‘That is the only time a man can be brave.’
There´s a goat in the garden, geese under the treehouse, and I´m on the back of a 6-wheeler with my 9 year old cousin driving top speed through a field of horses. Brb gotta go herd the cows and climb a mountain
This is the wonderful group who I got to spend time with in Stockholm.
From left to right they are: Númi, Dóri, Baldur, Diljá, Me, Kolbrún, Þorbjörg (goofing off), Hanna, Jakob, Christian, and Helena (we´re missing Eva who is taking the picture).
Baldur, Kolbrún, Númi and Diljá are a family from Iceland, Dóri, Helena and Þorbjörg are my family from Iceland, and Christian, Eva, Hanna and Jakob are my family from Sweden.
I don’t like to complain too much, I really don’t, but this part of the trip was nearly a disaster. You name it, and it happened.
I had already said my goodbyes to Anna Sofia and Sabina that day, bid farewell to my father weeks before. Now it was just my mother and me as we drove to the airport. Originally, I was to have a 10 hour layover in JFK, which I was fully prepared for.
The worker helping us from Delta was a very young man who was clearly relatively new to the business. Then as we were about to go to security he asked my mother if she wouldn’t want to accompany me up until boarding time, insisting that he wouldn’t want me alone there in case of something happening. Of course she agreed, coming along with me through the airport, finding my gate, waiting with me.
Secretly, I was dreading the moment when she would leave; when I would truly be alone.
Flight delayed: check.
We waited for hours. People around us became frantic, knowing they’d miss their next flight, worried about missing their plans. I was unspeakably glad of my mothers company during these hours. Finally, we boarded. Saying goodbye to my mother was difficult (and there were tears) but it happened.
I sat next to an old man. I don’t know where he was from and I’m sure he must have told me; I just couldn’t understand anything he said.
Well, I understood some. I understood that he was going to London to work on a farm that he that a hundred men founded with 350 cows and the reason why their cheese is so good is because they have good soil and the worms do their job which makes everyone happy and he’s going to feed the pigs the leftovers which makes them fat but they’re not his pigs so nobody knows when you’re weaving cloth you have to make sure you don’t miss a thread or pull too tight or you might knock down a building and the reason for the economic crisis in Greece is because their assets are screwy and if they got their assets straight then the grass would grow and the sun would shine and the olives would grow and the birds and the angels would sing and everyone would be happy.
And that is what I understood of the wisdom from the old man on the plane. I never said a single word aside from a meek hello. He was such a friendly fellow: extremely talkative, but meant well. I hope the worms do their job for him and the Greeks get their assets straight.
Yep, we drove maybe approximately 6 feet away from the gate, stopped for what seemed like an eternity, then went back and got right back off the plane.
Delayed #2: Check.
Two planes landed in Syracuse; one from LA and another from Las Vegas. Both were headed to JFK. You can imagine how thrilled they were to find themselves at the Syracuse airport.
Cancelled flight: check.
It was utter chaos within the Syracuse Hancock airport. Angry people, sad people, tired people, hungry people, loud people, quiet people, old people, young people, baby people (children and infants): all piled into this small confinement, waiting with anticipation, a flicker hope, of being sent out on the next flying metal beast. Having been there all day, I hadn’t eaten more than a bag of chips besides breakfast. They ran out of food in the restaurants. (cue more angry hungry people) There were lines at vending machines, water fountains, bathrooms. Bodies lined the floors, draped over every chair in sight, some on tables. The airport was a mess.
There were 15 empty spots on the next flight to JFK. Fifteen spots. Hundreds of people. I was incredibly lucky to be sitting on the floor next to the place where it was announced. I got the 15th seat. I would make it in time for my next flight.
This time I sat in between a man and his daughter. I asked if they would like to sit together in hopes of scoring either a window or aisle seat. They cried “No!” in unison. “We’ll be spending plenty enough time together soon,” the father explained. And that was that.
Deplaning #2: check.
Yes. We sat on the plane for awhile, then got back off again. Time was running short and I did not know what to do if I were to miss my next flight. At this point I was alone, after all. Luckily, the wait at the airport was short and we soon boarded again, at last taking off. In my head I made a small list of things I needed to do at JFK.
-find out my terminal and gate
-find my terminal and gate
-get a boarding pass
-say my final goodbyes
My layover at JFK had shrunken to less than an hour and it had gotten late. I was starving and I knew that most food places would be closed already. Scared and just about ready to cry, I held my head up, got off that plane and pretended I knew where I was going (which I didn’t. At all). I found out my terminal and gate. I had to switch terminals which was not hard. I just followed the signs.
