Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Frohe Weihnachten

Hoping everyone has a fantastic day with family, friends, and those who they care deeply about.

Call/text/skype someone you haven't spoken to in a while; it will make their day.

Merry Christmas/Joyeux Noël/Frohe Weihnachten/God Jul



Much Love from DC,

JP

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

'Muricah!

I didn't cry when I said goodbye to my host parents one last time at the airport, but it was definitely one of the most bittersweet moments of my life. I couldn't wait to come home to Virginia but I also didn't want to leave the charmed life I was living in Denmark.

The flight back was mostly uneventful. I had a stopover in Iceland and then then a 6 hour flight to DC where I sat next to this middle aged lady who was super sweet but kinda weird. She had been working/vacationing in Europe for the past two months and we talked about her kids (also in college) and she even bought me some food because she felt bad for ordering food and eating next to me without me having anything. Also, while it was probably just her being endearing, she kept calling me "baby" which made me slightly uncomfortable since she was also a big "toucher" when talking. I just tried to smile along the entire time. I ended up catching up on a bunch of movies during the flight too - Prometheus (meh, not very memorable), The Dark Knight (So awesome), and Independence Day (A bit long, but pretty good). Passport check was a huge pain in the ass and took about an hour to get through but after I got my luggage, my mom was there waiting at the arrivals area which made me really happy.

The past few days have been me basically reintegrating back into American society. I've been eating at all my favorite restaurants, falling asleep on the couch, putting up Christmas lights, and of course driving. Some other things I've missed about America:

1. Everything is SO cheap - People complain about how everything is getting more and more expensive, but four months in Denmark and Europe has shown me we have a VERY low price point compared to the rest of the world. Paying $2 for a cup of regular coffee is never going to be something I will complain about again.

2. People walk faster - I'm a city guy in this respect. I cannot stand when people walk slowly and I often got really frustrated when everyone was walking so slowly in Europe, even in downtown.

3. Forced-air heating - Sounds silly, but radiator-based heating sucks ass. It's inefficient at actually heating up a room and I don't see how it is any cheaper, especially the natural gas heating I have in my house.

4. Big portions - fun fact, I actually lost a few pounds abroad. I attribute this to the amount of walking/commuting I did but also the fact that I felt awkward going in for my regular 3rd and 4th servings at dinner. I was sated at dinner, but I like feeling full. Late night snacking helped somewhat, but yeah, returning to the land of two pound Chipotle burrito bowls makes me very happy.

5. I'm one of the best dressed again - One way my gay shows is how I dress. I don't wear tight clothes or anything, but I dress well. Even my jeans and zip hoodie days leave me looking better and more put together than the majority of how people dress (it's all about the fit dudes). In Denmark, people really cared about how they looked which was nice, but I wasn't a stand out anymore as cocky and haughty as that sounds.

6. Family/Friends/Dog - So happy to see them, like, elated-I'm-walking-on-air happy.

7. Brandon - Let's just say he was as excited to see me as I was to see him last night - meaning a lot. We chilled at his place for a while, chatted with one of his roommates, and just cuddled on the couch again. I spent the night at his place and it was that magical night in August all over again. I really like the guy, and I hope, really, really hope this will become something more.

I'll probably start my summer internship search in the next few days and also start prepping for move-in for my apartment back on campus which won't be until January but whatever. For now though, I'm just enjoying life and everything home has to offer.

Take it easy guys,

JP

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The End of Study Abroad: Vi Ses Denmark

I can still remember clearly as day the first time I walked into this house. I still can feel the warm sun on my skin, the light breeze, and the perfect 70 degree temperature. I still remember starting to unpack everything, unsure of what to expect out of the next four months of my life and the people I would meet, the classes I would be taking, and whether I would love my time here or hate it. Today, exactly four months to the day, I sit in my room with it looking like it did the first day I arrived: the desks are clear, my suitcases on the ground full of clothes, and me wondering if everything around me was reality or just a dream.

Where did the last four months go? Did they even happen?

Four months ago I was excited, scared, and nervous; today I am conflicted. I'm ready to go home. I miss my family, my friends, my dog, my car, but I also feel like I'm leaving my family all over again. I cannot even begin to describe my gratitude to my host family and everything they have done for me. They took me, a complete stranger, into their home, their family, and their culture with a level of warmth and openness I have never experienced before. I was their first host child so I can only imagine what their expectations were when they picked me up from the airport. I can only hope I lived up them.

Looking back at everything I did and saw in the span of a semester makes me dizzy. I saw a nation from head to toe, travelled to Paris, to Hungary, and to Austria. I made dozens of new friends, tried new things, and even did a little learning along the way. Even with all the photos on Facebook and the stories in my head I can now tell, it still all feels like I was in some dream, some massive, beautiful, surreal dream, and I don't want to wake up.

Angels, both of them
I can only hope I won't cry when I say good bye at the airport tomorrow. 

JP

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Week of 10s Day 7: Life Aspirations

Better late than never. I knew this post would probably take a while and originally I thought it wouldn't even be done today, since I had been working on a paper, going to the gym, and some friends wanted to go out tonight. Given that however, the usually oh so perfect Danish rail system had an off day as some tracks, mainly my friends' tracks, weren't running. So now, dinner is done, I'm taking a break, and hey, let's finish this Week of 10s thing up. So here, awesome readers, are my 10 life aspirations and dreams.

1. A Solid Job: One thing I definitely want/need in my life is to have a stable, well paying job which can afford me to live comfortably and also give me time to vacation, have fun, and time with family (which I will discuss later). I don't know where I want to go in my life really, it feels like I'm walking through dense fog, trying and hoping I eventually run into something great, but I have some ideas. I would love to have a job working with Europe-East Asia relations when it comes to business/consulting/marketing. Given I am Asian and can speak English, French, and hopefully by the end of senior year, German fluently, this could be a good niche to carve out for myself. But for now, this is just a dream.

2. A Home: My mom achieved her American dream when she bought her/our house. She made good money, lives a comfortable life, and moved way up from when she first arrived on these shores. For me, I also want to achieve my American dream, and one of those things, is a nice home. I don't want anything huge, yeah I want probably around 4 bedrooms and a 3 car garage, but not one of those massive monstrosities you see in the suburbs near where I live - ones with massive porticoes and empty rooms for the hell of it. I would rather have a house that has everything I need, but have those things be nice. I'm a bit of a sucker for classic interiors - so even if the world has moved on from granite, warm woods, and stuff like that, I will probably include those in my house. Top of the line? Hopefully. And a decent sized yard? - yeah.

3. A Husband/Family: Have I been in a relationship yet? nope. Have I had guys chase after me? Yes, but they were not for the reasons I wanted (at least for the long term). Will I hopefully be in one before I graduate? I sure as hell hope so. By the time I'm 30-35, I want to be settling down with someone I can love and appreciate. Someone fun, romantic, good looking, and family oriented would be ideal. I do want a family, and as of now, I would prefer to have the child be one of our own rather than adopted. I know adoption is the good thing to do, but if I'm raising someone, I would want them to have some of me as part of who they are, as awkwardly worded as that sounds. Two kids I think is my ideal number. An Older brother for sure, not picky about the younger, but I think a daughter would be nice to balance things out.

