Friday, September 26, 2014


Hello all! When I wasn't thoroughly enjoying the conference, I was thoroughly enjoying Reykjavík, nearly always in the company of Liam, M, or some of the other delightful people I met through the New Chaucer Society. Reykjavík is colorful, quirky, and eminently walkable. I am quite a fan. 

"Look! It's me! I'm a tree!" is how I read this sign in my head, despite the lack of actual punctuation marks. 

Behold! The world's best treehouse. 

And snuggliest, biggest gray cat. 

Murals and graffiti are everywhere in the city, especially along the main shopping street. 

I call this one "Fun with Texture!"

I call this one (of the huge relief map of Iceland at City Hall) "Fun with Time Lapse!"

Getting our medieval on. 

Near the end of my solar stay in Reykjavík I moved from the hostel into an apartment I found on airbnb. My friend Linnea beat me to it, however. 

On of my favorite meals. 

And my favorite view, late at night. 

Next time: Chapter Five, in Which Ross Shows Up and the Adventures Really Begin

Thursday, September 25, 2014


After the Day of the Glacier, I don't have many pictures for a while. I was getting my conference on, with awesome presentations about medieval manuscripts (you really, really can't see it, but the little image on the manuscript in the left is of a beached whale getting harvested, which is one of the things I write about!) and medieval bridges (hey oh! Shout out to Ross). 

And then it was my birthday! The conference was still going on my birthday, but Liam, my GW friend M, and I still had some birthday fun times, starting with an early trip to Hallgrímskirkja and my favorite coffee shop. 

After the conference (at which everyone wished me happy birthday, thanks to M's very sweet spreading-of-the-word), we spent some time roaming around Reykjavík's beautiful cemetery. My friends thought that was a morbid thing to want to do on my birthday, but look at how wild and overgrown and beautiful it is! Honestly, I was puzzled by that. A cool thing to do is a cool thing to do, birthday or not. 

Plus there were cats. There were always cats in Reykjavík. It's a thing. 

We also visited City Hall...

and my beloved Harpa. Of course. 

These photos really aren't doing the day justice. We had dinner, of course, and I think we went to one of the city's hot tubs. We did that a lot (hot tubs and springs are a hugely important part of Icelandic culture), so it's hard to keep track. Regardless, I had a lovely birthday.

Next up: Chapter Four, in Which Haylie Wanders the City and Meets a Tree

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

2013 in review: september and October

(Friends! I know this has nothing to do with Iceland, and never fear: we'll get back to our regularly schedule Icelandic programming tomorrow. But I just realized I never posted this draft of stuff we did in 2013 [yikes!!!]. So. Just in case you were wondering what we did this time last year, here you are. You're welcome)


In September, the sun started coming up a little later...

I started watching this wetland for a semester-long school project...

we went to a Labor Day concert at the Capitol...

Creature soaked up the late September sun...

I had a conversation with Margaret Atwood at the National Book Festival (a conversation that is archived at the Library of Congress now!!!)...

Creature made a friend...

and Ross did, too.


In October it started to look like fall...

I drew a picture of my wetland...

compiled the index for my advisor's book (no mean feat, by the way!)...

reveled in my (fake) tattoo...

started daydreaming about Iceland...

and spent some time with this guy. 

In October we also got to know our neighborhood free library...

and did Halloween up right.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

girl meets glacier

Of Glaciers and Glaciologists

I don't want to say too much about this series of pictures, as I really think they speak for themselves. Just so you have some context, though, I was very privileged (and so, so grateful) to be included on a glacier hike planned by my advisor, Jeffrey Cohen. Jeffrey, who writes beautifully and prolifically about bodies and ecologies in medieval literature (I can't wait for his upcoming book), intended the pre-conference hike to serve as a spur for thinking to the scholars on his panel on ice. I wasn't on that panel, but Jeffrey generously invited me on the hike anyway. We were joined by Oddur Sigurðsson, a glaciologist, who taught us about ice and who--no kidding--sang us an Icelandic lullaby on the bus ride home. Here's Jeffrey's post about the haunting experience (the glaciers are melting, folks, and fast). The dark and lovely lyrics to Oddur's lullaby (also borrowed from Jeffrey) are below. 

Sofðu unga ástin mín.
Úti regnið grætur.
Mamma geymir gullin þín,
gamla leggi og völuskrín.
Við skulum ekki vaka um dimmar nætur.
Það er margt sem myrkrið veit,
minn er hugur þungur.
Oft ég svarta sandinn leit
svíða grænan engireit.
Í jöklinum hljóða dauðadjúpar sprungur.
Sofðu lengi, sofðu rótt,
seint mun best að vakna.
Mæðan kenna mun þér fljótt,
meðan hallar degi skjótt,
að mennirnir elska, missa, gráta og sakna. 
Sleep, my young love.
Outside the rain is weeping.
Mummy is watching over your treasure,
an old bone and a round case.
We should not stay awake through dim nights.
There is much that darkness knows,
my mind is heavy.
Often I saw black sand
burning the green meadow.
In the glacier cracks are rumbling deep as death.
Sleep for a long time, sleep quietly,
it is best to wake up late.
Sorrow will teach you soon,
while the day is quickly decaying,
that men love, lose, cry and mourn.

On our way back from the glacier we stopped at two waterfalls, Skógafoss (my favorite)...

(from the climb to the top of Skógafoss)

and Seljalandsfoss, which you can walk behind. We all got soaked...

…although not as much as this kid. This picture still makes me laugh out loud.

At the end of the day I returned to KEX to find a concert in full swing, attended by locals and tourists alike.

Goodnight, Iceland.

Next up: Chapter Three, In Which Haylie Enjoys Her Birthday