‘Post A Letter’ Brings Back The Forgotten Joy Of Writing Letters

Published on Jutland Station on Apr 4, 2017.

http://www.jutlandstation.dk/post-a-letter-aarhus/

‘Post A Letter’ brings back the forgotten joy of writing letters

If you are a snail-mail lover, you are not alone in Aarhus. Every first Monday of the month you can meet with a group of aficionados to send letters and postcards to your friends and family.

Have you ever written a letter to your loved ones?

Many years ago, it could be foolish to ask this question. Obvious even. Letters were the only medium of communication, so billions of them were sent and received all over the world. However, nowadays if you ask this question, many will say no, especially youngsters who are more familiar with and prefer communicating via SMS, e-mail and messaging apps.

The habit of writing letters seems to be fading more and more in modern life. It’s a pity because the charm of receiving a letter in the post is a good feeling. The expectancy, the surprise. Fortunately, Caroline Schouboe Deleuran and Olivia Boe Mortensen decided to relive the habit and put it into fashion again, here in Aarhus, with their monthly ‘Post A Letter’ pop-up event.

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Bringing old-school back into the game
‘Post A Letter’ (PAL) started in 2012 by a student on exchange in Aarhus. Today it is run by Deleuran and Mortensen, both 20-years-old. Close friends from their school days, they teamed up after falling in love with the event when writing their first letter back in 2014. They began supporting the previous organisers, but in January 2016 officially took over the position of main organisers.

“I just really love it. I love it so much, I wanted to keep it going, and I thought Olivia and I could do good things with this activity. And we think that we are doing quite well,” recalls Deleuran about her motivation when they took over the responsibility.

Caroline and Olivia, the girls behind the project.

PAL takes place every first Monday of the month at Café Smaglos in Aarhus. Anybody can stop by between 19:00 and 22:00, pick their paper and write letters or postcards to their loved ones. All stationery is sponsored by Post Nord, the joint postal service of Denmark and Sweden, and every participant receives three free stamps to send their letters to anywhere in the world.

Adding some creativity
Deleuran and Mortensen are in all the details. Days before the event, they go shopping to buy the stationery, including papers, pencils, glue and stickers, making creative envelopes from old magazines to save money and uphold a sustainable approach to the project.

When PAL is over the two collect, sort and count the letters. The addresses and stamps on each letter are carefully checked so that they don’t get lost before being taken to the postal service and sent on their way.

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The biggest PAL in Denmark
Though PAL Aarhus has its sister in Copenhagen, organised on the first Tuesday of every month, Deleuran considers Aarhus to be the biggest letter-writing event in Denmark. There are usually 50-100 participants per event, which means the number of mails and postcards she and Mortensen collect can be up to 300.

PAL is definitely  growing. When Deleuran joined the event three years ago, there were only 20-25 attendees. The atmosphere was more relaxed, and at that time she could write as many letters as she wanted. More and more people now attend, which means the girls are quite busy. In the beginning it was mostly Danes who attended, but now the nationalities are diverse.

Showing up early and reserving your seat is a good idea these days.

Keeping the joy alive
Mortensen expresses that organising PAL means she can help people use their time to do something meaningful for their loved ones. Deleuran also mentions how they can share the joy of writing letters to other people, which is why the duo keeps this going. But they are not alone: they receive plenty of good feedback from participants expressing their joy at having been a part of the event.

PAL was even made into a short film by some multimedia students. And the event produces some curious stories – one attendee wanted only to write a letter to the White House to express her anger to President Trump.

The concept of writing a letter is an amazing thing. When you sit down, think, get creative and use your hands to write what you think, it means much more than a simple text message. And it doesn’t have to be a long letter; it can simply be a small drawing, but when sent to your dearest ones, it can mean a lot. It is a way of connecting with people that seems to be forgotten very easily nowadays.

If you are still in love with snail-mails, why not give ‘Post A Letter’ a try at their next event?

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Một trận bóng

Women's Euro Final - 2017 Aug 6-1

Chủ nhật rồi, 6/8/2017 là ngày diễn ra trận chung kết Giải vô địch bóng đá nữ châu Âu 2017 (Women’s Euro 2017). So với bóng đá nam, bóng đá nữ trên thế giới nhìn chung không nhận được sự quan tâm nhiều, ngay cả ở châu Âu vốn nổi tiếng nam nữ bình đẳng cũng không có nhiều thông tin về giải so với các giải của nam. Ở Việt Nam thì giải này lại càng xa lạ hơn và hầu như không được quan tâm.

