Entry 5: June 25
Today, Ambassador Gudmundur Eiriksson came all the way out to Skalholt to meet with us. He is internationally recognized as the man behind the International Convention on the Law of the Sea, the United Nations protocol which will likely govern the use of resources from the world’s oceans for the next few generations. One of his comments: “Large nations can act unilaterally by force as they please without consequence. Small nations must rely on an appeal to reason and justice and can only succeed by cooperation. The world might do well do adopt the approach of the small nations.” What he said!
Entry 4: June 21
I went to the Northern town of Husavik for the summer solstice and the fabled “midnight sun”. As 7 horses, 15 sheep and I can testify, the sun really does not set beneath the true horizon of the ocean. Official sunset: 1:00 a.m.; official sunrise: 1:04 a.m. Sunset and sunrise in the same sky.
Entry 3: June 18
We met yesterday with a friend of mine, Lilja Grétarsdóttir, whom I met through chess three years ago. She was then out of office, but since the financial collapse swept out the malfeasants she is now one of the leaders of the ruling coalition. She still took half an hour from a heated floor debate to speak with our students about current issues. Among her comments: “It is simply immoral for a handful of reckless gamblers to play roulette with resources that belong to all of the people.” Pictured is Meredith College student Aubrey Jones, presenting an “Educating Women to Excel” sweatshirt that Lilja promises to wear in the next session of Iceland’s Althingi.
Entry 2: June 11, 2009
Fire Drill in Iceland
I imposed a fire drill on class without telling anyone it was a drill. (We had talked about what to do in the event.) Dr. G and all students were at the moment discussing an obscure part of the Laxdaela Saga, written in about 1240 in Iceland. I came around the house to see whether the procedure had been followed and found them sitting in the field still discussing the story FROM MEMORY because they WANTED to and because they knew to take nothing with them in a fire. In the distance is the extinct volcano called locally “The Guardian.” We will all climb it before we leave. Remarkable place and remarkable students!
Entry 1: June 8, 2009
Yesterday we initiated some of our students and alumnae guests into the Skalholt community by boiling and eating eggs at the 212 degree Fahrenheit geothermal stream less than mile from our dorm. After some experimentation, we determined that the ideal cooking time was about 10 minutes. (Or, as a local priest explained to me, the length of time it takes to recite the 23rd Psalm reflectively in Gregorian chant. Odd how different people measure time!) The three pictures indicate the process in stages – boiling, cracking open, and eating. Best eggs ever!