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Graduation, replete with hats and good cheer

So the Christmas madness is upon us, rushing to get everything done, the days scheduled so tightly that absolutely nothing can go off by more than five minutes or the whole house of cards collapses and you can find YT standing in the middle of the floor pulling huge chunks of hair out of her head. This morning I said to EPI, imagine if we had everything done now and were just sitting around chilling and relaxing and waiting for Christmas to arrive, and he just laughed. A hollow, doomed kind of laugh. The laugh of a man who has yet to buy every last one of his Christmas presents, and YT’s birthday present, and put up the tree, and a myriad other little things that I won’t bore you with here.

See, Christmas chez YT really starts tomorrow, because that’s my birthday, and since I prefer to spend it with my hair intact, this is really the last day we have to prepare before Christmas proper is upon us on the 24th [because that’s when we celebrate up here].

And what did I go and do today? Right in the middle of all the insanity? Book a massage, of all things. As if that made any sense.

Anyway. Despite the craziness of this past weekend, it was also really wonderful and fun. My youngest stepdaughter graduated from upper secondary school on Saturday [for those who don’t know, it’s like a combination high school and college and you typically finish when you’re 20]. Graduations here in Iceland are always a big deal – there’s a ceremony at the school, at the end of which all the graduates put on white hats that are symbolic of their baccalaureate diploma, in the same way as graduates put up those square hats with the tassels in American [and maybe other] colleges.

The graduation ceremony includes, of course, the handing out of awards, and our Ragnheiður was the recipient of [what we think is] the best award in the school – a monetary allocation from the memorial fund of one of the former Rectors, plus one of the most stunning books published this Christmas, on the history of art. The award is given to a student that best manages to make use use the module system in the school. Because not only did Ragnheiður graduate with the greatest number of credits of everyone – AND she did it in only three and a half years, as opposed to four – she also took courses in all the available programmes of study [natural sciences, languages, etc]. Honestly, I don’t know how she did it. She got fantastic grades, plus the entire time she was also studying at the National School of Dance [which she got evaluated], which several days a week meant turning up for dance class at 8 am before going to school and then back to dance classes after the normal school day was over, until around 8 pm. It makes me dizzy just thinking about it.

Ragnheiður

Afterwards there was a party, where around 50 people – family and friends – came together to celebrate. Truly, it was a fantastic day, and we’re all so proud of her.

IT HAS STARTED TO RAIN
We’re due for a storm that as far as I can tell will last right until Christmas Eve. It’s gearing up for something big out there right now – I can tell. So much for our pretty Yuletide snow * SOB*. Oh well. The weather outside is frightful, but the fire … etc. Hope your preparations are all coming along splendidly, dear readers [I daresay they must be if you have time to sit around reading blogs, heheh] – those of you, obviously, who celebrate Christmas. Right now we have 3°C [37F], the sun came up at 11.22 and will set at 3.30. Yesterday was the winter solstice – hurray!

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  • Runa December 22, 2008, 12:49 pm

    Hi Alda

    What a lovely post. Congratulations and well done to Ragnheidur who sounds like she will go far in life, as she is such a high achiever. Also, I wish you, Alda, a very Happy Birthday for tomorrow 23rd December. Last but not least I wish a very Merry Christmas to everyone in Niceland!

  • PhilippeP December 22, 2008, 12:53 pm

    On the picture , she looks ready to second Capt. Stubbing 🙂

    Congrats to her !

  • Lissa December 22, 2008, 12:53 pm

    Happy birthday, Alda, and congratulations to your step-daughter. She sounds like a real over-achiever.

  • VioletSky December 22, 2008, 12:55 pm

    Congrats to your step-daughter.
    Happy Birthday to you.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  • Skúli December 22, 2008, 1:16 pm

    Til hamingju með afmælið og gleðileg jól!

  • SOe December 22, 2008, 1:40 pm

    Congratulations and the best wishes for all of you!

