CHEESECAKE FACTORY og onkel PAUL, tante HEIDI, MAX og MAJA

CASPER-I-USA

DAG 214

Søndag den 20. marts, 2016

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(READ THE ENGLISH VERSION DOWN BELOW THE DANSIH VERSION)

I dag, søndag, vågnede jeg først ved halvtitiden. Ej, hvor var det dejligt at få sovet længe – lidt længe i det mindste. De andre – Molly, Byron og Chris – var allerede nede og spise morgenmad i stueetagen af hotellet. Jeg fik en opringning fra Molly, da jeg stod og var på vej i bad. Hun fortalte mig at morgenmadsbuffeten ville lukke om fem minutter. Så jeg skyndte mig i bad, hoppede i noget tøj og løb ned i stueetagen. Jeg nåede lige at skovle noget yoghurt ind i munden inden personalet begyndte at rydde maden væk.

     Oppe på hotelværelset igen sad jeg og skrev lidt på min blog, inden vi igen skulle ind til downtown Philadelphia. Molly, Byron, Chris og jeg skulle mødes med tante Heidi, onkel Paul, Max og Maya til frokost og derefter besøge et skibsmuseum sammen.

     Efter en halv time i bilen parkerede vi på havnen i Philadelphia. Vi fandt Heidi, Paul, Max og Maya og genforenede efter ikke at have set hinanden i næsten to måneder. Det var rigtig dejligt at se dem igen.

     Onkel Paul er en rigtig venlig mand. Han har været i Aalborg, Danmark mange gange med sit band, hvor han er trommeslager. Paul har vist også interviewet en masse kendte mennesker. Han har en dejlig humor og er godt selskab. Tante Heidi er maler og underviser også i kunst på det lokale community college i Baltimore. Hun har en dejlig ung sjæl. Både Paul og Heidi er super gode til deres to børn Max og Maya. Max er fire og et halv år, men både ligner og taler som en otteårig. Desuden er han helt overbevist om, at han er en superhelt. Han er heller ikke bange for at ytre sin mening og Transformers eller Star Wars. Maya er stadig en baby. Hun er ikke helt tilfreds med hverken Chris eller jeg. Første gang, Maya og jeg mødte hinanden, skreg hun af mig, som hvis verden var det at gå under – vi er senere kommet på bedre fod med hinanden. De alle fire tilsammen er en dejlig, ung og kreativ familie.

     Vi gik alle sammen hen til den restaurant, hvorpå vi skulle spise frokost. Tjenerne på restauranten var klædt ud, som de ville have set ud i 1700-hundredetallet. Det var et meget nydeligt sted med en god atmosfære og hyggelig stemning. Vi bestilte frityrestegte østers til forret og bøf til hovedret.

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     I mens vi ventede på maden, viste jeg Max, hvordan mit kamera virkede. Han tog en masse billeder. Jeg er sikker på, at han havde en masse skæg med at lege med mit kamera. Mine østers ankom, og jeg smagte for første gang i mit liv på de salte dyr – de smagte virkelig godt. Så kom hovedretten som for mig bestod af en stor lækker bøf, kartoffelmos og rødvinssovs. Også det var super lækkert.

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     Efter familiehygge på den gamle restaurant gik vi mod havnen, hvor der lå et skibsmuseum. Det var et skægt museum, dog meget mennesketomt, hvor der indenfor var en båd man kunne sidde i. Hele familien satte sig i båden. Og som de fleste ved, så kan man sjældent få en teenager til at rejse sig igen, når de først har sat sig…. Chris og jeg brugte vist størstedelen af museumsbesøget på ryggen i bunden af båden.

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     Udenfor i havnen lå der en gammel krigsbåd og en ubåd. De to dovne teenagere formåede trods alt at komme ud til de beundringsværdige skibe. Nede i ubåden var der super trangt. I både den krigs- og ubåden, var jeg overrasket over, hvordan pladsen blev udnyttet maksimalt – der hang simpelthen hængekøjer over kanonerne i begge både.

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     Det havde været en super hyggelig dag med Paul, Heidi, Max og Maya, og vi sagde nu farvel til dem. Vi har ikke flere planer om at mødes inden jeg tager hjem til Danmark i juni, så det var endeligt farvel – i hvert fald for lidt tid.

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     Vi kørte hjem mod hotellet, hvor vi hang ud i nogle timer inden det var tid til aftensmad. Vi kørte over til USA’s andenstørste shoppingcenter, der lå tæt på vores hotel. Der spiste vi på restauranten ”The Cheesecake Factory.” Maden var virkelig god. Jeg fik en lækker tapasret bestående af en dejlig blanding af avokado, tomat og dressing ovenpå ristet franskbrød. Til dessert var det jo en selvfølge at bestille ostekage, nu når det er stedets specialitet. Vi bestilte et stykke hver. Jeg fik en Oreocheesecake, som var top god. Jeg havde aldrig troet, at ostekage var noget for mig, men der fik ”The Cheesecake Factory” altså lige vendt mig 180 grader.

