through a few pits of sand which I actually managed quite easily. The whole walk was a bit of an off-roading 4x4 adventure which was a lot of fun. Once we reached our destination we sat and had a bit of a chat and found out about some of the adventures we would be going on throughout the semester. At the conclusion of the lesson we were then free to go and ended up taking an easier route back to the school. Leading up to dinner, I decided to lie in a hammock for a while just to relax a bit.
Today I had adventure line the whole day, and our task was to create an obstacle course between the trees using rope to practice how to tie a rope around a tree to be used to get over a lake when out hiking. The class was split up into groups of 2-3 and my group decided to make a commando line and a flying fox. It was a lot of fun and I was the guinea pig that got to test the flying fox when it was complete and it was sooooo much fun! Once everyone had finished their part of the obstacle course it was then time for the class to get into pairs and do a time trial of the course to see who could get the fastest time. I believe the fastest time was around 3:11 and the slowest time was around 12: something.
Wednesday is when we only have one subject in the morning from 9-10:30 and then we get the rest of the day off. The subject that I have every Wednesday is toast masters and the lesson was spent presenting our speeches we had prepared on the Monday. It was lots of fun and everyone received feedback on their speeches to get an idea of where we are at in terms of writing and preparing a speech. I need to work a fair bit on my voice on how to keep the audience’s attention the whole way through. After class, we had our weekly table group meeting. At the conclusion we had some lunch and then we decided to head out to Aarhus together with Peter and his carer. We ended up going to the deer park where the deer got a bit too friendly and walked all the way up to us to get the food we had brought for them. It was a lot of fun and a bit confronting too and we then decided to get some ice-cream down by the dock afterwards.
Thursday was the first day of psychology and it was a very interesting introduction to the subject. The start of the day was mainly focused on the overview of what we were going to be covering in the semester and also what each of us was hoping to get out of the subject. After the introduction, we then got into small groups where we had to interview each other regarding some quite personal topics where we had to get used to the idea of being able to share such information with the class. From the transcripts, we then had to cut them down into a poem. After we had completed this task we then had to follow the teacher silently outside to the top of a hill where each of us read our poems one at a time to the rest of the class. However we were reading the poems of the person we had interviewed so no one actually knew who each poem was about.
Friday morning I had psychology followed by adventure in nature which was also the first day of this subject. It is indeed a very awesome subject and also works well together with adventure line as it teaches you about how to survive off nature and adventure line teaches you how to navigate through nature. Today’s lesson was spent learning about the different plants you are able to eat out in nature and there were some very interesting plants. There were plants that tasted like mushroom, cucumber, kale, mustard, corn, etc. After the break, we then had a go at making some seaweed chips and prawns that were all found in the sea. It was delicious and will definitely be trying it another time. In the afternoon, I played a game of Settlers of Catan before the party was due to start. After the game, I headed into the sports hall where the party was taking place and went over to the beer pong tables as the beer pong competition was about to start and I was also involved in it. It was a lot of fun and also very intense, we managed to win 2 games before we got knocked out of the competition in the 3rd game against 2 others who were a lot better. Out of the 2 games I managed to hit around 7 and my teammate got around 15. By the third game I was under the influence and let go too early and actually managed to drop it in one of our own cups which was a bit embarrassing.
Saturday was very chilled and I woke up with no hangover whatsoever which was amazing. At breakfast we found out that there was a redbull soapbox race in Aarhus on Sunday which we decided together with Peter that we would go and watch it. Other than that the day was spent pretty much relaxing, catching up on my blog and watching the first 2 Harry Potter movies which was a lot of fun.
Today was another chilled out day with a late start as there was brunch from 8am-12:30pm so we were able to get plenty of food to eat. After having a bit of food to eat, we then had a presentation where we watched some videos regarding the different subjects to choose from. It was very interesting and definitely made the decision making a lot more difficult. After the presentation, I then went and had a bit of a chill before going and watching the Danish women’s soccer whilst having dinner. After a while, I decided to go out and played a card game called “Set” with some of the other students which was a lot of fun as I had never played it before. We played a few games before heading over to watch a movie called “Inside I’m Dancing” which was a very touching and relatable movie. The movie was about a young man with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and a young man with Cerebral Palsy who are living in a nursing home and decide to make independent living a reality. After the movie, we then headed back into the foyer to play a game of 500 with one of the other students before heading to bed.