4. To provide my mom a nice retirement: When I was little, I promised my mom two things - The Empire State Building (which for the longest time called the Eiffel Tower. fail), and a Mercedes. Now the former will probably never happen, but the second, among other things, could and hopefully will be. My mom is in her late 50s now and will be retiring in the next few years. By the time I graduate I hope to have a job, and a few years after that be making enough money for myself and also for a nice gift. I think my mom wants to sell the house and move to a nice condo nearby after I move out and find my own place, so housing is fine, but for her 65th birthday, I think an E-class might be in order.

5. Travel: I've been lucky in that I have seen much of the world, but if I can, I would love to be able to spend plenty of time traveling, whether it be for work or for vacation. Australia and New Zealand are at the top of my list right now.

6. Own my own restaurant: I love to cook, and if I make enough money, I would love to open my own restaurant one day. It would be a pet project type thing, one where I could work at and be a part of when I retire or if my work allows for it. It would probably have a rotating menu, by reservation only type thing. I love experimenting and I could never stick with only one type of cuisine which is part of the reason why for the concept.

7. Philanthropy: If everything does go absolutely swimmingly and I have enough disposable income that I am willing to part with, I have a few things I would definitely give back to. Most things would be related to something important in my life, and specifically, my childhood. Libraries would definitely get some, as would probably my old HS crew team that you guys are probably tired of me reminiscing about. Animal shelters would also be something I would definitely give back to. Max, my now 11 year old Jack Russell that I adopted 8 years ago is doing well. Still a lazy bum and sweet when he wants to be, there is nothing in the world I would trade him for.

8. Go into outer space: Very likely, given commercial space flights have already sorta begun. I don't want to just go to the edge of the atmosphere though, I want to be in true, free float, International Space Station type space.

9. To still be a kid on the inside: I don't understand why people want to grow up so much. Sure you can earn money, but adulthood is stressful, your metabolism slows, you only get shorter, and the simple thing in life don't get you as easily excited as they used to. Heck, if I could stay a kid forever I totally would. That said, my inner 5 year old is going to stay alive and well when I grow up. I'm still going to go on swings, binge on ice cream, play with clay, and maybe even break a few useless old things just for the heck of it (because making things go boom makes me all giggly on the inside). Indulge that little kid inside you, he or she is still there, trust me. Go swing on some swings, eat too many Twinkies, or just do something stupid and silly; as Amy Poehler said, "No one looks stupid when they're having fun."

10. To stay close with my friends: You know the whole "friends for life" promises you made in school? How many of those still exist? I have at least a solid dozen people who basically shaped me into who I am today. These people grew up with me; we laughed together, cried together, shared secrets, and did stupid things together, and that I think deserves more than "falling out of contact". I will put in the effort to stay close with them, no matter if we are across the country from each other or even next door neighbors. I love them more than they could probably ever know.

Alright folks, that concludes this More-than-a-week of Tens! I hope you enjoyed the ride. If you do decide there is something you would like for me talk about, you know how to get in contact. I have a few things I want to talk about in my mind so back to regular programing soon.

All the best,

JP

Also - I'm going home in 5 days. Whaaaaaaaaa!?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Week of 10s Day 6: Feel Good Songs

So I had a request to do my top ten "feel good" songs. Songs that make me smile. My music tastes change constantly, but there are a few songs which I always enjoy going back to and listening because they're fun, upbeat, or just too catchy. Here are my top 10 "feel good" songs.


1. The Killers - Mr. Brightside

This song came out when I was still in middle school and I can still remember rocking out to it today. It's just a great song and the fact it has had such lasting power for me must mean a good thing.

2. Queen - Don't Stop Me Now

My ultimate feel good song and also driving song. If I do well on an exam, do something epic, or and just in a great mood, I always play this song. It's a really upbeat and happy song.

3. Nicki Minaj - Superbass

Freshman year of college, this was one of the first songs I really danced and had fun to with what would become my core groups of friends today. Basically, whenever this song plays, I gotta dance. Great memories with this song.

4. John Denver - Country Roads

While I might be a state over, this song makes me miss home too. They played a remix of this at the club I was at last night. I don't know if Danes even know where West Virginia is on a map but everyone was singing along. It's one of those songs which makes me all fuzzy inside.

5. Frank Sinatra - Come Fly with Me

I love oldies and classics, and this is definitely one of my favorites. I feel classier just listening to this song. But Frank, he's a musical god.

6. Cartel - Let's Go

I love Cartel. They're definitely one of my favorite bands and one of the few I actually follow. Let's Go is one of those really loud, hard, and fast songs which I love. It's one of my pump-up songs when I'm preparing for something big.

7. Tina Turner - Proud Mary

So I didn't know much about Tina Turner until I did a project on her with Miss X during junior year of HS as part of a AP US History class. Since then, I've fallen in love with Tina and especially this song. She's the original diva, and you can't be the original.

8. Kap Slap - Guetta's Calling Solveig Up

This song was one of the songs which spurred the growth of my love of mashups. This is freaking epic. It's a staple of my workout playlist, my rage playlist, and I also play it whenever I just want to celebrate.

9. Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

My favorite Christmas song. One thing I look forward to every year before Christmas is Darlene's performance on Letterman. Actually, it's the only time of the year I actually watch Letterman.

10. Mariah Carey - All I Want for Christmas is You

Because Christmas.

Hope you found something that you like too among my picks.

All the best,

JP

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Week of 10s Day 5: Dream Garage

I'm slightly behind, yup. Even though I sometimes feel like I'm on vacation here in Denmark, I still am a full time student and this week has been my last week of class and some classes also are holding finals as well. Today was my final marketing report and presentation for my International Marketing class. We had to do a report focusing on how H&M should brand it's new Concious Collection of eco-friendly clothing. Long story short, my group's recommendation ended up becoming a 13 page report detailing a complete company revamp and 30 minute presentation which ended up with our professor calling our report and presentation "perfect". The only fault he could find? He wished we included a table of contents. Basically we aced it. Fucking awesome!

So what I have for today is actually a question I had for another blog I follow, Closet Car Guy, who is also doing a post-per-day type thing all December. I asked him (and he awesomely answered) about his dream garage. I asked for his top 5 regardless of price which I will now answer myself except with ten, given this is a Week of 10s afterall.

1. Toyota Land Cruiser
2010 Toyota Land Cruiser SUV
It's a big brute of an SUV, but if the zombie apocalypse were to ever happen, I can not think of a better go-anywhere luxo-tank to be in when running them over.

2. Volvo V60 T6 AWD

The perfect everyday driver. 300HP, all-wheel drive, wagon space and versatility, sporty driving dynamics, and traditional Volvo comfort and safety. Too bad it can't be bought in the US.

3. Lexus LFA
2012 Lexus LFA Coupe
Have you heard this thing!?


Total track day car

4. Aston Martin DBS
2012 Aston Martin DBS Coupe Exterior
Because I get a boner just looking at it. My ultimate "time to impress" car. Pure class.

5. Scion FR-S

It's a no-nonsense, fun to drive coupe that's affordable too. Good for those mountain roads.

6. Jaguar XJ-L Supersport
2011 Jaguar XJ XJL Supercharged Sedan
Because large cars don't have to be boring. 510HP on tap also helps for when you want a little oomph as you waft about.

