This is the story of my 6 months of studying in Arizona in 2010 and subsequent travels in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Enjoy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rent-a-car - go to Bisbee!

I must admit that I didn't sleep too well the night before I was picking up the rental car! However, after picking it up Saturday morning, it only took me a few minutes to feel completely comfortable behind the wheel, and it felt great to drive again!

Since the rental car office was closed on Sunday, I got the car Saturday. I went shopping with two friends in what turned out to be a sad outlet mall 1 hour drive away - not really worth it, besides the driving of course. Hehe. I like driving. ;)

Sunday was the big day, going 100 miles / 160 km south to an old mining town, called Bisbee. The car was full, as Aizhan, Ji-Young, Meltem, and Nik decided to join. On the way we stopped in Tombstone, an old western style town, and it turned out that we showed up at just the right time: Helldorado was up, a festival finishing off with a big parade starting 30 mins after we arrived. So we had sometime checking out the old part of time, and then watched the parade. Lots of pics in Facebook, and there will be a movie coming sometime as well.

Afterwards we drove down to Bisbee, a wonderful drive over the untouched desert/mountain landscape. Roadkills and exploded tires decorated to streets... Walking around for a bit in Bisbee before we took the mine trip at 2 PM. Equipped with loads of clothes (it was around 5-10 degrees celcius in the mine), yellow raincoats, hard hats, and a heavy lamp each, we got on a little train which took us under ground to see the old mining shafts and caves. Very nice experience!

Afterwards we drove back to Tucson, and had dinner in a Chinese restaurant.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Getting the best of US - Upside down.

I just had a long Skype call with Salmaan, one of my trainer-role-models and friends. He once again reminded me of something extremely important, which I am so thankful for.

The fact that I am away from my regular, hectic life in Europe gives me a unique opportunity to take a deep breath and lean back.

The pressure of "getting the best out of my stay" is not just about experiencing as much as possible, seeing everything there is to see, and having a lot of fun all the time. I have previously described the fact that my stay here somewhat feels like a holiday, but I was missing one important aspect. That holidays are not just about getting as many things done as possible, but also about relaxing, and taking a break from the performance stress that one face at home.

At least thats what I feel like I need to do at the moment. I need to stop feeling restless, and enjoy that my pace here is a little slower than at home. I should stop worrying about not being productive. I need to lean back, and enjoy the time I have away from Europe.

No offense Europe. I miss you. ;)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Im cuuuurious who makes their way to my blog. So PLEASE drop me a comment 
so I can see who my readers are.

You can use the comment box just below each post, just press the "comments" button.


No excuse. Im just lazy.


I just realised that its not because "not-much" is going on that I don't write in my blog more often. Its basically because I'm a little lazy, PLUS the fact that the time is just passing unbelievably fast. But now I'm ready with an update.

So last time I left you hanging with my feeling of despair half way through my stay in US. Now I have an array of activities to tell you about. :) Wednesday 6th I went on a bike ride with my International Friend-friend Susan, who showed me a lot of murals around the city. We went to her house, which has a great view of the valley and surrounding mountains. I also got to see another house in the neighborhood from the inside, so now I have expanded my impression on what Tucson houses look like from the inside! :)
Susan in front of a decorative pillar.

Thursday I went to a Southern-style restaurant which specialises in ... wait for it... Friend chicken served on waffles. Bizarre, yes, and not really my taste, but certainly an interesting experience! :D

Friday night I went to a pot luck (dansk: samskudsgilde) in the dorm. It was a guy Hillary once met who invited, and his flat was full of people, some of whom I already know. There was A LOT of food, so we really enjoyed ourselves, also because of the good company of course!

Saturday I mainly spent studying (yes, I know you are wondering if I ever do that, and truth is that its not what I do most - but it happens... ;)), and then I dragged Chris downtown to the Tucson Meet-yourself fair. Basically it is all the local associations representing other cultures who get together and serve food from their respective backgrounds. We got a Turkish kebab and pancake with cheese, Polish cabbage and potato pancakes, Chinese dumplings, and Danish ÆBLESKIVER! Of course... :D

Sunday was birthday party at the Sanford's as my "American dad", Gary, turned 60. I was there early to help preparing the food and decorating the living room. Met a lot of people "from church" and sat outside on the deck for a while enjoying the sun after a GOOD meal, including, of course, birthday cake. And very nice company, as so often before ending in the kitchen discussing culture - in this case language.

Monday was my midterm-day (only had one for some reason), and it went really well. It was Health Sciences Research Methods, and I got a 92 out of 100. WOHOO! Later that day I went with Hillary to a play in on of the UA theaters. We saw Dracula, which turned out to be a great production, where they really captured the fear that would be present in case vampires showed up... Really good experience, and not too expensive - we paid 20$ each.

