Thursday, January 22, 2009

breaking the Iceland blogosphere

Today is the end of my first week in

 Reykjavik.   As someone who has never had much trouble adjusting to time zone changes – I have been travelling abroad for nearly 30 years – this adjustment has been unique.   I think I am just about adjusted to the time zone change -  the same as if I were in London.   

Temperature has been hovering on one side or the other of  freezing, with a forecast for slightly warmer temperatures.  As I write, the wind that was gusting all night continues to whistle.

Today is a non-teaching day for me.  I teach in the morning.  There is nothing particularly unusual about getting up for work before dark in the winter, but there must be more to it than visible light .  It feels like night - wavelengths beyond the eye’s ability to perceive, radiations or forces seem absent, then the constantly developing shades of blue.  Certainly the quality of light and the variety is stunning and continually changing.

Speaking of beginnings, how about this:

Having spent all of inauguration day watching CNN, BBC, listening to NPR, pod casts.  Skyping with Darla.   It is of course day 2 of the era of hope and dignity, positive purpose, and a feeling of possibility.  Without wasting my time, nerves, and blog space characterizing the disastrous time we have exited, it is impossible to describe, especially at t his distance what having a thoughtful, no bullshit, serious, bad-ass as our president; an actual leader, not a cheer leader means to me and I hope to the world.  To have a president for whom I don’t feel like I have to explain, but moreover one who so clearly has an idea of the world, of human justice and dignity is inspiring to say the least.  It was difficult to be so far from the US – something I’ve never felt before.  When Ronald Reagan was elected, I was in France – shocked.  I almost feel as though this is the end of THAT era, not just the current disaster. Is it actually, finally the end of the Nixon era? I guess it depends on how far back we want to look.

The work at the Academy has also begun well.  I am working with a diverse group of first year students in the Theory and Practice program.  More on that soon.

Another kind of beginning, the political and economic situation in Iceland is dire and serious. As this photo shows and as I have heard all evening from my apartment – even over the roaring wind, thousands of people gather each day to demonstrate for the resignation of the government. This is the first such political action in Icelandic independent history.  The government and banks are accused of ignoring warnings and squandering (gambling) with the entire economy.  HMMMM, sounds familiar, no?   These demonstrations are large – in the thousands of people.  If the same proportion turned out in France for example, it would be a gathering of more than 500,000 people. 

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