Got lost: check
No matter how clear the signs are or how many arrows there are, I will get lost. I took deep breaths and knew for my own safety it had to appear as if I knew what I was doing. So I did my best despite my frantic thoughts.
JFK was a zoo. I’ll not go into detail, but it was much like how the Syracuse airport was, but on a much larger scale (and in many more languages).
I like airports. Really, I do. Which I know is somewhat strange, but there’s something about all these different people just like me, coming from one place, going to another, hustling and bustling about. Each from a different place with a different story to tell, a different reason to be here. I was actually disappointed not to have more time there to admire the different faces, voices, languages that surrounded me. Instead, in the small amount of time given, I felt cold, clammy, nervous; I felt eyes follow me as I rushed from terminal to terminal, down a long hallway on a flat escalator.
I was relieved to find my gate. However no one was at the desk to get me a boarding pass. I waited and waited and no one came. Five, ten, twenty minutes passed and it was less then twenty until boarding and I still needed a bathroom and food. I kept checking to make sure I was at the right gate and I was. People darted all around me. Still no one came to the desk. Finally words flashed quickly across the bottom of the screen: FLIGHT TO KEFLAVIK, ICELAND CHANGED TO GATE 16.
Gate change without an announcement: check.
So I ran. I ran like an idiot with a heavy backpack, passports in one hand and my jacket in the other. And at last I made it to the correct gate.
No one was there to get me my boarding pass. I waited ten minutes for someone to come before realizing that there was a lion roar sounding from my stomach. I quickly bought some French fries at some burger king (which was about to close) and stored them in my bag, then resumed my waiting. Finally a young (and handsome, might I add) man in uniform addressed me. He told me that he didn’t work here but noticed I’d been waiting awhile and promised to find someone to help me out.
Moments after he took off, I heard an announcement over the speakers crudely taped above the service desk, “Assistance needed immediately at Gate 16, again assistance needed immediately at Gate 16.” I am extremely thankful for that man in uniform whom I shall never have the chance to thank in person.
At last, someone came. In the end, I was cold and sweating and out of breath and about to cry, but I boarded that plane. And I made it to Iceland.
I sat next to one of the prettiest ladies I’ve ever seen on that plane ride. She reminded me much of my kindergarten teacher. She asked kindly if I had come all the way from Syracuse alone. I said yes. She told me it was a very brave thing that I did, coming all this way all alone. But I didn’t feel brave; I still felt afraid. So I didn’t say anything. I just looked out the window into the vast endless sea, suddenly overwhelmed by my own loneliness. Leaving everything I loved and knew. Going across an ocean alone. For seven weeks.
Arriving in Iceland was easy. I felt comfort from hearing Icelandic around me. It didn’t feel like a strange place; it felt like another home.
Baggage lost: check.
I was the first to the conveyor belt and the last to leave. I wasn’t upset by this setback though, in fact, I was slightly amused. Smiling, I friendlily confronted the lady at the desk about the bag.
No worries though, I got it eventually. I’m here in Iceland which I am so very thankful for. And now I feel I am ready for whatever may ever come my way in any future trip. Bring it on.
Well, I´m in Iceland.
Which is actually most of the reason why I´m starting this blog: to somewhat record my adventures during my crazy summer travels.
I have been fortunate enough this summer to escape from my rather confined view of the world and take a trip to Iceland, then Sweden, then Iceland again.
For anyone who doesn´t know, the entirety of my mother´s side of the family resides somewhere in Europe, primarily Iceland. So I´m not just randomly packing up my bags and leaving for two months.
I´m staying with my grandmother in Reykjavik and often bike over to my aunt´s house nearby. It´s been nothing less than perfect weather every day with no less than some of the most wonderful people to spend these days with.
A million thanks to all of my family who made this possible; I am forever grateful.
There´s something truly intimidating to me about an empty page, the blinking cursor sitting in one place, waiting impatiently for me to tap on the keyboard and force meaningless symbols into meaningful phrases. I could sit here revising forever, thinking of infinite ways to improve this very entry. However, in the end that would seem a waste of time given the numerous other things I could be doing at the moment.
You are probably realizing now that this was a thoroughly pointless read and perhaps a waste of your own precious time. I apologize, but felt the need of a pointless beginning entry to break the ice, mostly for my own sake to get started with this blog (which I promise will have more meaningful posts than this one in the future).
So here it is: my first post.