Tuy nhiên, trận chung kết tuần rồi lại có sự góp mặt của đội tuyển nữ Đan Mạch, đá với Hà Lan, nước chủ nhà. Thế là tôi lại có dịp đi xem bóng đá ngoài trời ở Aarhus.

Với dân số chỉ hơn 5 triệu người lại chưa bao giờ là một thế lực của bóng đá châu Âu, Đan Mạch từng gây bất ngờ khi đội tuyển bóng đá nam của họ lên ngôi đầu châu Âu vào năm 1992 với tư cách đội thay thế cho Nam Tư do chiến tranh mà bỏ cuộc. Cũng phải lâu lắm rồi bóng đá Đan Mạch mới lọt vào một trận chung kết châu Âu nên lần này người dân Đan Mạch hi vọng đội tuyển bóng đá nữ của họ có thể lặp lại thành tích 25 năm trước của những người đồng nghiệp nam.

Women's Euro Final - 2017 Aug 6-2

Không khí của ngày diễn ra trận chung kết thật sôi động. Chính quyền thành phố cho lắp hẳn một màn hình lớn ở quảng trường. Dù chỉ bóng đá nữ thôi mà cả quảng trường chật cứng, trở thành một ngày hội cuối tuần. Khi trậu đấu diễn ra, không khí không thật sôi động như xem bóng đá ở Việt Nam lắm, lâu lâu mọi người lại ồ lên hoặc suýt xoa khi có một pha bóng bị bỏ lỡ chứ không nghe thấy trống kèn tưng bừng như ở nhà. Tất cả mọi người đều chăm chú cổ vũ cho đội tuyển quốc gia.

Nhưng thật đáng tiếc, kết thúc trận đấu Đan Mạch đã thua Hà Lan 2-4, thế là về nhì. Như vậy là không thể xem cách người dân Đan Mạch ăn mừng như thế nào. Sau trận đấu mọi người đều lặng lẽ về nhà, trả lại Aarhus sự yên tĩnh ngày chủ nhật.

Mình chưa xem chung kết bóng đá nữ có đội tuyển Việt Nam ở nơi công cộng bao giờ. Nhưng hi vọng sẽ có đông đảo người cổ vũ như thế này, không thì bất công với họ lắm.

Women's Euro Final - 2017 Aug 6-6

The story game

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My Mundus Journalism 2016-2018 class had a farewell party yesterday. A small party with pizza, beer and wine delivered with a thoughtful lecture of Hans-Henrik Holm. It was a day full of warmness and love between classmates, since from now on, we will never have a class with 80+ people again, separating altogether into 4 different groups in 4 countries. A bit sad, a bit emotive but we still keep smiling till we say goodbye. Time flies, I’m still feeling the first day at school was just yesterday, or a day from last month.

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At the end, we played a game when every person had to answer a question from a list, telling the story or their perspective about life. My question was:

What do you want people to remember about you?

Well, I’ve never thought about it before. It was hard to think of an answer right away so I decided to give a funny but stupid answer, just for fun. Then on my way cycling home, I spent my time to find the right answer.

And I realize at this time, all I want to be remember is simple, not something heroic or greater than life. If I am asked with this question again, I will answer:

I just want to be remember as a guy who made the people he meets in his life happy, no matter how much he can.

Một nửa giấc ngủ trưa

Chú Nam, hồi vài tháng trước, trong một cuộc gọi điện về nhà của mình, bảo rằng 2 năm học rồi sẽ qua nhanh “như một giấc ngủ trưa”.

Nếu nghĩ như vậy, thì bây giờ mình đã đi được một nửa giấc ngủ trưa.

Tầm gần 3 tuần nữa thôi, thi xong môn cuối cùng là năm học đầu tiên chính thức kết thúc. Còn hôm kia là buổi học cuối cùng ở Aarhus này, môn MJR, vẫn ngủ gật trong giờ như mọi khi và bức hình của buổi học cuối cùng vẫn thiếu mình. Mọi thứ vẫn như cách đây 4 năm trước. Ngày hôm qua là kỉ niệm 4 năm ngày học cuối cùng ở IR, tấm hình đen trắng cắt ra từ clip, được FB nhắc lại. Một sự trùng hợp kì lạ. Cho một tháng 5 lúc nào cũng nhiều kỉ niệm.