  • Jen December 22, 2008, 2:13 pm

    congratulations to your step-daughter. the book she received on the history of art sounds pretty incredible – what is the name of it? i´d like to mentally catalogue it for future gift giving occasions 🙂

    happy birthday for tomorrow and have a great christmas!

  • sigga December 22, 2008, 3:55 pm

    Til hamingju – bæði vegna dótturinar og svo fyrir afmælið á morgun!!

  • alda December 22, 2008, 6:37 pm

    Takk takk, everyone! 🙂

    Jen – the book is an Icelandicized version of an English book called 30,000 Years of Art, published by Phaidon Press. It’s a stunning tome, weighs around 10 pounds (you can see it on the picture here.

  • CarolQ December 22, 2008, 7:09 pm

    Alda, Happy Birthday!! It sounds as if your Christmas is coming along nicely and contratulations to your beautiful step-daughter, Ragnheiður!! Such a feat! Wow.

    For us here in Seattle, Washington, USA, it’s snowing and we’re not used to it. The airport has run out of de-icer . . . stuff and no flights are leaving! Not a good thing for people trying to visit loved-ones for Christmas.

  • Grif December 22, 2008, 7:15 pm

    Congratulations to Ragnheiður and the rest of the family! She really sounds like a brainbox!

  • Annie Rhiannon December 22, 2008, 8:31 pm

    cowabunga

  • Jessie December 22, 2008, 9:17 pm

    Happy birthday, Alda, and congratulations to your step daughter (I’ve always though your graduates’ hats are so much better looking than the pizza boxes we wear on our heads), you and your family for all of her successes!

    And Happy Christmas, of course! I hope the next two days aren’t stressful, and especially after your much-deserved massage! 🙂

  • hildigunnur December 22, 2008, 10:59 pm

    Til hamingju með afmælið og stelpuna 😀

    Var þetta frá MH, eða voru fleiri skólar að útskrifa á lau? Mín skotta var að syngja við útskrift í MH.

  • alda December 22, 2008, 11:08 pm

    Já, þetta var frá MH. Og það var mjög fallega sungið. 🙂

  • Andrew December 23, 2008, 3:16 am

    Life goes on. Congratulations to her!

    Here’s an interview with Georg Holm (bass guitarist of Sigur Ros) about the current situation:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/news/2008/12/081222_iceland_economy_dm.shtml

  • Andrew December 23, 2008, 10:06 am

    Here is another very interesting article. I’m curious to know just how prevalent witchcraft is in Iceland! It also says that the IMF expect the Icelandic economy to contract by 9.6% next year. As the modern definition of a depression is a drop of 10%, kreppa is looking like a very accurate term.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a2gMphgAVl3U&refer=home

    You might be interested to know that Iceland’s problems are now impacting on Britain, as many Icelandic-owned businesses look set to go bust. For example, the Baugur-owned Whittards chain (which sells tea and coffee – as leaves and powder, not as drinks) is right on the point of administration.

  • Grif December 23, 2008, 2:53 pm

    Happy Birthday Alda!

    Make it a good one 🙂

  • Steve December 23, 2008, 2:53 pm

    Happy Birthday!
    Brilliant girl, and a smile that can light up a room!

  • Dumdad December 23, 2008, 2:56 pm

    Congratulations to Ragnheiður!

    Bon anniversaire to you!

    Joyeux Noël to you all!

  • JoeInVegas December 23, 2008, 5:33 pm

    Oh, so pretty! And sounds so smart! You guys have been raising her well.
    Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas!

  • Becky December 23, 2008, 11:07 pm

    Massage. Mmmm. Makes perfect sense.

    Happy, happy and merry!

  • Rozanne December 24, 2008, 1:26 am

    Congrats to Ragnheiður–sounds like she must be a brilliant time manager among all her other achievements.

    And Happy Birthday to you. Glad you treated yourself to a massage. I had one scheduled for yesterday, but it was canceled because of our ongoing snow emergency!!!

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