7. Lexus RX 450h
2013 Lexus RX 450h 4dr SUV Exterior
Another everyday driver. 30mpg from a pretty large sized SUV is quite good, plus I'm sure mom would love it.

8. Volkswagen Golf TDI
2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI 4dr Hatchback Shown
I've actually tried one of these out, and it's brilliant. The DSG geabox is solid and it's almost GTI like in handling. Plus this evens out the all the supercars and SUVs along with the RX Hybrid above.

9. Jeep Wrangler
2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara SUV
I read somewhere once that the Wrangler was voted the gayest car in the US. While I don't know if I would agree with that, for a pure off roader, it's the obvious choice. Classic.

10. Volvo 940 Turbo

I've always had a fascination with those old boxy Volvos. The 940 is one of my favorites, and in Turbo guise, it's a bit of a sleeper too. Overall, more of a weird childhood dream car than anything.


If you have any suggestions for future 10s, comment below or shoot me an email.

In the Works:
-Favorite feel good songs
-Life goals

If I keep getting suggestions, I'll probably kep writing about them so keep them coming.

All the best,

JP

Photo Source Credits: Edmunds.com

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Week of 10s Day 4: Favorite qualities in a guy

I've talked about this before in the past but seeing as how my tastes have changed and evolved over time, I think it's time for a new one. Here, in no particular order, are ten qualities in a guy that make me all hot and bothered.

1. A Sense of humour: I have a pretty dry sense of humour. I do laugh easily and often, but if I do make a joke, it's usually pretty snarky, logic based, or situational. All things considered though, someone who can make me laugh scores major bonus points in attractiveness, as is the ability to make the occasional dry humour joke.

2. Height: I'm a bit of a height whore, I admit it. If you have hit 6ft or more, your hotness is like immediately doubled. Nothing against shorter guys, but I would say my absolute minimum for a guy is 5'8".

3. He's fit: I take care of my body, so should you. You don't have to look like you just walked off an Abercrombie and Fitch photo shoot (though that doesn't hurt) but please go to the gym regularly or at least look like you do. I like guys with a little bit of bulk, but not too much. A swimmer build is ideal but soccer players (skinnier but still hella fit) really also are damn hot. Ripped is not necessary, but toned is awesome. I don't mind skinny guys, but if you look like I can break you with my hand, then things probably won't work out either. I sound really picky and like a bit of a dick but if I put work into making myself look good, I feel I deserve a little in return from my partner.

4. Intelligence: There are many kinds of intelligence out there. Book smarts, street smarts, they are all valid and useful. While I love silly conversation as much as the next guy, I do eventually intend to have deeper more complex conversation and debates. Here is where I hope to have someone I can debate with for long periods of time and hopefully gain new perspectives on things that I never would have considered otherwise. I want a guy who I can learn from. It should be noted though that I would prefer to be the smarter one in the relationship. Dunno why, just would.

5. We're not carbon copies of each other: I want a guy different from who I am. I tend to be attracted to guys who are from different social circles and have different interests and passions than I do. Despite having been an athlete before, I don't consider it a key aspect of my identity today. Despite this however, beyond just the physical reasons, I find athletes attractive because they're different than me. Same goes for bros and country guys. While I do want shared interests, I don't want to be doing everything he does, some independence is essential.

6. A dude's dude: I posted this photo a while ago. I made it during my freshman year for a sort of post-secret type thing at my school. It still rings true today.


7. Multilingual: Knowing and speaking multiple languages indicates a few things for me. 1. They are dedicated to what they do. Learning a language takes time, effort, and lots of struggling before you're eventually good at it. I admire anyone who is willing to put in the effort. 2. They are curious and open to new things, and given I'm one to adventure and am willing to try almost anything once, that is also a plus in a guy. So multilingualism is something I find quite sexy, especially German and French...but I'm biased haha.

8. My age or older: While I won't rule out dating a guy younger than me, someone my grade or slightly older is my preference. Basically anyone in university is fair game right now though.

9. Messy Blond Hair: Something I've always found really, really attractive is slightly longish tousled blond hair on a guy. I think it takes a certain kind of guy to pull it off, but if they can, it's really hot. I have a thing for blonds in general though.

10. Well Dressed: Someone who takes pride in their appearance appears so much more confident and attractive to me. A well groomed and well dressed guy is a total plus in my eyes. He doesn't have to be wearing the latest designer stuff or look like he just robbed a J Crew or Brooks Brothers, but two things should be present: fit and coordination. Guys who wear baggy jeans, gym wear, or sweat pants all the time come across as lazy to me. Probably one of the most stereotypical "gay" things I do is that I am pretty picky when I do shop for clothes. I gotta try everything on and will not settle until I find exactly what I was looking for.

There are more things but then again I could probably blabber on forever about this kind of stuff. My internet was down last night so I couldn't post anything, but I'll try and get something down tonight, I promise. Also, to anonymous, your question shall be answered, no worries :)

Music Bonus:
I'm a huge fan of mashups and this one is pretty sick. Basically take 50+ top hits of the year and put them together. Very well done.




Keep the questions coming please.

All the best,

JP

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Week of 10s Day 3: Things I can't live without

Day 3 of the series has arrived and today I'll be talking about things I can't live without. I'm not talking about air, food, and stuff like that, but actual things that would make me feel really uncomfortable if they weren't a part of my life.

1. A Watch: I started wearing a watch back in high school and today I can't leave the house without one. I feel naked without it and actually have a permanent watch tan which dates back to my crew days and is maintained by being outside a ton in the summer. I currently have 5 watches which I rotate between. I have one casual everyday watch, an orange and grey Timex Weekender, one sport watch, one semi-formal watch (my favorite because it has a blue face with analog arms and a digital background), and two formal watches, one metal and one leather. This is my most recent purchase which I bought for my birthday.

courtesy of Amazon
The face is a bit darker indoors but in the light it has a nice charcoal colour and sundial detailing.
 
2. My crew ring: Yeah, I still can't escape those crew days. For me, my ring has sentimental value since I bought it at my very last regatta (Stotesbury Cup 2010) along with almost all the guys in my boat. It's something that is very special to me and I hope to keep it for as long as I live. Plus, I also have a ring tan from wearing it every day for almost three years now.
 
It's silver and has crossed oars going all around it
 
3. My laptop: Yeah, I'm part of the tech generation. My life basically revolves around my laptop: school, organizing social events with friends, porn, wasting time. Since buying myself a tablet last Christmas, some of the duties of the laptop have been removed, but still, I love it, I need it, and I can't live without it.
 
4. My family and friends: I'm very thankful to have such a strong network of family and friends, especially an exceptionally strong inner circle of people who I know I can always rely on. They keep me sane, we keep each other in check, and all work to each others mutual benefit. What's not to love?
 
5. Coffee: I know some people can't wake up or do anything before they have had their first cup of coffee; thankfully I'm not one of those people. I still love the stuff though. If I need to get work done and need to prepare for a long night ahead, nothing does it better than a simple black coffee with a splash of milk and a little sugar or some sugar free flavoured syrup (I'm partial to vanilla and hazelnut). I have coffee probably at least every other day and is probably my favorite drink after water.
 