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Chẳng ngờ được, 9 tháng đã qua, thấm thoát. Khi mình còn chưa cảm giác hoàn toàn biết hết về thành phố này, về những con người ở đây, về đất nước này thì lại sắp phải rời đi. Rồi lại phải bắt đầu cuộc sống mới ở một thành phố khác, ít nhất là trong gần 1 năm nữa.

Cảm giác không đầy đủ này, vì thời gian không đủ hay vì người ta đã phí bao nhiêu thời gian ở đây? Thay vì ra ngoài và khám phá lại ở nhà và gặm nhấm những ngày một mình?

And we say goodbye again, when the summer comes.

Pancakes on the run

Have you ever heard of the Pancake-Eating-Running-Festival? It may sound strange to citizens of Aarhus, but it did happen here last Tuesday at Studenterhus Aarhus.

The festival, which is widely popular in the Netherlands, was organised for the first time in Aarhus, and the whole of  Denmark. Britt Van Veggel, who brought the festival to Aarhus, was a familiar participant and organiser in similar events in the Netherlands. The Dutch student missed the atmosphere of pancake races when she was in her exchange semester here, so decided to organise the very-first Pancake-Eating-Running-Festival here in Aarhus, where pancakes are favoured by most Danes, and the environment of the city is widely open to new ideas.

What’s it all about?
A Pancake-Eating-Running-Festival is quite simple. Within 30 minutes, participating teams of three have to run around two floors, along a long hall with staircases on both sides to a table placed on each level. Each team has to organise who will eat and who will run.

When a runner reaches a table, someone in the team has to eat a pancake. Once his or her mouth is empty and checked by organisers, that participant (or someone else of the team) has to run to the other table. The team that finishes the most pancakes in 30 minutes is the winner.

Get your pancake done quickly
Eat those pancakes as quickly as you can!

Herculean preparation 
The event took Veggel one and a half months to prepare, from finding a place and looking for volunteers, to creating events on Facebook and buying the elements needed for the run. Due to some misunderstandings from the shipping agent, Veggel had to bike around Aarhus to buy the pancakes, not just 10, but 400 hundred for the race! Veggel recalls clearing the shelves of pancakes at all the stores she went to, once taking up to 80 pancakes. “I had to tell the cashier I was super hungry,” says Veggel.

However, Veggel did not organise everything by herself. She had support from another 10 volunteers, a sponsorship from iMentor Aarhus via Steffan Schmid, and an app for checking pancakes coded by her Dutch friend, Frank Van Hoof.

Pancakes to be served
The help of volunteers was essential

 

The players
There were 18 participants (or 6 teams) to join in the race. Most of them were Science and Technology students; some were internationals.

See some funny moments of the race below.

Run, pancake lovers, run 2
“I am getting that pancake!”
Open your mouth
“Did you finish? Open your mouth!”
Run, pancake lovers, run
Run Forest, run!
A fun race
The stairs were the hardest part

The winner was Team Olympic, finishing 47 pancakes in 30 minutes! This was the first Danish record and surprisingly also the world record in Veggel’s experience. This was a bit ahead of the last record that Veggel had seen, of only 39 pancakes!

Result of the race
Announcement of the winners

Team Olympic is made up of Rune Gadegaard, Frederik Hvilshoj and Kristoffer Madsen. Three best mates thought they might be a strong team, so participated to find out that this was their game. After finishing 47 pancakes in half an hour, though all were full, everybody was able to save some space in their stomach for beer (not pancakes, of course!). Frederik, who ate the most among three with 18 pancakes, already thought about their readiness for future pancake-eating-running races. But they may take more training to get to the next level: 50 pancakes!

Team Olympic, the winner
The winning team, ready for beers!

To Britt Van Veggel, this event was one of her last activities in Aarhus before she leaves in January. However, with her dedication, Veggel is always ready to come back and help organise future pancake-eating-running festivals.

Britt Von Veggel, the organizer
A big Hi-5 for Veggel for organising

The Pancake-Running-Festival was held at Studenterhus in Aarhus on December 13. Check out this Youtube video from an event in the Netherlands.

