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Girls In STEM- Iceland Day 1

Much like the superstition that the worse the rehearsal dinner the better the wedding, many believe that great ailments in a travel day indicate an excellent trip. And given the polar nature of Colorado drivers and great unreliability of 1-70, we were bound for a disastrous start. Thus, our expedition was jumpstarted with great panic, as our “Iceland Queens” group chat filled with discourse as to how to approach the literal and metaphorical roadblock that was a semi truck crash on the highway. But a few hours, some iron feet and backroads later, we arrived at DIA with time to spare.

And in that time to spare, we kicked back and relaxed in the Capital One lounge, monopolizing on the free food and sitting space.

After ample time to enjoy our Capital One privileges, we were beckoned to the gate. Amidst our seven long antsy hours of airplane anticipation and excitement, Cece startled Ally awake commanding her to look out the window. Outside, in the crisp and dark Icelandic winter, were the glimmering auroras elegantly painting the sky beside the airplane. This was an awe inspiring twist of luck and fate that we delusionally believe was ordained just for us, as a symbol of the wonders ahead.

Proceeding our incredulous encounter with the Northern Lights, we were refreshed and prepared to proceed with the preparations necessary to increase the productivity of our travels. This began with trudging through customs and spending a dreary yet essential few hours in the bright airport. We watched the sunrise, and basked in the beauty of the nature oriented Icelandic architecture surrounding us. When the clock hit van time, we headed to the shuttle and found our way to the vans. We organized our items and self separated into our vans that would be our unwaveringly reliable homes for the next eight days. A Costco run followed, where we begged Ally and Amanda for snacks that we, spoiler alert, didn’t even dent seven days later when turning in our vehicles. I guess our trip mothers know best after all.

Although most of us took this trip to escape the male grasp, we utilized quite the opportunity to learn about and explore the natural male sciences. And this began in the phallic museum in Reykjavik. This was a wonderfully composed art exhibit combined with scientific exploration that was quite graceful given its subject matter. It included a cafe with male genitalia shaped pancakes, which according to Anna’s reports were particularly delectable. The more educational and subjectively most interesting aspect of the walk through was an exhibition that had signs, with the country, breeding habits, and interesting facts of the reproductive organs of the male animals.

Some of the interesting highlights of this exhibit included learning that Icelandic dolphins engage in same sex play to strengthen bonds between groups, and have above average motion control over their genitalia to navigate the complex folds of the female dolphin vaginal systems. Furthermore, this part of the museum included the aspects from which it was founded, which was a collection of preserved animal phallus. And finally, there were art aspects that were aimed at destigmatizing and breaking down aspects of masculinity that is associated with the appearance of their member.

For efforts of exploring a more cultural and commonly navigated aspect of Icelandic culture, we proceeded the phallic museum with time to explore Reykjavik in its succinct entirety. This included but was not limited to entering the Hallgrimskirkja church and listening to the beautiful choir sing Icelandic hymns, enjoying street hot dogs, spending time in the cat cafe, shopping, eating, sightseeing, and truly savoring the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with each other.

To summarize the day, and in efforts to warm our frosted Icelandic toes, we headed about thirty minutes up the coastline to a natural hot spring foot-bath overlooking the ocean. This was our first moment as a full group truly bonded in type two fun, a genre of living in which we feel as though we need to work and feel pain in order to experience the fun of it in its entirety. The ‘hot’ spring foot-bath really turned out to be a warm spring foot-bath, but valuable nonetheless, and gave us a newfound appreciation for the hot showers we are often afforded.

Overall, day one was filled with moments of true girlhood, ending at our parking lot campsite where we found Colorado locals and a lovely couple from New Zealand. Eager for the adventures ahead, we all slept well at the end of a long and exiting day of travel, exploration, and loosely defined learning.

⁃ Heidi WuppSkeeYee

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