Immediately after our exhaustingly long five hour plane ride, our class treated ourselves to some fresh, exotic Dunkin’ Donuts. As I watched my classmates sip on their foreign coffee, I knew in my heart that we were truly in “The Land of Fire and Ice.” After downing our caffeine, we hitched a ride via FlyBus from Keflavík to Reykjavík. The first thing I noticed was a little slice of home across the street from our hotel: Domino’s Pizza. My once frozen heart completely melted. I thought to myself, “Domino’s Pizza, comin’ in clutch.” The party didn’t stop there though. Walking through the streets of Reykjavík, there were multiple American themed restaurants and bars, fit to make any girl feel like a princess. One thing did alarm me though. As I ate the best (and only) lamb hot dog I have ever had, I thought to myself, “does Iceland do America better than America does America?”
Later that night, I had an alarmingly good burger from Hamborgarabúllan, and throughout the day I was seeing just American things. Just outside Reykjavík’s Lutheran Church Hallgrímskirkja, there was a large statue of Leif Eriksson overlooking the city. The statue was a gift from America, but surely, Iceland would not have accepted it if they could not give the statue a better home than we could ever provide.
For argument’s sake, I’ll outline of all of the ways Iceland could possibly be a better parent to Leif Eriksson than America would ever be.
- Iceland has an amazing international relations and marketing manager, Heiðdís Einarsdóttir. She is so wonderfully bubbly. One can only hope some of Einarsdóttir’s energy would rub off on our little Lief Eriksson. Our class had the privilege of meeting with Einarsdóttir at the Visit Reykjavík office in Reykjavík City Hall. She talked with us about what it’s like to plan festivals for Iceland’s capitol, and she answered any and all questions we might have about her job and the city of Reykjavík itself. Most importantly, Einarsdóttir also treated us to some more coffee. This was particularly appreciated as the high from the foreign ministry of Dunkin’ Donuts was painfully wearing off.
- They still have record stores so Iceland is old-fashioned with a traditional style of parenting. When our class visited the record store 12 Tonar, it featured both American and Icelandic artists. Under their guidance, Leif Eriksson would grow up in a multi-cultural household. The store even blends the two cultures at times. If I want a copy of The Wizard of Oz soundtrack sung in Iceland and recorded on vinyl, I know exactly where to get it. An American record store might feature foreign records, but it just wouldn’t be the same.
- Iceland’s pools are cleaner than American pools. When our class visited Sundhöll pool, we were actually expected to shower before entering the pool. Leif Eriksson might’ve practiced hygiene. Imagine that. Once we were in the pool, everyone wasn’t just sitting around either. Multiple Icelanders kept joining our group to swim laps around the pool. Lief Eriksson might actually exercise. Imagine that.
The list could go on and on. All in all, Iceland is already like a home away from home. Perhaps, even a better home away from home. This is all speculative of course, and I will spend the rest of the week trying to prove my point and drawing a well-researched conclusion. That being said, Iceland has officially begun to leave a lasting impact on me, and that’s not the pizza, hot dogs or burgers talking.