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   Det havde været en hyggelig dag, og vi kørte hjem mod hotellet. Da vi steg ud af bilen sneede det! – ikke meget sne, men det var der. Sikke en dejlig afslutning på dagen. Vi brugte gik til ro ret hurtigt, da morgendagen skulle starte tidligt. Jeg gik blev dog oppe lidt længere end de andre…

     Det var sent og jeg var den eneste i hotelværelset, som stadig var vågen. Chris og Byron er begge store basketballfans og havde snakket om en kamp hele aftenen. Inden jeg slukkede min computer tjekkede jeg lige Facebook. Jeg så, at min områderepræsentant havde delt at A&M University havde vundet deres basketballkamp. Jeg viskede ud i det mørklagte rum at A&M havde vundet, i tilfældet at en af dem stadig skulle være vågne. Efter jeg viskede det, fik jeg en meget sær respons fra Chris. Han begyndte at stave til gorilla. Ja, gorilla. Han sagde, at jeg havde stavet det forkort, men at det nu var sent så godnat. Jeg grinte og skrev det ned på min mobil, så jeg ikke ville glemme det over natten. Chris var simpelthen nød til at høre dette.

     Jeg lukkede min computer i med et smil på læben. Jeg lukkede mine øjenlåg og forsvandt ind i drømmeland.

Godnat.

 

 


TRANSLATED BY GOOGLE TRANSLATE:

DAY 214 – CHEESECAKE FACTORY and uncle PAUL, aunt HEIDI, MAX and MAJA

Sunday, March 20, 2016

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Today, Sunday, I didn’t wake up until 09:30. It was so nice to sleep a long time – a little long at least. The others – Molly, Byron and Chris – were already downstairs eating breakfast on the ground floor of the hotel. I got a call from Molly, as I stood and was heading into the shower. She told me that the breakfast buffet would close in five minutes. So I hurried with my shower, jumped into some clothes and ran down to the ground floor. I just managed to shovel some yogurt into my mouth before the staff started to clear the food away.

     Up in the hotel room again, I sat and wrote a little bit on my blog before we again were going to downtown Philadelphia. Molly, Byron, Chris and I were to meet with Aunt Heidi, Uncle Paul, Max and Maya for lunch and then visit a ship museum together.

     After half an hour in the car we parked at the Port of Philadelphia. We found Heidi, Paul, Max and Maya and reunited after not having seen each other for almost two months. It was really nice to see them again.

     Uncle Paul is a very kind man. He has been in Aalborg, Denmark many times with his band, where he is a drummer. Paul has interviewed a lot of famous people. He has a wonderful sense of humor and good company. Aunt Heidi is a painter and also teaches art at the local community college in Baltimore. She has a lovely young soul. Both Paul and Heidi are super good parents to their two children Max and Maya. Max is four and a half years old, but looks and speaks like an eight year old. Moreover, he is absolutely convinced that he is a superhero. He is also not afraid to speak his mind on the subject of Transformers or Star Wars. Maya is still a baby. She is not completely satisfied with neither Chris nor I. The first time, Maya and I met, she screamed at me, as if the world was going under – we later came to better terms with each other. They all four together is a nice, young and creative family.

     We all went to the restaurant in which we had lunch. The waiters at the restaurant were dressed up, as they would have looked like in the 1700-century. It was a very pretty place with a good and cozy atmosphere. We ordered fried oysters for starters and steak for main course.

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     For a while we waited for the food, I showed Max, how my camera worked. He took a lot of pictures. I am sure that he had a lot of fun taking pictures with my camera. My oysters arrived and I tasted the salty animals for the first time in my life – they tasted really good. Then came the main course, which for me consisted of a large delicious steak, mashed potatoes and red wine sauce. Also that was super delicious.

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     After family fun at the old restaurant we went to the harbor, where there was a ship museum. It was a fun museum, however with a lack of people. There was a boat we could sit in. The whole family sat in the boat. And as most people know, you can rarely get a teenager to rise up once they have set themselves down…. Chris and I used the majority of the museum visit on our back in the bottom of the boat.

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     Outside the harbor were an old war ship and a submarine. The two lazy teens nevertheless managed to get out to the admirable ships. Down in the submarine was super tight. In both the war ship and the submarine, I was surprised how the space was used to the very full extent – there hung hammocks over the canons in both boats.

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     It had been a super nice day with Paul, Heidi, Max and Maya, and we now said goodbye to them. We have no more plans to meet before I go home to Denmark in June, so it was a final goodbye – at least for some time.

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     We drove back to the hotel where we hung out for a few hours before it was time for dinner. We drove over to the US’s second largest shopping center, which was close to our hotel. There we ate at the restaurant “The Cheesecake Factory.” The food was really good. I got a delicious tapas dish consisting of a nice mix of avocado, tomato and dressing on top of toasted French bread. For dessert it was indeed a matter of course to order cheesecake, now when it is the restaurant’s specialty. We ordered a piece each. I got an Oreocheesecake which was so good. I never thought that cheesecake was something for me, but there was “The Cheesecake Factory” that made my opinion turn 360.

