Tag Archives: church

January 28th

Monday, January 28th: Our bags came. Yay! Now Curtis finally gets to wear shoes!

I suppose before going any farther I should make a few observations, or rather, state some trivia. 129 ISK (Icelandic Krona) is worth 1 USD, so 1000 ISK is just under $8, and 1.300 is about $10 (decimals are commas and commas are decimals, which I guess wouldn’t make them decimals, but kilomals or something. And I supposed commas would just be comicals. *slapping the knee*) Names beginning with the letter “C” are not recognized by the Elvish government, and are technically ‘illegal names’ because the letter “C” isn’t in the Elvish alphabet. If I was an Elf I would have to change my name to Kurtis. It kind of makes sense. The letter “c” kan always be replaste by an /s/, a /k/, or another gnu letter that makes the /ch/ sound… which phonetikally is really just the /sh/ sound with a quik /t/ in front of it. “Tshoo-tshoo goes the tshrain.”

The Elvish phonebook lists people by their first names. The sun rises in the SE, gets up to about two hands, and sets in the SW. And that’s plenty for now.

We broke fast with granola that you could put yoghurt, strawberry goop, apple goop, or figgy goop on, bread, cheese, hard boiled eggs, and ham; all cold. Knowing me, I made an Egg McGhetto and put the ham, egg, and cheese on the bread and consumed it suchly. The winds whipped white caps up from the bay, but the sun rose and calmed the weather a bit and we ventured by foot into Reykjavik.

The language is strange, and if you weren’t paying attention, sounds a lot like Dutch with some Russian sprinkled in. I thought about learning some, but gave up quickly after seeing the words “viðbjóðslegur” and “sérstærðarfarangur.” We walked towards Hallgrímskirkja, which is the big landmark in Reykjavik. It’s a church named after some guy named Hallgríms or something. I’ve seen quite a few cathedrals and churches now, and the one thing that set this apart, besides its modern appearance on the outside, was how plain it was on the inside. It was tall and vast and grand as could be, but they weren’t trying to show off, which was refreshing. The outside of the church paid tribute to the landscape by mimicking lava columns, where lava cools in hex/pentagon pillars (Devil’s Tower in Wyoming has the same columns), and the inside, at least in my opinion, paid tribute to the personality of the elves; open, welcoming, and down to earth.

Outside we tried to take a statue of the picture of Leif Eriksson, but a film crew whistled and yelled and told us to get out of the way. Spoiler alert: if you watch Top Gear, they’ll have an episode involving Iceland and three huge old all-terrain trucks.

We headed down good ol’ Skólavör¬ðustígur street down to a popular flea market, but apparently it’s only open on weekends. The wind was making my face cold so I got a souvenir scarf to wrap my head area in. We sought out the ‘famous hotdog stand,’ which was just a plain hotdog with some unknown Elvish sauce on it. Their claim to fame is that Bill Clinton ate a hotdog there once. It was good, but quite honestly Costco hotdogs are way better. The shops had really cool fur things though. If I had money to just burn and throw away, I’d use that money to buy furry Elf slippers. But after all – ‘what do I know about wearing the fur fox?’

We hopped a bus over to the other side of town (2 miles away—honestly, Bellevue’s bigger than Reykjavik) and walked on the icy paths to the local zoo. The sign said “HÚSDÝRAGARÐUR-FJÖLSKLDUGARÐUR.” Mumsy joked and said it translates to “zoo.” I laughed. However silly, she might be right. All the words and names for stuff are hellishly long around here. She said it’s an island, like Hawaii, where they have long names that sound cool because they have lots of time to talk. And they’re on ‘island time,’ like the sun, and get up late and go to bed early.

I suppose Iceland and Hawaii do have a bit in common. Both are islands formed by “hotspots” in the earth’s crust, where the earth essentially leaks lava from one spot, and new islands start popping up as the tectonic plates move. That’s why Hawaii is a trail of islands, and that’s why a new island formed off the coast of Iceland in 2010 or whenever that happened. I don’t know how Hawaii was discovered, but Iceland was discovered twice by two separate Vikings who accidentally drifted into it. the third guy went there on purpose and called it “snowland,” but left. The fourth guy went there to settle, and called it “Iceland” because he saw ice floating near the land… true story. Vikings weren’t known throughout history for being creative; they just went around claiming things.