6. The Internet: Honestly, I don't know how people survived before the internet. Plus, I wouldn't be writing on this dandy little corner of the digital world without it now would I? Nuff Said.
 
7. My car: I'm a huge car guy and living without a car is an awful nightmare I would rather not have to ponder. The only reason I haven't gone insane in Denmark is because I know I will be returning home to a car which I can drive. My current car, the ever so wonderful yet temperamental Heindrik Konrad, a dark blue 2006 VW Passat 2.0T, has been a great first car though I question the long term durability of the thing. I'm looking to move on to a "new" (see: probably a few years used) car soon. I would love a Volvo C30 but for a student paying for his own gas, a current-gen Mazda 3 would probably be a better choice. I also like SUVs though... What will I end up with? I don't know, and honestly, it will likely come down to what can I get at a reasonable price and will cause me the least hassle down the line. My current dream car that's reasonably attainable? A 2013 Volvo S60 T5 AWD.
 
8. My phone: You can't be without a phone nowadays, for convenience and for safety. I don't have a smart phone, and quite honestly, I have no need for one. I can avoid having to pay for a data plan and considering I just text a hella lot, my good ol LG Chocolate Touch I got during junior year of HS does the job just fine. In addition, I prefer not to be attached at the hip to Facebook and Twitter all the time. Also, can your phone go a week without having to charge? Yeah, thought so.
 
9. Pho: Yeah. If there is one thing that will get me through a bad day, make me even happier on a good day, or just keep me warm on a cold day, it would be a nice bowl of pho. It's pretty much already confirmed with myself that lunch the day after I get back will be a big bowl of #1 with jalapenos and extra hoisin and sriracha sauce. Mmmmmm.
 
10. A good chef's knife: Most of y'all probably know I cook a lot. It's one of those things I do as a means to relax and also because it's just fun to experiment. The most basic tool of the trade then is a good knife, and a high quality chef's knife will get you through 80% of whatever you come across. My mom bought a JA Henkles chef's knife over 20 years ago and it's still in great condition and is used basically every day today. I bought myself one this past summer which I use and will bring with me when I move back on campus this winter.
 
11. My iPod: Yeah yeah, I know this is more than 10 but I realized I couldn't do this list without including it. I listen to music all the time: in the car, at the gym, when doing homework, on the train...well you get the idea. So basically my iPods are wonderful little things of magic that get me through my day. Before that, I had a CD walkman where I also had to carry a CD book of mix tapes I burned for myself and over ear headphones. I honestly don't know how I got through middle school with all that in my backpack.
 
Keep the suggestions coming. We still have four posts to go and I'll try to get to as many as possible. Comment below or shoot me an email.
 
Tschuss,
 
JP

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Week of 10s Day 2: Best Memories

Choosing my top ten memories is kind of difficult, mostly because sometimes I have trouble differentiating between simply very memorable things that were good versus actually great memories that may be more subtle, simple, and less dramatic. I have tons of really good memories to choose from, but in no particular order, here are my top ten memories:

1. When I got accepted to the GT middle school: Some time in Spring 2003 I believe, I got accepted into the GT (gifted and talented) program at one of my local middle schools. Me, along with maybe a dozen or so people from my elementary school got accepted into this program and were divided up among 3 or so middle schools in my county that had such a program. Maria, Christine, and a few other of my best friends then, and happily also today, were all put in the same school. However, it wasn't the actual going to the school that excited me; it was finding out. I remember clearly me, my mom, and my dad were at my dad's Manhattan condo when my aunt called my mom to tell her about the letter we had received which said I got in. I was so elated that I was screaming, jumping up and down, and making such a ruckus I'm surprised the neighbors didn't file a complaint. Nevertheless, I will always remember that day because that was one of the earliest moments of pure unfiltered joy I can recall.

2a. Driving for the first time: This is kind of a two part favorite memory because I have 2 driving memories. My first takes place when I was maybe still 12 or 13 and I was at Kings Dominion which is an amusement part in Virginia. They had a "ride" there where you could drive some old Ford's (like a simplified Model-T with just a push-to-go throttle and steering) around an enclosed track at maybe walking pace. While it may be kind of lame now, to my little pre-teen self, this was the coolest thing ever and I remember going on that ride so many times every time I went there. My love of cars definitely has some roots here.

2b. Driving for the first time(2): The second driving related memory is of me actually driving for the first time. I was now a junior in high school and I just qualified for my driver's permit. My uncle, who had taught basically all three of my cousins how to drive for the first time too, took me for my first experience at a local office park. The car was a piece of crap. It was a 1990 burgundy Toyota Corolla DX with over 250,000 miles on it and a terribly worn front left shock absorber that made an awful noise going over bumps, but, the thing had charm. Really, if there was any car that I wish could talk and hear the story of, it would be that one. My first real drive was a pretty good one I must say. I've never had a problem with going out of lanes, turning enough, etc. I guess video games did help with that. The only thing that took some practice was parking since I did sometimes end up too close to the lines or wasn't perfectly straight. Even though it was a lesson and maybe not the most exciting thing ever, I loved driving that thing. The car is unfortunately no longer with us. It was donated, still in working order I might add, to the Red Cross and hopefully someone is still using it today.

4. That Regatta: I had plenty of exciting regattas during my crew years, but two regattas and two races truly stand out. One was the Stotesbury Cup regatta in Philadelphia during my senior year. Rowing on the Schuylkill was a blast; it was hella fast, and seeing nearly 200 schools and thousands of fellow rower compete was truly magical. My boat didn't place but it was still a great experience. But while Stotes was great, for me, there will always be one specific race that I will always remember. During my first year rowing, my coach put me in a varsity boat to fill a spot since one of the guys couldn't make it to the regatta. That heat was literally one of the closest groups of 5 boats I've raced in. We were in lane 4 between two other boats and I remember we were never more than maybe 2/3 of a boat length from each other during the whole race. At the end though, during the last 250 meter sprint, we pulled away from both of our neighbors. First the boat on the left started drifting back and then we "walked" ahead from the boat to my right. I remember catching out of the corner of my eye the coxswain of the right boat doing a double take as we pulled away from them, a moment made even better as they were ahead of us by half a length up until that point. I still get chills from remembering that moment. We ended up placing second in that heat, .07 seconds behind the first boat which basically put us in a dead heat. Today when I erg, I still picture the end of that race and imagine I'm back on the water during the final sprint of my workout.

5. Scholar Athlete: More crew related memories...during my senior year, I was awarded the Scholar Athlete award for men's crew at my high school. Two athletes, one guy and one girl, from each sports team from my school were awarded "scholar athlete". It was up to the coaches to nominate who they believed best deserved the award. It was a great honour to be given this recognition and the sports banquet held at the end of the Spring 2010 season was also amazing. Hundreds of athletes were all there for a number of awards to be handed out that night and the spirit of the place, with everyone cheering each other no matter which sport you did, was truly inspiring.

