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If this afternoon was a casual time to bond with Villum then tonight was the same with my host parents.  I got a bit of work done after playing with Villum, and after dinner, so by the time Game Night was to begin I had finished drafting my essay for the DIS Intercultural Leadership Award  and felt decently productive.  Haha, it wasn’t much but at least I can say I did something!

Anyways, we sat down to play Settlers of Catan, an interesting strategy/resource/trading board game I had never heard of.  I won’t go into detail, as it would be complicated to explain, but the basic concept is each player tries to build up their settlement by collecting resources and using them to expand the settlement.  But other players operate on the same board so spacial strategy and planning play a key role.  It’s also possible to form informal alliances, but these only last so long as they are mutually beneficial.  In the end it is about screwing your opponent and taking everything for yourself.  Hmph, sounds a lot like Wall Street.

Game night was a lot of fun and it reminded me so perfectly of home.  There was the initial setup where it looked Trine had a poor position, and of course Andreas played soft on her so as not to ruin her chances entirely.  Of course this is often not the case at home, but sometimes we pretend we like each other and act quite selflessly.  Competition quickly heated up, and soon all semblance of empathy was lost.  It was all about squirming your way past the others.  Sheep resources were plentiful, and cries of “Shit, not more sheep!” rang out constantly.  Of course, as it would be, Andreas’ soft streak in the beginning came back to bite him in the ass, and Trine won the game with a combination of resource hoarding and slick card play.  Sadly, her final two of the ten necessary points came from being awarded a special card for having the longest road.  It sucks because I could easily have built the longest road many turns before, well out of the reach of Trine, but I was biding my time as to wait until exposing hidden card and monopolizing the roadway would leave them completely helpless to stop me.  Guess that is what happens when you wait too long!

It never ceases to amaze me just how similar our cultures can be despite their many differences.  The socio-economic structures are about as different as you can get while still remaining in the developed world. Still, at our core we all revel in the same basic human feelings of love, humor, and closeness that develop in the friendly competition of a good board game.  Thanksgiving was much the same way: although Thanksgiving is obviously not celebrated here their Christmas Lunch tradition so perfectly mirrors our own tradition that I almost felt that I had three Thanksgivings this year!

Anyways, I need to get to bed now.  I wish I had some photos but these things just happen and you don’t stop to think about capturing them on film.  It’s okay though, because no one will ever cherish those images more than the three of us tonight, and we all will lock them in our hearts forever.  ❤

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