Former Draper Admin Larissa Kyzer Writes for the Island Review

Many readers of this blog may remember Larissa Kyzer from when she was Draper’s Program Administrator for several years, immediately preceding Georgia Lowe and bringing a very special kind of cheer to the office.

Two years ago, Larissa moved to Iceland to study Icelandic on a Fulbright scholarship. While attending University there, Larissa picked up a writing gig at a local English-language paper, the Reykjavik Grapevine, where she notably wrote about swimming in the icy Icelandic sea. More recently, she’s been added as a regular correspondent on the Island Review, “an online magazine dedicated to great writing and visual art that comes from, is inspired by, celebrates or seeks to understand the extraordinary appeal of islands, as places and as metaphors.”

Here is an exerpt from her first post:

No matter how open and adventurous you are when you move to a new country, no matter how much prior knowledge you have about the place, no matter how intentional and premeditated your arrival: integration in a new culture is a journey. And kind of a long one, at that. I’ve been here in Iceland for just over two years now and I’m starting my third year studying Icelandic as a Second Language at the university-level (that’s the whole reason I came, actually). And although it’s often been something of an uphill battle, my partner and I have been very happy here. We’ve made lives for ourselves in Reykjavík—the nation’s single urban hub, home to more than two thirds of the total population—and have had opportunities that would have been completely and utterly impossible in the crush of in New York City, where we previously lived for ten years.

Moreover, in my time here, I’ve picked up a fair amount of local habits. I drink squeeze boxes of kókó mjólk (chocolate milk) with frankly alarming frequency, despite the fact that when I arrived, I couldn’t stand milk and wasn’t really a fan of chocolate, either. I wear a traditional Icelandic lopapeysa sweater. I get antsy if there is no intermission during a film at the movie theater. Swimming outdoors during a snow storm doesn’t faze me (the pools are geothermally-heated, after all, and anyway, I’ve started winter sea swimming, too). And, like any born-and-bread Icelander, I now understand that umbrellas are not only futile in the country’s gale force winds, they are also symbolic of man’s inability to cope with slightly inconvenient weather patterns.

And yet, although I’ve adopted a variety of Icelandic tendencies and adapted in other, perhaps more significant, ways as well, I still experience a sense of distance and remove here in Iceland, a sense of being outside.

Read the entire post here. And if you’re interested in following more of Larissa’s adventures or enjoy reading about Americans abroad, you can follow her blog, Eth and Thorn.

Congratulations, Larissa! We love reading your work!
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s