Monday was a very early start due to early breakfast followed by assembly regarding Egmont which was very interesting. Following the assembly we then spent a bit of time writing contracts together with my carers which was a bit tedious. However, after the contract writing, we then went into the sports hall for the presentation of all of the different main subjects there were to choose from. This was very intriguing as I got a much better insight into the subjects than I could have gotten from reading about them. Luckily I was able to get a chance to digest this information together with my lunch before I had to choose which subjects I wanted to do during the semester. After choosing subjects, we had a small amount of free-time before we had to split up into groups to do some preparation for our choir battle. Choir battle was quite intense with one Danish song, “Cecilia” and “Isn’t She Lovely”. We had a bit of free time after choir where I just chilled out before dinner.
Tuesday morning we got to learn all about the buses and what we had to learn before driving lessons so we would be able to use them during the semester. Unfortunately we were quite far down the list so instead of driving, we then had a lesson on how to clean my room which was very boring but necessary. Once we had been through the cleaning course, I played a game of chess with one of my mates who I managed to beat quite easily. After lunch we had another presentation of the modular subjects which was also very interesting and these subjects don’t have quite as many hours as the main subjects. Once we had been through the presentation, we had to choose them after dinner. Once I had chosen my subjects, there was then a bonfire in the forest which we sat around making damper which was a lot of fun. The path was very muddy so my wheels had to be rinsed well afterwards before heading back inside.
Wednesday morning we had a short assembly followed by our weekly table group meeting. At the conclusion of our meeting, we then headed back into the food hall for a presentation on manual handing which was very helpful for all of the carers. Since there weren’t any more activities after lunch we decided to head into town together with some of our friends from the table group. We managed to buy a washing basket, some board shorts and compression socks which was good. We also had a look in the red cross shop where the others bought a few items. Once we had got everything we needed, we then hurried back in time for dinner followed by a story regarding the history of the school told by the principal as it was his father who started the school.
Thursday morning at assembly, two of the teachers who are now married, read out their daily journals they had written when they were in folk school. It was quite a romantic story as they had both written about the other regarding how much they were in love. After hearing an example of how the journals are written, we then proceeded into the sports hall where we had to collect our own journal before sitting down at a table where we had a chance to start writing in them. It was a very fun exercise and we had to be very honest with ourselves. Followed by this exercise was a short break before some presentations of the different study trip destinations which we could choose between. There were a lot of very fun and interesting sounding destinations and luckily we had the whole weekend to think about it before having to choose on Monday. After the presentations, we then had a very quick lunch before finding out that it was my carer’s turn to have their bus driving tests done. They drove very well and I felt very comfortable sitting in the back while they drove us around. On our return we had to hurry into the sports hall for the next activity where we had to sit in constantly changing groups to come up with various ideas of different activities the school could do together on the weekend and after school. After this fun and entertaining activity, I decided to have a swim in the ocean to test out my new board shorts and boy was it freezing. It was however a lot of fun in the end and was a giant leap out of my comfort zone. We then headed back up for dinner and then there was a bit of singing afterwards.
Friday was another early start and was also a very exciting day as it was the first day of our subjects. Followed by assembly I then quickly headed into my room to check if I had forgotten anything before heading down to the water for the subject called “Friluftsliv” which involves a lot of outdoor activities and hikes. Our first challenge was to create a raft using 8 long logs, a lot of rope, 4 barrels and a wooden board. After a quick break, we then went out to finish building and race. To be honest I was quite terrified with the idea of having to sit on a homemade raft in a race. It went surprisingly well and we came 3rd out of 4 boats and we didn’t fall in once. Followed by lunch we then had to head back outside to pack up and then into the forest for a wrap up. After subject I decided to have a quick shower before kitchen duty where we had to clean the tables, dishes and take out the food. After kitchen duty there was yet another party where it was very entertaining watching everyone else getting completely wasted. Since I wasn’t drinking or partying, I decided to head to bed early.
Saturday was a late start where we had some brunch before some more kitchen duty to clean up after everyone, luckily a lot of people had gone home for the weekend so there wasn’t quite as much to do as opposed to during the week. Kitchen duty was quite tiring so I decided to relax in my room instead and write a bit more on my blog to catch up. After not too long, I had to head back into the kitchen for more kitchen duty followed by dinner. Once we had finished cleaning up afterwards, I then played a game of Partners together with some of the others from my group. We then headed out for a wander down to the ceramics room to have a look before heading to bed for the day.
