Good-byes are weird. I’ve always had a philosophy behind them, thinking that a “see you later” is much better. Good-byes have always been hard. I’ve gotten to know them pretty well throughout my life, and I attempt when I can to hold off on a good-bye as long as I can.
Iceland is hard to leave. Even though I had only traveled to a few states and one other country, I’ve never quite felt a connection like I did here. While the temperature was not as low as I was promised, I enjoyed every second of the cool wind filling the streets of Reykjavík. As it seemed, the more I discovered, the more I fell in love with the country.
In Iceland, I got to embark on some of the most magical adventures in the natural and cultural elements the country has to offer. I got to travel down the streets of Reykjavík, listening to phenomenal international bands. I got to explore waterfalls, geysirs and lagoons, I got to meet some of the most influential people that gave me insight and bettered my knowledge of the city. I fell in love with everything Iceland had to offer; its people, landmarks and artistic aesthetic are addicting.
Firstly, I’d like to thank a few people that helped make this week possible. The first goes to the amazing Althea Legaspi. Not only did she spend the week pushing us to our fullest potential, but she took us on adventures throughout Iceland, broadening our trip immensely. Secondly, I would love to thank Fjölnir Bragason of The Icelandic Tattoo Corporation, Gísli Sigurdsson of the University of Iceland, Mágnus Jensson, Benedikt Hjartarson of the University of Iceland and also Joshua Rood for making my stories in Iceland move smoothly with their interviews and insight. Another thank you to the lovely Icelandair Hotel for hosting our work sessions throughout the week. A special thank you to everyone at Columbia who made this happen and helped us in an amazing week.
The last full day to be spent in Iceland was not wasted. First, Tapas Barinn was the first excursion. Dish after dish was placed in front of me, ranging from lamb to whale to lobster and much more. The best food of the entire night had to be the kangaroo, which surprisingly tasted amazing. As each delicacy of Icelandic food was tasted, I reveled and once again, fell in love with Iceland all over again.
At the end of the day, it was time for the last adventure. We adventured with Special Tours onto a boat to see the Northern Lights. Boarding onto the boat, a few of us headed out to sea in hopes of seeing the Northern Lights. Luckily, we were able to see a bit of the green lights that hid behind full clouds. With a fantastic hot chocolate in hand, the view of Iceland unfolded around the boat. While the boat rocked back and forth, I got lost in the shore of Reykjavík that oddly looked a bit familiar. It was here my heart sank, remembering this was my last night looking the city in the face.
The adventure in Iceland wasn’t completely majestic. Throughout the trip, I was consistently reminded that I am as mortal as I feel. Iceland has treated me with kindness, aside from my clumsiness. Whether it was tripping the first day outside of a church, getting punched at an intense metal show at Gaukurinn or even walking into a street sign today, my ability to make my classmates laugh Three Stooges style was a good feeling.
Now, I’m packing. I wish I could stay in Iceland forever. Their beautiful culture and music begs me to stay, yet I know tomorrow is the time to go. As I look outside, I know I’ll miss Iceland immensely. So with that…
See you later, Iceland.