Procyon (procyonid) wrote,

Feeling the hygge in Copenhagen

This is the darkest time of the whole year: the sun rises around 9 AM and sets around 3:30 PM, and the Sun (on the rare clear day when it can be seen at all) barely clears the buildings on the horizon. Even so, this has been almost without a question the best and most positive couple of weeks since I moved here 18 months ago, thanks to a happy confluence of circumstances.

For one, it's Christmas season. The city center is bedecked in lights and ornaments, with little Christmas markets set up in the squares. But best of all, this means it's time for one of the most fun of all Danish traditions: the Julefrokost, or Christmas lunch. It's basically a variant of your office Christmas party, but with way, way more alcohol and games and silliness. It starts at 5 PM with mulled wine and cookies, followed by a 2-course catered dinner (+dessert), interspersed with audience-participation trivia games. Just about everybody is already hammered, and all sense of rank or status dissolves. After that is more drinking, and more drinking, before eventually turning into a dance party around 1 AM.

So that was fun, even if it was tamer than last year's party (at least according to those present - I was away last year, but apparently it featured a bunch of students and postdocs going into the Director's office to smoke a joint, and several people passed out on the floors of their offices all night.) I did have one huge regret: leaving Cami in the US after Midwest Furfest was clearly a huge calculation. I'd been looking for the right opportunity to get some fursuiting on at work for a while, and this event (or at least the post-midnight revelry part) was tailor-made for it. Oh well.

That's hardly been the only thing going on in the past couple weeks - the furry scene has also been active in a very positive way. Last weekend a local furry friend had a small furry get-together for her birthday out at her house outside the city, which was a nice casual evening and lot of fun. And the following weekend I had the chance to do something I'd been hoping for a long time - cook up some New Mexico-themed food for that same group of furs, after bringing home a bottle of green chile, some fiery salsa, and some other key ingredients here from NM last week. At some point in the evening somebody brought up Star Wars - so we all made plans to go see the movie later in the week as a group (it was good! Although not quite as memorable as most of the others.) And, I was also able to host a guest over at my apartment for the weekend - an animation student doing a year abroad over in western Denmark who'd been hoping to spend a few days in Copenhagen before returning home for the holidays. He's an otter, so of course we hit up the local aquarium to watch the sea otters frolicking :3

So that was all really great - and it stands in remarkable contrast to most of the rest of my time here, which has honestly been quite socially isolating, by and large. Sadly, of course, this comes only just as I'm getting ready to leave: tomorrow I go back to the US, and I will return here for only one week before the big move to the UK at the end of the January. This is regrettably a direct analogy to my time in Pasadena, where I spent one year in near-total isolation and two years with only sporadic friends before really feeling socially "at home" only in the last month or two. Come to think of it, my undergraduate years followed the same pattern (only at Berkeley was I really socially comfortable for my entire time there.) Maybe this isn't entirely a coincidence? It's something to think about for next time, after I hit the complete-social-reset button for the fifth time in my life.

In any case, I'm happy that I'll be leaving with at least a few good social bonds, especially since the next job won't be all *that* far away from here. Onward to the holidays!
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