(Again, a little break in days - then just assume that I have been studying... :D )

Thursday Chris invited Hillary, Jesus, and me over for dinner, in the dinner series I started by inviting them over for Hakkebøffer. :) Chris made rib eye steaks with macaroni and cheese, and it was GREAT! Now I cant decide which steak was better - the grilled one I got at the Sanford's or the one Chris cooked. Anyway, they were both great! We enjoyed some "Cheap red wine", Hillary left, I brought Sagan over, and then we went out to 4th Avenue with Jesus...

Stay tuned for a report on the rental-car adventures I was on this weekend! :) 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Half way through!

Did you all see my Game day video? If not, use the link in the menu, under "My movies". --->

Just a quick remark. In 5 days I have been in Tucson for 2 months. That means that I am half way through my studies here... Time passes so fast as always! Im just really happy that I will have some time afterwards to travel around a bit, and digest all the things that happened here, before I go back to continue my studies in Copenhagen.

I can assure you that I am doing all I can to enjoy it while Im here, as everyone encourages me to! Having so much to read is kinda holding me back, as can be expected, as in the end I am here to study... ;) But I still manage to have an incredible amount of fun. The people I have met here are amazing, nothing less... It will be hard to leave everything I have build here, even if I have just been here for a few months.

Anyway... Still 2 months to go. :)

Did anyone say monsoon?! Time for some course reflection (Warning: Boring)

6.30 PM, just finished my Tuesday class, wanna go home... And what happens? The sky opens up and decides to poor tons of water over the desert. The whole area is almost continually lit by lightning. Way to go, monsoon season... Aaaaanyway, then its good with Internet and a free moment of time, though I should of course be home studying. Instead I have time for some blogging.

Trying think back what I have been doing for the last week, but honestly it hasn't been very exciting, adventure wise. Tuesday night I brought together 14 people for dinner and the improv show, where Hillary is now a firm and very funny part. Dinner was in a restaurant, since unfortunately there is no way I can have more than like 4 people for dinner at my home. Thats one thing I miss from Copenhagen!

The same day I learned that I had failed some homework, but I misunderstood in which class. I have the same professor in both. So I wasn't concerned until Thursday when I figured out that it was the statistics class - hence the boring week, 'cause I've been studying statistics all weekend. Sigh... But! Now I feel like I get it much better, which is great, as we have a midterm next week! I might not like to deal with the theory, but I must admit that this class will be really useful. Its Health Sciences Research Methods, and it focuses on how to recognize and create good research projects. Honestly without it I wouldn't even realize how many things I would do wrong in my thesis and beyond. :)

My other challenging class is Public Health Policy and Management. Its hard because I dont have a background in public Health, and even more because the American health care system is INCREDIBLY complex. And nothing like the Danish. I actually wanted to drop the class, but somewhat had to stay, and went to talk with the professor because I felt demotivated. Together we managed to get me back on track, with the fact that with this knowledge, I will be a big asset to any global organization later on in my career. And I have to admit that the professor's telling me that I am also an asset to the class definitely gave me a positive push as well! Afterwards the class has been a bit more fun; he is often asking to Danish aspects of the issues, and I enjoy hearing some remarkably tense political discussions in class. Last time one of my team mates refused to show up, because our team would represent a viewpoint that he strongly disagreed with... So yeah, an interesting way of studying American culture, and after all thats what im here for!

Strategic Planning on the other hand is a course that I have the perfect background for. With all the work I have done in EPSA and IFISO it is basically an option for me to get the theory behind all my practice. Open Space Technology, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, facilitation... All methods, which in class are linked to Strategic Planning, and all theories I know from practice! Its great! Maybe a little too easy and sometimes too slow for me, but with those other courses I do need a little break sometimes. :)

My last course in Quality Improvement, which focuses on how to reduce the number of errors that happen in pharmacies. This gives me some opportunity to compare the Danish and American systems, and learn more about how we can improve in Denmark. I like this course, as it brings some awareness about how to tackle various issues, and kinda puts the policy-theory from the other course into practice.

These considerations have led me to think a little bit more about where I might be going with all this. I like the Strategic Planning course the most. Not because it is easy, but for the way of thinking, the way of solving issues, and facilitating other people's thinking and learning. I think thats worth paying attention to with regards to my future steps! Like I have mentioned before, I think I am on my way into some professional development, where I can evaluate the role the pharmacists have today, and help develop the systems into something safer, more efficient, and probably also cheaper. That fits well with another personal desire I have - challenging my environments, asking why things are like they are, and try to improve. People say that I ask too many questions... Maybe that will be a strength in a role like that. :) Also great is the network I already have around Europe, with pharmacists as well as several other professions and areas. I am pretty sure that will be an asset.... Not just "as some point", which I was just about to write, but at all times from now on. :) The support and insights are invaluable!

Actually reflecting like this really motivates me for getting on with it all soon! What I can do for now is finishing off the courses here (can you believe im half way through already??), keep my provisional goal in mind, and move towards it whenever possible. Future, here I come! :)