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     It had been a nice day, and we drove back to the hotel. When we got out of the car it snowed! – Not much snow, but it was there. What a nice end to the day. We went to bed pretty quickly, because tomorrow should start early. I, however, was up slightly longer than the other…

     It was late and I was the only one in the hotel room, who was still awake. Chris and Byron are both big basketball fans and had talked about a game all night. Before I turned off my computer I checked Facebook. I saw that my area representative had shared that A&M University had won their basketball game. I whispered out in the darkened room that A&M had won, in case that one of them should still be awake. After I whispered that I got a very strange response from Chris. He began to spell gorilla. Yes, gorilla. He said that I had spelled it wrong, but that now it was late so goodnight. I laughed and wrote it down on my phone, so I would not forget it overnight. Chris simply got to hear this tomorrow.

     I closed my computer with a smile. I closed my eyelids and disappeared into dreamland.

Good night.

AKAVET ØJEBLIK og TARA, min ven

CASPER-I-USA

DAG 213

Lørdag den 19. marts, 2016

(READ THE TRANSLATED VERSION BENEATH THE DANISH VERSION)

I dag, lørdag, vågnede jeg ved at Chris forlod hotelværelset for at spise morgenmadsbuffet på stueetagen. Han skulle tilbage på Villanova University for at deltage i en korprøve, så jeg kunne naturligvis sove længe – troede jeg. 

     Da Chris kom op igen, fortalte han mig, at korprøven var aflyst. Planen var derfor ændret til, at vi alle fire skulle tage ind til downtown om en halv time. Jeg tog mig et hurtigt bad, tog tøj på, spiste morgenmad i stueetagen og gik oven på, hvor Molly og Chris sad og ventede. Byron var lige på toilettet og skulle lige afrunde noget arbejde inden han var klar til at tage afsted. I mellemtiden børstede jeg tænder, satte hår og brugte lidt tid på at færdiggøre gårsdagens daglige brev.

     Da alle var klar, gik vi ned til bilen. Vi kørte ud af byen, vi boede i kaldet “King of Prussia” og afsted mod det indre Philadelphia, som havde været USA’s første hovedstad. Vi ankom efter dårlig lørdagstrafik til den gamle bydel og begyndte at udforske de historiske bygninger og mindesmærker. Det var her i Philadelphia at George Washington sammen med de andre stiftende fædre af USA havde løsrevet sig fra det britiske rige og underskrevet grundloven, der stiftede Amerikas Forenede Stater.

     Der var nogle spændende bygninger bl.a. USA’s første højesteret, kongres og andre altafgørende bygninger, hvor USA’s historie var blevet formet. Vi så også en original kopi af ”the constitutuion” (forfatningen).

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     Det var blevet tid til noget frokost. Vi fandt en retro-cafe tæt på, hvor vi var. Der var store industrielle lamper i loftet og mursten med tilfældige malingklatter på væggene. Jeg drak friskpresset appelsin juice og spiste en lækker burger med spejlæg, avocado og bacon. Vi havde alle fire meget sjov rundt om bordet. Vi snakkede om, hvordan Chris og jeg stadig ikke havde været uvenner, selvom vi snart havde levet i det samme rum i to uger. For ugen inden vi tog afsted på denne ferie, havde Katie jo haft seks venner med hjemme fra Boston, så Chris og jeg havde delt et rum. Chris og jeg grinte og undrede os over, hvor lang tid vi kunne holde hinanden ud igen.

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   Efter en dejlig frokost fandt vi nogle toiletter i kælderen af et super flot hotel. På vejen til toiletterne så vi et skilt til ”The Copenhagen Room.” Det er dejligt at se, at selv lille Danmark spiller en rolle i udlandet – selvom det er noget så ligegyldigt, som et hotelværelse.

     Vi gik ud af hotellet og skulle få tiden til at gå, da vi først havde en rundvisning af de historiske bygninger kl. 14:40. Vi besøgte en bygning, hvor alle ejerne af håndværksfirmaerne i gamle dage samledes. Der var en skuespiller, som var klædt ud i tøj fra 1700-tallet. Chris og jeg fik et broder-billede med ham.

     Så var det blevet tid til vores rundvisning. Vi gik igennem sikkerhedskontrol og stillede os i kø med vores billetter. Der var en sikkerhedsvagt, som råbte af to andre besøgende. De to besøgende havde ikke været i god nok tid til deres rundvisning, der startede kl. 14:00. Nu prøvede de så at komme med på rundvisningen kl. 14:40 i stedet. Andre gæster begyndte at filme situationen på deres telefoner, nogle grinte mens andre havde et udtryk i ansigtet, der fortalte, at situationen var noget så forrykt.

     Der kom styr på sagerne på en eller anden måde og vores rundvisning begyndte.

