People often say that 20 is a milestone birthday in any person’s life for many reasons. 1. You leave your teenage year behind and enter into another stage of adulthood. 2. You can finally say that you’re in your 20’s. 3. You are only one step away to being of legal drinking age in the United States. 4. You’re that much closer to graduating from college and entering the workforce. Now those are just a few of the milestones that you reach when you turn 20, but I reached these while I was abroad in Copenhagen on August 27th. And to be honest during the days leading up to my birthday I was actually a little anxious about turning 20. I think that this mostly had to do with my not being with my family on my birthday, which had never happened on any of my other 19 birthdays. I couldn’t explain it but I felt a feeling of trepidation, and dare I say it fear, which is something I almost never feel. It really was odd, but now let me tell you what happened to make it all go away!
The day before my birthday all of us were just kind of hanging out, not wanting to go out because we knew that we had team building activities that we would be taking part in the next day. So we were in our dorm relaxing and just chatting away. We all wanted to stay up until midnight so that we could celebrate briefly at the very beginning of my birthday. So we did this and then after my bathroommate comes in and tells me he got locked out of his room and needs to go through the bathroom to get in. This is pretty normal and happens a good amount to everyone who lives here so I didn’t think anything of it. However, I open the door to my room and SURPRISE! All of the GLOBE kids are in my room, which has been decorated, with a cake and they start singing! I was super shocked and really didn’t see it coming at all!
They made me a special Danish cake and surprised me right when my birthday began. It was in this moment that I knew I was with a wonderful group of people, and even though I would be missing my family and all my friends at UNC that I would be ok. We all then stayed up probably another hour and half talking and eating cake then all headed to bed to rest up for the day ahead of us.
Some remnants of the decorations!
We met at the main campus of the Copenhagen Business School to go to the park for our team building. Everyone wished me happy birthday when I arrived and was obviously super nice. But then when we arrived at the park the Danes broke into a Danish “happy birthday,” with the Hong Kongers following immediately with their own version! I attempted to put a video of the song but I don’t think it worked. But either way it was really touching and a super cool experience that also put into perspective how global this program and what the true meaning behind it is, to make lasting connections with other leaders from different backgrounds.
After a fun afternoon of team building my dear friends took me out to an amazing Italian restaurant in Copenhagen’s best known farmer’s market, somehow they knew I was missing my mom’s Italian food! And it was legitimately amazing. Some of the best Italian food I’ve had for sure!
After lunch we had a bit of down time before we had our second round of mixed dinner groups so we can all keep getting to know each other. But at this point I’m super close with everyone in my dinner group so it was more of just a giant celebration at my buddy’s house. She lives a bit outside of Copenhagen near the beach, pictured above which is beautiful. She also has a tennis court so I got to experience two of my loves on birthday which made it all the better!
My dinner mates also made me a beautiful dinner and wouldn’t allow me to help at all! It really was a great evening!
And the best part of the dinner, without a doubt, was this beautiful cake! SO GOOD! Danish layer cake with a banana and strawberry filling, topped with dark chocolate and raspberries, and covered with a strawberry buttercream! MMMMMMMMMM! I can still taste it and now I really want a piece!
All in all I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday abroad! I missed my family a lot, but I was able to Skype them before I went out for the late night celebrations. Seeing them was easily the cherry on top of a wondrous day and I can confidently say that I rang in 20 in real style!