I am really happy that I am set for school for next year and I have been apartment hunting like crazy. Wanderlust is hitting me hard right now but as I have several loose ends I still need to tie up in Chicago, I unfortunately will not be able to travel for the next month or so...but maybe staying put is a blessing in disguise?
Traveling has been one amazing experience after another, but I have found myself unable to make time to enjoy the simple things that I used to when I was younger. Its been so long since I have had a summer where I was not in and out of the country that I have almost forgotten how do just...enjoy my "free" time.
Three things I loved most about my long summers in Dallas:
Working out/Dance classes
Working on my Art
Reading my ridiculously large and random collection of Books
I am ashamed to admit that I slacked off on gym time while I was in Sweden, but I will start hitting the threadmill this week! Bikini season? Hope I can make it...
**UPDATE**-After returning stateside, my mysterious itching escalated from "annoying" to "hell-on-Earth". I found myself waking up at all hours of the night and scratching my skin raw. By now, I was pretty damn sure that I had been misdiagnosed in Stockholm so I scheduled an appointment with a general practitioner who then referred me to a dermatologist. I finally had an answer when the dermatologist CORRECTLY diagnosed me with a case of scabies. After religiously covering my entire body with the prescribed Permethrin treatment and quarantining my clothes for a week, I was cured!! Hallelujah!!@!
Now for those inquisitive souls who are wondering how I contracted this disease/infestation...I must admit I don't know. Not to be confused with crabs(which are an STD), scabies are actually microscopic mites that are transmitted via bedding, clothes, and any physical contact- even babies can get scabies. So due to the highly contagious nature of scabies and my constant traveling while in Scandinavia, how and when I actually acquired this infestation remains a mystery to me.
Nevertheless, I would like to point out that previous to my initial doctor visit in Stockholm, I, being from a science background, had researched online articles and suspected I harbored scabies. But when I informed my Swedish doctor that I thought I had scabies, he nonchalantly wrote it off as just a stress rash. The doctor's explanation was that he could not "see" anything on my body. Come again?! Scabies are MICROSCOPIC!! so of course he wasn't able see those bad boys with his naked eye. The ineptitude of the Swedish Urologist(why was I sent to a Urologist anyways??) caused me an additional 2 months of unnecessary worry and agony-filled scratching.
Now, with doctor parents and the majority of my friends in medical school, trusting the counsel of health care professionals has been deeply ingrained in me. So when I was so thoroughly let down, the irony of the situation was not lost on me. Lesson learned: this scabies fiasco combined with my recent HIV misdiagnosis has taught me that no matter where you are in the world do your RESEARCH! Doctors are human too, and all humans can make mistakes. So if your gut tells you something is not right with the diagnosis, then trust your instinct and get a SECOND(or third) OPINION!!
Lovely Scabies-The Gift that keeps on Giving!
-Ran-A nomad on the mend..
**Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed in this post are my own and I do not take responsibility with how you chose to understand the information provided.**
My girl Whitney and I go wayyyyy back, I'm talking freshmen year back. The fact that she has taken the time to visit me TWICE since I have moved to Chi-town shows some major heart, so man I love this girl! Whitney is hilarious, down-to-earth and always knows how to have a good time!
Our action-packed weekend started out with a classy dinner at BOKA where we dined on the best first foie gras I have ever had in my life! This singular experience of having buttery melt-in-my mouth goose liver, has cemented in my mind the reality that I am not and will never be a "petite" asian girl! As the sun set over the beautiful Chicago skyline we cranked up the fun by heading out to the River North area. At Social 25 our ragtag group showcased our "unique" dance moves and managed to drop(partyfoul!) so many drinks on the dance floor that the janitors had their mops ready and waiting. By the end of the night we had worked up a major appetite which at 1 am could only be sated at one place-the infamous late night eatery-Five Faces. One hour and 40 dollars later, with our insides thoroughly coated by greasy gut-busting fast food, we went to bed full, happy and dreaming of more fun to come the next day...
Foie Gras at BOKA-What little girls' dreams are made of...
