I didn’t attend my first master’s graduating ceremony, and I wasn’t going to attend the second, but then three of my closest friends and partners in anti-studying crimes from the program were invited to (slash threatened to attend) the occasion; Steve, Liv and Marie. I felt I had to be present too once they all showed up in Iceland and I was still MIA. My flight out of Sierra Leone was delayed nearly a day, but I made it in time for the ceremony and a lot of celebrations.
The first celebration was Steve’s birthday, then my graduation. I felt like a spectacle since I was the only person to walk the stage from the program, and it was the only program announced in English, “Masters in Medieval Icelandic Studies.” It should have been called a Masters in Norse Mythology, or Icelandic Horse History, but now everyone thinks I’m one of those medieval enthusiasts who should wear a Thor’s hammer necklace or studded, black pleather clothing. Unfortunately, I’m not pale enough for gothic fashion, and I don’t know nearly enough about Vikings or the middle ages, so I just claim it as a degree in being more Icelandic than before.
We took a road trip to celebrate my new truck, a Kia sportage I bought 2 days before leaving for Africa for 4 months. But the Kia was a party pooper and ran out of gas in the middle of the highlands between Thingvellir and Laugarvatn…
The next celebration was my roommate Harald’s birthday, followed 2 days later by my birthday. There weren’t enough champagne bottles for all the events, but we popped at least 4 over the week, and polished off some 12L of miscellaneous other alcohol. We threw a mustache and bowtie party, where I received the kind of amazing gifts little girls wish for on shooting stars. My father treated me like a princess, a special guest from France came to visit, and my Icelandic chef friends spoiled me rotten for the Reykjavik Food and Fun festival.
Then, I was gone as quickly as I had arrived, with another flurry of happy home memories and a bunch of friends to miss even more. But I was on my way to other friends that Im always missing, so once more I tore myself away from the comfort zone of safe at home, with a tingle of travel bug itching again at my toes.