2014.06.03 Party, party, party

I have a logistical problem. I need to be in two places at the same time.

Surely, you have been in that situation as well? The problem when more than one invitation to something special arrives for the same day?

That is just too bad, and fortunately it doesn't happen that often. The problem when living 9 timezones and $N,000 away is that the invitations don't even have to be on the same day. If they are on consecutive days or even two days apart it can be really hard to go to a graduation in the US and be on a plane the next day to be partying basically right off the plane two days later. At least parties in Europe in the evening are happening when jetlag is a help, not a hindrance.

It is not because I am such a big party animal, but keeping in touch with one's family when living in the same whereabouts has a totally different form than when you live far away. It is not just that you don't see people. It is that you mostly see people around your schedule.

With families, we normally see somebody when we have an event or when they have an event. And then we see them then our siblings have events, or when the uncle turns 70, or when somebody gets a baby, or when a cousin is getting married, and - heaven forbid - when somebody even remotely related has a funeral.

When you live far away you see people when you are in the country! And unless people are really close, jumping on a plane and take a week off from work and school is just not that doable.

And you see them because you are in the country, not because they have their special day or because a mutual family member or friend has a special day.

I have tried to go whenever possible. But in the middle of the school year it has meant going alone, leaving spouse and children in the US. It is just not the same.

That was the bad part.

The good part is that when we have a special event, we can decide how we want it celebrated.

If you are not Danish, you would have no clue what I am talking about. But if you are Danish and I say silver anniversary, you will know of the tradition of waking up the poor couple who will be much surprised by having their front door framed in flags, a crest, and usually a gate of greenery. The waking itself is done by a brass band - a 3-4 person band playing a host of traditional tunes of which the wedding waltz is one of them. Because unlike American couples, Danish couples don't have "our song" at their wedding; they all share the same music. (You can see the younger "head couple" perforning the standard tradition here.

As you can imagine, waltzing around in your PJ's with hair in disarray can be quite a sight.

The duly surprised couple is then supposed to have coffee and rolls ready for as many people as have decided to take Tuesday morning off to wreck havoc on the neighborhood. (I know from experience that a brass band "waking" the neighbors up at 7 a.m. when I arrived the previous day from the US equaled havoc.)

It can't be a big surprise that many couples decide to have a second honeymoon the week of their anniversary and spend said Tuesday far, far away.

The brave of heart - who actually celebrate their anniversary with a party for their friends and family - will have to enjoy one of the other Danish party specialties: Songs! A good party will have 2-3-n songs with lyrics by close friends or family members and a well known tune easy to sing. In these songs, the life of the couple will be described - mainly the parts where somebody made a fool of themselves or won glory and praise.

And we do this to kids as well when they have special days!

These are some of the odd traditions that we tend to forget when we don't go to parties with our fellow countrymen.

Little wonder that the Danes are the people suffering the least from gelotophobia - the fear of being laughed at. They have been trained their whole life to look ridiculous.

P.S. Happy anniversary, sis! Hope you are not too disappointed that I haven't sent a brass band. Oh, that is right. You are not home.