     Bygningen vi skulle se hed ”Independence Hall,” og var der, hvor Washington sikrede USA’s uafhængighed fra briterne. Det var vildt at være et sted, hvor så voldsomme beslutninger blev taget.

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     Efter rundvisningen besøgte vi en gammel bogtrykker. Vi så en eksakt demonstration af, hvordan man i gamle dage ville have trykt aviser og bøger. Der blev fortalt om Benjamin Franklin og hans avis ”The Pennsylvania Gazette.” Det var super spændende.

     Familien og jeg skulle nå og spise aftensmad inden vi skulle til en jazz festival på Villanova University i aften. Derfor forlod vi downtown og kørte tilbage mod vores by, ”King of Prussia.” Efter at have været fanget i dårlig trafik, blev vi nød til at finde noget hurtigt mad. Vi fandt ud af, at der lå en Shake Shack (min yndlingsfastfoodrestaurant!) tæt på os. Min dejlige værtsfamilie besluttede, at det skulle være vores aftensmad. Jeg tog et begejstret selfie foran restauranten og også af min mad.

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     I bilen på vej til Villanova University og jazz festivalen skrev jeg med min super gode veninde Tara. Jeg savner alle mine Texasvenner efter ikke at have set dem hele ferien. Tara fik mig ”up-to-date” på, hvad der var foregået i Texas over ferien. Det var dejligt at høre om, og jeg kom bestemt ikke til at savne alle mine high school venner mindre.

Dette er min ven, Tara:

     Tara er en junior på James E. Taylor High School, og er sammen alder som jeg. Tara ligner min danske søster på en prik, synger med i showkoret og er en super ven. Tara er gode venner med Christina, som er kærester med min bror Chris, men det er ikke sådan, at Tara og jeg kom til at være venner. Først efter at have gået i den samme omgangskreds i over et halvt år begyndte Tara og jeg at snakke rigtigt sammen. Det var under et lift hun gav mig i februar måned, at det gik op for os, hvor meget vi havde tilfældes. Siden da har vores venskab været dejligt konstant. Tara er en ven, man altid kan regne med, og som altid finder den lyse side af hver situation. Jeg er oprigtigt beæret over at have Tara som ven.

     Vi ankom til jazzfestivalen og indtog vores pladser i kapellet, hvor koncerten skulle foregå. Det første band spillede god, klassisk jazz og havde en nydelig forsanger. Det var dog ingen overraskelse, at de spillede til bryllupper, da de fortalte om deres mest hyppige spillesteder. Bandet var færdig med at spille efter en håndfuld sange, og så var der en pause.

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     Den mandlige forsanger, som også underviste business på universitetet, kom op til mig i pausen og rakte mig hånden. Han sagde: “I can’t believe you are here all by yourself! Thank you.” (Jeg kan ikke tro, at du er her helt alene! Tak). Byron og jeg kiggede med et uforstående blik på hinanden. Byron sagde at jeg altså var her sammen med dem. Forsangerne, som stod med sin hånd i min, sagde at han da havde undervist mig i skolen. Da det gik op for ham, at han havde forvekslet mig med en anden, vendte han sig rundt og halvløb væk. Det var…. Rigtig akavet på en vældig underholdende måde.

     I pausen blev der på scenen sat op til aftenens andet band. Det andet band var et seksmandsband i matchende udklædningen; sort jakkesæt, hvid skjorte og blegt grønt slips. Mens de slæbte flygel, bas, trommesæt og blæse instrumenter ind på scenen, besøgte jeg toilettet. Derefter mødte jeg to elever på gangen. Jeg spurgte dem, om de vidste, hvor jeg kunne finde en drink-automat med cola i. De to piger var så flinke at følge mig hele vejen til maskinen, så jeg kunne få slukket min tørst. Vi snakkede om skolen, og hvad de studerede. Den ene studerede til sygeplejerske og den anden miljøvidenskab, og de udtrykte deres glæde over at gå på Villanova. Jeg tog en slurk af min Coca Cola og takkede dem for deres hjælp.

     Tilbage i kapellet var seksmandsbandet begyndt at spille. De var SÅ gode! Halvdelen af deres noder var uden tvivl improviseret på stedet, så der var en helt vidunderlig impuls stemning over det. Bandets klarinetspiller var oven ud fantastisk. Klarinetspilleren sang også, og han lavede en perfekt efterligning af Louis Armstrongs stemme.

     Efter koncerten tog vi hjem. På hjemvejen harmonerede Chris og jeg med hinanden til musikken på radioen. Det er bare dejligt at have en kompagnon at synge med!

     Vi var hjemme i hotelværelset og snakkede lidt inden vi alle faldt til ro.

Godnat.

 

 


TRANSLATED BY GOOGLE TRANSLATE:

DAY 213 – AWKWARD MOMENT and TARA, my friend

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Today, Saturday, I woke up when Chris left the hotel room to eat breakfast at the buffet on the ground floor. He was going to go back to Villanova University to attend a choir rehearsal, so I could sleep in – I thought.

