Memory #18: That Time I Went to Iceland…Twice

When I was in the 5th grade, I remember reading a fact somewhere that Iceland had been voted the “happiest country in the world”. Wait, what? A whole country full of the happiest people in the world living a dreamy, nordic life together on an island in the middle of the North Atlantic? It was almost too much for my little 10-year-old brain to handle. Through the bewilderment grew a romanticized fascination though, and I vowed then and there to visit this enchanted place someday.

Flash forward 10 years and a Björk obsession later to my parents asking me if I’d rather have a trip or a party as a college graduation gift. Was it even a question? The trip instantly won over the party and I got my college bestie Jocelyn on board to map out a 10-day journey for us to the land of fire and ice: Iceland.

I’ll be the first to admit that I overuse the word magical, but honestly, if you had to sum up Iceland in one word this would be it. The unspoiled and resplendent beauty of the country was unparalleled to anything I had seen in my life and it was equal parts the most beautiful and bizarre place I had ever been. We spent 7-days driving the ring road through the farmlands, into the mountains, and alongside the breathtaking fjords, and topped off our tour in Reykjavík, the shockingly hip and unexpectedly rowdy capital city where the majority of the country’s population resides.

It was kind of awesome (do you sense my sarcasm?)—so awesome in fact that the following year I returned for a 4-day music festival called Iceland Airwaves with my boyfriend at the time Tim, and one of my best childhood pals, Jenny. Though the theme of that trip was a bit different—all-night Icelandic dance parties, crazy hipster outfits, and $12 draft Viking beer took precedence over geysir-seeing and elf-hunting—it was a pretty incredible trip as well, and one that I’m glad I took when I was in my early 20’s because whether I’d like to admit it or not, this side of 25 looks a whole lot different than the previous one.

So, moral of the story? Go to Iceland. It’ll blow your mind. And if you’re at the age where staying up all night furiously dancing around to crazy Icelandic dance music sounds appealing, go to Iceland Airwaves. That’ll blow your mind too.


The first trip looked like this

The first trip looked like this…

the sedodo

…and the second trip looked a little more like this (p.s. this band is called FM Belfast, they will blow your mind too)…

This is how much fun an Icelandic dance party is

…and also kind of like this


Memory #13: Mix Tapes

Wait…it’s June 1st and I’m still posting memories? That’s right, I received a resounding “yay” from everyone I polled on whether or not I should continue this challenge, so it’s official—Memory Lane is a twofer! Now back to the mems…

In high school, if we were friends, if we were related, if I had a crush on you, or really, if we had any sort of relationship—no matter how distant or seemingly insignificant, you most likely received a custom Danne Dzenawagis mix tape. Mix tapes were my specialty (not to mention my pride and joy), and I loved nothing more than toiling for hours in front of my Aiwa stereo over which songs to select and the best way to arrange them for the ultimate listening experience.

I started out making them for myself but soon began to branch out and craft mixes for anyone and everyone once I got the hang of it. The typical Danne mix tape was oddly eclectic, going anywhere from Oasis, to Bjork, to Abba, to the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies (ha!), to Silverchair (obvi), to the Dixie Chicks, and generally finishing up with some bizarre audio clip I found on an Ultra Lounge compilation. Oh, and they almost always came with a 3-page minimum handwritten note detailing why I loved each and every song that I had painstakingly selected.

I made theme mixes—I just found one yesterday called “Another Cocktail Anyone? Princess Daniela Presents: Loungin’ to the Laid Back Lingo”, mixes for special occasions—like the one I designed specifically for the drive home from the RMV after I got my drivers license, and one time I even made a “non-mix” of a single Descendents song on repeat for the entire 90-minute tape so I could wallow in my boy-induced teenage misery in the car (listening to songs on repeat was much more difficult in cassette days).

The best was when one year for my birthday, I asked everyone I knew to make me a mix tape—and they did. That year I was showered in an amazing array of new-to-me music that perfectly reflected the person who made it for me and still serves as an amazing memento of our friendship. And while I’m notorious for getting rid of almost everything, these tapes are something I’ll tote around from apartment to apartment with me forever.

When cassettes became obsolete and mix CDs became the new norm, I jumped on the bandwagon because I had to, but really, the magic of a real mix tape is unable to be replicated on a CD—and don’t even get me started on playlists…

Thank God my car (which is a 2002, mind you) has a cassette player so I can still listen to all these gems:

Fanne photo-bombed my mix tape photo shoot yesterday...

Fanne photo-bombed my mix tape photo shoot yesterday, big surprise…