green land of ice

July 22, 2005

This morning I awoke with a hint of that lifting of the spirits that accompanies the beginning of a journey. Not too much, mind you—I consciously shoved aside most of it, knowing that there was yet too much to do in preparation to fully lose myself in happy-traveling-mindset. But, I can see the nearing date now, just 4 days away. One more work day and 2 more packing and studying days. What with the month of catch-up work for this class that was already in session before I joined and the class that I was already attending, there is a fair bit of studies on my list, to say the least. But I know, from all my years as a traveler, that if I persist diligently enough in the preparations, I will be more than rewarded by that glorious moment of the journey’s commencement.
One interesting thing about it all is that it was only after my going was certain that I discovered that Iceland was the first stop—only 2 days there, but it will be our recoup time, with freedom for reading, sightseeing, and such. Now the reason this was such a surprising discovery to me is that I have had an intense fascination with Iceland since my elementary years, at boarding school. In the play area there, we had a large flat map of the world, in relief. It was about the size of a sandbox, with each country painted a different colour and labeled. From the first time I examined it, I was inexplicably drawn to the two parallel countries of Iceland and Greenland. What funny names, I thought. Why would they be called that . . . Is Iceland full of ice? . . . And is Greenland all green? . . .
Finally, one day a teacher was nearby and I asked about the two countries. Oh, he said, actually, you know, they are sort of the opposite. Greenland is pretty bleak, while Iceland is quite lush and green.
Well, that clenched it for me. Iceland must be the most lovely country ever. I mean, what else could explain a land that was so beautiful that it could only be named the exact opposite of what it really was. Oh, I did long to see such a place.
And what do you know? As it turns out, I have stumbled upon the chance to not only spent 3 weeks immersed in the world of children’s literature, hobnobbing with all the Greats in the field and studying with other lovers of the genre . . . but also, I am now–20 years after my initial discovery of the country—well, I’m going. Iceland or bust. p.s. I do plan on posting some blog entries during my travels so, if you are inclined to do so, please do stay tuned :-)

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