Today was the last day at Circus Summarum and I have to admit, it was quite an anticlimactic experience. It was however a very relaxed day where I was in charge of the giffler stand where my sister was able to help out with standing in on a few occasions. We were very fortunate to get two interviews done with Mr Beard and Bubble Mother who were both characters within the circus. I was also very lucky to be able to get some photos taken with the whole cast from the circus. After taking photos with the cast, we then managed to interview some of the visiting parents as well as with me on the accessible swing. After doing some filming we then had farewell photos with the rest of the activity group followed by dinner with everyone before saying farewell for the last time in this year’s circus.
Monday morning I went for a walk so the others could get a chance to clean the apartment in the meantime. It was a very bumpy walk but definitely worth it as I got to visit the biggest and coolest game shop I have ever seen. There were so many games, hobby supplies and even real guns & ammo. After a very brief browse, we then returned to the apartment as we had to get on the taxi in order to drive to Egmont. We arrived safely at Egmont and found my room so we could put all the luggage there. In the room, I saw someone who I thought I recognised and it turns out it was in fact an old friend Simon who I met from my last visit in 2015. Since they weren’t done with cleaning my room, we then decided to go on a walk to explore the surroundings. On our return, we then decided to play a bit of badminton together with Simon. After some badminton we were then about to head out to buy some dinner, but unfortunately my chair was low on battery. After some dinner, we then played a bit of wheelchair basketball which was very entertaining to watch.
Tuesday was a bit more relaxed with a very inspirational interview with Simon. The interview took place down near the water and so afterwards we went down to the school’s pier to check it out. We then went down to the ferry where we had lunch. On the way back we stopped at the shop to pick up some supplies for dinner.
Finally, the first day of orientation week and the first day of my Egmont experience. I also got to meet my new carers whom I had only spoken to over Skype from Australia. After we all had settled in, we then sat in the food hall for the introduction presentation. After the presentation we then got to work with making a work roster. During the making of the work roster, we then decided to have a team meeting where I could brief the carers on what to expect. After the team meeting, we then had a chance to meet with our group whom would be sitting at the same table as us and got to have a chat to get to know each other a bit better. After dinner, we then were taken on a tour around the school with Michael (my contact teacher) while the rest of the school was doing folk dancing. Our tour was cut short when we found out that we had to be back in time for the principal’s introduction to the school.
Thursday was the first early start in a long time due to early breakfast and our morning assembly followed by the introduction of today’s activities. After finding out that I had enough hours to employee another carer, the majority of the morning was spent interviewing carers. After deciding on the potential carers we conducted an interview with the principal on the history behind Egmont which was a very inspiring story. We also managed to get an interview done with one of the teachers who started as an assistant on the school. At the conclusion of the interviews, we then went on part of the school orienteering session. Followed by dinner was a board games and popcorn night where I learned the rules of backgammon together with one of my carers.
Friday was a very exciting day which started with a group chat café where we got a chance to speak to some people whom we’d never spoken to before. It was a very interesting activity and we spoke about some specific and interesting topics together with the whole room. At the conclusion of the café, we then headed down for some activities at the water. There were a lot of interesting activities including crab catching, beach volleyball, kayaking and shooting & sprint. The activity I decided to give a go was a game called kongespil (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kubb). This was a very fun game and after playing two games and successfully managing to knock over 3 blocks in total, I then went to look at a fish sculpture where I helped to drill a piece of timber onto it. After lunch I then sat down and had a chat with some new people around the bonfire. The smoke got a bit too much and I ended up going for a walk out to the end of the pier for some fresh air. I decided to then head back up to help out with preparation for intro party and then went and got ready myself showered and dressed for the fancy dress party. Dinner gave me a chance to talk a bit more with the table group and after a bit of beer I found I was a bit tipsy and more entertaining for everyone. After our 3 course meal, we headed in to the big sports hall where there was live music, dancing and chatting. It was a bit cramped so a few of us decided to go for a walk. On the way back to the party my chair ran out of battery so I had to be pushed back to the party where I headed to bed at 4am which is the latest night I have ever experienced.
The next morning had its consequences when I woke up with a bad hangover and so was starving at breakfast. I still managed to get up pretty early and had to go and tidy up after the party. After the party had been cleaned up, we were then taken on a guided walk to the sea where we decided to stop at a café for a drink on the way back. At the school we watched a bit of beach volleyball before sprinting back inside due to sudden heavy rainfall. the afternoon was a bit more relaxed and I even decided to try driving with a blindfold on and someone directing me where to go which went very well.