The “Inequality within the Toe Hierarchy?  A Little Toe Speaks the Truth” lecture will be in four weeks.

As you can see, the website has a new look.  Yep.  That’s simply because I wanted a new aesthetic, not because I couldn’t figure out this coding thing and then asked my friend Jon what I should do and he suggested changing the theme. Nope.   It’s not this at all.  Not at all.  Just wanted a new look.

So, welcome, to the first day of your exciting journey into Stoylstivek University’s Graduate MBA two year program specializing in Orthopedic  Medical  Footware Sales.  For our first day, I’d like everyone to go around and introduce themselves.  Say a few things about who you are, where you’re from.  Please try to not get off track.  There are 170 people in this class and we only meet for five hours once every six weeks, so let’s use our time wisely, guys, okay?

I’ll go first.  As you know, by looking at my stylish glasses, and my professional-yet-cool outfit, which consists of jeans, black boots, a white shirt and this my only fitted suit jacket and possibly by these large circles of sweat under my arms, I’m your professor. Also, you will know I’m your professor by how many times I say use the words “inherent tension” and also by how many times I tell you that you don’t have to call me Dr. but you can use my first name.  And, also how many times I talk about the PhD program that I was in for last twelve years of  my life. Also, you’re probably thinking, she’s not just any professor, she’s a cool professor.  And, yeah, I can’t deny that!

You can’t wear cool orthopedic/academic-chic clothes in Iceland, guys.

So, I guess to really understand me, you’ll probably like to know about my recent trip to Iceland.

Oh, you in the first row, do you have a question?

No? You’re just reading your textbook on arch support  Ah.  Okay. Oh you have a question about arch support?  That’s gonna have to wait.

I thought you might have your hand up because you wanted to know why I chose Iceland. So, I’m sure others have this question too, so it’s simple really: the WOW airline flight from Toronto was pretty cheap.

It ended up being an awesome airline.  On the flight, you lose a little bit of a weight because there is no food or drink included in your ticket.  This is obviously a large benefit.  Also, the seat leather is this really beautiful pink. I spent the flight sleeping because I was kind of hungry and didn’t have a lot of energy to do anything else.

So, when I woke up, I perused the in-flight magazine and noticed the ads were really progressive about body image: all different sized people.  I took this as a sign that my trip was going to be awesome.  And it was!

Oh, nope, I’m not quite ready for the next introduction, Shelly, just give me another few half hours.

Van at farm in Svinafelli.  Camping is about $15/person/night.  So, it’s much cheaper than hotels or airbnbs.
I gave a fellow traveler his hiking boots here when he forgot them. That’s just the kind of thing I do.
Lava fields
Van parked in morning coffee spot near Þingvellir park.
Van can’t go on F-roads, but the ring road loop has really smooth roads and you can pull off to hike into the crater-like terrain.

So, as you probably know, Vincent and I booked a camper-van.  I have posted some photos here on this powerpoint for your viewing pleasure.  This is actually our first objective on the syllabus.  So, you may want to take notes.

I can’t quite explain how awesome the camper-van experience was.  Really, like many of Vincent’s and my common decisions, we did this to save money on food.   We knew that food in Iceland is pretty expensive, so we reasoned if we could bring granola bars, beef jerky, chocolate covered blueberries, tea, coffee and nuts, we’d be okay.  We were right!

One day we did go out to a restaurant.  We were in a seaside town called Hofn and ordered a langoustine sandwich.  When we found out the price, $20,  we felt shock mixed with the  genetic cheapness we inherited from our war time grandparents.  Obviously, we shared it.  The other tourists in the restaurant ordered one each and a beer.  This is like $37.  We assumed they were billionaires.

So, we were still hungry.  We decided we could never go out to dinner after this and the only time we could spend money at restaurants was on beer during happy hour on our last day.  We reasoned that this would be a good cultural experience because we knew pub/cafe life was a cool thing in Iceland.  It was a similar reason to why we went to a hot spring every single day.  Both allowed us to get a feel of Icelandic culture and the hot springs gave us a warm shower.

Icelandic bathing culture is fascinating.  They are so clean.  They don’t look at the sign that says “Please wash without a bathing suit” and assume it doesn’t apply to us, like we do at American hotels.  They actually wash and get really clean.  Also they don’t have a puritan shame of naked bodies, like we Americans do.  This was refreshing.

I will say again, how progressive I think Iceland is in terms of gender.  I read that it’s the number one country economically for women.  They have the lowest pay-wage gap.  This was great news and I really felt it when I was in my bathing suit and not getting annoying weird-vibes from other bathers.  This was a great feeling.

We boiled water for coffee on the stove from the van.

So, our life consisted of getting up at 6am, driving to a different spot, making coffee on the stove and eating some packets of oatmeal or Skyr.  It should be noted that we used our coffee packets from Japan.  Among many other things, the Japanese understand design for coffee.  We felt totally awesome because we not only were in Iceland but we were using items from a recent trip to Japan.  BAM.

So, the van was fun to drive.  I drive a stick-shift here in Buffalo and I was really excited to drive a stick-shift van.  I am really allured by large vehicles.  I have a alternate fantasy version of myself where I drive a pick up truck and am a contractor for home repair.

Was I a little scared to drive the van?  Yes, McKenzie Marlett ’19.  I was.

My strengths in this world are 1. talking to people i don’t know, 2. crow dissection, 3. and of course, an intricate knowledge of feet.

Nope, McKenize, we’re not quite ready to get to the lecture called “Inequality within the Toe Hierarchy?  A Little Toe Speaks the Truth.”  That will be in four week.

So, yeah, I felt kind of scared about driving the van, but then by the time we were in Vik, I felt pretty good about driving.  I felt like the van and I were spiritually connected.  I felt like it understood my need for comfort and wildness.  I felt like it sent me that little arctic fox that I saw while I was skype-ing with my parents.  I felt like the van was on my side.  Always.

Glacier at Svínafellsjökull Glacier. The only rule of this class is: do not go on the glaciers without a guide.

After breakfast, we drove to a cool natural landmark.  We’d hike, take tons of photos, feel the steam of waterfalls on our faces.  We’d eat some beef jerky and then drive to our next town and have a two hour bath in the geo-thermal pools.  Then, later in the day, we’d get to our campsite and make some powdered soup or drink half of a beer.  Or eat some shrimp and cream cheese and gluten free crackers from Bonus.  Then we’d read until about 8pm, when we’d fall asleep dreaming of glaciers whispering sheep-wool secrets of Viking parliaments to one another.

Okay, class dismissed.  We’ll get to your introductions next class.  Don’t forget to follow me on twitter guys!  I just posted a fascinating article on “Post-colonial Ankle Theory.”

If you go to Iceland and want to try a van, get it from Northbound.  You really won’t be disappointed by this small company with a heart of gold.  Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions about what it was like or what you should pack (thermos!)  I’m happy to help.

 

 

 

 

 

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