     When Chris came up again, he told me that choir rehearsal was canceled. The plan was therefore changed so that all four of us had to go into downtown in half an hour. I took a quick shower, got dressed, ate breakfast on the ground floor and went upstairs, where Molly and Chris sat and waited. Byron was on the toilet and then was just rounding off some work before he was ready to go. Meanwhile I brushed my hair and then I style it.

     When everybody was ready, we went down to the car. We drove out of town we lived in called “King of Prussia” and set off towards downtown Philadelphia, which had been America’s first capital. We arrived after bad Saturday traffic to the old town and began to explore the historic buildings and monuments. It was here in Philadelphia that George Washington along with the other founding fathers of the United States had seceded in getting rid of the British Empire and signed the constitution that founded the United States.

     There were some interesting buildings including America’s first Supreme Court, Congress and other essential buildings, where US history was shaped. We also saw an original copy of “the constitution.”

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     It was time for some lunch. We found a retro-cafe close to where we were. There were large industrial lamps hanging from the ceiling and bricks with random blobs of paint on the walls. I drank freshly squeezed orange juice and ate a delicious burger with fried egg, avocado and bacon. We all four had much fun around the table. We talked about how Chris and I still hadn’t killed each other, although we soon had lived in the same room for nearly two weeks now. Because the week before we left for this vacation, my host sister Katie had six friends with her home from Boston, so Chris and I had shared a room. Chris and I laughed and wondered how far longer we could live together.

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    After a nice lunch we found some bathrooms in the basement of a super pretty hotel. On the way to the bathrooms we saw a sign for “The Copenhagen Room.” It’s great to see that even small Denmark plays a role abroad – even if it’s something as little as a hotel room.

     We walked out of the hotel and had to fill in some time because we had a tour of the historic buildings at 14:40. We visited a building where all the owners of the construction companies in the old days gathered – all the guilds. There was an actor who was dressed in clothes from the 1700-hundred. Chris and I got a brother picture with him.

     Then it was time for our tour. We went through security and stood in line with our tickets. There was a security guard who was shouting at two other visitors. The two visitors had not been in good enough time for their tour, which started at. 14:00 so now they tried then to get on the tour at 14:40 instead. Other guests began filming the situation on their phones, some laughed while others had a look on their face that expressed annoyance in the situation.

     It all resolved itself and the tour began.

     The building we were going to see was called Independence Hall, and was where Washington secured America’s independence from the British. It was so cool to be in a place where such big decisions were taken.

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     After the tour, we visited an old printer. We saw an exact demonstration of how it would have printed newspapers and books in the old days. We were told about Benjamin Franklin and his newspaper “The Pennsylvania Gazette.” It was super exciting.

     The family and I had to eat dinner before we went to a jazz festival at Villanova University in the evening. Therefore, we left downtown and drove back to our city, “King of Prussia.” After being caught in bad traffic, we needed to find some fast food. We found out that there was a Shake Shack (my favorite fast food restaurant!) close to us. My lovely host family decided it would be our dinner. I took an enthusiastic selfie in front of the restaurant and also of my food.

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     In the car on the way to Villanova University and the jazz festival I wrote with my super good friend Tara. I miss all of my Texas friends after not having seen them throughout the holiday. Tara got me “up-to-date” on what had taken place in Texas over the holiday. It was great to hear about, and that definitely didn’t make me miss all my high school friends less.

This is my friend, Tara:

     Tara is a junior at James E. Taylor High School and is the same age as me. Tara looks exactly like my Danish sister, sings in the show choir and is a super friend. Tara’s friends with Christina, who is dating my brother Chris, but it’s not the way Tara and I became friends. Only after having been in the same social circle for over half a year, Tara and I began to talk together. It was during a ride she gave me in February that we realized how much we had in common. Since then our friendship has been very constant. Tara is a friend you can always count on and who always find the bright side of every situation. I am sincerely honored to have Tara as a friend.

     We arrived at the jazz festival and took our seats in the chapel, where the concert was to take place. The first band was quite good, played classic jazz and had a nice singer. However, it was no surprise that they played at weddings, as they talked about their most frequent venues. When the band had finished playing a handful of songs there was a pause.

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     The male lead singer, who also taught at the business school at the University, came up to me during the break and gave me his hand. He said: “I can not believe you are here all by yourself! Thank you.” Byron and I looked with a puzzled glance at each other. Byron said that I was here with them. The lead singer, who stood with his hand in mine, said that he had taught me in school. Then it dawned on him that he had confused me with someone else, he turned around and half ran away. It was…. very awkward in a very entertaining way.

     During the intermission there was set up for the evening’s second band. The second band was a six-man band in matching costumes; black suit, white shirt and pale green tie. While they dragged piano, bass, drums and blowing instruments onto the stage, I visited the bathroom. I met two students in the hallway afterward. I asked them if they knew where I could find a vending machine with cola in. The two girls were kind enough to follow me all the way to the machine so I could quench my thirst. We talked about school and what they studied. One studied to be a nurse and the other environmental science, and they expressed their joy in going to Villanova. I took a sip of my Coke and thanked them for their help.

