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Like it’s important

My youngest stepdaughter was graduating from the Icelandic National School of Dance today [wOOt!] and they had their final performance this afternoon at the National Theatre.

It was such a great show and as I sat there in the audience I was, as so often before, transfixed by the scope of talent we have in this tiny country and the sheer confidence and joyful abandon with which people express their creativity here; like it matters, you know, like it’s important.

Listdansskóli Íslands útskrift

I sat there in the audience and thought about what a miracle it is … there’s just over 300,000 of us, like in a suburb in some big metropolis, living on the very edge of the inhabitable world, in the freezing cold and dark, not to mention in the midst of a deep recession, and instead of sitting around drowning our sorrows and generally feeling sorry for ourselves there are people dancing and making music and opening art exhibitions and writing books and publishing them and focusing on being alive.

In another couple of weeks, Ragnheiður will also graduate from upper secondary school [here in Iceland that’s like the last two years of high school and first two years of college combined], and in January she’s moving to Berlin with a couple of her girlfriends, where they’re hoping to find work and take dance classes and audition for schools. It’s a terrible time to be going, what with the krona so low, but they’re determined: they’ve already found an apartment to rent and have bought their airline tickets.

Graduation

It’s so exciting!

Being thusly engaged, we were unable to attend the demonstration today, but heard that there were fewer people there than last time – probably on account of the cruel temperatures and awful windchill. It does NOT mean we’re giving up; no it does NOT. It’s currently -3°C [27F] but I’m betting it feels like -10 or more because of the wind. Sunrise this morning was at 10:41and sunset due for 3:51.

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  • Rozanne November 30, 2008, 7:02 am

    Congrats to your stepdaughter!

    I’m perplexed by the top headline in the sidebar: “Some 150 people search in severe frost for ptarmigan hunger missing since noon today.”

  • Muriel Volestrangler November 30, 2008, 7:53 am

    I think Alda’s fingers got frozen in the cold and she hit the wrong key. Read “hunter” for “hunger”, ie. 150 rescuers search for one bird-hunter. Otherwise, the headline would mean that 150 people were so hungry that they went out looking for birds to eat and got lost.
    The other news is that Haarde has reversed himself yet again and now says that maybe they will take up the dollar or euro (unilaterally), suggesting that the re-float may not happen. If he were sitting on a fence he wouldn’t know which side to poop on, as the Americans say.

  • hildigunnur November 30, 2008, 10:47 am

    well, it IS important! We so mustn’t drown ourselves in our sorrows.

    Congrats to the stepdaughter and good luck in Berlin 🙂

  • Michelle in NZ November 30, 2008, 12:17 pm

    Excellent – some happy news. Well done to your stepdaughter. When in doubt dance – regardless of the funny looks the cat gives me. Mind you, these days I only dance in the privacy of my wee home.

    Good to read your happy news from Niceland.

  • alda November 30, 2008, 12:28 pm

    Thanks, everyone. And yes – sorry about the confusion!! It was indeed a typo as Muriel says. Perhaps I need to hire a proofreader for the news headlines. 🙂

  • Chris November 30, 2008, 12:57 pm

    Congratulations. And don’t worry to much, they are going to make their way in Berlin. No doubt about it.

  • Runa November 30, 2008, 2:03 pm

    Hi Alda

    Glad your’e having some fun and Congratulations to Ragnheidur and her classmates on their Graduation. I am sure Berlin will be a great experience for them.

  • Vikingisson November 30, 2008, 2:27 pm

    Like they say, life goes on. We have to deal with the problems but it doesn’t have to consume us and certainly not to drag kids into the darkness. My kids understood that we couldn’t have the fancy birthday party this year but otherwise they go on and I go on.

  • Grif November 30, 2008, 3:06 pm

    Congratulations to Ragnheiður and you. Best of luck to her in Berlin.

    Picture got me wondering though…Is the 4th person from the left really tall or is the average Icelandic woman rather small? … Well, of course that depends on your definition of ‘small’ :p

  • mary November 30, 2008, 3:20 pm

    Well done and congratulations!

