Remembering the Wrong Things

Last week, Lily and I were conversing in the comments of her blog, and she suggested that I talk about Iceland. Since I haven’t talked too much about Iceland, I decided that this was a good idea. B and I went on vacation there last year before I got pregnant.

Here is a picture of me in Iceland eating what is regarded worldwide as the best hot dog in the world:

I wasn’t as angry as I look.

I’m looking through all these pictures we took in Iceland and I’m remembering the things we did there, but I’m sorry to say that without the pictures, I likely wouldn’t remember much about Iceland. It’s not Iceland’s fault. It’s my brain’s fault. Sometimes it doesn’t do as it’s supposed to and remember the things that are worth remembering.

Allow me to demonstrate: we spent 10 days in Iceland and did all kinds of cool things. We met fascinating people and ate strange things like whale. (Hold your buckets of red paint, not the endangered kind.) Yet the thing I remember the most about Iceland was going in a convenience store and overhearing one of the teenage employees describing Rebecca Black’s “Friday” to the other teenage employee. Almost everyone in Iceland can speak English in addition to Icelandic, but hearing the girl giggle in Icelandic and say, “Jgfbydgfyvdbshffyal fhbusafh fbgshyugf ‘Friday, Friday’ psyndhudhdyn”* to her coworker was just funny and bizarre.

*My apologies to the nation of Iceland for parodying their language above, but for reals, it’s all freaking consonants. Exhibit A:

So we flew across continents, spent nearly a week and a half in a foreign country, and what I take away from our cultural experience is a pair of teenagers laughing about a viral video on YouTube. I remembered the wrong thing. What’s disappointing is that B remembers it really vividly too. Sigh.

It gets me thinking about when I was like six or seven years old and Halloween was rolling around. I had acquired a peach princess-y dress that I think had belonged to my Aunt Jaye when she was a little girl, and I was going to wear it with a sequined tiara that had been part of a ballet costume. I was so excited to wear it for Halloween. Then on Halloween night, it suddenly got super, super cold and my brother and I had to wear our matching navy blue knee-length overcoats over our costumes when we went out trick-or-treating. It was pretty much the lamest thing ever. There are pictures of us looking totally defeated and sad in our costumes and coats.

I have absolutely no idea what that has to do with me inappropriately remembering the Icelandic teenagers singing “Friday,” but the two seem connected. I guess that’s the point. Remembering the wrong things and all. In any case, here’s a picture of a taxidermied two-headed sheep in Iceland:

“He gave his life for tourism.”

I think I have successfully given you no idea of what Iceland is really like. I am confident I owe all of Iceland (and Lily) a whopping apology for this blog post. One of these days I’ll get around to actually writing about our trip.

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51 comments

  1. A gripping life · · Reply

    Hahaha! LOL!! This was pretty damn funny, Emily. The two headed goat, road sign and re-telling of a Halloween gone wrong, somehow all seem to go together nicely. And still, I’d like to visit Iceland. :)

    1. You should visit it! It’s really great! I will write a post someday detailing why this is. It’s a place that is for sure worth visiting. Thanks, Lisa!

  2. Yeah, I do that too. But then you flip through the pictures, and all the memories are unleashed, swirling about, bringing smiles and all sorts of joy.

    Looking forward to the Iceland post though. Will you write it with no vowels?

    1. No vowels, hmmmm, that’s a pretty good idea, but it’s taken me nearly my entire life to learn how to type correctly, and I don’t want to undue my life’s work, you know?

  3. It was worth it for the two headed sheep. That’s some THEATRE going on, lady. But seriously, I think what you remembered are the things that connected you to Icelanders – a common thread – like a video or listening to them speaking in English-jtiwssitffegyesdfyish. Really, they are the connections to othes that are like us in some fundamental way. And who doesn’t remember the best/worst/weirdest tasting thing they put in their mouth?