When stand-up comedians make their stand

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Every Sunday night in the heart of Aarhus, people hear laughs coming from a small cocktail bar named Alberts. That joyfulness is the result of English Stand-Up Comedy Aarhus, a community of stand-up comedians that started in March 2016, founded by Conrad Molden and Jacob Taarnhoj.

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Belly laughs on a Sunday evening

A diverse audience 
A normal show at Alberts lasts from 20:00 to 22:00. It’s not an one-man show, but is rather an open-mic night when the audience get to meet several comedians making their stand in 5-10 minute slots. Though most of the comedians are Danish or British, there are also other nationalities: Irish, American, Finnish, Belgian and even Chinese, despite stand-up comedy not having an identity in China. Nationality varies in the audience too – only 20-25% are Danish, while others are from the international community in Aarhus, mostly from other European countries.

Speaking with Jutland Station, Molden recalled when the show began. As two young men who love telling jokes and making people laugh, he and Taarnhoj teamed up with a few others to make the event happen. At first, it was small. But then, by word of mouth, the show started becoming more popular as more people got to know about it. Now, it’s official, and people can attend for high jinks every Sunday night. Or, if they dare, try their hand at some stand-up comedy themselves.

“Everyone can do stand-up,” enthused Molden. So if you are up for it, you are just a phone call or message away from giving it a go on Sunday.2016 Nov - Stand-Up Comedy-6

One of the brave ones who took on the challenge of cracking us up 

Is it easy to do stand-up comedy?
When a stand-up comedian speaks on stage, everything he says seems to be spontaneous. But in reality, everything is prepared beforehand. Comedians always think about what they will say, and practice before the show. Once on stage, they create the illusion of spontaneity. However, they are also flexible, and new jokes may enter their routine at any time, maybe due to something they didn’t expect, like the reactions of the audience.

Molden says his formula for being a good stand-up comedian is talent + work attitude. This means that good comedians must be persistent and put a lot of work in. Before the show, he writes down every idea that he thinks can make people laugh. Then practice makes perfect. After the show, he generally asks the audience for feedback.

“There are things you can not realise when you are on stage,” says Molden. Besides, a good comedian needs to “have fun with himself”, added Taarnhoj. “If you don’t have fun with your jokes, your audience won’t. So you have to feel the moment,” expressed Taarnhoj when describing what he thinks makes a good stand-up comedian. Hence, you definitely don’t need any ‘stand-up comedy degree’ from school!

Taarnhoj and Molden

Laughing at the same thing, no matter where
It’s hard to be sure what people think of the show. Though the audience keeps quiet at some jokes, Molden thinks they receive good feedback more often than not. To Molden and Taarnhoj, Aarhus is a great place for stand-up comedy due to its energetic atmosphere and the open-minded international community they have as an audience.

Said to be the first international stand-up comedian in Aarhus, Molden believes that a great thing about stand-up comedy is that it gets a lot of people from different countries to laugh at the same thing. In return, stand-up comedy brings him a little recognition when encountering his audience on the street, as well as some paid gigs performing for international communities in other places, like Odense and Copenhagen.

Molden and Taarnhoj told Jutland Station about their hopes for future. Both wish to have more internationals on stage, more helping hands, and more fame in the community so that they don’t have the need to create events on Facebook. And of course, more good shows.

After some good talks and laughs with these guys, Molden’s last words were: “You can even perform if you want, just let me know and we’ll practice.” Maybe someday I will…


Alberts Bar is located in Store Torv 3, Aarhus C. Try their amazing cocktails while you enjoy the English Stand-Up Comedy Show, which is held every Sunday from 20:00-22:00. Entrance is free. Visit the Facebook page for more details on the event, and drop them a message if you are up for the challenge of getting on stage!

Love in Aarhus

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Sometimes when I am wandering in the city, I often see couples passing me. I don’t know why but they seem to appear whenever I am out. This could be irony but anyway, I try to capture them, at their most happy moments. I feel happy with this.

Aarhus is a great city for couple. Despite the unpredictable weather, couples unhesitatingly go out to find their time being together, from a walk in the forest, holding hands on street to nights at cafes or just simply enjoying warm sunlight together on the swing in the kids’ playground.

Below is just a small collection, which I am trying to add more in the future.

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