We walked back to our room via good ol’ Kringlumýrarbraut street and took a brief nap before trying some exquisite Elvish cuisine. Cab fair is a bit pricey because gas is 2,58 ISK/liter, and if you’re keeping track at home, that’s roughly $7.68/gallon. The restaurant was called “3 Fakkar,” which I thought meant “3 friars” because the print ad had 3 friars on it, but when we walked in the menus had pictures of 3 guys in trench coats and seemed to use the character Rick from Casablanca as their mascot; so I didn’t know what to think. On the walls they had trophies of just about everything on the menu except for whale. That would be ridiculous. Some of the options of animals to eat were cod, halibutt (<–heehee. I said butt), salmon, shark, “wild seabirds,” puffin, whale, reindeer, lamb, and horse. So basically just about everything at the zoo was on the menu–Oh! I forgot to mention the zoo:

We saw animals. There were some pretty chill seals and two almost identical foxes; except one was snowy white and the other black like cooled lava. At first we only saw snow fox with its cute round fluffy face, but it quickly hid. We were turning away until I saw lava fox trotting towards us out the corner of my eye. It looked really curious and social, like it wanted to talk to us, probably because its camouflage is so good no one hardly ever notices it; everyone is drawn to snow fox instead. I wonder how many times people chase after snow fox because it’s beauty is easier to see, and don’t even notice the equally magnificent lava fox standing right in front of them? But enough about my personal life—back to dinner!

Mumsy chose the whale steak with pepper sauce, and I the wild sea birds with game sauce. They were delicious. We even had puffin as an appetizer. The meat is maroon colored. With mumsy’s wealth of knowledge she said it must be rich in iron. We figured the elves eat all these strange animals because what else are you going to eat on the island? There ain’t many choices. Even their potatoes are only bite-sized.

For dessert was Skyr brule, like crème brule with yoghurt, and a little fruit called a cape gooseberry, which ornamented a dollop of whooping cream. The berry was most intriguing having the size and bite of a grape, the leaves of a turnip sprouting from its top (possibly grown underground), the texture and color of a tomato, and the taste of the ripest kiwi with a bit of citrus. A very confused and contradictory berry… maybe it was adopted.

Back at the hotel we saw a post notifying today’s tour group that the northern lights tour was cancelled due to weather. We originally were going to go on our tour today, but changed to tomorrow because we didn’t know if we’d have shoes and coats.
On a quick side note, why is “þ” a letter? Let’s there’s the word “þear.” I want to read either “bear” or “pear,” but in Elvish it would be pronounced “thair.” This language is devilishly confusing.

(next day)

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Head Start

As a kid, when you see people you know get married you don’t like it because you have to dress up and sit in a church and watch them stand up there for a long time. As a teen you find it more romantic and you’re happy for them and you enjoy the festivities. As a young adult you find it strange that your friends are getting married and having kids when you’re still just watching from the audience and saying “isn’t that nice.” You start to feel a sense of love, a sense of loss, a sense of urgency. You notice you’re not young anymore, and then you talk to someone who is even older than you and in the same position. They talk like they are supposed to catch the bouquet because they are older, and you still have time because you’re just a baby at twenty-something. You believe them for a second, and then you remember it’s not a race… but getting a head start is never a bad idea.

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High Up

Snoqualmie Pass had installed a terrain park at the foot of Bonanza face – a black diamond. As the popularity of the park grew, so did the jumps and wipeouts.

“Woah.” said my brother, a ninth grader, old enough to know when something was broken. He didn’t need to point or tell me to look over the side as our chair lift sailed over the terrain park. A snowboarder received attention from two ski patrolmen at the foot of a 30 foot tabletop jump with crossed skis on it. He was laid in a sled-type backboard, and stiff. His face matched the red ski patrol jackets, puffed and swollen against the confines of the neck brace, pressing to break free. It reminded me of when a friend from the accelerated program in elementary school put a yellow ducky peep in the microwave. It popped – but not all at once. The first time I ever saw EMTs is when I was waiting for the principal because I dragged a kid away from a fight. He was calling the peep-popper’s mom to let her know her son had landed on his eye out on the playground. I thought about how that was possible, but the blood and the words “I can’t see! I can’t see!” distracted me. I hadn’t done anything wrong, and now I was the lone audience to The Bleeding-Eye Show. Apparently the EMTs thought in front of the waiting room chairs was the best place to perform. I wasn’t allowed to leave my seat. I can’t remember what the principal told me—probably something about being careful.