So now that I know I will be living in Copenhagen, Denmark for the next year, I have started in earnest the long and grueling process of apartment hunting. From my previous experience apartment hunting in Stockholm, I know that this process is NOT going to be easy and apartments in the city center are definitely NOT cheap! I was very lucky during my Stockholm apartment search in the fact that I had a "sweet" Swedish friend in Chicago who aided me greatly in my search. After I nearly fell for several scams on Swedish Craigslist, my friend helped me compose an apartment want ad in Swedish and we posted it on Blocket.se. Consequently, I was lucky to find an amazing apartment in central Stockholm, just 15 minutes via the tube to my work! However... I am not sure I will be quite as lucky this time in my Copenhagen apartment search :(
I have several things working against me this time:
1. Time- For Stockholm, I started my search 3 months in advance, while this time I only have 2 months total to find a suitable apartment, obtain a residence permit and pack and ship my belongings(and I have a massive amount of belongings, aka clothes...), and adjust to living in Denmark before school starts.
2. Budget- I am working with a smaller budget this time. In Stockholm I paid 1200 USD/month for an one bedroom apartment and this time, I am working with a smaller budget of 1000 USD. I am not sure that is enough for a furnished one bedroom or studio in central CPH.
3. Everything Danish- Sadly, I don't have any Danish friends living in Chicago, and my Danish language skills are all but non-existent. Additionally, while Stockholms neighborhoods were very distinct because each one was located on a separate island, I am still struggling to understand the unique dynamic of the various neighborhoods of Copenhagen.
My search this time will be further compounded by the fact that I do not know how to ride a bike... and this seems to be a major mode of transportation in Copenhagen. I know what you are thinking, how can I be Chinese and not know how to ride a bike?!(lowers head in shame) But in all seriousness, I am really not sure if I should be living near the tube stop? the bus stop? or .uh..a bike shop!? Also, I want to make sure I focus on the right neighborhoods. Last time in Stockholm, while both my apartment and neighborhood were beautiful, I unwittingly ended up in a very wealthy and very "old" part of Stockholm, and by old, I am not referring to the architecture, but rather to the fact that I was a good half century younger than the majority of my neighbors! So, this time in Copenhagen I would really like to live somewhere young and...dare I say hip!? :D
My apartment hunt has just begun and I already feel like I have gotten myself in over my head. I guess it doesn't help that I keep trolling Danish apartment hunting forums and reading horror stories of scams and fruitless apartment searches(yikes!). So dear friends and readers, any CPH neighborhood advice, transportation knowledge, and magical apartment hunting secrets will be deeply appreciated...anything to help a nomad like me to find an affordable, convenient and fun place to settle down (for a year)!
Shocked, Ecstatic, Thankful, Overwhelmed... I am not sure there are enough words in the English vocabulary to describe how I feel right now! After months of nerve racking waiting and several curveballs along the way, I finally heard back from both Copenhagen Business School and Stockholm School of Economics.
I am extremely grateful and lucky that I was able to gain entrance into two such prestigious schools in Scandinavia. I have spent many a sleepless night mulling over which offer to accept and it is not a decision I take lightly for it will be sizable investment, both financially and time-wise. Each school has its distinct advantages and both choices will spell major change in my life, but at the end of the day, a very complicated question turned out to have a simple answer: I am going with my gut...
So yes, my friends it is official, I will be moving to beautiful Denmark come fall!
This journey has not been a easy one, because even though I was confident that I was qualifed for the program, I, being a clumsy blundering American, was thoroughly confused by the Danish application system. With that being said, I want to thank my amazing friends and family who have been so supportive the last couple months. Recently, I have made a rapid succession of life-changing decisions and I really truly appreciate the people in my life who seem to possess an unwavering belief in my ability to triumph. Thank you for giving me your strength, especially during the difficult times when I could not help but question myself.
Leap of Faith-Copenhagen, Denmark
This past year has been a year filled with challenging changes but also great adventures, and I am sure there will only be more surprises to come as I continue on my journey to find where I fit in this big world of ours! And while I know I have a lot of questions and loose ends to tie up this summer, I think for today, I will breath easy and...smile. :)