  • alda November 30, 2008, 3:35 pm

    Grif – he’s pretty tall. 🙂

  • James November 30, 2008, 4:03 pm

    Congrats.
    And a ptarmigan is also called a snow chicken – I wonder if it’s similar in Icelandic…

  • Bluegrass Mama November 30, 2008, 6:14 pm

    It’s nice to have some of life’s celebrations even in the midst of trouble.

  • MAJA November 30, 2008, 10:33 pm

    That is so awesome. I think your daughter will do well with that much drive and enthusiasm. Regardless of the economic climate.

    When I graduated from geology, I managed to get a job on a gold mine, albeit not a geologist job (it was a technician position) within two weeks even though we were in a downturn. It doesn’t make things impossible, it just means you have to try harder.

  • Marc November 30, 2008, 11:01 pm

    In the low countries (NL and BE) next week is Saint Nicolas fest. He’s a catholic saint who supposedly lives in Spain and brings gifts to all good children. He delivers them while seated on a white horse that goes from roof to roof. his assistents (who we call black peters) deliver the goods by going into the houses through the chimneys. Hence their blackness. It is a great time for all famies.

  • James December 1, 2008, 4:19 pm

    “It would not be out of line to say that the director of the National Broadcasting Service plans to kill old people in order to cut costs.”

    Perhaps older tourists should carry cameras/maps to avoid being targetted, at least until that director is safely in police custody.

  • Bryan Bessette December 1, 2008, 4:37 pm

    wOOt! Indeed! Bravo!

  • Jen December 1, 2008, 4:55 pm

    Congratulations to you and your daughter! It does matter, and dare I say, it’s one of the only thing that matters.

  • Andrew December 2, 2008, 2:16 am

    I am sure it was a wonderful performance! A chance to forget all the troubles for at least one day. The whole family should feel proud.

    As you, obviously, didn’t attend Saturday’s demo, did you attend the one yesterday (Monday)?

    I understand that yesterday was not actually Independence day (that was sometime in 1944 – right?) but was the 90th Anniversary of some sort of Home Rule from Denmark. Was this so near to independence that it is worth celebrating? Was there much in the way of official celebrations?

  • Gray, Germany December 2, 2008, 9:25 am

    Sry, ot, but WOW!

    “Reykjavik – What began Monday as a celebration of Iceland’s 90th birthday since its independence from Denmark in 1918 turned into protests by several hundred people who stormed to the central bank in anger over the government’s handling of the financial crisis.”
    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/244249,protesting-icelanders-storm-bank-streets-over-economy-crisis.html

    This got to have an impact, even on the stubborn Vikings Haarde and Oddsson! Did you hear any details from people who were there, Alda?

  • Sigvaldi Eggertsson December 2, 2008, 10:23 am

    Andrew, Iceland got home rule from Denmark in 1904 and became an independant state within the Danish crown in 1918.
    The 1918 treaty with Denmark was due to be renegotiated after 25 years but at that date Denmark was occupied by the Germans and Iceland became a republic in 1944.
    The significance of the 1918 treaty was not recognized in Iceland until the last couple of decades so 17th june 1944 was usually celebrated as Independance day until just few years ago when they started to refer to it as “Day of the republic”, realising that the date of Independence was in 1918.(And if you say that a country cannot be independant if it shares a King with another country I´ll send a Canadian your way)

  • alda December 2, 2008, 10:35 am

    Thanks for your input and good wishes, everyone!

    Andrew – yes I did attend the demo yesterday – more about that in the next post. And … what Sigvaldi said. Dec. 1 is a very important day here, more so now than ever before, I think.

    Gray – slightly sensationalized. The demo didn’t begin as “a celebration of Iceland’s 90th birthday” – it began as a demo and ended as a demo. But yes, the CB was stormed.

  • JoeInVegas December 2, 2008, 5:36 pm

    One good thing, if she lives in Berlin and works then she could send you money.

  • alda December 2, 2008, 6:12 pm

    I think she’ll have her hands full with supporting herself!

  • Gray, Germany December 2, 2008, 10:42 pm

    “One good thing, if she lives in Berlin and works then she could send you money.”
    Sadly, the recession hitting Germany, too, resulted in temporary workers being laid off and in less job opportunities for students and the youth in general. Alda is right, most probably Ragnheiður won’t have much money to spare for sending it home.