     Back in the chapel the six-man band had started playing. They were SO good! Half of their nodes were without a doubt improvised on the spot, so there was an absolutely wonderful impulsive feeling in it. The band’s clarinet player was great. The clarinet player sang too, and he did a perfect imitation of Louis Armstrong’s voice.

     After the concert we went home. On the way home Chris and I harmonized with each other to the music on the radio. It’s just great to have a brother to sing along to!

     We were back in the hotel room and talked for a while before we all calmed down and went to bed.

Good night.

DEN SMILENDE ELG og BYRON, min værtsfar

CASPER-I-USA

DAG 210

Onsdag den 16. marts, 2016

(READ ENGLISH VERSION DOWN BELOW THE DANISH VERSION)

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I dag, onsdag, vågnede jeg i midten af Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Det var spændende at være i netop denne by, da jeg aldrig havde været i sådan et historisk industriel by før. Vi var allerede oppe og køre ved ottetiden. Chris skulle deltage i et par rundvisninger på endnu et universitet i dag, nemlig Carnegie Mellon University.

     Vi spiste morgenmad på den udbredte madkæde, Panéra Bread, som ligger spredt ud over hele USA. Der lå også én i stueetagen af vores hotel. Vores hotel hedder Quality Inn. Jeg spiste en scone med skovbær og drak en jordbærlemonade. Byron drak kaffe og spiste brød ligesom Chris.

     På vores naboborde sad der to politibetjente – selv tjenestemænd er vel sultne efter en gang i mellem – og ved et andet bord sad en ældre kvinde i rullestol. Her i USA er det ikke nemt at være gammel. Mange ældre bliver ikke sat pris på og bliver en pestilens for både familien såvel som samfundet. Hun boede uden tvivl på det lille hotel, og selvom det var et flot hotel, og der ikke var noget at komme efter der, så havde jeg altså ikke lyst til at kalde et hotel mit hjem, bare fordi husleje eller plejehjem var for dyrt for min gamle pung. Danske ældre er meget privilegeret sammenlignet med forholdene herovre.

     Efter at have tygget det sidste mad, bevægede vi os mod bilen. Vi kørte mod universitetet. Jeg så nu Pittsburgh for første gang i dagslys. Det var en sjov blanding i bygninger og broer. Over floderne var der både gamle, rustne stålbroer, men langs flodbredden lå der nybyggede lejlighedskomplekser. Det lignede en blanding mellem Divergent-verdenen og år 2020. Gammelt og nyt på samme tid.

     Vi parkerede i en parkeringsgarage, og fandt en smutvej til universitets besøgscenter. Der blev vi vist over til et konferencerum, hvor vi fik fortalt en masse om universitetets kvaliteter. Præsentationen blev givet af en mandlig senior på skolen, som bar jakkesæt og udtrykte en seriøs og ikke mindst dyr tone her på universitetet.

   Efter vores lille lektion i, hvordan man kunne komme ind på skolen, og hvorfor skolen var den bedste, havde vi en lille pause, inden vi skulle på en rundvisning på campus. Der var en ældre mand, som solgte bøger i foyeren, og jeg fandt en tysk bog. Jeg købte bogen og glædede mig til at lære fra den.

     Rundvisningen startede lidt efter, og vi gik ud på skolen for at få fortalt anekdoter og historiske facts om de gamle bygninger. Vi gik forbi dramabygningen og fik fortalt om alle de kendte skuespillere, som have studeret i klasselokalerne bag murerne. Universitetet havde den anden mest prestigefyldte dramauddannelse i verden. Vi blev fortalt om traditioner på universitetet, og om hvordan eleverne var.

     Chris havde en aftale med ingeniørafdelingen, så vi blev nød til at forlade vores rundvisning lidt inden den sluttede. Vi fandt bygningen, hvor ingeniøruddannelserne holdte til. Der var en ung gut, som stod og ventede på os ved indgangen. Han lignede ved første øjekast Mark Zuckerberg – grundlæggeren af Facebook. Men det var selvfølgelig ikke Mark, men en studerene på skolen, som skulle vise os rundt.

     Vores guide viste os klasselokalerne, hvor der blev undervist maskiningeniører, hvilket er uddannelsen Chris overvejer at studere. Det var spændende at se de 3D-printere og store maskiner, som blev brugt i undervisningen.

     Efter vi var blevet introduceret til et dybere indblik i, hvad det vil sige at uddanne sig som maskiningeniør, var det tid til frokost. Vi blev henvist til en cafe på universitetsområdet, og efter lidt vildfaring på det store campus, fandt vi da også den lille cafe.

