December 28, 2014

A guest from Singapore!

Before we began writing the SRPs, I had my Singaporean friend, Ashley, visit us before he would further his adventures in Iceland. I can't recall all the things we did in details anymore so instead I'm just going to show you some of the pictures that we took. Also, thank you, Ashley, for letting me use your pictures too! 

November 27th:
We picked him up at the train station and along the coast to see Mennesket ved Havet / De fire hvide mænd (the four white men), which are the symbols of my city, before going home for nachos.
According to Ash, nachos are mostly something you eat when you go out since it isn't that common to have an oven at home in Singapore. Interesting.
Outside our house we have our caravan that my mom had prepared for him to stay in. There was around 4°C the whole week so the caravan was a nice place for him to go when the weather would get too cold.
That day we also exchanged presents. He'd decided that I HAD to get a present since I had been helping him out getting train tickets and finding a place to stay and whatnot so I had asked him to get me something "traditional Singaporean" and in return I decided to give him something typically Danish too since I didn't want to be the only one getting a present.
We got him a Danish flag and this little Hoptimist. The names is an abbreviation of the word optimist and the Danish word "hop" meaning jump - because it bounces when you touch the top of its head. Danes are crazy about brand decorations and will pay unbelievable amounts of money to get the figures they like - hoptimists are one kind of these decorations. They come in all sorts of variations (kind of like the cow parades some years ago) but I decided he should have the one with the Danish flag on it so he would never forget where he got it from.

As my "traditional Singaporean" gift, Ashley had gotten me this stunning wall scroll made of teeny weeny bamboo sticks. I feel so at peace when I look at it~

He also got me a pack of surgical masks - which was perfect because I had been sick the days leading up to him coming to visit.
Oh! He also brought a bunch of different ramen and this prawn chilli. I found it extremely disgusting! ...and the smell... pheeeew!
Playing games with my brother~
In the evening we watched Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi) since I had never watched it and Ashley insisted it was a must-watch-before-you-die. It was pretty good though! The drawing style was quite different from the animes I watch (I know that there is a difference between movies and animes but I hope you get the point), and I was about to die when the witch, Yubaba, "transformed" into a bird and flew around.
Look!!! Her nose is so big that even though she's not even in the frame, you can still see it! 

November 28th:
Friday I took him to the local supermarket so he could buy cream cheese with ham (he really took a liking to that stuff!) and on our way home he snapped this picture. I really like the colours in it~
Before we went out, he also took this, which I like too.
Afterwards, I showed him around our "mall" Esbjerg Storcenter (" " because it's nothing like a mall. It's tiny compared to the American malls).

At first we went to a store called Søstrene Grene of Denmark where Ash bought a little Danish flag. After that, we went over to Maria (she works in one of the shoe stores). It was pretty crowded so she didn't have much time to chat but she told us that she had just seen Santa(!!). Ashley had earlier told me that they also have people dressing up as Santa in Singapore but that never looks real because... Santa isn't asian. So being the little kid I am I insisted that we go say hi! I also wanted to make sure we could get a picture of him and Ash so he could show all of his friends what the "real" Santa looks like.
Ash seemed pretty awkward at first but loosened up when Santa told him how he'd gone to Hong Kong last year and actually spoke a little Chinese.
Of course I had to go and hug Santa first before I could get Ashley to do it...
But it's okay because WOOOOOH SANTA! 

After the mall, I dragged Ashley to Torvet, which is pretty much the place that connects the rest of downtown. We met up with my little brother and his friend and went to the Christmas market and saw a man making ice sculptures before splitting up again.
Each year, an artificial ice skating rink with a huge Christmas tree in one of the ends is put up in the middle of Torvet and around the beginning of Christmas, people gather to light it up.
On the chosen date, which happened to be that Friday, Santa comes to our harbor with the Christmas ship and will be picked up by people from our city. Then he and the Christmas orchestra will walk through downtown and ultimately end up at Torvet where Santa will entertain the young hearts.
After we have sung a couple of songs, Santa will ask the kids to scream in the direction of the tree in order to gather enough energy to "wake it up". 

