So, here we are, almost February. The year is well underway and I am happy to say that at least from our vantage point here, it seems to be getting off to a good start. Classes are several weeks in and I’m splitting my time between one rather challenging Translation Studies course (MA level, in Icelandic), an ÍSL (Íslenska sem annað mál, or Icelandic as a Second Language) course which focuses on learning how to write like an adult (thank the lord), and a couple literature classes (including one MA class on Scottish Women’s lit—great so far) which are really just for my own edification and allow me to enjoy the opportunity of like, being in college again and just studying for fun (whoo!). And full disclosure to this academic adventuring: the side benefit of the literature classes is that they are taught in English, thereby removing some of the second-language pressure and allowing me to focus the majority of my attention on the translation class.
I don’t know if any of you have been following Iceland’s World Cup Qualifier games, but they have been rather exciting of late. I won’t try and parse their skills or shortcomings as a team, and I won’t try to recap all of the games thus far. But the last one, against Switzerland, was a doozie to say the least. Iceland got an early (and somewhat unexpected) goal and then gave up four to the Swiss before the end of the first half. Then, in the second half—down to the first minute of injury time (so, like, the extra-super end-of-the-end)—they evened the score and ended tied, 4-4.
If you want to see the highlights, here’s a fun video with hilarious English commentary.
The point of this lead-up is that Iceland is in a not terrible position now to make it into the World Cup. (It’s not a given, by any means, but they have a much better shot than they did earlier this year.) And people are getting excited. The team will play at home against Cyprus in early October, and then their last qualifier, against Norway, will be later that same week in Oslo.
And Icelandair is running a party
bus plane to Oslo to make sure that there are enough Icelandic supporters there to cheer on their team. I got an email this morning, advertising a flight and game ticket package: 79.900ISK (roughly $700). They’ll fly supporters to Oslo for the 8:00 PM game, transport them to the pitch, and then fly them home again that same night.
Can you imagine what that flight is going to be like? Probably pretty hilarious, and probably pretty full of Iceland’s notorious flugdólgar.
Oh, and this seems like as good a time as any to introduce my own favorite player on Iceland’s World Cup team (he plays for Sampdoria in the Italian League, too): Birkir Bjarnason.
This guy is a treat. He just runs and runs and runs and and scores and scores and scores. Oh, and fouls blatantly and epically and constantly. He is great fun to watch.
So: áfram, Ísland! We’ll be cheering from home!