June 15 – Iceland!

(Note from Future Chelsea: I’m going to experiment here and try to consolidate the raft of vacation pictures into a few super-posts instead of a scattered basket of one at a time.)

Thanks to Michael’s epic super planning (and, incidentally, going to work all the time and making the monies), we got to fulfill a lifelong dream for my mom and take her to London for a week! The trip was not without its challenges, but even with the unexpected difficulties, it was such a privilege. So much fun, so many fascinating sights, and thanks to Instagram I won’t lose all my memories right away! We definitely plan to go back in a few years. I wonder how much time one would have to spend in London to feel like they had seen everything they wanted to…


As you might be able to tell, this is not London. We were supposed to have a three hour layover in Reykjavik, but our flight from MSP left two hours late. The flight attendants assured us they’d hold the connection for us, but despite the fact that we were off the plane before the connection even left the gate, by the time we got through passport control, our plane was long gone. Michael is awesome, though, and walked right up to the service desk and got us taken care of.

Perhaps because Icelandair’s parent company is responsible for most of the tourism industry in Iceland, they treated us unbelievably well while we were there. At a US airport, I would have felt lucky to get a room in an adjacent airport hotel for the night, and more likely expected a patch of the terminal floor for a nap and a coupon for a Subway sandwich. Instead, we got two very nice hotel rooms, multi-course meals at very nice restaurants, and the long bus ride from the airport into Reykjavik was paid for as well. My rough estimate puts the pile of vouchers around nine hundred dollars.
Regrettably, I was too busy staring at the landscape to get any pictures of our drive into the city. The surrounding countryside was beautiful in a very unearthly way. Dark black dirt and what seemed like only four types of plant – a short grass, a shorter grass, lichens, and purple lupines. Mountains in the distance. Craggy shore, tiny houses, crevasses and far-off steam plumes.
We got mom installed in her room, dropped off our bags, and went to look around the city. Four days before the solstice and it’s still pretty chilly. I was kind of freaked out from the change of plans (and probably from the fatigue), but I found yarn, one block from our hotel! Everything’s going to be fine.
From our hotel window. We’re right on the main street of downtown Reykjavik. Iceland wasn’t even on my short list of “places I’d like to travel someday,” but it definitely is now.
We had our complimentary three-course lunch at CenterHotel Thingholt’s Ísafold Restaurant and then went for a wander. Following the glinting green cube in the distance took us down to the Harpa Concert Hall, a giant convention center on Faxa Bay.
This wasn’t the plan but I’m not sorry it happened. Thanks to the friendly Scottish woman who offered to take our picture. (I’m actually impressed at how swollen my ankles got on the plane, so I feel the need to point it out here. Apologies. Go back to looking at the lovely mountains.)
We went back to the hotel for a nap and then back out again. Mom was too tired to do any exploring after our dinner at SKÝ Restaurant (I remember that the food was delicious, but honestly was hard-pressed to pay much attention – the view of the bay from the 8th floor was taking up the bulk of my brain.) (I do remember there was skyr with berries, at least.), so we took her back and did a little more exploring.
I love that we got this opportunity. Unfortunately, between the evening flight and the jet lag and the adrenaline, we did eventually have to give in and go back to the hotel. I wanted to look at this street art show, and visit the Hallgrímskirkja, but I was stumbling and slurring my words by the time we got back up to the main street. To be fair, everyone in the city seemed a tiny bit drunk from the unending daylight, but I am always weak in the face of sleep.
I think we settled for four hours of sleep. It never got dark, of course, but I slept like an angel. I remember being awakened by some guys singing in the street around 3 o’clock in the morning – based on the accent, they were Icelandic but singing an American song. I remember smiling as I turned over to go back to sleep, looking forward to telling Michael about it, but by the time the alarm went off I’d forgotten what the song was.
Farewell, unexpected hotel. You were a delightful surprise.
Waiting for our shuttle to the airport, looking at the bay and the few people actually out on the street at four o’clock in the morning. I suspect Icelanders don’t get a lot of sleep in the summer, but they’re relatively cheerful about it.
Delicious airport breakfast. I’ve since noticed a few different kinds of skyr (which is a kind of cheese, not the yogurt it disguises itself as) at Target, but nothing like as good as what we had while we were there. I shall not discuss here what turned into a very poor experience at Keflavik Airport – suffice it to say we made it out and onto our 22-hours late connection after a great and unexpected adventure.
random photo

Random Rant

I found this in my drafts folder, text from a comment I left on a friend’s blog a couple of years ago. Do you have free-floating hostility at the patriarchy today? Enjoy some spicy rage on behalf of someone else. No context required – if you’re a woman, you live in the context.