     Vi spiste nogle lækre asiatiske sandwichs og drak sodavand. Efter en fin frokost gik vi tilbage til parkeringsgaragen og satte os ind i bilen. Klokken var ca. 14:00, og vi havde ikke flere planer for i dag. Jeg foreslog derfor, om vi skulle tage til den botaniske have, som jeg havde set fra campus. Det var min værtsfar og -bror med på, og vi kørte ud i det bakkede terræn for at finde vejen til de store, gamle haver.

     Vi ankom, parkerede, betalte for entre og begyndte at nyde de store drivhuse med frodige planter og hverdagsgrønsager. Der var alt fra meter høje palmer til små stedmoderblomster. Jeg elsker at være omgivet af planter og det er lange siden, at jeg har været omgivet af så mange blomster og grønne farver – for Texas er ikke i blomst hele året rundt, selvom det da ville være at foretrække.

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   En af mine absolutte favoritbeskæftigelser er at fotograferer blomster. Det virker som sådan en simpel ting, men jeg kan ikke finde noget mere afslappende end at tage billeder af de naturskønne juveler.

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     Mens jeg stod der og fotograferede en dejlig iscenesættelse af et maleri fra år 1886, kom der en fremmede mand op til mig og begyndte at sludre. Han var vældig interesseret i at fortælle om sine gamle afdøde venner. Jeg begyndte at tage nogle billeder, mens han snakkede, for han blev ved med at gentage det samme igen og igen med forskellige navne, men så begyndte han pludselig at snakke om sin afdøde ven Casper. Jeg frøs, og der gik et akavet øjeblik inden jeg trykkede på knappen på mit Cannonkamera, der tog billedet med en lidt for høj kliklyd. Jeg kiggede på manden og forklarede, at mit navn var Casper. Han så overrasket ud, men sagde at han ville fortælle sin gamle ven Casper om sin nye ven Casper. Men var hans gamle ven Casper ikke død?

     Vi sagde lidt efter farvel og ønskede hindanden en fortsat dejlig dag.

     Jeg blev ved med at tage billeder at de dejlige haver, og tog da også et par selfies her og der, for lyset i et drivhus er nu godt.

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     Jeg var i sådan en dejlig sindstilstand, da vi forlod drivhusene. Vi gik ind i en butik tilkoblet haverne, inden vi gik ud til bilen, og jeg fandt to gaver til min familie hjemme i Danmark – jeg glæder mig sådan til at vise dem gaverne.

     Kl. 16:00 var vi hjemme på hotellet, og Chris og jeg arbejde på lektier mens Byron kørte til en boghandel. Byron er vild med bøger. Han er en super værtsfar, som kan det hele. Han arbejder som kemiskingeniør og er i gang med et stort projekt. Men selvom han ikke har meget fritid udenfor arbejdet, så har han stadig bogbutikken i kirken, en farm i Burkeville og er en stor del af familielivet. Byron og jeg har gennem året haft utallige interessante samtaler og debatter om værdiger, krige og andre verdensproblemer.

     Da Byron kom hjem fra boghandelen med massevis af bøger til sin egen bogbutik, gjorde vi os klar til aftensmad. Vi var i humør til burgere, så vi fandt en bar, der hed ”The Smiling Moose,” (Den Smilende Elg) – der serverede burgere. På vejen til ”Elgen” kørte vi gennem byen, som først var lyst op af solnedgangen og derefter lagt i seng da tusmørket krøb ind over gaderne. Det var mange neonlys på ”Elge-gaden” (undskyld, jeg ved ikke, hvad jeg har med den elg). Jeg legede med at tage billeder af gadelysene og fik nogle virkelig fine billeder.

     Burgerne var super gode og vi fik hele tre burgere hver! De var lidt mindre end normalt, men der var helt klart mere end én stor burger. Ejeren, der bar et rosenrødt skæg og lignede den skallede kok, serverede maden for os. Det var lækkert og helt klart hjemmelavet.

     Der var god musik på ”Elgen,” og jeg valgte også en sang for en dollar på den moderne jukebox. Jeg valgte ”Crazy for You” af Adele – selvfølgelig.

     Vi kørte derefter hjem til hotellet og gik i seng lidt efter.

Godnat.

 


 

TRANSLATED BY GOOGLE TRANSLATE:

DAY 210 – THE SMILING MOOSE and BYRON, my host father

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

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Today, Wednesday, I woke up in the middle of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was very exciting to be in this city, as I had never been in such a historic industrial city before. We were already up and running at about eight. Chris had to attend a couple of guided tours at another university today, namely Carnegie Mellon University.

     We ate breakfast at the widespread food chain, Panera Bread, which are spread across the United States. There was also one on the ground floor of our hotel. Our hotel called the Quality Inn. I ate a scone with berries and drank strawberry lemonade. Byron drank coffee and ate bread like Chris.

