Once upon a time, I spent two weeks in Iceland, where I stayed in the home of an elderly couple. They thought I was there for the intensive Icelandic language course—but since I wasn’t there for the intensive Icelandic language course, I was unable to dispel their misapprehension. I was similarly unable to keep them from throwing dictionaries at me or forcing me to watch subtitled television shows about clever German police dogs. I developed a huge crush on their country nonetheless.
A decade later, I’ve introduced my students to medieval Icelandic literature through the Saga of the Volsungs and translations of eddic poetry. Lately, though, they’ve begun to fret about their grades, their papers, and their final exams. Empathetic teacher that I am, I decided to send them this: “Hakuna Matata” translated and dubbed in Icelandic.
Whether or not they appreciate the intention behind it remains to be seen.