Embracing the Unpredictable

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My host family’s fridge door which we use a whiteboard to learn Danish and Swahili

It’s been a week since I arrived in Copenhagen and started my study abroad semester with DIS. I am living with my host family in Lyngby, and it has been a joy getting to know them. My first week has been very exciting. I have met so many new people from different places around the U.S and beyond. I have started exploring Copenhagen, and I am in love with the cobble-lined streets, and the grand old buildings that dot every street. I catch myself being in awe of things I would otherwise not notice such as how the sun rays accentuate the beauty of the buildings. When I walk into a coffee shop, I can now appreciate the intention and the effort put into creating cozy and intimate spaces, giving spaces that Hygge effect.

However, with new experiences, there is a lot of unpredictability involved. Our minds hate unpredictability. We are wired to seek out the safe and the comfortable. When thrown into new environments, it is normal to feel a little overwhelmed with the newness of things. This has been the case for me. When I first had to take the train to DIS I was so nervous that I would get lost or miss the train or have some random unexplainable thing happen to me. Thankfully I did not get lost, and I have not gotten lost yet thanks to GPS.

I am excited to be taking all my classes because they are so different from what I would normally take back in my home college. I am in the Game Development class, and yet I am not an active gamer! Sometimes I wonder why I am taking the class. I’m I good enough for the class? This is classic imposter syndrome rearing its ugly head. When those moments of self-doubt hit me, I know it is my animal brain seeking safety by avoiding the new and the unpredictable. I remind myself that I am just as good as anybody to be pursuing my interests.

Living with a host family is both exciting and nerve-racking. I am eternally grateful that my host family welcomed me with open arms and made me feel part of the family from day one. My host dad is an amazing cook so I am treated to tasty new dishes daily. My host mum is super sweet and interested in learning about the Kenyan/African culture. My host brother is funny and energetic. The dog! Mika the dog, deserves a special mention because she greets me every day when I come back home. I’ve never had a dog before so I am loving all this love and attention.

However, I am still navigating the awkwardness that can arise when living in someone else’s home. What chores I’m I expected to do around the house? What level of interaction is ideal for all of us? Should I go to my room after dinner to give you some family time or should I stay and make conversation? These are questions that have come up in my first week of living with my host family. Through proper communication and patience, I know things will get clearer. For now, I am consciously training myself to be comfortable with the unpredictability of the newness of my experiences.

Unpredictability, although nerve-racking, can lead to unanticipated moments of fellowship. Never would I have imagined that I would be getting my orange juice from a fridge whose door is filled with Danish and Swahili words.

 

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