     On our neighboring tables sat two police officers – when it comes down to it officials are probably hungry once in a while as well – and at another table sat an elderly woman in a wheelchair. Here in the US it is not easy to be old. Many older people are not appreciated are viewed as a negative effect for both the family as well as society. She lived without a doubt the small hotel, and although it was a nice hotel and I had nothing to complain about, I would not like to call a hotel my home just because the apartment rent or nursing home was too expensive for my old valet. Danish elderly people are very privileged compared to conditions over here.

     After having chewed the last food, we moved toward the car. We drove to the university. I now saw Pittsburgh for the first time in daylight. It was a fun mix of buildings and bridges. Over the rivers were both old, rusty steel bridges, but along the riverbank there was newly built apartment blocks. It looked like a mix between Divergent world and the year of 2020. Old and new at the same time – really cool.

     We parked in a parking garage, and took a short cut to the university’s visitor center. There a student walked us to a conference room where we were told a lot about the university’s qualities. A male senior at the school who wore suits and expressed a serious tone did the presentation and gave an expensive tone to the university.

     After our little lesson in how to get into the school, and why the school was the best, we had a little break before we were going on a tour of the campus. There was an elderly man who sold books in the foyer, and I found a German book. I bought the book and was delighted to learn from it.

     The tour started a little after, and we went out on the campus and were told anecdotes and historical facts about the old buildings. We walked past the drama building and were told about all the famous actors who’d studied in the classrooms behind the walls. The university had the second most prestigious drama program in the world. We were told about the traditions of the university, and how the students were.

     Chris had an appointment with the engineering department, so we had to leave our tour a little before it ended. We found the building, which was the home of the engineering department. There was a young boy who was waiting for us at the entrance. At first glance he really looked like Mark Zuckerberg – founder of Facebook. But of course it was not Mark, but a student at the school, who was going to show us around.

     Our guide showed some classrooms where mechanical engineers were taught, which is what Chris is considering studying. It was exciting to see the 3D printers and large machines that were used in the teaching.

     After we had been introduced to a deeper insight into what it’s like to study mechanical engineering it was time for lunch. We were referred to a cafe on campus, and after some wandering on the large campus; we found the small cafe.

     We ate some delicious Asian sandwiches and drank fountain drinks. After a good lunch we went back to the parking garage and sat in the car. It was about 14:00, and we had no more plans for today. I therefore suggested that we should go to the botanical garden, which I had seen from campus. My host father and –brother were in for that idea and we drove out in the hilly terrain to find our way to the big, old gardens.

     We arrived, parked, paid for the entrance and began to enjoy the big greenhouses with both palms and everyday vegetables. There was everything from meter-high palm trees for small pansies. I love being surrounded by plants and it had been a long time since so many flowers and greens had surrounded me – because Texas is not in full bloom all year round, although it would have been awesome if so.

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    One of my absolute favorite things to do is to photograph flowers. It seems like such a simple thing, but I cannot find anything more relaxing than taking pictures of the scenic jewels.

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     While I stood there and photographed a beautiful staging of a painting from the year 1886, a strange man up to me and started chatting. He was very interested in talking about his old dead friends. I started taking some pictures while he talked, since he kept repeating the same thing over and over with different names, but then he suddenly started talking about his dead friend Casper. I froze, and there was an awkward moment before I pressed the button on my Cannon camera that took the picture with a little too loud clicking sound. I looked at the man and explained that my name was Casper. He looked surprised, but said he would tell his old friend Casper about his new friend Casper. But wasn’t his old friend Casper dead?

     After a little we said goodbye and wished each other a nice day.

     I kept taking pictures of the lovely gardens, and also took a few selfies here and there, since the light in a greenhouse always seems to be perfect.

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     I was in such a lovely state of mind when we left the greenhouses. We went into a store connected to the gardens before we went out to the car, and I found two gifts for my family in Denmark – I am so excited to show them the gifts.

     At 16:00 we were back at the hotel, and Chris and I worked on homework while Byron drove to a bookstore. Byron loves books. He is a super host father, who does it all. He works as a chemical engineer and is working on a large project. But even if he does not have much free time outside work, he still has the bookstore at church, a farm in Burkesville and is a big part of family life. Byron and I have through the year had numerous of interesting conversations and debates about world problems such as wars and terror and so on.

     When Byron came home from the bookstore with lots of books for his own bookstore, we prepared for dinner. We were in the mood for burgers, so we found a bar called “The Smiling Moose,” that served burgers. On the way to “The Moose” we drove through the city, which was first illuminated by the sunset and then put to bed as twilight crept into the streets. It had many neon lights on “Moose Street” (sorry, I do not know what I have with that moose). I played with taking pictures of streetlights and got some really cool pictures.

     The burgers were super good and we got three burgers each! They were a little smaller than usual, but there was definitely more than if it had been a normal big burger. The owner, who wore a rosy red beard and looked like “the bald chef” in Denmark, served the food for us. It was delicious and definitely homemade.

     There was good music at “The Moose,” and I also chose a song for a dollar on the modern jukebox. I chose “Crazy for You” by Adele – of course.

     We then drove back to the hotel and went to bed a little after.

Good night.