Core Course Week has finally come to an end and I am so happy it is over. The core-course week itself is actually pretty cool. All “traditional” classes were canceled and I traveled to Denmark and Sweden with my core course class studying identity in relation to the migrant and refugee crisis.
Unfortunately, this week life decided to kick me in the face — figuratively and literally– but I have survived and I am here to tell the tale.
It all started Monday on 9/11. Coming from a military family I understand first-hand the importance of 9/11 as one of the most devastating attacks on our Nation. This year I spent the day in a mosque learning from – and surrounded by – those who actively practice the Islamic faith. We talked about the hysteria and the growing racism not only in Europe but also in the United States that plaques Muslims. We focused mainly on the Denmark beliefs towards the burka, hijab, and assimilation of refugees. I found almost everything they said applicable to the United States. I walked away with a better understanding of the difference between Culture and Religion something that Western countries (and I) usually clump together. Tuesday was spent in Denmark touring the National Museum and Parliament as we discussed national identity.
As I have mentioned before our host brother Frederick has autism and attends a school focused on horse therapy. On Wednesday Sarah and I decided to visit the school. We were given a tour of the stables and even got to see Frederick’s riding lesson. As we were about to leave the sky turned black and it started to storm. Sarah and I were asked to help bring some of the horses to shelter from the pasture before the storm got any worse.
During the chaos of trying to lead horses into the stables, the pouring rain, and many tense individuals I was kicked in the face by a horse. YES, you read that correctly. I was kicked in the face by a fully grown horse. I wish I had more detail than that, but I blacked out and woke up in the arms of the owner of the farm. Thankfully, the kick landed on the lower left side of my jaw so somehow it missed my teeth, nose, and temple. Because of the free health care system in Denmark, I had to make an emergency room appointment and I was not seen until 6:15pm that day. After waiting several hours at home I spent another 4hrs in the Køge ER. Let me describe that experience for you — there was blood, dried and wet, on the floor and walls, the nurses wore flip-flops, and I saw a doctor for maybe 15 minutes. At the Køge ER, only my jaw was examined and x-rayed were it was determined that there were broken bones and only shifted bite, but that since they weren’t dental experts they could not do anything.
I do need to give a shoutout to Sarah because she was my saving grace. She was the one who took control of the situation from the start. The one who cleaned my wound and sat me down, who made sure I rested, who stayed up with me, and had food ready when I got home from the ER even tho we had to wake up at 5am the next day. You don’t really know how blessed you are with the people who surround you until you need them the most. I would not have made it through the day without her.
Thursday morning at 8 am my core course class and I headed to Malmö, Sweden from the CPH central station. This section of our tour focused on the communication aspects of identity. We talked with local reports and heads of political parties. After a foggy day and a restless night, the DIS Intern, Allison –who accompanied us on the study trip she’s 23 just graduated and super cool –and I spent the majority of Friday in the Lund ER (TBH the experience was 110% better Swedish hospitals SO efficient). Within 45 minutes I was admitted to the hospital where I had a full work up. My head was finally examined and I was diagnosed with a concussion.
My whole class and professor have been great. They have been understanding of my needs, and have let me participate and step out whenever I needed to. We ended the week in Kallaberg where we hiked Nimis in Ladonia. It’s this 9 story illegally built driftwood labyrinth made by some 90’s crazy artist– there is some cool story about how Ladonia is technically a micronation within Sweden that the government does not recognize, yet has 16k inhabitants. But, paying attention for long periods of time is pretty challenging right now.
I promise there is a silver lining in all of this, because of the trauma my amazing mother has dropped everything and made the trip over to Copenhagen. The doctor wants me to lay low for at least a week (so no classes or long periods of stimulation) and to wait even longer to resume physical activity. My mom says she is here to help me recover…but her birthday is on Tuesday and she arrived with her best friend Nancy. LOL
I’m kidding. I’m so happy to have both of them here. I promise all is well!