6. High School Graduation/All Night Grad: Unlike many people, I actually had a wonderful high school experience. Sure, it was awkward as hell at times, but as a whole, I think high school was one of the happiest periods of my life. In the end however, graduation was the cherry on top of my experience. Graduation wasn't horribly exciting until the hat toss, but walking across that stage just really made it clear that I was done with compulsory education. It was bittersweet, but still very positive in my mind. The All-Night Grad Party that followed a few nights after was also epic. Vegas/Casino themed, it was a full night of table games, laser tag, food, carnival games, and free professional massages with my best friends which ended with a trip to a local diner for pumpkin spice pancakes at 5:30 in the morning. It was great.

7. 2nd semester Sophomore year grades: My first semester of sophomore year wasn't very good. My grades took a dive compared to what I was used to and I wasn't pleased with my own performance, so second semester, I worked my ass off to make sure I would do better. The classes I took weren't easy though. I remember clearly writing about how much I hated International Trade specifically and all the work I had to do for all my classes combined. After finals finished, I didn't know how I would fare. The exams were really difficult and since they each made up at least 35% of each class' grade, I didn't know where I would end up. However, all that work paid off. I ended up pulling off a 3.7 that semester, essentially balancing out first semester and maintaining my GPA where it was as a whole after freshman year. Seeing my final grade results, especially the A- I pulled off in I-Trade and Marketing (more due to the crap business school curve than it being an actual hard class) shocked me so much I almost cried.

8. Prom: Prom was simply too much fun. The limo, the dinner, my wonderful friends, my lovely date Maddie, everything was just amazing. It was a truly carefree night, which since they rarely come around ever, made it a night I would never forget. No need to say more than that.

9. That night with Brandon: About two weeks before I left for Denmark, I spent the night at Brandon's place. I told my mom I was staying a friend's for the night which wasn't too far from the truth but I digress. We basically just chilled on his balcony drinking beer, having simple conversation, and whispering sweet nothings until one of his roommates came back and we talked all three of us, well, three of us and her dog Allie, way deep into the night. That night was special however since that was the first night both of us admitted that we liked each other and were considering pursuing something more. Drunk words are true words I think and that night many words were shared. I really could have spent all night on that balcony, just laying in each other's arms in the cool summer air and talking about stupid things all night. Falling asleep in his arms and waking up to that warmth and secure comfort was something amazing. I really wished I didn't have to leave so soon after that. Today I wonder what will happen when I get back. If he would still be interested in seeing me, if he had moved on. I guess I'll find out in two weeks.

10. Camping: I've only gone camping once, and despite the bugs, the heat, and the nastiness of waking up all sticky, smelling of bug repellent, and dirt, it was fantastic. That trip, me and four of my friends went all out the summer before freshman year of college. We went to a camp ground in the woods, put up a giant tent, made hot dogs over an open fire using old coat hanger wire, toasted marshmallows, had a glow stick rave in the dark, and did everything else one does while being a camping n00b and had a great time doing so. I also remember the conversation as we just laid in the tent at 3AM looking through the tree tops at the stars. We were discussing what we thought college would be like, our favorite names, why Nutella was the best thing in the world, and more before eventually falling asleep. We were all at the edge between one era of our lives and another but had no worries, no obligations, and just the taste of freedom in our mouths. After getting home the next day and taking the best shower of my life, that camping trip claimed a spot as one of the best memories and experiences I've had.

Stay tuned for another round of Top 10 tomorrow. If you have any suggestions about what you want me to write about, put them in the comments or email me at the address on the sidebar.

All the best,

JP

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Week of 10s Day 1: Things I Dislike About Myself

I'm going to try something on this blog. Each day for the next week, I'm going to do a list of 10 things about myself; things I like about myself, my top 10 dreams, and things like that. I'm going to start with 10 things I dislike about myself. It might seem like a cruddy way to kick it off but I'm not in some weird depressed mood or anything, it's just what popped into my head first.

But before that, it snowed here for the first time this winter!

from my room
But let's begin...

Top 10: Things I Dislike About Myself

1. I can be horribly jealous. I admittedly have a jealously problem, especially when it comes to other people performing better than me or when it comes to relationships. Seeing someone I like with someone else who I see as a potential challenger or threat can put me on edge in seconds. Also, while I don't like to admit it, I have actually intervened into conversations to divert attention away from their own meeting. Soap opera-esque dick move? Yeah. I also hate it when other people do better than me. I know I'm not the best at everything but it still pains me a little when other people do better than I do whether it be in school or just everyday activities. Speaking of....

2. I suck at writing papers. Whether it be a research paper, a book analysis, or a simple prompt answer, my writing level and abilities aren't very impressive. I think the main problem I have when I write is my general writing style. Many friends of mine have a considerably more formal and eloquent style when they write for assignments than I do. My papers, in my eyes, seem very juvenile and lacking in comparison.

3. Moodiness. I'm not a very moody person, but when I am in a bad mood, things are truly bad. On the rare occasion that I get very annoyed, I can and will lash out and be an all-round horrible person. Luckily, things like that happen very infrequently.

4. Messiness. I try to keep things clean, I really do, but the law of entropy always wins. Always. Here's my desk now as I write:

Messy!
5. Indecisiveness. I hate making decisions and have a bad habit of switching between options every five seconds. If you saw my browsing history for my recent new/used car search, it would show something new being chosen at least 4 times each day.

6. I wish I was a bit taller. Okay, so this is kinda beyond my control. I'm the second tallest person in my family after one of my cousins but I still wish I was taller. 5'11" would be grand. Sure, it's only about one inch taller than I am now, but still, it makes a difference.

7. I'm not very open. I bottle up emotions and rarely share them with my friends or family. I don't like burdening others with my own problems. The problem with this is that it can be very difficult at times to handle everything going on in my head, and when I do end up spilling my guts, it comes in massive tsunamis which I'm pretty sure make my friends think I'm a nut job. This blog has helped though in letting me say things I don't say in person.

8. I'm an impulse buyer. See something I really like? Have the money? Do I need it? If any two of the three are there, I buy it. Not good news for my wallet but I'm working to control my spending habits. So far, this trip to Denmark I've been very good at limiting how much I spend. I'm probably going home with a few hundred bucks leftover from my original cash stash that I brought when I first left home.

9. I'm too shy. One problem I have, especially when I go meet guys, is that I'm really shy and often just won't go up and introduce myself to anyone. Adding on to this, I also have strong anti-social bouts where I just shut myself away from the rest of the world and only have "me time". Most people do this from time to time, but I think I probably do it more often than the regular everyday person.

10. I don't believe in myself enough. I know that I often don't give myself enough credit for what I do and can do. I worry about everything and always think I did horribly on something though that is rarely the case. I have a deep fear of failure which may play a role in this. All things considered, I've turned out pretty well, but I still am always thinking I messed up somewhere, somehow, and on some thing.

So there we are, ten things which I dislike about myself. Tomorrow I'm going to choose ten other things to talk about. Maybe ten things I want to experience before I die or my ten favorite memories.

If you have any suggestions on what I should do a top ten on, please suggest them in the comments. I love getting feedback from readers.