    1. You speak wisdom, Denise, true wisdom. I think we DO remember the things that we have in common. But we just as easily remember the things that are a stark contrast. These are the things that give our lives texture and light.

      1. Yes – that too… I love a good freakish outcome to keep it stuck in my sluice like memory banks

  4. The magic talking stick makes me laugh b/c my gregarious 9 year old is always having his talking stick taken away in the conversation else he won’t stop holding it…(they use them at school when kids are arguing and they need to mediate – I think it would be more effective to just have a magic smacking stick – but no one listens to me… just kidding)

    1. HA! When I was teaching kindergarten, a Magic Talking Stick was a must.

      Until one kid decided to insert it in his mouth on multiple occasions. Ewww. Just ewwww.

      1. I need a magic MUTE stick…ya got one of those in your magical arsenal? please excuse spelling errors in that sentence…

  5. Too funny. My sister’s been trying to convince me to go on a vacation to Iceland for a few years. I’m going to forward this to her as proof why Iceland would clearly not be a memorable vacation. :P

    1. It’s really a cool place! Despite my blog post, I would highly recommend going. Just try to pay closer attention than I did ;D

  6. Did I ever tell you I like your style? A lot. Those goat(s?) are going to haunt my dreams though

    1. Aww, thanks. Right back atcha. Th(os)e sheep are the stuff of nightmares.

      1. Did I say goat? I definitely meant sheep. Yeah… definitely.

  7. I couldn’t tell you anything about Iceland, and quite frankly, I wonder why people desire to go to there. You need to write a real blog about it! Also, all of our Halloween costumes were pretty much designed to go over or include winter coats, so I never got to be a pretty princess. THANKS A LOT, MINNESOTA.

    1. Coats are a drag. Iceland, interestingly enough, isn’t really a drag. I will write a post one of these days outlining why.

  8. I have to ask, Why did you go to Iceland? I want to go there, it is difinitely on my bucket list! But I have never known anyone who has been! I admit that the reason I want to go is because , well, no one I know has been there! It would be so cool to say we have been to Iceland!

    1. Good question. We went to Iceland because we were leaving Korea (where we had lived for two years) to return to the US, and we wanted to take a long vacay. We knew we were going to France and somewhere else, and for awhile that other place was England. England, however, proved to be too expensive. We chose Iceland instead because it is extremely economical to go there right now since they had a major economic crisis. It is a really neat place and you should go if you’re interested in it! One of these days I will write a real post about it.

  9. I like that you don’t remember the trip because what you talked about was hilarious.

    1. Haha! Thanks. lady! ;D

  10. I lived in England for two years as a kid, in a tiny fishing village on the coast, no less. And what do I remember? I remember Spiderman Candy cigarettes and a seagull pooping in my baby brother’s hair and going to school without panties on JUST BECAUSE I WAS A REBEL, MAN. I have no freaking clue why I remember those things. But, it is what it is.

    1. Also, now I love Lily. I love her hard.

      1. She is THE BEST. I want to be her BFF.

    2. I never knew you lived in England! So cool! Sometimes I go through phases when I wish we could live overseas with C while she’s a child so she could have the cultural experience, but it’s such a crapshoot whether she will be able to appreciate it. She may just remember the Spiderman candy cigarettes, heh heh.

      1. She’ll appreciate it, I think. I do. I was a military brat and spent my entire childhood overseas in both Englad and Central America. I love that facet of my life, but it was hard on family members, and I’ve always struggled to retain friendships and relationships because of it. When you’re raised never living anywhere longer than a few years, you get used to saying goodbye and being alone. But I woldn’t change a damn thing. I saw and did things before I was ten that most of my peers will never do. So, ya kow. Do whatcha gotta do.

  11. Okay, you are not allowed to judge me for this… You know how people talk to their pets? Well, I never knew what to say to my super-cute dog. So, I would just sit there and pet the dog, and tell her how adorable she was. “You’re going to be so extra cute when we have you taxidermied and turned into a stuffed animal.”