It’s YOUR body. Why on this Earth are we convinced that some random dickhead’s desire to do to it as he likes trumps our desire for him to stay the fuck away??

Asswipes like this guy know exactly how to slowly push back your boundaries, get you in situations where you second-guess yourself, blame yourself. It’s called “grooming,” getting you to do the hard work of convincing *yourself* he’s harmless, instead of having to do it himself. (Classic child-molester behavior, as well as that of generally handsy creeps everywhere.)

Don’t say “I’m sorry” when you tell him you don’t like to be touched. You have nothing to apologise for, and that just reinforces his (and maybe the dim others around) belief that you feel you’re being unreasonable. “I prefer not to be touched.” He can’t claim to be confused, he can’t act hurt that you’re being bitchy. You could even soften it with a “It’s a cultural thing,” if you feel the need. But it’s not. It’s a “human beings have a right to say what happens to their bodies, and, NEWS FLASH, DILHOLE, WOMEN ARE HUMAN BEINGS” thing.

If you feel up to it, you’d be doing womankind a service if you went back to AB and told him the “you attract trouble” comment wasn’t helpful, though he was probably just trying to fill in words in an awkward conversation. You guys are friendly, and hearing this from a friend might make a difference with other women he works with (not to mention other men he works with). He said “Well, this isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened to you.” What he obviously doesn’t understand is that this isn’t the first time it has happened to EVERY WOMAN, EVERYWHERE. He doesn’t hear about it because we are socialized and shamed into telling ourselves it’s no big deal, we’re overreacting, we must be doing something to encourage it. SILENCE = DEATH.

Fuckwad has done this before, likely worse, and he’ll do it again. Because he knows he can get away with it; he knows that 90% of the time, his victims will punish themselves. Things might be more relaxed in Western countries, but dudes don’t touch ladies who they aren’t close friends with, outside of handshakes and (in certain situations) goodbye hugs. Watch; in movies and tv, inappropriate-shoulder-rubbing is a standard “This Guy Is A Creep” flag.

And Western dudes aren’t (always) morons; they know that other countries are more conservative, and keep their hands to themselves, if they aren’t deliberately victimizing. In some douchey circles, there is a stereotype of Eastern women being meek and pliant, and they’ll take advantage of this, counting on the likelihood of your keeping quiet about it.

It’s hard to be in the vanguard of women who start pushing back against this bullshit. It was hard for our mothers and grandmothers who had to yell “No, we aren’t sluts if we want to wear pants. No, we aren’t unwomanly if we want to work outside the home. No, we aren’t crazy if we want to motherfucking vote.” They fought to get out into the world, now it’s our turn to fight to make that world safer for us.


One Moment Please…

I’ve been meaning to update the theme here for ages. This time I’m trying to do it myself (to impress my code monkey) but it’s slow going. The header menu is painfully out of date and I’m going to hide it just as soon as I find the right chunk of code…

Edit: Bwahahahaha

Edit #2: Yesssssssss I figured out how to add a search box, I am great at this!


June 14, 2016 at 06:13PM

For future reference a big round bucket bag isn’t the worst option for a carry on bag, but next time I’m definitely splurging on something with wheels. Standing in line at Passport Control for two hours was a bit rough on the spine.

June 13, 2016 at 03:06PM

Mom wasn’t much interested in meeting my friends, but we did connect with a few of them. Retail therapy (and being proactive about protecting my phone in London) is helping distract me from The Feelings.

June 12, 2016 at 10:31PM

Of course we went to the library. I was looking forward to showing her around the cities, places we do stuff, maybe some museums, Minnehaha Falls…she’s not really interested, though. It’s a bummer, but I’m aggressively keeping my cool.

June 10, 2016 at 10:49PM

Mom arrives for her visit tomorrow, the guest room is all ready for her. It was Michael’s idea to take her to London – I’m so nervous!