 Ashley learned how to dance to these two songs (although I can't find a video of the actual first dance) and they even had us dance 강남스타일 (Gangnam style)! Talk about globalization! 
The tree was lit and and we went back home because Ashley was freezing. Poor Singaporean.. I admit it was a little chilly though. My face looks a bit purple in this picture that we took right after. 
Another selfie because we could. Ashley kept complaining about how the wind screwed up his hair. Well, welcome to Esbjerg - probably the most windy city in Denmark. 

November 29th:
Saturday we had a "photoshoot". Ashley had earlier seen the make-up I did for my Maleficent inspired look and back then I promised him that he could take pictures of it one day. I haven't done that look since back then so it took me a while to achieve it and while I was working on it, Ashley snuck around like some ninja photographer, catching my most glorious moments.

While I finished up, my dad and brother took Ash to our stadium, which is said to be the prettiest in Denmark (it was tiiiiiny compared to the one they have in Singapore though...)
My grandparents came over in the afternoon to have nachos (we don't eat it THAT often, okay?!)

 Oh those dear grandparents of mine <3
...and my mom

While fooling around with our cameras, we came across a problem: His racist camera makes me look like I could blend with the walls and my equally mean camera made his face look huuuuuge. 
In the evening I went to Julefrokost (an event around Christmas time where families, friends, or colleagues come together to eat traditional food) with The Ladies / Tea Club (=Mette (who wasn't there), Monika, Maria, and Karoline) and Ashley spent the evening chilling with my parents and editing the pictures we took.
This was the final result: (I'm pretty satisfied with it!)
Monika was the host and she had made some delicious food that I'm sure Ash would have loved. 

We played a game, typical for Julefrokoster, where everyone brings one or more presents and then we throw a dice to see who wins the most before the time is up. Somebody had bought a pack of fake moustaches and... that's pretty much how the rest of the night went on.

November 30th:
The last day he was here, Maria and I took him out for dinner at our favorite restaurant Asia Restaurant.
Maria got that brilliant idea that we bought him presents now that it was Christmas and since we wanted him to have something he could look at in the future and think back to this moment. I forgot what exactly we bought but I remember there were marshmallow Santas and a chocolate calendar.
He was really happy! But... apparently opening presents in front of people is rude in Singapore so we spent some good 5 minutes talking before Maria told him to open them in front of us - which is normal here so we can see peoples' reactions. Cultural difference right there~
Since Ash already had his camera ready, he snapped some really "attractive" eating pictures of us...
I don't know what my face was doing..
Maria looked pretty cute though! Ashley kept bugging her about how she used the chopsticks wrong and here is his proof!
Ha! Don't think you can snap a picture of me eating without me taking revenge!

After we got back home, Ashley packed and I helped him as much as I could. Let's be honest, I was pretty worthless. And after that we watched a movie called "おくりびと" (Departures). It was actually pretty interesting although I found it hard to understand sometimes because the Danish culture is VERY different from the Japanese when it comes to death.
Sleepy moustache faces wuhuu!~

The next day, we drove Ash to the train station early in the morning and thus his adventures in Denmark came to an end. It was so much fun showing him around our little city and he really seemed at home. 

A few days after he'd left, Ashley had put together this video with some of his best moments - it's worth a watch!
In Danish we have a word called "hygge", which, no matter how hard you try, cannot be translated into English. Cozy would be the word that comes closest but.. hygge is more of a nice feeling. Imagine sitting on the couch, covered by a blanket, watching one of your favorite movies with the ones you hold most dear while the candle lights are flickering - THAT is hygge. Or you could just watch this video because I think that's the closest somebody has ever been to describing it without using words. 
Also, if you'd like to see the video he made from clips from Iceland, click HERE.

So Ashley!
We all enjoyed having you here~ Come back whenever you like. Our home is open :)

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