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A Concordian abroad: ‘Ups and downs are just a part of life’

This week, undergrad Meagan Boisse loses her purse (again) but enjoys an internationally flavoured potluck birthday bash
June 3, 2016
By Meagan Boisse

Photo by Paul Downey (Flickr Creative Commons)

Naturally, most meaningful experiences in life are punctuated with their respective highs and lows. My exchange in Denmark has been no exception — especially these last two weeks.

This month marked the beginning of my 25th year of life. I’ve officially shed the title of “young adult” for “adult, adult” — sounds serious doesn’t it?

Quarter life crisis aside, spending a birthday away from home can be quite the bittersweet affair.

The truth is, as I sifted through some of the thoughtful messages sent to me from my closest friends and family at home, I couldn’t help but wish that I were with them as I celebrated this milestone in my life.  

That being said, I never felt alone. What I came to discover is that having a birthday abroad can also be a very inclusive experience, as the friends I made throughout the term eagerly rallied around me to make this birthday a memorable one.

My Canuck friends Jenna and Daniel, whom I met my first month in Denmark, kindly offered to host a get together in their common room. Their residence is located right in the centre of downtown Aarhus, making it a prime location for a birthday bash.

It was a potluck party and I enjoyed watching as the common room table gradually filled with a myriad of delicious dishes as diverse as my new friends — from Spanish omelette to homemade Hong Kong dumplings, there was something for every palette.

Afterwards we hit the town and danced till dawn. But alas, the good times were not to last.

Unfortunately, my birthday happened to fall smack in the middle of the busiest time of year at school. All month I’ve been working in a small group to put together a 15-minute documentary. With no budget and minimal time, it hasn’t been easy.

Tensions ran high after coming to school the following week to find the computer lab where my group had been tirelessly editing ransacked — rubbish on the ground and the computers nowhere to be seen.

While the backup hard drives did their job, my group still lost some of our edits, which translated into spending precious time redoing work we’d already completed.


The worst part was I accidently left my little brown purse (the one I lost and subsequently refound) in the room the very night it was ransacked. Now it’s gone again, and this time seemingly for good.

All week I’ve been grappling with my horrible luck; it’s hard to imagine that the one time I would forget my purse in the classroom (a room that is always locked and only used by my small TV class) would coincide with it being randomly looted.

Luckily, this time around I had my credit card in my coat pocket, but for the second time in less than a month I’ve had to replace my debit card. I also lost some important I.D., kroner and personal belongings.

All this happening during a stressful period did not help.

But now, things seem to be well in the world once again. As of today my documentary is done and my new card is in the mail. Bad moments are transient, and as I mentioned earlier, most meaningful life experiences include a few ups and downs, it’s just part of the ride.  

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