    In my defense, she was a miniature apricot poodle, and she would have made an incredibly cute stuffed animal. And in retrospect I can totally understand why my parents liked that dog better than me.

    Well, that’s how I remember things anyway… Just so you know that your point wasn’t lost.

    1. It’s always good to know that your own writing has a moral that you weren’t even aware of. I wish we had taxidermied my childhood cat, Spotty. Having her around still would probably get me to behave better.

  12. This is amazeballs. This is pretty much how I describe any and all trips I take. I remember food. Sometimes the names of buildings, but rarely. I’ll have to add Iceland to my list. Maybe I should write about my trip to Norway ja? We can compare and contrast!

    1. Please do! I really want to go to Norway too. My husband is going through a Norwegian death metal phase right now so I think he would oblige me.

  13. I love the “FU” graffiti before the funny lookin consonant-rich Icelandic.
    All posts are made better with pictures of two headed dead, stuffed sheeps, by the way.
    So good job.

    1. I’m glad someone else noticed that! I will add this picture to all of my posts if you think it will up my traffic.

  14. Taxidermied two-headed sheep, hotdogs and Icelandic reviews of Friday: I’m sold. To Iceland! :D

    1. And you’re so close, too! Let me know when you go and I can tell you where to spot the two-headed sheep.

  15. Holy Tengibygging, this post was good. My memory is a sieve. I can’t tell you what happened two weeks ago.

    1. Hey thanks. Let’s see, two weeks ago…

      Didn’t Seinfeld go off the air two weeks ago? And OJ got off? Right.

  16. Well I don’t know about the rest of you but after reading this I am all fired up to go to Iceland. You should travel to odd (forgive me Iceland) places, remember the wrong thing, and write travel brochures. ;-)

    1. I would love to! Think Lonely Planet would fund my little excursions? Can I use you as a reference if I go down that career path?

  17. Holy hot dog eating. I do hope you look less angry when you eat your husbands hot dog. Can I say that on a blog comment? Too late I think I just did.

    1. HAhahaha! Well, I DID put a picture up on my blog of me eating a hot dog, so I suppose I was bound to get one of those comments sooner or later. ;D

  18. But the real question is…did you see BJORK??? I would die, just die, if I saw her closer than the 200 yards between us at ACL 2 years ago. Is she a god there? Are there statues and whatnot? Or is she just a gal who (is amazing) happens to be from there?

    1. We didn’t see Bjork, although I DID learn that she was basically a child star in Iceland! She is so great! She was mentioned in the Iceland history museum, which is a pretty big deal if you ask me. Just from flyers I saw in bookstores and coffeeshops, it seems like Sigur Ros is more popular there.

  19. Do you recall how that hot dog compares to every other hod dog you’ve eaten in your life? Is it world class tube sausage?

    1. Well, as a former Chicago resident, I obviously have my allegiances when it comes to hotdogs. But it wasn’t bad. The mustard was honestly the best thing about it. It was sweet and mild but a bit spicy.

      1. With that insightful review, if Wine Spectator ever publishes a sister magazine, Condiment Spectator, you could be a staff writer.

        1. Ha! I have found my calling!

  20. I’d be happy to do a guest post to remind you how great Iceland was. :)

    1. And I will take you up on it because you will do it a heck of a lot more justice than I could! Email me at emilycaustin@yahoo.com and we will discuss details ;D Thanks!

  21. The travel industry needs to rethink how they package destinations, starting with your blog! Your description of the language reminded me of how linguistically lost I was in Wales without vowels. Great stuff, Mrs. Em!

    1. Welsh (did I spell that correctly?) always befuddles me too. I think my head explodes a little when I see and hear their language because it seems like since they’re so close to England they should speak, well, English. Glad you enjoyed it!

  22. [...] few weeks ago, I posted a poor attempt at giving Iceland some cred. Today, I am handing the reins over to Eva from I’d Rather Be in [...]

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