Spending the holidays away from home for the first time in one's life can be difficult. Luckily for me--and no offense to my wonderful family--it was a sparkly, gay old time thanks to excellent friends and the small detail that I spent four days in Paris with aforementioned pals. Some lessons learned over the festive break, and subsequent lessons from the land of Jylland...
1. If you cannot be home in good old America for Christmas, pick a frivolously fabulous destination (preferably the City of Lights and Love and the Louvre), travel with equally fabulous friends, and ring in Christmas Day at a gay bar in Paris, where you receive an unexpected gift bag filled with cheap sunglasses, not one but two! Corona bottle openers, and a Madonna CD.
2. When in Paris, be careful not to answer the French-speaking waiter in Danish. This slip of the tongue will be nearly involuntary, but Charlie will helpfully point out that when ordering a glass of sangria, you did so by saying, "Også mig sangria." Which undoubtedly caused said waiter to scratch his head and wonder if he just heard Kling-on.
3. Make new friends in Paris, but more importantly brace yourself when dealing with your traveling companion's new stalker. If the stalker tells Charlie that "yesterday was not true," you should probably just agree and move on. Or try to.
4. While waiting in line to get into the Louvre, do not freak out when an abandoned backpack causes a security frenzy. Freak out when the female security guard does not know how to operate the bag scanner.
5. Back in Copenhagen on New Year's Eve, pat yourself on the back for bringing along nice flat shoes to change into as the evening wears on. This is an excellent move on your part, and one that should be heavily applauded.
6. On New Year's Day, ring in 2010 with brunch. If you can, arrange this to happen at James's apartment. There will be mouth-watering food, but also he will cook brunch while wearing a Royal Copenhagen apron and a red feathered boa--two huge bonuses.
7. If you have been crying more often than usual during the week between Christmas and New Year's, for any number of reasons, feel refreshed when you decide to stop moping around and begin 2010 in cheerier fashion than your glass-half-empty personality is used to. Enjoy your friends' company. It's a good thing. Not to get all Martha Stewart-ish on you or anything...
8. Prepare to leave for the frigid, dark corners of Denmark with great care. By this I mean wait until the night before to pack up three weeks' worth of necessities. Mentally deny that you are leaving your new(ish) apartment for close to a month. Don't think about it.
9. At Lufthavnen, while waiting to board the 30-minute flight of terror to Aalborg, feel free to be inappropriate and laugh at the food court sign that reads: Kok Pit. Go ahead. Take a picture.
10. In Aalborg, praise all that is good and thank Constantine for taking you to a wonderful used bookstore. Purchase seven or eight books: a previously unknown P.G. Wodehouse; several Agatha Christies; and throw in Sherlock Holmes and the old favorite Jane Eyre for good measure. Proceed to read like it is going out of style.
11. To celebrate a birthday or a promotion--or both--tentatively enter the dubiously named LA Bar. Have a grand old time with good friends. Puzzle over the music selection, which ranges from Hanson to Danish rap to Chubby Checker. Also puzzle over the people at the next table who appear to be stamping each other with old-fashioned library book stamps. You know, the ones that read things like "DUE BY" or "PROPERTY OF" etc etc.
12. When your friends start up a snowball/small iceberg fight, lurk behind. Photograph. Do not partake. It is cold, and your mittens are inexpensive. They cannot withstand such large amounts of frozen water.
13. On the bus ride to Århus, sing along to Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. For the rest of the day, you will find yourself humming, "With my freeeeze-ray, I will STOP!....the world." All the while with a wonderful image of Neil Patrick Harris in your head. Worse things have happened.
14. At the lovely Radisson hotel in Århus, enjoy a room service picnic with friends. Order all the desserts on the menu (all three of them; including creme brulee!) and eat on the floor of his Japanese-themed room while watching Memoirs of a Geisha. Feel like Eloise in the Plaza, minus the roller skates, nanny, turtle, and the Plaza.
15. Go shopping in Århus. Find a wonderful pair of pants that are on sale for an incredible amount of kroner. Purchase them. Instant momentary happiness.
16. Be sure to consume mildly obnoxious amounts of coffee whilst in Jylland. It is cold, and coffee is the perfect tonic with which to combat feelings of numbness and general chill.
17. If you fall asleep while watching Law & Order, remember to turn off the telly before drifting into dreamland. Otherwise you will wake up in the middle of the night to see a frightening woman onscreen, holding a syringe filled with blood between her teeth while seemingly extracting a person's soul from their body. And then you will have big problems falling back asleep.
18. If you must go outdoors, walk fast. It is NIPPY. Then come back inside, quick quick like a bunny, and feel fancy while taking a bath. That's right: You have a bathtub in your hotel.
19. Two friends may ask you how you think a large Audi fit into the hotel lobby. Measure the front of the car with your arms and compare it to the width of the lobby's double doors. Deduce that the car probably fit through those doors quite easily, assuming both doors were held open. When your friends express doubt, confirm the process with a hotel employee and feel victorious.
20. Keep your chin up. Tour is dark, cold, and unfamiliar. The schedule is light and at some points, you may feel as though you will go insane if you have any more free time. However stick with your friends. Try not to be too cranky in the mornings--though this is often a futile effort, on tour or not. Fill up on your newly purchased old books. Enjoy it for what it is, and if all else fails, get a glass of wine in the hotel lobby and chat about Rihanna and religion and ridiculous things with the aforementioned friends. It'll be good.