I got a package from Denmark! It’s incredible how actual physical mail can get me so excited, but in today’s digital world it it’s actually a quite rare and special occasion. The package was from my wonderful Mom and the occasion was the Danish celebration of “Fastelavn” (Not that she needs an occasion to send me awesome presents, yay!). The Fastelavn carnival is a traditional celebration in the earth’s northern hemisphere that takes place between winter and spring about 50 days before Easter. The traditions of Fastelavn consist of hitting a hanging barrel with bat until it breaks and candy falls out of it that all the kids then grab. A very (very!) long time ago it was a widespread popular belief that a town could escape the plague, if a black cat was killed at Fastelavn, so they put a real live cat in the barrel! But that was ages ago. Today the black cat has become the symbol of Fastelavn. Cardboard cats are also placed on the traditional “Fastelavn birch rod” that kids use to wake up their parents on the morning of Fastelavn. The rod is covered with candy and colourful decorations. It was a version of the birch rod that I got in my package. The best part of the present was the salty licorice – God I’ve missed that! It’s absolutely impossible to get a hold of here in the US. But salty licorice is actually one of the only Danish things I’ve really been missing while staying here (besides my family and friends obviously! I miss them so much…). I’ve travelling for a long period before where I actually experienced that feeling of longing for something familiar when everything around you is new and exciting (it’s weird, but true). But not here. Maybe it’s because I’m living with 5 Danish friends from home. That definitely makes everything feel more familiar and secure. And maybe it’s the amount of friendly Danish students also living here that we have become really good friends with. According to the Facebook group Danes in San Diego Spring 2012 there are 44 of us living here this semester. Of these 44 I actually know 26. In my opinion that’s quite a lot of Danes! As I mentioned in a previous blog it kinda feels like “Little Denmark” around here. We’re going the classes with Danish people. We’re going to private parties with Danish people. We’re going to clubs and bars with Danish people. We’re playing volleyball and surfing with Danish people. We’re pretty much hanging out with Danish people all the time! Now, don’t get me wrong, I love all these wonderful people. It makes me feel like I’m a part of something. It really gives you that awesome feeling of community. I think the video below describes that feeling pretty well (except for the weed part of course… it’s a great song, enjoy!). But I still haven’t had that feeling of having a genuine and authentic local experience. But very much looking forward to feeling like a true Cali girl!