All the best,

JP

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Please, Just Give a Sh*t

Well I'm back....again. That was fast. I'm just in a sour mood because I'm just really annoyed at people right now. Tomorrow is my final presentation for my Danish class and to say that my group's presentation looks like crap would be an understatement. Our topic is immigration in Denmark which is actually a pretty interesting and complex thing to talk about, but right now, I can only imagine how our actual presentation is going to go. Two out of five members in my group have literally gone AWOL and the slides they made for the presentation have nearly three paragraphs worth of text on them. Rule 1 of Powerpoint is to not have too much text. They teach you that all through HS and college, c'mon guys. Problem is, me and the other people can't edit the slides because at least for me, I'm sure they haven't bothered trying to memorize one bit of what they are going to present. I know it's the end of the semester as people really just don't give a crap anymore, but it's still 10% of our grade, which, when I last checked, is still important.

What's also frustrating is that I also just caught literally what could have been the most blatantly in your face BS statement I've ever read in over a month. I'm not going to delve into what exactly happened, but sometimes people are so bad at hiding they they are bold-faced lying, that it just makes me want to punch a baby deer (okay, fine, maybe a stuffed one so I don't go to jail or whatever). If you're going to lie, at least be good at it.

Back to he point, the most I can do now is to basically just go in to class tomorrow and try and present my slides well and be professional about it and just let my other group members do their bit. At least I can try and come across as prepared. I seriously can't wait to be back home and with people who actually care about doing work even if they are studying abroad.

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In a related note, can I mention that I'm kinda annoyed about the grading structure in one of my classes? In my Nordic mythology class, the professor who teaches isn't the one who is grading the assignments. This is something I find fundamentally wrong in my head. Now, this isn't like the whole teaching assistant grading quizzes type stuff; I mean a completely different professor, one who is never there, is grading our exams and papers. How on earth does that make sense? In addition, out of gut instinct and based on how she has graded some quizzes, the grading professor is a pretty picky to begin with. Coupled with the fact that she isn't there to witness how the material is being taught, the level of engagement, or is available to talk to after class, I don't see how our grades can accurately reflect how well we actually are doing in that class. Just yet another frustration of study abroad life.

Alright, I've gotten most of what I wanted to say off my chest. Sorry about ranting, but like I've said a thousand times before, this blog is one of the few places where I can actually rant relatively openly so thanks for being patient with me.

G'night,

JP

Geek Stuff: What One Day of Public Transit Looks Like

Hey y'all. Haven't been writing much but I'm alive and well, just been busy and all. Finals time is rolling around here and I'll be home in the US in less than three weeks. The past two weeks have been pretty cool. It's getting really cold but I went on my first gay bar crawl with a friend in Copenhagen last weekend among other things, but I'll cover those another day.

In the mean time, here's something kinda geeky I found via Buzzfeed. It's a video showing what one day of public transit looks like in Washington DC though you can find many other cities on the Youtube channel of that user. It's pretty cool to look at and won't eat up too much of your time if you're looking for something to do.


Washington D.C.


And here is New York and Vancouver for comparison



New York, NY


Vancouver, BC, Canada

Anyways, hope things are going well.

Vi Ses,

JP

Saturday, November 17, 2012

EuroWasted

So the Dansk-Thanksgiving was a great success, with lots of food, good conversation, and lots of fun in general. My good friend and also fellow housemate Eric and his girlfriend are currently visiting Copenhagen at the same time as my mom and aunt so I also invited them to join us. Afterwards we went out to Copenhagen along with Jackie and Kate to show them more of Copenhagen nightlife. We ended up at a bar called Billy Booze (great name, eh?) which specializes in cheap drinks while also having a nice dance floor/club area. We stayed there for a while and danced, people watched, and tried and failed to understand Danish music, but otherwise, it was good, fun night.

Now on the way back, things started getting weird. First, my train was absolutely packed. Like, no seats left, no room to breathe packed. Weird thing #1 was a guy who boarded the train wearing a pink metallic wig shouting something about "swag" in Danish for a solid 5 minutes. Then a group of also really drunk guys, who looked exactly the same (balding, larger, wearing the same style NorthFace), started shouting loud as hell which started to annoy me and had me dreading the train ride home. If that wasn't enough, finally stumbled in a guy who, to put it lightly, looked like he was about 2 seconds away from hurling chunks over the entire train...and of course he had to stand right next to me. I was scared to hell that he was going to vomit all over my coat, jeans, and shoes. I ended up squeezing over to the "silent zone" of the train which is basically full of angry old people with little tolerance for fun. The sick guy was swaying everywhere and almost fell into the lap of some guy who was near the door of the silent section and that caused an entire scene of yelling for him to GTFO by a 70-something man. Eventually he did which was a relief, but still, tonight's scene, plus many previous nights witnessed, and experience in four other major European cities just have solidified in my mind that Europeans are just as loud, obnoxious, and rude as American are despite the reputation that American are bad.


We get the bad rap for being the unclassy douchebags of the world, but I've seen more than enough during my time here to say it's easily a two-way problem. Sure, maybe we are a louder and ruder while sober and being tourists, but I swear, get one drop of alcohol in a European, and you end up with an American x2. Honestly, I've seen better behavior late at night in most American cities than I have in Europe. Citizens of Copenhagen, get your acts together, jeez.

Just an observation I made.

JP

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Life Lessons Through Kesha


Kesha - Die Young (deconstructed)

I've never been a hardcore fan of music traditionally popular among the gay community - meaning Lady Gaga, Kesha, Katy Perry, etc. While I do occasionally find their music catchy, I easily get tired of it and revert back to my play lists of less pop-heavy music like Cartel, One Republic, and the like. Nevertheless, sometimes I do get surprised by what these singers do as I was here.

Kesha, that glitter spewing, drunk, blond haired explosion of trashy dance pop, actually left me speechless after listening to one of her songs. Above is what she calls a "deconstructed" version of her recent single Die Young. Compared to the original version, which I posted at the end of this post for comparison, the deconstructed version is very interesting and personally much better to me. While her singing ability isn't spectacular, hearing her voice sans the software modifications and heavy synth background is refreshingly raw and pure. For people who have only listened to Tik Tok or any of her other mainstream singles, they likely wouldn't even recognize the voice because the image of Kesha as the trashy party music singer has been so firmly ingrained in their heads. It's a shame really, because she actually has some talent which I feel many aren't giving her credit for.

The reason of this post I guess is to highlight how we as people really need to make sure to look past the mere surface impressions of people and see who they are underneath it all. Don't Judge a Book by its Cover basically. I honestly can't believe I'm using Kesha as an example to illustrate the importance of this, but for someone who actually keeps up with music like I do, seeing an artist do something unexpected is really, really cool. While her music will probably never be my favorite in the world, in my mind, I'm giving her more credit as a singer for what she did.


Kesha - Die Young (Original)

All the best,

JP

P.S. - I made a new poll on the right side of the page. "When Did You First Come Out?" (btw, "less than 16" is inclusive, poor labelling on my part. My bad) 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Internships, Growing Up, and Geek Stuff

So the deed has been done. I've decided to go ahead and change my finance major to a marketing major. While it isn't official on my transcript and I still need to get a good deal of paperwork done when I get back to school, the classes I signed up for basically put on the marketing track and off the finance track (track being the series of courses I would need to take to complete the major). Basically everyone I asked about this said to do what I would be most happy with, passionate about, and would enjoy doing, rather than what would make me the most money. It makes sense though it was still a difficult pill to swallow. Nevertheless, I'm glad I did it.

