Monday, June 16, 2014
How do you normally like to start your day? Coffee? Exercise? Maybe a bit of cereal? Me, I like to go climb a glacier.
Geared, bundled, and pumped up, all of us marched up a cavernous glacier face. Compared to the glacier experience I had in New Zealand three years ago, New Zealand was more of a leisurely walk around the glacier than our actual bracing-the-elements, I-could-be-Walter-Mitty, there-is-a-real-possibillity-I-might-perish glacier experience today. We also accomplished two very exciting things on the glacier. One: sat down and ate lunch on the glacier. I mean really.. who of you can say that you’ve done that? Two: meditation time on the glacier. The latter of the two consisted of finding a spot with an epic view and for 15 minutes and our only task was to absorb that we are in fact in Iceland and to reflect on what all we have learned about ourselves while on this trip.
If you don’t mind, I’d like to take you through a little of what was running through my mind during our 15 minutes of solitude. The first thing I did was close my eyes and consciously decide to shut off all my other senses as much as possible. Next, I tried to wrap my brain around the fact that I was sitting on a rock, in the middle of a glacial field, inside of Iceland, which sits in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, just outside of the Arctic Circle. By placing myself geographically in my head, I started to get a glimpse of not only how incredibly tiny and insignificant I seem as just a small part in the world but also how many inches of this world I still have to explore. As our time started to run out, I just let it sink in how many eventful things I have lined up for myself just for this summer. I began to really allow myself to realize the reality that I am actually going to the college of my dreams, College of Charleston, which is something not everyone can say. When I opened my eyes for the first time in those set minutes, I was able to look upon the magnificent landscape and contrast in the glacier with fresh eyes that, just a moment before, forgot they were in Iceland… That was a super cool feeling.
On our way back into our camp site, we passed a huge looking man playing the accordion for his two kids and wife. Of course everyone commented on the fact that he looked and sounded like a real life viking. Even more predictably, as Peter passed them, he invited the lovely Icelandic family to come eat dinner with us at our campsite. Not only did this modern-day viking accept our offer, he one-upped us by bringing his accordion and guitar to provide a bit of entertainment with our pasta. So this viking named Magnus (totally a viking name) along with his German wife, Anni, his six year old daughter, Mia, and four year old son, Richard, accompanied us in our community big tent as we started to become more acquainted. Magnus told stories and sang songs varying from one titled “Oliver”, about his friend who was always late, to more recognizable melodies like “Rasputin”. Even though the father seemed to be the one hogging the spotlight, his children stole our hearts and our attention. I’d like to say that all Icelandic kids I have met, I have more or less fallen in love with. All of their bright and intense colored eyes, the fair features from their Nordic roots, and their simple lifestyle and values make for magical children all around. Anni and Magnus’s kids were no exception to this. Mia, being the older one, was the first to warm up to us and later encouraged her brother to let us take their portraits in between running around our tents. I could eat them they were so cute!
Another friend we made tonight was a boy, about in his early 20’s, named Tom. We still have no idea how he became introduced to our group but he really just kept popping up. This guy started to talk to Bora first, which is going to his head because he thinks he’s a big shot for making a German hip friend with a blue beanie, and he proceeded to make friends with Cathy and started calling her Ms. Bottoms which was hilarious.
Once we said our good nights (more like good twilight actually), we started getting packed up to travel the next day. I had the great idea to conquer knifes and try widdling when Peter walked by. Instead of leaving me to my own devices, he kindly offered to show me how to make a whistle out of a thick twig. Though it didn’t exactly work out and was mostly in theory, for the second night in a row, I felt very earthy and adventuresome!
My clothes smell. I really hope we get to wash them soon...