Skip to main content

The Iceland Report, Part One: Thank you, internet!

I'm back!  My trip was RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME ALL CAPS KIND OF FABULOUS!  Thus, it's going to take a few posts to cover just how great it all was.  But to start, I have some thanking to do.  In my last post I made a quiet, desperate plea for any potential connection with a local.  And I got one!  Granted, I met many fine people who were part of the tourism industry throughout my stay, but I was so pleased to have a conversation with someone who has a life outside hotels and tour buses (not that there's anything wrong with a life inside such things, and really, if you're going to work in tourism, what an incredible place to do so).  But man am I glad my friend Ryan was kind enough to drop me a line with an email for a friend he'd met long ago who happened to be from Reykjavík.  

This is one of those "this is how the internet can be so great" kind of stories.  See, I know Ryan from Princeton Theological Seminary.  Ryan is an amazing person with the most electric sense of humor and quick, huge smile that you might ever meet.  My memories of our mutual gaggle of friends entails much laughter over otherwise mundane things; riding the train into Manhattan, iron skillet meals at truck stop diners, and this coat we called The Beast.  

Kim, the owner of the Beast, with Ryan bedecked in Beast


Ryan with The Beast

Northeast Corridor line with Kim, Ryan and Heather
Ryan met Guðmundur through Trinity Lutheran while apparently we all simultaneously lived in Princeton, though it was another decade until I would meet Guðmundur.  Fast forward that decade and sadly I would have lost all contact with Ryan were it not for Facebook (and no, I don't love Facebook, but it has its distinct advantages for those of us who want to know how everyone they've ever known is doing, but don't want to pick up the phone.  One of my favorite features of Facebook is being able to see photos of my friends who've gone on to make a beautiful life for themselves. It makes me happy.)  

Anyway, Ryan was kind enough to send me Guðmundur's email, and Guðmundur was kind enough to meet me at Cafe Paris in Reykjavík city center for a cup of coffee and a hearty chat about what life was like there.  He taught me many things, including that the mayor of Reykjavík is a stand up comedian!  I already found the place charming, but this made it even more endearing.  He also tipped me off to some lovely places to eat, and a tour not to be missed (I was resistant because tours are so cheezy in the states.  Not the case in Iceland: they are so well done and allow you to see places you would never get to see if say, you were too nervous to rent a car in the middle of winter in Iceland because you never did learn how to drive on snow and ice when you lived in New Jersey a decade ago.  I'm so glad he talked me into it!  Pictures forthcoming in another post).  

Guðmundur in Cafe Paris which is not in Paris but is actually in Reykjavík


We had a delightful conversation about politics, the challenges of the economic situation in Iceland, and books.  It was a distinct highlight in an already mind-bogglingly cool trip.  

Thank you Ryan and Guðmundur!!

More to come soon, including more photos of the surreally beautiful landscape, like these:





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

For Mom, Twenty-One Years Later

I lost my mom twenty-one years ago today. She died from complications related to a long battle with chronic-progressive multiple sclerosis. I was a week away from turning twenty-one. Which means I have not had her as long as I did have her.
It used to make me unique among my friends, to have lost a parent at such a young age. But I’m no longer young and many friends have joined this depressing club. The dues are astronomical and no one prepares refreshments.
People, moms are important. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Whether you were once a child or are currently a mom. They are the sun, moon, and stars, even when they are completely obscured by darkness.
I wish she mattered less. She doesn’t. She matters more than almost anything: that first hit of love, that childhood sense of safety, that initial understanding of what it means to be a woman in the world: mom.



Memory is funny when it comes to dead people: I can remember her any way I want. Which means I can also mis-remem…

The Thankful List

I make a decent attempt at gratitude on the regular, but I love how this season makes me think about it specifically. Even in the midst of all the holiday hoopla and the days of generalized anxiety we currently live in, there are genuine reflections of thankfulness everywhere. Way more so than say Valentine's day prompting people to really reflect on their love for someone. I've been keeping a list in my notes app on my phone to record the things that are currently immense suppliers of joy in my life. Here's an incomplete list:

My dental hygienist.
This is not a product placement disguised as gratitude. This is my genuine, heartfelt gratitude for a woman I see every six months who I have complete trust in, and who makes an otherwise unpleasant experience as humane and awesome as possible. Yes, yes, my dentist is also great. Absolutely. But making a teeth cleaning a pleasant experience is a gift not many hygienists possess. It's a combo of demeanor, the exact right amou…

You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone

If you still haven’t found your sea legs in this new reality You are not alone
If you check your privilege while wondering how You are not alone
If your empathy is worn down by 3pm each day You are not alone
If you’re terrified by normalizing this but desire stabilization You are not alone
If you haven’t figured out how to talk to your family about this new reality You are not alone
If you want to post something flippant to social media and feel guilty about it not being political enough You are not alone
If you can’t figure out how to talk about this morning’s tragedy and by the time you do everyone else is raging about the next thing You are not alone
If you are often paralyzed and enraged by your own paralysis You are not alone
If you wish you could go back to the good old days of 2015 You are not alone
If you loathe being so lazy You are not alone <