My focus now, well, apart from preparing for the arrival of my mom, aunt, and some friends, is figuring out what I need to do when I get back to the US. Mostly, I need to figure out whether or not I want an internship in the Spring when I get back. My gut tells me I should, but many of the internships require a level of time commitment which I'm worried would eat into time I would be spending on classes otherwise. Unlike my senior year, where I will basically be taking 3 classes a semester (maybe 4 if I have to for credit requirements), I have 15 credits (aka 5 classes) this semester. Combine that with the work I will be doing as Publicity Director for the theatre group I work with, the grilling club, and any other activities, it may be a tight squeeze. I'm thinking I might try and find a job on campus right now so I can earn a little extra spending money on the side but doesn't require overly high time commitments instead. Then in the Spring, I will work my ass off to find an internship for the Summer which can potentially continue on into senior year. With most deadlines for Spring internships being this week or within the next two weeks, I also don't know/think I want to dive into this without preparing as much as I think I should. Stressful stressful...

Gah, this growing up thing sucks.

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In other news, I am still focusing on finishing the semester here in Denmark strong. One of my classes is already done so I only have four to worry about. I'm not too concerned with two of my classes: I-Marketing and Danish, but I am more worried about I-Finance and my Nordic Mythology classes. My finance course is simply difficult but my Nordic Mythology class is more a struggle to stay interested and up to date. You'd think Vikings and Norse gods would be cool....wrong. It's surprisingly boring, especially after having the preconception of it being epic painted in your mind because of Hollywood movies and comics. A paper I wrote and turned in for the class really wasn't the best in all honesty and I'm kinda worried about how that's going to turn out. I had the option to pick a topic which was most interesting to me, but once I started writing, I realized that picking a more conceptual and abstract topic was much more challenging than a simple research topic based one. Plus, what seemed very interesting on the surface didn't have enough substance I felt for a full 8-10 page paper. That paper in addition to a final exam are the two main causes of stress for me in that class.

Finally, beyond class stuff, I've also been reconnecting with my geeky side lately. I've been obsessed with this Youtube Channel:
 
 
 
Basically, this channel is hosted by Hank Green who I recognized from this:
 



In the SciShow, he discusses a variety of topics, all science/history/math related which I absolutely LOVE. Basically, as I've mentioned before, I'm a huge geek for anything car, science, or tech related. This channel, along with a few others I won't mention, has been eating up so much of my time the past few weeks it's unhealthy. But anyways, if you like that kind of stuff too, check out SciShow for sure.

Also, I really want this:

http://www.amazon.com/Pokemon-Rocket-Symbol-Black-T-shirt/dp/B0058L7TGY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352933283&sr=8-1&keywords=team+rocket

I might actually ask for this for Christmas.

Yeah, judge me all you want.

All the best,

JP

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What do I want to do with my life?

Pre-registering for my Spring 2012 classes has caused me a big realization: The future direction of my life, career, and basically what my world is going to revolve around for the better part of my adulthood is being decided right now through a few clicks of my mouse. For the longest time I thought I knew what I wanted to do, to major in, and to what direction I wanted to take my life, but now I'm not so sure. I'm caught in between a rock and a hard place, between what I think I should do and what I think I will actually enjoy doing.

For the better part of the last two years, I knew I wanted to major in international business. That was a given. I find the how interconnected the world is, the hundreds of cultures, and how these all collide both in peaceful and more risky ways fascinating. I knew that I wanted to be able to travel the world and hopefully use the knowledge I gained in school to help coordinate business efforts between companies. It's part of my nature, something I realized even more when one of my friends made a out of the blue comment on how I'm good at bringing people together. At first I didn't know how to react when that was said; I knew it was a compliment, but it still felt odd. With time though, I realized that maybe it's something I should take pride in, and nowadays I have.

My second major is something I've been more confused and conflicted over. For almost as long as I knew I wanted to do IB, I thought I should have Finance be my second major. It was practical, would basically guarantee me a high paying job even right out of college, have great possibilities for promotion down the line, and from what I thought initially after taking Business Financial Management, something I could do. But now having taken International Financial Management and looking at the other finance classes I would have to take, I thought to myself, "Do I really want to do this for the rest of my life?". Finance for me is a rather dreadful concept in reality. It's dull, challenging, and will have me working in an environment greyer than London in winter. I know some people enjoy the risk and reward aspect of it and analyzing FOREX futures and the such, and I don'twant to change my major "just because it's too hard". I like a challenge, but there's that gut feeling that tells you if a challenge is something you enjoy and know you are benefiting from, or you are just being challenged and am just unhappy with it. For me, finance is falling towards the latter.

The other major I've considered has been marketing. The problem with marketing though is that's seen, and especially in comparison to Finance and Accounting is, as the frou frou major. No offence to marketing majors or those who work in marketing, but that's just the stigma attached to it at my school. The classes aren't any easier per se either. Sure, many things of what we learn can be considered intuitive, but with the business school curve and professors knowing they need to really push us in a field like marketing, things even out with other non-marketing business classes. What I've realized is though is that I am a lot more interested in learning about things like consumer behavior rather than hedging options. While I've never really look forward to any of my classes, I can say comfortably that I was a lot more at ease in my marketing classes than my finance ones. I'm more of a people person than I previously knew and I hate the idea of being stuck for the rest of my life in a cubical or sterile office crunching numbers. A marketing major will give me better access to jobs which can have me out in the world more and seeing the logic behind consumer behavior beyond just percentages and numbers on a sales chart.

However, apart from the image thing, another problem with pursuing a marketing major is my future job search. Finding a job will be more difficult and the starting salaries are not nearly as high as for the types of jobs that finance majors receive. While I don't think I will be unemployed coming out of the college I'm at, the type of job will likely be less prestigious. Starting off strong off the block is something that I place as as pretty high priority for myself which is why this decision is also so difficult for me.

I know I should pursue the major and career that will give me the most satisfaction and happiness later on which is why I'm leaning towards changing my major now, but I'm still not completely comfortable with it. I've talked to some of my friends and they think I should go for it and change too, but what are you opinions? Should I go for it?

JP

Friday, November 9, 2012

Vienna and Budapest

So here's the delayed Vienna/Budapest post. My friend still hasn't posted her pictures which is a shame since she had some amazing ones but mine aren't too shabby either (at least I think so....)

So starting out with Vienna....It's a very nice, clean, modern European city. Given that, it was also disappointingly boring. Yea, it's the home of Mozart, classical music, and all sorts of classy things, but one they they never mention is how much it costs to actually get in and see these things. 40 Euro for a lacklustre seat to see an opera performance isn't something that a student's budgets can really afford. Nevertheless, Jackie and I found things to do in the city and enjoyed our visit. Everything is pretty much in walking distance which is pretty cool and our Hostel was in the Chinatown/Nachsmarkt flea market area which was a fun surprise. We actually had some of the best Chinese food in Europe so far there so props to them. I will never forget hearing an Asian woman speak fluent German though...seeing someone else do it made me realize how creepy Asians speaking "European" languages can be, me included. Beyond that, we did notice is that the city can, essentially, be done in about 2 days. We stayed 3 and got really bored so if you ever decide to go to Vienna, keep that in mind. Nightlife in Vienna was also lacklustre. We went to a gay bar which the hostel recommended and it was crap. No dance floor, tiny, expensive, and dead. I feel sorry for the Viennese gays....For all its downsides though, Vienna did hold a few surprises which I will now show....