I didn’t talk much to the bloody-eye friend after third grade because he stopped talking. Our teacher explained to keep our distance from him because his mom passed away of cancer. Someone had to ask what “passed away” meant. I think my motherless friend would have preferred a car crash so he could have someone or something to blame, but instead he had to slowly watch her disappear with his childhood. Nothing provokes life more than death. Now he fights for what he still believes in and cooks his own meals after working hard. I eat out every day and believe in anything because I haven’t learned otherwise. All my experiences have been secondhand, listening to stories of success, failure, and a plethora of examples on ‘how to be good.’ Without having ever done it, I could show someone how to put on chains and drive uphill on two inches of ice, or give a job interview without ever having received one. From what I’ve gathered I could do death, too, but I wouldn’t be confident in my ability to properly show someone else.

For me something is possible even if I’ve only heard about it; it doesn’t need to have actually happened. I’ve never seen anybody die. I’ve heard it from people close to me, about people close to me, but I’ve been protected from it my whole life. When I’d watch the news they’d report that someone died in a shooting, a car crash, or a freak accident. I listened to see if it was anyone I know – it never was. I feel like everyone watches the news hoping they’ll see someone they know.

My senior year in high school two girls in my class made the news. One died and one didn’t. The one who survived said she couldn’t remember anything, probably because of trauma and partly because of choice. I didn’t know them well enough. I can’t imagine being the camera man for channel 5, knocking on the door to the house where all of her friends were grieving, crying; trying to remember and forget. “I’m sorry for your loss, but could you step into the light so we can see your face?” One of my classmates was interviewed and smiled at one point. I knew he was excited to be on the news.

That same week five other high schoolers died within a hundred mile radius of my school. Two years prior, three high schoolers died in a crash three miles from my house. One went to my school, but I didn’t know him either. I attended the funeral of my dad’s best friend, who died of a heart attack running on a trail in the woods. He was very healthy, and if someone would’ve been nearby at the time, he would have survived. I only knew him through my father, but I knew more about him than how he actually was as a person. He built his own house from scratch. His second wife took all the inheritance and split for Florida. My middle school orchestra teacher was killed in a freak boating accident. She was on a sailboat in the middle of a lake with some friends when a speed boat plowed straight through her at full throttle. The bow of the boat was raised due to its high speed so the driver assumed nothing was there. Cancer killed my physics teacher’s wife and one of the preachers at church’s husband. When I started college I got a call from a friend crying about how her boyfriend, a friend of mine since grade school, had cheated on her. I happened to be in a fraternity with him at the time and knew this probably wasn’t true. Regardless, she grabbed as many pills as she could that night, but woke up in a mental institution so I didn’t have to deal with her death. She had moved to the east coast for school, but the distance had gotten the better of her. Another close friend of mine moved to Philadelphia to be a professional cello player and stopped eating for a while, drank too much, then blacked out to the point where he couldn’t remember when it all started. We were only sixteen, and I laughed along with him as he told me he almost died. Someone fell to their death at a fraternity party – someone too drunk to know what “don’t” means. They want you to say “fraternity” instead of “frat” to respect the brotherhood and its traditions. Someone falls or jumps off of something every year. A man burned himself alive. I walked by the grounds crew worker who drew the short straw that day and had to separate the scorched flesh and blood from the rough concrete with a brush and a mask. A girl hanged herself in the back stairwell of the fraternity I attended, but I had left a year prior. They found her limp during the recruiting BBQ. People littered her facebook page with remorse. One post read, “Hey, let’s catch up! Haven’t heard from you in ages [smiley face].” Winters get cold and dozens of hobos die in the streets. I think we’re still at war with someone.

I looked directly down on the puffy red snowboarder, waiting for something to happen; something exciting. Our chair passed the scene, following the example of the hundreds that had passed before us. I looked back over my shoulder, realizing the puffy man had no friends watching on. I wondered if his family was close to him, friends, or coworkers nearby, or possibly a girlfriend. “Ladies first.” He winks at the top of the run, “I’ll be right behind you.” Those could have been his last words as he wasn’t allowed to speak in the neck brace, and his face swelled shut soon after. I figured he’ll have a crazy story to tell at some cocktail party months down the road, so I faced forward at the end of the ride and slid off with ease. The next day the paper said the puffy man had broken his neck, been paralyzed, and died that night while I was sleeping.

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