L'shana tovah, Jews of the world.
This has been the strangest Rosh Hashanah I've ever celebrated. I spent the day in a manner completely counter to everything about Jewish tradition that emphasizes community, completely on my own. I considered briefly developing some Icelandic-Jewish traditions - I read somewhere that it's considered good luck to eat both the head of a fish or the head of a lamb for Rosh Hashanah, which sound much more like an Icelandic than a Jewish tradition - but quickly decided against it. Instead, I dressed up and ate apples and honey and watched the trees and the tents blowing in the wind in the campground while going through the major parts of the service that I could remember and took a walk through the botanical gardens behind the hostel and threw some bread crumbs in the lake in the garden for tashlich (my sins were eaten by ducks rather than washed away, but I suppose it's the same sort of idea). No shofar, although the fans at the soccer match between Iceland and North Ireland erev Rosh Hashanah were blowing these plastic horns all over the place which I guess sound a little like a shofar. There are, in fact, Jews other than me in Iceland, but not enough to have Rosh Hashanah services on Rosh Hashanah. The 50 or so in the country will hold some sort of service on Saturday, but by that point I will have left Iceland.
Which brings me to my imminent travel plans: tomorrow morning I leave from Reykjavik to embark on the next segment of my Watson journey. I will be flying to Stockholm, Sweden, where I will get a chance to meet a fellow Williams-Mystic alumnus studying on a Fulbright at the Vasa Museum, then the next day taking an overnight ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki, where I will spend four days at the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) annual science conference (i.e. hanging out with a lot of very smart fisheries nerds). And after that, I move on to my next long-term destination in Denmark.
For those curious about the status of my Danish visa, it has been officially approved by the Danish Immigration Service, but I do not actually have all the official paperwork taken care of and the stamp in my passport. Somehow the message last week of "it's in the mail" today became "it's been delayed because the woman working on it is home with an illness" (how that happened I have no idea, but it's best not to ask too many questions about these things). But since it's already been approved, the official word from the Danish Immigration Service is that I can get the official stamp in my passport after I'm already in the country. So I will get to Copenhagen with three days left as a legal Schengen tourist and the number to call for the Danish Immigration Service so I can get all the paperwork taken care of during my first few days in the country. I'm relieved that I won't have trouble getting into Denmark even without the visa in hand, but I'll feel much better once the paperwork is done and I have the stamp in my passport.
So now begins the next adventure - I'll have more stories of fisheries nerds and exciting travels, plus some final thoughts on Iceland, coming soon.