It rained alot when we got there


Parliament

Our buddy Johann Strauss

Mermaids did exist at one point....they were all executed by angry little children though
Schonbrunn Palace, where I learned of the "jumping photo"
 
It had some wtf statues
 So Vienna was good, if a bit bland. Budapest...well that's another story. If Vienna is the good child in the family that is Europe, the one who did all his homework, ate his vegetables, and went to an elite school, then Budapest was the party boy who went to state college to drink, fuck, and have a blast. Budapest was insanely fun. It was the polar opposite of Vienna: lively, cheap, exciting, and a little rough around the edges. We arrived on a national holiday and what was going on? Protests of course. A labour union from what I could figure was having a protest which ended up blocking many of the streets. However, because it was a national holiday, lots of he museums were open so Jackie and I ended up hitting those up. One of my friends was also staying in the same hostel as us and we ended up hanging out alot at night. They found a bunch of bars and places to go at night. During the day we wandered about and visited the Hungarian royal palace and both the Buda and Pest areas of the city. Overall, lots of fun and we spent next to nothing while there.

Protests

Hungarian National Museum

The Royal Palace

Buda is much more rural

Parliament still decked out for Hungarian Revolution Day

Best book ever.

The grand central market - lots of food and souvenirs.

 Funny to think that now that my day is almost done, my second week-long break is starting haha. Yeah, I have another week off already. I decided against travelling this break for a few reasons in the end. First, cost; I didn't want to go through another $500 to visit Germany. It would have been nice, but I feel I will have plenty of opportunities to visit later on when I actually have the money. Second, I have visitors coming, mainly my friend Kelsey, who is coming in from London, and my mom and my aunt. Both are coming next week and I want to prepare for their arrival. Finally, I miss having alone time and having a house to myself. Since both my host parents work, I figured that I can take the chance to just sleep in, relax, watch some movies, and cook which I haven't been able to do very often. So, it may not be the most exciting break ever, but I'm still really looking forward to it.

Hope everything is well in your neck of the woods.

All the best,

JP



Monday, November 5, 2012

Screwed

I couldn't be more royally fucked right now. I have my International  Financial Management midterm tomorrow and I'm actually royally screwed. Too much information to keep straight in my head. I'm actually going crazy right now.

Why on earth do I want to be a finance major....

Friday, November 2, 2012

Update on the Home Front

Vienna and Budapest post still on hold, but I do have a few updates on the home front back in the US.

I'm not surprised that I still will always refer to Virginia as "home" and not Roskilde when I talk to my friends. I do like it here. My host family is great; they're doing a better job than me as a host student quite honestly. I've returned to my bad habit of taking after dinner naps and working late, late at night. Basically, I see them at dinner and I don't see them again until the next dinner. I feel like a horrible host student, especially considering how much work they are putting in to have me stay at their home. I'm going to try and change this though. Coffee, adjusting my work schedule, whatever - I'll find some way of spending more time with them. Going back to the topic though, I still will always be most comfortable back in my townhouse with my mom and dog.

Back at home, a few surprises have come up. Maria is now going to be studying abroad in the Spring semester. She's headed back to Spain where she was this past summer - also for study abroad. We both really miss each other and having each other's company, so seeing her go abroad after barely seeing her this summer and now only for a few weeks this winter is going to be tough but I'm sure she's going to have a blast. In more friend study abroad news, my fellow Francophile and actually the first friend I made at my home university, Allie, is no longer going to be studying in Paris in the Spring. It came as a shock to my entire group of friends since it was so sudden. She was so adament about going to Paris and was so excited about being accepting to the program that when she suddenly called it off last week, none of us were really prepared. From what I was told by her housemates, she is really unhappy with her current French class and that she also feels "she is a new woman"....whatever that means...and "that was her old self, and she no longer is reflective of that". Yeah, yeah, mysterious, confusing, and kinda annoying that explanation. Well, considering I am very close with her, I'll probably try and figure things out when I get back. Hey, at least I will be able to see her during the year now?

Back at home, my mom and my aunt are preparing for their week long visit to Denmark. They're coming for a week mid-November and are staying in Copenhagen. They're both really excited and I can't wait to introduce them to my host family. We also plan to have a Thanksgiving dinner while they're here which I'm really excited about. Renovations of my house are also underway soon. I think I mentioned this before, but my mom is gutting the Kitchen, replacing all the floors on the main level, replacing all the windows, and redoing the bathrooms in the house. Basically I won't really recognize the house when I get back apart from some furniture. Mom also said that Hurricane Sandy wasn't too horrible. The storm we had this summer, which knocked out power for 3 days in 90 degree weather and 85% humidity, did more damage. She didn't even lose power which was surprising.

Next comes the situation with Brandon. I've tried contacting him a few days ago, and he didn't really respond. I didn't want to make too much of a fuss so I just sent him a greeting and a "stay safe" sort of message before the hurricane hit. This was over Facebook and granted he doesn't use Facebook too much anyway so I don't want to keep trying to reach him and appear desperate. I hope once I get back to the US and I can start texting and calling him again that we can see each other since I do still miss him and this lack of communication is kinda annoying.

I think that's all the major stuff that is going on at home. Seeing November on the calendar keeps reminding me that my stay here in Denmark is actually going to be done much earlier than I expect. I still remember arriving here in August, settling into my room, meeting people for the first time, and especially the warm weather. I only have a little over a month here now. My mom visiting - something that felt like ages away when I first arrived, is just around the corner. It's crazy.

Finally, unrelated to home but included anyway - in my goal of intoducing people to new music, here's a popular Danish pop song a the moment. It's a Danish band made up of  Dane and an Italian dude named Muri & Mario (guess which is the Dane and which the Italian...). Anyways, it's pretty catchy. I think I also heard it at some point in the US but I can't put my finger on where.


Muri & Mario - Hun Tog Min Guitar (She Took My Guitar)

All the best,

JP

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stay Safe Guys

For everyone living along the East coast of the US, please stay safe during hurricane Sandy.

I've been hella busy the past few days and will be for the rest of the week. I've got a paper, a presentation, and a finance case all due some time during this week so I apologize for the delay for more interesting stuff on this blog. I'm also waiting for some of my friends to post pics from the trip so I'm trying to be patient with them as well.

Anyways, stay safe and find some way to pass the time while stuck indoors.

Drinking games are always fun ;)



Sandy appropriate music?

All the best,

JP

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sour Mood

To a certain someone: Sometimes I think I more tolerate you than am actually friends with you, and even more often you make even tolerating yourself very, very difficult. Here's a novel idea: keep your snarky ass comments to yourself and learn when to shut the eff up.

Jesus, some people...


Anyways, I got back from Budapest tonight and I gotta say, my trip to Vienna and Budapest was absolutely amazing. Recap and some photos coming up soon. I just wish my good mood wasn't spoiled this evening by some asshole who still can't figure out when they really just need to keep their opinions to themselves - hence the mini-rant at the start of this post.

Well, I'm exhausted so I'm off to bed.

JP